Metallica: Through the Never shows the Bay Area earbusters still fucking rule

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 25, 2013 Last year, American metal legends Metallica played three shows in Vancouver, during which director Nimród Antal (Vacancy, Predators) shot the brunt of this 3-D IMAX film. Earplugs are optional. The movie opens with stunning nighttime aerial footage that takes viewers soaring over beautiful downtown Van toward the glowing … Continue reading Metallica: Through the Never shows the Bay Area earbusters still fucking rule

Bottle Rockets reissue displays Brian Henneman’s observational eye

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 19, 2013 By Steve Newton Nineteen-ninety-four might not have been the greatest year for fans of rootsy, meat 'n' potatoes guitar-rock. Hootie and the Blowfish released their diamond-selling (10-million copies plus) Cracked Rear View album. The Barenaked Ladies were going platinum. And Yanni unleashed Live at the Acropolis. But if you were lucky enough … Continue reading Bottle Rockets reissue displays Brian Henneman’s observational eye

Rory Gallagher crime-noir interests spawn Kickback City

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 17, 2013 By Steve Newton Guess I shoulda known, from song titles like "Kickback City" and "Loanshark Blues"—not to mention "Continental Op"—that Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher had a passion for the crime-noir genre. For anyone else who might have missed out on that angle, Eagle Rock Entertainment is going to set … Continue reading Rory Gallagher crime-noir interests spawn Kickback City

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s soul shines on Texas Flood Legacy Edition

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 28, 2013 By Steve Newton I consider myself extremely lucky when it comes to Stevie Ray Vaughan. He's one of my all-time fave guitarists--right up there with Rory Gallagher and Jeff Beck--and I was fortunate enough to see him play live several times before his tragic death on August 27, 1990, at the age … Continue reading Stevie Ray Vaughan’s soul shines on Texas Flood Legacy Edition

Richard Pryor box set celebrates the world’s most hilarious human

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 6, 2013 By Steve Newton Nowadays it seems like I get the majority of my humour from animation and cartoons—or animated cartoons, if you will. Archer, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, that trustry standby The Simpsons—there's no shortage of chortle-inducing material out there if you're wealthy enough to afford cable. But back in the day I … Continue reading Richard Pryor box set celebrates the world’s most hilarious human

ZZ Top box set will include original mixes of three early albums

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 1, 2013 By Steve Newton Remember how ZZ Top's Tejas album sounded back in '76 when you tossed it on your Yamaha turntable, cranked up the Kenwood amp, and blasted it through those Pioneer speakers? Well, I sure do. It sounded wicked! Especially when it got to "Pam Am Highway Blues". Fellow … Continue reading ZZ Top box set will include original mixes of three early albums

Ramones box set boasts over 75 tunes on six discs

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 13, 2013 By Steve Newton Like the band itself, there's nothing fancy about the new Ramones boxed set, The Sire Years: 1976-1981. The seminal NYC punks just collected their first six albums—Ramones ('76), Leave Home and Rocket to Russia ('77), Road to Ruin ('78), the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century ('80), and Pleasant Dreams ('81)—and stuck 'em in a little box. … Continue reading Ramones box set boasts over 75 tunes on six discs

Rockers say the darndest things: top quotes of 2013

Dave Wyndorf (above) "probably would have made more money." I interviewed quite a few rockers last year. Here's some of the things they said. "To me stoner rock is just non-commercial rock that pulls from every great era... And as far as the stoner element, I mean, yeah, it’s always cool to smoke pot.” --Brant Bjork … Continue reading Rockers say the darndest things: top quotes of 2013

Horror review: Bad Milo!

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, DEC. 4, 2013 If you’re the type of bad-movie fan who got all psyched at Blockbuster back in ’85 when you spotted the video box for Ghoulies with that grinning, sharp-toothed, cheapjack monster coming out of a toilet, have I got a film for you. But it’s really gonna help if Jeff Daniels’s … Continue reading Horror review: Bad Milo!

Horror review: Oldboy

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 27, 2013 Hard-core fans of the original Oldboy likely had two main concerns about the 2003 South Korean shocker’s Hollywood remaking. They probably wondered why anyone would screw with the ultraviolent masterpiece in the first place. And also why—when the flick had Tarantino written all over it—Spike Lee was doing the screwing. … Continue reading Horror review: Oldboy

Horror review: Carrie

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 18, 2013 Carrie was one of the most impressive film adaptations of a Stephen King horror novel ever, right up there with The Shining, The Dead Zone, and Misery. In director Brian De Palma's capable hands, King's tale of a timid teenaged outsider with telekinetic powers who uses them to strike back against the … Continue reading Horror review: Carrie

Horror review: Insidious–Chapter 2

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 12, 2013 I thought 2011’s Insidious was actually pretty decent—the first hour, anyway. It did a commendable job of building suspense in its tale about married couple Renai and Josh Lambert (Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson) trying to rescue their comatose son from supernatural forces. It didn’t start to falter until the … Continue reading Horror review: Insidious–Chapter 2

Horror review: Riddick

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 5, 2013 The owners of the Riddick franchise definitely had the right idea with this third film in the Vin Diesel–driven series—for the first 20 minutes, at least. After that, everything goes to Diesel-powered shit. But for the first few scenes, David Twohy—who also directed 2000’s Pitch Black and its follow-up, The Chronicles … Continue reading Horror review: Riddick

Horror review: You’re Next

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 21, 2013 For all the gorehounds who’ve ever wondered how Jason Voorhees and a couple of his clones might operate in a home-invasion scenario, have I got a flick for you. In You’re Next, it’s wedding-anniversary time for the wealthy Davison couple (Rob Moran and horror icon Barbara Crampton of Re-Animator fame), who … Continue reading Horror review: You’re Next

Horror review: Berberian Sound Studio

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 7, 2013 With his wimpy, sad-sack face and sheepish, mama’s-boy persona, Toby Jones is not your typical leading man. But he sure was the right choice to top-line this stylishly creepy psycho thriller that pays homage to the Italian horror scene of the ’70s. Jones stars as Gilderoy, a British … Continue reading Horror review: Berberian Sound Studio

Horror review: The Conjuring

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 18, 2013 Aiming to impress horror freaks, the poster for The Conjuring boasts “from the director of Saw and Insidious”, which was a much wiser choice than “from the writers of The Reaping”. But the fact remains that the team of director James Wan and scripters Chad and Carey Hayes comes up short with this demonic-possession … Continue reading Horror review: The Conjuring

Horror review: The Purge

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 7, 2013 On paper The Purge looked promising for horror fans, mainly because it was—as the ads trumpeted—"from the producer of Paranormal Activity and Sinister", two of the better supernatural thrillers Hollywood has spawned in recent years. Plus, it stars Ethan Hawke (who was impressive as Sinister's struggling true-crime writer) and Game of Thrones' magnetic Lena Headey. … Continue reading Horror review: The Purge

Horror review: Evil Dead

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, APRIL 5, 2013 By Steve Newton At what point in life does the attraction of extreme gore--even to the lifelong horror fan--start to fade? It depends, I guess. All I know is, the sight of a possessed woman slicing her own tongue in half lengthwise just doesn't do it for me … Continue reading Horror review: Evil Dead

Horror review: The Call

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 15, 2013 After seeing Halle Berry's ridiculous performance in 2003's godawful Gothika I didn't have high hopes for her latest Hollywood thriller. But boy, what a pleasant--as in terrifying--surprise. The Call deserves all the gushy hyperbole ("electrifying", "white-knuckle", "pulse-pounding") a critic can muster. The movie opens with Berry, as 911 operator Jordan Turner, fielding … Continue reading Horror review: The Call

Horror review: The Last Exorcism Part II

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 1, 2013 2010's The Last Exorcism was a pretty decent flick as far as Hollywood horrors go. It told the tale of an apparently possessed Louisiana teen named Nell (Ashley Bell) who is used as a test subject for a documentary shoot about fake exorcisms. While it incorporated a lot of … Continue reading Horror review: The Last Exorcism Part II

Horror review: Dark Skies

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 22, 2013 The makers of Dark Skies used a quote from legendary sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke to open their new alien-abduction thriller. It reads: "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." Oh really? Isn't the possibility that we are alone … Continue reading Horror review: Dark Skies

Horror review: Warm Bodies

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 31, 2013 Warm Bodies is a whoppingly insignificant zombie rom-com clearly aimed at scraping up any cash the horror-lite crowd hasn’t already blown on Twilight. The movie opens with Nicholas Hoult’s zombie character—later named just R because zombies make a lot of growling “arrrr” sounds—shuffling through a post-apocalypse airport while his voice-over … Continue reading Horror review: Warm Bodies

Horror review: Mama

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 17, 2013 Poor Jessica Chastain. Just one week after the release of the acclaimed Zero Dark Thirty—with its slew of Oscar nominations, including hers for best actress—out comes Mama, a patently ridiculous kids-raised-by-a-ghost flick. There’s one agent in Hollywood who’s got some ’splainin’ to do. Mama starts off strong. One snowy afternoon, a … Continue reading Horror review: Mama

Horror review: Texas Chainsaw 3D

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 4, 2013 Everything is relative, which is why I'm not going to rip Texas Chainsaw 3D the new one that it may well deserve. After all, it is way more entertaining (i.e. sicker) than the last entry in the franchise, 2007's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. And it deserves a modicum … Continue reading Horror review: Texas Chainsaw 3D

Quinn Sullivan found his love of the blues early—really early

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 29, 2013 By Steve Newton The blues world has produced its fair share of guitar-wielding child prodigies. Growing up with family connections to the Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks scored his first paid gig at 11. And Kenny Wayne Shepherd took up guitar at the age of seven, shortly after being … Continue reading Quinn Sullivan found his love of the blues early—really early

Vista Chino’s Brant Bjork still likes rock ‘n’ reef, says “it’s always cool to smoke pot.”

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 4, 2013 By Steve Newton When stoner-rock legend Brant Bjork picks up the phone at his desert home in Joshua Tree, California, it’s just like old times. Eight years ago—when he was recording and touring with his band Brant Bjork and the Bros—Bjork called the Straight from the same location and expounded … Continue reading Vista Chino’s Brant Bjork still likes rock ‘n’ reef, says “it’s always cool to smoke pot.”