Thursday, September 27, 2012

Iron Man 2 and Super 8 Movie Review

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Yes, I know this movie doesn't fit into the "You Gotta See This" type of category that most of the other films I've seen do. Quite frankly, it's on the list because I never saw it before. 

The first Iron Man was a great blockbuster that got the whole Avengers craze off and pretty much resurrected the career of Robert Downey Jr. Downey has become the embodiment of Tony Stark, the multimillionaire, playboy mogul of Stark Enterprises who moonlights as a super hero.

The second installment of the franchise to me felt a bit bland. Downey was great as usual, but the storyline really lacked, and the villain (Mickey Rourke) wasn't very memorable. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was a better character. A glaring and distracting gripe about the film was not having Terrence Howard reprise his role as Lt. Rhodes/War Machine. Although Don Cheadle is a formidable replacement, he didn't seem to fit it. Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) played the Lex Luther type of villain that has no power but rather imposes will.

As you'd expect, the action was superb, the fighting was good too, but the movie just suffered from being boring and kind of all over the place. 

IMDB - 7.1/10
TheSIBandGuy - 2/5

Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 is a really cool movie because it is a throwback to the early Spielberg of the 70s and 80s. Director J.J. Abrams did a fantastic job of capturing the ominous almost whimsical but emotive presence that classics like E.T., Close Encounters, and Jaws have. 

Using predominantly a cast of kids, they play their roles wonderfully as the curious and adventuresome protagonists of the story. The key characters are: Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), Alice Dainard (Elle Fanning), and Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler). 

This is Courtney's first movie and you'd never guess it as he plays the leader of his group of friends. Fanning as is her sister, a great actress. I honestly can't believe how big she's gotten, I thought she was still a little kid, nevertheless, she's going to break out in a big way.

The main plot of the movie is the kids making a zombie film. They each have assigned roles: director, cameraman, makeup, actor, actress, etc. They film their tale with an 8MM camera aka a Super 8, which was a pretty standard home camera to have in the 70s and 80s. 

While filming an important scene of their movie something terrible happens in the background and they get it all on film while being in danger themselves. This kicks off the events of the rest of the movie (NO SPOILERS). This movie is best viewed while being in suspense.

Super 8 has a few small plot holes mixed throughout, but it is nothing major enough to lessen the movie. I'd have to say a lot of people did not enjoy the movie because they were unaware of the context and background of which it was made and were expecting a crazy monster action flick. That's not the case here, it serves to be a fun movie that pays homage to some we already love. Check it out for yourself and see if you can notice any of these similarities. 

IMDB - 7.2
TheSIBandGuy - 4/5

I chose to group these two movies together because they were both supposed to be big summer blockbusters when they hit theaters, and yet failed the hype in certain ways. One was about robots and machines while the other was the "monster" movie. Iron Man 2 failed to deliver the punch of the first one and Super 8 failed to deliver the monster movie people were looking for. However, from a film standpoint, Super 8 was all around a better movie in my opinion.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Playdough New Album, Music Video, and Press Release

Our good friend Playdough is back, and he's releasing a new album, Writer Dye: Deux or Die on October 22nd. Guess what, it'll be free exclusively at Pre-order the album's special package too -

An underground hustler and overall dope lyricist, Playdough's new album is going to be on some "next level" stuff. His new single, "King of Queens" samples two legends of music, the Beastie Boys and Queen. He takes an interesting twist of the famous "Bohemian Rhapsody" and totally flips it hip-hop. Check it out below.

Also, be sure to read up on my previous review and interview of Playdough here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blog Post Number 200!

Hey everyone, I want to thank each and every one of the bands and different artists I've interviewed or wrote about, and most importantly you, the readers for keeping up with my mostly consistent but sometimes not blog. It was just a little while ago I was blogging about my 100th blog, and now here we are at 200.

As always, I promise to provide my readers with good interviews and honest reviews along with a few musings along the way. Bare with me as I branch a little off topic sometimes, I like to write about a variety of things, lately it's been movies.

The blog is continuing to grow into a branch of Broken Records Magazine and more cross features are coming. The brand has been expanding a lot, so good things are on the way. I have a number of contributors as well, Paul Marino, Gerard Ucelli, and James Kingsley.

I've come along way since my little class blog project.

Again, many thanks everyone, please don't hesitate to contact me for interviews, reviews, or just general questions. Follow me on Twitter - @JSarachik_Brmag or like TheSIBandGuy on Facebook - or Youtube -

While you're at it, take a look at my sneak peek of my first studio album.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Requiem for a Dream and Lost in Translation

Requiem for a Dream (2001)

Requiem for a Dream was a movie that I had seen most of before a number of years ago, however, I thought it deserved a proper revisit. 

I wasn't crazy about the move while watching it, but when I looked back and thought about what I saw, the value went up. This movie is another case of raw but realistic acting, and while the plot was an integral part of the movie, the story was really subliminally told by the sites and sounds of the movie. 

The jump cut editing was fantastic in this movie, and made the scenes stand out as an experience rather than a visual. The premise of the movie is the effects of drugs on the lives of four connected people. The main characters: Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), Tyron C. Love (Marlon Waynes) and  Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) all experience something traumatic as their addictions take them to the brink of life. 

Now back to the jump cuts...They were artfully done in the movie. Everytime a drug was taken, a separate drug scene was shown. The hurried pace and noises of this rapid sequence made you feel like you were doing it with them. This clip will best explain what I'm talking about a few seconds in and then perfectly at the 44 second mark: 

My main gripes with the film are that it develops very slowly with the best parts during this time focusing on the mother, Sara. Her decent into schizophrenic madness is impressive work by Burstyn. The other characters shine in the last 20 minutes of the film as they begin to experience the cost of their actions. 

Overall, it's a very dark and slightly disturbing film that shows the dangers of drugs and recklessness. Overrated, maybe, but not really. I can understand why people feel that way. Watch the film with an open mind and pay attention to the detail rather than what's in front of you. 

IMDB - 8.4/10
TheSIBandGuy - 3.8/5

Lost in Translation (2003)

Having no idea what this movie was about except for the famous opening scene, I was pleasantly surprised. The entire movie is an extremely slow moving look into the lives of two completely opposite yet similar people. The stars of the film: an old sort of washed up actor, Bob Harris (Bill Murray), and a too young, bored married wife of a traveling photographer, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), share a weird friendly romance while stuck in Japan.

Bob is in Japan to shoot commercials for a whiskey company while Charlotte is their with her "barely their" husband. Confined to sit around in her hotel room in a foreign country all day, she begins to venture into the hotel and runs into the unhappily married and terribly sick of the mundane actor Bob Harris.

After a number of small run-ins, they begin to hang out and go on a few nightlong adventures (never sexually implied) throughout Japan. When the time comes for Charlotte to return home, the departure is harder than anticipated.

The movie broaches the subject of emotional cheating, and relationship issues between young and old, did Bob take advantage of a lonely Charlotte? Interesting dynamics to digest in such a simple and straightforward movie. Sofia Coppola directed a movie as far from the spectrum of her famous father as you can think, and it worked. 

Overall a wonderful film that highlights the art of a strong dialogue and emotions. This movie is not for everyone, but if you are curious to see Bill Murray do something besides comedy, this is his opus. Johansson is also great as she was just getting into her own as an actress.

IMDB - 7.8/10
TheSIBandGuy - 3.7/5

I chose to group these two movies together because they deal with people who have no sense of identity. In Requiem, they use drugs to place themselves in a world devoid of responsibility and reality. In Lost in Translation, they use a "forbidden" romance to quell their own desires and escape their seemingly miserable situations.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Link Drop - Four Nights Gone, Eric D'Alessandro, Katie Fasulo and More!

Four Nights Gone
Four Nights Gone is diligently working on their album, and for their fans waiting, here's a sneak peak...

Here's their new single, "The Scars Remain."

Local hardcore, Heroes, just released their first full length album, Compassion. Check it out!

Katie Fasulo
Katie is very talented good friend of mine. Please subscribe to her Youtube channel and help her out! Here's her latest untitled song.

Eric D'Alessandro
Everyone's favorite funny man/rapper is back with his now weekly "Eric Show." Check out his last two episodes!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Donnie Darko and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

Donnie Darko (2001)

I had no expectations of what Donnie Darko was coming into the film. The only thing I knew was that it is commonly regarded as a great film. With that being said, I was a little disappointed that the movie didn't give me much of a reaction after watching it. I was sort of just "blah" with it.

The best part of Donnie Darko was the low budget, raw feeling of the film. The actual shooting style is more narrative as it feels like you are living through the day with the characters. Donnie is played by a young Jake Gyllenhaal and because of his age, his acting seems unpolished but it works for the role to provide the awkwardness of his character.

His sister, is played by his real one, Maggie. Their table bickering becomes more believable and obviously their resemblance adds to the validity of the family. Another key character is Gretchen Ross played by Jena Malone, who is Donnie's love interest and the big piece of the puzzle at the end. Patrick Swayze plays the role of a guru self-help doctor who feeds propaganda to all those around him. Donnie's interactions with him are some of the more priceless points of the movie.

Without giving away too many details, the movie becomes rather bizarre as Donnie tries to deal with an imaginary friend who tells him to do bad things. The sequence of events in the movie play out in cause and effect scenarios. Every action has a reaction, and because this the final scene of the movie is a bit of a shocker. The plot twists through different times periods in the story.

Overall, as I said, I'm kind of apathetic toward the movie. I can't decide if it was a small masterpiece in storytelling or just an overhyped movie. What do you all think?

IMDB - 8.2/10
TheSIBandGuy - 2.9/5

That leads me to...

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004)

I found this story to be much more involved and of higher concept. The main character, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey), and his eccentric lover, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), become involved through a chain of random events. They are drawn to each other because of their own personal problems, Joel is a socially awkward pseudo recluse while Clem, is an erratic and compulsive alcoholic.

Using their new found relationship as a way to deal with their own problems, they eventually develop new ones with each other. In an effort to rid themselves of each other they try an experimental treatment that alters their minds...I'll leave it at that.

The audience is then taken through the recesses's of Joel's mind in an effort to find Clementine. It is here that we see Joel in real life, Joel in his mind, and Joel conscious of himself in his head, in other words, three parallel universes of sorts.

The viewer really has to pay attention as the story advances back and fourth between the three Joel's. At certain points it becomes disorienting because you don't know which is which. The movie hits deep, and makes you wonder how fate works. It also in a way tackles the age old question of: "Is it better to have loved and lost than not have loved at all?"

Yet again this movie sort of open ended, leaving the viewer to interpret which Joel they are watching. The cast is excellent, the dialogue and story are great, and the intense dream like sequences make for a psychological drama.

IMDB - 8.4
TheSIBandGuy - 4.4/5

To tie the two movies together, obviously Eternal Sunshine was a better film in my opinion. I thought Jim Carrey really stepped out of the comedy realm and put his head to something serious, and it worked. The cast and director were more experienced and the budget was bigger. With that being said Donnie Darko worked on a small scale and really utilized what they had. I'd recommend DD as a one time watch, and Eternal Sunshine as a borderline classic.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Friction Division Interview by James Kingsley

By James Kingsley, guest Blogger

Staten Island’s Own Friction Division Brings the Funk to the Island.

Staten Island hosts many local bands such as Dead Men Dreaming, Dark Aura and Process of Fusion. Recently, the Island has welcomed Friction Division, a band that combines funk and rock.

Friction Division started in 2008 consisting of only three permanent members as they had a revolving door of drummers until earlier this summer. As of July 2011, Frank Delegro took over the position and has began to play shows with the band.

“At the first show I couldn’t stop sweating. I was so scared. The second show I felt a lot more comfortable. It’s a cool feeling to know that the audience really likes the music you play for them, I can’t explain it in words how that feels,” explained drummer Delegro.

The members of Friction Division hope to a change the feelings of those that listen to music in today’s world. They strive to change people’s mindset about music or at the very least open their mind to more music out there.

“Our music changes every song we make. One minute were writing a heavy song that makes you want to punch the guy next to you, next minute were writing a funky rock song that makes you want to dance, our music is already changing but I hope it will change people’s minds on rock music,” Delegro explained.

The band has been influenced by a variety of artists and genres.

Lead guitarist Mike Alexander explains, “We all are influenced by different things. Joe is greatly influenced by funk music. Huston likes a lot of alternative stuff and a lot of acoustic singer/songwriters.”

As for Alexander, he prefers heavy rock. “Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains and Zakk Wylde were huge influences on me growing up… those two alone were also very diverse and they showed me that you can also be sensitive as a guitarist and as a songwriter.”

Individually, the band members have their own goals and their own opinions on the future goals of the band. They do however share a common goal of getting a record deal.

“Our current goal is to slowly record an EP. When I mean slowly I mean we'll do one song at a time and post them individually online as a means to get us gigs at better clubs throughout NYC and perhaps other spots too,” Alexander said.

Friction Division play cover songs and also have some of their own hits such as "Take Me Away," "Grasp," "Highway" and "Not Yet." They plan to continue touring and sharing their unique sound.

“I would say that Friction Division is definitely a melting pot of everybody's musical interests and they just happen to blend in a way that I've never experienced in over the last 14 years I've been playing in bands.”


Monday, September 10, 2012

Movie List - My New Project

Here's something a little different than normal. So as some of you know another passion of mine is movies. I was a film minor in college, and haven't really used it for anything besides the occasional editing here and there. I spend a lot of time on IMDB looking up movies and critiquing everything I watch.

Last week I read IMDB's list for 500 movies you should see before you die, and created a list of movies I've either never seen or haven't seen the whole thing. The movies cover a variety of genres and encompass almost all eras of film. I'm going to attempt to blog about every movie I watch, and add more along the way. If you have suggestions for movies I should look into, let me know!

Below is the first list. Everything in bold I have watched since starting this project.

Pulp Fiction
The Boondock Saints
There Will Be Blood
Reservoir Dogs
Apocalypse Now
Death Proof
A Streetcar Named Desire
Training Day
Lost in Translation
Gran Torino
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
The City of Lost Children
Planet Terror
Battle Royale
Battle Royale 2
Gangs of New York
Full Metal Jacket
No Country for Old Men
American History X
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Iron Man 2
City of God
Super 8
On the Waterfront
Requiem for a Dream
Schindler's List
A Beautiful Mind
Godfather 2
Godfather 3
Carlito's Way
The Quiet Earth
Another Earth
The Untouchables
The Machinist
Fear and Loathing
The Green Mile
Pursuit of Happiness
The Aviator
3:10 to Yuma
Benjamin Button
The Fighter
He Got Game
The Road
The Cube
The Usual Suspects
The Great Dictator
27 Hours
The Natural
The Lost Boys
Amores Perros
Minority Report
Radio Days
Black Rain
Malcolm X
Do the Right Thing
Mo Betta Blues
Deliver Us From Evil