Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bite-Sized Film Reviews // Fast and Furious and Junebug





Mindless entertainment. That's what this is. It does what it needs to do and it does it well. There are some days when I don't feel like thinking at all, I just want everything spoonfed to me and this film is one of the few that is perfect to entertain me for those days.
The opening scene, I have to say, is spectacular. If it had helicopters, I would have mistaken it for a Michael Bay movie.
Fans of the franchise will not be disappointed with the new installment, some may argue that it's the best (although my personal favourite has to be Tokyo Drift) that has come out so far.
The characters are quite flat and the script, dreadful. But those things don't really matter for movies like this, so it's forgiven.
Forgettable, yet enjoyable. If you've got nothing else to do and you're in the mood for a bit of adrenalin, then see this movie.






The film begins with a twenty-something second shot of trees. Just still trees on the screen. That's a small representation of the film's overall tone. Quiet, serene and still. It is not rushed, there is very little cuts and minimal music. The subjects are shot raw and are allowed to be absorbed by the lens. The atmosphere and feel of a small country town setting is faithfully translated on screen.

But what makes the movie great is mainly due to its characters. Especially the always joyful and very pregnant Ashley (Amy Adams) whose country girl persona is directly contrasted with her city raised sister-in-law Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) who come to visit from the city. Their interactions with one another are the finer moments of the film. Very funny yet endearing, you can't help but just fall in love with these two.
Ashley's character herself is very simple yet Adams and the writers do a superb job at adding layers to her personality, resulting in a beautiful portrayal of a multi-dimensional and complex character. It could have easily strayed into a caricature but fortunately that path is wisely avoided. Ashley is just so warm and welcoming to everyone around her which makes it more heartbreaking to watch what her character goes through in the end. A lovely country film with gentle warmth. Another indie gem.
It was like Sweet Home Alabama but with more depth and character.






Poster links here and here



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Independent Films

Independent films, or 'indie films' as some people call them are, by definition, movies that are produced without the help of a major studio. That means corporate studio bosses don't influence the final product. It also means the film does not get butchered into the mainstream crap that most theatres show. The film is entirely influenced only by the filmmakers themselves and is comprised of their vision alone. 

That's why I'm in love with indies. 

The downside is, they usually don't get a theatrical release. They either go straight to DVD or VOD, and sometimes only show on the film festival circuit. Some films are luckier than others, and they secure a distribution deal when they are previewed and liked in festivals. 

I reckon most theatre chains should have a separate division in their theatres devoted exclusively to show indie films, so that the general public get a chance to see them. This of course may cost a bit of money to do, but then again, considering the amount of great indie films that become lost and forgotten, I think this will be a good idea.



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Art that makes room

Realism art. I don't hate it or despise it but I don't enjoy it. I think it's a very important branch of the art tree but realism art for me, is just something nice and pretty to look at and just sits as that. It doesn't challenge or provoke, it doesn't cause controversies.

The art that I adore are one that gives its audience room.
Room for their own imagination, when artists purposely leave gaps in their art (not literally) for the viewer to fill.

Art that allows one's perspective and experiences in life to have an impact on how they interpret their view of a piece of art.
In a way, it is more personal.

Maybe, I'm wrong. Maybe there's more to realism art than what I perceive it to be and that's certainly debatable.
But then again, that is one of art's many purposes. To create conversation and to question one another.



Pardon the pun

Whenever I read an article or a blog post, etc. I find it amusing that people still find the need to excuse their puns. Why?

Do writers do it to highlight the pun so they can show everyone how clever they are for writing it?
Don't get me wrong, I love puns, they're like an easter egg in the form of words.

But I don't get why people have to pardon it. Is it some kind of writing etiquette that I'm not aware of? (If it is then that seems a bit ridicuous to me).







Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby Film Poster Design


Anyone in the film industry would know that if you undertake a horror film project, chances are your finished product will not be highly praised of by critics. Rosemary's Baby is one of the few exceptions.

Directed by the controversial and Oscar winning European director, Roman Polanski, the film tells the gripping story of Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) who becomes impregnated after just moving in with her husband, Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes) into their New York apartment. They befriend an older couple living on the same floor who aid the Woodhouses with their first pregnancy. Noticing their over-generosity, Rosemary's increasing suspicion of the couple lead to a doubt-ridden string of events which end in one of the most memorable climaxes in horror movie history.

Much like the novel on which it is based on, the narrative progresses solely in the view of Rosemary. What she doesn't know, we don't know either. This style works to its favour, allowing viewers to not only suspect everyone around Rosemary but gives us room to suspect Rosemary herself. The viewer goes on a tumultous journey, constantly doubting everyone that graces the screen.

Rosemary's Baby works because of its subversion of its own genre, letting it stride past other horror films, in both story and execution. Polanski does a brilliant job handling the material and selecting shots that greatly benefit the film's unique style. But I have to give most credit to Mia Farrow, who seems to carry the whole film on her delicate shoulders. She wholly embodies the character and is an actor who relies on instinct rather than method. Simply put, Rosemary's Baby is an outstanding film, and should definitely be upheld as one of the true classics.



Image Credits:  TWO



Thursday, April 16, 2009

THE TOP TEN: Songs with the randomest lyrics

NOTE: These are not in order. I suck at ranking things.

#10: "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers


..somebody told me that you have a boyfriend, who looked like my girlfriend that I had in February from last year..

WTF?? This cracked me up when I was listening to it in the bus. I LOLed and people around me were giving me weird looks.


#9: "Don't Trust Me" by 3OH!3


..tell ur boyfriend, if he says he's got beef. That I'm a vegeterian and I ain't fucking scared of him..

If someone picks a fight with me, and I'm intoxicated out of my mind. I would so use this line.


#8: "Family Reunion" by Blink-182


..shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits fart turd and twat..(repeats 4 times and finishes with a hilarious ending)

Hmm.. I wonder what their inspiration was for this song. This is beautiful, exquisite piece of songwriting. This song got stuck in my head for a whole month and unconsciously started singing it in an elevator. I got those weird looks again.


#7: "Fuck you very much" by Lily Allen


..fuck you, fuck you very very much cause we hate what you do and we hate your whole crew so please don’t stay in touch..


Hate much?? I've never seen so much hate in lyrics since Frankee's infamous FURB song. But I'm in love with this. The way she sings it make me LOL too.


#6: "Fucking Bitch" by Diva Avari


..fucking bitch, fucking bitch, fucking bitch, you goddamn fucking bitch. Bitch. BUNCH OF FUCKING BITCHES!!..


Umm ok. More hate. Do people need a hug or something? I heard a remix of this song in a club and it's perfect! Everyone (including myself) were yelling fucking bitch at each other while dancing like maniacs. Funniest night ever.


#5: "Anyone else but you" by The Moldy Peaches


..You're a part time lover and a full time friend. The monkey on you're back is the latest trend. I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else. But you. I kiss you on the brain in the shadow of a train. I kiss you all starry eyed, my body's swinging from side to side..

Finally something warm and gentle. I just wanna sing this at my wedding, it's so cute. And people are going to be wondering wtf we're singing about. Perfect! More of those weird looks again.


#4: "Bazooka Bubble Gum Song" by Bazooka Joe


..My mom, she gave me a dollar she told me to buy a collar. But i didn't buy no collar. Instead I bought some Bubble Gum, Bazooka, zooka Bubble Gum..


OOohhh. Rebellion. I love it.


#3: "Loose Lips" by Kimya Dawson


..loose lips might sink ships but loose kisses take trip to San Francisco double dutch disco tech tv hottie do it for scotty. Do it for the living do it for the dead do it for the monsters under your bed do it for the teenages and do it for your mum..


Huh?


And it goes on:


..and if you wanna kill yourself remember that I love you, call me up before you're dead we can make some plans instead. Send me an IM, I'll be your friend..


Oh ok. Nice to know there's support. I memorised the lyrics for this song. Took me a while.


#2: "Let the drummer kick" by Citizen Cope


..Let the drummer kick, Let the drummer kick Relations Creation Incarceration Determination Equation Humiliation Reincarnation Situation Elation..


And it goes on reciting other words ending with a -tion. Hmm writer's block? Oh! Look a dictionary that could help!


#1: "Naughty Girl" by Mr G (Chris Lilley)


..Ecstasy, ecstasy. E-e-e-e-ecstasy. She's a naughty girl with a bad habit, bad habit for drugs..She's a slut and she knows it. She wants to root all the boys. She can't help taking the drugs on a Saturday night. She can't help being a slut on a Saturday night...


Summer Heights High. Funniest show ever.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Switchfoot


switchfoot band

When it comes to music, I tend to discover new artists and bands when their songs are featured in movies. Four of Switchfoot's songs were played in the 2002 film A Walk to Remember. Didn't like the movie but the songs were pretty damn good.

After that, Switchfoot became widely recognised and later sold millions of records. Their song This Is Home was also used in the 2008 film Narnia: Prince Caspian. Because of that film's biblical undertones Switchfoot was the perfect band since they're primarily a Chirstian rock band. Very popular among Christians. In fact, I used to go to a Christian school and I remember when we did a little study for them in my music class.

My interest for Switchfoot heightened after attending their concert at the Big Exo Day in Sydney. After that night their songs stuck themselves in my mind for quite some time and Switchfoot became my most played in my iPod. They're not the most heaviest of rock bands but good enough for easy listening and they're not lazy with their songwriting either, in fact their lyrics are one of the best I've heard in rock bands.

How weird is their name though, I was like wtf does that mean? With a quick google search I found out that it's actually a surfing term (oh, that's why I've never heard of it). Not going into the technical details there.

switchfoot band on stage

If you wanna listen to their music I suggest the albums Oh! Gravity and The Beautiful Letdown



Image sources: Links here and here
License term for images: Link here


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Moleskine Art Journal



These are some page scans of my artworks in my beloved Moleskine.
Yes, I know they're not technically perfect. They look messy and amateurish, and that's how I like them.
It is art for art's sake.


Moleskine art journal
Moleskine art journal
Moleskine art journal



Friday, April 10, 2009

Why I made this blog

Everyone has their own little obsessions. Things that seem to preoccupy our everyday lives more than other things. Mine as it states on the header are film, music and art.

(UPDATE DEC 2011: I NOW REGRET THIS NAME. AS YOU CAN PROBABLY TELL FROM MY HEADER AND NEW POSTS, MY INTERESTS HAVE CHANGED A BIT)

My obsession with film started when I landed my first job in a movie theatre. Before then I thought that film was just something to pass the time, just another form of entertainment. But I realised that film is also a medium of which ideas and concepts are expressed in a way that is not possible for other mediums. It is a combination of the sights and sounds in a film which then instigates something inside a person and then in turn, stirs the audience.

I do not discriminate when it comes to films. I can enjoy mainstream films as much as I can appreciate obscure indie films. I love all genres and have no primary preference. I criticise a film based on its content, not by what it represents.

Everyone loves music. End of story.
Like in film, I don't discriminate. I listen to harcore, rock, screamo, hip hop, alterantive, electronic, jazz, r n' b, whatever. I got an ear for all of them.

My love for art started the first time I bought myself my very own sketchbook, or artbook, whatever you want to call it. It was a Moleskine (this is one of my tangible obsessions, but we'll get on with that later), its smooth leather surface and its beautiful paper (I have paper fetish, don't judge) never failed to entice me to pour my thoughts and feelings onto the paper. It was such a liberating and therapeutical experience. Unfortunately I've been very busy with other things so I have not done much artwork. But I'm sure I will get on it again.

So I started this blog for other people, who have the same passion for film, appreciation for art and an ear for music. It is not a maniacal (is that a word) obsession. I don't suffer from withdrawal symptoms if I don't get a fix of the aforementioned obsessions but it's rather for the love of it. That is why I started this blog.


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