Sorry for being late getting this up. I’ve got 99 problems; not being able to sit down at the computer is one of them.
A few trailers to catch up with. Some are probably already up on tv. You should watch ALL of them, sucka.
Courtesy of Mr. Josué Blanco. Also, SEATTLE!
2. Dr. Suess’ The Lorax
3. The Secret World of Arrietty
Miyazaki, that’s all I need to know.
I assume it’ll take a long time for me to muster the fortitude to watch this one.
As was sort of promised yesterday, here are three more things.
I love Izze so much. How is this stuff only a mix of juice and soda water?!? It’s so delicious. Better than soda. I bet it’s like the frozen yogurt episode of Seinfeld, and soon we’ll find out Izze is full of all sorts of delicious and unhealthy things. Like sugar. And bacon.
A documentary about type faces, specifically through the lens of Helvetica, the most famous and used font in the world.
It made me want to watch more movies about fonts. A few of the folks in there only got to talk a few times and they deserve their very own documentaries.
Been listening to a lot of Tribe lately, which I guess is always the case. So, I’ve been listening to even more tribe than usual lately. They’re still the greatest, and Midnight Marauders and The Low End Theory are still my favorite Hip Hop albums of all time.
Only three things today, but probably more tomorrow.
1. Batman: Arkham City
The game I was most excited for of any game ever. I’m really glad it’s such a vast world’s to explore, because I’ve beaten the main part of the game. I’m glad I still have trophies to find and side missions to beat. More Batman/Catwoman fun is on its way.
Also, playing the game as Catwoman is really fun. She’s so fast. It’s a different experience in combat with her. Although, I’m still trying to master her pouncing mechanics for swinging about the city. I can’t wait to play as Nightwing and Robin when that DLC comes out. Just look at the concept art.
2. Tom Waits – Bad As Me
It’s been far too long since Mr. Waits released a new, original studio album. This is worth the wait (no pun intended). So amazing listening to Tom doing what he does. I’m in love with this man.
3. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
Most fascinating to me in this read was how much was added to the movie that wasn’t in the book. I’ll watch the movie again over the next few days to see just how different the two really were.
Things haven’t actually been all that sparse here on Roused over the last few weeks. I’ve gotten content up at least intermittently this month. Still, today marks my return to writing in earnest, so here are five more random things I’ve been enjoying of late.
Just watched it for the second time, Emily’s first. I absolutely love this movie. The way its framed around Grimm’s Fairy Tales; a kick-ass heroine who isn’t masculinized, isn’t sexualized, and never loses her humanity in the midst of the struggle for survival; amazingly beautiful cinematography, editing, and great relationship between the visuals and the music, especially during action scenes.
Amazing performances as well, especially by the young Saoirse Ronan, who continues to amaze film after film.
Love. Love. Love.
2. Ides of March
People seem to be split on this movie. Sure, Rotten Tomatoes has it at 83%, which is nothing to scoff at, but when people don’t like it they seem to really hate it. I really enjoyed it, though.
I think a huge part of what drew me in was the power of Gosling’s performance. I really didn’t care much for him in the past. He had to go through a bit of a Leo DiCaprio style shift in how I felt about him. It started last year when I saw Half Nelson for the first time, and after Drive and Ides of March I am now wholly won over.
I think the Cloonster did a really great job in every facet of this film. There were always several layers going on at every moment, lots of implications that are never fleshed out, but are enjoyably playing below the surface for anyone paying enough attention. Every scene is filled with the characters off-screen, which isn’t an easy thing to do well, especially not with the subtlety of Ides of March.
It also seems important that the political darkness he is taking a look at happens in the world of his own political views. If the guys in this movie were all Republicans, it would have just felt like a cheap shot.
It’s a film of tremendous real-world darkness, which raised many questions, and the story is told with a skill that had Emily and me in conversation well after the film.
My feeling when I left the theater was, if a just world, this film locks up noms for Best Actor (The Gos), Best Supporting Actor, maybe twice (PSH and Giamatti), with some potential for Clooney as Director.
An awesome expandable nerd game that I love. I’m not very good at it, but I love it just the same. A bunch of fun ‘factions’ or armies to play as, lots of different styles of play to experiment with. Good times. Emily even likes it, which makes for lots of fun times.
4. John C Reilly as ‘Dean Ziegler’ in Cedar Rapids
The movie was decent. Uneven, but funny enough at times to be worth my 90 minutes. But, I loved John C. Reilly. If I was laughing out loud, it was almost certain to be Ziegler I was laughing at.
5. Starting the lists of 2011.
Yay! My favorite part of every year is making the lists of my favorite music, movie moments and characters, tv shows, video games, etc. Brian is back for a second straight year of collaborating on the music lists. We are getting started early to hopefully miss fewer great albums this year.
Some movies I’ve been loving lately, during the last few crazy weeks. I can’t wait to get back into movie watching more regularly again.
1. The Lion King (on Blu-Ray)
Still awesome, after all these years. Among other things, a smorgasbord of metaphors for understanding our own identity development, how we run from our callings, how fear holds us back from being what we can be, etc.
I really wish I had my own Rafiki.
2. Jane Eyre
I’ve never read the book. It’s just another classic on the long list of books I own but still need to read. So very many books, and so little time. It’s sad.
This means I had no idea what to expect when watching the film. I was actually on the edge of my proverbial seat watching this love story unfold. Great performances, stunningly beautiful cinematography, and solid direction make a splendid film.
Also, I love Michael Fassbender so much!
3. To Catch a Thief
Oh, Alfred. My sweet, sweet Alfred. You created so many wonderful films in your life. To Catch a Thief was like a balm to my story starved soul. After circumstance limited me to only three movies in September, this film made things better. Some of the sexiest chemistry ever, and yet all with silly innuendo and firework metaphors instead of the blatant sexuality we have all grown so accustomed to.
4. Plan 9 From Outer Space [Invasion/Visitation Movies #7]
The consensus worst movie of all time. It really was awesomely bad. You should watch this, and then watch Ed Wood to see the story behind the man behind the movie.
5. Kung Fu Hustle
Stephen Chow is amazing. He’s the type of star that only exists in a few forms for each generation. There are those folks who write, choreograph, act, etc. etc. etc. In many ways, this movie is Stephen Chow as today’s Gene Kelly. The martial arts and dancing of Kung Fu Hustle tells a large part of the story. We learn who characters are, we see martial arts that are hilarious as well as those that are exciting. It’s certainly nothing in the jaw-dropping ‘how’d he just do that’ variety. However, that’s mostly because Chow’s sense of humor takes things so far over the top that most fight scenes are filled to the brim with CGI assistance.
When I say that Chow’s sense of humor takes things over the top, I really mean it. This movie is part homage to movies, part martial arts dance party, part Bugs Bunny cartoon, with a little bit of Buddhism thrown in for good measure. I loved it. It was pure good time movie watching.
The bad news, my job sucks to the point that I literally had to quit for my mental well-being. The good news, only six more shifts until I am free of Java Bean forever. October 22nd. To help me make it through, I have compiled this list of awesome stuff that is coming during my final days of work, and immediately afterward. There is goodness coming (and hopefully that goodness will soon include a new job, but we’ll see).
1. Friday, October 14th. Also known as, Tomorrow!!: Our new iPhones arrive in the mail.
I know, I know… these phones are only a new 4 and not the iPhone 5. I know that if you have an iPhone 4, many are saying to just wait it out. Well, Emily and I don’t have iPhone 4’s, or iPhone 3G S’s, but instead have iPhone 3G’s. Oooooooooold school iPhones. Over 3 years old, which is ancient in smart phone years. We are so excited to have phones that work again! It’ll be hard not to keep using it while I’m at work Saturday.
2. Saturday, October 15th: Sounders Game
We get to go to the Seattle Sounders game on Saturday. The feel will probably be a bit different with the larger crowd, since they are opening up all the seating. Still, this is as much fun as you can have at a sporting event.
Seattle ’til I Die, bitches.
3. Sunday, October 16: The Walking Dead returns.
The first season started off so strong, and then moved into a hit or miss sort of field. Early accounts are that the new season starts off strong as well, but then Darabont left so who knows what the season holds. Either way, I know for damned sure I’ll be tuned in this Sunday.
4. Tuesday, October 18th: Batman: Arkham City arrives in the mail.
Batman: Arkham Asylum was so amazing. To use the vernacular of my youth, that game was dope! I can honestly say, without any hyperbole whatsoever, that I have never been this excited for the release of a video game before. Ever. To be Batman again, this time with added villains and allies. Oh, yes. Things will be looking up in the world of Bruce Way… I mean Scott Small.
5. Monday, October 24th: Tom Waits – Bad As Me
Tom Waits has a new album coming out October 24th.
Tom Waits. Has a new album. Coming. O.ut. Oct.o.ber 2.4.th.
And the heavens opened up, and God said, “I love you, Charlie Brown.”
Get the single HERE.
This was actually supposed to be a part of five things, but I got so carried away that it got its own post, instead. God, I missed stream of consciousness writing! Awaaaaay we go.
Drive was featured on trailer park a ways back. You can check that out if you haven’t. Fair warning, it’s really spoiler heavy. It’s HERE.
The film’s director, Nicolas Winding Refn, is making quite a name for himself in the world of violent and artistic indie films. This was actually the first of his film’s that I’ve seen, which is odd, because I’ve wanted to see every one of his films (Bronson, Valhalla Rising, Pusher) based on trailers. I’ve got to get my head in the game.
This movie bothered me, but in the best possible way. I couldn’t escape the story, and I’ve wanted to watch it again ever since seeing it. It is a quiet, troubling, tragic, disturbingly violent film that also hints toward a message of imperfect hope.
You don’t have to read this blog very often to know I really enjoy subtle, quiet, understated performances in film. I’m not talking about realism, in the sense of mumblecore, where people try and speak like regular people and not actors. Don’t get me wrong, I like mumblecore. Yet, what I really love is when actors can deliver a ‘less is more’ performance that is full of meaning and emotion, but without over the top drama. It takes a combination of talented actors and strong direction and editing. This film has it in spades. So much is communicated between Ryan Gosling and Carrie Mulligan without any dialogue, or in some scenes, very limited dialogue. I can’t go into more detail without spoilers, but one of the more important scenes in their relationship literally has no words at all. Yet, it was so clear exactly what was happening, what each character was thinking, what the inevitable outcome would be. Let’s talk about this once you’ve seen it, if you see it. Obviously, after saying all that, it is clear I feel that the bulk of the performances in this film are spectacular.
This film offered a very specific take on that sort of less is more storytelling, accentuating that stillness with unspeakable interpersonal violence. I know all violence is interpersonal; I mean it in this context to say that it is all small acts of violence in a one to one situation, as opposed to say, war or genocide. Anyway, unspeakable violence, carried out by people continuing to deliver quiet, understated performances. The result is that the violence is all the more arresting and troubling, and the characters display the deep rage that would be necessary for this sort of violence to be possible. There is no maniacal laughter, no firing a gun in the air and going “Ahhhh!”, no one-liner after killing someone. This is a story of violent men, communicating in the only tragic way they know how, without the punches of that tragedy pulled.
I suppose it could actually be said that this is a film of juxtapositions. Sweetness and violence, love and rage, innocence and depravity. These things are all placed next to each other in the film in ways that are inescapable. Each element that is juxtaposed is thrown into starker contrast by how well Refn quietly sets them next to each other. There is never a point where we as the audience don’t know what’s coming, and yet that adds to the weight of each scene.
And yes, with all that juxtaposition, they do have a scene of slow, sweet, sad music juxtaposed against tension and oncoming violence at one point in the film. It is a moment in film that clearly always teeters between ‘staple’ and ‘cliché’. In this case, I think it works as a staple, because of how perfectly executed it is. For one, it isn’t working as a glorification or stylization of violence. Instead, for me, it offered a sadness and surreality to the tension of the scene. While it also shows you the heart of the film when you listen to the lyrics of the Riz Ortolani penned score (because Refn joined Tarantino in taking old Ortolani music and using it in his film),
/ oh my love, look and see the sun rising from the river / nature’s miracle once more will light the world / but this light is not for those men, still lost in an old black shadow / won’t you help me to believe that they will see a day, a brighter day, when all the shadow’s will fade away /
That is such a beautiful use of, and response to, violence in storytelling. All the violence in this film costs something. This is a post-modern action film that never lets you enjoy the violence on a simple cathartic level. It holds violence in a way that shows that violence always destroys the perpetrator along with the victim. The sunlight of the story is blackened by these men lost in an old black shadow, yet we are left holding onto hope for something more.
The soundtrack is one of my favorites. Refn was so meticulous in picking songs that played behind the story lyrically. I’m also not sure why he chose to go with a electro synth-pop vibe, and retro aesthetic for much of the film’s visuals, but I love it. As I also love all those slow motion scenes that use music and facial queues to carry the emotional arc of the film. Oh, and speaking of faces, some faces are just more kissable than others, and for my money, Carrie Mulligan has the most kissable face in movies today. Wee-ow!
I can’t leave this movie alone.
Hmm, maybe I can find someone to suffer through this with me over the next week.
I’ve been away for so long. It’s been one thing after another, the final blow of which has been feeling terrible for a few days. Finally, I think I am starting to turn the corner into being healthy, but that might go out the window tomorrow when I have to be at work at 5:30am. I need to throw myself back into writing again, and it seems the best way to do that is with the easy-peasy world of RtM.
I have so much I’ve wanted to throw up on Roused, but just haven’t been able to. If I can find the time and stay healthy, I think I’ll do a few days in a row with five things posts. So much goodness to share.
First, to make things even easier on myself, music you should be listening to, if you aren’t already:
The sophomore solo album from the lady who was once the female voice on all of Damien Rice’s albums. We got to see her live last week at The Tractor, and even though I had to sit in the back because I didn’t have the energy to stand, she was still delightful.
And, in case you want to see her perform for real, instead of pretending while people cover her in paint.
I got to this one a little late, I know. I really like this album!
Still in my first ten listens to this one, so its early. So far, superb.
Here she is performing “Graveyards.”
I should have listened to Fitz and the Tantrums far sooner. They were talked up quite a bit last year on KEXP, but they just got lost in the shuffle as another band I really need to check out eventually. Well, eventually came, and I’m so happy it did. Please, friends, release another album soon!
5. Liam Finn concert
So, this isn’t exactly in line with the rest of the post, and it means I’ll have to wait a while to share my love of the new Wilco album and my favorite movie soundtrack since Tron: Legacy. The Liam Finn show I got to see at The Tractor was so great. He’s a little manic kiwi rock god. So much energy and charisma, but in a down-to-earth, common way.
The crowd’s favorite part was always when he would get on drums, in addition to his brother, who played drums for the touring band, and they would double team the rhythm. So great. One of the best concerts I’ve been to, in a genuinely surprising way. I expected it to be a good show, not an amazing show.
Then there was the fact that, as those of you who follow me on Facebook already know, Eddie Vedder showed up for the encore to perform with Liam. There were only like 100-150 people there, so being able to enjoy the surprise visit of one of Seattle’s favorite sons at a divy little rock bar was pretty exciting.
If Liam Finn comes to your town anytime soon, be sure to check him out. It’ll be pretty cheap, but awesome! Do yourself a favor. Go.