Friday, December 18, 2009

Knowledge Bowl: Westminster Academy Defenders vs. Immaculate Conception Wildcats

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Knowledge Bowl, Match 6: Westminster Academy Defenders vs. Immaculate Conception Wildcats. Aired December 5th, 2009.

Westminster Academy (Red)
Josh (Captain), Senior
Wil, Junior
D.J., Junior
Winston, Sophomore
Alternate: Graham

Immaculate Conception
Katie (Captain), Senior
Madeleine, Junior
Elana, Junior
Colleen, Junior
Alternate: Rachel

Results:
Round One: Westminster 60, Immaculate Conception 70
Round Two: Westminster 80, Immaculate Conception 70
Round Three/Lightning Round: Westminster 60, Immaculate Conception 30
Total: Westminster 200, Immaculate Conception 170

The Game: This was the tightest match since the FACS/Marion conflagration earlier this season. The score was tied going into the Lightning Round (each team capitalizing on 3 of 8 bonuses), and neither team really took control of the last round. The match decision probably came down to sheer volume as much as anything, with Westminster guessing 15 times in the final frame (and getting 6 right — four from D.J.) and Immaculate Conception ringing in only 9 times (and getting 3 right — all from captain Katie).

Continue reading »

Li'l Film Fest 12 This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Live From Memphis' quarterly Li'l Film Fest will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Brooks Museum of Art.

This 12th Li'l Film Fest is the biggest ever, with 19 short films totally roughly 90 minutes, among them works from such established local filmmakers as Morgan Jon Fox, Ryan Parker, and Corduroy Wednesday.

The theme for this Li'l Film Fest is "Free Footage" with all filmmakers given three short clips — car headlights in the distance, trees swaying a twilight sky, a pair of hands rubbing an egg — and asked only to incorporate the footage into their films in some way.

The results are scattered, as you'd imagine. Some took the challenge as an impetus to make experimental films rooted in rhythmic editing and visual collage. Others found ways to incorporate the footage organically into narrative films. And still others took a post-modern approach to challenge, using found footage within the context of their films as just that — found footage.

At the end of the screening, a $500 Grand Jury Prize will be awarded. There will also be an audience award, with the winner getting proceeds from the door.

For more info, go here.

Knowledge Bowl: St. George's Gryphons vs. Christian Brothers Purple Wave

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 8:33 AM

Knowledge Bowl, Match 5: St. George's Independent School Gryphons vs. Christian Brothers Purple Wave. Aired November 28th, 2009.

gryphon_logo.jpg
St. George's (Red)
Wade (Captain), Senior
Trey, Senior
Connor, Senior
Andrew, Senior
Alternate: Kelsey, Junior

CBHS_CB_LOGO.jpg
Christian Brothers (Blue)
Eric (Captain), Senior
Kyle, Senior
Will, Sophomore
Jose, Senior
Alternate: John, Junior

Results:
Round One: St. George's 20, CBHS 180
Round Two: St. George's 75, CBHS 155
Round Three/Lightning Round: St. George's 20, CBHS 90
Total: St. George's 115, CBHS 425

Mea maxima culpa: Translation: My bad, KB enthusiasts. Due to the confluence of deadlines at work and my strong desire to occasionally sleep, I've had to postpone getting up to my elbows in Knowledge Bowl these past few weeks. The past few weeks, I won't say no man has ever been busier, I'll just this man has never been busier. And I will say that if you wish to support to see the fruits of that labor, I encourage you to call the Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce and request one of their annual magazines (just got them in this week) and/or buy MBQ magazine when it hits the newsstand on Jan. 1.

But my thoughts have never been far from my favorite dorks on the planet: KB participants and their loyal supporters and fans. And so it is with great joy that I dig back in to Knowledge Bowl coverage. Today: A day-night doubleheader, with St. George's vs. CBHS and then Immaculate Conception vs. Westminster Academy under the lights. Look for another doubleheader next week, and then we'll be caught back up.

Continue reading »

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Best of the Decade: Film (Take 5)

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 9:25 PM

We conclude our five-part series of posts on the decade in movies (Take 1 here, Take 2 here, Take 3 here, Take 4 here.) with another 20 or so of our favorite scenes and moments. Finally, I wrap it all up with my own Top 25 films of the decade.

MOMENTS:

Basset hound Bruno dutifully organizing his days around barking at the passing trains, echoes of a puppyhood trauma in THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE. (CH)

Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton) rolls by two cops investigating an arson, and he's so transparently guilty that "Fire" is playing on his car radio, HOT FUZZ. (AE)

Paikea (Keisha Castle-Hughes) gives a speech and sings and fights back tears all the while in WHALE RIDER. (GA)

Heath Ledger's Joker poking his head through a squad car window, soaking up the night air, soundtrack muted. A moment of peace in THE DARK KNIGHT. (CH)

The Joker at peace:

Continue reading »

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best of the Decade: Film (Take 4)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 9:41 AM

We continue our five-part series of posts on the decade in movies (Take 1 here, Take 2 here, Take 3 here) with another 20 or so of our favorite scenes and moments. Plus, Addison Engelking reveals his alternative list of 25 favorite films of the decade.

MOMENTS:

“Knights of Columbus!” “Great Odin’s raven!” “By the beard of Zeus!” — stentorian non-sequiturs in ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY. (CH)

William Wilberforce ponders a spider web, AMAZING GRACE. (AE)

A comic-book action scene goes Sam Raimi with a series of double-second vignettes of horror as Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) attacks a surgery room, and a surgeon fights back with a chainsaw, in SPIDER-MAN 2. (GA)

“I’m the Invincible Sword Goddess,” young fighter Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi) says, mocking pretentious martial arts monikers as she mows through a patriarchal maze of slovenly, self-important male opponents in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. (CH)

Teen warrior, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon:

Continue reading »

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Celebration of the Eye Begins Today

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 12:08 PM

This invitation just fell across my desk:

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The Interplanetary Church of the Cosmic Claus invites you to the Celebration of the Eye, with Rev. Harlan T. Bobo presiding.

This year's services will be held in 3-D with a special appearance by the Eye. Glasses provided; free cookies at intermission.

December 18th and 19th at the Hi-Tone Cafe.

The Eye is upon you!

$7, with free admission for whoever returns the monkey stolen from Rev. Bobo at the 2008 services.

Get a free preview of the Celebration of the Eye with a live broadcast from Rev. Bobo on WEVL FM 89.9 today at 5 p.m.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Southeastern Film Critics Association Announces Awards

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Up in the Air, the George Clooney-starring film set to open in Memphis Christmas week, was the big winner as the Southeastern Film Critics Association today named its critics poll winners for 2009. The organization comprises 44 voting members across nine Southeastern states (myself included).

George Clooney: Up in the air and atop the SEFCA poll.
  • George Clooney: Up in the air and atop the SEFCA poll.

I'll run down the winners with my own brief commentary after each category:

BEST PICTURE
1. Up in the Air
2. The Hurt Locker
3. Up
4. Inglourious Basterds
5. A Serious Man
6. (500) Days of Summer
7. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
8. The Messenger
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox
10. District 9



I don't want to spoil my own year-end list, which will run in next week's paper (and which is drawn from a slightly different pool of films: 2009 Memphis releases rather than 2009 national releases), so I'll just say that I voted for half of this Top 10.

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney — Up in the Air
* Runner-up: Jeremy Renner — The Hurt Locker



Clooney is nearly always a strong presence, and here as well, but I didn’t find his Up in the Air performance quite the revelation some are making it out to be. I threw my vote away on Goodbye Solo's Souleymane Sy Savane for first and voted The Informant!'s Matt Damon second. Renner was third on my ballot.

Continue reading »

Best of the Decade: Film (Take 3)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 8:05 AM

We continue our five-part series of posts on the decade in movies (Take 1 here, Take 2 here) with another 20 or so of our favorite scenes and moments. Plus, Greg Akers reveals his 25 favorite films of the decade.


MOMENTS:

The sudden cut from animation to real footage, and then the silence, that ends WALTZ WITH BASHIR. (CH)

Abducted by cape-wearing Syndrome, Baby Jack-Jack throws a tantrum high in the sky and suddenly figures out he's one of THE INCREDIBLES. (AE)

Morty (George Harris) beats the hell out of a hood in a café, to the sounds of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World,” in LAYER CAKE. (GA)

The Bride (Uma Thurman) awakens from a coma, clutches her empty womb, and screams. A revenge plot set in motion in KILL BILL VOL. 1. (CH)

Waking up, Kill Bill Vol. 1:

Continue reading »

Friday, December 11, 2009

Elvis at the National Portrait Gallery

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Finsters Baby Elvis will be
  • Finster's "Baby Elvis"
Elvis has entered the building — the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, that is. Okay, technically the King won't make his grand entrance until after the new year when “One Life: Echoes of Elvis" opens on Presley’s 75th birthday, January 8th, 2010. The one-room exhibit “devoted to the evolution and influence of Presley’s image after his death" will feature work by Robert Arneson, Ralph Wolfe Cowan, William Eggleston, Red Grooms and Howard Finster, as well as the original artwork for the U.S. Postal Service's commemorative stamp created by Mark Stutzman. It's the first of two shows organized by the Smithsonian slated to open next year. “Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer,”a traveling exhibition, featuring images of a young musician on the cusp of superstardom hits the road on October 30th, 2010.

“Elvis at 21,” will showcase a series of candid shots commissioned by RCA shortly after Elvis signed to the label. They document the last relatively normal moments in the singer's life.

Not too shabby for a greasy hoodlum whose swiveling hips were once viewed by many as the ruination of everything America stands for.

UPDATE: "Elvis at 21" actually opens on January 8, 2010 at the new Grammy Museum in L.A. and moves into the National Portrait Gallery on Oct. 30. Vanity Fair is devoting a 7-page spread to the exhibit in its January issue.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas, Stax-ified

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 1:43 PM

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Just released: A Stax Chrismas ornament from the folks at the Memphis Music Foundation, handpainted by local artist Connie Lampden and available for a cool $35 via Amazon.com.

While you're shopping online, get in the holiday spirit with the Staple Singers' "Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas", William Bell's "Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday" and Carla Thomas' "Gee Whiz, It's Christmas", available as MP3s for 99 cents each.

Best of the Decade: Film (Take 2)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Our best-of-the-decade film series continues (see Take 1 here) with another batch of memorable scenes and moments. At the end, each of the Flyer's three film critics lists some of our favorite acting performances of the decade.

MOMENTS:

“I love seeing a teacher out of school. It’s like seeing a dog walking on its hind legs.” — Tina Fey at the mall, MEAN GIRLS. (Chris Herrington)

A car chase in the rain, WE OWN THE NIGHT. (Addison Engelking)

Wong Kar-Wai's camera longingly tracks Maggie Cheung walking down — and then back up — a flight of steps, the world moving on a woman's hips in IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. (CH)

The spectacle of Maggie Cheung in transit, In the Mood for Love:

Continue reading »

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Best of the Decade: Film (Take One)

Posted By on Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Steven Spielberg (above) is one of our Directors of the Decade. So is Alfonso Cuaron (below).
  • Steven Spielberg (above) is one of our Directors of the Decade. So is Alfonso Cuaron (below).

We'll have our year-end-list picks for 2009 in an upcoming print edition of the Flyer, but first we wanted to look back at the entire decade in movies.

In this five-post series, Flyer film writers (Chris Herrington, Greg Akers, and Addison Engelking) will list our favorite films, filmmakers, performances, scenes, and moments of the decade.

(We will each post our personal Top 25 lists for the decade in the concluding posts. But I'm counting down my Top 100 on Twitter. You can follow me at @ChrisHerrington.)

We're especially fond of the scenes and moments. In homage to the "Moments Out of Time" series Film Comment magazine used to publish to celebrate each year in film, we've meditated on what we remember most about movies of the aughts and came up with a list of roughly 100 moments that we think capture some of the best of what being a filmgoer meant over the past 10 years.

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We'll lead off each of these five rather lengthy posts with 20 or so memorable moments/scenes and conclude each with additional lists. This one features our picks for the decade's most overlooked or underrated films and the decade's definitive filmmakers.

We hope you enjoy reading it, because we sure had fun putting it together:

MOMENTS:

The symphony of confusion, panic, and excitement that crosses Seth Rogen's face when he realizes Katherine Heigl isn't leaving the club with her sister, but is instead staying with him: KNOCKED UP. (CH)

Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor reinvent the split-screen as an erotic dance in DOWN WITH LOVE. (AE)

The heroine (Audrey Tautou) becomes an anonymous do-gooder as her unsuspecting quarry (Maurice Bénichou) finds a box from his childhood and is reduced to tears in a flash of memory in AMELIE. (GA)

Continue reading »

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sound Advice: Friday Night

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 1:26 PM

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There's almost too much to take in tonight.

First up: Dirty Negatives, a photography exhibit from Memphis musician Don Nix, which opens at 6 p.m. tonight and runs through the end of the year.

With the assistance of curators Dan Oppenheimer and James Jaworowicz, several thousand photos were culled down into a series of images starring the likes of Furry Lewis, Rufus Thomas and George Harrison which mirrors the arc of Nix's career: Playing alongside Lewis, Rev. Robert Wilkins and Mississippi Fred McDowell at the Overton Park blues festivals of the late 1960s. Working at Stax Records, first as a member of the Mar-Keys, then playing saxophone behind acts like William Bell and Carla Thomas. Collaborating with Leon Russell and helping Harrison stage the Concert for Bangladesh.

See the exhibit at the Jack Robinson Gallery at 400 S. Front Street, before it moves to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Afterwards, head over to Minglewood Hall for this fantastic local two-fer: Alvin Youngblood Hart's Muscle Theory with Monsieur Jeffrey Evans and His Southern Aces.

Later tonight, as Chris Herrington notes in this week's Flyer, the almighty Meat Puppets, Arizona's greatest contribution to rock-n-roll, play the Hi-Tone. Around for eons before a generation of grunge rockers discovered them via Nirvana's Unplugged version of "Lake of Fire," the Meat Puppets have survived a decade long break-up, exacerbated by co-founder/bassist Cris Kirkwood's drug addiction and subsequent arrest after a bizarre shoot-out at a Phoenix post office. Appropriately, Memphis' longest-running hardcore band, Pezz, opens, along with Alabama garage rockers the Dexateens.

Also: Star & Micey, Rainy Day Manual and Rebecca Almond Trio at Neil's; a mixtape listening session with Gangsta Boo and Drum Squad at 515 S. Main; and a free show from the River City Tanlines and JD Reager & the Cold Blooded Three at Swanky's.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Robert Gordon and MGMT Get Grammy Nominations

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 11:05 PM

MGMT
  • MGMT
Local author/filmmaker Robert Gordon and Brooklyn-based White Station grad Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT snagged Grammy nominations Wednesday night.

MGMT, in which VanWyngarden [son of Flyer editor Bruce VanWyngarden] is joined by Ben Goldwasser, was nominated in two high-profile categories.

They'll compete with fellow alt-rockers Silversun Pickups and the Ting Tings, R&B singer Keri Hilson, and country-rockers the Zac Brown Band for Best New Artist. And the band's song "Kids" was nominated for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals, competing with "I Gotta Feeling" by Black-Eyed Peas, "We Weren't Born to Follow" by Bon Jovi, "Never Say Never" by The Fray, and "Sara Smile" by Daryl Hall & John Oates.

My early handicapping: I think MGMT is probably a longshot for the Best Pop Performance Category, but I'd tab them co-favorites along with Hilson for the more celebrated Best New Artist honor. Ting Tings and Silversun Pickups are lesser lights (in both commercial and artistic terms) in the same genre and I think the Zac Brown Band are a little too unreconstructed for Grammy's tastes. Hilson will be tough to beat, but MGMT could do it.

Big congrats to Gordon, who is nominated, along with his filmmaking partner Morgan Neville, in the Best Long Form Music Video category for his film Johnny Cash's America.

Some other Memphis-connected nominations: Millington's favorite son, Justin Timberlake got two nominations for "Dead and Gone," his collaboration with rapper T.I., in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song categories. And Stax veterans got some comeback nominations, Booker T. Jones pulling in two — Best Pop Instrumental Album for Potato Hole and Best Rock Instrumental Performances for "Warped Sister" — and Mavis Staples garnering a Best Contemporary Blues Album nomination for Live: Hope at the Hideout.

For a complete list of nominations, go here.

The Grammys will be broadcast January 31st on CBS.

Is Ben Nichols the Next Bruce Springsteen?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 10:02 PM

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After weathering nearly a decade of comparisons to Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg, Lucero vocalist/guitarist Ben Nichols has been tapped as the heir apparent to the Boss in this recent A.V. Club feature.

From A.V. Clubber Jason Albert:

When Ben Nichols growls about bolting into the streets hoping to get out alive, my mental transformation from couch-jockeying hermit to asphalt-chewing hardass is no less complete than when I blast "Born To Run" in my, um, Jetta. That said, for as much as Nichols' anthems like "Smoke" and "The Last Song" get my fists pumping, it's his introspective moments that most recall the heartbreaking gut-punch of my favorite Springsteen record, Nebraska. And for a non-musical cosmetic point, Nichols looks how I wish I looked in a jean jacket: tough enough to not give a fuck what anybody thinks about his jean jacket.

Lucero's brand-new video further channels the imagery of Springsteen's circa-1982 portrait of working class America.

Both Nichols and Springsteen have a propensity for bandanas and plaid shirts. 1372 Overton Park, Lucero's latest release, features the best rock horn section heard since the Boss' collaboration with Clarence Clemons on The WIld, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.

And last time I talked to Nichols — for the December issue of Relix magazine — he discussed the distance he's put between himself and his former musical hero, the aforementioned Westerberg:

“You don’t want to puke onstage, get hammered and fall over and play half-songs. Although I’m sure there will be nights when everything goes awry, right now it’s so much fun playing the music.”

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