31 December 2009

We're Just Swaying From Side to Side

Recently, Invictus was the the film of choice. Going into the film, how could anyone not think this would be any less than amazing? Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. And an amazing story of reconciling a racially divided nation and an underdog rugby team overcoming insurmountable odds that drew the nation of South Africa together.

Sadly, though, Matt Damon's performance was the only thing good about this film. I shouldn't say that it's not enjoyable, but one might assume that with such a stacked roster of talent that this film would be one of the best of the year. It was not (according to me, that is).

It was really discouraging to see such an amazing and inspiring story be presented in such a sloppy and in-cohesive way. The film was edited together very poorly and seemed to not really impart the epic-ness of the story that took place. Some scenes dragged on too long and some didn't dedicate enough time to vital parts of the story.

And, who'd have guessed that Morgan Freeman would be anything less than perfect? Sure, if anyone were to play Nelson Mandela, it's Freeman. Without doubt. And while he looked the part, the accent still rang loudly of Freeman's deep and distinct baritone voice.

All in all, it might be worth a rent or netflix when it's available. The story is enjoyable enough, but don't waste a night at the movie theater to see it.


22 December 2009

I Put It All On Black

For as long as I can remember, I've always been a fan of Annie Leibovitz's work. Not only is she a fantastic photographer, but the majority of her work started (and still continues) in the music world. If you're not familiar with her work, you can get a good glimpse of her work here.

So, per the wonderful request of Netflix, we had the pleasure of watching Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens. And it's a great documentary that details the exciting path to photographic greatness and highlighting her amazing work along the way.

There's not really much else to say about this documentary. It's a great story with great content. If you're interested in photography and art, then it's worth checking out.

12 December 2009

Who Controls the Past, Now Controls the Future

Rage Against The Machine - Testify from finblogger.ru on Vimeo.

This is an oldie but a goodie and ten years after Rage Against the Machine release The Battle of Los Angeles, the songs still have a very relevant and brutal message.

I remember the days that I loved Rage's music. I loved it a lot. But the message and propaganda was lost in my youthful bliss (read also: ignorance). But going back and listening to old records and watching their videos it's crazy to realize that a lot of what they were so pissed off about is still ever-present in our country and in this world today.

Rage, by no means, was telling a new story or preaching a new message. Heck, going back to early Bob Dylan, that message or protest was sung. But with a more modern approach, Rage really told it like it was. And they were right: the men with mansions and mercades are not the ones who are going to fix things. Yet we still put or trust and hope in them.

I'm curious to hear other thoughts about this song/video and discuss any others that come to your mind. Let's converse, eh?

07 December 2009

You Howl, You Growl

Everyone knows that one of my musical obsessions (and possibly my biggest musical influence) is sigur rós. Everything they've done; all the music they've created has been done with so much purpose and with a goal of achieving a true sonic beauty. Recently I posted about somewhat of a side project from lead singer/guitarist, Jónsi, Riceboy Sleeps. This project with partner, Alex, was a bold step into a musical world of deeper ethereal sounds and little structure. Not to mention no lyrics. It is, however, beautiful and pleasing.

Now, Jónsi has taken an even bolder step in a project that is wholly his own. Simply named Jónsi, the project moves away from the wide open, ambiguous sounds of Riceboy Sleeps and jumps into more of a driving sound (although the coming record is reportedly mostly soft acoustic).

From the previous link, you may download the first single, Boy Lilikoi. The song actually surprised me with its upfront intensity and the depth of the song. And holding to his form, Jónsi brings some complicated and gorgeous orchestral elements to the song adding to the overall urgency and excitement in the song.

Personally, I find it extremely rare to find a song that grabs you immediately as this one did. Everything from the overall chord progressions, the amazing depth of background vocals and the drive of timpani drums lends to the aforementioned excitement. It's truly a song that carries an air of celebration, joy and passion. It's a song that makes you feel happy about your life. And, for me, it's an honest reminder that life is good.

Needless to say, I can't wait for the entire record release. Enjoy.