Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Film Review: Kill The Irishman

In the summer of ‘76 thirty-six bombs exploded in Cleveland’s escalating mob war with local legend Danny Greene, an Irish gangster who is the central character in director Jon Hensleigh’s new film Kill The Irishman. The film has a terrific blend of action, humor, and humanity as it tells the gritty, blue collar tale of a man who rose from the trenches to become a major crime figure with a Robin Hood appeal who eventually led to the downfall the mob’s network. It stars some well seasoned actors such as: Vincent D‘Onofrio, Val Kilmer, and Christopher Walken, as well as some up and coming talent such as Ray Stevenson who really rises to the occasion in his tough yet empathetic depiction of Danny Greene.

It’s hard not to compare the film to Scorsese’s Goodfellas because of the similarities in treatment and concept but ultimately Danny Greene makes Henry Hill feel like he came up in the nice part of town. The film contains some terrific performances that match the really tight storyline and the violence in the film is palpable thanks to the cinematography and sound design which make the audience feel every punch. The only real downside of the film is in its nearly unwavering glorification of Green’s violence and nefarious lifestyle but that being said it’s still a great film and one that will appeal to a wide range of viewers. In the genre of the American mobster works, this is a film that may not have a ton of subtext but it certainly stands apart with an original voice and will likely be a favorite to many.

For: Short&SweetNYC

Album Review: Radiohead - King Of Limbs

The constant evolution of Radiohead’s musical identity has arrived at its latest incarnation in the band’s new album King of Limbs which offers a sound both reminiscent of the past while at the same time innovative and with a clear influence coming from dubstep. When the band first announced a new album release on Valentine’s Day even the most fervent fans found themselves surprised but less than a week later the 8 track download had arrived. The album is loaded with conflict both emotionally and in a musical sense with counteracting tempos and assertive persistence percussion featuring odd and intriguing tuplets. It’s is layered with waves of reverberating noise littered with speckles of hissing bits and backwards amputated sounds digitizing and modernizing Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” for the new millennium.

The album opens with “Bloom”, which sets the tone for the subsequent album and gives the listener the feeling of being thrown into the winds of a digital hurricane but despite the tension in the music the smooth and consistent vocals relay a sense of calm. “Morning Mr. Magpie” follows with bright, tremble guitar phrases and more oppositional lyrics addressing the magpie, a bird which is an omen of bad luck, stating that it’s “got some nerve coming here" and that "they’ve stolen all my magic” and “took my melody" allowing for a number of symbolic interpretations.

One of the best tracks on the album is “Little by Little” which opens with a dense musical intro reminiscent of 90’s era Beck and builds to evoke cinematic visuals and an emotional response which is evident in nearly all the band’s strongest songs. This is followed by the enrapturing “Feral” which is essentially a sonic painting replacing lyrics with fragmented sound layers and “Lotus Flower” which recalls Motown’s Funk Brothers classics with its offbeat clapping and tight hooked percussion married to sensual vocals.

The album rounds out with “Codex” which has an almost singer-songwriter feel, the melodic “Give up the Ghost”, and “Seperator”, a song which goes in really interesting directions with a vocal melody and paralleled guitar that feels akin to late 70’s/early 80s rock with it bright notes and pop appeal.

For: Kevchino