Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blessings (Primer)

It's the time of year to reflect, to take a look at all the fortune we have, to appreciate the many blessings that come our way. Perhaps that's the reason we are so eager to give to those who have given us so much over the years; such as friendship, guidance, support and happiness. It's a time to cast away all the misgivings we had over the past year and prepare ourselves for something new. Every day is a beginning and as the Earth departs upon a new cycle, may each moment provide many wonderful blessings.

Every year we are inundated with abundance. Music fills the air and films immerse us in new worlds. These media help us gain new perspective on life and provide much needed entertainment. Let's celebrate these amazing achievements! I want to promote the incredible artistic endeavors that really connected with my life in profound ways. Here's to the directors, musicians, actors, artists who shape our culture. May they always bless us with their powerful display.

Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't (2012)

There's an anxiousness that resides in love, hiding in the fringe of each furtive kiss, each tender caress. What if this was not meant to be? How long until we can't stand to touch one another, until every action is based on disdain? When will the pain come? On "I Know What Love Isn't" Jens Lekman writes about what happens on the other side of love. Relationships fail all the time but nowhere in pop music do we ever hear that perspective. Lekman, with his quirky attitude and wicked wit pulls us into a realm we never thought we'd appreciate. He sings of finding someone better and selfishness with a lighthearted tone that tries to carries us above the clouds, so that we no longer have to view the ugliness cast down below. He's a crooner, with a voice that hearkens the sweet calling. He's got that Sinatraesque spirit that's so hard to dislike. So why don't we embrace it and remember that there are two sides to every coin. No matter how it lands, we have the ability to come up singing.

The Machinist - Brad Anderson (2004)

Brad Anderson is one of those directors that never gets enough credit. You never see him nominated for awards or presented with accolades. His films never climb to the top of the charts. He's not recognized for an iconic moment that defines an era. His name can easily be confused with any other American director that came out of Hollywood sometime in the past year, decade or whenever. He's an everyday sort of person in so many ways but he also makes really good films. And if you start asking around, you'll see that so many people actually understand that. One thing I truly appreciate about him as a filmmaker is how he doesn't simply make the same type of film over and over again. What I mean by that is that he tries many different genres; thrillers, romantic comedies, psychological horror. Yet, there's no blending across the lines with one certain style that defines his films. No, whatever genre he attacks is completely unique compared to anything else he puts his hand to and all of them have developed into a good product. "The Machinist" is no different. It's a story that we often see in movies. A guy is living in some crazy nightmare that is causing his worldview to become distorted and twisted until we reach our famous climactic moment of resolve. But aren't we always sold some cheap goods in these films? The protagonist is losing his mind and we just go along for the ride without realizing the purpose of this little jaunt, with no real explanation for his delusion. It's usually some sadistic narcissistic patriarchal bullshit that we've all come to accept in one form or another. I simply must say that it is so refreshing to get a film of this nature where the protagonist is going crazy for a legitimate reason. Suffice to say "The Machinist" is one of the best offerings that we have in the genre of psychological horror that you are going to find out there. Plus, it has a skinny Christian Bale acting his ass off. How did he not get nominated for this film? Oh, right, the Academy doesn't know anything about this Brad Anderson character.

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