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Showing posts from May, 2015

Quickie Review - Ivan's Childhood and its possible influence on Terrence Malick

Ivan's Childhood is Andrei Tarkovsky's first film and in some people's mind's his first half film, as the movie was apparently started and he took over, adding some dream sequences, a love triangle and his ending. It is in fact, the shortest and easiest to swallow of Tarkovsky's films and gave us inkling into what was to come. In many minds, Tarkovsky peaked with The Mirror (often called Mirror) and in from a visceral standpoint, this is true. While watching Ivan's Childhood I kept thinking of Terrence Malick and how this film's simplicity and power matched that of Badlands and how Andrei Rublev somewhat felt like the epic attempt in The Thin Red Line. Innocence and War (inner and literal). Malick's masterpiece, Tree of Life, with all it's heavy symbolism, has scenes that resemble so many I saw in the Tarkovsky's work, especially the mirror. The parallels are just to numerous to ignore.

Getting back to Ivan's Childhood, it is important to re…

Free Writing - Take 86

I sleep four hours in the morning and about two in the early evening. That's my new sleep schedule. I like it, but I know it needs to end and reality needs to settle in. The reality is the scariest thing, because being behind the eight ball would be a blessing at this point. This is more like a bowling ball. So used to something small coming along and bailing me out temporarily, but it's always been because of who I knew. I feel at times like I don't know anyone anymore. I laid in bed today, thinking about a BBQ. Three people and the best food and drink ever. Not a single thing mattered that day, but the three people there. I think of all three of us and how far different our lives are. Happier, but alone. Free, but limited. Independent, but tied down by routines we've grown used to, neither in a bad way, nor a good. I think about why we were happy back then and why I don't feel that way about other situations. Honestly, when I think about that day and night, it wa…

Quickie Reviews - Still Alice, Locke, Europa Report, The Blue Room, The Rover

Still Alice garnered one of my favorite actresses a best actress Oscar. Here's the problem. This was an obvious makeup year, because Patricia Arquette's "supporting" role in Boyhoood was miles ahead of Moore. Moore played someone with a disease though and we know how the academy loves those types. Still Alive is depressing, but it's not poignant and it's biggest failure, is in the irony of its title.

Locke is one man show. It is being hailed a great psychological drama and the "eegads" cliche, that even someone close to me used, Tour de Force, is being thrown around recklessly. It's a silly film, with Hardy's restraint being hailed as genius. As someone who believes Hardy is one of the three or four most exciting actors in the world, this film does nothing to embrace his charisma. In fact, the absolute disgrace of the film is that we never feel empathy towards Ivan Locke and that kills the entire movie.

Europa Report is one of those films, t…

Clicking "LIke" For Racism

You sign on to Facebook and your friend has posted a funny picture of a kitten, you click like. Then you see someone posted a video of their daughter's recital and you click like. Then you see a notice about a man who traveled 200 miles by bicycle to raise money for his neighbor and you click like. Then you see a story about a crime and it's sad, because people died and your friend started their post off with the words "this needs to stop" and you clicked like. 
An hour goes by. The comments begin with words like "thugs," "savages" and "animals." One person says they won't say the word, but they want to. It continues, maybe five hours later, there are 30 horrifyingly racist comments. Each comment and like brings it to the top of the news feed. It is trending basically in your little world of people. Everyone has joined this odd crusade against an entire race, because of a single crime. 
I sign on an there is the thread at the top of …

Hooray For Geek Pride Day

I got a little frustrated yesterday with people posting about Geek Pride and announcing themselves geeks. They made posts, usually using other people's words, implying they take pride in this label. Everyone should take pride in whatever label suits them, but there in lies the key phrase, "suits them."

The real issue I have is that every hipster out there believes they are a geek. A geek is revered in today's culture, because their love for something, usually one thing in particular, is so intense, they exude a mastery of it. Being a geek involves some serious knowledge of said topic, but also realizing that it's not just because it's cool, but because it's not.

Guys like saying they are sports geeks, but that's just silly. So many people like sports, that even those, like myself, with extensive knowledge of a particular sport aren't really geeks, they're just super fans. This isn't the same. Neither is liking a band that is popular. Sorry…

Random Thoughts On Memorial Day Morning

Flags and crying eagles will be posted by those who vote for politicians who are keeping our vets from getting jobs, health care and housing. Flying the flag isn't being patriotic, helping others to better the country are. Especially when those in need, made the sacrifice so you didn't have to.

My face has broken out again and this might be the worst it's been. I'd thought it was OK and maybe I could get by without going back on the medication, but right now my cheeks look as though I've been attacked by a swarm of bees. I hate this.

People love to use the cliche, life is short. I have a challenge for all of those people. If life is short, give up watching television between 7pm and 11pm every single evening for one year. Tell me then if you think life is short. The amount of time we spend, doing nothing is frightening and the mindless devices we use to pass the time, if taken away, leave us with many more hours in the day than we can possibly conceive. Try it for …

Free Writing - Take 85

I try to be funny, sarcastic, clever, kind, empathetic and sympathetic, but I've noticed as of late, my messages aren't being processed. It doesn't matter if I say them openly, privately, in print or spoken word. They are constantly misconstrued and it's starting to get to me. I'm going to start to dumb down my comment. I like this. I hate this. I like this person or I don't. I'm no longer going to pretend to like someone I don't for another's sake and while that might sound harsh, I sit and read and listen to your BS about "life being too short." Well, life is long and carrying around friends for someone else, is a burden. Since the beginning of the week, I cut three out of my life and I'm not going to lie. I have slept better. There are more to go and this isn't some silly random claim. There are some of you I owe more than this to and I don't ever forget that, but those who have wronged me, distracted me, compromised my happ…

Quickie Review - Primer

I was told this was the single most confusing movie, from start to finish. I was told there are complex themes and it's almost impossible to follow. I was also told this is the greatest time travel movie ever. Obviously, not all of these were said by the same person, but as of late, this film has been heavily hyped. Sadly, it didn't live up to any of it. It felt almost as if the writer got tired of the complex script and as the movie goes along, the script becomes so basic, it becomes boring. The narrative is lost and the reasons for their experiments become so skewed, that when things go wrong, some are explained and some aren't. There are tons of errors, should one look closely enough and sadly, the basic theme of knowledge being power, turns into the cliche of "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." The saving grace is that the movie isn't longer than it needs to be, but it would have been better explained had the entire movie taken place within the same six…

The Problem With Andrei Tarkovsky

As of this very moment, I have seen four of his seven feature films. Unfortunately, I've yet to see his first film, Ivan's Childhood and thus can't truly speak about how far he has come from the beginning. I have heard it is his worst film by many, but one person has told me it is her favorite. The first film I had ever seen of his was Stalker. It is painfully slow at the beginning and you feel your frustration rising, but in the final 35 minutes, this flower blooms and you realise the voyage was what made it worth it. I followed this up with Solaris and I'm in agreement with the director's own views that it might be his worst. That being said, the imagery and tension felt is effective and the movie simply works. I then went a while without seeing one of his films and then within the past few days, I've tackled two of his more well known and revered films, The Mirror and Andrei Rublev.

In a recent poll, The Mirror (or simply Mirror) was hailed as one of the ten…

Free Writing - Take 84

Thank you for the laughs, those who make me laugh. Today was a rough day. It's funny when you have to deal with people who are never wrong. I had to deal with this at work for years and I'm dealing with it again. I know people will say I'm speaking of myself, but the reality is, if you know me, you know I'm easily humbled, just throw a fact in once in a while. I've listened to a lot of people over the past few years and they all have excuses, as we all do. It's not healthy to always take the blame and it's not always healthy to blame. This I know and this is something none of us should fall victim to. Especially those who blame themselves. What amazes me though is when certain people are confronted and you watch them. There body language, their eyes, but most importantly what they react to. You could rattle off a laundry list of things they've done wrong, but watch what they react to most. If it's their real problem, you'll notice they become ri…

Free Writing - Take 83

My stomach is still doing somersaults from the awful piece of fish I ate tonight. As I described in a short lived Facebook status, it was like licking salt off your hand before a shot of tequila, but only to have the liquor replaced with the worst tasting vegetable oil imaginable. Absolutely disgusting. I was so looking forward to that fish too. A nice mustard-dill, honey-soy, or maybe even a light poach in olive oil and some lemon. I guess it could be worse, but why was it even cooked? So many unexplained questions lately. The doors constantly left open in an area known for random break-ins, the lights left on, but the computer shut off. Then the other, not suitable for even this blog. I wonder sometimes where people's minds are. I am guilty too, I'm terrible at calling people back or dealing with bills, but then again, I can't afford them and that's my cross to bear, one I'll most likely never get off my back. But today wasn't all bad, despite the food horror…

Quickie Review - Cube

When this first came out, I had heard it was terrible. Then Internet posts and especially twitter started making this sound like it was the most complex movie ever made. Well, last night I finally saw it and I must admit, I was sorely disappointed. The movie is neither clever, not is it at all claustrophobic. The acting is so poor, especially that of Quentin and Holloway, that the movie is impossible to take seriously. If not for the acting of the Leaven character, it would have been a complete bomb. The real problem isn't in it's ambiguity, it's in it's painfully obvious premise and conclusion.

Assuming everyone has seen this by now, I'm not giving anything away, but by giving each character the name of a prison that defines their personality, we understand that the entire movie is about being trapped inside the life you've chosen. That there is no way out without the help of others. So why not make the movie about that? Why hammer home the point over and over…

Free Writing - Take 82

Been a while since I've written anything from my mind, my heart or any other aching body part. Amazing how self absorbed people can be, that even without speaking, you realize they haven't been listening. I sigh more than ever. I mop the floor with paper towels, like I've done over and over, wondering where the mythical little six year old might be hiding. I wipe down the dirt, adding it to the trash that contains my instructions for avoiding such mess. I cringe, as I look inside at the rotting food, all waiting to be thrown away, I hesitantly add two potatoes that have colors never meant for the spud universe. I throw open a door and I'm hit with the smell of mildew. I sit in an empty room and I say hello, just to make sure it still works. Like that tree in the forest. The movie turns off and I think about the solitude and I'm jealous, because at least when you're alone, you don't have to deal with the selfishness of others. The sun rises and I crawl into …

Quickie Review - Wild

Wild is not the greatest movie ever made and it may not even be the greatest movie about self exploration, but it works on every level. It also cemented my opinion that Reese Witherspoon is a great actress. If you decide to see it, I implore you, do not read reviews or message boards, because anti-feminist America doesn't like, nor do they understand this movie. They can't handle a movie that is so complex, yet formed on the simple premise, that in life, we have only two directions in which we can go; we can go forward or we can go back. There is nothing else. Who we take with us, allow us to help or hinder us, is inconsequential, because in the end, we can make the decision that is difficult or we can return to what we know. It sounds as if I'm trying to dumb down the film, but if you see it, you'll understand.

Wild is not for everyone. There is no grand epiphany, fireworks or celebration of things coming into focus. There is no visual fight for survival and the dialo…

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week has been teacher appreciation week. I've noticed a sad thing, one of which I am guilty too. The only people mentioning this seem to be teachers. Is it because almost every teacher has been whining about the testing recently? Probably, but that doesn't change their importance and their impact, both good and bad, on who we become. I won't get into politics, but one thing that has struck me from private conversations lately, is just how few teachers made an impact on my generation, compared to how much they made on those older than me. The impact on those younger people I know seems almost non-existent. This is something teachers must look into the mirror and face, but again, not my point.

In my life I've had very few teachers who really taught me anything usable in later life. I learned compassion, empathy, reading, writing and arithmetic from my parents. I learned all the little things from others, but very little from actual teachers. I missed my first grade …

Quickie Review - A Most Violent Year

I am smitten with Jessica Chastain. From Take Shelter and The Help to Zero Dark Thirty and Mama, her range and ability to be a chameleon dazzled me. One one, somewhat recent visit to Jon Stewart's Daily Show, I also became aware at how funny, intelligent and beautiful she was. I thought she was arguably the best part of Interstellar, which disappointed me and I figured it was a blip on the radar. Then came this.

In an attempt to capitalize on American Hustle, we're given a very simple story, with painfully simplistic symbolism, played out to the backdrop of 1981 NYC. The most violent year on record, according to statistics. Gang wars and mob hits ruled the airwaves and the sex industry and rapes were also at an all-time high. None of this plays any part in the film and the director, I just read, meant it to be a metaphor for each character's personal life. This fails. So to does the cinematography, which has been praised by some. Yellow tint to give an 80's vibe. Sorry…

Quickie Review - Selma

Selma might possibly contain the most powerful first five minutes of any movie I've ever seen. In one instant I realized that the director's point was not to walk us through history, but remind us of it's brutality, then walk us through one of its greater triumphs. What resonates is how much was done by MLK and how little has really changed since. Any cable news show in 2015 seems to lead with a story about poverty and persecution, racism and inequality. The deaths continue and only the terms have been changed. Where the movie triumphs is to show that MLK at the end of the day was a man with faults, as was John Lewis, President Johnson and George Wallace. It showed they were creatures of their culture and we surrounded by like minded people and those with the strength to cross over. It was MLK's ability to bring these people together that made him different.

The word hero is the most overused word in the English language. MLK was proven to be a hero, long before he bec…

Hey Ithaca Students - Just Stop

I'm white, I'm vocal, I demand equality and justice. I also know when is the right time, when is the wrong time and when my voice should just shut the fuck up.

Dear Ithaca and Cornell students,

We know that you're out on your own for the very first time and you want to make a difference, but shutting down Aurora Street with permission from vendors (who profit from passerby traffic) and from IPD, isn't a protest. You playing Kumbaya does nothing to honor Freddie Gray, nor does it speak to the injustice of racism. It's also not cool to not at least show compassion and respect to Brian Moore, who died (today) doing his job of protecting and serving. While you think you're demonstrating for a cause, you're causing more of a problem and you're epitomizing racially inequality. Those people in Baltimore are standing in slums they call home, while you're sitting peacefully and safely on a street in the greenest city and best college town in America. The clo…

April Movies

Moonrise Kingdom was actually the 123rd movie I've watched this year. I started and ended the month with incredible films. It also could have been dubbed the month of Cumberbatch, as I made my way through the first three seasons of the BBC series Sherlock.  The Imitation Game - A near perfect film. Script, acting and music are amazing. Cumberbatch!The Drop - Littered with mistakes and red herrings, the film tries for depth the story lacks.Next Door - Awful Norwegian film with overused premise and awful giveaways.Killers - Every action plot cliche and gimmick ever, all in one movie. Absolutely ridiculous.Tiny: A Story about Small Living - Psychobabble aside, great insight into the movement.Zapped! - Re-watched - Early 80's teen hijinks flick with the Charles in Charge crew.WolfCop - Shockingly, one of the best B-movies I've seen in a long long time.Kill The Messenger - Superbly cast and Renner shines, but the last 20 minutes is dreadful.Godfather II - Re-watched. Top 25 all…

Quickie Reviews - The Hunter & Life Itself

The Hunter is easily one of Willem Dafoe's worst performances. He obviously owed someone a favor or, at the very least, was picturing a different product. Aside from the fact that almost no research seemed to have been done on tracking, Dafoe never comes close to playing the part. What bothered me most is,here is a lifelong loner, a hired gun, mercenary and within 30 minutes, he's so attached to this strange family, he can't stand to be away. Aside from the ridiculous plot, the character development all goes south in the final 25 minutes. Neill goes from being the ominous shady character that is tracking the tracker, to the weepy, nobody understands what I stand for loner. The mistake filled movie then decides to have the worst and in many ways, most predictable ending possible, but instead of leaving the audience with a sense of wonder, it not only displays it, it drags it out for every pretentious second it can. When it's over, you breathe a sigh of relief and then t…