Saturday, January 30, 2010

2010: Films I'm Excited To See

In chronological order of release date, here is a list of movies I'm looking forward to seeing this year.

Micmacs à tire-larigot - Released Jan 8th. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.



Bass Ackwards - Releases Feb 1st.


Shutter Island - Releases Feb 19th. Directed by Scorsese. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Williams.


The Ghost Writer - Releases Feb 19th. Directed by Roman Polanski. Stars Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, and Tom Wilkinson.


Alice in Wonderland - Releases March 5th. Directed by Tim Burton. Stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Anne Hathaway, and Alan Rickman.


Green Zone - Releases March 12th. Directed by Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy & Ultimatum). Stars Matt Damon.


Greenberg - Releases March 26th. Directed by Noah Baumbach. Stars Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh.


Toy Story 3 - Releases June 18th.


Inception - Releases July 16th. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Cillian Murphy.



You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger - Releases Sept 23rd. Directed by Woody Allen. Stars Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, and Antonio Banderas.







The Social Network - Directed by David Fincher. Stars Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake.







Due Date - Releases Nov 5th. Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School, Road Trip). Stars Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, and Alan Arkin.




How Do You Know? - Releases Dec 17th. Directed by James L. Brooks. Stars Paul Rudd, Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson, and Reese Witherspoon.










The Green Hornet - Releases Dec 22nd. Directed by Michel Gondry. Stars Christoph Waltz, Seth Rogen, and Cameron Diaz.











Hereafter - Releases Dec (?). Directed by Clint Eastwood. Stars Matt Damon.







Jack Goes Boating - Release Date TBA. Directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Ryan (known from The Office). Features music from Grizzly Bear.



Blue Valentine - Release Date TBA. Stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Also, Grizzly Bear are apparently the composers of the OST. (I'm too excited for this film).











The Rum Diary - Release Date TBA. Based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel. Stars Johnny Depp, Richard Jenkins, and Aaron Eckhart.






Black Swan - Release Date TBA. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Stars Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Winona Ryder, and Vincent Cassel.







Sympathy for Delicious - Release Date TBA. Directed by Mark Ruffalo. Stars Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney, Mark Ruffalo, Christopher Thornton, and Orlando Bloom.


Cyrus - Release Date TBA. Stars John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei, and Catherine Keener.



The Tree of Life - Release Date TBA. Directed by Terrence Malick. Stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Schizophrenia

Bear with me...I'm just messing around for now.

A New Song Everyday

I don't know if you guys have noticed, but I have been adding a new song everyday for the past couple of weeks. On the right-hand side of my blog, you'll see "A New Song Everyday".

I don't know how long I'll be doing this, but probably for a while. It only takes 30 seconds out of each day for me to do. Let me know what you think of the songs I add.

One of my favorite artists I've discovered recently is Lissie. I had her song "Everywhere I Go" on my blog recently.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Future

My mind is in a deep current, somewhere past "equators" and "stuff that appears on globes", because I imagine my reality outside of what is and was - I meander throughout thinking about my future.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Samantha's Words

"Literature is a history of thought intimidating to add to," I affirm with slanted eyes and an angry grip of my pen.

Samantha fingers my clavicle with her wedding finger, more of a scratch really...and get your mind out of the gutter.

She is "three sheets to the wind" and I'm strung up pretty tall in her hair, easily always calmly in love with her - braiding her hair, writing embarrassing poetry, drinking bourbon or scotch, studying her neck line.

I've been trying to write all night, mainly grasping lush images from her mistakes.

Some words were inked down when she spilt bourbon on the new comforter I just bought - I laughed that off though.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm Having Trouble Writing

I just spent about an hour writing something.
Then I deleted it.

FML.

I just never feel like my writing is good enough
to match what is unravelling itself in my mind.

I have a vision somewhere in me,
but it rarely rests on my tongue.
Even if it rested there,
it would be very difficult for me bring it to paper.

I started out writing about snow.
I love writing about snow and how melancholy it makes me feel.

Then I pictured myself on Garrett Bourdon's porch.

Then I pictured myself doing something that makes me feel really cozy:
smoking a cigarette, drinking a glass of scotch.

Then I pictured myself staring at a girls' neckline.

Then I find myself wanting to tell a story.
Why am I always wanting to tell a story?
Who really cares if there is no link between all of the images?
I wish I could just write something beautiful and be okay with that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Don't Know

I laughed when you spilled the Bourbon
on the new comforter I just bought.
It was an expensive with down,
but I forgive you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Depreciated Feelings

--
I'm getting angrier
and am showing less of it.
--

Tweedy suggests I learn how to die.
It's easy to do when I'm drooling
over poetry,
my thirst for blood perked.

Oberst taught me poised anger.
Maybe I'm angry still

--
nevertheless I suppress more each day
as I grow colder each day.
--

Dream You Awaken From and To

I come to your pillow to whisper sing
Neil Young in your ear.

You are sleeping, your eyelids shuttering
in response to a nightfear.

You sweat cold because cold is knocking
at our room’s barrier
and the window lets it in.

The cold is freezing in a foggy room with a
damp bed from dewy draught.

It chills my skin as seeing me holding you
tight tight to release your fright.

The cold is freezing in a foggy room with you
releasing a gripping bite from a
dream you awaken from and to.

Friends

It's interesting if you have them playing at the same time.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Top 15 Albums of 2009

Alright. So I need to apologize to the artists I RAVED about in 2009, but didn't include on this list. I just found some artists that no one has heard of and found them a more special place.

So my honorable honorable honorable mention goes out to Julian Casablancas, Jill Andrews, Mos Def, Andrew Bird, and Volcano Choir. I love you guys.



Sometimes it's not about what is being sung, but how it's being sung. Isakov helps you find Pegasus in the night sky - while making out with some squabe (hottie) in sandy dunes of Venice, Florida. I feel like Emmylou Harris is singing parallel his vocals, but she isn't.
-- That Moon Song (mp3)
-- If I go, I'm Going (mp3)



Tillman's biblical, spiritual references make me feel really calm. The whole album, especially "Crosswinds", makes me feel like I am in a cemetery by a river. There is snow falling calmly around me as Asian mistresses play harps while floating gently down a stream.
-- Crosswinds (mp3)
-- Earthly Bodies (mp3)



I feel like a lot of the songs on this album could be played at the end of a Lost episode...some 'feel good' song comes on as Hurly is jumping into the ocean and a sappy heartfelt feeling is in the air. But there is nothing wrong with that. And I feel Cat Stevens spirit all over this record.
-- Miss Me (mp3)
-- Dead End Kids (mp3)



I feel like James has a very clean perception of what servanthood means. I felt really dirty the night I drove home with this album in my car; I had just gotten done washing dishes in the back of Panera for 6 hours. I listened to this the whole way home and felt really broken. It's one of the more truthful albums I've heard in a while.
-- Magazine (mp3)
-- Pitchfork (mp3)



This album kinda hurts my ears. Does that makes me a baby? It's just really high frequency. I fell in love with this album when Ben, Audrey, and I were driving on Natchez Trace parkway to Audrey's parents' house on Pickwick Lake in Alabama. I think this album emphasized the fireflies flying next to our car as we were screaming with our heads cut off: "BURNING SOLID, BURNING THIN THE BURNING RIM!!!!!"
-- Sleepyhead (mp3)
-- Moth's Wings (mp3)



I'm in a depressed mood every time I listen to this record. And it's awesome!! Seriously though, this record makes me question my faith on a very large scale. And it makes me believe in God more because of that. When Callahan sings, "It's time to put God away," I think to myself, "I've been putting God away." Well, as they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder. This album is really distant and it's beautiful. It's something I would want to play at my wedding, but everyone would be really awkward and think I'm a retard.
-- Faith/Void (mp3)
-- Jim Cain (mp3)



Tweedy, Stirratt, and Kotche are growing really comfortable with their new band members. It really shows on this record. It's also completely "dad rock". My dad would love this record. So would yours. But it's okay, guys! Because Tweedy is a dad.

I feel like this record resembles a marriage between 2 people that has been going on for at least 20 years. There's been a lot of fighting in the marriage, there's been a lot of love, and the callouses of the two intertwine to bring 2 people who can talk pretty generally about the lows and highs. And that it's completely fine to talk about deeply complex experiences with plain-jane poetry. There's something very opposite loneliness because of that. And it's edified on this record for me.
-- Country Disappeared (mp3)
-- Wilco (The Song) (mp3)



This record is so lush. A great follow-up to "There the Open Spaces". For some reason, when I listen to Markland Starkie's music, I feel like I'm in a hotel room in Seattle and it's raining on all the buskers in the street outside. Don't ask me why.

From his previous album, "Memory Games" is drop-dead EASILY one of my favorite songs of all-time.
-- Memory Games (mp3)
-- Gardens of the South (mp3)



Man. This record is so much fun. The name of the band is very laughable. But when you listen to their music, it just works. Believe me. I rock out HARD to this album while driving around. Just listen to "Quiet Little Voices" really loud in your car, while screaming, "I'm young again!!!!!!!" and you'll instantly fall in love with this record.
-- Quiet Little Voices (mp3)
-- It's Thunder and It's Lightning (mp3)



This record is so catchy. The guitar is so jangly the whole time. I think of the guitar as a frog. And the lead singer is probably the biggest dork of a lead singer I've seen in a while. And he looks like he's not having any fun (I think because of the stressed-out look on his face when he performs) . But duh...of course he's having fun! He's putting so many lyrics (that are so much fun to sing along to) over so many fun synth-pop moments.
-- Lisztomania (mp3)
-- Rome (mp3)



Man, I love this record. "March of the Zapotec" (the other half of this duo-release from Beirut lead-singer, Zach Condon) was not my favorite...it was a little too stripped down to work for the aesthetic Condon was going after. But "Holland" is beautiful on so many levels. His alliterative lyrics are rhythmic in that the S's are evenly spread out at times...at least in "...Prostitute...". It gives the songs such a milky flow. The mixture of strings, brass, synth, and Condon's vibratto are so smooth.
-- The Concubine (mp3)
-- My Night with the Prostitute From Marseille (mp3)



It's cohesive and could be radio-friendly - I think I like Devendra more when he's a belligerent hippie kid who has no idea that he's singing a song. Although, I have so many favorite parts on this record. I love when he lividly belts, "Please destroy me!" on "First Song for B". Also, the drums on "16th & Valencia, Roxy Music" are so much fun and the song is so groovy, it kills me....it's the most retro song I've heard in a while. My 2 favorite parts on the record are at 2:18 in "16th & Valencia..." and 1:35 in "Rats". Also, can I just say...I LOVE singing along to "Baby". Also, I've fallen asleep to Wallilamdzi while praying.
-- Can't Help But Smiling (mp3)




I first listened to this album in May when summer first started. I went to Venice, Florida the next week and lost sleep because of this album. I would stay awake at night and listen to this album while writing a song, called "Journey". Now, it's harder for me to sleep without this album. It's probably the most textural and atmospheric album I've ever heard. I have seriously created 9 separate universes to this album...a universe for each song. I feel like I'm in a completely different location on each song.
-- Atlas Song (mp3)
And here is a video I made to "Happiness":




This record is music genius. I have no idea how Dave Longstreth plays guitar the way he does. I also have no idea how the 3 girls harmonize the way they do. It's so catchy. And Longstreth's voice hearkens back to the '80's for me.
-- Cannibal Resource (mp3)
-- No Intention (mp3)



Alright. So. This record is amazing. I listened to this record probably 50 times all the way through this year. The lyrics are really conversational and yet very straight forward. It's harmonic, jazzy, rock, roll, and poppy. Let's just say...these 4 guys are so good at creating a soundtrack for their environment. They move out of a wintery yellow house to a summery island called Veckatimest.
-- Cheerleader (mp3)
-- About Face (mp3)

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Top 15 Films of the Decade

I've had a Netflix account for about 4 months now. So I've been watching a lot of movies.

There have been some pretty terrible movies this decade. In my opinion, "Wendy and Lucy" (say what you will) is one of the worst movies I've ever seen (exaggerating)...and it even stars Will Oldham.

But there have also been a lot of groundbreaking movies. And I must say, 2 of the films in my top 15 wouldn't exist without Charlie Kaufman...and Synecdoche, New York was probably my 16th favorite movie.

Honorable Mentions:

1) The Return of the King
2) Lost in Translation
3) Synecdoche, New York
4) Zoolander
5) Walk the Line
6) Signs

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This film is just plain classy. Daniel Craig is so suave. He looks like he's in a Gillette commercial the whole time and yet his heart stops working at one point...and he also gets some testicle beatings. OUCH.

I just really liked the direction of this film and the style. And I appreciate how the director pulled off a really long poker sequence.

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This film hurts my brain. I've seen it twice and I had a headache both times. It's just too brilliantly scripted for my mind to wrap around. I really don't understand how people write this stuff. There are 3 or 4 really complex character developments going on throughout the whole movie and they all intertwine. It's very self-reflective, because it's about Kaufman and he's writing Adaptation and he goes completely schizophrenic over it and loses hair.

All of the shots are so pretty with the flowers and Susan Orlean's poetic description of her parallel universe with the Orchid. And I found her fascination with John Laroche to be so intriguing. He's so ugly and strange, but she is so jealous of his deep passion for flowers and how it whittles his world down to a more manageable size.

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This movie makes me so sad. When Kelly runs out to Chuck in the freezing rain...my heart grew 20 sizes. It's exhilarating.

And my favorite scene is when Chuck is talking to his friend by the fire near the end of the film. It tore my heart open so deep, because it reminded me of when I went through my break-up and how felt in the beginning stages... impossible to get over her.

Chuck Noland: "And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass... And I've lost her all over again. I'm so sad that I don't have Kelly. But I'm so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"

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This film documents the creation of one of my favorite albums of all-time. And it makes you feel like you had some say in how it was produced, because this film makes you feel a part of the band. You get to see everything. Whether it's Tweedy playing songs no one has ever heard in San Francisco diners or if it's Tweedy throwing up in the toilet after booting Bennett out the door.

_____________________________________________________





Oh man. How is this not in my top 10. I watched this film more than any other in the past year.

This movie makes me laugh so hard...and yet, just like any Wes Anderson film, there aren't many things you can describe to someone who hasn't seen it. You just have to watch it in context with the rest of the film.

I smile when Francis says he got in a motorcycle accident, but can't remember any details. Then he goes on to tell the most elaborate description of how it went down. So funny.

Favorite line:

"Look at these assholes."

_____________________________________________________




McCarthy is one of my favorite authors. And the Coen brother are two of my favorite directors. So this movie pretty much ruled.

Chigurh is super scary. He's chewing almonds or something the whole film and it's somehow creepy.

I also love how there is only one scene with a real existence of music.

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Ledger created the best villain I've ever seen. He's one of the more vulnerable villains out there and yet performed with such a raw appetite. With his slurred raspy voice through his cut-open face and his crass and self-loathing freak dialogue, you can't help but feel for him.

The Joker: Come here. Hey! Look at me. So I had a wife, beautiful, like you, who tells me I worry too much. Who tells me I ought to smile more. Who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks... Look at me! One day, they carve her face. And we have no money for surgeries. She can't take it. I just want to see her smile again, hm? I just want her to know that I don't care about the scars. So... I stick a razor in my mouth and do this...
[the Joker mimics slicing his mouth open with his tongue]
The Joker: ...to myself. And you know what? She can't stand the sight of me! She leaves. Now I see the funny side. Now I'm always smiling!

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This film made me feel so broken. Randy's character was one of the most genuine characters I've seen. He is beaten up by pro-wrestlers, he is cussed-out by his daughter, he is heart-broken by Cassidy, and he keeps deciding to damage his brain over and over again more and more with drugs. It's the deepest hole he's created for himself and it still breaks my heart that he never really seems to get out of it. It broke my heart to see Randy's troubles and darkness give him so much softness of heart.

My favorite scene was when he plays video games with the kid in his trailer. Randy comes across as so loving, it kills me.

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When Barry is talking to his dentist relative about how he needs a shrink to talk to, to understand why he hates himself sometimes and why he cries sometimes, you wanna see Barry find true love.

And when he finds Lena, you feel the world for Barry.

The scene where Barry defends Lena with the crowbar made my heart leap.

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I think Ben said it the best, "This film, more than any other, was an experience for me. I was right there with Chris the whole time, cheering his desire to get away, burn his money, and live life, man! But when he reads Dr. Zhivago and writes, 'HAPPINESS IS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED,' I was hit with the same realization. And it floored me. And I haven't been the same since."

The film didn't transform me as much as it seems to have done for Ben. But Emile Hirsch's voice-cracking, high-pitch, screaming cries towards the end of the film when he sees he ate wild potato root (or whatever it was) are so heart-wrenching.

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I could go on about this movie. I think this movie is what 1st made me believe in fat chances. The narrator's ridiculous calculations of same things happening at the same time was incredible to me. I love it.

"On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment..."

Audrey Tatou is such a babe. She has such a pristine smile and perfectly cute everyday haircut. I wanna make out with her SO bad.

And this film revealed a lot of beauty in the ugly for me. There's a lot of sex in France. It's probably the sexiest culture around. I'm not saying sex is ugly, but Amelie reveals a lot of the ugly traits of it, but somehow mystifies them.

And there's a simple sweetness to it that's just plain innocent.

Joseph: You're gorgeous when you blush. Like a wild flower.
Georgette: [shaking head] It's my dyspepsia.

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Maybe the most innocent movie I've ever seen. I'm jealous of Roberto Benigni because I feel like he embodies the childlike wonder I wish I still had. He's such a kid...but he's also the most poetic kid around who keeps pulling strings in me time and time again.

Vittoria: Oh my beloved, all creation overflows with passion, and like a golden comet in the sky, from my mouth bursts forth this cry: I love you.
Vittoria: I want to make love to you now.
Attilio de Giovanni: That's the best line I ever heard in my life.


Attilio de Giovanni: I told myself: "One day I thought, there must be people whose job it is to use the right words, put things in a way... who when their heart beats, can get other people's hearts to beat.......that day I decided to become a poet."
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I wrote a 5-page paper on this film earlier this semester. That should say something.

There's humor when Aldo Raine tries to speak Italian as terribly as he can ("Gorlami" and "Arrivederci!"), but there's also a sarcasticness behind it that is lividly passionate. When Raine has the black sack over his head and head butts Landa in the face, I was thinking, "Oh no he didn't" and started laughing really hard to myself.

When Shoshanna is talking to her boyfriend, Marcel, about burning the cinema to the ground...I immediately thought Melanie Laurent is my new favorite babe of an actress.

Marcel: What the fuck are we supposed to do?
Shosanna Dreyfus: It looks like we're supposed to have a Nazi premiere.
Marcel: Like I said, what the fuck are we supposed to do?


Marcel: What are we talking about?
Shosanna Dreyfus: Filling the cinema with Nazis and burning it to the ground.
Marcel: I'm not talking about that. You're talking about that.

There's too much class to this film and the climax at the end is EASILY the best climax I've ever seen. All of your favorite heroines come together and there's nothing better than Omar Ulmer (of the Basterds) punching someone while shooting them.

My favorite shot: Marcel flicking the cigarette onto the film reels behind the screen.

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Charlie Kaufman (the guy who wrote the script for this film) is a genius to me. And if I ever sell a script...I would wanna sell it to Michel Gondry, because his aesthetic vision parallels mine way too closely.

I think my favorite scene in any movie ever is the scene where Joel and Clementine find the house on the beach at night and decide to break in. When Jon Brion's "Bookstore" comes on as Joel's face is blurred out behind the flashlight and the waves are crashing into the collapsing beach house, it made me feel my emotions more significantly. I've never felt more emotionally connected to a character, than I did to Joel Parrish.

Clementine: Bye Joel.
Joel: I love you...
Clementine: Meet me... in Montauk...

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Every character is so believable. Whether it's Elaine Miller's desire to maternalize the same food for thought as Calpurnia from To Kill A Mockingbird or whether it's Sapphire's band-aid approach "to truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts."

As many times as I've seen this film, I've spent as much of life in William Miller's shoes as I have William Rucker's...and that's saying a lot because I love my shoes. I went thrifting A LOT in high school. In a sense, I would buy anything Russell Hammond would buy, because he slightly rules my conscience. His style and his moustache have never made a person look cooler.

And so I guess, this film is just that to me..."The Industry of Cool".