Friday, January 16, 2009

Rewind #18

The Ting Tings: We Started Nothing (2008)

Pop perfection! Every time a song from We Started Nothing pops up on my stereo, I'm transported back through time into a culture vacuum of teenage pop pleasure coursing through my sugary veins. The days are full of sundrenched chlorinated bodies splashing in crystal cool water. The nights are full of kids in shorts chasing moths under the street light as the shadows swallow them in massive games of hide and seek. It's basketball courts full of boys with muscle shirts and painted chalk lines in the cul-de-sac that play out fantasies of major league dreams. It's bouncing on the beds after parents have gone asleep and sleepovers with revelations of junior high crushes and locker gossip. It's full of summer and blinding with the washed out hues of the seventies and eighties. It's the scent of grass lying in the breathe of nostrils as we find time for dozing in the middle of the afternoon. I've always been attracted to this type of pop music. The kid in me wants to bounce off the walls and scream the lyrics at the stars, totally pulled into its vortex with each hook and snag. They create a pleasant nostalgia that entraps my soul.

Stranger Than Fiction: Marc Forster (2006)

Each movie that is made has a certain pace. Depending on who they're marketed toward or simply due to the person who made it, the energy that moves the film is so important in showing its personality. The pacing isn't just based on the flow of the story either. Movies have so many other elements that make them a compound whole entirely. Just the visual structure of a film has an enormous affect on it. How quickly do we cut within scenes? What type of shots are used? Are we close, far away, moving, zooming? Everything gives the movie a certain feel. The sound of a film is dramatic at creating what type of emotion the audience will feel. Are we being manipulated by soaring dramatic sound or does it take a more minimalist approached? The color of the film. Some film-makers even continue to use black-and-white so that their film will carry a sense of nostalgia to the viewer. Films are broad majestic strokes of art that require intense attention to detail in order to speak with a language that makes it unique. Maybe that's why Xtimu and I are so annoyed when we watch a movie that reverts to generic concepts or simplistic ploys to tell the story. It's a lazy artistic eye that cannot think for itself. Marc Foster is not lazy and Stranger Than Fiction actually is a wonderfully paced film. Every time that I thought the movie was going to slip down useless terrain, it ultimately never crossed the line (the DVD box itself had some cheesy ass photos on it, so it was a pleasant surprise to miss all of that). Even Will Farrell, who can go off the deep end sometimes, completely immersed himself in the role and was charming, funny and a delight. In fact, though the movie was star-studded, which quite often terrifies me as well (too many egos in one room can make for a very crowded environment), everyone excelled in their role. And the story of an uptight man who has never followed his heart until he hears a voice navigating his life to him inside his head from an author who always kills her main character and that's how he discovers that he's going to die so what better time than now to live your dreams is such a great concept that, with the right pace, it all comes together very well.

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