Tea Leaf Dancers and the Bonus Beat

Flying Lotus, aka Steve Ellison, has been somewhat of an obsession of mine for the past couple of years. His beats are like these liquid-y flows that carry psychedelic melodies through the ether. His music is transformative. There seems to be a constant state of movement and reforming. It’s hip hop-based, for sure. But as his albums have progressed there’s a sense of jazz free form composing going on. It’s electronic music, but it sounds organic. Even the weirder stuff seems like if you threw it into the earth it would act as compost and come back as something newer, greener, and heartier. I also think that for a lot of folks only about 25% of what Ellison makes is something you’d want to hit repeat on. Maybe 20%. Me? I went all in with Flying Lotus after I bought You’re Dead! back in 2014. It was so out there at times, yet the underlying rhythms kept me going back. It’s like Ellison is the Zappa or Beefheart of the electronic/hip hop/breakbeat world. J Dilla kept it mostly with beats and groove, where Flying Lotus took it one(or two or three) steps further by adding this alien personality in it.

I’m sure I’ve said all this before in previous rants, so sorry.

This time I’m here to say that if you were ever on the fence with Flying Lotus or you prefer him in smaller doses, then the Reset EP is for you. I saw this one sitting at my local record store for the longest time and wondered if I should pick it up. I hadn’t done much research on it and wasn’t sure if it was an EP or single. Turned out it was Ellison’s debut with Warp Records and it came out a few months before his excellent Los Angeles(another album I think the “on the fence” crowd would really dig as a whole.) So a couple months back I grabbed Reset EP and am glad I did.

There’s not much to it, really. It’s 6 tracks and they’re spread over two sides of a 12″. What it lacks in songs, it makes up for in quality songs. “Tea Leaf Dancers” is a sultry, groove-heavy track complete with soulful vocals by Andreya Triana. Strangely enough I could hear a certain Thom Yorke singing this one, too. It snakes along at its own pace. This one really shows the genius in Ellison’s approach to building a beat and committing with some serious melody. “Vegas Collie” is just an absolute killer beat. It’s seems to be unraveling and reforming before your very ears. Wonky sounds and video game noises come in and out of the mix. It’s one of those tracks you see some slow motion kung fu fighting happening as this blasts your ear holes. “Massage Situation” is more languid grooves and expertly placed vocal samples. “Spicy Sammich” sounds like a galactic jungle rhythm Miles Davis might’ve dreamt up in a fever dream. It’s very moody and dark before the snare kicks in and things get very street level. “Bonus Beat” has a video game quality to it, like something Ellison would’ve come up with for his Cartoon Network music montages. “Dance Floor Stalker” sounds like its name. You can almost picture some weirdo heading out on the dance floor looking for some unsuspecting victim to gyrate next to. It’s a quirky 808 beat with wonky noises laid out throughout. Perfect way to end a debut.

Like I said, within months of this EP Flying Lotus released his second Warp Records release, the excellent Los Angeles. Reset EP is very much in the vein of that album. Ellison had yet to truly fly his freak flag on this one. Here he’s honing his beatmaking skills to the nth degree. It’s a swift shot of liquid beats and organic clicks and clacks with some serious street grit and groove.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a spicy sammich with my name on it waiting for me.

 

 

Tubby and Vim : Paul Pope’s One Trick Rip-Off

Paul Pope is the kind of writer and artist that seems to be as much a rock star as he is a comic book writer. Not like the cheesy, machismo-type of rock star that wears spandex, primps his hair, and exudes arrogance for miles. More like the kind of rock star that has something to say, and when he says it it’s important. The quiet, brooding type of rock star. In his graphic novel The One Trick Rip-Off he even uses Nick Cave as an inspiration for one of his characters, Jesse James. I think what that says about Paul Pope is that he’s not the typical writer. He’s someone working on the fringe, yet he’s never run from success. He’s just found it on his own terms, man. When you’re trying to be unique in the world of comic book writing and illustrating that’s a dangerous business model. But if you can stick to your guns and continue to push yourself and your art and actually pay the rent, then you’ve achieved something.

One of my closest friends told me when I first started getting into graphic novels that I should check out Paul Pope’s Battling Boy books. Of course I never listened and instead ordered his Paul Pope’s Batman : Year 100 and was completely blown away, by both the story and the artwork. Pope’s got a very unique art style, and I think that might be from his years living in Japan and working for Kodansha, the leading Japanese publishing house and worked on several manga books. He said of that time that he never looked at any American comics, with the exception of a handful of his friends self-published books. And his writing seems to veer towards outcasts and characters on their own. I don’t know the guy, so I don’t know if he himself is or was a bit of an outsider, but by his impressive list of clients I’d say he’s not THAT much of an outsider. If anything, he can relate to them.

The last book of his I picked up was The One Trick Rip-Off. It’s the story of Tubby and Vim, two lovers that want to escape their lives and start over. To do that all they have to do is rip off Tubby’s pals in the One Tricks, one of LAs most dangerous street gangs. Why are they called the One Tricks? Well that one trick is that they can use mind control on people. If Tubby says a snake is choking you, then you think a snake is choking you and you die. Kind of a Jedi mind trick thing, I guess. There’s not much to the story, really. It’s nothing too heavy or anything, but the simplicity is appreciated. Boy and girl love each other and want a new life for themselves. They decide to steal from bad guys and things don’t quite go as planned. There’s double crosses, near misses, and epic fights. Oh, and Thai food laced with morphine. It has a real True Romance/Pulp Fiction vibe. It was written in 1995, right when Quentin Tarantino was blowing up in a big way, so the noir-ish aspect of his films were an influence on Pope’s story. He was also pulling from Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, which is woven into the backgrounds of illustrated gritty Los Angeles streets penned so wonderfully here by Pope and colored beautifully by Jamie Grant(the original run was in black and white.)

I can see where some might find the story here a bit thin, and I think this was really at the start of Paul Pope’s upward trajectory. His writing only got better from here, but for a book like this I think the story was well suited to be more of an impressionistic journey. The art here is what sells this for me. It’s a brooding story that finds its footing in the two troubled lovers Tubby and Vim, their search for a new beginning, and the drawings of Pope that show us their dirty, messy world.

When I look at this book and Pope’s style here, it reminds me a bit of early Ralph Bakshi films. Stuff like Wizards, American Pop, and Fire and Ice come to mind. I’m sure Paul Pope would despise that comparison. His influences are probably far more intellectual and storied in the comic book world, but there was always something about Bakshi’s work that felt very visceral to me. A rough sketch come to life. Something very organic and sexual in nature. Not perfect, but gorgeous and alluring nonetheless. That’s what I get from Pope’s work. It’s raw.

This is only my 3rd outing with Paul Pope, but one of my favorite books to look at. I read it, of course, but looking at it is amazing. I picked up the special edition The One Trick Rip-Off/Deep Cuts HC, which like I said earlier colors in the black and white book to stunning effect. There are also several early works of Paul Pope’s included which gives you a glimpse of where Pope started. It’s not essential, but I’m glad I’ve got them to go back to once in a while.

Along with Batman: Year 100 and Escapo, Paul Pope is batting 3-0 with The One Trick Rip-Off. I think I might jump into Battling Boy next. I also want to track down hardcover copies of Heavy Liquid and 100%. All in due time.

All in due time.

Not Enough Room In My Head

Sometimes it takes awhile for an album to find it’s rightful spot in my brain. It’s not necessarily a “grower” kind of album, as it may immediately be catchy and enjoyable, but sometimes there’s just not enough room in my head for those songs to live and breathe. Or maybe I may not be in the right emotional spot to really dig what’s coming at me at that moment. Or maybe five albums hit in one week and I didn’t really have enough table time with a record so it gets shelved prematurely. The latter is sadly usually the case. That’s the case for Craft Spells’ Nausea, anyways.

I first got into Craft Spells back in 2012 when I heard their Captured Tracks debut Idle Labor. That year I found myself in the throes of a pretty heavy shoegaze/dream pop/post-punk bender and Captured Tracks were putting out all the fixes I needed for that musical addiction. Idle Labor seemed to be this mix of early 80s sounds; stuff you would’ve heard on early Depeche Mode, New Order, IRS, and 4AD releases that your big brother tried hiding from you. Craft Spells, aka Justin Vallesteros, was mining some pretty heavy hitters in order to create his own version of those essential records that came out prior to Reagan’s second term. For me, there was this air of upbeatedness(I trademarked this word last week, btw) that I loved. Vallesteros played all the instruments and his voice was a smooth tenor that delivered these pop-centric tunes with an air of maturity. You felt like you had found some lost album from the neon era, as opposed to some young turk that rummaged through his parents old college records and made his own version.

Fast forward to 2014 and the release of Craft Spells Nausea. 2014 was a crazy year for me. Not like bad crazy or anything, but just crazy. The wife got a new job where she was traveling quite a bit, so I was home with the kids in the summer a lot while mom was down in North Carolina and Kentucky. I’d discovered Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, which took up many of my afternoons of working out and mowing the lawn, and it was generally a pretty great year for music in my world. The War On Drugs, Real Estate, The Night Terrors, Jakob Skott, Jonas Munk, and a bevy of other heavy hitters put out some of my favorite albums of that year. I preordered the Captured Tracks limited edition version of Nausea when I saw it come up for sale, since I’m weak-kneed when it comes to phrases like “limited edition”, “special edition”, “preorder”, and “limited quantities”. The album arrived and I listened to it a couple times, enjoying it, but then it just sort of got pushed to the side as more goodness showed up in the mail. It eventually made its way into the vault where it sat for nearly three years…until now.

At work on a whim I found Nausea on one of those streaming music sites the kids are always talking about and listened to it whilst doing work things. With the whole job situation getting increasingly stressful I needed something to pull me out of it all. Opening track “Nausea” is this easy, breezy, and calming track that feels like a cross between Alan Parsons Project and OMD on tranquilizers. It has a slow motion quality to it that pulls you into its world. Vallesteros’ voice is really quite perfect for this kind of musical trip. He has an Eric Woolfson thing going on, but without all the melancholy. This track never hit me quite like it has lately. “Komorebi” keeps that vibe going to stunning effect. One of the biggest changes from Idle Labor to Nausea is that Vallesteros has replaced his “guy recording by himself” M.O. with a full band scenario in the studio and it suits him perfectly. There’s a real 70s quality to this album. “Komorebi” is this lush, dreamy track that has the sonic heft of Steely Dan with the wistful vibes of something I can’t quite put my finger on. “Dwindle” sounds like The Smiths in their latter years, before it all came to an end. Vallesteros isn’t quite the drama queen that Morrissey is, but he creates plenty of mood to go on. “Twirl” is a fun little number that grooves and shakes like Tigermilk-era Belle and Sebasitian. It’s a perfect summer day kind of song. “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide” has a bit of that old, dream pop vibe that Craft Spells lived in on Idle Labor, but with a lusher, fuller sound. It’s a great mixture of the musical worlds Justin Vallesteros loves to create in. “Still Fields(October 10, 1987)” is the piano-driven closer. For me, this hints at what Vallesteros could do in the future, which would be film scoring. It has such a cinematic feel to it. It’s quiet, emotive, and full of feeling. I could see this playing over the beginning or ending of a film. Perfect outro music, really.

I’m glad music works on us the way it does. We can’t force it to fit our emotional needs when it’s convenient for us. Sometimes it takes awhile to sink in. Craft Spells’ Nausea wasn’t meant to move me back in 2014. It was meant to move me in 2017. It’s a lush and beautiful album that’s subtle in its impact. It’s my go-to record in the mornings at work now. It silences the noise of frustration and lets me get to it.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

 

 

Ode To Karin Krog

Man, the air seemed brand new today; sharp, cool, and crisp going into the lungs. It was like walking out of an underground bunker from a four-month stay and having the first blast of air hitting you. I don’t know why I don’t usually notice the air that surrounds me normally, but today it hit me. Could be that driving the company van from the plant to one of our suppliers gives me the urge to just keep driving and not look back until the sun has sunk into the west. It’s probably the fact that every time I’d get out of the van that fresh air taunted me and begged me to stay in it. Just leave that lousy van running and start walking. Where? Who cares. Just keep your feet moving, one in front of another until you come across something worth stopping for.

If only I’d a worn my walking shoes today.

Be that as it may, I didn’t leave the company van running in the parking lot of the local anodizer and begin walking the earth like Caine in Kung Fu. I merely took a couple big hits of that freshly squeezed oxygen, hopped in the van, and made my way back to my lonely desk that sits on a large dock and received in those anodized parts. I couldn’t just walk away from it all. I have yardwork to do and Marvel flicks to see with my son this year yet. The wife and I have plans to hit a brewery or two in Michigan and stay the night up north sometime soon. We’re heading to Chicago at the end of the month so my wife and daughters can go see Hamilton at the Chicago Theater, while the boy and I pretend to be men of wealth and fame in the hotel for the afternoon. Maybe we’ll swim or drink scotch in the hotel bar. Maybe even hit on a beautiful baroness or an Italian beef sandwich, whichever one comes with steak fries and an IPA.

Plus, I’ve only just begun to get to know Karin Krog.

Karin who? What? Whaaa? Hey now, just simmer down and let me talk here. You see, I found out that one of my favorite record labels Light In The Attic was having this spring clean sale where they were parting with a bunch of albums at nearly half off the original price. My local record guy said he could get ’em direct from LITA and save me the shipping. Well hell yes! So I headed to the sale page and started perusing to see what I could find. I figured I’d do the old blindfold and dart trick and pick some random albums. Some stuff I wouldn’t normally buy but since it was half off why the hell not? I picked out Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg, Martin S/T by Donald Rubinstein, and Karin Krog Don’t Just Sing An Anthology : 1963-1999. I put my children through the Gainsbourg album last night. Through the moans and breathy whispers of “Je t’aime…moi non plus” my son asked as he sat in the living room with an aural advantage “What are we listening to?” Birkin and Gainsbourg will be for me on those lonely afternoons and evenings. Or when the wife and I want to get all French New Wave on some tawdry Saturday evening. I haven’t listened to Romero’s vampire soundtrack yet, but I did crack the gatefold sleeve of Karin Krog’s 2LP gatefold and I have to say I’m loving it.

Prior to this, I had never heard or heard of Karin Krog. The album cover appealed to me, and also the fact that it was a double LP they were selling for $12. Oh, and Dexter Gordon played with her on a few of the 60s cuts(bonus.) Krog is obscure here in the states, but in Norway she’s a household name as a famous jazz singer, collaborating with a who’s who of musicians over her 40+ year career. In 1994 she was the first Norwegian artist to ever release an album on the US jazz label Verve.

So the album. I have to say my favorite is album one. It seems to have the more bop-style jazz with bits of experimental vocal stuff. Krog has a hell of a voice and she shows it off beautifully on a be bop cover of Bobbi Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe”. It’s groovy and full of swing, with Gordon laying down some great tenor saxophone. The rhythm section of Neils-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass and Espen Rud on drums is a pivotal ingredient here. Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” gets the Karin Krog treatment here as well, and to stunning effect. “Lazy Afternoon” is another great one with Krog showing her precise melodic skills vocally. She uses her voice like an instrument playing its part. At times she’s like a psychedelic Rosemary Clooney, and other times she’s something quite cosmic, chanting, panting, and squealing through drone-y experiments like “Glissando”. I don’t care for the experimental stuff as much, but I can appreciate it for sure.

Most of these tracks were recorded in the late 60s and early to mid-70s, with just a handful scattered throughout the 80s and 90s. There’s a killer cover of Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want” that is as soulful as it is unique to Krog. “Cloud Line Blue” has some seriously amazing horn playing by John Surman. Seriously, holy cow. And there’s even a reading of Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” that closes out this anthology. It’s nothing but Karin Krog singing and Nils Lindberg on a church pipe organ. It’s actually quite haunting as Krog sings Coltrane’s Psalm from “A Love Supreme” poem. I guarantee you haven’t heard anything quite like it before.

Occasionally I like to do the blind grab with music. I’m not independently wealthy so I need to make my money stretch as far as I can, especially with this horrible vinyl addiction of mine. So far I’m not disappointed with my “go for it” choices. If you like jazz and occasionally adventurous music, I can’t recommend Karin Krog enough. She’s 79 years young and still creating music in her home country of Norway. She sounds amazing on this LP set, and it’s a beautiful sleeve with a great booklet inside that includes an interview with Krog. Grab it. Why not?

I wonder if the air will be as crisp tomorrow? I’ll bring my walking shoes, just in case.

 

 

Flyover State Of Mind

So you guys fans of podcasts? Oh yeah? So am I! I love having someone’s voice in my head besides the one that tells me to order records online and drink one more beer. That voice usually fools me into thinking those are good ideas. At least with a podcast I can get lost in someone else’s thoughts for a bit. Hear an interesting interview, story, or just hear a perspective on things I may not have been familiar with before.

Well a good friend of mine asked me if I’d ever consider doing a podcast. At first I thought that the idea was appealing, but that trying to get people to come down in my basement and chat it up for an hour would be daunting. And worse yet, the idea of sitting downstairs and talking into a microphone by myself seemed even sadder. So I suggested to my friend we should try and make a podcast together. What have we got to lose? Our dignity? Shit, we lost that years ago. Besides, at this point in life we could care a less how foolish we look to people(we really do care…I lied.)

So last Saturday my friend Jason came over to the house and we headed down to the studio and talked into a couple mics for a bit. The result is here, our first ever episode of our podcast, Flyover State. It’s two middle aged dudes talking about whatever comes to mind. Subjects may include weird dreams, favorite albums, aliens, Bigfoot, favorite war films, Kurt Vonnegut, Humanism, David Cronenberg, high school trauma, and so much more.

Jason and I usually have some sort of epic conversation every time we get together, so we figured why not just record these conversations and share them with the world? We’ve got nothing better to do on a Sunday morning.

So click that link above and head over to Flyover State’s blog page and hit play. Here us chat it up. And hey, share some of your weird dreams with us. That’s our next topic of discussion. Email us at flyoverstate2017@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.

We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow. 

Jay Som : Everybody Works

Melina Duterte, aka Jay Som, seems to be bringing something back to pop songwriting. Something that is sadly lacking in so many “pop” albums as of late. Pure songcraft. Not since St. Vincent’s debut have I been taken this aback by a new artist. Duterte isn’t satisfied with just a good song. She starts with a good song, then builds on the framework and ornaments it into something quite spectacular. She’s as DIY as they come; writing, recording, performing, and producing herself like a pro. But at only 22-years old this Oakland native is just starting. If Everybody Works is just starting, then I can’t even begin to imagine what hitting her stride will sound like.

Everybody Works succeeds on so many levels. It’s a confessional heartbreak album, it’s a catchy-as-hell pop album, and it’s an expertly constructed art rock. Duterte spares no bells and whistles, yet the album still feels very intimate. “Lipstick Stains” opens the album on this beautiful dream-like note. An airy, lush piece that sounds like a cross between Rufus Wainwright and Cocteau Twins. It’s accusatory and longing all at once. “The Bus Song” has a modern pop feel, with bits of Jon Brion production touches and No Joy in pure sweetness mode. “Remain” is an absolute gem of a song. Early 80s alternative shimmers and shines with with Lush-like melancholy. “1 Billion Dogs” sounds like Veruca Salt on a Blake Babies kick. It’s all fuzzed-out punk goodness, but with a syrup-y sweet center.

Elsewhere Jay Som confronts an ex-lover in “One More Time, Please” and on “(Bedhead)” she unravels like a warped cassette tape spewing in a Sebadoh-like confessional track. Duterte’s voice always remains sweet and innocent throughout these tracks, which adds to the pain she’s attempting to exorcise through song. “I’m a good kid/I swear I don’t lie” Melina sings in title track “Everybody Works” like a less jaded Liz Phair. There’s just the right amount of fuzzy guitar and sweetly sung vocals that make you want go back for another listen. “For Light” ends the album on a dreamy, shoegaze-y note, stretching over 7-minutes of loping drums, gently strummed guitars, and an almost Prince-like soulful mourn. It’s a beautiful ending.

Melina Duterte is one of my new favorite songwriters. She puts songs together like a master builder, laying a solid foundation and then building up from there. Ornamenting and arranging these mini-symphonies to put in my ears. She creates these lush sonic worlds with each track.

Everybody Works is a stunning debut from Jay Som. I can’t wait to hear what comes next.

8.2 out of 10

 

 

Alien Boy Scouts and Dark Knights

An idea can be an exciting thing. You get this spark of something and it lights up your brain for days. You think if you can pull this idea off it could be the greatest thing ever. You plan and mull the idea over in your head and map out how you can make this thing happen for days, weeks, months, and even years. Maybe you give the idea up and pass it onto someone else who may have the means to make this idea sprout from your meager beginnings into something close to what you’d imagined in the first place. Or maybe you just pack the idea away for a time when you can make something of it. Or worse yet, maybe that idea’s spark fizzles. Maybe it never sees the light of day.

After having lived with Zach Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice for a year I’m starting to feel like maybe the spark of that idea needed to have been put on hold a little longer. At least until that story could’ve been pounded out a bit more…or a lot more. That movie had so much potential to be great had they just followed the blueprint left for them by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. That story would’ve been an amazing intro into the dynamic between Batman and Superman. The dichotomy between the alien boy scout and the American vigilante. The first half of the story was an all out Batman tale, with Bruce Wayne now in his 50s coming out of a drunken retirement(10 years after the death of Jason Todd) to help stop the rampant violent crimes of “the mutants”, a new gang in Gotham. Batman must defeat their leader in order to stop them. There’s also a Joker confrontation at an amusement park, with occasional shots of Superman meeting with President Reagan about the problem in Gotham. He is eventually is asked to “take care” of the problem, leading to a battle between Batman and Superman at the end.

If you haven’t read the book I won’t tell you how it ends. I’ll just say from there they could’ve worked in the Justice League, and maybe even gone full circle with The Dark Knight Strikes Back. Sure, it would’ve started out as more of a straight up Dark Knight film, but who would be complaining about that? Not me. The best bits of Batman V Superman, in my opinion, were the Bruce Wayne bits anyways. I thought Affleck did a pretty damn good job, despite the boos from the Peanut Gallery. Jeremy Irons as Alfred was on-point, and the shots of the burnt out Wayne Manor worked well to fold in Nolan’s films. The shot of Todd’s bloodied Robin suit in the Batcave could’ve foreshadowed a future Under The Red Hood film which I would’ve been extremely happy with. Instead of staying true to a certain comic writer’s vision they whip up this comic book gumbo of a film that throws in all these different storylines(The Dark Knight Returns, Doomsday, and even hints of Under The Red Hood) and create this colossal mess of a film. At times engaging with some great looking shots here and there, but for the most part lacking any light, humor, or steady footing.

But hey, Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL hit it out of the ballpark with their soundtrack!

If there’s anything truly redeeming about the film besides Gal Gadot in that Wonder Woman outfit(pants uncontrollably) is the score. Beautifully constructed more like a classic film score with grand orchestration and dramatic twists and turns, it pushes all the right emotional buttons without getting schmaltzy. To me, thanks to Junkie XL’s modern touches and percussive additions this album sounds more like an industrial take on the classic John Williams score. It’s very doom-laden, but with shards of light pushing through the muck and mire. You never get the feeling these guys called this score in(unlike the film itself at times.)

The gentle piano refrain of “Day of the Dead” works into something more triumphantly morose and almost has hints of post-rock inside of it. “Do You Bleed” is all swirling synthesizers, tribal beats, and doom-laden voices. You get the feeling that something bad is going down here. “Black and Blue” is that which action sequences are made of. It’s over 8-minutes of propulsive orchestration and darkly lit percussion. “Is She With You(Wonder Woman Theme)” is probably the most well-known piece on the soundtrack as it’s Wonder Woman’s intro music. It’s probably the catchiest thing as well with it’s Middle Eastern slant and tribal percussion. You could definitely see this one following the character into many adventures(and sequels.)

So what you have in this score is a beautiful collaboration of modern and classical touches. “This Is My World” is as dramatic and melancholy as things can get, while “Men Are Still Good(The Batman Suite)” is a 14-minute piece that exemplifies the best of dark and light. It’s simply magnificent. I think Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL are two of the best working in film scoring today. They seem to be fans of Snyder and Christopher Nolan films, too.

Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was a grave disappointment. An overshot. An overstuffed mess of a film, but not without its tiny pleasures. My son and I enjoyed seeing it together in the theater. It was an excuse to get out and enjoy the cinema. The Batman segments were pretty great, too. And of course the Hans Zimmer/Junkie XL score. Well worth the price of admission.