Daily Archives: October 10, 2007

Radiohead: “In Rainbows”

Avid Radiohead fans rejoice! For today, October 10th, marks the release of the band’s new package-free download-only album, “In Rainbows”.

Their first album — not including Thom Yorke’s 2006 solo outing “The Eraser” — since 2003’s incendiary “Hail To The Thief”, “Rainbows” marks a turning point in the band’s career and the music business in general, as it has no set retail price.

That’s right, go the album’s website: www.inrainbows.com create an account with an active e-mail address and then pay whatever price you like for the download. Could be $10.00, could be $0.00. Pay what you think is fair and the album is yours to download. Crazy, huh? Or brilliant?!

Radiohead Discbox!

Bypassing the major labels and the superstore chains altogether, the band is betting that their true fans will pay for the album, which judging by their hip, generally older-skewing demo is probably true. Christine and I ordered the album last weekend and paid somewhere around $11.00. The price is a little murky as it is listed on the website in pounds, but seems fair considering the price of CD’s these days.

After three sleepless nights of waiting, the link to the download page arrived in my inbox this morning and aside from a few technical difficulties (which they promptly addressed via email from London!) the album has been playing on my Macbook ever since. And all I can say is…wow. Totally worth the four year wait!

Hauntingly beautiful and surprisingly accessible, the album positively shimmers. So far my favorite track is a thumping, ethereal number called “Reckoner” but really, the whole album rocks. It is definitely worth 5.4o pounds or whatever other price you chose to pay for it.

And for die-hard fans with deep pockets there is a larger packaged version of the album (pictured above) due out in December. Called the Discbox, this version includes a hardback book, a couple of vinyl records, a slew of extra songs and a price tag of roughly $80.00. A bit steep for my blood at the moment, but hey, Christmas does fall in December, so you never know…

Anyway, check out the album, pay what you can and most importantly enjoy the supersonic splendor that is Radiohead!

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“They Live By Night”

OK, I don’t plan on writing movie reviews of EVERY movie we see, but I just finally watched Nicolas Ray’s classic directorial debut, “They Live By Night” (1948) on TCM and knew I had to write about it.

Granger & O’Donnell in THEY LIVE BY NIGHT

I use the word finally because I’ve been looking for this movie on DVD or video (it was finally released this summer as a “Film Noir Double Feature” with “Side Street”) ever since I first heard about it in a Noir class at SFSU. So, you can imagine how happy I was to find it show up on my Tivo Wishlist last week. Yeah!

Based on the book “Theives Like Us” (which itself was adapted into another film by Robert Altman in the 1970’s) “Night” is one of the first filmed versions of the “Bonnie & Clyde” story. Which, I have to admit, I am a total sucker for.

“Badlands”, “Bonnie & Clyde”, hell, I even like “Kalifornia”. I’m serious, give me a doomed, murderous couple on the run and I’m there!

Farley Granger in THEY LIVE BY NIGHT

“Night” isn’t perfect (some of the supporting cast is a bit stiff) but the movie is so hip and stylish that you hardly care. The aerial tracking shots of the get-away car are shockingly-modern and so cool that they’ll leave you positively breathless!

And the pre-credit sequence of the doomed couple kissing while the words: “This boy and this girl were never properly introduced in the world we live in” scroll by beneath them, is truly revolutionary for a Hollywood film at that time. Wow, you can see here why Ray was the total darling of the French New Wave directors. This movie has style to burn!

“Night” features a crazy young Farley Granger (“Rope”, “Strangers On A Train”) and Cathy O’Donnell (“Side Street”) as the star-crossed lovers on the lam, and the movie handles their budding relationship with a sensitivity and subtly that is almost neo-realistic in it’s simplicity. Seriously, you really love these crazy kids.

Cathy O’Donnell in THEY LIVE BY NIGHT

Wearing virtually no make-up the entire first half of the movie, O’Donnell brings to mind the naive “jailbait” character played so memorably by Sissy Spacek in “Badlands”. She’s fantastic, but Granger is out of this world. Usually kind of a wooden pretty boy, he is so earnest and tortured here that he could give James Dean a run for his money.

The story plays out pretty much as they all do (complete with the usual tragic ending) but the scenes of the couple at a low-rent wedding chapel and later at a cabin hide-out where they try to find some semblance of normalcy by playing house are downright heartbreaking.

I defy you not to get a little weepy when Granger gives O’Donnell an expensive watch as a courting gift near the beginning. Beautiful!

Farley Granger & gun in THEY LIVE BY NIGHT

While I can’t say it’s my favorite of the couple on the run genre, this movie is a total must-see for film geeks and the random Nicolas Ray completist out there. So, check it out!

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