Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rewind #20

Deerhunter: Microcastle (2008)

A denizen of my favorite local rag once spoke about "snap", a little something that bands have when they make music that just clicks. Sometimes the music is just amazing and there's no getting around it, but other times there's something about it that you can't quite put your finger on. I, mean, it's good music but nothing that upon listening differentiates it from so many other bands gracing the halls of the underground. That's when you realize that it's beyond reasoning and it's flirting in-between the ordinary lines of the sound waves crushing at your ears. It's buried deeper and that means it has to go deeper within to register. It goes further than conscious thought. It's "snap" and Deerhunter has it. It's big and vital and it has an energy that comes right through the floor. Some bands have it when they start, crashing upon the scene with an enormous creative spark only to fade into apathy as the need for "snap" demands too much. Others take some time to develop it, learning as they go, blasting and flaunting their souls with age. Deerhunter feels new, fresh and though they've been around for a few years, it seems like they've finally crashed the party. They're playing with an epic sound, lasting and effortless. They've got that "snap".

Margot At The Wedding: Noah Baumbach (2007)

Noah Baumbach is a writer and that's why I probably like his movies so much. They have the heart of a literary geek. His movies, which he both writes and directs, are full of characters who are multi-faceted and raw. Watching his movies, I often think about all of the times I've loved the intricate content that you find in a book; the nuances of character's thoughts and emotions that spring off the page with poetic insight. Well, Baumbach's movies have all of that stuff in them. They are little blessings in disguise. Not to say that his movie are all pleasing and joyful. In fact, he often portrays the aspects of human nature that tend to make us digress in life. Yet, even though so many of his movies have characters that can only be described as "shits", they're still so engrossing. Nicole Kidman plays one of these people in Margot At The Wedding. In fact, she plays Margot who drags her eleven-year-old son along to the wedding of her free-spirited sister. All of the adults in the film are neurotic or psychotic or delusional or simply assholes. The only sane person aboard seems to be Margot's son, Claude. When we look at the grand culture of film-making, there are certain actors who are gigantic personalities and who never seem to escape the celebrity that has surrounded them. Well, I always put Nicole Kidman in that category, especially over the past ten years or so when she couldn't make a movie without the word, oscar, being attached to the back of her name with a hyphen, like she married the damn statue. Not to say that she's a bad actor because I used to be enamored with her after watching "Dead Calm" when I was still a teen but she'd just grown larger than any role that she played. She was never simply the character but Nicole Kidman playing the character. Anyway, by the time I was thoroughly immersed in Margot At The Wedding, I had completely forgotten that Nicole Kidman was playing this person. She ceased to be Nicole Kidman and had evolved into this crazy person named Margot. So, after all of those years lugging around (and eventually grabbing) that oscar burden, I think that she's finally played a role that deserves it. We can thank Noah Baumbach for writing and directing a character that was larger than Nicole Kidman.

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