Wednesday, April 30, 2008

you give it a name and baby, that's how it stays.

I was watching The Insider tonight, probably my favorite Michale Mann film, and there's a scene between Pacino and Crowe that was particularly striking to me.
Crowe's character is a former scientist for a large tobacco company and is contemplating blowing the whistle and Pacino's character is a 60 Minutes producer hoping to facilitate the whistle blowing.
There's a piece of dialogue from a conversation they're having during dinner in the first half of the film, where Crowe is still on the fence about coming forward. Basically, Crowe's character is nervous about breaking a confidentiality agreement with his former employer and what that might do to his family's well being.
His nervousness has transformed into anger as he tries to belittle Pacino's chosen profession, journalism.

Jeffrey Wigand: I have to put my family's welfare on the line here, my friend! And what are you puttin' up? You're puttin' up words!
Lowell Bergman: Words? While you've been dickin' around at some fucking company golf tournaments, I've been out in the world, giving my word and backing it up with action.

This piece of dialogue hit home as I'm nearing the end of the year and am so busy with school work and writing up stories for the newspaper here at school.
I've certainly had moments where I contemplate if I'm doing the right thing, if I've chosen the right major, the right profession.
Now, I know this a line from a fictional character, but Pacino's line and overall aggressiveness at Crowe taking a shot at him merely "puttin' up words," made me feel good.
I know I'm not going to make any money as a journalist but I do feel that journalism and the news are important to our society.
Recently as I've been working the Campus desk for my school's paper, more and more I've begun to feel that I'm in the right place as I sit down to pound out a story or trek across campus to conduct an interview.
A friend recently said she would probably read this blog more if I included some more personal things and watching this film tonight, these thoughts started to pop up.
Expect more entertainment thoughts in the coming days though, the new Wolf Parade leaked and it's sounding real good.

Monday, April 28, 2008

she said those kids she's with were sellin' it

This is something to get excited about.
It comes out July 29th and features a new commentary by Roger Ebert, who had one on the original release.
Dark City is one of my favorite Sci-Fi films and it's a shame it got lost in the Matrix shuffle around the time of its release.

Monday, April 21, 2008

code of the ocean

If you went and saw that Jackie Chan/Jet Li movie instead of Forgetting Sarah Marshall this weekend you deserve a punch in the face.
What you missed out on was one helluva romantic comedy.
As we were leaving, my friend Chris was remarking that all of the scenes with Jason Segel after his breakup that were so awkward or painfully funny really hit close to home and I couldn't agree more.
What makes this film so totally enjoyable is a lot of what made Knocked Up great and that's the sense of reality that the film creates surrounding the relationships in them.
A lot has been made recently about this stable of actors that Apatow has been utilizing and how they aren't your normal Hollywood leading men. Most of them are chunky and unshaven and look like regular dudes.
I'd like to think that what makes these films (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Marshall) work is that watching these guys on screen you're getting the feeling that they've lived through this stuff that's happening to their characters.
Even though it's a bit hard to believe that Seth Rogen would sleep with Katherine Heigl in real life or Jason Segel would just jet off to Hawaii and Mila Kunis would fall in love with him, it's not the kind of "out there" premises of these relationships, the thing that makes them work is that a lot of this stuff has happened to most guys, and they get Paul Rudd in the movies which makes any film better actually.

The performances are all top notch also. Everyone I went with agreed that Russel Brand was seriously great and Mila Kunis was drop dead gorgeous and held her own with a cast of really funny men.
Going into it I was a bit worried that it wasn't going to live up to my favorite Apatow related projects, but this one is truly hilarious and deserves your 7 dollars. So go buy some candy and a soda at the gas station, hide them in your pockets and head to the theater.
(Even though Kunis was stunning I'm still sticking to my guns and saying that Kristen Bell is on another planet. I'm not buying that she looks "infantile" Darger)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

in and out of homes like the orkin man

I haven't listened to anything else the past 24 hours.
Where No Age's first record was a collection of songs from a string of ep's they had released and sonically, was a definite grower, Nouns has grabbed me right away.
The sound is much more immediate and accessible, but still maintains that fuzzy DIY aesthetic of Weirdo Rippers.
A truly wonderful record that I'm enjoying more and more with each listen.

it's all relative

Wednesday was a good day.
Got some studying done, won our first softball game, new No Age record leaked (it's great) and I finally got to watch the new Lumet film Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

It's nice to see Sidney Lumet, now in his 80s I do believe, crank out a wonderful crime drama in the twilight of his career.
The man is responsible for two of my all time favorite films, Dog Day Afternoon and Network. So when this film was getting talked up last year I was pretty excited.
A superb cast, Hoffman, Hawke and Albert Finney.
Finney's performance here is something to behold. It's full of heartache and confusion. The man can really do no wrong.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hey Jason? Are you still waiting?

The new Jason Anderson record, The Hopeful and the Unafraid, is better than whatever singer-songwriter you're listening to right now.
Anderson's been around for a minute, doing his poor man's Springsteen for a few years now.
Now when I drop that Boss comparison, I'm talking Asbury Park and The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle Boss.
Anderson's vocal inflections don't do a bad job of aping early period Springsteen. The quick-fire vocals, the occasional harmonica and sax solo and stuck in your brain for days sing along choruses are making this one of my favorite releases of this short year.

Dylan's in town this weekend and we're going to make it one for the books.
Also, my Columbia, MO people, I'm coming down next weekend. Clear your schedules.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

bang, bang, bang went frankie's gun

As I was walking to class today I realized I've been listening to the same playlist on my ipod for the last three weeks or so.
Everything on the playlist is "folk" related and relatively new.
(I throw quotes around the term folk because I'm using it pretty loosely. The playlist I mentioned contains Tallest Man on Earth and Bon Iver, but also some Loudon Wainwright,Andrew Osenga and Murder By Death and I wouldn't classify those guys as folk perse).
I started thinking about how my musical tastes are beginning to change.
The new Cut Copy leaked a couple of weeks ago and people on the internets were freaking about it and I snatched it up the moment it dropped.
It didn't click.
I've felt this way about most of the "electronic" music that's been getting positive press in the blogosphere lately and I think I've been so drawn to more stripped down, "folk" music because it just feels real to me right now. I'm connecting with it.
I don't want to sound pompous saying some type of music isn't "real" to me, but there's been a few new releases that have been getting serious burn and they all feel connected.
I think what's connecting these records (Bon Iver, Tallest Man..., The Felice Brothers, Langhorne Slim, Jonathan Richman) is the lyrical content on each.
Each artist has so much passion rooted in their music that it has been hard for me to give any long term play to other genres that I would usually be turning to.
The chorus to "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver slays me each time I listen to the song. I just want to give dude a hug when it kicks in.
Congrats if you made it through all of that, just a thought I had today