Friday, August 24, 2007

Music: Still listening to that new M.I.A. album

Have you heard the story? British-born Sri Lankan hip-hopper M.I.A. was denied a visa to come to the U.S. for years because of her politically subversive lyrics and ties to guerrilla fighters in her father's homeland.

So, she skipped the studio sessions with American producers - and reportedly Gwen Stefani - and recorded her new album "Kala" in third-world countries and, the AP reports, with a decidedly third-world political perspective and sound.

That back story sure beats Vanilla Ice's "I'm from the streets, yo!" b.s. from back in the day, but does it herald a good album?

Sort of. "Kala" is a mixed bag, and it's taking me a while to get into it. The album's sounds and subjects are more experimental than on M.I.A.'s last release "Arular." There's less hip-hop, more disco and world beats and, unfortunately, more filler on this release. Still, tracks like "XR2" and "Paper Planes" are worth repeat listens. "Boyz" almost recaptures the quirky, beckoning beats and spirit of "Galang" and "Bucky Done Gun" from "Arular," but it's not quite there.

I'm looking forward to decoding the lyrics a little more, since most of the songs seem inspired by political conflicts and the toll they take on people and their lands.

These new songs are different, but they're still good. She'll nail it on the next one. For now, dig on this clip for "Jimmy," one of my favs from "Kala."


M.I.A. at MySpace

AP story on M.I.A.

Photo from The Associated Press

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Film: 'Darjeeling Limited' trailer

So, there's a "Darjeeling Limited" trailer floating around the web. Scroll down to view a YouTubey version.

The new Wes Anderson film stars Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson (no Luke?) as siblings touring India. Anderson wrote the script with Schwartzman and first-time collaborator Roman Coppola, who I haven't heard much about since "CQ' came out back in 2001. Natalie Portman, Anjelica Houston and Bill Murray co-star.

"Darjeeling" looks like it combines the odd family dynamics of "The Royal Tenenbaums" and the divisive insanity of "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou." So, yeah, it looks good, and I can't wait to see it - if it comes to my local Cinemark. (Damn you Brownsville, you one-horse town).

The film opens Sept. 29 in some markets.


High res trailer

Official movie site

Photo from Fox Searchlight

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Film: Hey 'Superbad' fans

So, "Superbad" is the number one film in the country and tons of people still don't know about "Clark and Michael"? It's cool. I just watched my first episode today, although I've been meaning to check it out for a few months now.

"Clark and Michael" is a great little Internet TV series starring and written by "Superbad" star Michael Cera and pal Clark Duke, who had a cameo in "Superbad." The ten-episode series is about little more than the pair trying to sell a TV pilot about their lives to the networks, but it's damn funny and each ep is only about ten minutes long.

The few eps of "C&M" I watched made me laugh just as much as "Superbad" did - and McLovin' isn't even in the thing. The series does feature cames by cool kids like Patton Oswalt, Andy Richter, David Cross, Tony Hale from "Arrested Development" plus the great line "They brushed our teeth with their dicks."

It's funny. Watch it.


Clark Duke's YouTube Channel

Photo from

TV: 'Keep flirting to a minimun'

If you owned a TV news station, would you hire an anchorwoman whom you had to remind to "keep flirting to a minimum" when dealing with news sources? I wouldn't, but KYTX Channel 19 president - and Rick Perry clone - Phil Hurley did.

Hurley hired former bikini model and WWE "diva" Lauren Jones (that's her mug up there) as an anchor to boost ratings for his local newscast in Tyler, TX. Jones has no journalism experience and is probably best known by teenage boys who watched her on WWE hoping to catch a nipple slip. It's all documented on FOX's new "comedic reality" show "Anchorwoman," which premiered tonight.

I'd read nothing about "Anchorwoman" before catching the first two eps on FOX, but I knew what I was getting after the first minute or so. It's another fish-out-of-water tale with nothing new to say and only a hint of humor, mostly at the expense of the uber-bubbly Jones who, like Homer Simpson, seems at times unable to have an inner dialogue.

Sure, at least it's a "documentary-style" reality show instead of the "seven people picked to live on a pirate ship" variety, but I don't see it holding anyone's interest after a few eps. I mean, what do viewers really have to look forward to but watching a clueless, monster-boobed party girl alienating her serious co-workers and screwing up the news?

The character I find most interesting on the series isn't Jones, but station owner Hurley. It's pretty fascinating watching such a stiff and unimaginative suit so obsessed with the bottom line and so unconcerned about his staff that he's willing to damage their reputations, sink their morale, and kill his station's credibility with one dumb decision.

Still, I'm not sure how much credibility this station or its employess had in the first place. I might be wrong, but it looks like they hired a dog (yes, the "bow wow wow" kind) to do the weather.

"Anchorwoman" airs Wednesdays on FOX.


Anchorwoman at

Lauren Jones' last job

KYTX 19 (Lauren's current job)

Photo from FOX.