Thursday, April 02nd |

Deli Man

Love in the Time of Challah, Bruh Review by Robert D. Patrick A salvo of empirically pleasing images wash over the screen. Suddenly there is buttery meat, fine mustard, top shelf rye, and an honest serving of choleric wit. The Jewish deli, an institution for food lovers. You need an affable level of hubris and […]

Deli Man

The Top Ten Best Songs of 2014

Helado Negro by Eve Sussman Written by Robert D. Patrick After crushing my skull with thousands of songs in 2014, I came up with my top 100 tracks, only to chisel them down to an electric ten. Chromeo had the best dance song of the year (“Jealous”), and Caribou had one of the best pure […]

The Top Ten Best Songs of 2014

A Most Violent Year

1970s Cinema, 1980s Landscape, 2015 film Starring: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain Review written by Robert D. Patrick A Most Violent Year is about the most blood-specked 365 days in New Year City’s history (1981 somehow eclipses the carnage of the Five Points in the 1860s?). Perennially overcast and painted with broad strokes of chrome and fog, […]

A Most Violent Year

Musicians on Pitchfork

When I began the process of interviewing musicians, sometime in 2008, I hadn’t really thought of online journalists – specifically those of whom were devoted to acerbic album reviews. In the aughts, the juggernaut of esoteric references and irreverent snark, Pitchfork Media, had been widening their net over independent music. Practicing my brand of unfocused paper shuffling, […]


Interview with Spencer Krug of Moonface

The melancholy latticework of Spencer Krug is like an ethereal brume. Operating as Moonface, the musician juts his hands over a piano and begins to weave a gossamer kaleidoscope comprised of recollections and fears. City Wrecker, the singer songwriter’s newest EP, releases later this year. We interviewed Spencer about the importance of lyrics, the influence […]

More posts »

Serena (0)

Published on Fri, 27/03/15 | Drama, Written By: Robert Patrick

Love In a Time of Bore

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper

Review written by Robert D. Patrick

Dust-licked North Carolina aches and trembles under the oppressive weight of the depression. In the shadow of a land dipped in sadness comes an irascible, headstrong businessman with his eyes set on timbre. His employees are lacquered in sweat and exhaust, but no problem will keep the aforementioned entrepreneur from rolling up his sleeves and forcing his hands into the belly of coarse earth. Bradley Cooper plays George Pemberton, the man with the affable grin and unflappable personality; an entity whose brick and mortar sensibilities earn him the ire of many (are you asleep yet?). In fact, Pemberton is so dapper and whip-smart that he earns the trust and love of a woman named Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) after one three-minute scene. The two become coiled around each other, suddenly, as if the projectionist lost a reel of film. The editing looks like it was done by an errant fan blade. Director Susanne Bier is a far better director than this film would suggest, but when approaching this particular period picture, it seems like she consulted a toy magic 8 ball before every scene. At least half of this movie is comprised of Bradley Cooper sponge bathing Jennifer Lawrence in a tub, while engaging in a prosaic conversation. Even Jacques-Louis David, the artist of Death of Marat, would say, “this is too much.” Think the tub scene in Harmony Korine’s Gummo was too long? Wait until you see this movie. Even Marlon Brando spent less time around a bath in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris. Maybe Bier had a deal with Home Depot.

Throughout the film, double-crossing friends twist their Snidely Whiplash mustaches and pug-like sheriffs glower and seethe. The actions are present, but they don’t feel accounted for. Serena’s downfall may be due to the fact that the costumes do not seem lived in. 1830s North Carolina feels like a community college play. Bradley Cooper looks like he’s internally convincing himself to not tear off his wardrobe and storm off of the set. This has to be the worst period picture since John Irvin’s abysmal Hemingway’s Garden of Eden or Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts. Almost all of the actors come off as too contemporary. You can put a pocket watch on an iPhone and I wont believe it owned a timbre company in the 1800s. You cant simply dress something or someone up.

There’s also some weirdness in understanding Cooper’s accent. In one scene he speaks like a 1860s Boston police officer. In another he sounds like he’s from the depths of the bayou. In another he has no discernible brogue or inflection at all: It’s like he’s in his trailer spinning a bottle on what accent he should use next. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence is a non-entity for the first time in her career. This makes her performance in House at the End of the Street look like an Oscar contender in comparison. During her screen time she leans over furniture or lets the lighting dictate her mood. I can imagine Bier giving her direction on set: “Lean, assertively, against that fixture. Cast a shadow against that wooden chair. Clutch that pillow. Drum your fingers on that table.” Most upsetting about Serena is its moribund running time. I cannot remember a movie so slovenly paced in all of my life. Imagine staring at a still life painting of an apple for four hours, and you’ll understand how inert this film is. Bier will have better films ahead of her, but Serena – opening today at La Jolla Village Cinemas - should have the Alan Smithee moniker all over it.


  • Share on Tumblr

What We Do In The Shadows (0)

Published on Fri, 20/02/15 | Comedy, Horror, Written By: Robert Patrick
What We Do In The Shadows

In the Land of Blood and Funny Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi Review written by Robert D. Patrick Vampires, again? When drawing from an empty, moss-encased well, you would expect your rusty bucket to hit the sludge at the bottom. We’ve had empirically attractive, virile blood suckers. Well quaffed, Victorian vampires. Apathetic, vinyl hoarding shapeshifters. Grotesquely moribund […]

Che (0)

Published on Sat, 14/02/15 | Commentary, Written By: Robert Patrick

Che Dir. Steven Soderbergh Yr. 2008 Spine #496 Written by Robert D. Patrick Denounced by vitriolic critics, the wily cynicism of pen-wielders and casual moviegoers alike bemoaned Steven Soderbergh’s Che. With its polarizing subject and David Lean-like running time, the sweat lacquered anti-epic was netted in confusion. Why make this film at all? Soderbergh wasn’t […]

Caila Thompson-Hannant’s Good Thing (0)

Published on Thu, 22/01/15 | Commentary, Written By: Robert Patrick
Caila Thompson-Hannant’s Good Thing

The banal ticking in the opening seconds of Mozart’s Sister’s “Good Thing Bad Thing” present a kind of lonely canvas. The arms of a timepiece move by in a staccato fashion, presenting nothing new or relevant; broad strokes of impassivity. And then the reverie, almost exhausted in its wanderlust, begins to crescendo. A gentle hum, lazily […]

Popular Posts

Top Ten Movies of 2014

1 comments since 2015-01-19 17:56:34
Display 0 | 1 | 3 | 5 Stories

Pootie Tang: Revisited

I wanted to confirm my suspicions that Pootie Tang was indeed relegated to hatred and disgust prior to writing this column.  Yes, I am that delusional about this film… according to others.  I browsed to a certain spoiled produce aggregator and saw a resounding 26% approval, lauded as dismal, and completely admonished by various critics.  […]

Critical Failures: Coming Soon…

A new column written by Kyle Henke that argues against critical viewpoints shared by many.  Was the movie really awful or actually great?  Is the actor playing the role amazingly while being shamed for the script?  Lets find out.  Share on Tumblr

Display 0 | 1 | 3 | 5 Stories

Interview with Spencer Krug of Moonface

The melancholy latticework of Spencer Krug is like an ethereal brume. Operating as Moonface, the musician juts his hands over a piano and begins to weave a gossamer kaleidoscope comprised of recollections and fears. City Wrecker, the singer songwriter’s newest EP, releases later this year. We interviewed Spencer about the importance of lyrics, the influence […]

Interview with Journalist

Journalist’s musical palette is flecked with words, strategic intonations, acute ideas. He’s been wading through hip-hop for over a decade, and in that time he has shared the booth with incisor-flashing mavericks such as Canibus. Once signed to Motown, the lyricist is now on Hardrout, his own label. Mastering the craft of internal rhymes and battle hardened […]

From the Vault: Interview w/ Wolf Parade

  Working as an editor of a small weekly in the aughts, I fought to perforate the innocuous milquetoast sheen of community articles by bringing in band interviews. The experiment didn’t last long, and pictures of pumpkin patches prevailed. I was in my early twenties, I was barking up the wrong tree. Though violently abridged, this […]

Interview with TV Girl

‘I’m fascinated by beautiful women & not in a (strictly) prurient sense’ TV Girl’s hushed, ethereal hymns aren’t as docile or playful as they may seem. Flecked with emotional carnage and fanged observations, the Los Angeles based band has carved out a living making heart-masticating songs that deal with the pangs of acceptance. Brad Petering, […]

Interview with Colleen Green

Cool, ethereal, and blistering. Colleen Green’s fuzz-laden punk-rock is a carbonated minefield of guitar riffs and drum machines. It’s a sort of sonic hush that emblazons every fiber of her music. “Sock it to Me,” the newest opus by Green, has been heralded by critics and adored by fans. Cinema Spartan managed to catch up […]

Interview with Chastity Belt

‘We Don’t Have to Hide Behind Anything Now’ The rowdy, carbonated, guitar tenderizing music of Chastity Belt hails from Walla Walla, Washington. Through a cocktail of venomous riffs and feet stomping snark that bruises amps, the band released one of the best records of 2013. Lead singer Julia Shapiro’s sonic, booming vocals soar over the […]

Q&A w/ Julie Klausner

Julie Klausner’s anecdotal, razor-sharp wit has branded everything from television shows to an autobiographical memoir.  Bubble wrap snark and cultural observations stirred by cocktail swords, Klausner always has something new in her book bag. Her show, How Was Your Week?, was earmarked by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top ten comedy podcasts of […]

From the Vault: The Fiery Furnaces Interview

In 2008, I interviewed the mercurial, outspoken, often times wonky Matthew Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces for The East County Herald newspaper. Here, in its entirety, is the clunky, humorous, sometimes incendiary transcript of the exchange I had with Matthew. Known for their staccato production, esoteric lyrics, plunking pianos and rarely middling subject matter, The […]

Medium to Medium with Colleen Green

Fuzzy, dirty, rollicking guitar riffs that feel like you’re being bludgeoned with a pillowcase full of Pop Rocks and fireworks. Ethereal and airy vocals that perforate the buzzing instruments. Lou Reed sunglasses and some jagged abandon define the mercurial, sonic, who-gives-a-fuck offerings of Colleen Green. With her newest record, Milo Goes to Compton, the barbed […]

Medium to Medium: The Wooden Birds

Andrew Kenny’s achingly ethereal voice whittles away your preconceptions about what a band, emotionally, is capable of doing. The singer-songwriter has been a workhorse when it comes to traveling coast-to-coast – he has done it practically nonstop – throughout his career; if you tracked the flight lines across the United States it would look like […]

Display 0 | 1 | 3 | 5 Stories

The Best of Arnold

I was a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and as a result I was weaned on action movies, particularly the glorious works of Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and, OF COURSE, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Watching these films still imbues me with a sort of visceral delight, an upsurge of joy and contentment within the universe. I […]

Ultraman: Episodes 1&2

I was thrilled this weekend when I glanced through a $3.99 movie bin at Albertson’s and pulled out the most random inclusion I could find: Volume One of the 1966-7 Japanese TV show ULTRAMAN: A SPECIAL EFFECTS FANTASY SERIES.  One look at the cover art and I knew I’d be in for a treat. A quick […]

Sam’s Cosmic Movie Peeves

We’ve all got our little pet peeves when it comes to movies and television. Sometimes it stems from our areas of expertise (“Well I’M a fighter pilot and there’s no way I’d do it like that”) or sometimes we just learn some trivia and can never look at those troublesome scenes the same way again. […]

B-Movie: Rock N Roll Nightmare

Review by Sam Wood Jon Mikl Thor, the Legendary Rock Warrior, has had an expansive career spanning back to 1973 and continuing on in the present day. According to his VERY self-aggrandizing website, “THOR first made waves in the bodybuilding world, becoming Mr. Canada and Mr. USA, always using heavy music as an intensive training […]

A Chinese Torture Chamber Story

My little column turns twenty posts old today, and what better way to celebrate than by reviewing the most ridiculously sleazy Hong Kong exploitation film I have ever seen? “A Chinese Torture Chamber Story” exemplifies the concept of a guilty pleasure film. It is as hilarious as it is disgusting. The first time I watched […]

Presidents in Film

I was puttering around the Box Office Mojo website recently and came across an interesting comparison: the domestic box office gross of films about U.S. presidents. This includes documentaries, fictionalized accounts, and accounts that are entirely fictional in the first place. Here are the fifteen top-performing presidential films (rounded to the nearest million): Independence Day […]

Holiday Cards

In lieu of an article this week I thought I’d provide something special for all the procrastinators out there. If you haven’t sent out Christmas cards this year, but you vaguely intended to do so, and now you’re looking at the calendar and realizing there is no way in hell they would arrive in time: […]


From the moment the title screen flew at my face, I knew I was in for something special. And I was right! “Solarbabies” is not just special, it is exceptional, mind-blowing, earth-shattering (sometimes literally). The movie has a whopping 0% approval rating on Rottentomatoes (though in its defense there are only 10 accumulated reviews, and […]

My Favorite Aliens

Guys, I have a confession to make. I am really excited about the upcoming “Cowboys and Aliens.” Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell? Um, cowboys fighting aliens? I’m a little nervous though, because often when Hollywood raises my expectations with a fun concept they are planning some prank to dash it all away again. The […]

Old School Movie Review: The Hobbit

I was initially planning to do another B-Movie review this week, but decide to do an old-school movie review instead. There’s a fine distinction between them sometimes, but in this case I couldn’t classify the film in question as B-grade material. Mostly it’s just… horrible. Plain horrible. Just not due to budgetary reasons. Purportedly this […]