New Oz: The Great And Powerful Trailer looks suitably epic

It’s going to be very strange watching Oz: The Great and Powerful after reading Wicked. You may recall that, in Gregory Maguire’s novel set in L Frank Baum’s universe, The Wizard was the bad guy who tricked Dorothy into offing his political rival, “The Witch of the West”. He’s still pretty dubious in this one, but less overtly, um, wicked. Sam Raimi directs, so we should be in for a visual treat, and the trailer certainly hints at the expected rip-roaring rollercoastery stuff. It’s a Disney film, which will rein in Raimi’s habit of grossing out the the audience, though I’m sure he’ll have plenty of opportunities to “punish” his cast. Continue reading

Songs for Halloween: The Nightmare Before Christmas (covers)

Brian Hugh Warner has made an awfully big career for someone with slightly less talent than Madonna. Still, he does at least have a distinctive voice, which is generally put to best use as a kind of reverse Rockabye Baby – making pleasingly unpleasant versions of popular tunes. Marilyn Manson’s version of Gary Numan’s Down In The Park was fun, and his I Put A Spell On You worked in the context of a David Lynch soundtrack. So surely a Danny Elfman cover should be a no-brainer, right?

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Where did all the catchy tunes go?

At the video game forum where I hang out, someone linked to a rather stupid article from 2001 called “Where did all the catchy tunes go?”, in which Steve Sailer claims that – well – things ain’t what they used to be. I could have ignored it, could have walked away, but I thought there was a defence to be made for modern pop. I know this because I’ve been there: saying that there aren’t great songs out there only proves that you haven’t been paying attention.
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The Kingdom

Though it’s shot in a very dry, almost documentary-style fashion, we shouldn’t assume that The Kingdom is realistic. It is, after all, a film where our heroes’ bullets can penetrate walls but a thin car door can easily shield the good guys. Inevitably, this film loosely inspired by real events in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was criticised by its pat view of Middle Eastern current affairs, which is a silly view given that most people don’t understand the politics of their own country, let alone anybody else’s.

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