With occasional reflection on the perpetual absurdity/intrigue of life and society in general.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

50 Years Ago, Bob Dylan Electrified A Decade With One Concert - NPR - Artist of Interest


Listen to the Story:

In the early 1960s, burgeoning folk music scenes were burbling up all over the country, and the Newport Folk Festival was their confluence.
By the middle of the decade, the reigning king was a youngBob Dylan, the man who gave them the now-standards "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'." But on this day 50 years ago, Bob Dylan did the unthinkable, the unforgiveable: He plugged in an electric guitar, and he rocked hard.
Link:  All Things Considered - NPR

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Lobster - Featured Film of Interest - Trailer/Teaser

The Lobster (2015)
















A new film from the mind of Yorgos Lanthimos, director of Dogtooth (2009) - nothing else need be said.  I'm quite excited about this film and Lanthimos' first stretch into English language cinema. Refer to my posts on Dogtooth (Kynodontas) for further exploration.


            The Lobster IMDB
            Cannes Review

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bressonian Quote #22 - Notes from a Master Filmmaker

"No possible relations between an actor and a tree.  The two belong to diferent worlds. (A stage tree simulates a real tree.)"  - Robert Bresson

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pixar's Inside Out - Featured Film of Interest - Trailer

Just hoping and dreaming that the sweet beautiful cerebral heart of Pixar from old (ummm, not really so old)  is still beating strong somewhere deep in that Disney machine, and nothing can keep its creative brew from eventually surfacing. From what I am hearing from young and older alike (even from the critics, analysts and media types), my dreams may be reality worthy.  However, the trailers and promotions look fun and interesting but do not yet leave me without some skepticism. Looking forward to it regardless.
It's been too long since Wall-E held me longing for more with full emotional investment thru 30 mins of near silence, or the Toy Story gang pulled my tears on cue as they reached for each others hands while facing fiery certain death, and, of course, Up (all of it). If nothing else, I will enjoy the anticipation of the possibility of that special Pixar magic that reaches the depths of my child's mind and heart, and captivates my adult curiosity.

Trailer:

  1. Critic reviews
    A stunningly original concept that will not only delight and entertain the companys massive worldwide audience, but also promises to forever change the way people think about the way people think.
    Peter Debruge·Variety
    t’s not just a brilliant idea, but maybe the most conceptually daring movie the Bay Area animation house has ever produced. And that’s really saying something, what with WALL-E on the books.
    A.A. Dowd·A.V. Club
    As fabulous as the vocal performances are in “Inside Out,” it’s the clever writing and lush visuals that catapult it into greatness.
    Ann Hornaday·Washington Post
    Inside Out, which takes place mostly in the head of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, is a thrilling return to form for Pixar Animation Studios.
    A. O. Scott·New York Times

Links:  Pixar - Inside Out
            Inside Out
            IMDB - Inside Out

Monday, July 6, 2015

First Cousin Once Removed - Documentary Film of Interest - Highly Recommended

I saw this film at the Virginia Film Festival nearly two years ago, followed by a Q&A with director Alan Berliner.  It is a Poignant, Poetic, Echoing meditation on memory, life, time and the personal, philosophical considerations of existence in the moment and reflections of the past.  Berliner's Q&A was a bonus and privilege - he paralleled the film with thoughtful, generous, sometimes ambiguous and emotionally complex responses and unsolicited shares.

At the time, the film was relatively early-on in it's initial festival run.  I was new to Charlottesville and the VA Film Festival (by which I have become increasingly impressed), but I was aware of Berliner through some of his earlier films, thanks to one of my favorite film professors/friend, which gratefully drew me to the screening.  The film has since received relatively wide critical acclaim, though still remains somewhat obscure.  It is now promoted, distributed and exhibited through HBO Documentaries (well deserved and hopefully opens a wide audience).

Extraordinary filmmaking and still resonating in my head. An honest, personal profile, not only of the life of a brilliant man, Honig (and the duality of that brilliance), in the depths of Alzheimer's, but of life in general.  Alzheimer's is rarely mentioned, but echoes through the film in abstract subtle trembles that are both haunting and oddly elating in life-affirmation. Truly unique, beautiful piece of work and experience, for the filmmaker and for us.  The most effective, expansive and broadly reflective documentary that I have seen in years. Highly recommended, to say the least.

Continue reading for complete Synopsis, Review and Trailer.


-Synopsis:
"Sometime in the new millennium, Edwin Honig—the distinguished poet, translator, critic and university professor—began showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, which gradually but inexorably brought on the loss of his memory, command of language and relation to the past. Filmmaker Alan Berliner—for whom Honig was a cousin, a friend and a mentor—documented their meetings over five years; his new film chronicles the steady decline of Honig’s mind and body, but also the strength and stamina of his spirit, as well as his innate charm and wonderfully playful way with words and sounds. Occasional moments of lucidity offer an insight as to the ways in which Honig attempts to make sense out of what is happening to him. First Cousin Once Removed is an unflinching essay on the fragility of being human, and a stark reminder of the profound role that memory plays in all of our lives."


-Review:  
By Eric Kohn

Documentarian Alan Berliner is frequently the focus of his movies, but his intentions extend beyond his neuroses. Rather than the star of the show, he's a vessel for bigger ideas and evades the perils of self-indulgence that could result from putting himself in front of the camera.
That tricky balance is on display better than ever in the stirring "First Cousin Once Removed," which deepens an oeuvre that has already dealt with the tender issues of father-son relationships ("Nobody's Business") and insomnia ("Wide Awake") by exploring his fears of senility to devastating effect. Using a powerful focal point to manifest the movie's central concerns, Berliner makes his interest in the topic relevant to everyone.
His case study is Edwin Honig, the first cousin of Berliner's mother, a bond that gives the movie its title. But there's more about Honig -- once a world-class poet and founder of Brown University's creative writing program -- that has been removed beyond his relationship to the filmmaker. Suffering from Alzheimer's disease before the movie begins, Honig has lost grasp of his identity or any firm understanding of his relationships to those around him. Still haunted from his own father's death from the disease, Berliner sets out to understand the nature of Honig's increasing frailty by working to unlock the older man's dwindling memories.
Equal parts psychological mystery and lyrical treatise on the passage of time, "First Cousin Once Removed" predominantly centers on Berliner's interrogation of Honig in his Rhode Island home during various stages of his condition (the specific chronology remains unclear). From the outset, Berliner utilizes an aggressively fractured narrative that replicates his subject's state of confusion by showing the filmmaker arriving at Honig's home several times in succession with various results: Sometimes Honig recognizes his relative, and other times Berliner only gets a blank stare. But in even when he lacks complete lucidity, Honig still has the capacity to grapple with his deteriorating state. "I know there's a past and I know that I lived it," he said, leaving much else up for discussion.  
Continue reading:  Indiewire Review
-Trailer:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Surrender and the Rhythm - reflections and observations

I pulled a nice, neatly packed cigarette out of the hip, eco-friendly box to smoke, and, meanwhile, another cig dropped from my pack and onto the ground.  I asked myself, "do i trust my hand more than that of the rhythm of the universe - or even gravity and an accidental hand-tilt, for that matter?" I put the nice clean cigarette from my hand back in the pack, bent over and picked up the cig from the dirt-laden ground and put it in my mouth.  A little grit in my teeth til i spit, but good smoke and stunningly beautiful moon.  Sometimes dirty cigarettes are better.