Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reflection Pond #21

Kings Of Convenience - Declaration Of Dependence (2009)

This is one of those albums that will eventually belittle this current placement. A year from now it will probably be my favorite album of 2010 but for now it lingers here. Kings Of Convenience are so profoundly wonderful and unique that it shocks people. Shocking in a way that is so hard to comprehend because the entire time you wonder what makes these guys so great. But then that wonder turns to wonder. I remember the first time I latched onto their convoy. A friend of mine thought I would dig them so I checked them out. At first my only thought was that they were extremely dull. All of the songs just kind of lilted there, which was nice to have when you were drinking wine and chatting but nothing to get excited about. Yet, eventually I swallowed enough of their little pill and became hooked on the drug. Erland Oye is a freak of nature, this generation's Rick Astley, except Oye is extremely talented. Trust me on this. He might look like a dweeb but the guy is a genius, and the combination of Oye and Eirik Glambek Bøe has quietly become some of the best music in my library. When their two guitars gently lift up the speakers to new heights it's very easy to drift off to that place where you're dreams find comfort. Their sound belongs in the rafters of a house of divinity and their songs will be prayers that give solace to the heart. They are a blessing in this lifetime, a voice from heaven. You see how exalted I feel about them, they are already floating up to the top.

The Orphanage - Juan Antonio Bayona (2008)

What a delight to travel through this world that Bayona created. For a long time we've had to listen to pompous people talk about the great French film institution and all of the brilliance that comes from that land. Now, I'm an aficionado of foreign cinema and though I have appreciated some French films during my time, quite a few of them come up wanting. They scoff at Hollywood and all of the schlock that despoils the silver screen but the industry in froggywood doesn't drift too far from scorch marks that trail off of the editorials. Yet over the past two decades we simply needed to drift a little south from both countries and discover innovative and creative work in the field. Both Spain and Mexico have been developing and nurturing wonderful filmmakers recently. From Alfonso Cuaron to Pedro Almodóvar. From Alejandro González Iñárritu to Alejandro Amenábar. From Juan Carlos Fresnadillo to my favorite, Guillermo Del Toro, who helped produce The Orphanage. Now we have Bayona with his debut film and he has become an immediate success. This is the type of horror film that doesn't offend me. It doesn't get ridiculously clever with it's ghosts and throughout the story everything eventually has very realistic explanations. It's a story about loss and the heartbreak that comes with it and that's something everyone has come to fear at some point in their life. Bayona takes us delicately through the perspective of one woman as she deals with this loss and even though there eventually are ghosts who inhabit this film, they are are subtly portrayed and even helpful to our heroine. To be mesmerized and enchanted even when you are frightened is hard to accomplish and this film delivers throughout.

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