Friday, October 29, 2010

Conviction: Far from arresting

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Betty Anne Waters

By Matt Brunson

CONVICTION

DIRECTED BY Tony Goldwyn

STARS Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell

The title of the new movie Conviction surely refers more to the actors than to those who toiled on the other side of the camera. Whereas the performers like Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell inhabit their roles with impressive dedication, folks like director Tony Goldwyn and screenwriter Pamela Gray merely seem to be going through the motions, expecting Academy Award nominations to come tumbling down simply because their film tackles Oscar-bait material. But this is one fishing expedition that will likely come up empty-handed.

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You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger one of Woody's worst

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 2:22 PM

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By Matt Brunson

YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER

*1/2

DIRECTED BY Woody Allen

STARS Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins

Easily Woody Allen's raunchiest film, 1972's hilarious Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) features such outrageous — and outrageously original — gags as a gigantic, Kafka-by-way-of-Roth female breast terrorizing the countryside, and a sperm (played by Allen) afraid that his host body's masturbatory ways might result in his ending up on the ceiling. In You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, what passes for Allen's idea of an innovative sex gag? Anthony Hopkins' doddering character Alfie counting down the minutes until the Viagra tablet takes effect.

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Murkiness etched in Stone

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Stone

By Matt Brunson

STONE

*1/2

DIRECTED BY John Curran

STARS Robert De Niro, Edward Norton

Has Robert De Niro been replaced by a pod person straight out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Once a national treasure, the workaholic actor hasn't delivered a truly noteworthy performance since Clinton was in the Oval Office. Instead, aside from the occasional jokey turn (e.g. Machete, Stardust), he's basically relegated himself to somnambular, paycheck-cashing bits that betray the extent of his considerable talents. There's an obvious difference between elegant underplaying and merely going through the motions, and while, say, Michael Caine still excels at the former, De Niro has sadly become a master of the latter.

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Bravo to Harding students and their walkout

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Consider this a big vote of support for the hundreds of students at Harding University High School who walked out of classes and lined up along Allegheny Street yesterday. The students were protesting the school board’s plans to close Harding, and they say the protests will continue in some form until the Nov. 9 school board vote on the issue. In the dull, timeless way of authority everywhere, CMS is meeting the students’ actions with hostility and threats of discipline for “general disruptive behavior.” Big bad CMS let it be known to all and sundry in its kingdom that the Harding students who had the audacity to take a stand for their school will receive an unexcused absence and a note in their discipline records. Oooooh. And students who are being told they’ll have to leave their beloved, historic school should give a rip about unexcused absences why?

If anyone should receive some kind of slapdown, it’s the new, overeager school board and the techno-head bureaucrats who keep coming up with plans that treat students, teachers, principals and, now, entire schools as mere pieces to be moved around on a game board. Note, too, that all the hubbub is over potential cutbacks in the next budget  — cutbacks no one can definitively say will or will not happen. For lack of space, we won’t go into the exceptions CMS regularly makes for certain schools in the ‘burbs, but that doesn’t mean that special treatment isn’t part of the problem, too.

The school board’s plan to close Harding High — if something devised on the spur of the moment can be called a "plan" — was announced at the last minute after Waddell High supporters rose up against the original plan to close that school. Waddell High was named after the late  husband of new school board member Joyce Waddell, but I’m sure that has nothing to do with the decision to close Harding High instead, right?

Spankin' new school board member Joyce Waddell
  • Spankin' new school board member Joyce Waddell

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Film offers plenty of kicks

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Aguaquiza, Bolivia

It’s the most popular sport in the world, enjoyed in countries ranging from Spain to Kenya to Iran to, yes, the United States. And the beauty of soccer is that it can be played not only by World Cup superstars but by any kid with a ball. It’s this street-level version of the game that’s the focus of Pelada, a documentary helmed by Charlotte native and Duke University graduate Rebekah Fergusson.

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Massive list of Halloween events in Charlotte (Updated)

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Don't know what you're doing yet for Halloween? Never fear! Check out this list of Halloween events - including parties, haunted houses and family-friendly activities - in Charlotte and the surrounding area.

Ongoing Halloween events

13 Doors Haunted House Presents Circus of Syndrome. Located at 1101 Hawthorne Lane. Dates/times are as followed: Oct. 8-9, 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; Oct. 15-16, 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; Oct. 22-23, 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; Oct. 30-31, 7:30 p.m.-2 a.m. For more information, call 704-907-7836 or visit http://13doors.webs.com.

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• The 17th Annual Campground Massacre Haunted House. Featuring more than 60 props and frightful creatures. For more information, call 1-866-752-7437 or visit www.themassacre.com. Oct. 21, 7:30-10 p.m.; Oct. 22, 7:30-11 p.m.; Oct. 23, 7:30-11 p.m.; Oct. 24, 7:30-10 p.m.; Oct. 27, 7:30-10 p.m.; Oct. 28, 7:30-10 p.m.; Oct. 29, 6:30-11:30 p.m.; Oct. 30, 6:30-11:30 p.m.; Oct. 31, 6:30-11 p.m. $20; $10 for children 8 years old and under.

Queen City Ghost Tours. Hear stories of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins who have decided to hang around to finish unfinished business. $5-$15. Oct. 20-31, 6 p.m.,7:30 p.m. & 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.queencitytours.com/qcghosttours.html.

The Fright Factory at NC Music Factory. A multiple room haunted house, featuring "zombieland," "vampire manor," and "the circus of fear," in addition to coffin rides, a fleet of hearses and more. $10. Box office opens at 7 p.m. and the factory opens at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through Oct. 31. NC Music Factory, 820 Hamilton St., Charlotte. For more information, visit www.ncfrightfactory.com.

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Scarowinds. Featuring 11 nightmarish frights, scare zones and live shows. Oct. 8-10, 7 p.m.-12 a.m.; Oct. 15-17, 7 p.m.-12 a.m.; Oct. 22, 7 p.m.-12 a.m.; Oct. 23, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.; Oct. 24, 7 p.m.- 12 a.m.; Oct. 28-29, 7 p.m.-12 a.m.; Oct. 30, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.; Oct. 31, 7 p.m.-12 a.m. For more information, visit www.scarowinds.com. Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd. 704-588-2600. www.carowinds.com.

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Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, Oct. 29, 2010 — as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

311 at The Fillmore

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Back to the Future 80’s Night at Whisky River

2nd Annual Nightmare on Montford at Andrew Blair's

13 Doors Haunted House presents Circus of Syndrome

Mischief Night at Butter

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Weekender, Oct. 29-31

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Check out these events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area this weekend— as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Friday, Oct. 29

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El DeBarge

CPCC’s Halton Theater

If, like me, you’ve grown tired of hearing DJs spin the Notorious B.I.G.’s hip-hop hit “One More Chance,” you should check out the man who provided the musical foundation for the tune: El DeBarge. Over the years, rappers like Biggie have sampled El’s classic songs (music he created as a member of the group DeBarge); however, as he battled drug addiction, the legendary vocalist pretty much disappeared from the spotlight. But now, he’s back with a brand-new album (Second Chance), and a smooth new sound — which you can hear live when he makes a stop in Charlotte tonight to perform new, and vintage.

Film It’s the most popular sport in the world, enjoyed in countries ranging from Spain to Kenya to Iran to (often hesitantly) the United States. And the beauty of soccer is that it can be played not only by World Cup superstars but by any kid with a ball. It’s this street-level version of the game that’s the focus of Pelada, a documentary helmed by Charlotte native and Duke University graduate Rebekah Fergusson. A self-financed production (donations are accepted on the movie’s website), Pelada has already played festivals and been covered by (among others) The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. Now the film, which premiered locally for a one-time showing this past summer at the Neighborhood Theatre, hits Charlotte for a full-week run at Crownpoint Stadium 12. more...

Theater Hodges Taylor Gallery opens its space to Ugly Art: A Theatrical Installation tonight. The show – A Main Street Theatre Production directed by Jim Yost – is derived from five short plays written by Terry Roueche. It consists of a four-person cast – comprised of Sunny Boone, Elise DuQuette, Phil Robertson, Juan Carlos – who will perform a set of thought-provoking scenes (inspired by the posed question: "Do we find love, jealousy, beauty, passion or ugliness from the art in ourselves?") in front of a red canvas on display in the gallery. more...

Saturday, Oct. 30

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Music, Monsters and Mayhem featuring Cake

NC Music Factory

Not counting Cake’s B-Sides and Rarities disc (released in 2007), the band has gone nearly six years (since 2004’s Pressure Chief) without releasing new material. Of course, we all remember much of the old, including the group’s biggest ’90s triumphs — “The Distance,” “Never There” and a cover of Perren and Fekaris’ “I Will Survive” from its sophomore album Fashion Nugget. Needless to say, Cake’s upcoming live performance at Road Runner Mobile Amphitheatre during the NC Music Factory’s Music, Monsters and Mayhem Halloween celebration came as a surprise. It also got me digging to learn more about what the band has been up to. Turns out a new album, titled Showroom of Compassion - featuring the radio friendly single, "Sick of You" - is slated to be released in early 2011. The concert will also feature blast-from-the-past opening acts Gin Blossoms and Night Ranger, as well as a costume contest with $2,500 in cash prizes and admission into Butter, Black Bear Saloon, Halo, Wet Willies, The Fillmore and The Fright Factory (a multiple-room haunted house ).

Special Event The annual GraveDiggers Ball returns to Dixie’s Tavern tonight. In addition to a costume contest with $1,500 in cash prizes, there will also be live performances by Ke$ha and Kevin Rudolf. more...

Special event Celebrate Halloween in the arts district of NoDa today during its NoDaWeen. The festival will feature three main events, including a Freaky 5k Race, a Pimp My Pumpkin Auction and a screening of the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. more...

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Head stomp just latest rightwing attack or threat

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Amid the controversy generated by the Kentucky Head Stomper, little reporting has been done about the fact that Rand Paul supporters' Monday attack on a liberal activist was just the latest incident of rightwing violence, or attempted violence, against progressives this year. Today, Alternet published a compilation of 17 instances of recent violence and threats of violence by Brown Shirts, excuse me, by uber-conservatives, sorry, I mean ultra-conservatives.

First, though, here’s the latest from the Case of the Kentucky Head Stomper: senate candidate Rand Paul told Fox News he would return the $1,950 donated to his campaign by head head-stomper Tim Profitt, who, at the time of the incident was the Bourbon County coordinator of Paul’s campaign. Now, however, Paul says he’s keeping Profitt’s money after all, explaining that it was good enough that the Paul campaign disapproved of the head-stomping incident before his opponent, Jack Conway, got around to it.

To put the Kentucky violence in context, check out the Alternet story mentioned above. Their report contains more details, but here are some examples of violence and threats against progressives in the U.S. this year:

- Californian Byron Williams, who set out to kill people at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, saying that “it was the things Glenn Beck exposed that blew my mind."

- Judge Susan Bolton of Phoenix, AZ, received hundreds of threats after issuing an injunction that halted key parts of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB 1070.

- A Phoenix man was indicted for threatening to kill Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) because of the lawmaker’s opposition to the Arizona immigration law.

In March, a number of attacks on lawmakers who voted in favor of the health care reform law took place, including the following:

- A gas line outside the house of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) was cut. Perriello's brother's address was mistakenly identified by a Tea Party blogger who suggested that “activists” descend on the house.

- A Washington state man was arrested for calling Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) numerous times in March, threatening “to fucking kill you.”

- Several Democratic Party local headquarters’ windows were smashed.

- Multiple members of Congress were threatened and/or had their offices’ windows broken.

And to think that these guys' heroes are set to take control of the House of Representatives. Ahh, good times.

Head stomper Tim Profitt with his favorite candidate
  • Head stomper Tim Profitt with his favorite candidate

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Sen. Burr uses non-Carolina actors in commercial

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 12:09 PM

You know how excited people get when movies are filmed in our state? In fact, our state government is so excited about attracting filmmakers, it even provides tax cuts for the industry because every time Hollywood comes to town, so do millions of dollars.

Why, then, did Sen. Richard Burr film a commercial made with stock film and West Coast actors? My guess is it was simply the cheaper choice. But outsourcing usually is, isn't it? That's what the big companies tell us when they say, "Oops. Sorry 'bout that job you planned to keep forever. We can get people on the other side of the world to do it for a fraction of what we pay you."

Still, why wouldn't Burr want to spend money locally, especially during an election, even if he does have to pay a few extra dollars? Isn't that the big Republican PR push — to crank up "main street" America's economy, get people back to work and support small businesses? (OK, scratch "small businesses" and replace it with "giant global corporations.")

Every indication is Burr's got the money to spend in his campaign war chest, so the few extra bucks that woulda, coulda, shoulda gone to someone locally shouldn't have been a big deal, especially given the whole money-where-your-mouth-is thing.

What's really interesting is the commercial is called "Priorities." It's talks about making America stronger and creating jobs. Well, um, Senator ... One way we could make America stronger and bolster our economy is to spend money in our own regions. #justsayin'

Of course, it's important to note what Sen. Burr says and what Sen. Burr does aren't always the same things. Check out his voting record, especially the "Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act," which he voted against last month.

By the way, he votes with his party 94 percent of the time and abstains from voting 1 percent of the time. Does that mean he only thinks for himself 5 percent of the time? I'd ask him, but he returns my calls zero percent of the time.

Note the family watching the sun set in this commercial. On our coast, Sen. Burr, the sun rises. But, perhaps this is a Freudian slip?

To be fair, here's a commercial from Burr's competition, Elaine Marshall, where, incidentally, she talks about Burr's propensity for outsourcing jobs:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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