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January 10, 2006 - February 07, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

DVD Tuesday: Bloom's 'Elizabethtown', Urban's 'Doom' - Xoanon @ 09:22 PST
After causing the Oregon shoe company he works for to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, Drew Baylor is fired for his mistake, and promptly also dumped by his girlfriend, Ellen. On the verge of suicide, Drew is oddly given a new purpose in life when he is brought back to his family's small Kentucky hometown of Elizabethtown following the death of his father, Mitch, as it falls to him to make sure that his dying wishes are fulfilled. On the way home, Drew meets a flight attendant, Claire Colburn(Dunst), with whom he falls in love, in a romance that helps his life get back on track... [Order 'Elizabethtown' on Amazon.com Today!]

Something has gone wrong at a remote scientific research station on Mars. All research has ceased. Communication has failed. And the messages that do get through are less than comforting. It's a level 5 quarantine and the only souls allowed in or out are the Rapid Response Tactical Squad - hardened Space Marines armed to the teeth with enough firepower to neutralize the enemy... or so they think. [Order 'Doom' on Amazon.com Today!]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

DVD Tuesday: Bean's 'Flightplan' Takes Off - Xoanon @ 11:24 PST
Like a lot of stylishly persuasive thrillers, Flightplan is more fun to watch than it is to think about. There's much to admire in this hermetically sealed mystery, in which a propulsion engineer and grieving widow (Jodie Foster) takes her 6-year-old daughter (and a coffin containing her husband's body) on a transatlantic flight aboard a brand-new jumbo jet she helped design, and faces a mother's worst nightmare when her daughter (Marlene Lawston) goes missing. But how can that be? Is she delusional? Are the flight crew, the captain (Sean Bean) and a seemingly sympathetic sky marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) playing out some kind of conspiratorial abduction? In making his first English-language feature, German director Robert Schwentke milks the mother's dilemma for all it's worth, and Foster's intense yet subtly nuanced performance (which builds on a fair amount of post-9/11 paranoia) encompasses all the shifting emotions required to grab and hold your attention. Alas, this upgraded riff on Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (not to mention Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake is Missing) is ultimately too preposterous to hold itself together. Flightplan gives us a dazzling tour of the jumbo jet's high-tech innards, and its suspense is intelligently maintained all the way through to a cathartic conclusion, but the plot-heavy mechanics break down under scrutiny. Your best bet is to fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the thrills on a purely emotional level -- a strategy that worked equally well with Panic Room, Foster's previous thriller about a mother and daughter in peril. [Order 'Flightplan' on Amazon.com Today!]

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Exclusive 'In Elven Lands' Track Preview & Art - Xoanon @ 12:36 PST

Carvin writes: Attached, I'm sending you a fourth and final track for you to review from the Voiceprint Records (UK) release "In Elven Lands."

This is our setting of the "Song of Durin" that Gimli sings in Moria. As with much of the album, the harmonies are based on the ancient pythagorean principal of "Organum" which predates chordal harmonies by at least two thousand years. The rhythm is derived from Tolkien's lyrics.

This is one of two instrumental versions of settings of Tolkien's lyrics. While many of the songs on "In Elven Lands" began as settings of Tolkien's lyrics, a few were left without replacement lyrics, since any attempt to out-tolkien Tolkien on these songs seemed ludicrous. Due to copyright reasons, we were not allowed to use Tolkien's lyrics in our recording.

This recording features myself on ancient corneto, crumhorn, slide trumpets and harp, as well as the modern bass clarinet and oboe. David Uebersax played the sackbutt (a kind of early trombone), Patrick Delaney played drums and Caitlin Elizabeth played cello.

Listen to 'When Durin Woke' now!

'In Elven Lands' Concept Art

Also, here is a .jpg of a piece of the concept art for the upcoming Voiceprint Records (UK) Release, "In Elven Lands." A flat (2D) version of the art ended up on the album. These illuminated pages are lyrics from the songs "Tir Im" and "Verses to Elbereth Gilthoniel." The "Elbereth" page features an illustration of the "Sicle of the Valar" while the "Tir Im" page shows the Misty Mountains with Caradhras in the middle.

Concept art was used to remind the performers to maintain an "ancient music" performance style throughout the recording process. The performers for "In Elven Lands" came from such diverse backgrounds as World Music, Progressive Rock, Film Composition, Early Music and Punk Rock.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Exclusive 'In Elven Lands' Track Preview - Xoanon @ 18:25 PST

Carvin writes: This time, I'm attaching the song "Beware The Wolf" from the Voiceprint Records (UK) release "In Elven Lands." The title of the album comes from the opening verse of this song. The rhythm of "Beware The Wolf" is derived from the poetic metre of Tolkien's "Song of Beren and Luthien."

It features Caitlin Elizabeth on vocals and cello, Patrick Delaney on Drums and myself on lute, wooden flutes, harp and oboe.

Listen to 'Beware The Wolf' now!

Order 'In Elven Lands: The Fellowship' on Amazon.com today!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Exclusive 'In Elven Lands' Track Preview - Xoanon @ 19:47 PST

Carvin writes: Here is the opening track from the Voiceprint Records (UK) release "In Elven Lands," entitled "Tir Im" (Watch Over Me).

As an opening piece, it is more of a prayer than a story-telling song. Tir Im is based on the music of mediaeval composer Hildegard von Bingen. It features Caitlin Elizabeth on lead vocal and cello.

Listen to 'Tir Im' now!

Order 'In Elven Lands: The Fellowship' on Amazon.com today!

DVD Tuesday: McKellen & Csokas' 'Asylum' - Xoanon @ 10:25 PST
Asylum stars Natasha Richardson in an unsettling psychological thriller about the repressed, 1950s wife of a psychiatrist (Hugh Bonneville) and her affair with a convicted killer (Marton Csokas). Stella (Richardson), Max (Bonneville), and their son Charlie (Gus Lewis, who played the young Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond) move to a high-security psychiatric hospital, where the priggish Max joins the staff and hopes to ascend, in time, to the top spot, replacing the soon-to-retire hospital director (Joss Ackland).

Standing in Max's way is another doctor, Cleave (Ian McKellen), who takes a quiet yet somehow sinister interest in unhappy Stella's apparent attraction to Edgar (Csokas), a connection that will lead to more than one sorrowful end. Based on a novel by Patrick McGrath (who adapted his own Spider into the screenplay for David Cronenberg's 2002 film), Asylum is directed by David Mackenzie (Young Adam) with a subtle but growing apprehension of manipulated destiny in Cleave's hands. (It's hard not to think of Cleave as a villainous puppetmaster in Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse universe.) There are times when one might be tempted to dismiss Asylum as too opaque in its explanation for why Stella does the often wretched things she does. But patience is well rewarded: It takes full running time of the movie for the story's complete design to become clear. [Order 'Asylum ' on Amazon.com Today!]

Monday, January 16, 2006

Exclusive 'In Elven Lands' Track Preview - Xoanon @ 18:36 PST

Carvin writes: Cliff 'Quickbeam' Broadway suggested that I send you a track or two from the upcoming Voiceprint Records (UK) release, "In Elven Lands" for review.

Verses to Elbereth Gilthóniel features Jon Anderson singing in Sindarin, two verses in praise of the Vala Varda.

It also features Punk-Rock legend, Ethan James on hurdy-gurdy, Caitlin Elizabeth on cello and backing vocals, Patrick Delaney on drums and myself on wooden flutes and oboe.

Listen to 'Verses to Elbereth Gilthoni' now!

Order 'In Elven Lands: The Fellowship' on Amazon.com today!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

DVD Tuesday: Bell is 'The Chumscrubber' - Xoanon @ 14:22 PST
The Chumscrubber

At first glance perhaps evoking the despair-beneath-the-hedges genre, The Chumscrubber possesses a wondrous sense of American magic realism uniquely its own. First-time director Arie Posin is also exceedingly generous toward his characters; investing each of the players in his large cast with a novelistic sense of empathy, ambiguity, and complexity. A work of brutal, uncompromising honesty The Chumscrubber is also, somehow, miraculously devoid of vitriol.

Richly layered, thematically provocative, filled with epiphanic visual moments and a haunting original score by James Horner, stocked with the deepest cast bench of any recent ensemble film, The Chumscrubber announces the arrival of a major film artist. [Order 'The Chumscrubber' on Amazon.com Today!]

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