Punk Rock


Richard Hell: “Time” – Great and good music. “Betrayal Takes Two” is great singing and nice guitar work from whoever that is plucking away. I read a lot about Hell in “From The Velvets to the Voidoids,” so it’s good to dig up this old double CD my friend Chris Daniels gave me ages ago but I never listened to carefully. This song, at least, gets five stores in my iTunes. Very poncy, grandiose, ’50-sounding. Lots of off-tune singing, but some passion that is kind oflike funky old songsmithing from some old blues guy. Full, well-crafted songs from one of the funniest-looking guys in punk. “I Can Only Give You Everything” is good old punchy moaning and groaning with good old Lou Reed structures and loud guitar solos, Hell also sounds at times a bit like Joey Ramone singing for the Jeff Healy band.


Grails: “Burning Off Impurities” – Ethnic instrumental music, very moody. Spooky. Not much to write home (or on the blog) about, though.  I’d rather hear Pelican.
Movie Reviews:


Ratatouille – I wondered why Pixar picked this as a title for their new movie, considering that it’s a French dish and you need to educate people how to pronounce it on the movie poster itself, but by the time you’ve seen the movie to the end it becomes apparent why it could not be called anything else. Pixar seems to have been making kids movies that adults can enjoy, but this seems to me to be the first time they’ve made an adult movie that kids can enjoy. I was a bit sceptical about this film at first, since the trailers didn’t make it look very interesting – sort of ho-hum like Flushed Away or something – but the reviews were all so glowing (the Rotten Tomatoes critics poll gave it a 96 percent approval) that I had to see it. And it really lived up to those reviews. The film is about a rat that wants to cook, and while the UB40 song “Rat in the Kitchen” is never used, the idea of rats being icky creatures to be banished from the kitchen is a sqeamish thought that’s… never really addressed here.  It kind of makes me think of an essay I read in Esquire in the mid-80s about the 50 most influential people of the 20th century (so far).  One of them was Walt Disney, and the hypothesis of the essay is that Disney could take a story like Franz Kafka’s the Metamorphosis and turn it into a song and dance with a cute cockroach and melt everyone’s hearts (which they tried to do with “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”). Well, Disney put clothes on a rat and called him Mickey, but Pixar put a real, raw rat in the kitchen and asked us to be happy that he’s handling the foodstuffs without a proper de-lousing.  Well, Disney was never as bold, but Pixar has taken the step that that Esquire article warned us about.  Hilarious.  As good as Pixar is, it has gotten a bit derivative recently – the Incredibles, as good as the film was, ripped off both the Watchmen (plot) and the Fantastic Four (powers, villain).  Cars was a rehash of “Doc Hollywood,” but with automobiles.  But Ratatouille is something different.  There are bizarre non-sequitars: where are the female rats in all this, why not show more of Remy’s childhood to understand how he became so interested in cooking rather than introduce him as if he were a character in “Trainspotting,” and Linguini’s abrupt romance is a bit difficult to understand.  But never mind, the story of the little restaurant that could… then couldn’t… then could again is quite a lot of fun.  Sure there’s that icky part where the friends’ conflicting emotions cause them to momentarily betray each other (every movie needs its movie cliche), but the way the ending is wrapped up is quite impressive.  I don’t remember the last time an animated movie about rats that cook brought a tear to my eye either.

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