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  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Review: Broken City

Looking for a fix. Political thriller both convoluted and too predictable

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Chinatown this ain’t: Crowe and Wahlberg in Broken City.


Broken City  C

Naming a movie can be a complex act of juggling marketing and artistic concerns in an attempt to stand out, but one thing a title probably shouldn’t do is give eager film critics so much ammunition. Broken City does in fact evoke visions of a shadowy, floundering, morally ruined metropolis, but it also highlights that the final screen product is a compromised, flawed mutt of a thriller.

The film’s January release, the slow season where unloved projects are tossed out into the frosty wastelands and left to die, affirms that harsh assessment. Mark Wahlberg, however, scored a surprise hit around this time last year with the solidly made Contraband, so perhaps the studio hoped for a similar result, though this dour political crime story is not nearly as much fun.

It’s a shame, because this one does appear to have a decent enough pedigree — in front of and behind the camera — to elevate it above the mid-winter box office swamp. At least it does on paper, but the devil is in the details.

Wahlberg leads the way as Billy Taggart, a heroic New York City cop forced to turn in his badge after a very controversial shooting incident in the tough slum he grew up in. Seven years later, Billy is muddling through as private eye, spending most of his time sneaking around outside bedroom windows and hounding his clients for unpaid bills. Fortunately Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) kept Bill’s number handy in case he needed some dirty work done, and in this case he’s offering him a huge payday for proof that the boss’ well-heeled wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is fooling around with Paul (Kyle Chandler), the campaign manager of his honor’s main rival.

Barry Pepper overplays the role of the previously clean city councilman who will do just about anything to win the mayoral job, in what turns out to be a close, fiercely contested election. Both candidates sport very odd haircuts for politicians, but Crowe is also covered in enough spray tan to make him look like a bronze statue that should be in front of Yankee Stadium. Not helping his image is his collection of comfy sweaters, or his forced Brooklyn accent, which has hints of Boston and Crowe’s native Aussie dialect peeking through the cracks. 

Still, even at his hammiest, Crowe is watchable and appropriately sinister. His scenes display much more spark then those between Wahlberg and his blandly pretty love interest, played indifferently by Natalie Martinez. Catherine Zeta-Jones looks like she’s there to shoot a Prada ad, not a serious drama, and her storyline never develops into anything all that interesting. The same could also be said about the crooked real estate deal behind all the intrigue. Jeffrey Wright growls and puffs up his chest as the intense and calculating police commissioner, but his character too is underdeveloped

Director Allen Hughes, flying solo for the first time without his brother Albert, displays a steady hand, but he’s got only so much material to work with. Brian Tucker’s script has been bouncing around for several years, and once generated some serious blogging buzz as an untapped gem, but now it’s hard to see what the fuss was about. The plot is a bit convoluted, yet still predictable. The dialogue, while offering some clever flashes, too often it sounds like the dusty remnants of a B-list noir.

Despite it’s cast and ambitions, Chinatown this surely ain’t.