Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And one other thing, on the Oscars...

I haven't seen even half the films up for Oscar recognition. I was a bit disapointed to see David Cronenberg's A History of Violence didn't get more recognition.

But that's not the real story. The real story is a song titled, It's Hard out Here for a Pimp is nominated for best song.

Now, I haven't heard the song, but the title still rings true, at least to me. And, to see that performed, at the Kodak Theater, in front of all the suits. That's must see TV.

Bravo, Acadaemy! Bravo!

East of Eden

So I figure I may as well post on East of Eden. Why? Well after watching it Sunday evening and Monday morning I am pretty sure it's in my 10-20 favorite movies of all time. And I figured I would have a poster up of it that is foreign in order to improve my standing as a true man of culture. Or something like that.

I was talking to my friend Paul at Barnes and Noble last night. Paul rates this film easily in his top 3, btw. We were discussing James Dean's role in the movie. We both agreed that when you watch Rebel Without a Cause you sorta feel let down a bit by it. You understand it's significance, but it doesn't hold weight as a truly great film. But, East of Eden, definately holds weight as a great film, and it's not just for James Dean's performance.

Elia Kazan directed this film. From the very beginning you have the feeling that the camera is gonna be stationary on scenes and if moving it will be moving slowly. The film opens with an Overture which seems to go on forever if you don't expect it. The shot is stationary on the Pacific Ocean and an Island before moving slowly towards the main land.

Throughout the movie I also noticed the lighting and shadows. So many times Cal (Dean) would be in conversation in a room with Abra, Aron, or his father and the shadows behind them on the wall seemed enormous and even menacing to me. It seemed to give certain scenes an extra bit of tension. Another way Kazan seemed to create tension was a very minimal tilting of the camera. I think back to a shot where Cal's father is having him read the Bible at the dinner table, trying to make him repent or tell him why he had more or less vandelized one of his father's workspaces. In the commentary that was included on the disc, the critic seemed to think that was an unneccessary tactic, or it was forced. It may have been unneccssary, I think the actors pulled it off well enough on their own, but I still liked the shot.

I also love the story itself. I never read the novel, I can't say I really plan too either truth told. But, I found myself completely caught up in the grip off the story. I wasn't an overly rebelious teenager. I felt very loved by my parents, but something about Cal searching for his father's acceptance, well, those sorts of stories are timeless. They are always happening somewhere. The brief scenes showing the beginnings of his relationship with his mother, and then his relationship with his brother and Abra also sucked me in. In particular his with Abra, but I am sappy as hell anyway. There is a ton more that can be written about this, movie, but I can't do it justice. I should also mention though that I found the score for the movie perfect. 5 stars, highly reccomended, etc etc. Truth told, at some point I will likely buy the DVD, this is definately one I'd like to wown and watch repeatedly.

Other stuff...

Apparently Columbus Crew is bringing in one of my least favorite players of all time, Chris Carrieri as a non roster invitee to training camp. Please, Sigi do not sign this guy. I know the team is desperately short on strikers, but my word do I hate Carrieri. Ugh. Sometimes being a sports fan stinks.

Hopefully, if everything goes well and Dorse is able to get the tickets I will be seeing Andrew Bird Saturday night in Bloomington. That should be a great show, and I think will be the first concert I have been to in 2006.

Once upon a time The Verve was my favorite band. I still have a poster of Urban Hymns in my room. I still celebrate their entire catalogue. Since their breakup Richard Ashcroft has yet to make a great album. Pitchfork gives the new album a good solid 2.0 out of 10. It can't possibly be that bad. It just can't. But then again, I almost never agree with Pitchfork. I have no idea why I even visit their site anymore.

The State of the Union is tonight. Thank God I am working. However as I am typing I realized this may overlap into Scrubs. Crap.

That's it.

Monday, January 30, 2006

James Dean on Sunday

So yesterday was more or less a James Dean Day for me. A rainy Sunday here in Indianapolis and I finally decided to go down to the State Museum to see the exhit James Dean Comes Home.. To be honest it really wasn't so much an exhibit as it was a hallway with only about 25 photos up. There was very little text about the photos. And even if the photos of a total icon were striking it wasn't until I went down to the gift store to look at a book that I realized more of what was going on.

The photos were taken by Dennis Stock and can mostly be found from the book James Dean: Fifty Years ago
. So it turns out that the Stock had met James Dean shortly before the Hollywood premiere of East of Eden. James invited him then to the premiere. After the premiere Stock sought Dean out and asked if he could see him the next morning. They met and Stock eventually after they escaped some of Dean's adoring fans had chosen to work together on a photo study of sorts. If I remember correctly it was finaced, at least in part, by Life Magazine. A few weeks later they were off to New York and then Fairmont, IN. The famous photo of James Dean walking in the rain with a cig and a peat coat(shown above) was taken dduring this trip by Stock. The exhibit had that photo and about 6 others taken by stock in NY, 6 or so in Hollywood and about 12-15 in Fairmont, IN. It was the pictures in Fairmont that hit me the most.

The trip was about 6-7 months before James Dean's death. And it was James' last trip to Indiana before death. There were a few photos of James in a coffin taken during this trip, and though James Dean seems playful in the photos they have a macabre feeling when you think of what was to happen 7 months later. This one was part of the exhibit.

It's always difficult to tell how many of photos such as the one's on display were truly candid's and how many were actual portrayals of emotion and true personality. There is a point where it's gotta be taken into account that these were going into Life Magazine and that there was an image that James and Stock definately wanted to portray. At the same time though when you realize that James Dean was only 24 or 25 at the time of these photos it's easy to think or hope that some of the photos were truly portrayals of his personality. There are more than a few of him with his cousin Markie that seemed to portray his youth and personality at least as one would hope it was. Some of him reading comic books (the comic books one was my fave and with a soapbox car. Those photo's specifically made me glad I went. Probably the most difficult photo to look at was this which has to take on some sorta extra strange resonace to some after seeing East of Eden in which James Dean's character is named Cal Trask.

Anyway, I definately think the exhibit is worth checking out. Especially if you have an admiration for James Dean. It could have been put together much better, and likely deserved better placement and a bit more background about the story of the photo's. But if you do know a bit of the background it makes it all the more worthwhile to see. I will likely go back to see it again.

I meant to write a bit about East of Eden, but ran out of time I will likely do that soon. I hope.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Film Review and Random thoughts

So last night I wastched Dark Water. For some reason I went into the movie expecting it to be good. The past few years as some Japaneese horror films most notably The Ring and others were remade into American versions I have been pleasantly suprised by all. These remakes seem to thrive on slower moving atmospheric stories for lack of a better description. They seem to be more character driven. Dark Water definately fit that bill.

Horror movies do not make me jump out of my seat anymore. For some reason I don't get scared by them anymore. I wish that I did from time to time. There are times that I do get goosebumps if the story is coming together well and scene is well done. Sometimes those goosebumps will be acoompinied by a smile and a thought, "Damn, that was well done." Dark Water definately has one of those moments in the final 10 minutes for me.

In Roger Ebert's Review he makes a good point, and states it much better than I could. If I attend a horror film in which Jennifer Connelly and her daughter are trapped in the evil web of a malevolent apartment building, I do not expect Bergman; if the movie does what it can do as well as it can be done, then it has achieved perfection within its own terms. While I wouldn't say this movie was perfect it at least hit my expectations.

I have never seen anything by director Walter Salles before, which suprises me now that I notice his other films included highly praised Central Station and Motorcycle Diaries. I find it strange that he followed up such a ambitious project like Motorcycle Diaries with this, but that definately makes me curious to see his older work now. Thank God for Netflix. Overall, I'd reccomend Dark Water, not ground breaking, but certainly enjoyable.

And onto bigger matters....

Is it right to put the Pope after a multi paragraph ramble about a 3 star horror movie? He probably shoulda got bigger billing, or at least a picture. Anyway...

The Pope's first Encyclical was put out this week. He is writing on love and on human response to God's love. I've not read it in it's entirity yet. I will need to print it out soon. But first impressions leave me thinking that this is a beautiful writing. I, myself, never bought into the whole Benedict as God's Bulldog talk that was being tossed about in the aftermath of his being appointed as Pope. I wanted to give the guy a chance. And while I haven't followed everything as close as I should have, this writing gives me hope. I'll just end rambling this morning with a bit if a passage from the beginning that I loved....

Love embraces the whole of existence in each of its dimensions, including the dimension of time. It could hardly be otherwise, since its promise looks towards its definitive goal: love looks to the eternal. Love is indeed "ecstasy", not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God: "Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it" (Lk 17:33), as Jesus says throughout the Gospels (cf. Mt 10:39; 16:25; Mk 8:35; Lk 9:24; Jn 12:25). In these words, Jesus portrays his own path, which leads through the Cross to the Resurrection: the path of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, and in this way bears much fruit. Starting from the depths of his own sacrifice and of the love that reaches fulfilment therein, he also portrays in these words the essence of love and indeed of human life itself.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

First Post

Everyone else is doing it so why can't I?

Depending on my mood I will likely be talking about films that I have seen, bitch about my beloved Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Phillies, and probably reflect on different goings on in the city of Indianapolis.

Why 64th and Broadway, Barcelona? Fair question.

I have lived in Indianapolis since 1999. I am 28 years old. So that's what, nearly a quarter of my life? I'm not very good with math. Anyway, Indianapolis is home now. I have come to love the city. At age 17, I never would have pictured living in Indianapolis or the midwest in general. Of course at age 17 I also believed the Philadelphia Eagles would win a Super Bowl in my lifetime. Youth is naive. But I digress...There are many people outside of Indianapolis who don't understand the city but feel a need to characterize it as an uncultured midwestern wasteland. they may see it as flyover country. Maybe a stopping point on the way to something bigger. It's not unique to those outside of Indianapolis though. Sometimes there is that sentiment among those who live here as well, among those who call it home. Everyonce in a while I may be talking to friends or aquaintances out of state and they'll ask about Indianapolis, curious about the city, curious about why I chose to live here. I'll tell them Indianapolis is great, that it is the Barcelona of North America.

Why 64th and Broadway? No, it's not my adress. I don't even know what's there. But it's a mythical magical place. And thats enough

Love the place you are in. I wouldn't change my decision to move to Indianapolis at all. It's my home now. I hope it remains so for a long time.

Random Sports thoughts...

- I have no idea what Pat Gillick is doing with my beloved Phillies. I am no Jason Michaels fan but that trade strikes me as pointless. The Phils get back Arthur Rhoades which leaves the back end of the bullpen about 90 years old. And they say this gives them the flexibility to move Madson to the rotation. That strikes me false as well. Madson was a long relief/7th inning guy last year. Rhoades is being brought in as an 8th inning guy to hand the ball over to Gordon with the lead still. Possibly Geoff Geary takes Madson's role. I can only hope so.

- The Crew's home opener will be a 4pm game on ESPN. April 15. Set your Tivo's. I think it's gonna be a great year for the Crew. You can read about my agony and ecstasy all season here.

- Saw the Pacers last night lose to the Cavs, I really don't think with the current roster the Pacers make the playoffs. How disapointing.

- In Formula 1 McLaren is already having engine problems, and I can't help but laugh. 40 some days to the season opens in Bahrain.

- Tomorrow the US National Team plays soccer live on ESPN2 at 5pm vs Norway.

And finally....

The game being at 5pm actually should give me time to go down to the Indiana State Museum and see an exhibit. The museum in honor of the 50th anniversary of James Dean's death has a photo exhibit, James Dean Comes Home I look forward to seeing that. Which reminds me....

DVD's to watch in the next few Days include East of Eden, Yojimbo, and Dark Water.

Hopefully I will have time to write something about those as well as the exhibit at the state museum.