The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

7 Mar

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

And now, instead of a full review, I present to you a blurb, because I just don’t have the time.

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Paprika

5 Mar

If you’ve taken the time to look through the list at all, you probably noticed that I’ve thrown several anime titles into it. I’d be reluctant to admit that I’m a “fan” of anime. Not because it would make me a nerd (I am a nerd), but because that would suggest that I am into it in the biggest way. That I collect manga and DVDs, that I watch more than 3 television series religiously, that I play with wooden swords and dress up in costumes. Ok, so I basically just said “because it would make me a nerd.” I guess that’s because anime is so commonly associated with nerds. But it isn’t just for them. You don’t have to be a nerd to enjoy such beautiful, breathtaking animation, or the multi-faceted storylines, or the wide cast of complex characters. Wow, that was so nerdy. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I kinda like anime. I like it enough to watch it regularly with friends. I like it enough combine it with my passion for movies and get into the feature films. I like it enough to watch a trailer for such a feature film and then get all geeky and Netflix it immediately without really knowing a thing about it.

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Robbers & Cowards

21 Feb

Robbers & Cowards

I don’t know anything about the blues. I mean, of course I have basic ideas about elements of the blues (sadness, pianos, some sort of special song structure), but I don’t feel familiar with it at all. I certainly haven’t listened to many blues artists. Really, I should have no business talking about the blues.

Now that that’s been said, let’s review a blues album!

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Fantastic Mr. Fox

15 Feb

Fantastic Mr. Fox

A confession: I love Wes Anderson. Yes, all of his films utilize the same, obscenely quaint aesthetics. Yes, these aesthetics take the films beyond “easy to like” to desperately begging you to like them. Yes, I’ve only actually seen two. That doesn’t matter; as soon as I saw The Royal Tenenbaums, like any other white person, I fell madly in love. So much so, in fact, that I was ready and willing to walk, alone, into a university cinema filled with children in the middle of a Saturday afternoon to see his latest, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Maybe I love Wes Anderson too much.

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Precious

13 Feb

The Golden Globes are a joke. They picked some great titles for Best Director and Best Picture this year: Inglorious Basterds, The Hurt Locker, and, of course, Precious. And what did they pick? Avatar. AVATAR. Avatar was very good. Great? No. Best of the year? Not by far. So the hell what if a movie looks like 25 billion dollars? That alone does not a great movie make. A great movie goes beyond super awesome special effects and other such cheap delights. A great movie entertains the mind on a much more subversive level. Avatar is not a great movie. Precious is a great movie.

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Waltz with Bashir

7 Feb

Waltz with Bashir

I don’t know how to begin. This film is powerful. It’s devastating. Great, but devastating. It has filled my head with thoughts of war: senseless fear, violence, suffering.  There’s no room left for ideas of an effective introduction. I’m going to be lazy and go on without one.

Waltz with Bashir is a film by Israeli writer, director, and producer Ari Folman. Before he started his career in film, he was a 19-year-old soldier fighting in the Lebanon War of 1982. In the winter of 2006, his friend, another former soldier, told him of a recurring nightmare he kept having, which was tied to his memories of the war. Soon after, Ari himself started having his own dream, a flashback to the Sabra and Shatila massacre of West Beirut. Seeking to make sense of this dream, he met with his lawyer friend, who explained to him that his flashback may or may not have been real. He advised Ari to find others who were in the war in order to recover his lost memories. Taking his friend’s advice, Ari found and conducted interviews with several of his partners from the war, as well as a psychologist who helped him to understand why his memories were lost and a journalist who was in Beirut at the time of the massacre. Ari pieced those interviews and his own recovered memories together to make this film.

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Person Pitch

24 Jan

Person Pitch

In my several years of music geekery, there was always one thing I’ve never understood: experimental music. How can any composition be considered an experiment? What outcome of such an experiment can’t be predicted? If it’s the sound produced, then isn’t the experiment through as soon as the composer hears it? Is it the effect that the sound will have on a listener? An audience? How could one possibly anticipate such a thing? If that’s the case, isn’t all music experimental?

Perhaps I’ve never understood “experimental music” because the term gets thrown around so often. To me, it’s always seemed a lazy description for music that’s perceived as too weird or inaccessible for its time. The Arcade Fire used to often be called “experimental.” Why? Was it because they used the sound of a steaming kettle in one of their songs? And when people call The Flaming Lips experimental, is it because of the all of the odd sounds found in many of their songs? Is that what makes music experimental? Sound effects? Do you know what happens when you add a bunch of weird sound effects to your song? It becomes a song with a bunch of weird sound effects in it, you groundbreaking scientist.

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