Friday, February 27, 2009

OSCARS much?

Friday, February 27, 2009

You may have noticed the lack of Academy Awards blogging on this site. Guess what? It was intentional! The Academy Awards are a joke; they almost always pick terrible, terrible winners. Why? Because Hollywood doesn't actually care about talent or good cinema (read: Frank Langella, Mickey Rourke, The Dark Knight); it only cares about its own agendas and who will shove them down our throats (read: "Milk" and Sean Penn). I mean, hell, "In Bruges" and "Milk" were both nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Angelina Jolie was nominated for Best Actress in "Changeling", and yet "The Dark Knight" was not even NOMINATED for Best Picture. I understand a film like that would never win in such a snobby competition, but the Oscars voters ought to at least pretend like they actually saw some of the films for which the rest of America paid damn good money. So there.

Tyler, the emphatically grouchy Oscars Grouch
Read, Kindly Light...

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Coraline" Review

Friday, February 13, 2009

Last night I went with my little brother to the Rave at Ridgmar to watch "Coraline" in 3D. Ticket prices were $9.50 for adults, and so I fibbed and said that Christian was only 12 (as he and I see it, such situations are the only apparent advantages to him being a 'late bloomer'). But even with my liar's discount, our two tickets together cost a whopping twenty three dollars! I realized then that I had been charged an additional $2.00 per ticket because Coraline is a 3D Movie. Was I now broke? Yes. Did that fact infuriate me? You betcha. But in the long run, was it all worth it? YEEESSSS!!!

Let me preface my little review by saying that I have only ever read one graphic novel in my entire lifetime. I am an avidly avid supporter of the idea of reading comic books, but I myself never actually go out and read any. It must be because I am not a very visual person, or perhaps it is just another odd form of my all-pervasive laziness. Whatever the case, I say again, I've only ever read through one graphic novel, and it was hardly enjoyable. After watching Coraline, I am rethinking all of that. I am going to buy the Coraline comic and the Graveyard Book, as well as reread the Sandman comic I did not at first enjoy. Before, I (unfairly) found Neil Gaiman to be more than a bit overrated. Now, I think he is under-appreciated.

So, to the purpose. "Coraline" is a children's ghost story that centers on a young girl who has just moved to a new house, a house in which she soon discovers a secret doorway to another world, a world that mirrors her own. This new world gives her everything she lacked in her old one; it gives flesh and voice to all her unfulfilled dreams and fantasies. Where her first mother had always been too busy and had no time for her, her "Other Mother" shows her daughter unusual kindness and affection, loving her even to the point of adoration -- and her Other Mother has shiny black buttons for eyes. In fact, every creature on the other side of the door has shiny black buttons, and they all demand Coraline's unqualified affection. They whisper how she could even stay there with them forever...
.....and soon, Coraline's dream-world transforms into a nightmare, one from which she must desperately try to escape.

This movie is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. It is one of the most imaginative children's stories I've ever seen on film. It is the longest stop-motion picture to date, but it has to be to tell this spellbinding tale of phantasmagoria. And because Neil Gaiman is such a literate writer, the adaptation of his graphic novel isn't just any other kiddy goosebumps flick. I mean, how many villains from a kids movie are a reference to a character from a Keats poem? (The Beldam 'old woman / grandmother' ---> "La Belle Dame Sans Merci")

But I've yet to tell you the best part about the movie, for the visual beauty of "Coraline" surpasses even its superior storytelling. The cinematography is gorgeous and truly stunning: in every shot there is a galaxy of budding shapes and colors; in the next shot they burst into bloom. It's also the first stop-motion animated feature to be shot entirely in 3D, and it can safely boast that it elevates that genre from the gimmicky to the nuanced. Because of its visual splendor, "Coraline" is a film that must be seen on the big screen at least once, to enjoy the so-called "eye-popping" 3D effects it employs. It's just not the same without them.

So, in conclusion, I give Coraline 5 creepy eye-buttons out of 5. Go see it now.

Read, Kindly Light...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Um, my GEEKOMETER just EXPLODED: the full script for the pilot episode of HBO's "A Game of Thrones" has been LEAKED!!!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ok. Let's just get this out of the way. I am a fantasy geek. No, actually, I'm a huuuuuumooooooongous fantasy geek. Now, Tolkien aside, George R. R. Martin is my preferred idol of worship. HBO has already picked up the rights to his A Song of Ice and Fire series and greenlit a pilot episode for his first book, A Game of Thrones. Today, the uber-geeky and ever helpful blog Winter Is Coming has posted a few links to the ENTIRE LEAKED SCRIPT!

I just read it all; I suggest you do the same. Thus far it seems a great adaptation, mostly for its ability to do a lot with little. Not to say that the source material is small (on the contrary, it's overwhelmingly huge!), but I mean that despite having to abridge and truncate many, many scenes and chapters of the novel as well as adding a few scenes of their own, the writers still stay very faithful to the book and develop the characters while creating suspense and intrigue. My only big critique from my first reading is the original scene with the conflict between Eddard and Jaime. It seemed more than a little forced, and it simplifies Jaime's character to a dangerous extent. Other than that, however, the script is practically flawless!

Read, Kindly Light...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ron Sexmith at Futureappletree Studio 1

Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Ok, I need to get something off my chest: I have not been faithful in providing a Daytrotter session a day. In point of fact, I've been quite feckless. Now, I figure, I could certainly cover a Daytrotter session whenever I want. So, from now on, I'm reducing the Daytrotter sessions to a minumum of whenever I feel it. So there.

Now, on to Ron Sexmith:
Ron Sexsmith is an inexplicably sweet force of nature. [...] Sexsmith, with his economical and slightly warbling crooner’s voice, is able to mine many of the beautiful sights and sounds of a stroll through the park or a picnic by the lake for the kinds of universal dialogue that he’s still able to process from pure cane into an edible sugar or salt from the veins into the table salt that goes on our mashed potatoes. He dresses these very tender, everyday moments into timeless thoughts that feel like wispy cloud systems emblazoned across an otherwise clear blue sky.
---Sean Moeller, founder of Daytrotter

It would not be very fair to Sean if all I did in these posts was rip off his writing and links, so that means I should probably say a few words of my own on the artist. Ron Sexmith has a smooth, lush voice, ripe with strains of joy and sorrow that have been folded over one another over and over again, ever shifting, up and down, up and down, a perfect medium of conveying life's many ups and downs. As with all the artists I have featured thus far on this site, Ron is a singer who writes simple but evocative songs. He stopped in at Futureappletree Studio Number One to record four songs from his latest album "Exit Strategy Of The Soul" ( a grrrreat name, by the way). My favorites from the session are "Impossible World", in which he croons and serenades us into thinking that perhaps this life isn't quite so bad as we imagined, and the song "Chased By Love", in which he sings these child-like lyrics: '...Who from way back when, / I'm the same boy that you knew then. / I just want to be chased by love, / Embraced by love, / Just like you."

Ron Sexmith's Daytrotter Session

Ron Sexsmith - Welcome to Daytrotter
Ron Sexmith - Impossible World
Ron Sexsmith - One Last Round
Ron Sexmith - Chased By Love
Ron Sexsmith - Poor Hopeless Dreams
Read, Kindly Light...