I took in quite a bit of media this weekend.
On Saturday, I downloaded the first Alter Bridge album, One Day Remains.
I enjoyed it quite a bit. In my previous post about their second album, Blackbird, I had spoken about how I had felt, when first exposed to a few tracks from this record, that it sounded like Creed with a better singer. I can't say that's not true, because it is Creed with a better singer. However, I have really grown to be a big fan of Blackbird, and I figured I should give the first album another shot.
It's another solid hard rock album, driven by excellent musicianship, and great vocals. Tracks 2 and 3, One Day Remains and Open Your Eyes, are a really solid 1-2 punch. Heavy and catchy, with a real sense of melody. You can pretty much say that about the whole album.
I dig it.
Then on Sunday, we had to make a Target run. I got some jeans, a shirt, yadda yadda...
Swung by the electronics department and saw this:
Yep, The Black Crowes have re-recorded a bunch of tracks in a more acoustic-driven style, and called the result Croweology. This album is awesome. The tracks are well recorded and very lively. There's a real sense of getting something new and interesting, which is a real danger on projects like this. Chris Robinson sounds fantastic on these numbers, and the whole band seems elevated by the "retro" concept. It's just great stuff. I think it's the best album I've heard this year, but I've had it just a little over 24 hours, so I reserve the right to change my mind.
It's still one of the best, for sure.
After errands and such, Colene and I went to the movies, seeing (and paying for) two films.
The Kids Are All Right
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful movie.
A snapshot of a modern family life. Funny and touching in equal turns with great performances all around. I'm a big Mark Ruffalo fan, and his turn here as Paul is the sort of great, honest work he's known for. Really, the heart of the film is Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as Nic and Jules, a long-term lesbian couple, who happened to use Paul's deposit at a sperm bank to bear two, now teen aged, children.
The plot gets rolling when the kids, Joni and Laser, decide they want to find their biological father. Paul's entrance into this family ends up revealing not only the fissures in their relationships, but also changes him. It sounds very Lifetime movie, but it's so very well done. I was especially happy that Paul is not presented as a total loser, which the trailers kind of edged toward. He's a businessman, albeit a non-traditional one. Also, it's nice to see Nic and Jules dealing with the same sorts of "traditional spouse role" problems that plague heterosexual couples.
It's a movie with lots to say about family values, and traditional roles, and gender politics. The joy is that those things are part and parcel of the story being told, rather than something the movie stops for speechifying about.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Ahh, Scott Pilgrim.
First off, the film is pretty freakin' entertaining, and, if you grew up playing Nintendo-era video games, there's enough Easter Egg material to choke a goat. Fun stuff, and the cast is across the board fine. Yeah, Michael Cera is a bit to passive for the Scott Pilgrim from the comics, but I accepted him as the movie Scott just fine.
My problem is with the sheer density of the material, this film encompasses all 6 graphic novels. Literally hundreds of pages of material, and it clocks in at under 2 hours. I understand the hyperkenetic style of the piece was intentional, but I repeatedly found myself wishing everything could slow down for a second. The books are filled with many wonderful, quiet moments, and the film just sorta blasts them to smithereens.
Of course, that's playing the "the book was better" card, which is hardly fair to anyone. The movie can't be the book, and if it tries to be too hard you end up with Watchmen. Something that looks great, you know was painstakingly crafted, and feels pretty inert. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World never, ever feels inert. It blasts through it's running time, and you come out the other side with a bit of a silly grin. Really, for a summer evening at the movies, that's a pretty great thing.