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Information is correct at press time. Film release schedules are subject to change.

Assisted Living **.5

Meld a surprisingly affecting central relationship with an unnecessarily fussy structure, and you’ve got Elliot Greenebaum’s 2003 Slamdance Film Festival Grand Prize winner. Shot in a real-life Kentucky nursing home, it follows a day in the life of oft-stoned orderly Todd (Michael Bonsignore) as he forms an odd bond with Mountain View resident Mrs. Pearlman (Maggie Riley). At the outset, it’s framed as a faux documentary, with other Mountain View staffers commenting in the past tense on the main story’s events. And it’s a pointless distraction, serving primarily to pad out the running time to a still-lean 80 minutes. Greenebaum finds his groove when the focus is squarely on Todd and his well-intentioned but sometimes absurd efforts to help comfort the residents. He also achieves an almost experimental visual vibe, lingering on wrinkled hands and lonely faces through activities that seem designed primarily to help the time pass. There may be something overly simplistic about casting the sensitive slacker as the only one in the institution who truly seems to care, but Assisted Living still proves perceptive—at least when it’s not fluffing up a compelling short to feature length. Opens May 13 at Regency Theatres Trolley Square. (NR)—Scott Renshaw

In My Country **

Silly me, I thought we’d moved past the point where a movie about suffering by non-whites required a white protagonist to act as our proxy conscience. In this adaptation of a book by Antjie Krog, Afrikaner poet Anna Malan (Juliette Binoche) learns harsh truths about apartheid-era atrocities when she agrees to cover the 1995-96 Truth and Reconciliation Commission for South African radio. Along the way she meets American journalist Langston Whitfield (Samuel L. Jackson), who clashes with Anna when he can’t quite comprehend the notion of letting people get away with murder. Reenactments of actual TRC testimony ensure a level of gritty authenticity, but it’s hard to take director John Boorman’s film seriously when it’s so much more about Anna’s oppressor-angst than about those who felt the actual brunt of the oppression. It’s even harder to take seriously when Anna begins an extra-marital affair, yet somehow her more direct moral failing is romanticized because world events form the backdrop. As horrifying as the survivors’ stories may be, they just feel like moral-outrage porn when used to buoy a narrative about white liberal guilt. Opens May 13 at Regency Theatres Trolley Square. (R)—SR

Kicking & ScreaminG [ZERO STARS]

Just when you think that humiliation comedy can’t reach any new depths of depravity, along comes Will Ferrell—the doofus king of self-debasement—to prove you wrong. It’s not enough that his suburban dad/reluctant soccer coach is the object of much personal degradation—from ritual emasculation, as the driver of a wimpy hybrid car, by a woman in a Hummer, to constant physical and psychological abuse at the hands of his own aggressively unfit father (Robert Duvall). He’s also dishing it out to kids, picking on the tykes on his losingest peewee team because they’re all a bit too much like the awkward boy he once was himself. Oh, we’re not supposed to take it seriously, of course—it’s “just a movie.” But from the brutally unpleasant way that supposed grownups use children as pawns in battles with other adults, to the foolishness of divorcing kids’ self-esteem from any sense of achievement or effort on their part, the movie skirts dangerously close to nodding with approval upon the toxic environment today’s kids are coping with—even if it thinks it’s not. Opens May 13 at theaters valleywide. (PG)—MaryAnn Johanson

Look at Me **

Hey, if you’re into whiny soap operas about self-obsessed people who never shut up complaining about how miserable they are, have at it. But if you get enough of that in real life—or just don’t care to spend two hours with fake people who are that exasperating—no one would blame you for giving this one a pass, even if it is all French and foreign and probably very deep and meaningful. Lolita Cassard (Marilou Berry) is a whiny, miserable would-be chorale singer who hates her dad (Jean-Pierre Bacri), a whiny, miserable but successful novelist who can’t write at the moment but can spend lots of time complaining that his daughter’s overweight. Sylvia Millet (the film’s writer/director, Agnès Jaoui) is Lolita’s whiny, miserable singing coach who can’t stand how clingy and worshipful Lolita is—until she discovers who her student’s dad is, and how he might help Sylvia’s husband, Pierre (Laurent Grévill), a whiny, miserable but unsuccessful novelist. And that’s just how they start out. Expect that they’ll all be even whinier and more miserable by the end of the film—when you will be, too. Opens May 13 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (PG-13)—MAJ

Mindhunters *.5

Movies don’t await theatrical release for three years because they’re too esoterically wonderful, even at notoriously shelf-happy Miramax/Dimension. Shot in 2002 by director Renny Harlin (Deep Blue Sea), this wannabe Ten Little Indians plants a slew of FBI profilers-in-training—including Christian Slater, Jonny Lee Miller and Clifton Collins Jr.—along with a police observer (LL Cool J) on a remote island for an exercise that turns into a serial killer’s playground. A premise like this is always good for a little natural tension, Harlin can stage the occasionally effective action sequence, and it’s amusing to watch Val Kilmer’s chewy cameo as the trainees’ cocky supervisor. But this bland group with its meticulously diverse demographics behave like teen-horror idiots rather than highly-trained federal agents, always certain to split up in precisely the most dangerous way. And don’t even bother trying to guess whodunnit—by the time the killer’s “oh, by the way, you had no way of knowing this information” motive is revealed, you’ll only wish this sorry excuse for a thriller could’ve collected another few years’ worth of dust. Opens May 13 at theaters valleywide. (R)—SR

Monster-in-Law **

See review p. 50. Opens May 13 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)

Palindromes *.5 See review p. 51. Opens May 13 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (R)

Turtles Can Fly **.5

Using children in peril as a shortcut for dramatic impact sets my teeth on edge when it happens in Hollywood films, and it annoys me no less when the film in question is a naturalistic foreign film. Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi ventures into Kurdish territory on the Iraq/Turkey border during the days preceding the 2003 U.S. invasion. A 13-year-old village boy nicknamed Satellite (Soran Ebrahim), who assists the local economy by having kids recover abandoned mines for scrap, becomes fascinated with Agrin (Avaz Latif), a girl at the nearby refugee camp. For a while, Ghobadi seems on the verge of quirky insight into a remote place where information—particularly information not censored by Saddam’s government—is treated as the most precious commodity. But eventually the film settles into a grinding groove of finding new ways for the children to suffer (whether it’s a toothache, abandonment or gang rape) peppered with the surreal touch of an armless boy who has visions of the future. “But children do suffer in wartime,” you reply. And being willing to endure a somber movie dedicated solely to that fact doesn’t make one a better person. Opens May 13 at Tower Theatre. (NR)—SR


[not yet reviewed]

Jet Li plays a gangster’s enforcer wwho has a change of heart when separated from his mentor. Now he just needs a mentor for picking better movies. Opens May 13 at theaters valleywide. (R)


Born Into Brothels

At Park City Film Series, May 13-14 @ 8 p.m. & May 15 @ 6 p.m. (NR)

Mardi Gras: Made in China

At Westminster College, May 12, 7 p.m. (NR)

Marina Goldovskya retrospective

At City Library Auditorium, May 18-20. (NR)

Office Space

At Tower Theatre Midnight Movies, May 13-14. (PG-13)

Phil the Alien

At Park City Library Auditorium, May 12, 8 p.m. (NR)

This Divided State

See 24-Seven, p. 29. At Westminster College Emma Eccles Jones Conservatory, May 16, 7 p.m. (NR)

The Wind

At The Organ Loft, May 12-13, 7:30 p.m. (NR)


Crash ***

Movies made up of intersecting stories often revel in their “isn’t it amazing how we’re all connected” pseudo-profundity. Yet there’s something uniquely interesting about this debut feature from Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, which follows a dozen characters—including Don Cheadle, Brendan Fraser, Sandra Bullock, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton and Terrence Howard—over two December days in Los Angeles as their paths cross. Haggis envisions L.A. as a simmering stew of racial antagonism, but his individual segments do more than toss out epithets. In scenes full of unnerving tension and solid performances, he explores the cascade effect of frustrations and perceived injustices on other lives. The nearly non-stop operatic background music and a meteorological miracle just this side of Magnolia shows that Haggis is convinced of his story’s significance. And whaddaya know, he’s actually got good reason. (R)—SR

Downfall ***.5

This audacious German film gets much of its power from its daring to speculate that Adolf Hitler, whose name has become synonymous with evil, may have been all too normal, removing him from a realm of historical rarity and suggesting that his like is never too far from appearing again. The little society in Hitler’s underground bunker during the final days of the war is characterized by subdued panic and massive denial—Eva Braun (Juliane Khler) is throwing wild parties while Russian artillery rattles their shelter—while Hitler laments that he had “such plans ... for the world,” as if it were his to play with. But he’s never the cartoonish lunatic we’re familiar with from his public speeches. Swiss actor Bruno Ganz based his performance on a secretly recorded tape of Hitler chatting casually at a private dinner party, and there’s a terrifying ordinariness to his depiction of the man. (R)—MAJ

Dust to Glory **.5

There are moments in Dana Brown’s documentary about the 2003 edition of the Baja 1000 off-road race when you understand why people line up to risk their lives, sanity and motor vehicles on this epic scramble across Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. The racers need speed, skill, endurance and an incredibly durable vehicle just to brave the rutted roads, dust storms, ordinary civilian traffic wandering onto the course, even the dead of night to finish 1,000 miles in 32 hours. Unfortunately, Brown (Step Into Liquid) loves this race as much as the racers; unabashed enthusiasm infects the film with a boosterish quality that the cool visuals can’t overcome. For every breathtaking shot of a motorcyclist roaring down a pristine beach on a shortcut, there are several similar profiles of racers too hard to tell apart from their competitors. Though consistently entertaining, it never builds to the mystical rapture Brown seems determined to impart. (PG)—GB

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room ***.5

It’s incredibly difficult to make a movie about things that can’t be seen, what with film being a visual medium and all, but nearly every element of director Alex Gibney’s narrative about Enron’s rise and fall is fascinating. Combining everything you already know into a brisk, compelling story, he charts the collapse of the United States’ seventh-largest corporation as a Greek tragedy driven by the monumental hubris of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, the chief corporate pirates on this sinking ship. Gibney does a marvelous job building righteous indignation without that thick, buttery sheen of manipulation that covers Michael Moore’s films. If you’ve got any interest in big business or big crimes, you’ll love it—and it should incite all sorts of amateur national-policy debates over the best way to stop corporate misdeeds and excess, though it also suggests there’s probably no vaccine for the Enron strain of corruption. (NR)—GB

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy *

Douglas Adams’ cult novel isn’t really science fiction, but Hollywood made a “science fiction movie” anyway, one so crammed with the trappings that were mere backdrop for Adams that no room was left for the satire and wordplay for which he was famous. Many of the “bits” that fans will recognize are here, including towels and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, but none of their meaning. The film likely won’t make any sense to the uninitiated—beyond the obvious nonsensical sense of frenetic action and weird aliens and laser guns going zap and such—because all the punch lines are missing. And the superb cast—Sam Rockwell, Martin Freeman, Mos Def, and Zooey Deschanel—gets so hamstrung by the strangled script that they’re left to flounder, and all the particular talents and delightful quirks they were hired for are all lost in the Hollywoodization of their characters. (PG)—MAJ

House of Wax [Zero Stars]

Pimping Paris Hilton to movie audiences is the primary purpose of this crass “remake” of the 1953 Vincent Price classic. Worse, someone decided this would be the perfect opportunity to satirize Hilton’s notoriety while still cashing in on it. One of the film’s typical horror-movie morons has a camcorder running all the time, which captures Paris orally servicing her boyfriend, writhing around doing a sad parody of a striptease, getting impaled in the head with a wooden stake (the one satisfying moment in the movie). The only thing approaching satire is how Hilton looks like she’s encased in wax from the very beginning, long before she and her homies stumble upon the crazy guys who run the museum full of suspiciously realistic-looking wax figures. These kids are dumb even by a generous comparison to kids in horror movies, and you just can’t wait for them to die horribly. (R)—MAJ

The Interpreter **

It has the veneer of significance, and that’s all a Hollywood movie needs to be considered “serious,” right? UN translator Nicole Kidman just happens to overhear, in an obscure dialect she just happens to speak, whispered plans to assassinate a visiting statesman. In a more daring movie this would be more than mere coincidence engineered to jump-start a prosaic police procedural, but for a Hollywood-friendly Sydney Pollack film it’s no spoiler to say that instead it pursues further coincidence—Kidman’s translator turns out to have intimate connections to the conspirators. Secret Service agent Sean Penn lends a Lenny Briscoe weariness to what is ultimately nothing more than a self-important episode of Law & Order, one that invokes genocide, terrorism, and ethnic cleansing only to use them as exotic background. It wants to be about confronting world problems, but in the end, it’s just a distraction from them. (PG-13)—MAJ

Kingdom of Heaven **.5

Ridley Scott attempts to duplicate his successful Gladiator formula of grieving warrior-hero in a period swordplay drama, only he forgot a key ingredient: Russell Crowe. Instead, he has The Lord of the Rings’ Orlando Bloom as a blacksmith in 1184 France discovering he’s the son of a nobleman and joining dad (Liam Neeson) on a Crusade to the Holy Land, trying to maintain the fragile peace between Christian-controlled Jerusalem and Muslims. Scott certainly knows how to handle material like this, staging appropriately spectacular battles and giving room for juicy villain performances. But Bloom is a gaping hole at the center, lacking the Crowe-style dynamism necessary to give his thin character presence. Throw in a lot of anachronistic speechifying about morality vs. religion, and you’ve got an epic sluggish enough that you have time to wonder why Legolas doesn’t give everyone lessons in siege defense. (R)—SR

Kung Fu Hustle ****

No movie you will see this year will exude as much unadulterated movie-love. A mash note to filmed entertainment in all its forms, this exuberant treat from Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer) blends spaghetti westerns, Bruce Lee, Looney Tunes and Charlie Chaplin into a story about a 1940s Shanghai neighborhood trying to defend itself after incurring the wrath of a vicious gang. Chow tips his hat to everything from The Untouchables to The Matrix, but don’t let the movie-movie touchstones distract you from his dazzling instincts for pure filmmaking. The fight sequences alone should be more than enough to keep any viewer happy, and physical comedy is timed to perfection. For some, the relentlessness of Chow’s vision might feel overwhelming, yet it’s hard to hold anything against him when the glee that pours out of Chow’s movie makes it easy to love him almost as much as he loves movies. (R)—SR

A Lot Like Love **.5

And it’s also a lot like When Harry Met Sally, as virtually every review you’ll read will point out. Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) meets Emily (Amanda Peet) on a plane trip to New York, and over the course of the next seven years they occasionally cross paths in ways both romantic and platonic. Director Nigel Cole has previously helmed overly-precious British films like Calendar Girls, but here he allows room for a more loosey-goosey vibe to emerge. Yet while Kutcher and Peet both prove pleasant enough, the film seems content to coast on that charm. Colin Patrick Lynch’s lightweight script gives their characters no distinctive personalities—they’re like amalgams spit out of a romantic-comedy computer program—so it’s hard to care beyond whatever smiles the individual scenes provoke. Oliver and Emily can appreciate being in the moment without dwelling on their future, but viewers should expect a little more. (PG-13)—SR

Millions ***.5

Though known for the mayhem of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle has always had a soft spot for stories about moral choices. He finds a family-friendly package for that sensibility with this fairy tale—it’s set in an England preparing to drop the pound for the euro, so how realistic can it be—about two boys who find a bag packed with 200,000 in pound notes. While the spend-it-or-lose-it time pressure of the currency changeover gives the narrative a forward momentum, Millions really focuses on the nature of goodness itself, with 7-year-old Damian (charming Alex Etel) fighting to use the money selflessly. It’s also wonderfully funny, with writer Frank Cottrell Boyce showing the cheeky side evident in his script for 24 Hour Party People. Boyle still occasionally lays his eye candy on too thick, but a little style doesn’t harm his overdue visit to a world of happily ever after. (PG)—SR

XXX: State of the Union *.5

Vin Diesel’s Xander Cage is killed off by unreasonable salary demands to make way for new super-stud agent Darius Stone (Ice Cube) in this loud, dull sequel. Recruited by ex-Navy cohort Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) from a stint in military prison, Stone goes “off the grid” to foil the plans of the rogue Secretary of Defense (Willem Dafoe). Since director Lee Tamahori helmed Die Another Day, he’d seem like a smart choice for a franchise that was positioning itself as a hip, “extreme” updating of Bond adventures. But besides staging an energetic climactic chase, he gives this thriller such a generally dour tone that it just isn’t much fun. Replacing Diesel’s one-dimensional glower with Cube’s slightly different one-dimensional glower adds nothing in the personality department, leaving a movie that doesn’t seem interested in entertaining you. It just wants to prove it has attitude—and a bad one, at that. (PG-13)—SR Film Cinema Clips 1CDD3A8E-2BF4-55D0-F1FB134175173E11 2007-06-11 16:17:46.0 1 1 0 2005-05-12 00:00:00.0 2 0


Information is correct at press time. Film release schedules are subject to change.nn

Borat ****
See review p. 44. Opens Nov.3 at theaters valleywide. (R)nn

Flushed Away ***.5
nDon’t be disappointed if you hear that Nick Park had nothing to do with this first collaboration between Aardman Features (the British animation studio best known for Park’s Wallace & Gromit films) and DreamWorks Animation, home of Shrek. This melding of claymation and CGI is absolutely perfect, beautifully combining the wonderfully organic feel of Aardman’s hand-built sets and lovingly breathed-into-life clay figures with DreamWorks’ sleek computer cartoons. And the wit is appealingly trans-Atlantic, melding sweet British snark with broad American-style outrageousness. How else would you end up with a movie that is, in its entirety, one big instance of toilet humor that’s actually endearing, charming and hilariously funny? Pampered pet rat Roddy (the voice of Hugh Jackman) finds himself flushed away from his posh Kensington flat and adrift in the urban underworld, where rodents have their own metropolis'one threatened by villainous amphibian The Toad (Ian McKellen). Roddy teams up with spunky undergrounder Rita (Kate Winslet) to defeat him, win new friends, and learn valuable life lessons. Gloriously, the morals of the story are buried among singing (and screaming) slugs, evil French frogs and other silly deliciousness. Opens Nov. 3 at theaters valleywide. (PG)'MaryAnn Johansonnn

Jesus Camp ***
nOh, what an unfair documentary this is. Riveting, alarming and highly watchable'but outrageously unfair, the kind of documentary where you assume the subjects didn’t know the filmmakers’ agenda when they agreed to be filmed. The topic is evangelical Christianity, with a specific focus on Becky Fischer, a stout, friendly Missouri pastor who runs a youth Bible camp in North Dakota every summer. The film is concerned with how politically powerful evangelical Christians have become in this country and also with the way they indoctrinate'some would say brainwash'their kids at a very young age. The kids at Fischer’s Bible camp are disturbingly intense; they get caught up in the enthusiasm of the prayer meetings and wind up sobbing with sorrow over their sins. But what sin could a 9-year-old possibly have committed that would require so much abject remorse? The film stacks the deck by putting creepy music under the speaking-in-tongues church scenes and by including only the footage that makes the Christians seem strangest. The points could have been made without such manipulation, but they’re valid points nonetheless. Opens Nov. 3 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (PG-13)'Eric D. Snidernn

The Queen ****
nEverything you’ve heard about Helen Mirren’s performance as Queen Elizabeth II here is true, and then some. Her work is beyond impersonation; she embodies the spirit of a woman who embodies the spirit of a nation, at the moment when she suddenly no longer does. This is not a movie about how Princess Diana changed the monarchy but rather a compelling story about a moment in time at which paradigms shifted, the world changed, and not everyone was able to keep up. Royalty gets reallocated from the shoulders of monarchs to the shoulders of celebrities. A thousand years of tradition abruptly is shuffled aside, and the stunning new power of public opinion is amplified by a planet interconnected by mass communications. All that gets dumped on Mirren’s queen in the days after Diana’s death in 1997, yet she doesn’t engender scorn. Instead, she’s sympathetic, because director Stephen Frears shows us that her world is irrevocably gone. And a new one'a West Wing-y world of snappy comebacks and down-to-earth cynicism, personified by new PM Tony Blair (Michael Sheen, as astonishing as Mirren)'has barreled into town. Opens Nov. 3 at theaters valleywide. (PG-13)'MAJnn

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
n[not yet reviewed]
nTim Allen vs. Martin Short … has there been a ham-off this epic since Shatner/Montalban? Opens Nov. 3 at theaters valleywide. (G)nn

Shortbus **
nSure, the characters in John Cameron Mitchell’s pansexual follow-up to Hedwig and the Angry Inch self-fellate, visibly ejaculate and engage in sexual positions out of Kama Sutra: The Missing Chapters. But really, they just want to feel. The film’s title is the name of a New York underground music/performance art/sex club where several troubled characters congregate: Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee), a therapist who has never had an orgasm; James (Paul Dawson) and Jamie (PJ DeBoy), a gay couple contemplating an “open” relationship; and Severin (Lindsay Beamish), a surly dominatrix. The name is also a metaphor for the idea that all of them are in some way emotional “special needs” kids, but unfortunately the script is similarly developmentally stunted. Mitchell begins and ends with the notion that vigorous sexuality does not equal genuine intimacy'and thanks for that report, Dr. Kinsey. There’s a visual flair to the digital framing sequences of a candy-colored Gotham skyline, and a few snappy one-liners. But mostly it adds sadness to XXX thrusting and sucking without adding much depth'and I’m not sure if audiences will be interested in “mournography.” Opens Nov. 3 at Tower Theatre. (NR)'Scott Renshawnn


Bottle Rocket
nAt Tower Theatre Midnight Movies, Nov. 3-4. (R)nn

nAt Main Library Auditorium, Nov. 8, 7 p.m. (NR) nn

Crossing Arizona
nAt City Library Auditorium, Nov. 6, 7 p.m. (NR)nn

At City Library Auditorium, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m. (PG-13)nn

The Illusionist
nAt Park City Film Series Nov. 3-4, 8 p.m. & Nov. 5, 6 p.m. (PG-13)nn

LoudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies
nAt Brewvies Cinema Pub, Nov. 6, 9 p.m. (NR)nn

nAt Organ Loft Silent Films Series, Nov. 2-3, 7:30 p.m. (NR)nn

Spy Hop Productions’

nAt Broadway Centre Cinemas, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. (NR)nn

Tale of the Three Jewels
nAt University of Utah Film Front Series, Nov. 5, 7 p.m. (NR)nn

The Trials of Darryl Hunt
nAt Park City Jim Santy Auditorium, Nov. 2, 7 p.m. (NR)nn


Catch a Fire ***.5
nFears of terrorism. Suspects detained without explanation or access to lawyers. It’s not 2006 America; it’s 1980 South Africa, and this true tale of torture, radicalization and rebellion plays like an object lesson for today. Apolitical Patrick Chamusso (Derek Luke) is arrested and tortured for a bombing he had nothing to do with, but white cop Nic Vos (Tim Robbins) doesn’t believe his innocence. Though he’s eventually set free, Patrick has caught the fire of revolt and joins the African National Congress to become precisely what Vos had feared. If there’s a message here, it might be this: Oppressors, know that whatever you dish out will come back to you threefold. It leaves you wondering to see how the white minority has fared post-apartheid'whether Iraqis will ever feel the same way about their American occupiers. (PG-13)'MAJnn

Death of a President ***
nIt’s political, all right'only not in the way that people seem to assume it must be. There’s no fantasy bloodlust in this faux documentary reflecting on the assassination of George W. Bush in October 2007. Director/co-writer Gabriel Range builds impressive tension into the lead-up to the inevitable shooting, but he’s less concerned with the act itself than with the aftermath, where a suspect might become a convenient scapegoat for a government willing to use tragedy to further its policy goals. He also paints an evenhanded portrait of those loyal to the president, particularly a Secret Service agent crushed by his failure. Some performances prove unconvincing in their attempt at naturalism, but Death of a President scores with the unlikely notion that Bush could actually do more harm dead than alive. (R)'SRnn

The Departed ***.5
nWith good reason, film lovers have come to view American remakes of foreign films with fear and trembling. But director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter William Monahan fashion a magnificent Boston-set version of the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs. The plot still follows two men living double lives: a cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) working undercover with a crime boss (Jack Nicholson), and a loyalist (Matt Damon) to the crime boss serving as his mole within the state police. But while Scorsese and Monahan hang on to the best set pieces, they also deepen the characterizations, providing ample opportunity for DiCaprio and Damon to show off their impressive acting chops. It doesn’t matter if the studio bosses often make bad choices, as long as the people behind and in front of the camera are making so many good ones. (R)'SRnn

Employee of the Month *
nI would be surprised if the three guys who wrote this movie turned out not to be 15-year-old boys. Testicles, farts, gay sex and hits in the crotch comprise a noticeably high percentage of its jokes. Even with Jessica Simpson as the female lead, they can only muster one half-hearted breast reference. But male genitalia? The film can’t stop talking about it! Dane Cook plays a slacker box-boy at a Costco-type store who competes with Dax Shepard’s kiss-up cashier for the titular title, all because it is believed the pretty new cashier (Simpson) has a “thing” for employees of the month. The movie is not funny or good, but it doesn’t quite rise to the level of offensiveness, either. It’s benign and flaccid, like a neutered dog’s penis. (Tee-hee! “Penis”!) (PG-13)'EDSnn

Flags of Our Fathers **.5
nDirector Clint Eastwood’s latest effort is a strange creature, seemingly intended to indulge the cynicism of those tired of hearing the “Greatest Generation” endlessly praised, while simultaneously praising the Greatest Generation endlessly. It’s the true story of the Marines pictured in the famous photo of the American flag being raised over Iwo Jima in 1945, and how the men and the image were manipulated to rally support for the war effort. It has an unmistakable power both as an appreciation of sacrifices and as a commentary on how truth is sacrificed, too, in wartime. But the film loses focus and force in the contemporary framing story, set years later. We didn’t need to be so explicitly lectured about how so many suffered so much for the benefit of others. We were getting the idea just fine. (R)'MAJnn

Flicka **
nTeenage protagonist Katy (Alison Lohman) spells out the meaning of the movie in opening narration as she describes her native Wyoming mountains: “I can see in them an expression of my own restless spirit.” And guess what? She finds a wild mustang whose spirit is also restless, and thus girl and horse become friends. Based ever-so-loosely on the 1941 children’s novel My Friend Flicka, this tween-girl-friendly adaptation emphasizes Katy’s relationship with her rancher father (Tim McGraw), who hates mustangs and won’t let Katy try to tame Flicka, much less ride her. But then goldurn it, sometimes you just gotta let them restless spirits roam free. The screenplay seems confused as to whether Katy is petulant, rebellious, disobedient or merely ADD. The movie’s inoffensive and forgettable, which is probably what they were aiming for. (PG)'EDSnn

The Grudge 2 *.5
nThis sequel to the 2004 hit believes that the scariest thing a movie could possibly feature is a ghostly Japanese woman or little boy appearing suddenly on the screen. Furthermore, if the event is accompanied by a shriek of violins on the soundtrack, then you have perpetrated the most frightening thing ever committed to film. By those standards, this must surely be a terrifying experience, for hardly five minutes can pass without some pale, bug-eyed ghost appearing. The story'in which Amber Tamblyn goes to Tokyo to figure out what happened to her sister in the first film'goes in multiple directions and, all those jump-scares aside, is never actually frightening. Half the time we don’t even know what the hell’s going on, and it’s hard to be scared and baffled at the same time. (PG-13)'EDSnn

The Illusionist **
nIn the final moments, the Chief Inspector for the crown (Paul Giamatti) in turn-of-the-century Vienna stares skyward, a rapturous smile on his face. The expression says: “How could anyone have seen that coming?” Except it’s nearly impossible not to see it coming, and the insanely obvious “gotcha” is pretty much the only reason the movie exists. There’s certainly some surface style to this tale of gifted magician Eisenheim (Edward Norton), who reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, a princess (Jessica Biel) promised to the Crown Prince (Rufus Sewell). Mostly it’s all about setting up Eisenheim’s greatest trick'and it’s a leap of approximately an inch to figure that trick out. Giamatti’s gaze of wonder doesn’t speak well of his character’s deductive savvy'he must be the only one surprised by the ending. (PG-13)'SRnn

Infamous ****
nYes, it’s the second film in a year about author Truman Capote and the years of his life consumed with the writing of In Cold Blood'and that’s just fine. A satisfying bookend to last year’s Capote, this is a more well-rounded film, boasting a script both subtle and clever, and a powerful ensemble, including British actor Toby Jones as the writer and Juliet Stevenson, Hope Davis, Isabella Rossellini and Sigourney Weaver as his cabal of society-lady pals. All the elements work together to create a more sympathetic portrayal of the writer, and perhaps even a more incisive one. It delves more intimately into Capote’s strange relationship with convicted killer Perry Smith, and into the author’s paradoxical capacity for giving others the attention they crave while also seemingly neglecting his own needs and ignoring his own self-deception. (R)'MAJnn

Jackass: Number Two **.5
nA viewer might have concluded that Johnny Knoxville and his troupe of giggly, beer-fueled pranksters couldn’t possibly top the original Jackass’s parade of crass and homoerotic shenanigans. Yet here is Number Two, even grosser, louder and more naked than its predecessor. I can only assume that this makes the film “better” than the first one, though quality is relative when you’re talking about a movie where a man ingests beer through a tube inserted into his rectum. Some of the stunts are undeniably funny, if only for the “Why would you even THINK of that?” factor, while others are so grotesque as to be unwatchable. It is what it is. If you liked the first movie, the second one is more of the same. My powers as a critic are useless here. (R)'EDSnn

Keeping Mum ***
nI’ve about had it with comedies about daft British people doing daft British things, but this one restores one’s faith in the genre. In this dark comedy, the Brits aren’t just daft; some are certifiably mad. An elderly Mary Poppins type named Grace (Maggie Smith) comes to a village to be housekeeper to a vicar’s (Rowan Atkinson) family, who are unaware that as a young woman, Grace killed her husband and his mistress. She goes about improving the family members’ lives, merrily setting things right by any means necessary, including killing those who vex them. No one in the film behaves the way normal people do, but that’s kind of the point. Neighbors like these are deliciously fun to watch as long as you don’t have to live near them in real life. (R)'EDSnn

Little Miss Sunshine **
nThis inexplicably crowd-pleasing 2006 Sundance hit is the kind of comedy that doesn’t so much create characters as it creates a laundry list of quirks to define them. The dysfunctional Hoover family'including such notables as Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin and Steve Carell'packs up the VW van for a trip from Albuquerque to Southern California so young Olive (Abigail Breslin) can participate in a youth beauty pageant. The film then methodically grinds away their will to live in ways so implausible that there’s nothing genuine in their predicaments. As it jams its “our obsession with winning is a problem” theme down our throats, nearly every detail feels forced. Breslin is a heartbreaking little wonder of authenticity, but maybe she stands out since she’s surrounded by stuff that’s not funny because it’s essentially false. (R)'SRnn

Man of the Year *.5
nIf you’re hoping for more of director Barry Levinson’s wicked-sharp Wag the Dog'or merely seeking a cohesive film with a consistent tone'look elsewhere. Levinson’s latest is an easy, obvious swipe at the focus-grouped platitudes of elected officials. Robin Williams’ standup schtick'as a TV comedian who runs for president'bumps up hard against the film’s alternate personality as a corporate-conspiracy thriller, with results never funny enough or suspenseful enough to scratch either movie-loving itch. The worst of it, though, is that in smoothing over all the potential conflict in its race to a happy ending, it ends up shooting off precisely the same kind of phony, feel-good crap it began by condemning. It’s almost as if Levinson and his corporate overlords didn’t want us leaving the theater ripe for revolution. (PG-13)'MAJnn

Marie Antoinette **.5
nFrom the opening shot'of Kirsten Dunst as the titular queen pointedly eating, yes, cake while electric guitars jangle over the soundtrack'it’s clear that writer/director Sofia Coppola doesn’t want this to be just another period biopic. The film’s first half paints Marie in uniquely sympathetic terms, watching the teenage Austrian princess struggle to adapt to her role as wife to the Dauphin of France (Jason Schwartzman), her frustrations building as she realizes that her only value is as potential mother to an heir. Yet once we see Marie give in to lavish spending as the only advantage to her position, the good will towards her disappears'and it’s a long slog of a final hour through her frivolities. Coppola at first appears to be feeding us something different'but ultimately, she’s letting us eat the same old cake. (PG-13)'SRnn

The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D ***
nThe 1993 fantasy from Tim Burton and stop-motion director Henry Selick is just as darkly, whimsically appealing as it was 13 years ago'but does giving it a little more visual depth justify $9 ticket prices? That’s approximately what you’ll have to fork over for the honor of putting on glasses and watching the same movie you’ve been able to rent for a decade, thanks to the “premium” pricing theaters are charging for their 3-D presentations. And especially when you’re dealing with a movie that was not made with the process in mind'i.e., no impressive “stuff leaping out of the screen into your lap” moments'it’s kind of hard to rationalize such a hefty price tag. If you want me to pay more, you better be prepared to dazzle me more. (PG)'SRnn

The Prestige **.5
nLike magicians, critics are expected not to give away secrets'which makes it difficult to explain why this film’s third-act choices are so disappointing. Director Christopher Nolan (Memento) and his brother Jonathan adapt Christopher Priest’s novel about rival stage illusionists (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) in turn-of-the-century London, and they do an impressive job of building a thematic framework into their adaptation. Yet they also make some horrendous decisions regarding the way in which a certain key plot-point is hinted at, and give one character a happy ending that feels in no way deserved. A story that should be about the moral consequences of a one-on-one professional arms race instead becomes yet another stylish film that’s all about its Big Reveal, offering too little for anyone who could see it coming. (PG-13)'SRnn

Running With Scissors **
nWriter/director Ryan Murphy might be trying too hard to convince us that he’s not trying so hard to convince us. I haven’t read Augusten Burroughs’ coming-of-age memoir upon which the film is based, and perhaps in his prose, he’s a lot more relaxed about describing just about the worst childhood you can imagine that doesn’t involve being locked in a cage and fed nothing but Monkey Chow. But I don’t quite buy it here; the whole never becomes more than the sum of its good parts. Still, the cast is particularly fine, from Joseph Cross as Augusten to Annette Bening and Brian Cox, both doing an agreeably crazy gimme-an-Oscar thing. But it all feels purpose-built around oddball moments or its groovy ’70s soundtrack. In terms of taking real risk, it merely walks with its scissors. (R)'MAJnn

The Science of Sleep **
nStephane TV exists inside the head of a graphic designer (Gael García Bernal) who sometimes can’t distinguish reality from dreams. He works at a terrible job in Paris and pines for the girl across the hall, but everything wonderful and fascinating in director Michel Gondry’s (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) film happens in his own mind. Gondry creates all manner of arresting visual nonsense while working from his own script, imbuing Stephane’s dreamy fantasies with surreality that makes countless references, yet emerges as its own wacky aesthetic. With this much art, it’s easy to forget the story, a fascinating, self-indulgent series of set pieces and arts-and-crafts curios that add up to almost nothing. Though it’s also surprisingly funny, the film is driven by a childlike wonder as insubstantial as Gondry’s rag-doll horse and crepe-paper dioramas. (R)'Greg Beacham Film Cinema Clips 1CDD3B97-2BF4-55D0-F1FCD04C30429B2F 2007-06-11 16:17:47.0 1 1 0 2006-11-02 00:00:00.0 90 0
Portia Early

Portia Early, X96 weekend DJ and host of Live & Local (Sundays, 8-10 p.m.), wants to tell you about three more of her favorite Utah bands:nn

nI discovered this band at the Mojos/Phoenix Alliance battle of the bands in Ogden recently'they’re like Dead Kennedys meets Gogol Bordello meets reggae. I don’t think this Clearfield band has been around for long, but they’re a riot to watch (the eye candy ain’t bad, either). With song titles like “Jimmy the Nut Job,” you know you’re in for a fun time. They also make the audience do stupid things like crooking their index fingers, chanting, “I am a pirate!” The kids dig it, I guess. Keep an ear out on X96; I’ll hopefully interview Avenue this month. (

nHey old-schoolers: Remember the Provo band Agnes Poetry from the early ’90s? Well, two-thirds of them are back as Adom9 (and just as good-lookin’'eye candy is this month’s apparent theme). The two brothers, Rannock and Randon Purcell, formed Adom9 while going to school in Burbank, Calif. They still have the same Depeche Mode/goth influence as Agnes Poetry (when their sis, Ranita, was in the band playing keys and singing) but with more of a Gregorian chant influence now (trust me, it’s cool) with newbie Amy Recinos, since Ranita is now playing mom. One of Adom9’s songs will be featured on the forthcoming X96 Live & Local Vol. 3 CD. (

Hi-Fi Murder
nPunk-o-rama based outta Lay-un (that’s how we say Layton). If you’re in the mood for dark-heavy punk, this is your band. They have quite the fan base, too'Hi-Fi Murderites are swarming all over Davis County. Oh, yeah, and more eye-candy. They’re all tall. I’m a sucker for the tall ones. I have been playing “Last Ride” on L&L lately; sounds influenced by Rancid, The Sex Pistols and Operation Ivy. I haven’t seen Hi-Fi Murder live yet, but I need to soon. Yes, yes, y’all, and you don’t stop. Their self-titled EP is available on; be on the lookout for a new full-length CD. ( Music Px3 on locals Avenue, Adom9 and Hi-Fi Murder Portia, Portia, Portia 1CDD3C14-2BF4-55D0-F1FED25468C25533 2007-06-11 16:17:47.0 1 1 0 2006-11-02 00:00:00.0 7 0

nIt only took ’em six years, but singer-songwriter Wendy Ohlwiler and co-conspirator David Prill have delivered on the promise of 2000’s Pave the Planet with a compelling full-length release. From country rock to dustbowl ballads to torch songs to garage swing, Ohlwiler’s deceptively delicate warble and Prill’s masterful guitar strokes mold 11 tunes into their own uniquely cool vision thing: The Torrey Sound? (

MEDICINE CIRCUS I Wish This Were an 8-Track
nDespite the ’70s title sentiment, Medicine Circus’ fifth CD is steeped in guitar-marinated ’90s alt-rock (as were the previous four), but minus the grunge afterbirth (a newer development). The song arrangements are trickier, especially on the mood-hopping closing rockers “Lucky Dog” and “The Angola Three.” Play loud. (

nLike last year’s The Handsome, The Handsome (the new one) kicks out new-wave jams like Rivers Cuomo’s slow Provo cousin set loose in the rec room but with sharper hooks and a defter post-post-ironic lyricism. Are they sincere? Who cares, girl? (

AFRO OMEGA Pick Up the Pieces
nNo song on Afro Omega’s debut EP cracks the four-minute mark, but you feel the vibe that any of ‘em could go all night (and once again in the morning) deep in your unmentionables. The combination of deep, churning dub grooves and Elisa’s seductive vocals is as magical as any primo herb you probably can’t afford. (

nLocal bass wizard Jonni Lightfoot throws down some serious funk on Blu, his third solo release, as well as splashes of cinematic prog-rock and dashes of electronica'not to mention a rap from Air Supply’s Graham Russell and an instrumental Kiss (!) cover. Not strictly for bass geeks; scary chops abound. (

nA Utah hip-hop album produced by Great White guitarist Mark Kendall? It makes sense when the duo spits fast and furious over GW’s “Rock Me,” a mash-up so over-the-top and out-there it boomerangs back as genius. Few other cuts on the gangsta-free Grind are as striking, but the party-positive 801 message is solid throughout. (

nSure, we covered it last week'but it’s so damned good! Impossibly frenetic, catchy, complex and direct all at once, Men is the apocalyptic soundtrack of society flying apart at the speed of greed and slack-jawed ignorance. Or it simply rocks unholy balls. Either way, this should go down as SLC Rock’s proudest moment. (

Music Wendy Ohlwiler, Medicine Circus, The Handsome, Afro Omega, Jonni Lightfoot, Bomb City, Form of Rocket Local CD Revue 1CDD3C91-2BF4-55D0-F1F95FC7A1088DA7 2007-06-11 16:17:47.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2006-10-26 00:00:00.0 13 0

SKINT Falling to Decay
nnThey’re punk, they’re pissed, they’re not letting up for 12 songs: Roy’s Skint blaze from start to finish on their second CD with snarling rage, tight-laced musicianship and an anti-Dubya lyrical stance that makes Rocky Anderson look like Sean Hannity. If you were at Washington Square for the Bush Bash, you’ll dig this. (

nnNo eyeliner, no drama-club histrionics, just 13 melodically honest blasts of post-core rock'remember when that was enough, radio? TMD’s laser-focused guitars and unadorned vocals may not be trendy, but they’re built to last. (

SUBROSA The Worm Has Turned
nnLike the lost soundtrack to The Ring or a 12th-gen VHS dub of a Melvins/Rasputina orgy, Subrosa’s grainy-sexy blues come on like lo-fi whispers from the outer limits, with serpentine guitar riffs and violin-strafing chaos to burn. (

STACEY BOARD Look to the Sun
nnSLC’s hardest-working folkie has ditched the rockier edge of 2002’s Drive for a softer, sparer vibe that feels straight out of the sunny summer of ’72. Board’s bell-pure voice is the constant, but, even more than before, this one’s about the songs. (

nnThey stage a good Pink Floyd tribute, but the Sons of Nothing’s original flights of spacey prog-pop stand on their own'or at least David Gilmour’s lawn. Clarity embraces the Pink-ness while branding the SoN stamp on that flying pig’s ass. (

nnAs with kindred spirits Chris Whitley and Ben Harper, Colin Robison is a gentle soul man in a mad-bad world, his rich voice and subtly dazzling guitar work rising above instead of wallowing down in it. Not a hippie, just raw and genuine. (

SALTY FROGS Today Was Strange
nnCeltic-roots-blues-reggae-rock-funk-salsa grooves and fiery fiddles … yeah, “strange.” More surprising is how violinist-vocalist Bronwen Beecher holds it together, the calm in the eye of a musical storm. The tunes mostly hook; the jams cook. (

MEG & DIA Something Real
nnDraper siblings Meg and Dia Frampton’s indie-label debut can’t touch The Breeders on the sister-act scale, but it does kick duff harder than Hilary & Hailey. Catch M&D’s alt-rock girly-grunge on Last Call With Carson Daly, Tuesday, Sept. 19. (

Music Skint, Middle Distance, Subrosa, Stacey Board, Sons of Nothing, Colin Robison Trio, Salty Frogs, Meg & Dia Local CD Revue 1CDD3D6C-2BF4-55D0-F1F9E0E6CF15B0F9 2007-06-11 16:17:47.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2006-09-14 00:00:00.0 10 0
Portia Early

Portia Early, X96 weekend DJ and host of Live & Local (Sundays, 8-10 p.m.), wants to tell you about three more of her favorite Utah bands and songs:nn

New year, new music! Here are three new local bands whom I find rock-worthy for ’07:nn

Drop Dead Julio, “Hope for the Hopeless”
Pronounced “Julie-o,” not the expected “Hulie-o.” It’s just a name to mess with people’s heads, according to the Magna pop-punk trio. One of my favorite DDJ songs is “Hope for the Hopeless.” They’ve only been playing live since May of 2006, and they pride themselves on catchy lyrics, having audience members sing with them onstage and wacky once-in-a-while oldies or pop covers. They have one CD effort you can find online, but go sing with them live on Saturday, Jan. 13 at the Huka Bar & Grill. (

Chanticleer, “Battle for Her Heart”
Chanticleer is actually just one guy: Andrew Shaw. A guy and his guitar, harmonica, tambourine and cowboy boots. Sounds like a country song, but he’s alternative enough to fit in with Live & Local, which he appeared on last month. Raised in Nebraska, Andrew just found a new home in Salt Lake City. His songs are about love (which you expect of Portia, of course), loss (OK, he’s a little bit country'but he never mentions his truck; I don’t know if he even has a truck) and a little bit rock & roll. One of my favorites is “Battle for Her Heart.” Chanticleer will be playing at Nobrow Coffee & Tea on Saturday, Feb. 23. Mark your calendar and don’t forget it. (

Camden Ray & The Cause, “You Look So Good in Mexico”
Kitefishing recording studio owner Camden Ray was a founder of the electronica project Delicatto years ago; now he sounds more like Iggy Pop, Franz Ferdinand and David Bowie. He sure looks like a rock star with a long, lanky figure, even going topless on the cover of his debut CD. Camden also appears much, much, much healthier than Iggy, let me tell you. The Cause is a five-piece rock/punk outfit backing Camden on the aforementioned CD, In America, a slightly caustic collection. OK, maybe more than slightly, but the songs are catchy, memorable and fun. I’m currently spinning “You Look So Good in Mexico” on Live & Local. ( Music Px3 on Drop Dead Julio, Chanticleer and Camden Ray & The Cause Portia, Portia, Portia 1CDD3DF8-2BF4-55D0-F1FAB919C1CE7A00 2007-06-11 16:17:47.0 1 1 0 2007-01-04 00:00:00.0 12 0

Salt Lake City prog-metal band Cryptobiotic have been touring and recording since the late ’90s; their newest album, Imperfections (, which was produced by Sylvia Massy (of Tool fame), drops Friday, Jan. 19 with a CD release show at Club Vegas. City Weekly invited singer William Dalton and drummer Spencer Meibos to the inaugural edition of Get Defensive, wherein we ask annoying questions and the recipient can take it or leave it. Crypto took it:

Cryptobiotic isn’t a very metal name. WTF?
William Dalton: Yes, you’re right'it’s not very metal. Cryptobiotic is actually a living soil'which mirrors our personality. You might say we’re four fucking dirtbags in a band.
Spencer Meibos: It means “hidden life,” or “still in the closet,” so we dig the implications for the savvy.

The band has been around since 1998 and yet achieved so little. Considered packing it in yet?
WD: This is when we turn and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus or Quentin Tarantino do? We have no fucking idea when to pack it in and probably never will.
SM: Well, I joined the band in 2003, so for all intents and purposes, we’ve only been around for a little over three years. Everything that happened before I joined is pretty much useless.

Is Friday going to be one of those CD release shows where the discs aren’t finished yet and the band’s just handing out IOUs?
WD: We’re not that stupid!
SM: We’ll be handing out IOUs of pain! But you can get CDs, too'they’re done now.

Do you want to issue a challenge right now to Norway’s Turbonegro for the title of “World’s Gayest Metal Band”?
WD: Fuck no! Their name alone scares our white-bread Mormon asses.
SM: Willy and I have another band called Sex With Dudes, but we’re not really that metal, so I think challenging the Ass Cobras would be a bit improper.

Is it true that “progressive rock” just means that you can’t write a chorus?
WD: Could you repeat the question?
SM: Yes.

What’s with all the screaming?
WD: OK, you’ve crossed the line on this question! It’s apparent that you never had that life-changing moment when Daddy hits Mommy at the dinner table. That’s it'we’re done answering your stupid questions. Rock on!
SM: He’s the boss.

CD Release
Club Vegas
451 S. 400 West
Friday, Jan. 19
9 p.m. Music Cryptobiotic answers our annoying questions Get Defensive 1CDD3E85-2BF4-55D0-F1FC3F9A7625DBF1 2007-06-11 16:17:47.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2007-01-18 00:00:00.0 0 0

ntSalt Lake City’s dirtiest rock & roll band cleans up their act … like sweeping the floor at Burt’s. Too Fat For Love may be a pristine recording (courtesy engineer Jack Endino) with tasty Telecaster seasonings (courtesy new guitarist Mike Sasich), but it’s still good ol’ Thunderfist; a skuzzy Converse in your teeth. Play it loud. (

UTAH COUNTY SWILLERS Attack of the Denver Strangler
More odes to truckers and bad, bad women'it’s “rockabilly” like meth is “fun.” The UCS’ shout-along anthems may be strictly for bars, but now they have a CD worthy of the jukebox. Sweatin’ Willy: poet and a prophet. ( nn

NUMBS Nfinity
In the five years following up local hip-hop hallmark disc The Word, Numbs’ manic attack has matured, not mellowed. The emcees’ clever-thick wordplay is in top form, but the new beats from Rick One and Shanty solidify a new classic. ( nn

Eleven perfect, poptastic tunes in just under 45'singer/songwriter/piano-man Sean Taylor is Brian Wilson on 18 wheels. Math aside, the S7s’ debut confirms what anyone who’s marveled at ’em live knows: this is way beyond alt-country. (

IOTA Frankenstein Earphone Radio God
The local stoner-metal kings’ latest kicks off with a face-melting rampage that only hints at the fuzz-pocalypse to come, burns like a third sun till the 12-minute (!) “Hal is a Hungry Robot,” then supernovas on the title closer. Needs: more cowbell! (

What this howling mess of blues, garage and punk lacks in fidelity and variety is made up for in swaggering attitude'which is really all that matters. Also, no winking Blues Explosion irony; Red Top may actually mean it. (

Rockabilly greasers, death-metalheads and goth casualties could come together via The Pagan Dead'it’d be a weird party, but so is Spondalia. The Satan ’n’ slap-bass shtick is leavened with varying arrangements, thus sidestepping pure novelty. (

With song titles like “Sheep Are Easy” and “I Want a Woman to Be My Man,” it might seem like Cross-Eyed Slut are straining for punk-metal yuks'but Rough really is that funny. Know what a “Catsup Packet” is? Oh, you will … ( Music Thunderfist, Utah County Swillers, Numbs, Silent Sevens, Iota, RedTop Wolverine Show, Pagan Dead, Cross-Eyed Slut Local CD Revue 1CDD3F6F-2BF4-55D0-F1FC287CDEC28E77 2007-06-11 16:17:48.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2006-12-28 00:00:00.0 6 0
Sir St. Huck & Lady Stardust

City Weekly is asking what’s playing on your iPods and assorted digital toys'brand-new tunes, classic favorites, etc.'right now, and why. This week, DJs Sir St. Huck and Lady Stardust (ex Read Steady Go and Loaded) of the new Bang Bang Rock & Roll night at The Vortex tick off but 10 tunes you’ll

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