(I just want to first give props to all the folks at 99x on-air and off who work their asses off to make the station bristle with life. These folks are dedicated to delivering primo goods in the form of music, tailor-made to fit our retro, alternative, athletic, morning, mid-day, late night, partying or otherwise, music needs. Don’t know about you, but I need it. I need it more than an energy drink that’s great one minute but ruining your day the next. 99x is all day. Simply put 99x creates and supports a better lifestyle for us when the economy, politics and crappy business people in general fail to do so. I personally know that all the DJs at 99x do more than just deliver music. They hit the streets swinging for the fences to keep the dream alive; they show up, they throw down and they bring the place to life—often doing the jobs of three or four people and probably getting paid for one. They support the community. They support the sports teams. They support the music scenes—because there are as many music scenes today as there are apps for your phone—and they believe in honing in on the one thing that matters in radio: listeners. When Axel, Lewis, Tommy, Debra, Matt, Pat and Kurt tag a block of music or a news announcement with, “on 99x,” they’re not just saying it like it’s words on a cereal box, or reading out loud from a prescription drug label. They’re saying it with invested meaning, because of the time and effort they’ve invested in us, as if they’re saying, “on fire!” It’s what Kerouac means when he titles his book, “On The Road,” or when The Jesus and Mary Chain sing, “Head On,” or when Happy Mondays play “Step On, “ or when Nirvana sings, “On A Plain,” or when Kings of Leon sing, “On Call,” or when the Foo Fighters sing, “On The Mend,” or when Bloc Party plays “On,” or when Gorillaz sing “On Melancholy Hill,” or when Primal Scream sings, “Movin’ On Up” with the lyrics, “my light shines on”… the word ON seemingly the best place you ever want to be. On is the positive to off. “Turn it on,” The Flaming Lips. For me 99x will always be on.)
Summer closes with barely a whisper at the box office. The Words, starring Bradley Cooper and Olivia Wilde, and The Cold Light of Day, featuring Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, both films PG-13, are your two opening films this weekend as September continues with a silenced bang. But just around the corner we have the start of what usually leads into Oscar talk.
ARGO – October 12th: All the buzz at last week’s Telluride Film Festival was Ben Affleck’s Argo. If you’ve seen The Town (2010) then you know Ben’s gone back to film school. And if you’ve not seen The Town you need to see it asap. Argo is a based-on-a-true-story event whereby a smart guy with the CIA comes up with the idea to pose as filmmakers making a fictitious movie called Argo in order to free American hostages from Iran.
THE MASTER – September 14th: Director Paul Thomas Anderson who gave us the entertaining Boogie Nights (1997) and the very boring but critically pleasing There Will Be Blood (2007) writes and directs this Philip Seymour Hoffman piece that could be about Scientology. Nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
LOOPER – September 28th: There’s been so much marketing and advertising on this man of the future (or past) sent to the future (or past) to kill a man who may be himself in the future (or past). Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt wearing some fuzzed-out AmericanWerewolf In London size contacts, and starring Bruce Willis as his future version. Directed by Rian Johnson who brought us that quirky, cool, weird indie flick Brick back in 2006 (Brick is worth renting if you haven’t seen it).
SKYFALL – November 9th: The third and maybe last James Bond film with Daniel Craig as the shaken not stirred man of international spy-thuggery is directed by American Beauty (1999) and Road to Perdition (2002) master craftsman Sam Mendes. Cinematography is by Roger Deakens who has been nominated for an Oscar nine times and has never won. He was nominated twice in the Best Cinematography category in 2008 for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and for No Country for Old Men. I think grade-A photography and directing on a Bond film is unusual considering Bond history. I can’t wait.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY – October 19th: I’m nervous this film will be too slow and soft, as the title suggests. But the promo photos have Brad Pitt wielding a shotgun as an enforcer, whatever that means IMDB, or hitman…well, I say to myself, Pitt’s a star who with each film one-up’s each of his last films. He may come off as stupid in some of his films never doing more in some films than just eating but he seems to be smart about the roles he chooses. And the trailer looks like a Coen Brothers’ Greatest Hits. Also stars Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, Sam Sheppard and Richard Jenkins. This one is from director Andrew Dominik who helmed The Assassination of Jesse James and The Coward Robert Ford. I’m actually much more interested in Pitt’s World War Z, but the trailer for Killing Them Softly, in addition to Coen-esque, looks very Guy Ritchie
THE SESSIONS – October 26th: I haven’t seen Helen Hunt in a film since As Good As It Gets (1997), or was it Cast Away (2000). Here she plays a sex therapist for Mark O’Brien played by John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone (2010), Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)) who is one of my favorite actors today, who pulls off Chris Cooper better than Chris does. This O’Brien guy has been crippled by polio and at age 36 decides he’s ready for sex. Especially after seeing The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005). The Sessions was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
LINCOLN – November 9th: I already see Oscars for Daniel Day-Lewis and director Steven Spielberg. That’s all I’m saying about this Bio-Pic about our 16th president, from the greatest living American director still making movies today.
DJANGO UNCHAINED – December 21st: It’s not that my five-year-old Labrador is named Django, but that Quinton Tarantino directed it that I’m adding it to the list. It’s a western, and we know how derivative Tarantino is so Sergio Leone will be written all over this one. Starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Don Johnson. Yes, Miami Vice Don Johnson who’s really a great actor. See Tin Cup (1996) and Eastbound and Down for proof.
TABU – December 26th: Could’ve gone with Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty about the events leading up to and S.E.A.L. team killing of Osama Bin Laden, due out December 19th, or Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell (The Fighter (2011) out November 21st, or Wuthering Heights by Fish Tank (2008) director Andrea Arnold due out October 5th but I’m picking TABU, the Berlin 2012 Film Festival winner by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes. We need a good, poetic, black and white, subtitled flick along the lines of Amelie (2001) to pick up our spirits. I’m banking on TABU to do just that.
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