Jon Favreau

STAR WARS: The Mandalorian – new trailer

“New The Mandalorian trailer looks like the Star Wars we’re used to,” says the media.

“What the fuck are you on?” says I.

The Mandalorian is Jon Favreau’s new Star Wars bounty hunter series starring Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers and Werner Herzog.  And it looks nothing — nothing at all — like “the Star Wars we’re used to”, so ignore the hype.

No Jedi.  No Skywalkers.  An unexplored timeline (just after Endor).  No, this looks like something entirely new.  Which is good.  Don’t believe the hype.  Tell the hype to fuck off.

“Is the world more peaceful since the revolution?” asks Herzog.

One thing that is exactly the same as old Star Wars:  Nobody knows what a parsec is.

The Mandalorian arrives November 12.

REVIEW: Swingers – Music from the Miramax Motion Picture (1996)


Scan_20160714SWINGERS – Music from the Miramax Motion Picture (1996 A&M)

Now here…now here is a soundtrack!  Every track is a keeper.  With a mixture of oldies and newer songs, Swingers had a peerless balance.   If you’re down to swing, dance, or just get dirty, this soundtrack has what you need.  Bonus points for the uber-thin and young Vince Vaughn on the front cover too. Jon Favreau executive produced the soundtrack, and it’s clear the guy has good taste in music.

I love it when a soundtrack puts scenes from a movie right in your head.  Dean Martin’s “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” kicks off both the CD and the movie, and all I can think is “Vegas baby, Vegas.”  That slow jazz just sets the mood for the adventures ahead.  The horns pop!  It’s money, baby.  Talk about setting the bar high for an opening track; thankfully there’s lots more to come.

“Paid for Loving” by Love Jones brings me right into the film’s setting again, but it’s Tony Bennett’s “With Plenty of Money and You” that has me seeing the bright lights of Vegas before me.  Remember Mikey and T rolling up in their suits?  You’d feel like a high roller too, with a song like this playing.  Tony is followed by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (who appeared in the film).  Now, I do kinda wish it was the live version of “You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)”.  In the film, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy play it live, but this is a studio version.  I think including the live version would have been an extra treat for fans, but I’m not complaining.  If you don’t find yourself tapping your toes to it, call the coroner, because you may be dead.

Mixing new and old, Scotty and the guys from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are chased by Louis Jordan, from way way back in 1941.  If you love muted trumpet solos, then dig right in.  A song you should recognise is the oft-played “Groove Me” by King Floyd (1970).  It’s a soul classic that found itself used on TV ads over the years.   More jazz (a couple cool instrumentals), and more Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are to be found as the CD progresses.  Daddy have three tracks on the CD, all of which were in the movie.  “Go Daddy-O” has to be a favourite for sure, but “I Wan’na Be Like You” has a tropical salsa beat.

Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” isn’t jazz and doesn’t swing, but it has the same golden oldie feel.  It’s not the only country song:  George Jones himself honours the CD with his presence.  The melancholy ballad “She Thinks I Still Care” is one of the…saddest, I guess…lyrics I’ve ever heard.  It’s a great song from a great scene in the film.

“Pick up the Pieces” by the Average White Band is the kind of song everybody needs.  “Need” isn’t too strong a word either.  You know the song, you love the song.  You have to.  It’s required.  Finally, “I’m Beginning to See the Light” by Bobby Darin completes the journey, and it’s back to the same kind of sound that Dean Martin started the album with.  And what a journey it is!  You just…feel BETTER after listening.  When I bought this CD, I felt like this line of dialogue directly applied to me:

“You’re a big winner.  I’m gonna ask you a simple question and I want you to listen to me: who’s the big winner here tonight at the casino? Huh?  Mikey!  That’s who!  Mikey’s the big winner.  Mikey wins.”

5/5 stars

REVIEW: AC/DC – Iron Man 2 (2010 deluxe CD/DVD)

AC/DC – Iron Man 2 (2010 Columbia deluxe CD/DVD set)

For the second time, AC/DC have supplied the soundtrack to a movie (see: Who Made Who, the soundtrack to Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive). This release basically amounts to a cool “best of” CD. While Who Made Who had some new material, Iron Man 2 is the straight oldies, with a few unexpected surprises thrown in. Since AC/DC have never released a proper “best of” CD, this is about as close as you’re likely to get. And it’s just fine.

I’m guessing Jon Favreau had a lot to do with the picking and choosing and sequencing of songs, and he’s obviously an AC/DC fan. I mean, “Evil Walks”? There is even a song (“Cold Hearted Man”) from the Backtracks box set and one from the more recent AC/DC opus, Black Ice. As such, Iron Man 2 is a pretty damn good single disc overview of the whole AC/DC shebang. It flows well, it has an excellent mix of Bon and Brian, and the sound is as good as any of the AC/DC remasters available. Lyrically, it even (very) loosely relates to Iron Man 2 (“Shoot to Thrill”, “War Machine”, “Evil Walks”, “Back In Black”; use your imagination). In short, it rocks. Buy this with Who Made Who, and you will essentially have all the AC/DC that a newbie needs to get kickstarted, with a fair chunk of deep cuts as well.

The deluxe edition packaging is awesome to behold, with (very fragile) shiny cover art, a generous booklet (loads of Iron Man and band photos in here) and a DVD. The DVD is nothing to write home about: the new video of “Shoot To Thrill” and a making-of featurette being the main draw. The live stuff is great, but a fair bit has been previously released on official AC/DC DVDs before (including the aforementioned Backtracks box set). Still, I have no complaints.  It’s just a bonus DVD from a soundtrack representing a Hollywood action movie; it’s not meant to cater specifically to me.  It’s good viewing and you may as well consider it a freebie at this price.

Die hard fans who already own the whole AC/DC back catalogue won’t need this, but I bought it anyway. As a car disc it’s fun due to the inclusion of obscure tracks. But it works. The album flows and rocks, and those obscure tracks deserve a second look-see. I’d forgotten how cool the song “The Razors Edge” is, and it totally fits the Iron Man vibe.

If you need some more AC/DC in your life, some more iron in your blood, go for it. You won’t be let down. Personal highlights for me include:

  • “The Razors Edge”
  • “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”
  • “Cold Hearted Man”
  • “Rock n’ Roll Damnation”

But the whole thing is great, not a weak track in the bunch!

4/5 stars

DVD REVIEW: I Love You Man (2009)

It’s the end of the Week of Rockin’ Movies.  All week we discussed movies with significant rock n’ roll connections.  If you missed anything, click below!  Thanks for hanging out.

MONDAY:  House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
TUESDAY: The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
WEDNESDAY: 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
THURSDAY: Record Store Tales Part 284: The Impact of Movies
FRIDAY: Get Him to the Greek (2010)

I LOVE YOU MAN (2009 Paramount)

Directed by John Hamburg

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to review this rocking comedy. This and Fanboys arrived at roughly the same time, both movies featuring a character who loves the Holy Trinity known to Canadians as Rush. However only I Love You Man was able to score appearances from Geddy, Alex and Neil.

If you’re not a fan of the Apatow factory players – guys like Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Joe Lo Truglio, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, etc – then even the appearance of the Mighty Rush is unlikely to sway you to I Love You Man. You know what kind of humour you’re in for: dick and fart jokes, and plenty of them. If that’s not your kind of humour, that’s cool, man!

I happen to love fart jokes.

I Love You Man has some great fart jokes. But it also has heart, which is why I’m still into it five years later. Peter Klaven (Rudd) is newly engaged to his lovely girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones), but there’s one major issue: He doesn’t have any real guy friends. Zooey has plenty of bridesmaids, but Peter can’t think of anyone for the crucial role of best man. Klaven embarks upon a series of “man-dates” to get to know some guys better. These range from funny (Joe Lo Truglio’s gratingly high-voiced Lonnie) to disastrous (a vomit-filled poker game with Jon Favreau).

Klaven has a second problem. As a real estate agent, he’s landed a great client, but also a tough house to sell: Lou Ferrigno’s place. While Peter laments that it’s hard to sell a house with a giant-size Hulk statue on the lawn, it is at an open house that he meets Jason Segel’s Sydney Fife. Hitting it off, the guys exchange cards and agree to get some drinks later.

The critics really praised the on screen chemistry between Rudd and Segal, and it’s hard not to get drawn into their story. Especially when they realize they have a mutual affinity for Rush. This leads to the now-famous “Slappin’ Da Bass” scene, a phrase that Geddy may hear at just about every concert he plays, for all eternity.

The weakness with the movie (and many similar films) is the lack of strong female characters. Zooey is relegated to the character that is slowly pushed aside by Sydney. It’s not intentional of course, but a few missteps that Sydney makes end up upsetting Zooey, and eventually Peter, enough to jeopardize the best man slot at the wedding.

Can Peter, Sydney and Zooey reconcile in time for the wedding? Will Peter ever sell Lou Ferigno’s house? Will Rush be played at the wedding?

Of course you know what will happen, but this being a review, I’m obligated to stay away from spoilers.

I thought the cast was great, the story hilarious (if not the most original idea), and even the supporting cast were all standouts. J.K. Simmons as “the dad” and Andy Samberg as “the gay brother” were notable, even in their small roles. As a child of the 70’s, Lou Ferrigno was icing on the cake for me. The guy obviously has a good sense of humour, and the movie would not have been the same without him. Ferrigno rules.

I Love You Man has earned a permanent place in my movie collection, and not just for the Rush references!

4/5 stars

Paul Rudd as Peter Klaven
Jason Segel as Sydney Fife
Rashida Jones as Zooey Rice
Andy Samberg as Robbie Klaven
J. K. Simmons as Oswald Klaven
Jane Curtin as Joyce Klaven
Jaime Pressly as Denise McLean
Jon Favreau as Barry McLean
Lou Ferrigno as Himself
Rush as themselves