Stuart Henderson
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Entries by Stuart Henderson

Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball: A Ghostly Light in This Sweet Old World

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 2:43 PM

Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball came out in 1995, when I was 17 years old, and remains for me among the most influential albums I've ever heard. I have gone on to become a music historian, a rock critic, and a musician, and though I probably would have done all of...

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Top Ten Best Original Song Oscar Winners Ever

(3) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 10:54 AM

Hollywood has incorporated pop songs in its movies ever since the advent of sound, but it only started formally recognizing their significance when they got their own Oscar category in 1934. In the 80 years since, hundreds of tracks have vied for the title of "Best Original Song", and many...

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Who Are They Now? Grammys Best New Artist Fails

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 2:02 PM

There are ample reasons to be dubious about the wisdom behind Grammy nominations. A perennial point of frustration for music nerds, the Grammy Awards have always felt (even if they may not be, in real true life) slavishly devoted to rewarding money-making hit-machines or past-their-prime legends over, well, art.

...
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Best Country Music Albums Of 2013

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 5:12 PM

With any luck, 2013 will be remembered as a transitional year in country music.

For a notoriously conservative genre -- you'll still find less variation in instrumentation, aesthetic, and even vocal performance on a country radio station than anywhere else on the dial -- the story of...

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Ronnie Hawkins On Partying Cancer Away, Bill Clinton's Ladies And Retiring After 50 Legendary Years

(5) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 9:04 AM

I am sitting across from Mr. Dynamo.

The Hawk.

Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins himself.

And he just showed me an old wooden one-hitter pipe that he claims John Lennon left at his house back in the early 1970s. I hold it, then pass it along to his road...

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15 Best Albums With The Worst Album Art, Ever

(44) Comments | Posted November 14, 2013 | 3:26 PM

Hey, have you seen the cover of Lady Gaga’s new album “ARTPOP”? Y'know, the acid-soaked one where she looks like she just birthed an oversized Christmas ornament while lying on Botticelli’s Birth of Venus? Yeah, it’s pretty godawful.

They say don't judge a book (or...

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Blue Rodeo Discuss Death, Darkness And 'In Our Nature'

(4) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 1:43 PM

At times, Canadian country-rock outfit Blue Rodeo can feel like two bands sharing a stage. Boasting a pair of the most distinctive songwriters and vocalists in the game, Blue Rodeo records don't just have two discrete authors; they often seem to have two separate, and maybe even competing, sounds.

...
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TIFF Review: 'Under the Skin' Doesn't Go Deep Enough

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2013 | 10:28 AM

At the outset of the festival, there were few movies I was more excited to see than Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, adapted from Michael Faber's excellent science fiction novel. This was a book that had kept me up late into the night, riveted to the gorgeous, terrifyingly rendered tale...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: Prisoners (Dir. Denis Villeneuve)

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 5:52 PM

In what was the worst possible movie for me to watch on my young kids' first week at a new school -- I was already wracked by separation anxiety and guilt -- Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's riveting Prisoners follows a frantic father as he searches for the man who has...

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'Supermensch' TIFF: Mike Myers Talks Star-Studded Directorial Debut On 'Legendary' Shep Gordon

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 2:21 PM

"Everything I do I have to be connected to," explained first-time director Mike Myers to a healthy crowd following a Toronto International Film Festival screening of his documentary "Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon," about the music industry mainstay, who managed Alice Cooper, did acid with Jimi Hendrix...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: Night Moves (Dir. Kelly Reichardt)

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 6:03 PM

Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff) has made her career on the fringes of the Hollywood system, making complex, austere films on tiny budgets, and building up a reputation for a singular vision. But, with Night Moves, a generic take on the moral questions associated with terrorism, Reichardt's vision...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: R100 (Dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto)

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 11:46 AM

Running as part of the Midnight Madness series at the Toronto International Film Festival (the wildly popular showcase of schlocky, violent, disgusting, and/or campy flicks), this film from Japanese comedian and general oddball Hitoshi Matsumoto is bound to delight viewers looking for something they've never seen before.

This completely...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: Enough Said (Dir. Nicole Holofcener)

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 11:30 AM

Nicole Holofcener dares to make films for adults, movies that demand maturity and a taste for the messiness of reality. Her dialogue buzzes with possibility; her characters say things you can actually imagine people saying, even when they are revealing their most idiosyncratic foibles. Few contemporary screenwriters evince this level...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: Gravity (Dir. Alfonso Cuarón)

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 10:55 AM

Perhaps the most beautiful image I have seen at this Festival comes about halfway through Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity. Sandra Bullock, playing a novice astronaut who has just survived a staggering ordeal, floats in the fetal position in the womb-like enclosure of an airlock, an umbilical-esque tether drifting around her weightless...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: 12 Years a Slave (Dir. Steve McQueen)

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 5:25 PM

Three films into his already influential career, it's clear that British director Steve McQueen is deeply concerned with power. In both Hunger (his extraordinary debut detailing the final days of incarcerated IRA activist Bobby Sands) and Shame (his uneven study of a sex-addicted New Yorker), McQueen explored the ways in...

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'All Is By My Side,' TIFF: Jimi Hendrix Film Fails Using Women, Not Music, To De-Mystify Legend

(15) Comments | Posted September 8, 2013 | 5:06 PM

One of the truly great and original artists to emerge from the 1960s -- a decade packed to overflowing with truly great and original artists -- Jimi Hendrix remains to us an ambiguous, inchoate figure.

A dreamer, a visionary, prone to violent outbursts and fits of cruelty, a man...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: Young and Beautiful (Dir: Francois Ozon)

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2013 | 8:47 AM

Francois Ozon is interested in sex. Many of his films (especially his excellent, mysterious Swimming Pool (2003)) examine the curious ways in which our relationships to sex -- the act itself, sure, but also the psychology of the thing, the politics of it all, the consequences of our need for...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: The Fifth Estate (Dir: Bill Condon)

(4) Comments | Posted September 8, 2013 | 8:32 AM

So much for all the buzz around Bill Condon's (Dreamgirls) frustratingly flat dramatization of the formation, triumphs, and sundering of WikiLeaks, the anarchist information-sharing website. Like some adolescent fantasy of modern geopolitics, Condon's film pretends to globetrot from Tripoli to Cairo to Brussels to Berlin to London to Nairobi to...

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Quick TIFF Reviews: Closed Curtain (Dir: Jafar Panahi)

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2013 | 8:20 AM

A middle-aged man arrives at a seaside cottage. He closes the doors, hangs heavy black curtains over all of the windows, and then opens a duffle bag to reveal a little brown mutt. Soon thereafter, we learn that in his (unnamed) Islamic Republic, dogs have been banned. For awhile, sealed...

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Dephending Phish: It's Not Them, It's You

(44) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 2:19 PM

Yes, Phish's lyrics can be pretty terrible. Many of their songs are filled with what could be characters from stoner nursery rhymes. Their sense of humour is corny as hell, and they have all these songs that ride on goofy nonsense gags. The band seems gleefully irreverent about this, though,...

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