And yes, I have seen Inception

The new Harry Potter movie was a bit of a surprise, the more I thought about it. Sure, parts of it were campy, and the ending wasn’t exactly a cliff hanger that made you beg to watch the second half. HOWEVER, it did what no fantasy movie to my knowledge really did. There was no you-are-the-one storylines we are used to and sick of, especially since we are this far along in the series. There is no endless training, there is no what-if-the-villain… (insert adjective, verb or long story here) that we are looking for, because we know who the villain is and what he is capable of. All it did was build. And build, and build. While I am not a huge fan of the Potter series, I must say that this is what we’ve come to expect before the big show down, but in a full length feature form. Yes, the movie makers are taking advantage of our money. But they also gave us a movie to make us think more than fear and wonder.

Black Swan actually follows in this same pattern. While this is a once-and-for-all movie, most of this movie is also about build up. There were many parts I noticed while watching this that seemed out of place and too brief to really add to the plot. But somehow Darren Aronofsky always does it – the transformation of a character means a lot of things, no matter how small and seemingly irrelevent it truly is. And while I found this movie also didn’t have an ending that blew your mind (like his other work does), this is his existential film about art. Why not give it your all? Why not be pushed to the brink? And while I’m sure there are many reasons you shouldn’t, for once a story tells you to go further than before.

While I can’t say that my life has been built up and built up without any resolve, or in any real way relate my life to the two movies as I did with the albums, I have to say that my movie tastes are changing. While on one hand, earlier in the year I arrogantly said that Inception failed at being Memento part 2, I’m realizing that each movie needs to tell its own story. Nevermind the cheese, nevermind the mellowdrama. Nevermind its over-the-topness. Let the movie bring you along and teach you its lessons. And well, may life do the same.

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And yes, I have heard Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs

The Laura Veirs CD has a lot of backstory to it, most of which is history and lessons learned. I’ll just say I bought it on a whim, after having dinner with someone I thought was really cool. Actually, the album has a lot to do with something along those lines. To call the songs love songs is a bit of a stretch, but to call them anything else is less accurate. The first song I really dug was “When You Give Your Heart,” which is a simple folk song about wanting someone to love the singer. I could relate, seeing as how I fall for girls easily, and rarely get the same feeling back. But there is so much more to the album. “July Flame,” the title track, is about wanting that certain someone to be yours and yours alone. On the flipside, the opening track “I Can See Your Tracks” is about leaving the past where it is – which is a nice trick, cause the two tracks follow one another. “Saddle Song” might as well be about accepting ones own mortality, while “Make Something Good” is about just that – making something that lasts. Leaving something behind since you are bound to die. And just as I wrote when I first got it, calling it Twee is a bit of a stretch, and it certainly doesn’t rock like Indie Rock. This is perfect Indie Pop.

The other album, Belle and Sebastian’s CD was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t even know they had a new album, and it pretty much blew me away. While over time it looses its newness, certain songs are really unique. “I Want The World To Stop” is the most catchy song I’ve heard all year, with perfect backing vocals and borderline dance beat. “Ghost of Rockschool” is probably the most objective song I’ve heard in a while, with lyrics like She’s in her tower and she’s beautiful sure/the quicker you learn/she has no soul to discern/at least no business of yours/you bear the vacuum of scars/she was put there tempt you like the perfume of flowers. You see, there are some worth persuing, there are others who are just no good for you, no matter how you feel. Even better, the understated “Calculating Bimbo” has a wonderful line It’s better still to love her/it’s harder still to love her – sometimes it’s better to do what you have to, even if you don’t want to; just as it’s written in the liner notes.

You see, this past year has been just about that. I used to think I was so intelligent thinking about life and what it means. But I’ve learned that there’s no point waiting to be loved, if you can’t love. Which is something I need to learn to do.

You Know Who You Are

December 28, 2010


You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You’ll never drill for oil on a city street
I know you’re looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks
But there ain’t no Coup de Ville
Hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box
I can’t lie
I can’t tell you that I’m something I’m not
No matter how I try
I’ll never be able
To give you something
Something that I just haven’t got

This isn’t an excuse. This isn’t her. This is me. I am so sorry. And you know who you are. Forgive me.

About A Week Late…

December 27, 2010

Hope I wasn’t the only one that froze my butt off doing that!

My Gifts

December 25, 2010

Just what I needed!

I would like to add that I forgot that Solaris was actually the best film I’ve seen this year. I don’t know why that slipped my mind. But Moon is a really good movie too, so which ever you feel.

Some Gifts

December 24, 2010

And with that, the best things I’ve stumbled upon this past year.

Black Swan

December 21, 2010

In 1998, Darren Aronofsky released his first film Pi to probably a handful of movie buffs, critics and general artists at one of the many film festivals around. It deservedly gave him a place in the business, which he followed up with many well made films; Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler and now Black Swan. Many have watched his films and found the obsessive main character a reoccuring character in many of his films. Also there are characters that push the main character one way or another – generally telling them to hold on to stability rather than go deeper into their madness. Only this time it’s the other way around – we finally see a character pushing the hero deeper down the rabbit hole, further into her own madness.

As we watch Natalie Portman transform from the easy going nice girl (the White Swan in the Tchaikovsky ballet Swan Lake) into the seductive black swan, we watch her madness grow. Some of it is the usual Aronofsky stuff – hallucinations, dreams, delusions. Other times the thrills seem cheap, almost as if this were just a horror movie. There are some nice motifs in it. Mainly that under certain circumstances giving your all may be worth it. Along with the other side of the coin, how far are you willing to go for your dreams? I couldn’t help but see parallels to either filmmaking, or at least art in general.

While watching it, I couldn’t push away this nagging feeling that a lot of this was an homage to his other work. There are subway scenes which are reminiscent of Pi. There is a minor subplot of drug use, which was a main point in Requiem. There is the camera angle straight out of The Wrestler – we follow Natalie from almost right behind her, as she drags us along to follow her story, instead of us looking back as she follows. But comparing it to his other work will let you down, which is what I’ve come to realize. I arrogantly did that with Inception, which I now realize wasn’t trying to be Memento pt. 2. But Black Swan is like nothing out there right now, which is all I could ever ask from Aronofsky.

So if you’re a fan of his work, watch it. If you like a good, intense thriller, go see it. It is well worth it, and one of the best movies from this year.

Crazy Wisdom

December 15, 2010

Crazy Wisdom

And thus, my fourth film. Or fifth. Depends if Leap of Faith is still available as a title.

Wow, Leap Second. Leap of Faith. Hrm…

Inception

December 13, 2010

Don’t you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone!

You see, the idea is put into your head. And then the time comes when you have to on one side of the coin or the other. If you don’t believe in Inception, look at yourself.

Do I take the leap?

Imagine There’s No Heaven

December 8, 2010

Personal opinions aside, extreme opinions of John Lennon aside (I meant his extremem opinions, but it worked out as a nice double entendre), you left us too early John. Thank you, though.

I never noticed how close in time George passed away and John was shot. And how one can’t wait to meet his Lord, while the other finds peace in no Heaven.