Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh, how I love my new record playa

The Leopard was not particularly excited about growing one year older on my recent birthday, until I received a wonderful gift -- a brand spanking new turntable. I haven't owned one of these babies since the 80's. It's one of those newfangled joints that also hook up to your computer so you can transfer that good, warm sound straight into an mp3, complete with scratches and skips if you want (and you can download software if you don't).

The first week I got the thing, I went nuts and bought a shitload of old records from ebay and local vinyl record stores. It was fun. They were mostly some of my favorite jazz lps and the odd Joni Mitchell record.

There's something truly marvelous about seeing that big black disc twirl around. One of the true joys is hearing it end and start clicking once the needle hits the label. It means side one is over, time to turn the record over.
Man, that takes me back.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Leopard List : 2009 Movies

The Leopard hasn't posted a movie list in a while because I haven't had much chance to go to the movies. And specifically, I'm not particularly interested in a critical list of new films. Just one that spotlights recent movies that I reccommend you go see. Unfortunately, there's been precious few lately.
Having said that, here are couple of recent releases that I enjoyed and I think are definitely worth a look.

1. Inglourious Basterds
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

There has been a general mixed reaction to this film, but I am of the opinion it's one of Tarantino's best. Sure, it's loaded with homages to many past films, grade A through grade B. Sure, it's outrageously violent, and yes, it's relentlessly historically inaccurate and sort of pointless, but so what? It's greatly entertaining and full of terrific performances. Newcomer Christoph Waltz is simply brilliant as a charming but sadistic nazi; Brad Pitt is hilarious as hell bent soldier bent on relieving the SS of their scalps; and Melanie Laurent is wonderful as an escaped jew who exacts revenge.

2. I Love You Man
Directed by John Hamburg

A light and vulgar little comedy starring Paul Rudd and Jason Siegel which also somehow manages to be surprisingly insightful. Rudd plays a guy so devoted to the women in his life he neglects to have any kind of relationship with a someone of his own sex. Awkward and charming, Rudd is in his element.

3. Coraline
Directed by Henry Selick

Selick, a wizard of the stop motion technique and the man behind Tim Burton's wonderful "Nightmare Before Christmas" from a few years back, creates a truly magical and special film about a little girl who finds a secret door in her old house and travels to an alternative dimension. The visuals, which are breathtaking, are enhanced by the 3D treatment.

4. Tyson
Directed by James Toback

Toback's no-holds-barred documentary about troubled boxer Mike Tyson is nothing less than revelatory. In his own words, Tyson lays out his violent, tumultuous life. The champion boxer's story is just as contradictory as this compelling film.

5. Star Trek
Directed by JJ Abrams

A wondrous, exciting, and forward-thinking reimagining of the beloved TV show, the new Star Trek movie is a giant leap forward for the franchise. All the actors are beautifully cast, especially the lightly lisping Zachary Quinto who, in his brilliant portrayal of Mr. Spock, steals the film.