Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rewind #25

Beirut: The Flying Cup Club (2007)

Beirut is a band that only a good gypsy could love. They have a distinct sound, one that quickly becomes familiar, kind-of-like if you've heard one of their songs then you pretty much know what they all sound like. You know, it usually starts out with a soft mandolin or ukulele or accordion intro that is just the right pitch for Zach's voice to drift over with his branded unique Zach voice and obscure lilting lyrics, then pick up the tempo a little until it's time for the horns to explode into a rhythmic swinging blast that rockets up into the atmosphere and continue on in that vein for about three minutes or slow it back down to a shudder, much the way that it began. There you have it but then, after a few listens, it all begins to grow more clear. There's a spirit in this music that you cannot find anywhere else. The songs creep down inside you with their beauty and you begin to evolve, you begin to embrace life with a bigger hug. You start to hear nuances in the songs that take you beyond this simple frantic modern world and you evolve some more, you begin to grow inside. There's a world all around us that is fantastical, an amazing labyrinth that we travel and so often we miss the wonders of the universe that exist somewhere deeper than the pandemonium. When I spend some time with Beirut, I begin to notice the wonder all around me and I want to bury myself in it until I'm cold to this life we lead. I want to breathe the fresh ancient cure that I find in their music. I want to evolve.

Serenity (Firefly): Joss Whedon (2005)

Serenity is a movie that came about because of a television show that failed but the true failure that came of it, is that we were forced to depreciate a wonderful conception. Firefly was the original series created by Joss Whedon that was never allowed to fully materialize. It's a shame because what they did with the show was very unique and creative. A diverse group of opportunists, living on the edges of the civilized territories, take on a doctor and his sister as passengers aboard the firefly vessel dubbed Serenity. The brother and sister aren't whom they seem and before they know what is happening, the alliance is hot on their trail. Luckily the captain just happens to hate the alliance and would do anything to keep the prize out of their hands. The show works so well because this initial underlying story is allowed to evolve naturally as the transport ship jumps across the solar system conducting various other adventures in the process. Many devout followers were quite upset when the show was canceled so quickly and they had a fair gripe. There was so much that could have been done with the original concept that it probably would have turned into one of the best shows ever. Yet, because it was canceled, they were forced to condense everything into two hours of entertainment, which naturally caused it to devolve into cliches and generic film-making. So the movie didn't live up to the hype of the series and we're stuck with a dilemma. I was completely enthralled through the first eight to nine hours of entertainment and totally annoyed with the last hour or so. I just have to say right here and now that if I ever see another scene where the hero stumbles upon an incident of destruction and the only person who happens to still be alive amongst the wreckage is the one person who has something completely profound to say to our hero, then I am going to get up and walk out right then and there. That scene has been done five-hundred-million-times in the history of film! Every action movie ever made has that scene in it! It just isn't thoughtful or emotional or creative anymore. Now, on the other hand, Chiwetel Ejiofor is a very wonderful presence on the screen. I think he should be in more films. Hmmmm, maybe he could pull off that dying-in-your-arms-while-handing-you-the-keys-to-the-universe moment.

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