Music Round-Up

14 pieces that I’ve not yet mentioned in several genres.
These have a decidedly African-feel to them, as they were all made for the same project.
African – Infados, Night Cave
World – Confused State, Witch Hunt
Soundtrack -End of the Era, Exotic Battle, Ignosi, Myst, News of Sorrow
Stings – Morocco Sting
This one I like a lot. I recorded it when I was sort of out of sorts one morning, and heard it later, and it turned out very well!
Contemporary – Gagool
Also this week: Militaire Electronic, Vintage Education, and Phat Sketch.
Cheers!

Smart People

While I was waiting in the (very long and slow-moving) line at the concession stand for this one, I saw a friend of mine, who, naturally, asked what I was there to see. She hadn’t heard of this movie, so asked the natural follow-up question: What’s it about? And I wasn’t sure. I’d seen the preview, but was kind of at a loss to sum it up. I finally ended up calling it a romantic comedy, even though I don’t like that term. That turned out to be not such a great description, but I’m still not quite sure what else to call it. There’s been kind of a trend the last few years for such movies — maybe they’re supposed to be ‘slice of life’ films or something, meant to defy categorization, but honestly, sometimes those just annoy me.
I’m still deciding if this one annoyed me or not. Dennis Quaid is Lawrence Wetherhold, an English professor at Carnegie Mellon University in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was widowed some years ago, leaving him with two kids to raise, and apparently making him into even more of a self-centered jerk than he was when his wife was alive. He talks down to his students, habitually parks his wreck of a car across two parking spaces, and can’t remember the names of even those students he has in multiple classes because he just doesn’t care. Basically, he’s like the professor I got stuck with for my Shakespeare class, who came frighteningly close to making me hate Shakespeare just because of those terrible associations.
His kids, James (Ashton Holmes) and Vanessa (Ellen Page, the newest hot actress thanks to Juno), haven’t turned out so great. James (from what I could tell; his character wasn’t really on screen much) carries around a huge pile of resentment against his dad, pouting and rebelling against his staid ways. He describes his sister as “the perfect little homemaker — I mean, daughter,” which sums her up nicely. She’s the ultimate overachiever, and I kept expecting the film to mention her addiction to diet pills or something, because she can’t possibly ever have slept. Besides cleaning and cooking (nice meals, like Beef Stroganoff with mashed potatoes), she is active in the Young Republicans, the Honor Society, and the Model U.N., when she isn’t busy striving for the perfect SAT score. She also gets called an android, and she is a lot like a Stepford Wife.

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The perfect dysfunctional family dinner. You know the type.

When Lawrence has a seizure because of his parking habits (really), he’s prohibited from driving for at least six months, by Janet Hartigan, the ER doctor who treats him (Sarah Jessica Parker, who reminds me of Julia Roberts in that I’m never sure why people think she’s so gorgeous). She was also a student of his, though of course he doesn’t remember, and he was responsible for making her change majors from English to biology. If that isn’t a sign of deep trauma, I don’t know what is.
In spite of how disgusted she is with him all the time, they start dating. Meanwhile, to help out with driving, Lawrence’s adopted brother (and no, they never miss the chance to throw in that word ‘adopted’), moves in. He’s Lawrence’s opposite — can’t hold down a job, drinks, smokes pot, and can’t even remember when he’s supposed to pick his brother up. But since he’s played by the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) I wouldn’t have expected him to be much help. Basically, he’s just there to help Lawrence realize how screwed up his life is.
So I did laugh now and then, but it really isn’t a comedy, romantic or otherwise. The acting is all very good, and Dennis Quaid looks better with the beard, because that keeps him from looking so much like he’s sucking on a lemon between takes. And yet I’m still not quite sure what to rate this thing. I feel like I should have liked it, but I kind of didn’t. Maybe it just tries to do too much, and overextends itself, because I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. On the purely technical side, it isn’t very well edited, which was distracting. Of course, what do I know — I whiled away the seventy-three hours I was stuck watching The Aviator by counting the number of bad edits, and that flick won an Oscar for editing.
So, I don’t know — three idols, I guess. A safe, middle of the road sort of rating. I’m thinking it just wasn’t quite my kind of movie, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be hugely popular — in fact, it almost guarantees it. So if you like those indefineable movies, or like ‘family dramas’, I guess is the term, give this one a try. And let me know if it annoys you or not.

Woefully Behind

Sorry everyone that is just getting email replies today. I was woefully behind, I’m afraid. (Still am, a little bit). Oh, and if you’re “David” your email failed… so I’m posting my reply here:
> Hello,My name is David,I am from USA,I saw your introduction on internet
> would you like to meet?i am free this weekend-saturday and sunday
> i have light green eyes, brown hair,look like Brad pitt
> i work at city bank in shinjuku
> my hobbies is sport, music, baseball, i am studying judo as well
> recently i bought digital camera and like taking photos
> please call me and lets meet
> 090-6540-3296
> David
Hey, yo. Good to hear from you, David.
I’m not going to ask what the hell you’re doing in Shinjuku… I am having a party for my new furniture this weekend. So if you’re in town – stop on by! (Directions to my house are in my “internet introduction”)
- Kevin

Filler Paper


The people have spoken, and they want filler paper… without so many confusing options.
Behold! Notebook Paper!
It even comes with the new “grad-school” lined option with half the header, and 3.55mm line spacing.
“That’s manifesto paper right there…”
- Forrest

Festival!

Yes, your friendly neighborhood movie critic has once again survived the Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison — the tenth annual this time, featuring 220 films in one weekend. Yeah, that is a lot. I remember when they only showed a few dozen films, and a sponsor like Sony was only a dream…
So this year, I saw a collection of short films as usual — I also remember when there was only one of those, and they showed it three times, instead of these days, when there are six collections only shown once each. Deciding is just too much pressure! But anyway, they were short films made by students, running the gamut as usual, from tiny comedies to animation to a mini-drama that can best be described as psychedelic. And two of those short films featured music from the host of this lovely site, available from the music section on top of the navigation bar to your right, so go listen if you haven’t already. It was most prominently featured in Drip, a Rube Golberg-esque short that begins with a dripping faucet and takes you some really wild places — that was the audience favorite this year. So good job, Kevin!
The main course, so to speak, was a feature-length film from China called The Case. It occurred to me much too late that maybe I should have boycotted the Chinese films, but I don’t really like the idea of mixing art and politics anyway. And it was a good film. The main character is the hapless Dasham — at least that’s how the subtitles had it, but on imdb he’s listed as Dashang. His health is delicate, somehow, but they never quite explain that. I’m thinking psychological problems myself, because he often seemed not quite there. Too fragile to keep a real job, he instead helps his wife run a small guest house near a small town. She’s insanely jealous and overprotective, hardly leaving him a moment to himself.
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So when he fishes a locked suitcase out of the nearby river, he can barely find the time to open it in private — and when he does, he’s sorry he did, because it’s full of frozen body parts. Now he has to hide them, and fast. But now it’s not just his wife — his brother-in-law shows up, unexpected guests appear, and he even has to suffer through a snap inspection by health officials. So you can imagine what all that does for his state of mind. Then his wife is finally presented with an excellent reason to be suspicious, and everything goes crazy. Overall, very strange, but a fun movie, darkly humorous. I remarked as we were leaving the theatre that I wasn’t sure I’d ever heard such a big laugh for a death scene, and got another big laugh from two passersby, but that does somehow kind of sum up the whole film.
Now let me go see if I can actually get organized enough to post that review of 21 from last week. *grumble*