audio review : Jungle Fever [ Music From The Movie ] ( album ) … Stevie Wonder

audio review : Jungle Fever [ Music From The Movie ] ( album ) ... Stevie Wonder

Songs From The Movie would be a better subtitle as Stevie Wonder not only provides the music to Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever but also the vocals. This is, in effect, a Stevie Wonder album. That it’s also presented as the official soundtrack to the movie, which it also is, undermines that fact. The singer should’ve let the director have the title track, which is the worst song anyway, and save the others for himself. A new Stevie Wonder album with no connection to a movie would make more sense, especially considering it’s been four years since his previous one.

Characters doesn’t sound this damn good though. From the very first song, a summer bop entitled Fun Day, Stevie Wonder parades his knack for composing wonderful vocal melodies. The one not-so-obvious drawback is that the verses sometimes outshine the hooks; Queen In The Black is probably the best example; when it should be the other way around. If She Breaks Your Heart, the lead vocals of which are actually provided by Kimberly Brewer; Stevie Wonder is no homo; gets it right though. Make Sure You’re Sure, a romantic jazz ballad, is gorgeous.

my rating = 4 of 5

1991

audio review : Only Dimes ( song ) … G-Eazy + Too Short ( featuring The-Dream )

The title would be better without the word “Only”. Dimes is a perfectly suitable title for a song about the fact that you only fuck with dimes. That means The-Dream, G-Eazy and Too Short, don’t get into sexual or romantic relationships with girls who score less than a ten out of ten on the scale of beauty.

At least that’s the concept. The music is pretty too. But the chorus, performed by The-Dream, should be replaced by the one he sings just once at the end. That and a do-over of Too Short’s verse, which is flawed by an awkward edit after the twelfth bar, is all it would take to make this a good song.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

audio review : The Pimp Tape ( album ) ... Too Short

audio review : The Pimp Tape ( album ) … Too Short

audio review : The Pimp Tape ( album ) ... Too Short

Too Short’s Sex Tape, released just a few months ago, was a pleasant surprise. It’s his first good album in a long time. The Pimp Tape, the title of which has been promoted for about the last two years; the rapper says he’s been in the game for only thirty, so who knows how old these songs are; is a step back down to mediocrity.

Trophies is included on both albums; it should be limited to this one since it’s not about Sex; and it’s one of the best songs. Most of the others sound like mixtape filler due to lackadaisical beats and hooks. I like the theme though. Glorifying the pimping of “bitches” is a much-needed slap in the face of modern feminism.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

audio review : A Breukelen Story ( album ) … Masta Ace + Marco Polo

audio review : A Breukelen Story ( album ) ... Masta Ace + Marco Polo

I’d say this isn’t a Marco Polo album any more than The Falling Season is a Kic Beats album; Ace senselessly credits one and not the other; but Polo isn’t just the sole beatmaker here. He’s also the main character. This Story is, in other words, about Marco Polo in the same way The Falling Season is about Masta Ace. But Polo doesn’t rap, so Ace shouts him out every once in a while.

If that seems silly and confusing, it is. Masta Ace has long been fixated on odd concept albums pervaded with narrative skits that have little to no replay value. A Breukelen Story is no exception. The best parts are the beats and rhymes; Ace and Polo are skilled in their fields; but not necessarily the songs themselves. Kings and God Bodies are good, but most falter at the breaks.

my rating = 3 of 5

2018

video review : 9-11

video review : 9-11

This is the story of five people stuck on an elevator in The North Tower of New York City’s World Trade Center. It’s a mundane concept made captivating because it happens to occur on “9-11”, but the execution is somewhat of a letdown.

Famous people playing strangers is par for the course. Charlie Sheen leads as a billionaire going thru divorce. What isn’t so forgivable is the script, which, despite some poignancy, never really stops feeling like a Hollywood movie.

my rating = 3 of 5

2017

video review : Nancy

video review : Nancy

Nancy is a woman who, after watching a news report about a Girl Still Missing After 30 Years, makes contact with the parents to say she might be their long-lost daughter. The mother invites her into their home, even going as far as to refer to the daughter as “you”, as they await the results of a DNA test.

That last bit is the one thing this tedious tale has going for it. The wait brings with it a certain level of anticipation. Is she their kidnapped daughter or not? That’s the big question. Once the answer is revealed, a little too early and anticlimactically, the story has nothing interesting to do with its protagonist.

my rating = 2 of 5

2018

video review : Halloween

video review : Halloween

This is just what the world needed; another Halloween backtrack. I say that sarcastically, of course, as it’s gotten absurd how many times previous narratives are flatly ignored in favor of new ones. They’re all based around a town in Illinois called Haddonfield and this one, the third simply titled Halloween, plays not as a remake but a direct sequel to the 1978 original. It continues the tradition of being set in real time though, so it’s forty years later.

That means Michael Myers is old. The gray hair on his balding head is shown within the first few minutes, which not only makes him less scary but stretches the believability of a plot that has him overpowering younger men and women without throwing out his back. If he’s inhuman, as the bullets he endures suggests, why does he age and breathe like one? There I go trying to apply logic to a cohort of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger.

Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode; she returns every twenty years; but it’s all in vain. This sequel is basically H20 2.0 as it builds to a final showdown between the gun-toting Laurie and her knife-wielding nemesis. It’s Grandpa versus Grandma, except Grandma has the help of her daughter and granddaughter. Rob Zombie’s Halloween remains the best and only good movie in a series that should’ve ended long before even that movie was made.

my rating = 2 of 5

2018

video review : Halloween

video review : Halloween 2

video review : Halloween 2

This sequel isn’t a remake of the sequel to the Halloween the Halloween this is a sequel to is a remake of. It’s a new story. And if you’re confused, ghostly white horses will only make matters worse. Rob Zombie outdid John Carpenter with the liberties he took in 1, but he goes too far here. The first twenty-something minutes are a thrill, then a flashforth happens and Halloween is over.

At least that’s how it feels between kills. Those are the best parts. Laurie Strode and her PTSD are far less interesting, along with Samuel Loomis and his book. Even The Bogeyman himself is a bore; wandering around unmasked with a hood and beard, seeing visions of his mother and that damn white horse; when he isn’t severing a security guard’s spine or bashing a stripper’s face in.

my rating = 3 of 5

2009

video review : Halloween

video review : Halloween

video review : Halloween

The Halloween series resets itself again, this time all the way back to the 1978 original. It’s a remake by Rob Zombie and easily the best movie in the franchise. That’s mostly due to the liberties it takes with the plot, a third of which focuses, close-up and shaky, on “Mikey” as a psychopathic child.

Character backstories are usually best left untold, or at least kept to a minimum, especially the enigmatic Bogeyman type, but the case study of Michael Myers, led by Malcolm McDowell as doctor Samuel Loomis, lends a layer of poignancy to the later kill scenes. It also explains why he wears the mask.

my rating = 4 of 5

2007

audio review : Confessions On A Dance Floor ( album ) … Madonna

audio review : Confessions On A Dance Floor ( album ) ... Madonna

Madonna skips church for a more familiar place to make her Confessions. These 12 songs, played in a continous mix as if they were the setlist at the local disco, are for the Dance Floor. Stuart Price is the DJ and his music is brilliant. The problem is that it outshines the star.

“You can love me or leave me,” she sings under the mirrorball, “I’m never gonna stop.” She should’ve stopped, at least for this album. Her middling melodies do little more than drag the quality down. Confessions would be better as an instrumental, in other words, without Madonna.

Her New York City dedication reads like elementary school poetry. “I like New York,” it goes, “Other places make me feel like a dork.” What better place for such Earth-shattering confessions than the dance floor, where lyrics/vocals take a back step to the rhythm of the beat.

my rating = 3 of 5

2005

video review : Halloween : Resurrection

video review : Halloween : Resurrection

If you’re wondering how Michael Myers is resurrected after having his head chopped off, stop. You’re being logical and the Halloween world, which revolves around a town called Haddonfield, is anything but. The secret to sort of enjoying this episode, which, along with H20, make the third pair that go together in the series, is to embrace its ridiculousness.

Resurrection is directed by Rick Rosenthal, the guy who directed Halloween 2, but you wouldn’t know it. Halloween 8 is a virtual comedy, a virtual parody, starring another rapper. First it was LL Cool J. Now Busta Rhymes basically plays Busta Rhymes. Other characters star on his live internet broadcast entitled Dangertainment. This movie should be a shitshow. It isn’t.

It’s not good by any reasonable stretch of the imagination, but it’s also not bad and not being bad is somewhat of a rarity for the Halloween series. The “continual” orchestral music is overdramatic and annoying, along with Michael’s signature breathing, but there’s enough happening plotwise; the internet bit is actually well utilized; to keep you somewhat entertained.

my rating = 3 of 5

2002

video review : Halloween
video review : Halloween 2
video review : Halloween : H20 [ 20 Years Later ]

video review : Halloween : H20 [ 20 Years Later ]

video review : Halloween : H20 [ 20 Years Later ]

Taking a cue from her brother, Laurie from the original Halloween of 1978 is back. She faked her death, she says in a plot reveal made unnecessary since this seemingly final episode, number 7, seems to ignore every other one after 2. That means daughter Jamie apparently never existed. However, Laurie does have a son. He’s 17 and attends the California boarding school she works at.

How an infamous murderer who wears a mask and doesn’t speak travels from Illinois to California undetected is anyone’s guess, but these movies never make sense in regard to Michael Myers. It’s all about the thrill of the kill. That leads to an epic (nostalgic) showdown between he and Laurie. None of the Halloween movies are good, but this one, while bad, might be the best since the first two.

my rating = 2 of 5

1998

video review : Halloween
video review : Halloween 2