RAVES (SOME PREMATURE)
What I've been digging lately:
I first heard of this film in round-ups of last year's Sundance festival and finally saw it yesterday. It kind of blew me away. It's a film noir set in a high school and while that sounds like it could easily veer into Max Fischer Players territory, it totally doesn't. It's fully commited to getting noir right and steeped in drugged out high school decadence. It's unrepentantly arch with line after line of sharp, writerly dialogue but there's an undertone of sadness to it that really makes it work. And it's got yet another great performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (best known as that dude from Third Rock From The Sun. There's a touch of Blue Velvet too. Ooh, and Lukas Haas is in it and he's really creepy and it sometimes feels like Veronica Mars played really dark (although I'm not sure you can get too much darker than tonight's business with the dunking booth.) A can't-miss, and it will be out soon..
Chronicles: Vol. 1 by Bob Dylan
It's so loose and conversational you can almost pretend that he's finally telling the truth about himself for once. Don't be fooled. But don't miss it either. Jumping into five transitional periods of his life, Dylan offers impressionistic acccounts of his early years in New York, his wilderness years in the late-'60s and early-'70s and so forth. My pal Noel referred to it as feeling like the work of an old college friend with a new blog. That's about right.
Cell by Stephen King
I've read King off and on over the years and I can never make up my mind about him. Sometimes I think he's underrated, sometimes overrated. He's got some problems as a writer that have been there from the start and haven't really gone away. But when he's on, he's on and he's really on with this new one, an apocalyptic zombie novel that keeps changing the rules until it finally becomes this dreamlike examination on what it means to be human and whether civilization really all that great. Also, zombies. Always awesome.
Built To Spill's new album You In Reverse
Five years after a mediocre album but, boy, forget all that. This is a fully operational Death Star of an album. I can't wait to see them in April.