March 8, 2014 |
When Charles Bukowski died in San Pedro 20 years ago, the obituaries in the next day's papers typically began with some iteration of Time magazine's stock description of the writer as the "laureate of American lowlife. " In the decades since, the drinking, brawling, gambling, whoring cliche has become so entrenched and widely propagated it can be hard to see Bukowski's words for his shadow. The "Barfly" legend, sprouted from the self-mythology Bukowski cultivated in countless quasi-autobiographical works including his celebrated movie screenplay and fed by his real-life drunken bouts of abusiveness, has only grown posthumously.
March 6, 2014 |
Strive as one might for objectivity, certain shows come equipped with viewer expectations. So when Denis Leary announced that USA would be debuting his comedic accompaniment to "Rescue Me," a natural reaction, at least among Leary fans, would have been "Yay. " Then, when the first episode of "Sirens," which premieres Thursday, turned out to be one long (literally and figuratively) penis joke, an equally natural reaction might have been "Gaack. " Which is no doubt why USA sent three episodes for review.
February 6, 2014 |
Liam Neeson has proved of late how entertainingly potent the one-tough-middle-aged-SOB-against-impossible-odds movie can be. But there's not a lot to be - ahem - "Taken" by, however, in the lo-fi imitation thriller "The Outsider," which stars British slab Craig Fairbrass as Lex, a private security mercenary stationed in Afghanistan who hotfoots it to Los Angeles to investigate the supposed death of his estranged daughter. With all signs pointing to a weaselly, well-protected high-tech firm magnate (James Caan)
February 5, 2014 |
One of the big open secrets of contemporary EDM is that many, many DJs just aren't doing that much onstage. Whether picking super-obvious mainstream tracks, using oversimplified beat-matching software or even just playing a pre-mixed set and drunkenly fist-pumping, today's digital-centric DJs have myriad ways to cut corners in the booth. Las Vegas clubs are especially susceptible, with huge easy paychecks for artists playing to tourist crowds who just want to keep the bottles flying. Over at radio.com, Scott T. Sterling notes that one new Vegas club, After, has posted its house rules for DJs, and it amounts to a provocative 95 Theses for modern EDM venues.
January 16, 2014 |
Cloying and smug when it's not being unfunny and crass, the high school reunion comedy "Back in the Day" hits lows with a frequency that suggests a world-class sharp shooter or free-throw king. With every thudding gross-out gag or mistimed bit of sentimentality, writer-director-star Michael Rosenbaum's movie acts as if it deserves a high-five. Instead, this aggressively clichéd tale of Jim (Rosenbaum), a struggling Hollywood actor attending his Midwestern high school reunion, is about as entertaining as watching two guys vomit simultaneously, to name one of the movie's prouder moments of dreary raunch.
January 10, 2014 |
Unspooled in the January dumping ground and not screened for critics, Renny Harlin's "The Legend of Hercules" has preemptively conceded defeat in its duel with Brett Ratner's "Hercules," the other Hollywood project based on the same Greek hero due this year. One of the best-known figures in Greek mythology, Hercules has yet to receive serious cinematic regard. Besides serving as a bit player in films such as "Immortals" and "Jason and the Argonauts," Hercules has been the subject of one wisecracking animated musical from Disney and numerous live-action features straight out of the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" canon.