12 summer movies I want to see

While I will likely only see three or four of these (in theaters), there are a lot of promising movies coming out this summer. Check your calendar and let me know if you want to see any of these with me! Here are my top eleven listed in order of preference.

  1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 15th) I rate it 8/10 – I’ve enjoyed almost all the Potter films equally.
  2. Inglourious Basterds (August 21st – Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson) I rate it 9/10.
  3. Up (May 29th – Pixar) I rate it 9/10.
  4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1st) I rate it 8/10. Also saw The Soloist which is one of my favorite movies of the year!
  5. Terminator Salvation (May 21st) Better than I’d expected! I rate it 9/10.
  6. Public Enemies (July 1st – Johnny Depp, Christian Bale)
  7. Taking Woodstock (August 14th – Ang Lee, Emile Hirsch, and yes it’s about the 1969 festival)
  8. Star Trek (May 8th – J.J. Abrams) I rate it 9/10.
  9. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24th) I rate it 7/10. Just not as engaging as the first one.
  10. Brüno (July 10th – Sacha Baron Cohen)
  11. The Girlfriend Experience (May 22nd – Steven Soderbergh) I rate it 8/10.

The trailers for most of the blockbusters are aggregated on Movie Retriever – they also have a decent review of Potential Sleeper Hits. Moon (Sam Rockwell) looks interesting, but it’s only in NY & LA theaters, June 12th.

6, 7, and 10 I saw at home. Public Enemies: 8. Taking Woodstock: 8. Brüno was a little too ridiculous: 7. See also my 2010 summer list.

Into the Presence is nostalgically fresh

Whoa. Got my Amie Street e-newsletter today and was blown away by Into the Presence. Others can give a more complete review (ex: The Vinyl District First Date with | Into The Presence) but I couldn’t resist sharing the news about today’s release of this self-titled album. You can hear three tracks on imeem (better than the MySpace page).

One of the catchiest tracks is currently available for free download: Lovers

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Next to listening to the music, the best way I can describe them is by comparing the voice to Freddie Mercury (Queen) and Matthew Bellamy (Muse), guitar work like Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Kim Thayil (Soundgarden). Into the Presence is mainly Tim “Herb” Alexander’s (Primus drummer) project but showcases new talent from vocalist and guitarist Luis Carlos Maldonado. Basically, if you like classic rock, you’ll love this “progressive rock” release. It’s a throwback unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time. It reminds me of Nuno Bettencourt’s breakthrough with Extreme II in 1990!

For guitar fans, here’s one of their many MySpace vids:
Into The Presence – Pedal Board

On a mostly unrelated note, Amie Street recommended another brand new release: Colonia by A Camp. This is one of Nina Persson’s (The Cardigans) side projects; she continues to produce solid music. “Love Has Left the Room” is a free track.

AutoVaughn and Mute Math

On Saturday, I had the privilege of seeing two of my favorite bands, both for free. As usual, I took photos and a video each for AutoVaughn and Mute Math. AutoVaughn played for the 2009 Nashville Earth Day Festival, and Mute Math packed the Grimey’s parking lot for the 2nd international Record Store Day event. This is a day I will not soon forget.

Peculiar People
Peculiar People (Mute Math)

P.S. Mute Math’s show comes right on the heels of their new “Spotlight” video. It definitely enhances the enjoyment of the song as its initial release was tainted by being on the silly Twilight soundtrack. Forthcoming album in August!

MUTEMATH – Spotlight

P.P.S. Don’t forget to vote for AutoVaughn to win some new equipment. Vote daily on their Fender Road Worn competition page.

Atlantic Beach trip

South-facing sunset (courtesy of L1mey)
South-facing sunset (courtesy of L1mey)

My immediate family got together at the Peppertree Resort over Easter weekend. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so hopefully Nick will have the photos posted soon [UPDATE: All posted!]. Itinerary: Drive eight hours to Charlotte on Thursday and spend the night at bro’s house. The five of us drive five hours to Atlantic Beach, arriving at almost exactly the same time as Mom and Dad after their drive from Philly. Spend two days at the beach and head out Sunday afternoon. As a bonus, one of my best friends, Evan, happens to be in the Charlotte area, so we get to see him Sunday night and I take him to the airport Monday morning on my way back to Nashville.

November was the last time the seven of us had seen each other, so I was especially surprised at how much Ava talks now. She’s at the babbling stage now. She remembers most people’s names, although she likes to call me Tony since Nick and Denise’s friend is around a lot and I kind of look like him. Otherwise, it’s fun to try and interpret her gibberish sentences; even her mom can’t figure it out half of the time.

Mom and Dad got their Cape May renovation approved, so we were all excited to look at the plans for their planned retirement home. It’s currently an “awful” place, according to the architect, but Mom and Dad have managed fine spending almost every weekend there for the past two summers.

Walking to the beach
Walking to the beach

The time share we stayed in was typical – no complaints. It did have an interesting steam shower. We spent as much time as we could at the beach on Saturday. The wind was chilly, but it was clear and in the low-70s. None of us dared submerge in the water although we all got our feet a little wet. The most interesting thing we noticed was the chunks of dark gray clay all over the place. Anyone know what that stuff’s all about? I’ve seen bits of clay on the beach here and there in the past, but never this much. This was our first visit to the Crystal Coast, so we researched it a little but couldn’t figure out the cause. It may have been oil for all we knew, but I decided to risk toxic exposure to the substance by sculpting an Eiffel Tower. Ava stayed amused for hours with just two little shovels in her hands, Dad took a long nap in the sun, Nick flew his sport kite, and we buried Reese while shaping the sand around her lower half into a mermaid.

The back roads provide safe biking routes; Mom and I discovered a little nature sanctuary while were were out riding on Saturday evening. It included a little tree-canopied path and view of the bay.

On Sunday, Ava and Reese hunted for Easter eggs in the condo. We played some doubles tennis on the resort courts and then had a fabulous pancake brunch to rival Saturday’s scrambled eggs that Dad had prepared. The Salter Crab Shack was recommended to us Saturday night, but the wait was too long. We went next door to the Frost Seafood House instead and had the whole non-smoking room to ourselves. Other than our waitress forgetting a couple things (more than once), we didn’t have any complaints. Like the resort, though, it wasn’t really anything to write home about – wait, does blogging count?

All in all a good trip, as is usual with our family get-togethers. Mom and Dad are staying an extra couple days. They said that Fort Macon was worth checking out.

Cornell revisits Reznor’s Exotic Birds

I love the 90s. For those following the Trent Reznor vs. Chris Cornell feud/cat fight, Cornell tweeted a quick followup this morning to what seemed like a coup de grâce from Reznor on April Fools’:

Now I am sad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJYBx5NJULY

After yesterday’s prank, I began to suspect that this was all a hoax. I can’t imagine that Trent Reznor would be so disgusted with a cotaneous musician’s latest work. Cornell also replied to a fan this morning with:

@ldoz NO , I like him just fine. I think he is brilliant. also not a personal issue. I have never fallen victim to the media spun cat fight

I may edit this post with the full history of the feud ASAP. Maybe the research will reveal clues to Reznor’s true feelings about Scream.