October 24, 2013 |
*** (out of four) Closing out Survival Month at the Movies (“Gravity,” “Captain Phillips,” “12 Years a Slave”), “All is Lost” presents the gravity of being Captain Redford for eight days. No, that isn't the name of the unidentified sailor (Robert Redford) whose boat is violently poked by a shipping container 1,700 nautical miles from the Sumatra Straits. (Of course I knew that was in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Who told you I was awful at geography?) He's everyone - a sole representative for human existence, fighting the odds and seeing that it's not over until it's...
March 4, 2014 |
"'Oysters' is the inviting sign on a basement saloon at the corner of Wabash avenue and Twenty-second street. Mr. George H. Smith is its proprietor. And daily between midnight and cockcrow, there come sounds of revelry there-from bearing testimony to the quality of oysters and the abundance of the cheer. " - From "Oysters and Wine at 2 A. M.," Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec. 4, 1888 With the advent of ice-bearing "refrigerated" train cars rolling in to Chicago in 1852, oysters arrived by the barrel.
February 10, 2013 |
Criticize the Grammys if you must--I do frequently--but it's hard to deny the event remains music's biggest night ... at least when host LL Cool J reminds audiences of that constantly. Still, without an Adele-sized winner, Sunday's show belonged to Justin Timberlake, who didn't disappoint during his much-anticipated performance of the first two tracks from his upcoming "The 20/20 Experience" album. In other talkable news, Mumford and Sons unjustly won Album of the Year (Frank Ocean or Black Keys or Jack White, come on)
June 24, 2013 |
Rapper Jay-Z put his fans to work Saturday, hosting a scavenger hunt through his native New York borough of Brooklyn that resulted in the unveiling of the track list for his 12th album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” According to the website of hip-hop magazine Vibe, fans scoured the city in search of black binders containing the titles of the 13 songs on the new album. Jay-Z will release “Magna Carta Holy Grail” on July 7. There is a special release date for Samsung Galaxy users, through the Jay-Z Magna Carta app, on...
April 19, 2012 |
** (out of four) Nothing articulates the persistence and struggle of life in the jungle more than a chimpanzee's use of a large rock, which inspires narrator Tim Allen to mention “power tools” and grunt like his “Home Improvement” character Tim Taylor. Naturally, this gets a big rise out of the animals, who were all big Jonathan Taylor Thomas fans. That's a joke, of course, as is the increasing trend of Disneynature films (the terrific “Earth,” dull “Oceans” and decent “African Cats”)
August 2, 2012 |
** (out of four) Obvious statement of the day: Dumb criminals are funny. Once the ordinary Joes in “The Babymakers” become dumb criminals - in service of robbing a sperm bank - the movie transforms from a low-impact comedy with too many loose ends into a likably absurd mini-riff on “Ocean's Eleven.” That is, if Danny Ocean was a schlub who was attracted to large melons on the cover of a food magazine and desperately needed to...