Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rewind #1

Emiliana Torrini: Me And Armini (2008)

There's only one person in the world who could climb this high this past year and as soon as I saw that she was releasing an album, I got all worked up inside. Emiliana Torrini is it! She of the beautiful soul, of the lithe heart, of the honey lungs, of the princess of cool, of the magical spirit. For a few years now our house has been blessed with her presence. After hearing a remix of her song "Baby Blue" from her first album, anything that Torrini does is eagerly anticipated in CasaWeX. We even were surprised by her on stage when we went to see the Thievery Corporation a couple of years back. It was at that time that her full nature was unleashed upon us. She's a magical creature, a gift from the universe and it's vitally important that we embrace such a joyful spirit when we find one. There's so much tragedy and suffering in the world, so much hate that when we find people of a refined nature, a supreme delight bubble up from inside. Simply take a moment to immerse yourself into the sound of her music and you will comprehend the meaning of our existence, humanity's purpose. For the longest time, when I imagined the value of art and what I wanted to do with my creative spirit, I always felt that we artists needed to touch beauty and reveal it in amazingly profound and incredible ways. I want to show the world the meaning of life and it's glorious wonders. I'm still searching and struggling to portray that in my own art but I feel that Emiliana Torrini has discovered the formula. She is beauty.

Unconscious: Joaquin Oristrell (2004)

During the beginning of the 20th century, the world welcomed a new paradigm of regard toward human nature. Freudian analysis brought hidden desires to the surface and the demons at bay roared forth into a new modern era. In Spain a young woman on the verge of motherhood must track down a husband who burst from her life with no explanation. Who does she call to aide her with the quest? Why, her brother-in-law who's secretly madly in love with her while married to her sister who's secretly harboring an identity crisis of her own. What else would you expect from a movie secretly laughing at the heart of Freud? They ramble through the streets of Barcelona uncovering the strange new world of reckless uninhibited abandonment, dreams of vicious desires acted out without care and interventions into the human psyche that no one ever dared to uncover so openly before. Both the lead actors in Unconscious were adorable and any fan may have recognized their charm on the big screen before. Leanor Watling and Luis Tosar are icons in Spain and after watching this film it's easy to see why. For the entire move they flirt and dance and bounce off one another's characters with fluid generosity and you hope in your heart that they will ultimately end up in each other's arms. It's bound to be in the cards in the end because Joaquin Oristrell guides us down this labyrinth with a light touch and a joie de vivre that make the film shine brightly so that it resonates strongly in the viewer's soul. A beautiful film that chases its comedic spirit with an ounce of humanity that brings out the smile in an instant. There's no dark shadow floating around the aura of this movie, no matter how hard Freud may try to find it. It's a pleasant and joyful trip down a hundred-year-old trail and I, for one, hope that I can find more of them out there.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rewind #2

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Segu Blue (2007)

This record is brilliant. Late at night, with a beer in hand, I love to make a playlist with Segu Blue and a few other albums of similar character and drift through the night on wings of gold. Absolutely astounding harmonies and fluent rhythm that echoes the ghosts of a heavenly time and place. It's so easy to wallow in their sound and travel the across the universe, to discover that no matter where you look on this planet, someone somewhere is making music that absolutely expands over any border that might want to contain it. For the longest time I would only listen to one type of music, anything with alternative in it (alt-country, alt-pop, alt-rock), but when I met Xtimu, she would always push me to find a different sound. Not that she didn't like what I was listening to but because she grew up with a diverse awareness of what the world is capable of. So much of our culture is all about defining categories for people to feel comfortable in, to feel safe, but all that comes of that type of tinkering is wash out individual expression. That's the mentality that helped create the Clear Channel conglomerate and it's stifling the creative spirit. You will never hear Segu Blue on one of those outlets and it's an damn shame because if we opened our lives to the broad expanse of creative expression that is happening wide across the map, then we shall discover wonders that give new meaning to our lives.

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days: Cristian Mungiu (2007)! Watching this film was like watching the type of place that Dick Cheney was trying to develop here in the United States for the past eight years. It's like flashing forward a couple of decades and witnessing what becomes of the ideas of freedom and liberty when the ruling class uses fear to implement oppression into the hearts of the people. It's damn scary. Here's why. Everyone in this movie seemed completely normal. Everything that happened in this movie was totally accepted without qualms. Everything just is. When you begin to allow the government to remove your basic inalienable rights for protection, then what you see in this movie is what you will get in your own country. It's happening all the time all over the planet, right now. And besides the fact that the characters were not speaking English, it didn't seem a whole hell of a lot different than the life I saw outside my window during the bush years. This movie felt real and honest, a portrayal of Romania in 1987 during the final years under the Nicolae Ceausescu regime as two young women attempt to obtain an illegal abortion for one of them. They surreptitiously maneuver around this oppressive environment, exploited and misunderstood, all the while waiting for the darkness to enclose them. It was difficult to try and grock the message of the film-maker, especially regarding the sensitive subject matter (movies so often wear their message on their sleeves) and so easy to misconstrue. From one angle, seeing as how much shit these two women have to go through in order to procure an abortion, you would think that's it's showing abortion as a terrible negative ordeal, which very well may be for some, but it's only due to the fact that abortion is illegal in their country that they're forced to do things against their will. Abortion being illegal is akin to raping women. Nobody should have to go through the type of things that these women go through in this movie. It's heartbreaking and tragic and you're just as exhausted as they are when they finally sit down at the end of the entire ordeal. But it's an incredibly well made movie that doesn't loosen its talens for a second during the entire two hours. It's a masterpiece.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Rewind #3

The Submarines: Honeysuckle Weeks (2008)

Did I say that I like pop music? This is the year that the popilicious groove has been intravenously infused into my psychic self. I've found myself singing along with rainbows and the sounds of love. Maybe it's because we were blessed with a little girl and my dreams of a perfect family has become true. Maybe it's because I can't help but feel love bloom in my heart when I look over at my wife of ten years. Maybe it's because I'm still a romantic after all these years. Whatever the reason, I gravitate toward these sunny songs of light, these tiny grains of sand that reflect the beauty of the world, the crisp way that the beat washes over me. The Submarines embody this spirit. I love to bounce with these precious tunes and dream of my youth. They say that those who stay young at heart live a longer and happier life. I use music like this to help me feel young again, touch the child inside. Whenever I hear the refrain for the chorus from You, Me & The Bourgeoisie, "Every day we wake up we choose love, we choose light...", I realize that I'm searching for that uplifting youthful spirit when I listen to pop music. John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard grew from a couple to a breakup, then wrote about their heartache and dreams that they left behind and it helped them become partners in music. The Submarines have found a part of me that I love and they commune with me so succinctly that I look forward to listening for a very long time. Plus, the song 1940 was my absolute favorite song from last year.

Who's Camus Anyway?: Mitsuo Yanagimachi (2005)

There's a sequence in Who's Camus Anyway? shot in an atrium at the school where in random people begin playing instruments and though they aren't in any cohesive song structure, seemingly unconnected, the entire scene ends up in a creative blend of perfect harmony (I wish I could find it on youtube it's so incredible). It's a wonderful metaphor showing the necessary cooperation needed in order to make a good film. Camus is a movie about that very subject, a student film project loosely based on the famous book "The Stranger" by Albert Camus. As the students try to cope with all of the convolution in their lives as well as within the structure of making a film, things don't go exactly as they planned. Yet, the one area that eventually evolves in an amazing way is the film within the film. It's interesting how Camus wrote about the indifference of human nature and this movie reveals how, in the process of making a movie, the principal people involved actually divorce themselves from the actual content. The director guides and the actors perform and everyone else builds the structure that provide the necessary environment to make a film come alive but in the end none of it is real. Yet, the films that affect us the most are the ones that convey some reality within its subject. By the time it reaches the screen, all of those names of people at the end on the credits have moved on in some way and are completely removed from that final product. They've created a masterpiece but someone has to clean up the mess and break down the set and print the film and do all the necessary things that get it to the screen. In Who's Camus Anyway the students end up making such a good film that there's a part of you that isn't quite sure whether it is real or not. They cross the line and pull you in with such proficiency that you are completely wrapped up in the lives of those who are in the movie as well as those who are making the movie. We've seen these types of films before and they always seem to have the same type of essence to them. Camus is unique in its approach and it's far from indifferent.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

13 Months (Part 2)

I think that Quinn is learning how to talk before she even learns how to walk. Even though she's already taken a couple of tentative steps across the living room, she still spends most of her time crawling across the floor. She moves fast, zipping around on all fours and she can navigate the entire length of the house cruising from one item to the next but she hasn't pushed herself to master the art of staying upright upon her cute little feet. But, just the other day as I was changing her clothes, she reached out and grabbed a book and said, "Bujook", while smiling at me with accomplishment. Then she reached out and pulled her soft little blanket to her chest and shouted, "Got it!", to me.

Any time of the day, Xtimu and I will stop whatever we're doing at the moment and listen to Lucas and Quinn in the other room. Lucas will often tell Quinn a story or sing her a song and she's right there interacting with him. Many times these sounds are not recognizable in any language other than her own but she's very obviously trying to communicate along with him. She does that all of the time with all of us, vocalizing her wants and desires with effective results.

I remember when Lucas was just a few months old and my cousin's daughter was about a year older than him. We were at some family "fun"ction and her little girl was talking and pointing out all of the beautiful things in the world with accurate inflection. I was astounded that a fifteen month old child would be saying words so clearly. Well, it turned out that she had a sister who was about three years older than her. Since the older sister was constantly talking and interacting with her younger sister, it was helping the little girl's ability to talk. It was just a theory but there must be something to it because I don't remember Lucas communicating like this when he was only thirteen months old.

It's very interesting to see the different way that each child develops. Quinn is so advanced in many ways in comparison to the way that Lucas developed at the same age. That could be simply because she's a completely different person naturally or that she has the advantage of learning from a three-year-old who just went through everything that she's going through so that he can provide some child insight of which we are unaware. But then there are other areas of her growth that seems to lag behind what I recall of Lucas at the time. Xtimu always says that each child has their own path and that's true to an extent for all of us. We each have certain aspects of learning that we excel at and others that are more difficult to grock. Each of us as unique as a snowflake.

It's so beautiful to watch your children develop into the snowflake that will eventually fall to earth. Right now, they have the freedom to float around at whim and enjoy life with a childish enthusiasm. Eventually they'll become grounded, developing into more mature adults but at such young ages they're crystallizing with incredible beauty and love. In a way it's a shame that we lose some of that beauty when we become adults and one of the aspects of Xtimu that I always admired about her was a sense of joie de vivre that was in her heart. Now that I see it in our children, I can feel it blossoming in my life as well. I've commented endlessly about how we, as parents, learn just as much from our children as they can learn from us and this is just one more way that I feel that to be true. I hope, with each month that leads to another year in their lives, that I can hold this truth deep within my heart so that my own precious wings of ice will expand further into a beautiful design that provides inspiration for others in much the same way that my children provide inspiration for me.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rewind #4

A. A. Bondy: American Hearts (2007)

"We were raised by wolves, but we are still wild and we howl when the troubled winds blow."

So begins the amazing song, American Hearts, from the amazing album, American Hearts, by A. A. Bondy. He makes such absolutely perfect country music. I mentioned the way I view country music earlier and Bondy's music sums it all up perfectly. It's a sound I've heard throughout my life, blending with the years as I grew into a cohesive entity. The first time I heard this album I knew what it was trying to convey instantly, a reach for a loving harmony inside the confusing, aching heart of this damn place. Bondy mixes the gold spirit of the landscape that's still alive in this country, open fields and flowing water through the gentle mid-west, with honest lyrics that expound to those who want to find an generous path for tomorrow. We've been damned by all of the white-washed patriotic fervor of the brash voices of country that discovering a humble, blessed soul in the midst of it all is like finding the garden of eden in the midst of the desert. A. A. Bondy is a beautiful man who simply wants to make beautiful music.

I'm Not There: Todd Haynes (2007)

Todd Haynes really knows how to capture the essence of music up on the big screen. He did it earlier with his movie, "Velvet Goldmine", and now he takes the life of Bob Dylan and flips us and spins us and caresses us and blinds us and opens our eyes. I'm Not There is a poetic vision of an elusive creature who has scrambled around our consciousness for four decades now. Dylan has gone from being the savior of folk music to a prophet to a visionary to a poet to a humble voice to just a musician. He's been so many things to so many people that it's impossible to narrow him down into one epic bipoic. Don't you hate those biopic films anyway? The incredible genius who has the touch, the gift and power to change life with whatever medium they happen to have mastered but then fame gives them a larger than life persona and the only way that they can deal with it is by abusing massive drugs, until they must overcome that horrible handicap in order to become a complete person. Bleh! Enough already, just give the damn guy the oscar ahead of time so we don't have to get caught up in all the formulaic crap that comes with it. Todd Haynes would never do that and he doesn't do it here. He gives us a magical flowing picture that captures so much of the entity that is Dylan but also so much about what he's meant to all those that have been touched by his music. Somewhere in this film, there will be a moment when the cinematic experience, along with the music, that will flash with comprehension. Yes, that's the Dylan I know and love. Yes...

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Rewind #5

Headlights: Some Racing, Some Stopping (2008)

This is music that caters to my pop-flash sensibilities. Sometimes soft and lazy, other times pulsing with a pleasant frenetic energy but in the end always easy on the ear, Some Racing, Some Stopping quickly became one of my favorite albums of the year. Hailing from the mid-west, Headlights have a sound that blossoms in my mind with the colors of life. It's like that movie "Waking Life", how everything has been animated via photoshop and you can make it reflect any color strata you wish. You walk around experiencing everything anew and learning from each interaction. Headlights' music climbs right up into the sun with warm hues that then refract, emanating right out from your chest. It makes the vision in your eyes gloss over into wonderful dreams of hope that you've always knew would come out one day in the future. You've waited for that day all your life and now, with this blessing resonating from your speakers, you realize that it was forever with you and will forever be, just as long as you listen to the rhythm of your heart.

Two Days In Paris: Julie Delpy (2007)

Here's why this movie is so great. It's a creative indie film about a person who takes their significant other home for a couple of days to meet the family and friends from the old days, who eventually gets caught up in the nostalgic appreciations of their youth (as well as the attention of distant lovers) while the person who came along suffers dramatically, feeling out of place, disconnected and worried about losing their partner. It's not very unique idea, especially for an indie film (I think that's the general description of the requirements for being able to submit to Sundance), but a couple of things that make it different is that it's filmed in Paris and it's from the perspective of a woman. Julie Delpy directed Two Days In Paris and starred in the leading role and she gives us such an honest portrayal. All of the conflict that arises throughout the film centers on the way her character must deal with these mixed up emotions, while her boyfriend stumbles around trying so hard not to be overwhelmed by everything that's happening to him. It's so refreshing to view this story through Delpy's perspective. She's confident and charming and afraid of love and eager for attention and supportive of her family but exhausted by them after only a couple of days and confused and wild. She's like so many thirty-something leading guys that we see all the time who don't know what they really want out of life but they're getting closer to middle-age than they probably want to be and now it's time to actually make some definite decisions but it's all so easy to just pretend that they'll never be ready to be so responsible. A basic quandary for so many of our generation. Delpy gives us an intimate film (even using her own parents) that allows us to get deeply into these people's lives and hurt and laugh and smile and cry with them. I knew the moment that it ended that it would be right up here on my list.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Rewind #6

Dengue Fever: Venus On Earth (2008)

I've been waiting for Dengue Fever to release another album for awhile now. We first discovered them by watching the Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers, which has the song Ethanopium, along with much more fabulous music, on the soundtrack. When Venus On Earth was released early in 2008, it quickly became a mainstay in our listening repertoire and definitely exceeded my already lofty expectations. Based in Los Angeles but residing in the spirit of Cambodian rock, Dengue Fever flies through the sun-drenched heat wave of Southern Californian culture to mix with the humidity of Indonesia folk. Chhom Nimol mesmerizes with her sweet voice as she often sings in her native language, though a few tracks are also in English. Her lilting presence above the rollicking music flows effortlessly throughout your auditory sensibilities. It's a magnificent sound that wafts from the east and we're extremely lucky to have them right here in the west, just a jaunt from San Diego, to witness and enjoy whenever we feel like it.

What Time Is It There?: Tsai Ming-liang (2001)

What Time Is It There? is a film that is about as perfect as any film can be. Perfect in the way that a film-maker knows exactly what he wants to portray with each and every shot. Nothing in this movie is messy. Filmed entirely in wide shots that are steady as ice, no gimmicky hand-helds for Tsai Ming-lian, every scene plays out as short film all by itself and, with very little dialogue, tells a complex and revealing tale. All of it revolves around the story of Lee, a watch vendor, following the death of his father who sells his personal watch to Chen, a woman who is leaving for Paris the next day. Lee must deal with his own mixed emotions and his Mother as she tries to assuage the spirits of her husband. Soon, Lee feels the impulse to run around Taipei and change all the clocks to Paris time with strange consequences. Meanwhile Chen is feeling disconnected from her environment while sightseeing in Paris and restlessly moves about town trying to find home. It all winds around with precise purpose until the revealing ending. Tsai Ming-lian has such a beautiful eye with the camera that each moment completely mesmerizes. Every shot is perfectly framed so that the horizontal lines in the frame are perfectly level. It was a lesson in the mastery of film-making, that a movie can carry so much weight with a little attention to detail and a whole lotta love.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Rewind #7

Bill Evans Trio: Waltz For Debby (1961)

What can I say about Bill Evans. Never heard of him until Xtimu begs me to find some of his stuff. Now, everywhere I turn, I'm reading about him in novels or hearing comparisons to greatness or simply learning more from the sound of his music. What beauty resides through the air when Waltz For Debbie dances. I can't shower enough praise on this amazing album. My father often would listen to jazz stations when I was a little boy and, though much of it was the lifeless maneuverings of techno-glitz freedom found in the eighties, there were moments when a show would delve into the genius madness of Coltrane and Monk. I was so reluctant to embrace this new sound but I'm sad to think that I may have missed the type of beautiful aura embodying the Bill Evans Trio circa 1960. Well, over forty years later, it has now entered our conscious awareness and the love that accompanies it lifts us to such great heights. As with so many great artists from time ago, we are so fortunate to have the avenues of discovery available to us in this modern life. We can learn so much and devour such beauty in the heart of life's greatest composers.

There Will Be Blood: Paul Thomas Anderson (2007)

The movie (which won't be named here at this time as it doesn't deserve any more attention) that we watched directly before seeing PTA's There Will Be Blood was a unique film that had an interesting concept with a seemingly powerful story but turned out to be total shite. Simply because the people who made the movie had no concept on how to create a visual wonder for the audience. You won't have that problem when it comes to a PTA film. There may be annoying intricacies that grate on some viewers nerves and I don't begrudge anyone that truth, but no one out there can say that he doesn't know how to make a movie. The guy is a cinematic genius. Take Blood for example, it's a film about a complete megalomaniac who has absolutely no endearing qualities whatsoever. He strives toward one purposeful goal, to make more money and have more power than anyone else and damn those who will stand in his way. He's played by Daniel Day Lewis who brings this character to life in all its magnificence. It's a brilliant study and visually unmatched in it's grandeur. It's incredible to just watch the camera pull the audience into this beautiful and harsh world. It's the complete opposite of the movie we saw before it, doesn't have a typical story that we normally follow or an idea that could initially be considered dull. But instead it's captivating and engrossing and beautiful and the only reason for it is due to the people who made it. They are true cinematic masters.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rewind #8

Burial: Untrue (2007)

Every generation must come to face the moment when they realize that the world will become their responsibility. It's a daunting thought and one that our culture doesn't adequately or honestly stress or prepare for. That's usually when a lot of people become their parents worst nightmares; experimenting with drugs, turning into alcoholics, or thriving on the fear and learning how to be consummate assholes. The rest of us try our best to make it through without descending into madness. There comes a time when we need a transcendental soundtrack that elevates us beyond the mundane, above the squalor. But it's such a struggle to overcome this heavy burden of expectation, to see beyond the inherent apathy that society passes down again and again. A tone resonates throughout Amerika and it holds the malaise of one purposeful intent; crushing the spirit of youth. Yet, through the foreboding that resides within the heart of every generation comes a beautiful sound that rises like a phoenix, burning bright in the dark. As Burial's Untrue closes with the continuous plea for those who listen to dream, generation zero has found its voice. With each thumping speaker pouring ominous sound into our heads, we are reminded that life is not an easy process but if we give strength to hope, discover the optimistic human spirit, then our voices are as powerful as angels. We can lift our precious lives into heaven and find paths that are empowering and creative and imaginative and loving and hopeful and beautiful and full of wonder and everything that we've always wanted. It's all in there, just close your eyes and feel the music, let it give you strength.

The Fall: Tarsem Singh (2008)

Tarsem Singh's The Fall is a magical epic journey that astounds with every click of the reel. Alexandria, a young daughter of migrant workers in 1915 Los Angeles befriends Roy, a fellow patient in the hospital where she is receiving treatment. They've both suffered from severe falls and it appears that Roy, who does stunts for the studios, may never walk again but even worse, his heart is just as broken as his back and he no longer has a lust for life. Seeing an opportunity, Roy engages Alexandria's confidence by telling her an extraordinary tale of heroes and love and adventure. He hopes to manipulate her into helping him get the necessary drugs so that he can kill himself. Half the story is told through the mind's eye as we follow the tale that Roy regales for the young girl and the other half is within the walls of the hospital. Watching the landscape of this film unfold is so unbelieveably fantastical that you start to question the reality of this world. Everything seems so magnificently perfect that it hardly seems real but it's so enormous that it can't possibly be a sound stage somewhere in a back lot in Hollywood. Well, apparently every place shown in the movie exists out there on this Earth, some of it man-made and some completely natural. All of it is beautiful and magical and it gives this film enormous heft. But the true wonder of this story boils down to the relationship that develops between Alexandria and Roy. Eventually the lavishness of the imaginary world doesn't compare to the emotions that our two heroes must face within the confines of these hospital walls. The two worlds overlap and develop cohesively into a wonderful film that ends with an incredible collage of old stunts from the golden era of movies. Singh is a true master and I'm already searching to learn more about him. Hopefully he continues to astound us with his amazing vision.

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Rewind #9

Adele: 19 (2008)

Adele has such a sweet thick voice that resonates timeless in its perfection. Another Myspace success story, Adele has catapulted into fame before she could even leave her teens. Already her album has debuted at number one in her home country (UK), been nominated for a few Grammy Awards here in the states, played SNL and made my top ten of the year. So she's got a lot going for her. Her honey-soul sound is one that's been getting some attention over the past couple of years, especially following the success of Amy Winehouse but so far Adele hasn't gone down the train-wreck path just yet. I love this type of music, old and new, and Adele's 19 has been stuck in our stereo for months now. I'm not sure when I plan on taking it out. For the moment it'll remain and her essence will fill our living room with soft but elevated bliss. Her husky heart-wrenching voice will serenade us across the gap of the world, through time and space, a rising star that is shining bright in the night sky.

Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud (2007)

Marjane Satrapi went through hell, some of it in Iran. She put it all down in her autobiographic novel, Persepolis and gave us all an incredibly wonderful visual journey through the heartland of a country that lost its way. Coming of age during the Islamic revolution Satrapi reveals a terribly oppressive environment in a dark but also endearing and comical way. It was a time when so much promise ended up bringing about so much suffering, a continuous human undoing. It also made Satrapi suffer tremendously as she entered her adult years and even though she managed to escape the confines of the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life continued to devolve until she reached the dregs of existence. Eventually she found a way to return home for herself and her parents and now she's made a movie based on her novel. The entire ordeal is played out in the same black-and-white visuals of her graphic novel to perfection and it carries the essence of Satrapi's story. She's a woman with such a beautiful and dynamic heart, who had the fortitude to strive through her suffering and give the world a film that needs to be seen. When I watch movies like this, I always get inspired to create. I want to give something to world that might give it a sense of balance. Humanity suffers so much through the years but always manages to keep going. It's because of these humanistic beings who only want to bring love to the world, the type of love that overcomes all obstacles, the spirit of life that thrives against the storm. We need to keep that fighting creative spirit alive because even though the thunder may wane at times, there are always dark clouds on the horizon and there will always be a need to help others find shelter.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rewind #10

Milosh: Meme (2006)

Xtimu discovered Milosh online somewhere and told me that we needed to get some of his music. I went out and found this album without having any idea what to expect. I simply wanted to bring a smile to Xtimu's face because that brings a smile to my face (she has a really great smile). Well, it turns out that he's quite a musician and producer. He started playing the cello when he was three and eventually studied music in college. Lucas recently started to play the violin and one of the reasons is that we wanted his life to be grounded in music. I've always been drawn to music. I can devour endless hours of music, continuously listening to any and all types. I walk around constantly creating mixes in my head. I read about music. I ask people I know about music. I am forever trying to become in-tune with the flow of the aural roll of the universe. I am music...but I never learned how to play. I knew that if I was to ever have children, they would learn and they would play. So now Lucas and I are learning together and as soon as Quinn is old enough, she's going to jump right in as well. The reason we're learning the violin is because I've always loved the beauty in the instrument. There's such an incredible lift that overtakes your spirit when you hear a violin played properly. Milosh is like that. His music has a beauty that elevates the human heart. It's such a pleasure to feel the drift wafting from our speakers and it was a nice surprise to discover this unknown aficionado creating such beauty for all of us.

Slumdog Millionaire: Danny Boyle (2008)

So we went to see Slumdog Millionaire because the hype was just too much for us to avoid. We normally don't go out to the movies anymore (which is why the list doesn't have so many movies from the past year on it) but from all that we read, it seemed like the exact type of movie we would love. It practically felt mandatory that we go. Now, when it comes to film, I want to know as little as possible about the movie before I see it. I don't like to read critiques or analysis that reveal too much about the structure of the film. I usually just need to know who made it, who's in it, maybe a quick concept to draw my interest and that's about it. With Millionaire, though I had read a lot, I intentionally went out of my way to know as little about the story as possible. But damn the hype! Sometimes the hype can overwhelm everything about the movie and that's what happened for me here. I still think it was a good film and it may very easily be the best movie of 2008 (like I said, I haven't seen many of those) but it's definitely not the best movie I saw this year. It just managed to squeeze into my top ten. Since "Shallow Grave", I've always liked Danny Boyle and generally want to see his films when they come out. Millionaire was no different but I don't think it's his best film (Uh...Trainspotting anyone?). Don't get me wrong, it's a good movie's the way it works. A friend of mine received a text message the other day and here's what it said, "Slumdog Millionaire, far and away the best movie of the year." But this guy who wrote that text had no clue what Slumdog Millionaire was, had no idea when he bought the ticket, only went because the person he was with said let's go see it. He hadn't heard one word of the hype and that was the crucial difference. So yeah, it's a great film...but...

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