RIGHT NOW I am listening to:
arctic monkeys, paolo nutini, fatboy slim, and wir sind helden
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Daniel Bruhl as Nazi war hero, Frederick Zoller
One word to describe Inglourious Basterds: ENIGMATIC
Inglourious Basterds truly captures the enigmatic thanks to both the script and the extremely impressive acting. Here I insert the name CHRISTOPH WALTZ (not the guy in the picture above) x infinity. Christoph (who plays the cruelly polite Hans Landa) is a beauty to watch upon the screen. He charms and generates genuine giggles, but under every word he utters, pure violence and fear is waiting. Creating Hans Landa to be such a supremely intelligent (almost supernaturally so) villain, playing against Brad Pitt's pure-brute-no-brains Lt. Aldo Raine, ties into Tarantino's other use of the enigmatic in regards to the actual message of the film...
You can watch Inglourious Basterds two different ways: you can take everything for surface thrills and replay "America Rocks, Go Jews" in your head throughout the movie. With this strategy, you leave the film entertained and satisfied. Or you can take the more emotionally tumultuous route and read into everything, drowning in Tarantino's ambiguity and frightening sarcasm. It is difficult to watch the film because Tarantino never makes up his mind between the Jews and the Germans. Yes, he mocks Hitler and glorifies Lt. Aldo, but the innocent foot soldiers are whom I am referring to. Many of the German Nazi soldiers are portrayed as compassionate and thoughtful, while many of the Jewish "Basterds" are portrayed as dumb, violence-obsessed robots. It is this strange mix-up that made Inglourious Basterds, to me, an extremely strong film with an extremely radical message. However, you can only see it if you want to.
All ambiguous social critiques aside, Inglourious Basterds is a great film. For all of the nervous Quentin Tarantino disciples out there, this film, if anything, is another gem in his crown of well-made epics. It is nice to be able to find comfort in Tarantino's classic habits, like chapter-by-chapter story separation and the good ol' female protagonist out for revenge...
Signing off, just wanted to say, don't be at all surprised to see Christoph Waltz at the this seasons Academy Awards...
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hey all you non-existent readers of my blog!
Today, our senior class organized a big "Decoration of the School". We had chalk, car paint, a skateboard to hang precariously from a light post (boys), some signs, it was great! Then we had a hurricane.
All of a sudden the chalk had disappeared and everyone was soaking. So it didn't work out so well...
The skateboard is still hanging precariously though!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Alright all you 17-soon-to-be-18-year-olds! Slip on your most sophisticated ensemble and HAM IT UP!
haha that's obviously not me (at least I hope it's obvious), but I just wanted everyone younger and older than us lucky "almost-adults" to realize (or remember) some of the weird traditions that come along with glorified high school seniordom.
I had my "senior portrait" taken today, along with most of my fellow seniors, around the exteriors of my actually picturesque high school. My school kind of looks like a modern art museum from the outside, so you can guess that our photographers had a field day with inventive posing! My personal fav was the elbow-on-the-wall, hand-on-the-hip pose which warranted an unnecessary "Oooo look at that SASS!" from my photographer... (He was a cool guy all things considered)
All I can do is hope that I didn't have a forced smile or any other common blunders of my fellow, paparazzi-ed youth!
Anyways, I hope you guys felt some fond nostalgia...
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I AM TOTALLY CONFUSED!
I need help you guys!
Okay, here is an undeniable FACT:
I want to become a film director.
I have heard that the majority of actual film directors did not go to "film school", but majored in other things in college. I want to go to a school where I can study film, but I can also study other liberal arts subjects...
Now here is the messy part:
I am applying to (among others) NYU and Chapman University in Orange, CA
In NYU, I can apply to the College of Arts and Sciences and do Cinema Studies, while taking other classes, but I may not be able to study film production.
I can also specially apply to the Tisch School of Art, but I would have to make a special portfolio and it is very selective. Plus, I would exclusively be studying film. I don't want to do that, not because I don't adore film, but I need a well-rounded education.
At Chapman, the Dodge Film School is my only option...
So whaddya think? Liberal arts degree and then film in graduate school, or insane film concentration?
Yesterday I was rear-ended in a parking lot for the first time! Actually, the accident was also my fault, but the guy had a pick-up truck, so only my little aluminum foil Camry LE got bruised... I feel bad because he and his friends were very sweet. :( However, the reason I am posting this is to let you guys know exactly what to do in one of these small accidents (because I forgot completely)!
CHECK THAT EVERYONE IS UNINJURED
1) If you are still living at home, call your parents first thing! It may be painful, but chances are they will be more worried about your safety and what to do next.
2) Call the police! If the damage is visible, you will need a police report!
3) Exchange information (FULL Name, Address, Phone Number, License Plate #). You will also need their insurance card to write down their provider and policy number. Technically it is illegal in most states to drive without your insurance card! If the damage is the other person's fault primarily, call the insurance provider, give the policy number, and explain the situation.
4) If you haven't already, call a family member!!
Most importantly, don't get in an accident! Of course that is not completely under your control, but you can help prevent it!
1) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look EVERYWHERE when you are backing out.
2) DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE. Seriously, it is terrifying how much a simple text message can lower your awareness while driving!
I hope I didn't freak you out, I just wanted to remind you guys!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Hey dudes and dudettes!
I am wrapping up the details of my common application online. I still have yet to fill out the supplements, but all in good time... The only reason that I am this far into the process is because I have been spending time at my school for a College Essay Writing Workshop. I needed some form of motivation to get off my a** and write my personal statement (long essay)! I am actually very satisfied with my statement, fortunately!
If you haven't started the Common App yet, there is not need to worry. If you are applying to a school regular decision, the application and supplement aren't due until January 1st or even later. Even if you are applying Early Decision, you are swimming in time (most schools give the deadline around the middle of November). However, it is a good idea to get started! Just google "common app" and register! Easy pea-sy, lemon squeeze-y!
Now, if you will excuse me, I must attend to the 30,ooo other things that must be accomplished before next Friday!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
THE BEACH BOYS ARE SEVERELY UNDERRATED!
*whew* sorry I just HAD to get that out.
So yes, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys has been out for almost half a decade, and yes it is Rolling Stone's #1 Best Album of All Time, but I didn't know this!!
Of course we all know the classics "Wouldn't It Be Nice", "God Only Knows", and "Sloop John B", but I can honestly admit that myself and my peers have passed off these musical marvels as pop-y, oldies hits. I was so ignorant.
These songs are beautiful! Not only those greats, but also "That's Not Me", "Here Today", and "I Know There's An Answer" (among the rest). I'm sure many of you out there are saying "Oh Anna, everyone know that Brian Wilson (lead songwriter, singer, and composer of The Beach Boys) is a genius!" But to everyone else, do yourself a tremendous favor and take another listen!
If you're still not convinced, go on Youtube and look up the videos of Brian Wilson conducting the making of some of the album's most complicated tunes, like "Wouldn't It Be Nice." The videos should be under "Behind the Mic", I believe... Anyways, it's totally exciting to go behind the scenes of his complex compositions!
So slap the record on the turntable, get the CD, or even buy the album on iTunes! Whatever age, surfer kid or grandma, you will thank The Beach Boys for their sweet, sweet melodies. And meaningful lyrics!
P.S. MAJOR kudos to my brother David for buying the album and making me reconnect with The Beach Boys! Love you!
I am jumping back on the saddle of blogging, without fear of being ignored or unsuccessful. If people read, they read, if they don't, they don't. I hope to blog about movies, music, and the ever-important process of applying and getting into American universities.
Anywhoo, I am here to talk about (500) Days of Summer!
Let me start by saying that I have been waiting to see this movie forever. It isn't everyday that a film trailer grabs my attention to the point of heart-pounding excitement. As soon as two of my all-time FAVORITE actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel) lit up the screen, I was hooked. After the insanely cute- "I love the Smiths! 'To die by your side is such a wonderful way to die'"- my breath had left my body. I was re-watching those few moments endlessly.
However, as unlikely as it is that a film trailer grabs my attention, it is even less likely for a film to live up to its promises.
That was the unfortunate case here.
The two things to adore about the film are the clothes and the music. I would give my soul to the devil and sell my body to the black market for Summer Finn (Zooey)'s wardrobe. The soundtrack is a total must-have.
The movie itself? Annie Hall. I'm not saying that lightly, this movie WAS Annie Hall! The men's pants, the club singing, the depressing last days, right down to the actual plot line! I didn't realize it at the time, but after my Woody Allen-fanatic brother pointed it out, it was all I could see! The only difference is that Tom (Joseph) isn't the witty crackpot. I really adore Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but his character doesn't really grab you.
Overall, it IS worth seeing. It's enjoyable and sweet, and has an unexpected message about romance. It is definitely different from any "romantic comedies" out there. My only mistake was expecting it to be the "Jesus" to my "blind man". It wasn't THAT good. :D
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Tonight I went to see The Soloist with me lovely father, hoping for something intriguing and hopeful...
This film was so much more. I will just start by saying that this is what a film should be.
Joe Wright, the director of The Soloist, has long been an inspiration of mine, and he always seems to capture emotion stunningly. I have watched his flawless adaptation of Pride and Prejudice over 30 time (seriously), and I never get bored with it. I still gasp and giggle in the heated moments between Elizabeth and Darcy, and I cry EVERY TIME when Mr. Bennett, played by Don Sutherland, gets emotional in the next to last scene. Atonement also took my breath away, especially the beautiful, lengthy pan of shores of France during war time. After seeing those two films and appreciating them so hugely, I should have known that The Soloist could only be better.
For a very quick synopsis: The Soloist is the true story of the LA Times reporter, Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.), and a homeless musical genius, Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Jr. (Jamie Foxx). Lopez, gritty and irritable, is always hunting for a story, and bumping into Ayers gives him a new scent. After discovering that Ayers is a Juilliard drop-out, the tale is too intriguing to let go. However predictable and simple this story line seems, it is layered with intense complication. In true Wright style, we see that no tale of human interaction can be the least bit simple.
From then on, the path of the film takes twists and turns and never stops surprising. Many scenes are genuinely frightening. Wright, and his character of Lopez, have no fear of entering the world of the mentally ill, homeless, and addicted. Or, if they do, they battle it fiercely. But for as many moments that terrify, inhabiting the mind of Ayers, there are just as many moments that are filled with immense beauty. More than once I had to stop eating my popcorn mid-bite and stare, my breath stopped. I even cried more than once, and I NEVER cry in movies. One incredibly beautiful scene takes place in the Disney Music Hall where Ayers listens to an orchestra perform the music of his favorite composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven. For a good three minutes, all that is displayed on screen in accompaniment with the music is a beautiful light show, reminiscent of Fantasia, or 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is so emotional and spot-on, it retreats inside the human sub conscience. Afterwards, Ayers says, "I can feel him. He's in the room.", to which Lopez replies, "Who?". Ayers replies, "Beethoven." Usually I would roll my eyes at a moment like this, but for some reason it all feels so surprisingly real.
To me, what marks a great actor is the ability to retreat so willingly and deeply into a character that the audience forgets who you are in "real life" for two hours. Marion Cotillard accomplished this in La Vie En Rose, and Jamie Foxx accomplished this in The Soloist. Foxx lets go of all inhibitions, all glamour and celebrity pretense, and launches himself into the body and mind of Ayers. It is truly a performance to commend.
The Soloist feels full and round in a way that few movies do today. Lopez doesn't solve all the problems he would like to, but in other ways, he solves all the ones he can. The film feels realistic, but Wright does not forget his duty to transport and carry the audience, giving refuge sometimes, and sometimes holding it back. I am very VERY critical of films, and I rarely walk away feeling particularly enriched, but once in awhile, a film comes along like The Soloist. And on a last note: keep a look-out for Joe Wright. He is may just be the best director of a generation.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
You may have heard this very phrase, and other similar ones, come from the mouths of many theatergoers stepping out of the movie "Adventureland", from the makers of the cult classic, "Superbad". Probably the biggest mistake made by advertisers promoting this film, besides the misleading commercials, was to tag it with "Superbad". I must admit that personally, when I saw "Superbad" (starring Michael Cera and Jonah Hill), I thought it was vulgar and pretty "unfunny". However, I must also say that to this day, after watching the movie over 20 times, it is one of my favorites. I cannot give the same hope of future redeem-ability to "Adventureland". This new film is far too dark and layered with the sexual frustration, weed and alcohol abuse, and the tunes of Lou Reed to come anywhere near the type of comedy "Superbad" was.
Seeing as the day before viewing "Adventureland" was my 17th birthday, I wanted to buy my first R movie ticket as a legal 17 year old for a movie I looked forward to seeing. I wouldn't say that I didn't enjoy the movie, that I didn't laugh, or that I wasted 10 bucks, but it definitely wasn't the movie I bargained for.
The film is set in 1987 and centers on James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg), "James" to some, "Brennan" to others. We'll call him James. James has just graduated from college and is about to got backpacking across Europe with his rich best friend, planning to spend the next year of his life attending graduate school at Columbia. Sounds awesome, right? But not for long. James' mom drops the bomb that his father has been transferred to a lower-paying job and instead of Europe and Columbia, James can find a crap job and attempt to pay for grad school himself. Crap. James lands on a job at Adventureland, a summer-long run theme park that locates itself somewhere in the dreary wasteland of Upstate New York (or is it Jersey?) James falls in love with Em (Kristen Stewart), and from then on any vivaciousness in the environment is sucked out by Stewart's darkness...
Aventureland is populated with some great characters, like Joel (Martin Starr) who not only plays the sweet Jewish nerd, but also brings nostalgia for Starr's character of Bill on the prematurely cancelled "Freaks and Geeks". There's also the park managers, played by Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig , who share hilarious chemistry. But these characters are not developed very well. The main plot line becomes so over-focussed that it's just...boring.
James is pining over Em, who is sleeping with Adventureland's badass (Ryan Reynolds), who, incidentally, is a married man. Also, Em's mother has recently died of cancer and her stepmother is evil. Basically, she is really messed up. Even thought Kirsten Stewart does not spur one single laugh throughout the course of the film, and even though Jesse Eisenberg holds no charm, but only pity from the audience, somehow we are supposed to be rooting for their relationship. Not here. The chemistry was dead, the situation over-strained, the conclusion depressing, and the entire project unfruitful.
But, if you're into depressing movies about virginal failures attempting to get laid while in love with pits of despair, complete with retro costumes and a Lou Reed soundtrack, then be my guest! "Adventureland" is just for you.
buenos dias mi amigos!
Well, on April 2, 2009 I officially turned the ripe old age of 17. Somehow the shift from 16 to 17 feels more major than I thought it would... It feels like when you're 16 you can still be Little Ms. Princess, but by 17 you're Little Miss College Applications. My mom seemed to have a harder time than usual, but that's expected. I went through a lot of changes while 16. I traveled alone for the first time, making the epic cross-country plane flight to visit my cousin in Los Angeles. I found that I actually enjoy flying alone a lot. I've had to deal with some important issues, mainly in the lives of my friends. I have one friend who is very dear to me who is experiencing just about the roughest adolescence possible. I'm there for her whenever she needs me. Mostly, I simply feel like I'm comfortable in my skin. I feel wise and I feel confident that I can take on almost any situation. I guess I feel kind of invincible, but I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. I would say that I am pragmatic but I still allow myself to have an overgrown imagination. I have never allowed myself to narrow my hopes of the future, and I hope I never will.
But to lighten up on the gravity, let me just say that I had the best birthday of all time!
First of all, my marvelous friends threw me a surprise party at school. They ambushed me in my high school's parking lot and took me for breakfast, which that in itself I found incredibly sweet. Then they took me down to the locker hall and the lights were off and a bunch of my buddies yelled "SURPRISE!" It made me feel so warm and fuzzy. That evening I took two of my friends out for $15 sushi and to see The Ting Tings at Workplay in Downtown Birmingham (AL).
I gotta admit. As far as birthdays go, in my book, it doesn't get much better than that!