Gargoyle guide to the week in entertainment, Feb. 12 - 18
Gargoyle staff reporter & senior editor
Posted Monday, Feb. 12, 2007, The OG, arts
[Feb. 13 UPDATE: We've added more links and more of “Jono's Picks.”]
EACH WEEK WE'LL look ahead to the next releases in entertainment, from movies opening in C-U to DVDs and CDs hitting the stores. Plus we'll give you the heads-up on the best local concerts and performances scheduled for the coming week.
MOVIES OPENING IN C-U THIS WEEK
“Breach” (official site)
From the director of “Shattered Glass,” a 2003 film about deception in journalism, comes “Breach” — the story of how FBI agent Robert Hanssen was uncovered as a spy for the Soviet Union and its successor, the Russian Federation. The film stars Ryan Phillippe as Eric O'Neill, the young agent who gains Hanssen's trust, and Chris Cooper as Hanssen.
Opens Friday at the Beverly 18 and Savoy 16.
“Daddy's Little Girls” (official site)
In writer-director Tyler Perry's latest film, Idris Elba (HBO's “The Wire”) plays a garage mechanic named Monty, a single father who raises three young daughters. When a court gives custody of the girls to his drug-dealing ex-wife, Monty seeks the help of an Ivy League-educated lawyer, Julia (Gabrielle Union). Soon a romance develops. They must bridge their very different backgrounds while also restoring Monty's life with his daughters.
Opens Wednesday at the Beverly 18 and Savoy 16.
“Bridge to Terabithia” (official site)
This is the Disney adaptation of the Newbery Medal-winning fantasy novel “Bridge to Terabithia.” It follows two children who create their own fantasy world in which they rule as king and queen. With the producers of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” and the special effects experts responsible for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, this film should be an excellent addition to the original novel.
Opens Friday at the Beverly 18 and Savoy 16.
Erin's Pick: “Breach.” I'm not going to lie. My No. 1 reason for making this my pick: Ryan Phillippe. Aside from that, though, this movie does look pretty interesting (especially since it's based on a true story). Intricate webs of lies, espionage, and suspense are all appealing elements of “Breach” that will likely make it engaging, if nothing else.
Jono's Pick: “Breach.” Although I'm not so driven by Ryan Phillippe, I'm with Erin on choosing this movie. It's been awhile since I've seen a good, stimulating thriller (aside from watching snippets of old Harrison Ford films on USA and TNT), and “Breach” definitely looks promising. What's more, “Shattered Glass” was a great film, so I definitely have confidence in the director to put together a good piece.
NEW CD RELEASES (in stores Tuesday, Feb. 13)
Keak Da Sneak / P.S.D. Tha Drivah / Messy Marv, “Da Bidness”
Two major Bay Area record companies (Thizz Entertainment and SMC Recordings) have come together to bring you one super-record. “Da Bidness” will feature guest appearances from E-40 and others as well as production by several Bay Area giants such as Droop-E. For those into the hyphy scene: Look out for this record, dropping on “Valen-thizz Day.”
The Papercuts, “Can't Go Back”
The Papercuts continue to carry their indie-folk-rock sound with their new release, maintaining a slightly airy feel due to the echoing quality of their vocals. However, this “air” feels somewhat stale, as though contained within some sort of bubble. Overall, this effect is indicative of the band's limited scope. The Papercuts have a gaping hole in their music; they have not yet presented a well-rounded, fully respectable sound. “Can't Go Back,” however, may be a step closer to the musical promised land, and will be available on 12-inch vinyl as well as on CD.
The SoftLightes, “Say No To Being Cool, Say Yes To Being Happy”
Claiming an incredibly eclectic list of influences (from Jimi Hendrix, Yo La Tengo, and Sesame Street to Roxy Music, Public Enemy, and Duran Duran), indie band SoftLightes are ready to unveil their debut full-length album. They present an unbelievably upbeat and bright tone, and, as the title of the record implies, will likely improve the mood of most listeners.
Erin's Pick: The SoftLightes, “Say No To Being Cool, Say Yes To Being Happy.” I know, I know. I'm starting to look pretty predictable, I'm sure. But trust me, I had a difficult time deciding between “Say No, Say Yes” and “Da Bidness.” The Valen-thizz Day release looks fascinating, and the sample tracks I listened to were really solid (although I somehow doubt that all 18 tracks on that record could possibly be up to par). However, hyphy (as well as almost all other music in the world) is somewhat angry, somewhat angsty, and something of a constant source of thrall, keeping me bound to the earth. The SoftLightes' ditties, however, instantly lift me up and toss me into the sky. And not too high, mind you. Just high enough to embark on a flight of fancy, dancing on rooftops. This is not to say that I'm banking on zero negativity or cynicism from them. I'm sure they can't be 100 percent positive 100 percent of the time. This is to say, however, that the SoftLightes record will contain bouncy piano melodies, adorable, wobbly vocals, and cute, poppy electronic touches layered over simple-but-pleasant acoustic guitars. As I said to a friend yesterday, “Happiness is good.” It's as simple as that.
Jono's Pick: Exile on Main Street's used CD bin. It's nothing against what I tend to refer to as “mainstream” indie pop, or even groups that replace “th” with a “d” in “the,” but nothing really appeals to me this week. Last week had a bunch of good releases, so there are definitely leftovers I could pick up from there, but this week was surprisingly dull for me. Really, if I had to choose any one CD, it'd be the two-disc release of “The Who: Live at Leeds,” or maybe “Exile on Main St.” by the Rolling Stones — after all, I've had a dream of buying an original vinyl of it at Exile for over a year. But I digress, so to get back to the point, I'm not feeling so certain about anything coming out this week, and if I buy anything, it'll be some good ol' classic rock, and none of that racket you crazy kids listen to these days.
NEW DVD RELEASES (in stores Tuesday, Feb. 13)
“The Departed” (official site)
One of the biggest films of 2006, “The Departed” is up for five Academy Awards, including best director and best picture (no wonder; it's directed by Martin Scorsese, one of the greatest filmmakers never to have won an Oscar). It is a crime thriller, which follows undercover police and their dealings with the Irish mob in Boston. With an all-star cast (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and the Oscar-nominated Mark Wahlberg), and plenty of action and sex, this movie has something for everybody.
“F—k” (no direct link from here, but the address is http://www.fourletterfilm.com/)
As you might have guessed, “F—k” is a lively documentary whose point is to shed light on the history, usage, and constitutionality of that glorious, ubiquitous, and versatile four-letter word that we all know and love (or maybe not so much?). This DVD features interviews with the likes of Drew Carey, Ice-T, and Alanis Morissette, and promises to be entertaining, especially for pottymouthed teenagers (and proponents of free speech).
“Marie Antoinette” (official site”)
Yay, another one up for the Oscars. This one's in the running for best
costume design. Go figure: It is a story about the extreme decadence of the royalty that drove France to its radical and bloody revolution; it would follow that gaudy visual spectacle is a guarantee. Kirsten Dunst stars in the title role. Dunst teams up again with director Sofia Coppola; they worked together in 1999's “The Virgin Suicides.” Coppola's cousin, Jason Schwartzman, stars as Louis XVI. With regard to the special features, the “Cribs featurette with Louis XVI” sounds thoroughly amusing. I'd love to see “Louis” try to justify Versailles.
Erin's Pick: “The Departed.” My brother is a huge Scorsese fan, so I've been exposed to some of his work over the years (“Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “Gangs of New York”), and I know what a great director he is. I really would like to see this film, considering it is up for best picture. Also, I haven't seen a good crime movie in a while, so this DVD could be quite refreshing for me.
Jono's Pick: “Marie Antoinette.” I've got three names for you here:
1) Sofia Coppola, 2) Jason Schwartzman, 3) Kirsten Dunst. And now, an explanation! Sofia Coppola is an amazing writer-director. Her last major work, “Lost in Translation,” instantly made it on my top 10 favorite movies of all time — she knows how to make a film into a work of art. What's more, in “Marie Antoinette,” she's working with an equally talented group of actors. Schwartzman is probably best known for his performance in the 1998 film “Rushmore,” but he's been in popular flicks since, including “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” (I'm sorry, I liked it). Dunst isn't exactly lacking as an actress either. She's definitely had her share of experience — it seems as though she's been in everything from “Spider-Man” to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” She's awesome. And so it's no surprise I'd pick this film, because regardless of its content, it can't be bad. It's physically impossible. Buy it.
LOCAL SHOWS & CONCERTS
Thursday, Feb. 15: Sam Vicari, Triple Whip, Watery Domestic, and Coco Coca, 8 p.m., Illini Union Courtyard Café, $3. While this is kind of a repeat of last week's show at The Iron Post, it will also offer some crucial variation. Triple Whip offer a prog-rock vibe, centering their sound on their strong rhythm instrumentation, and Watery Domestic produce a mellow, spacious, indie-rock sound.
Saturday, Feb. 17: Tally Hall, 8:30 p.m., Courtyard Café, $5 students/$7 public. Tally Hall, a popular indie band from Michigan, is bringing their back-to-basics pop to Champaign. They will be at SXSW (South by Southwest, a prominent music festival in Austin, Texas) in mid-March, performing alongside a virtual tsunami of indie/alternative bands from around the world. It will be tough to get noticed among all the talent boiling over at SXSW, but Tally Hall are certainly representing themselves among the best, and it's lucky for us that they're stopping here to give us a prefestival listen.
Sunday, Feb. 18: Triple Whip, Nonagon, Ryan Groff, 7 p.m., The Iron Post, $3.50. Triple Whip appear to be quite busy in C-U this week. Chicago rock group Nonagon will join in the fun, and Ryan Groff (the endearingly sweet, amazingly clear lead singer of the Charleston band Elsinore) will perform solo.
Erin's Pick: Tally Hall at Courtyard Café. I feel bad that I can't see Ryan Groff, but there's no way I'm going to be able to go to a concert on a Sunday evening. I met him in August and promised him that I'd see a show, and I still have yet to do it (although I own Elsinore's 2006 release “Nothing for Design,” and it is truly a local gem). In terms of seeing Tally Hall, however, my reasons lie within their SXSW plans. I wish so badly that I could be in Austin to see the festival. This year's lineup will feature a slew international bands, such as A Band of Bees (UK), Panda (one of my Mexican favorites), and Navruz (Uzbekistan), as well as hoards of national ones, several of which were featured in Champaign-Urbana's 2006 Pygmalion Music Festival (e.g. Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, The Weird Weeds). Since most of us probably won't be attending the festival, it will be exciting to get a taste of the talent. (NOTE: Margot & the Nuclear So and So's will also play in Champaign-Urbana before SXSW, so look out for that announcement in our weekly updates.)
Through March 2: “Melodramas of Consumption.” Chicago artist Brian Ulrich has created a photo exhibit revealing and questioning the effects of consumerism and commercialism on our daily lives, our economy, our politics, and our culture. On display at the Humanities Lecture Hall, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.