Monday, 21 March 2011

The Trotsky

The Trotsky (2009)

It's a charming movie, this clever detour around "real politics" and into the reincarnated Leon Trotsky into a 17 year old Canadian student who organizes his peers into and union and clashes with authority. Jay Baruchel does a very good job of playing his usual awkward self, but in this movie, he's self-propelled my communist gusto. A red flavor in every joke.

The romance between he and Emily Hampshire is trite, but not completely derived. But it's enchanting and purposeful in that it shows character growth from start to finish.

It's just an off the beaten path type of movie that you will enjoy thoroughly if you know to expect something you wouldn't have thought of yourself.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Mystery of Momenum

Everyone needs an adventure, an indulgence. There's no shame in it. Watching some period pieces from the 60's and the whole "anti-want" movement strikes me as ill-fitting to the natural human predilection for momentum. One thing leads to another in a well-formed life. It's when stagnation creeps in that we're unhappy. Most people, anyway.

That brings me to a question of energy. Are there two types of people in this world? (There's obviously more than two.) Those who have a direct relationship between work and energy, and those with an inverse relationship. Ergo, the more you work, the more energy you have, or the more you work, the less energy you have. Energy self-perpetuating or self-extinguishing. Or however you'd like to think about people with a natural disposition towards momentum.

Which are you?

I have the feeling that the greatest amongst us have some spinal bond with momentum, some dark drive that let's them feel alone in a crowd and surrounded when alone. And those who gain strength from expelling it are prosaic in the moment,toiling and machinelike, but poetic in the overview; they hammer diamonds into skyscrapers.

Momentum is the hardest thing in life to get a hold of, and its not bought and sold on the stock exchange. It should be, but barely anyone would sell it, anyways. Momentum is something larger than most of us, and that's why only some of us can get a handle on it. Perhaps I'm being vague, but momentum has some mystery to it, and for just this post, I'll preserve that. Demystifying should come only after your mouth hurts too much from smiling.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Serious questions don't have to be so serious

I had a funny thought while running: what if God created us to watch our rise and fall to live vicariously through us? If He is the Alpha and the Omega, is he not devoid of potential? As the apex of all things, He can't grow like we can. And growth is beautiful, something coveted. Is He beyond such an emotion? That doesn't mean I believe in God, but I do love philosophical (even if theological) questions, especially complex ones. Complex because as the apogee of creation, God can still lose in Paradise Lost, which suggests (who cares about canon) that he does have some potential in him, some uncertainty. But, perhaps such a God wants to live through the rise and fall of individual humans because He cannot. Wouldn't that be tragic and funny?

Disclaimer: this is not what I believe, and I still don't know what to believe with these questions, but I'm perpetually entertained by the fact that men have for thousands of years of monotheism contemplated the reason for their creation and have rarely had the humor to think of their creator as sad. And if He is so sad that he needs to see the shrillest highs and the woest lows in order to complete his understanding of the universe, than isn't he less than Omega? Isn't He supposed to be all knowing? My logic is hole-y. Hah, get it? Bad pun. Is there a good pun?

Oh, wow, I just got a headache. Alright, so I'm probably missing a few pieces of the puzzle. Simple is better. I've always thought about it like this: if I'm sincere, rational, and caring, I have to believe God, if He exists, would approve of that. So forget about all the people who ask why does God permit disasters and horrors. Is He sadistic, just curious, or just flawed like we are?

I can't prove God exists or doesn't exist: but I exist and I'll thank him 86,400 times a day for me being able to breathe and amuse myself with such questions.

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Other End of the Line

Movie Review of The Other End of the Line (2008)

As you've probably noticed, not all of the movies I review are the newest or even the most widely critically acclaimed. But that doesn't stop me from making my point: some flicks simply accomplish their purpose of making you smile. That's why you should see The Other End of the Line one evening with your significant other and just smile. I'm not going to praise amazingly crisp acting, 'cause there isn't, although it's by no stretch bad acting. I'm not going to tell you about the dialogue delivering more electricity than cold fusion, because that's not the modus operandi they were going for. It's breezy like a Sunday afternoon picnic. And sometimes that's right on.

This movie has constant momentum, paces itself smoothly, grins back at you with pretty faces in Jesse Metcalfe and Shriya Saran. It's a Rom Com, and it's exactly how you'd want one to behave. No politics, religion, touchy subjects you can't speak about on the subway. No hushed tones, just basic conflicts that easily digest into your popcorn addled minds as you watch in snuggie-covered pleasure.

Seriously. No, not seriously. Nothing about this movie is serious. Well, it's not really very funny either. There are Rom Coms with more laughs, and there are bigger budget ones with the familiar gloop troupe, but this hits the sweet spot of perfectly-choreographed sweet moments. Not too saccharine and never too sour, The Other End of the Line will help you pass 2 enjoyable hours. And you'll even feel like taking your vitamins after.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Movie Review of Thurgood (2011) (TV movie)

In this one-man play adapted for film, Lawrence Fishburne never drops a beat out of character as the charismatic lawyer and later first black Supreme Court Justice, and always with flair and a sense of humor. The one man style may turn some off just by concept, but fret not because at every turn, I was either laughing, crying, or both in this feature-length exploration of the first black Justice's historic and action-packed life.

The elements of writing, acting, and directing are up front and boiled to their keenest, most direct presentation; on stage flows special attention to detail bursting from every scene. As Thurgood ages, Fishburne changes his posture, tone, mannerisms, and delivery, yet holds true to the unmistakable personality of Marshall he crafts from frame one to frame end. Fishburne succeeds with the subtle brushstrokes of a master painter--explicating for the visible audience how he calmed the chaos of famous civil rights cases with his brilliant arguments.

Fishburne even expertly acts as Thurgood acting as other people, further showcasing the range and emotiveness of a devotee living and breathing the script. I can't be any more glowing in praise of the natural, off-the-cuff quality in every line. Each finely-delivered and transitioned piece of his life oozes with profound sadness and humor--something most creatives struggle their whole lives to reproduce.

Enlighten yourself with Thurgood, a true American hero, and now legend of the theater and screen.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Holy Rollers

Movie Review of Holy Rollers (2010)

Was this film only released to penguins in Antarctica? I hadn't heard of it 'til Showtime was nice enough to air it last night. Glad they did and hope you get to check out this off-beat drama about a young Hasidic kid named Sam (Jessie Eisenberg) recruited into the drug game by his neighbor Yosef (Justin Bartha). Talk about transitions--this kid goes from Rabbi-potentate to pill-smuggling, leisure-suit-wearing MDMA marketeer naturale. And that's before the real action flies.

The movie is very simple, the writing direct and homely, but the acting, and overall befitting minimalist feel gives it a menthol flush of melancholy. Eventually the nervousness overtakes the charm of the drug world, and the inevitable fall of any drug story occurs. While it's no masterpiece, it's worth seeing. Jessie Eisenberg does play a very convincing wayward orthodox Jew, and there is conflict and danger at every turn. Just not the kind where Steven Seagall takes down an army helicopter with a pistol. Add in a pretty face with Ari Graynor and you have a movie to bring up at any cafe conversation.

In summary: this movie is all about the atmosphere. The set design and costume design are beyond apt, and the cinematography, while not attempting Avatar, brings tremendous texture to the screen. Somehow such screwed up circumstances revel in the smallest details--the smooth kashmir of a jacket, the minuscule snowflakes of European winter, the ratty lights of Brooklyn raves and Amsterdam dancehalls. All of these elements craft a film greater than the sum of its parts. Now, go and find it somehow.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


I love the way the British use the word "brilliant." It doesn't sound as sophomoric as "awesome" or as cliched as "amazing." It's actually one of things I miss most about England. Hearing those wonderful, soft tones. When I came back to the States, I appreciated the accents here as well, as they seemed new and familiar at the same time.

Brilliant. Can mean on key, on top, bright, enlightened, sparkling. And brilliant feels like the a beautiful string of notes on a xylophone.

What's your favorite word to hear in an accent?