Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hobo with a Shotgun

Remember when Tarantino and Rodriguez made the Grindhouse double-feature? Death Proof (favorite car movie ever) and Planet Terror (her leg is a gun)? Leading up to the release of those two amazingly gritty action movies, a contest was held to make the best fake trailer in the spirit of Grindhouse. The winner was Hobo with a Shotgun, directed by Jason Eisener. In 2011, it was released as a full-length movie. It's technically the fourth film in the Grindhouse series (the third being Machete).

The plot is gloriously simple. Hope Town has been over run by The Drake and his two sons. Criminals run everything, the police force is completely corrupted, and public executions are a regular event. One traveling homeless man can't stand it.

Great cinematography is used throughout the film and the color palette is beautiful. The villains are completely evil, but they have great style. You might catch yourself thinking "I should dress like that... but then I'd look like a bad guy." It makes me despise them even more.

The best thing about this movie is how easily the audience can relate. Have you ever been in a room full of people that are completely wrong while you're right? Have you ever lost your temper? Wanted to be a vigilante? Wanted to kick a bully's ass? This film evokes all of those feelings and satisfies them.

Despite the garden sprinkler blood spurts and a gratuitous amount of crude sexual slurs, this film has a great message: you can't wait for someone else to fix a problem; you must fix it yourself. If you are a fan of hardcore justice, epic action, snapping bones, homeless people, or any of the above, Hobo with a Shotgun is worth a shot.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cat Power - Sun

The Queen of Indie Rock returns with her ninth album, Sun. A slightly different direction, more independence, and years of work make this one of her best releases thus far.

The album's opener, "Cherokee," is bitter-sweet. It's a reminder of Chan Marshall's uniquely beautiful voice and her remarkable skill of providing her own backing vocals. "Ruin," the lead-single, has a catchy piano riff and poetic lyrics about wealthy countries complaining. My favorite song, "3, 6, 9," is, frankly, badass. Its based on a stomp beat and Marshall's pretty vocals are as pissed as they can be. The finely written lyrics point out that the freedom to use drugs can, in some cases, ultimately take away more freedom than it gives.

One of the amazing things about this album is that Marshall recorded it almost entirely by herself. There are a few exceptions, however, including Iggy Pop's guest vocals on the 11-minute epic "Nothin But Time." This album also features more synths and drum machines than previous Cat Power albums. This is managed in a way that still feels natural and nothing like traditional electronica music. Even though drum machines are used occasionally, the beats are always inventive and even syncopated on a few songs.

Cat Power has never been associated with electronic music and this album still doesn't feel very electronic. Her beautiful song-writing, voice, and true style stay powerful with every release. This is easily one of my favorite Cat Power albums and also a great introduction for new fans. Sun is out now on Matador Records.