Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2011 Year In Film

Looks like I've exhausted my list of friends.

Thanks again to Matt, Marko, and K. Sung for taking the time to share their thoughts.

I thought there were a number of good films in 2011, but I don't believe any one particular title stood above the others, making it difficult for me to select one title as a favorite. That being the case, I do want to bring attention to the three films I responded most favorably to.

Midnight In Paris - By far the most fun experience I had at the cinema this year. This film is so much more than what is teased in the trailer. I'm thankful I went in blindly. Its beauty pushes further than its location, and manages to push romance further than Boy and Girl falling in love.

Take Shelter - The shelter is a device. This is a really great look at faith, family, love, communication; and how it holds up against something potentially disastrous as mental health.

The Tree of Life - Say all you want about pretension, but I left the theatre feeling challenged after seeing this. Filmmaking is still considered art, right? Well I appreciated Malick's willingness to push limits, and experiment(?) with storytelling (technical and on page). The age of Twitter Ha Ha, makes it a lot easier to focus on something like Dinosaurs, and dismiss the film, but there's a great coming of age story here, and great performances -- maybe my favorite from Brad Pitt. Also, the direction and cinematography is effin' beautiful.

Others I Enjoyed:

Pina: Trailer
Project Nim: Trailer
Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest: Trailer | Discussion with Matt
Bill Cunningham New York: Trailer
Shame: Thoughts by Marko
Melancholia: Trailer
Martha Marcy May Marlene: Trailer
The Artist: Trailer
A Separation: Trailer
Margin Call: Trailer
Drive: Trailer
Meek's Cutoff: Trailer (Sorry Matt!)
Bridesmaids: Thoughts by K. Sung

Bring on 2012!

Friday, February 24, 2012

2011 Year In Film: Hugo

Contributed by: Matt (Card carrying Native Tongue expert. Film editor)

Well, apart from the instant masterpiece that was Apollo 18, I thought this was a very weak year for films. While there were a handful of things I really enjoyed - Drive and The Descendants in particular come to mind - Hugo was definitely the story I got the most swept up in. For all the escapism films pretend to provide, I feel it's a rare film that actually envelops you with a sense of wonder and Hugo did that as well as anything I've seen without forsaking an emotional core since the last Miyazaki offering. Granted, there's a bit of a masturbatory element to any film that invokes the importance of films, but I thoroughly enjoyed it from the first frame until the last.

Hugo: Trailer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2011 Year In Film: Shame

Contributed by: Marko Orlic from Recording Live From Somewhere...

More often than not, films relying on pivotal dialogue-free segments come off dull, or worse, pretentious. Not here. Helming only his second feature to date, Steve McQueen captures Brandon's haunted, self-destructive psyche with the assured hand of a veteran director, allowing the visual medium to communicate thought. He takes a huge risk in appointing a mostly silent, closed off, and disconnected protagonist to engage a discombobulated audience with no knowledge of the man's past, but trusts Michael Fassbender's internally burning intensity to pull it off. For me, this unorthodox approach more than just worked -- it completely sucked me in. Sure, some will complain about the script's many unanswered questions, but if they were solved, the immerse experience of the here-and-now would surely disappear.

All in all, this is exactly the kind of feat I'd dream of accomplishing if I was a filmmaker; a film clicking on all cylinders, from two of the best performances of the year, to the rich, yet clinical cinematography, to a focused musical backdrop invoking feelings of despair and alienation.

Shame: Trailer

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2011 Year In Film: Bridesmaids

"It happened"
Contributed by: K. Sung

It was intensely refreshing to watch Bridesmaids, a film about a young woman whose life story actually (and hilariously) didn’t come out peaches. This doesn't mean that the character crumbles to the ground and emotionally eats Haagen-Dazs after the "failed" meet-cute. I mean that Kristen Wiig’s character has a seriously shitty life and has real problems: her business didn’t survive the recession; she works in retail; her bff since childhood is about to abandon her for married life; her incestuous roommates are beyond our worst roommate stories; she's forced to move back home, and the list goes on.

This is not the Katherine Heigl life success story that we envy and hate. This is the story we ache with empathy for. I’d like to believe that the film was "subversive" in this vein. Penis-face-rubbing conversations and shitting your dress happens in a woman's life and all of us have always known this. But to have real problems happen to somebody who isn't a Seth Rogen or even a sad bastard Robert Downey Jr. is a great sigh of relief for those women who just don't have their shit together, who are stuck in a rut, or who aren't working for a shi-shi-poo-poo fashion magazine in Manhattan. So thank-you, Kristen Wiig, for raging against the chick flick machine with more than just cheap tricks, but with a real story that real hard-done-by women can relate to.

Bridesmaids: Trailer


Rather than complain about the Academy and their decision making, I'm going to focus on some favorites of 2011. In the spirit of collaboration, I've asked friends to contribute thoughts. If you're interested in doing so, shoot me an email. wboothe at geemale

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wu-Tang Clan - Gravel Pit

This came up on the shuffle today. The song itself, while far from their best, isn't that bad. It's got a good rhythm; and Meth and em do the thing over the track. The video though...it's just bad.

  • The corny elevator scene and dialogue.
  • The idea of Wu-Tang time traveling to -- of all places -- some sort of Jurassic Era.
  • Dinosaurs!?
  • The re-worked nicknames (Bobby Boulders, Lex Rockhead)
  • Rappers walking around with Bam Bam clubs.

The swordplay at the end was fun, but who ok'd this?

Has a highly respected group ever dropped a video as corny as this before? I may have to table this at the T.R.O.Y. forum.

"back back, forth forth..."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Wish De La Soul Still (Didn't) Made Tracks Like This

Pardon the language butchering in the title, but I wish to keep the "I Wish..." thing going.

Taking it back to 96/97, our favorite Plugs have revisited the art form off displaying distaste using parody.

Now I could go back to 91 with Kicked Out The House, but I was less bothered by that particular track, partly because I did not hear it until years later (I owned a cassette copy of De La Soul is Dead); but also because it did not seem -- at least to me -- to be fueled by an us against them mentality, which I feel lead to the creation of...

De La Soul - Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby

During this period of their career they may have been so focused on championing better morals in Hip Hop, that they didn't realize that this could have been a fun (if not spectacular) track, even without the it's really this simple eye winking. You know, kinda like the track with the telephone sounds that appears a little later in the album.

While I'll always love the Strong Islanders (be easy, Matt), and the first song released from this project was a little better than this one, I still worry that this won't amount to much more than "ha ha...look at us!"

That sort of humor just isn't fresh to me.

Bonus track:

The Beatnuts - Give Me Tha Ass

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kendrick Perkins

"This is so unfair" (c) Mos Def

While teammates were caught out of position (sup Serge? Russy?), Perkins tried to make a defensive stop on the play. Unfortunately things didn't work out the way he or his teammates would have hoped, and for about two days he became the laughing stock of the league.

He's probably a little embarrassed right now, as this era of the NBA is largely fueled by individual players, and Sportscenter highlights (now compounded by Twitter). But I'd like to say to Perk, keep your head up, dawg. Hopefully your teammates appreciate your effort, and it might even become a rallying point for the duration of the season.

Nothing remedies the blues like a championship.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Sartorialist: Lunch for 25

It's possible that number 26 on Scott Schuman's list of friends is a little upset right now.