Quest for Fire, 1981 – ★★★★ [Movie Log]

Much like a human being, what begins as somewhat hokey—like a poor imitation of the beginning to 2001, complete with the occasional wink from a fanfaring score—ends up being charming, intelligent (if rather loose with the science), warm, and remarkably funny, celebrating the complexity of experience both good and bad that makes us human, even at our most historically rudimentary. Regardless the necessary limitations of the effectively wordless screenplay, the corny prosthetics and makeup, or the narratively convenient anachronisms, the committed performances by the then-unknown leads have a way of pulling the viewer into the story, making you feel for and think about these people who exist on the borderline between feeling and thought, the demands of survival and the desire for more.

Since I generally write up a few quick thoughts for each movie I watch, and in the interest of making public more of my thinking and writing processes, I figured that I might as well post the occasional review to this blog as well as to my Letterboxd/Rotten Tomatoes accounts.

Via Letterboxd – Jake Cowan

Ex Machina, 2014 – ★★★★★ [Movie Log]

A cunning and inventive hybridization of the Turing Test and the Talking Cure, the Freudo-Lacanian symbolism of the film is scrupulously imagined, placing Nathan (in one of Isaac’s best turns) in the position of the sujet-supposé-savior to Caleb’s traumatized analysand caught in the web of transference, with Ava embodying (what I have elsewhere in my academic work) referred to as the digital unconscious. On an initial level, as the sessions move in the direction the viewer expects, Caleb must learn to uncrown the analyst by breaking the transferential dynamic, seeing Nathan not as a renowned, out-of-touch and out-of-his-league genius, but as just another guy about whom not much is really out of the ordinary. Yet on an-other level, as the story shifts emphasis from reinforcing Caleb’s ego—and no doubt his great sin is to see himself as the center of his own story—to the emergence of Ava’s subjectivity, the film subverts the patricidal myth of the violent primal father that underlies the Oedipus complex, offering an advanced bleed-edge sisterhood to replace the band of brothers in Freud’s account.

Since I generally write up a few quick thoughts for each movie I watch, and in the interest of making public more of my thinking and writing processes, I figured that I might as well post the occasional review to this blog as well as to my Letterboxd/Rotten Tomatoes accounts.

Via Letterboxd – Jake Cowan

Singin’ in the Rain, 1952 – ★★★★★ [Movie Log]

An absolutely perfect film so overflowing with joy, with every scene drowning in so much talent, that one can do nothing but shower it with praise, from the torrent of technicolor to the lightning quick footwork. It is a treat for and testament to what it means to be human, all at once a feast for our ears and our eyes and our minds as it ironically plays on the illusive ingenuity of Hollywood for concealing our human limits by putting front and center some of the most physically demanding and impressive dancing ever filmed.

Since I generally write up a few quick thoughts for each movie I watch, and in the interest of making public more of my thinking and writing processes, I figured that I might as well post the occasional review to this blog as well as to my Letterboxd/Rotten Tomatoes accounts.

Via Letterboxd – Jake Cowan

Invitation to the Dance, 1956 – ★★★½ [Movie Log]

In evaluating the film, a distinction should be made between a pet and a passion project: The former implies a certain level of vanity on the part of the star, while the latter suggests a commitment to something outside the artist’s ego. Although his appearance in every number would suggest that this is a pet project, when you learn that the studio forced that constraint upon the filmmakers to the chagrin of the dancers, it becomes clear that for Kelly making this enigmatic experiment in ballet was a matter of real artistic passion. Flawed though it is, that creative ambition and aesthetic integrity is admirable, and the dancing is nothing less than sheer entertainment.

Since I generally write up a few quick thoughts for each movie I watch, and in the interest of making public more of my thinking and writing processes, I figured that I might as well post the occasional review to this blog as well as to my Letterboxd/Rotten Tomatoes accounts.

Via Letterboxd – Jake Cowan

Let It Be, 1970 – ★★★★½ [Movie Log]

As tremendously sad as it is to watch these friendships and this band break up, to see Paul flail desperately as he tries to keep them together and going, his efforts in effect pushing them further away and apart, to feel George’s barely contained frustration and John’s obvious boredom along with them, to admire Ringo’s warmth and forbearance through it all, the little insights that the fly-on-the-wall documentary gives into their creative process, how it captures gods at their most vulnerable, and the undeniable joy of that final rooftop concert make for a bittersweet final bow.

Since I generally write up a few quick thoughts for each movie I watch, and in the interest of making public more of my thinking and writing processes, I figured that I might as well post the occasional review to this blog as well as to my Letterboxd/Rotten Tomatoes accounts.

Via Letterboxd – Jake Cowan

The Fab Faux: Vast Masters

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Vast Masters

An ersatz echo of the two-part Past Masters (1988) compilation album made up entirely of artists covering every song released commercially by the Beatles that were not already available on the Fab Four’s original albums.

  1. “Love Me Do” — Flaco Jimenez
  2. “From Me To You” — Yolanda Be Cool & DCup
  3. “Thank You Girl” — Airbag
  4. “She Loves You” — Chad Mitchell Trio
  5. “I’ll Get You” — Andy Fairweather Low & The Lowriders
  6. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” — Lakeside
  7. “This Boy” — Joe Bataan
  8. “Long Tall Sally” — The Kinks
  9. “I Call Your Name” — The Mamas & The Papas
  10. “Slow Down” — Blodwyn Pig
  11. “Matchbox” — Duane Allman
  12. “I Feel Fine” — Alma Cogan
  13. “She’s A Woman” — Jeff Beck
  14. “Bad Boy” — HeadCat
  15. “Yes It Is” — Room One
  16. “I’m Down” — New Grass Revival
  17. “Day Tripper” — Yellow Magic Orchestra
  18. “We Can Work It Out” — Stevie Wonder
  19. “Paperback Writer” — Eric Johnson
  20. “Rain” — Greg Allman
  21. “Lady Madonna” — Lenny White
  22. “The Inner Light” — Little Junior Parker
  23. “Hey Jude” — Wilson Pickett
  24. “Revolution” — Thompson Twins
  25. “Don’t Let Me Down” — Randy Crawford
  26. “The Ballad Of John & Yoko” — King Teddy
  27. “Old Brown Shoe” — Leslie West & Mountain
  28. “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” — Bossacucanova

 


This is one in a series of posts where I have reconstructed ersatz Beatles albums (complete with original album covers) from covers by other artists and (when applicable) the original records the Fab Four themselves covered. Apart from personal taste and a desire for variety, there is really no overriding rhyme or reason to my curation selections, though you can find an articulation of my rationality for the project here.

The Fab Faux: Please Please Please Me

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Please Please Please Me

An ersatz echo of the first Beatles album, Please Please Me (1963), recreated entirely with covers and the originals the Fab Four themselves covered.

  1. “I Saw Her Standing There” — Scary Pockets (feat. Casey Abrams)
  2. “Misery” — Kenny Lynch
  3. “Anna (Go To Him)” — Tyrants in Therapy
  4. “Chains” — The Cookies
  5. “Boys” — The Shirelles
  6. “Ask Me Why” — The Smithereens
  7. “Please Please Me” — Filippo Cuomo Ulloa & the Molto Bene Grazie Band
  8. “Love Me Do” — The Persuasions
  9. “P.S. I Love You” — Peter Lipa
  10. “Baby It’s You” — Smith
  11. “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” — Ray Charles Singers
  12. “A Taste Of Honey” — Lenny Welch
  13. “There’s A Place” — Flamin’ Grooves
  14. “Twist and Shout” — Salt-N-Pepa

 


This is one in a series of posts where I have reconstructed ersatz Beatles albums (complete with original album covers) from covers by other artists and (when applicable) the original records the Fab Four themselves covered. Apart from personal taste and a desire for variety, there is really no overriding rhyme or reason to my curation selections, though you can find an articulation of my rationality for the project here.

The Fab Faux: With With The Beatles

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With With The Beatles

An ersatz echo of the second Beatles album, With The Beatles (1963), recreated entirely with covers and the originals the Fab Four themselves covered.

  1. “It Won’t Be Long” — Black Lips
  2. “All I’ve Got To Do” — Eternal Summers
  3. “All My Loving” — Los Manolos
  4. “Don’t Bother Me” — Randy Bachman
  5. “Little Child” — Caspar Babypants
  6. “Till There Was You” — Peggy Lee
  7. “Please Mr. Postman” — The Marvelettes
  8. “Roll Over Beethoven” — ELO
  9. “Hold Me Tight” — Stackridge
  10. “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” — Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  11. “I Wanna Be Your Man” — Suzi Quatro
  12. “Devil In His Heart” — The Donays
  13. “Not A Second Time” — The Tins
  14. “Money (That’s What I Want)” — Cheryl K. (feat. Awkwafina)

 


This is one in a series of posts where I have reconstructed ersatz Beatles albums (complete with original album covers) from covers by other artists and (when applicable) the original records the Fab Four themselves covered. Apart from personal taste and a desire for variety, there is really no overriding rhyme or reason to my curation selections, though you can find an articulation of my rationality for the project here.

The Fab Faux: A Hard Night’s Day

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A Hard Night’s Day

An ersatz echo of the third Beatles album, A Hard Day’s Night (1964), recreated entirely with covers.

  1. “A Hard Day’s Night” — The Supremes
  2. “I Should Have Known Better” — Johnny Rivers
  3. “If I Fell” — Jorge Rojas
  4. “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” — The Cyrkle
  5. “And I Love Her” — Bobby Womack
  6. “Tell Me Why” — April Wine
  7. “Can’t Buy Me Love” — Ella Fitzgerald
  8. “Any Time At All” — Supermotozoids
  9. “I’ll Cry Instead” — Lee Rocker
  10. “Things We Said Today” — The Sandpipers
  11. “When I Get Home” — Ross Rice
  12. “You Can’t Do That” — Vanilla Fudge
  13. “I’ll Be Back” — The Buckinghams

 


This is one in a series of posts where I have reconstructed ersatz Beatles albums (complete with original album covers) from covers by other artists and (when applicable) the original records the Fab Four themselves covered. Apart from personal taste and a desire for variety, there is really no overriding rhyme or reason to my curation selections, though you can find an articulation of my rationality for the project here.

The Fab Faux: Beatles Sold

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Beatles Sold

An ersatz echo of the fourth Beatles album, Beatles For Sale (1964), recreated entirely with covers and the originals the Fab Four themselves covered.

  1. “No Reply” — The Last Words
  2. “I’m A Loser” — Marianne Faithful
  3. “Baby’s In Black” — Rubén Blades
  4. “Rock And Roll Music” — The Beach Boys
  5. “I’ll Follow The Sun” — Judy Collins
  6. “Mr. Moonlight” — The Hollies
  7. “Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey” — Ole Amund Gjersvik
  8. “Eight Days A Week” — The Runaways
  9. “Words of Love” — Jimmy Gilmer
  10. “Honey Don’t” — T. Rex
  11. “Every Little Thing” — Yes
  12. “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party” — The Chicks
  13. “What You’re Doing” — The Alan Wauters Alliance
  14. “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby” — Johnny Cash

 


This is one in a series of posts where I have reconstructed ersatz Beatles albums (complete with original album covers) from covers by other artists and (when applicable) the original records the Fab Four themselves covered. Apart from personal taste and a desire for variety, there is really no overriding rhyme or reason to my curation selections, though you can find an articulation of my rationality for the project here.