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the last five movies… [five things, 3.17.13.]

Even though most of you will read this after the fact, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have no thematic post prepared for the festivities. I actually have nothing prepared. Having no idea what to write about today, I decided it was time to resurrect ‘Five Things.’ I’m pretty sure that ‘Five Things’ was the very first thematic post series I started way back when, but then it was called ‘Props Thursdays’ or something along those lines. Since I couldn’t come up with what I wanted to write about today, I decided to just share the last five movies I watched, and a brief snippet of my reaction to each. Here they are:

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1. Gaslight

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This 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman (and featuring Joseph Cotten) begins right after an unsolved murder, and from there goes on to tell a twisted story of psychological abuse and obsession. Bergman won the Oscar for Best Actress, and it’s easy to see why. Her performance is really amazing, especially toward the end as her character devolves into madness.

The film is tense and interesting, but it is Bergman’s performance that really stays with you.

One interesting bit of trivia is that because of the play the film was based on, as well as the two film adaptations of which this version is the second, the sort of psychological abuse depicted in the film is still know as ‘gaslighting.’

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2. Deliverance

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Another installment in my quest to keep checking off all the classic films I’ve never seen. Based on a novel and headlined by Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds, the story follows four guys from Atlanta who go deep into the backwoods to canoe down a river before it is damned and becomes a lake. Way out of their element, they run afoul of some sexually sadistic hillbillies, and things don’t go well for anybody.

The film is responsible for a number of pop culture mainstays. It is the reason we are all familiar with the song ‘Dueling Banjos,’ and it features the disturbing and oft-referenced lines: “He got a real pretty mouth ain’t he?” and “I bet you can squeal like a pig.”

It’s a good film, but it’s also flawed in a number of ways concerning general logic and character motivations. I’m definitely glad to have finally checked it off my list of movies waiting to be watched.

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3. Metropolitan 

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This uber-indie film from 1990 is set in the world of high-society trust fund kids in Manhattan. An outsider is randomly drawn into an elite clique and makes more of an impact than anyone anticipated. The film is painfully acted, but the screenplay is sharp and clever. I would often flip back and forth between despising all of these characters, and then loving them in spite of myself. They are sweet and naive and flawed, and yet they try so hard to seem erudite and grownup and put-together. It’s the inherent sweetness that comes through by the end that left a winning taste in my mouth, when it could easily have just been bitter and nauseating.

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4. Blue Velvet

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Speaking of classics I’d never seen before, this was my very first time seeing Blue Velvet. The film nerd in me is appropriately ashamed, so fear not. This isn’t my first rodeo with David Lynch, so I was prepared for the surreality of the whole thing. I really enjoyed it! Part film-noir, part surreal dream/nightmare, part psychological metaphor, part parable of love conquering evil, it is unique and from what I understand, completely changed the landscape of arthouse films.

The performances are amazing. Most notably, Dennis Hopper’s maniacal villain is perfect, and by perfect I mean bat-shit crazy and disturbing. The direction is bizarre, and yet carefully crafted so that while you never know where the hell lynch is going, there is never a doubt that he certainly knows and will take you there skillfully, even if it is a place you never want to reach.

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5. Get Carter (1971)get carter 1971

Not to be confused with what I assume is an unwatchable remake starring Sylvester Stallone, this movie was good, and also mostly awful. It was good because it’s fun to see a younger Michael Caine be a total fricking badass, and because the film was smarter than most lone bad-ass revenge films. You can easily see how all the British gangster films since take a great number of their cues from Get Carter. From the tone, to the dialogue, right through to the ending, you can see it in ‘Snatch’, ‘Lock, Stock…’, ‘Layer Cake,’ etc.

It was bad because it was overwhelmingly sexist. I think it may have been a self-aware sort of sexism, that understood the ugliness of Jack Carter’s character, but for me they should have gone just a bit farther by creating some better female characters who didn’t get abused, exploited, or drowned in a car trunk (or boot, I guess in England it was a car boot) without anyone giving much of a shit one way or the other. At one point, a moral of the film seems to be: Folks getting naive young girls to appear in illegal porn films is fine… unless you find out it happened to a relative of yours, that’s crossing the fucking line! Eh, I really wanted to like it because of the various strengths, but the sexism was just too nauseating.

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video love.

I haven’t been around much lately, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. I’d like to eventually get back into a rhythm of posting, but that definitely won’t happen until 2013. How is it already six weeks from 2013?!?

Anyway, for those of you who have this on an RSS feed, here are some videos I’ve been enjoying to hold you over until I’m back in full swing, and filling up your feeds with all sorts of lame shit I love.

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1. Dumb Ways To Die

Here is a creative ad for safety awareness on the Australian Metro. Also, as far as videos that are all about death go, it is definitely the cutest ever.

[via Vulture]

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2. House of Cards

It’s no secret that Netflix has been getting into the original content game. I think it started with Lilyhammer (which I haven’t actually seen), you’d have to count the upcoming continuation of Arrested Development, and from all accounts they plan on expanding in pretty audacious ways.

One show I will definitely be trying on for size when it airs next year is House of Cards. With a pilot directed by David Fincher, the show stars Kevin Spacey, Kate Mara (wee-ow!), and Robin Wright. Netflix has already given the green light on two full seasons (13 eps each).

Here is the trailer!

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3. Lover of the Light

Idris Elba directs and stars in a Mumford and Sons video. What else needs to be said?

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4. Möbius

Jean Dujardin being all brooding and intense and whatnot. I’m looking forward to learning more about this one.

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5. Now You See Me

There’s probably a pretty fair chance that it will be hackneyed and cliché. Yet, I really like the cast and I always hold out hope that a heist film will be well-executed because they can be so damn fun when they are.

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6. Hitchcock

Only a few more days!

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7. The Central Park Five

This is going to be a tough watch. Also, Ken Burns is a freaking genius (with a consistently terrible haircut).

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Still so many great videos to share, but every post has to end some time.

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never letting go of dandelion wine leads to long goodbyes in the southern wild, also batman. [five things.]

I wasn’t sure if I was coming back after this recent hiatus. I’m still not entirely sure, but here I am writing a ‘five things’ anyway. I’ll need several ‘five things’ posts to catch up on sharing all the things I’ve been enjoying lately with the friends who read this blog.

I apologize in advance for typos, I haven’t slept in a very long time.

1. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

This book is really wonderful. A time capsule of one small-town summer in 1928, told in a style that is basically a connected series of short stories. Primarily, it tells the story of one boy truly coming into the knowledge of what it is to be alive, and then coming to inevitably fear death, and the loss of the remarkable life he’d discovered. More subtle and real to me than other coming of age tales I’ve read. Bradbury certainly was a master.

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2. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The story of a boy named Todd, who lives on a planet where men’s thoughts are audible to anyone nearby. Todd is counting the days until he becomes a man, until an unexpected discovery leads to a thrilling and heartbreaking adventure that has me excited for book two… that is, once I whittle down my ‘To Read’ shelf a bit first.

The book was smart and well-written, and should be added to the list of good books you should read even though it has what I believe to be an ugly cover.

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3. Batman: Year One

When it comes to the two primary comic book players, Marvel is far and away more successful than DC with making films from their brand. Marvel Studios has taken characters that common logic said would have trouble making money in film franchises, and then proceeded to make enormous amounts of money off of them, while also churning out some great films along the way. However, in the last decade, DC can only make a profit off of a hero if that hero’s name is Batman.

What DC/Warner Bros. does do well is animation. Much of my love for Batman is rooted in watching Batman: The Animated Series every weekday at 4:30 throughout my formative years. These days, I don’t catch much in the way of animated television series, but I have recently gotten into something called DC Universe Animated Original Movies. DC is bringing some of their most beloved and celebrated comic storylines to life via animation, and my first experience was Batman: Year One. It’s a really great adaptation of one of the best graphic novels ever, and it has gotten me into the rest of the new original animated movies DC has been producing.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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4. The Long Goodbye

Way back when Noir Month ended several weeks ago, I decided to watch an updated private detective film in the form of Robert Altman’s 70’s rendition of Philip Marlowe (the guy from The Big Sleep, as well as a large number of novels).

It was awesome. Just as I wanted to keep watching Bogart play Marlowe in the film from the 40’s, I wanted to watch Gould keep delivering his smart-ass, deadpan lines for all eternity… well, maybe not eternity, but for much longer than the all too brief 112 minutes of the film.

It’s a great movie that was underappreciated upon release, only to garner the respect and accolades it deserves in the decades to follow.

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5. Beasts of the Southern Wild

It’s been a few weeks since I saw this, and I still don’t really have words to describe my feelings about it. I could come up with some, but I think it would cheapen my experience some, in a mystical sort of way. Suffice it to say I thought it was an uncommonly beautiful film that has stayed with me long after viewing it.

Also, Dwight Henry and Quvenzhané Wallis gave genuinely stunning performances. Wallis was especially awe-inspiring, showing talent far, far beyond her years as our fierce young heroine, Hushpuppy.

This movie honestly moved me to silence afterward.

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television. [five things, 7.6.12]

There are so many great television shows to watch these days. Now that cable stations, both premium and basic, are creating quality original programming, and that we have access to tv from around the world at the click of a button… the possibilities are endless. I haven’t even gotten around to watching shows from non-English speaking countries, but I hear there are some pretty amazing offerings from Asia and much of Europe. As it is, I always have an enormously long list of television shows I need to get around to seeing, or get around to catching up on, or get around to finishing. Then again, the list of culture I want to consume is enormously long regardless of which medium you are talking about, whether it be books, tv, movies, etc.

Lately, I’ve finally gotten around to a few shows I’d been neglecting for a while, and I thought I would share my recommendations with you.

Here are five shows which, if you aren’t already watching, you should be.

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1. Sherlock

I’m pretty sure everyone already watches this, but I finally saw the end of series two after taking way too long away from this Stephen Moffat brilliance after series one. I was a really early adopter of the first series, but then it took me forever to finally watch the second offering.

Also, try to avoid the American re-edits of the show that aired here in the States. They edit quite a bit out for time, and it sucks. Do whatever it takes to get your greedy little hands on the original BBC edits of the show, to enjoy all 90 minutes of each episode.

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2. Luther

Personal favorite Idris Elba is John Luther, a badass Detective Chief Inspector who will do anything to catch any proper villain who made the mistake of letting Luther catch his or her scent. From a major decision Luther makes that opens the series, to his unconventional relationship with someone from a previous case, the show is an excellent departure from your run of the mill cop show.

There are only ten episodes so far, divided up over two seasons. I’ve seen seven thus far, and shit gets real at the end of series one. It’s not a perfect show, with several annoying plot holes at times, and episode three didn’t make much sense (although it is as creepy as fuck), but it sure is entertaining. The performances are also stellar across the board, including those of characters only around for a single episode.

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3. Breaking Bad

The combination of the massive number of good shows to watch and my own habits of procrastination resulted in it taking me until now to finally start watching Breaking Bad. I’m only through the first season, but you can already count me amongst the show’s believers. Smart, dark, well-acted, and unlike anything else on television.

Well, I guess it is like Weeds, but it’s about a potentially dying chemistry teacher who is selling drugs because he is trying to leave something for his family instead of being about a rich white widow who is selling drugs because she doesn’t want to move into a smaller house or get a job. With the exception of Mary-Louise Parker’s insane hotness, Weeds is inferior in every way when it comes to stories about unlikely people building drug empires.

The Breaking Bad hype is well-deserved.

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4. The Newsroom

Another Aaron Sorkin show that is going to create polar opposites in people’s opinions. They had me at “Sam Waterston delivering Aaron Sorkin lines once a week.” Add to that the rest of the strong cast, and my heart was just a series of dominoes waiting for Sorkin to knock them down. He wins.

The show isn’t perfect… yet. Still, I will never understand Sorkin haters. Sure, he’ll never be subtle, and his idealism and hope that people can be better than they usually are will always bleed through, but why is that so terrible?

Another Sorkin complaint I’ve heard is that his characters never talk like real people. Right, because I’m sure the people on your favorite show talk exactly like fucking real people. No one talks like real people in film, books, tv shows… they speak an approximation of regular speech that serves a narrative and dialogue. Whedon characters all talk like Whedon characters, Wes Anderson characters all talk like Wes Anderson characters, etc. Having a voice isn’t bad. Shakespeare characters didn’t talk like regular people, neither did Jane Austen characters, or Dickens characters. No, my friend, characters in culture don’t talk like regular people, it’s really the other way around, we start speaking like the characters on the things we consume. I’d much rather have some Sorkin intelligence rub off on me than whatever other dumb shit makes up most of what’s on television.

Also, why do some people like to rag on Sorkin shows for the idealistic monologues? What’s wrong with being passionate enough about something that we get carried away and share ideas, hopes, and dreams for how the world might be better? We could all stand to be more articulate, more thoughtful orators in our daily lives. Especially when we are championing in favor of logic and reasonableness, which Sorkin’s characters always are. Tyrants and assholes are always willing to stand up and voice their ideas, if reasonable people aren’t willing to do it as well then we are allowing the tyrants and assholes to frame the entire conversation.

I’ll take Sorkin any day of the week and twice on Sunday, which just so happens to be when Newsroom airs on HBO.

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5. 30 Rock

It isn’t a show I’ve recently caught up with, but it is the show I’ve been watching every night when I am trying to trick my brain into sleeping. Not because the show is boring… that’s not how it works. Most nights, er… mornings, to fall asleep, it helps me to distract my overactive brain with a show I’ve seen over half a dozen times.

I love this show so much.

And speaking of Tina Fey, she makes a guest appearance on the last track of Childish Gambino’s new mix tape R O Y A L T Y, which you can download for free here.

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m. ward’s sasquatch avenges a community of elephants. [five things. 5.20.12]

It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘five things’ post. The time has come.

In personal news, I finally got back to writing my novel in earnest, again. It’s still early, but I’ll be pushing past the 20,000 word mark today, so that’s a lot better than nothing.

1. The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DiCamillo

I’ve never read DiCamillo’s hugely successful books, The Tale of Despereaux or Because of Winn Dixie, so unlike most who have read her work, The Magician’s Elephant was my first encounter with her. Emily encouraged me to read it because she thought it would be the perfect story for my sensibilities. She was very, very right.

I want to believe that there is genuine beauty and magic in the world. I want to believe that there is grace and goodness there for those who keep their eyes open to see glimpses of them. I want to believe that there are such things as home, belonging, and love. I want to believe that if we are good to one another, and if we are willing to do crazy, extraordinary things, the world can be made lighter and kinder and better. I want to believe those things, and in my better moments, I actually do.

The Magician’s Elephant, the story of a boy in search of a home and a family, is written by someone who wants to believe those things along with me, and it is written for everyone else who feels similarly.

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2. The Avengers

I know, I’ve written about this once already, but there was one important thought that I forgot to mention in my last post about it. It seems like today is a good day to blog about it again, as in its third weekend so far, The Avengers CRUSHED Battleship, leading everyone in the blogosphere to make bad puns about sinking and torpedoes.

Speaking of which, I still don’t understand how they can say that a movie is based on the game ‘Battleship’ when it has nothing to do with the game ‘Battleship.’ I mean, just because there are battleships in it doesn’t mean you can say ‘based on the game.’ Just because both the game and the movie happen to center on the reality that battleships do, in fact, exist… that’s enough? I’m going to write an indie film about a tortured architect trying to complete a project building a huge tower. The project is going to cost him more and more emotionally and financially, but his ego is going to be so tied up in the project that he is going to push himself to utter ruin because he just won’t let go. I’m going to call it Jenga. I mean, they both have towers, so I think that is probably enough to say it is ‘based on the game.’

Anyway, the thought that I forgot to share before was this: In almost every movie that has as much scope and potential as The Avengers, I find myself disappointed. I still like the movies, but usually I find myself saying, “It was really good, but they could have done so much more! Maybe they will in the sequel.” Not so with The Avengers. It delivers excitement, fun, and size that truly fulfills all of the movie’s potential. It is everything a movie with this many great, dynamic, superhuman personalities should be. I’ve seen it twice so far, and I am itching for number three.

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3. Community

The life of a Community fan sure is bittersweet. First came the news that the show would be renewed for a fourth season, but only for a half-order of episodes. Then came the rumors that Dan Harmon was out as showrunner. Then came the confirmation that Dan Harmon was out as showrunner. It’s entirely possible that most of what we all love about the show will be leaving with him. Hopefully not, but it is highly likely. He was the brains, heart, and soul of the show. It was his baby. Now that he’s gone… ::sigh::

Yet, since the final episodes of Season 3 were written with the distinct possibility that the show would be cancelled altogether, they offer a beautiful end to what Community has been. From the awesome 8-bit episode, to Jeff’s final monologue in which he articulates the soul of the show: that even though we are cynical, jaded, self-centered, broken people, we still need each other, and we make the world better when we embrace that and get over ourselves a little bit. It’s a thought that temporarily zaps the beard off my inner ‘Evil Abed.’ It was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears when the final story ended with a single screen featuring the ‘six seasons and a movie’ hashtag. I love the show that much. I really hope we don’t all come to wish it had just been cancelled when Dan Harmon was fired. I really wish the show had somehow moved to Netflix like Arrested Development. That would have immediately made Netflix my favorite company on the planet.

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4. Wasteland Companion – M. Ward

I realize that I’ve never recommended M. Ward’s newest release. That’s an oversight that needs to be remedied right this moment. Ward is a master of crafting sweet, sad, spiritual songs of life and existence, disappointment and love. He has the ability to be as silly as he is melancholy. His music is perfect for the soul of the rainy pacific northwest. I love him.

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5. Sasquatch!!

Speaking of M. Ward, Sasquatch starts Friday!! And I’M GOING TO BE THERE!! In the immortal words of Jason Penopolis, “Wee-ow!” I made a list of things I want to do in my 30’s. This weekend, I cross one of those things off!

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two more things.

Over the last few days, I’ve been able to join five of my favorite human beings in watching the following:

1. The Hunger Games

Right up until this film came out, I was worried it wouldn’t be good. I felt like so many of the previews and such I saw for the film was underwhelming. I was actually pleasantly surprised when the critical response to the film was so strong. Either way, no amount of poor marketing was going to keep me from seeing it, because I loved the books. Also, it must have just been me who didn’t like the marketing, because people are going to see it in droves.

Anyway. In my opinion, the movie was absolutely wonderful. It was a much, much higher level of film-making than I was expecting. It was smart, understated, literate, and coherent from beginning to end. I have my gripes, which will be the case any time a beloved book is turned into a film, but all in all I was so happy with the film. I was completely engaged from beginning to end. Great storytelling/filmmaking.

2. Mad Men, Season Five Premiere

I’ve seen conflicting responses to the most watched episode in Mad Men history. My response is that it was a really engaging episode. I thought it was funnier than the show has been in some time, as well as skillful in setting up the coming season without giving us a boring ‘set-up’ episode, as shows are often wont to do, especially after such a long time away.

Things are pretty good in the world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, which can’t last. We’ve got three seasons to go, so sooner rather than later, shit’s going to get real.

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five previously neglected things.

Five things I should have blogged about much, much earlier, but haven’t yet.

1. Assassin’s Creed III

Early reports are that they are finally reinventing the game, instead of just releasing the same game three times with different names. It’s odd that this trailer sort of gives the impression that the Colonies are the good guys and the British are the bad guys, but an interview I saw with a developer said that a big reason they went with a Native American Assassin is because it’s not a game about Brits vs. Americans, it always has to be a game about Assassins vs. Templars.

I really hope this game is good.

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2. Borderlands 2

Secondofly, another game. This one’s for Josué. This game is undoubtedly going to be lots of fun. Undoubtedly.

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3. 21 Jump Street

I wanted one thing, and one thing only, when we went to this movie: to laugh loudly and often. Wish granted.

 

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4. Being Elmo

As inspiring as it gets. A wonderful film.

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5. Lilith by George MacDonald

One of the best “fairy stories” I’ve ever read. It’s certainly dense at times, but each page crackles with wisdom and insight. The book is a spiritual treasure trove.

 

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shows i vow to catch up on. [five things.]

Okay, I’m already through 3 of the 20 movies I put on The Neglected list. It seems to be working.

So, here are five shows that I am way behind on, that I vow to catch up on before the end of February. Any votes on what I should start with?

1. Dexter

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2. Mad Men

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3. Parks and Rec

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4. True Blood

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5. The League

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i’m in love with movies. [five things 1.9.12]

This five things is movies I’ve seen lately that I think you should see, too. I haven’t had much chance to write lately, but I wanted all of my friends out there in the internets to have some recommendations from me. Here are movies that have a whole-hearted seal of approval because they enchanted, inspired, moved, and entertained me recently.

1. The Adventures of Tintin

This is the best adventure film I’ve seen in years. I loved every second of it. The motion-capture pushed past the uncanny valley and into truly compelling, beautiful visuals, with great performances by the actors being captured. If you’re in the mood for a detective adventure, skip Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and go see this instead.

Granted, there was a speech in the movie that felt like it was written in response to a conversation I had with Emily four or five days earlier, making the film deeply personal, but I was enjoying the hell out of it long before then.

I can’t believe that fucking Chipmunks 3 is making tons of money while this is floundering and failing. This is why we can’t have nice things America, this is why we can’t have nice things.

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2. Another Earth

A new planet appears in the sky on the same night that a young girl makes a life-shattering mistake. The rest of the film carries on from there in a slow, emotionally suspenseful film that kept me on the edge of my seat far more than thrillers and horror movies do.

I always think it’s funny when people praise some piece of SciFi, most often Battlestar Galactica, by saying “It’s not like most SciFi, it’s more about people and politics and life than anything else.” Those people clearly know absolutely nothing about real SciFi. Classic (read ‘good’) Science Fiction is always using aliens, or robots, or spaceships to talk about something else. Asimov, Bradbury, Dick, Vonnegut, etc. etc. etc. It’s always about people, relationships, politics, the human condition. This film is a story that uses the big, exciting premise that another earth appears in our sky to tell a small, painfully human story about a girl who just wants another chance.   


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3. The Secret of Kells

This movie is available on Netflix Instant, so most of you can watch it whenever you want. Please do. It’s a remarkably beautiful movie. The animation, which is rooted entirely in the aesthetic of Celtic spirituality and mythology, is reason enough to watch the film. Every frame is carefully crafted to illuminate a story which is itself about illumination.

It’s a wonderful film, which at times is dark and tragic. Yet, it has to be, because it is a story of the power of beauty, art, and faith to be a light in the darkness. This film genuinely was a light in my darkness over these last few weeks. I’m pretty sure it became another of my ‘once a year-ish’ movies.

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4. The Artist

Sweet Lord. This film is pure, unadulterated cinematic joy. Almost entirely silent, and when it isn’t silent it is very intentionally and carefully done. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus is: “A crowd-pleasing tribute to the magic of silent cinema, The Artist is a clever, joyous film with delightful performances and visual style to spare.” I couldn’t agree more.

I was already in love with Jean Dujardin from his turn as OSS 117, but this seals the deal. If I ever meet him I will kiss him right on his french lips. That’s right folks, you read it here first. I want to kiss Jean Dujardin on the mouth. And Bernice Bejo, who was also delightful in the OSS 117 film Cairo: Nest of Spies, isn’t too shabby either… wee-ow!

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5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The other films on the list were inspiring. This was just well-crafted bad-assery. It was simply flat out cool. I wasn’t as big a fan of the books as many, but watching this film I think I got it and felt what I’d been missing. For many, I think this story connected because deep down we wish there were violent champions for the weak against the villains and monsters.

Rooney Mara was absolutely electric.

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back where i belong. [five things, 12.11.11]

Clinical depression and a new full time job don’t make for lots of blogging, especially when there were a few hoops to jump through to get said blog up and running again. It’s not that I’ve been sad, depression doesn’t always manifest as sadness. No, I’ve been pretty tired lately folks. Deep down in my bones exhausted. However, there are several things that have me hopeful that blogging will be happening more often now.

One: I don’t work at Java Bean anymore, and everyone at my new job is really great. It’s basically the anti-Java Bean. I’ve already felt more appreciated at UW (where I work now) than I did in the entire cumulative time I worked at JB. Good management is an amazing thing.

Two: I should adjust to all the things I need to learn and master for the new job, get used to the new social settings, and not be quite so tired anymore, that’s already starting to happen after week two. That means blogging goodness is on its way.

Three: Did I mention I DON’T WORK AT JAVA BEAN ANYMORE?!!!!!!

Four: I also have a new theme I’m going to be trying to get working to make things look nice and sexy here at RtM, which will add even more inspiration to be here. Plus, the lists of 2011 are coming!

Anyway, that’s why I think I’ll be blogging more often, as I should be. Here are five things I’ve wanted to share with you all over the last few weeks while I haven’t been able to blog.

1. Florence + the Machine

I know I was late to this party, but I’m glad to be here just the same. I’ve been listening to Ceremonials non-stop for weeks. Florence Welch’s ability to craft epic melodies and layer them with this big, cinematic sound makes for a crazy fun listening experience. She’s so wonderful. Her music makes you want to sing and dance, but without sacrificing a desire for strong lyrics and emotional depth.

I already mentioned my clinical depression, which means it isn’t too far from my heart when her first single from Ceremonials includes the line, / and it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back / so shake him off / Well, I can’t imagine a better soundtrack for doing exactly that than Florence  + The Machine.

2. Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin has, for some time, been one of those authors at the top of the list of those I should have read a long time ago. Her famous Earthsea novels have been on my radar as classic fantasy novels that I really needed to get around to checking out, and finally I am in the know. I read A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan this month, and boy am I looking forward to future experiences with Le Guin.

Her prose is a delight to read. It’s crisp, and bright, and clean. Her work is deeply moral, as I’ve read it so far, and is filled with a beauty that’s never weighed down by a sickly-sweet sentimentality. She’s one of the masters.     

3. Elizabeth

This film was beautiful in every way. I can’t wait to watch The Golden Age. 

4. Sapphique

The sequel to Incarceron. This and the first book are YA novels about a dystopian future in which a sentient prison is created to be a paradise of rehabilitation, but ends up being anything but.  Set both inside and outside the prison, the books are exciting and smart, and well worth a read.

5. Hugo

A magic trick of a movie about the power of story and identity, and the wonder of film, performed as only a master magician like Scorcese could offer it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll fall in love with movies all over again.


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