Monthly Archives: February 2013

A List of ALL the Movies From The Past Year I Never Reviewed Before And Am Doing Now.

The best films of this year were very diverse in nature. A musical, a terrorist flick, a surreal journey to the real or unreal world of New Orleans, a comedy about two crazy people and a blackploitation revenge movie (among others). 

Django was, by far, the most entertaining. Les Mis was better than I thought (for a man who hates muscials). Safety Not Guaranteed was the best surprise. Argo was great. Silver Linings Playbook made me not hate Bradley Cooper as much and Beasts of the Southern Wild was most transporting I’ve ever seen. 

I don’t feel as if I anything to say about the films that hasn’t been said before, but there were some great moments. 

Favorite moments:

Rick Ross song in Django. Also, Jamie Foxx dressing himself. 

Bradley Cooper reading A Farewell to Arms.

The beautiful message of grace and forgiveness in Les Mis. 

Argo f$%# yourself. 

John Goodman in Flight

Basically all of Beasts of the Southern Wild. 

Anne Hathaway

Supposedly Life of Pi (haven’t seen it). 

Daniel Day-Lewis, as always

“I think we can all agree the masks we’re a great idea.”

 

 

 

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A Metaphor

 He stared at the phone in his left hand. Cradled it, imagined it as sand flowing through his fingers. Cradled it like a downed kite on a blustery day at some beach in the Hamptons or Cape Cod.

The sound of elevator music drifting through its earpiece. The vacuous space between his bones. He could feel himself disappearing. Or fantasizing about it. His body spreading away from its ligaments. His somewhat brown skin stretching like pizza dough. The tissues unraveling, the DNA strands uncoiling—“Sir? Excuse me sir.”

 

From his left hand came the voice of a mid-western lady.

“Sir? Are you there? Sir.”

“…YYes. I’m here.”

“Good. We were unable to process your order sir. There seems to be no record of you in our system.”

“But I got a call from this number. Saying my account had missing information.”

“You might have gotten a call from our sister company. Shall I transfer you?”

“mmm.” He whispered. Softly.

“Sir?”

“Yes. Sure. Why not.”

“Just a moment please.”

His hand returned to the sound of elevator music.

 

He dreamt of sleep. Blue and endless. Like an airplane following the sun an hour after its bedtime. He followed too. 

 

His body ached for no reason in particular. He was a healthy man. Right now he had a cold, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was the fact that he could barely get up in the mornings.

 

He wanted to sleep all day. All day every day.

 

He went inside. Placed the phone gently beside the sink. Looked in the mirror. Wet his hands. Rubbed them against his face. Splashing water on his neck. Look back in the mirror. Watch the water cling to his mustache and beard. The tiny scab below his eye that always made him look hung-over.  He went over to the towel rack, dried his face. His phone on speaker phone. He did this multiple times throughout the day.

 

He worked from home. Making calls. Doesn’t matter what or why or when or who he made the calls to. Suffice it to say that it was boring, mindless, abstract work, and it made him think often of Marx’s concept of the abstraction of labor and it also made him think often of modern, electrical, mechanical man, and it washed over him for hours on end these thoughts, about why or how life became this way and was it the best way to be and were we better of with bows and arrows and so on, indefinitely, repeatedly until he went home and took some Nyquil and fell asleep in front of the moving picture box writing a short story about a man very much like himself who was tired and depressed and addicted to cold medicine (at least today), and who couldn’t think of much else to write about besides a man on hold with a telephone operator as a metaphor for sterile modern living.

 

 

 

 

Michael Kiwanuka

Beautiful song

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What’s Everyone’s Favorite Film of The Last Year?

Here’s a rough order of mine:
1. Django
2. Zero Dark Thirty
3. Argo
4. Silver Linings Playbook
5. Safety Not Guaranteed
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild
7. Flight
8. The Avengers
9. Moonrise Kingdom
10. Narco Cultura (Sundance).

Post a comment below with what you think are the three best films of the last year.
Bonus: The first person to correctly guess which film wins at tonight’s oscars gets a bag of Charming Beard Coffee from yours truly.

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Argo Win Yourself

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How to describe the many number of things that makes Argo a great movie? Well, first there’s the terrific acting/directing of Ben Affleck, who somehow turned a questionable career into a brilliant one. There’s a terrific supporting cast compromised of Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman. It’s nice to see more of Goodman these days (he was also in Flight playing a something of an indescribable and hilarious drug dealer.)
There’s a taut and well-written screenplay by Chris Terrio based on the book by Tony Mendez (Affleck’s character in the movie). Argo so far has won for best screenplay and Best Picture at the Golden Globes.
Similar to Zero Dark Thirty in the sort of historical narrative it portrays, the film deals less with moral and social ambiguity of ZDT and instead focuses on the fascinating and terrific plot of an improbable rescue mission. Affleck weaves real footage of historical events with his film and paces the film perfectly—from the frightening opening moments of an embassy overrun to the nail biting conclusion. I thought both The Town and Gone Baby Gone were terrific, but this is his best movie yet. Affleck portrays a moment in history which, to be honest, I’m not sure how didn’t lead to a war. It almost feels as if you’re watching the backstory to the modern day wars and conflicts we find ourselves engaged in today. Though the movie does not dwell on the issue for long, the fact that the U.S. and Great Britain organized a coup to reinstall a hated dictator seems to be the beginning of a now tense and complicated mess of U.S.-Middle East relations. Though the movie tells the story if events that happened thirty years ago, it ends up feeling like a modern day drama.
What surprised me most about the story was how peaceful everything resolves. It’s hard not to believe that if the same thing happened today, World War III would be at our doorstep. This is perhaps what makes the storyline of Argo so good. Improbably actions that actually end up working. I wasn’t alive in the seventies but it seems to me it would be an easy choice to give back the Shah in exchange for over 50 American lives—but somehow six American escaped through a plot so crazy it had to be a movie, and the rest were eventually released unharmed.
Argo didn’t make me think as hard as Zero Dark Thirty or laugh as hard as Silver Linings Playbook and it didn’t have the layers of Django, but it ends up being a sleek, entertaining, and optimistic flick. It’s simplicity rests not in superficiality, but in it’s witty and engaging story line, making you think, “Why can’t all movies be this good?”

Zero Moral Certainty

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I’m in the process of making my way through as many of the Oscar nominated movies I can. I’m usually only 50% impressed with which films end up winning and which ones don’t even make the list, but then again I like really weird films. However, last night I watched Zero Dark Thirty. I wasn’t expecting much to be honest. When I first heard they were making a film about the death of Osama Bin Laden, I assumed it was a cheap Hollywood race to rake in money over a major historical event, akin to Act of Valor.

I left my house at 8:45 to walk to the Gateway and meet my friends Joel, Jeremy, Matt, and Justin. Joel and Jeremy used to be in the military, but now have sort of a hippie ex-pat vibe going, though you know that either one of them could crush your skull if they so desired.

When the five of us left the film, I felt as if my entire moral compass had been spun on it’s head. It was the most morally confusing film that I’ve seen in a long time.

On the one hand, you want to see the dramatic unfolding of the hunt for perhaps the the most infamous terrorist our world has seen. You’re kinda of excited to see him get taken out by an elite group of bad-asses. On the other hand, there’s the inevitable series of events that has to occur in order for Bin Laden to be captured. Mainly, torture. People getting water boarded and led around naked on dog collars.

Director Kathryn Bigelow does a terrific job however, of letting the story unfold before us, not letting her commentary on either torture or Al Queda to get in the way of the bigger themes of the film.

Since I am a Christian with no particular ties to any one nation, I wasn’t going to sit there and chant U.S.A.! in the theater when Bin Laden finally died. But I was kinda of excited. I felt bad that I was excited because as a Christian I’m told to love my enemies, but it also felt like an act of justice. On the other hand, I’m not the biggest fan of empires and part of me kinda felt like rooting for the “bad guys.” The fact that certain operatives could evade capture from the most powerful and technological military the earth has ever seen for as many years as they did, is fairly impressive. It’s a little bit like the underdog kicking the bully in the junk.

Basically, at one point I was rooting for the underdogs, and then I wanted all to be a Navy Seal and get Terminator on some terrorists. I’m a very confused man right now.

I didn’t like how happy I was to see a person die, albeit, a very horrible person. But on the other hand, maybe it was okay, maybe it was justice. I didn’t like the fact the Bigelow actually made me re-examine my beliefs in pacifism and militarism, but then again I think that’s why it’s such a great film.

Zero Dark Thirty begins and ends with a heavy sort of silence. An appropriate way to bookend the questions it raises.