Baghead: A Review Saturday, May 30 2009 

Earlier this week, PJ and I watched Baghead on DVD. Baghead is about four unemployed (and unsuccessful) actors who, after seeing an underground director’s sub-par work, decide that they can write and star in their own movie with at least as much success as the bad director seems to be enjoying. To write the movie, they decide to go out to a remote cabin in the woods and do nothing else over a weekend. Here’s the trailer:

The only thing I had heard (from PJ) about the film before seeing it was that it was a mumblecore movie, a genre that I really like. I’ve previously blogged about two movies by Andrew Buljalski and three movies by Joe Swanberg.

Calling this movie “mumblecore,” however, doesn’t quite turn out to be true, but it’s certainly a good starting point for understanding how the film establishes certain generic expectations and then purposefully abandons those expectations.

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SofW: One by Adam Lambert Wednesday, May 27 2009 

Even before reading about the latest controversy concerning Kris Allen’s unexpected victory in this year’s American Idol, I had seen that iTunes was featuring an “album” of Adam Lambert’s “Season 8 Favorite Performances.”After wavering a bit, I decided to download the album, and I’m glad I did. I really like several of the tracks, especially Lambert’s cover of U2’s “One”:

While I don’t vote for American Idol and therefore can’t complain too much about Allen’s winning the competition, I do watch it. Lambert was clearly the better performer, especially during the final show. I decided that purchasing his album was the proper way to show my support for Lambert.

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Visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts ’09 Monday, May 25 2009 

One of the highlights of PJ’s and my trip to Boston last week was our visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. Because of our upcoming trip to Italy, we especially wanted to see the museum’s special exhibit on Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, to get a head start on thinking about how to look at all the Italian art we’re going to be seeing in museums there.  The three painters in this exhibit were rivals in Venice during the sixteenth century, and this exhibit compares their work, allowing the viewers to decide which is more to his or her taste. It’s a great exhibition.

As I often do, I bought the exhibit catalog, which is a great discussion of the exhibit. One set of paintings the book compares is a group of portraits by these three masters.

Here’s Titian’s Doge Francesco Venier:

One of the things to notice about Titian’s work is his mastery of drapery and clothing. He also fills the canvas with images in the background.

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Sotw: Number 1 by Goldfrapp Wednesday, May 20 2009 

After a long (and I really mean that) three-day week of interviewing for the potential new job, I was ready for a mini-vacation. Fortuitously, today PJ and I headed to Boston for the weekend. He’s attending the American Literature Association, and I’m just tagging along for the ride. While we were driving to the Columbus airport, Goldfrapp‘s “Number 1” came on the radio.I’ve heard the song a few times before and have always liked it. So, I’m choosing it for my song of the week.

Here’s the video, which is bizarre:

I’ll post the lyrics on the second page.

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SotW: Make It Mine by Jason Mraz Wednesday, May 13 2009 

This week’s song of the week is Jason Mraz‘s “Make It Mine.” Here’s a live version I found on YouTube:

I chose this song for two reasons. First, I love Jason Mraz and the album this song is from, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. “I’m Yours” was one of my favorite songs from last year, and “Lucky” has already been a SotW this year.

Second, I’ve been looking for a song to listen to while I prepare for a very big week next week. I’ll be interviewing for an administrative position here at OU on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (mostly on Monday). I like to have specific songs as inspirations while I prepare for things like this and had thought about picking Jennifer Hudson’s “Invisible,” but that wasn’t quite doing it for me. Then “Make It Mine” popped up on my iPod last week, and I knew I’d found my theme song.

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I’ve Loved You So Long: A Review Tuesday, May 12 2009 

Recently, PJ and I watched I’ve Loved You So Long, a French movie starring Kristen Scott Thomas that we had wanted to see for the past several months. I thought that Scott Thomas was going to be a real contender for the Best Actress Oscar this year, but it turned out that she wasn’t. I just have to say up front: she was robbed!

Here’s the trailer:

Scott Thomas plays Juliette, a woman who has just been released from prison after serving a 15-year sentence for murdering her young son. With no where else to go, she moves in temporarily with her younger sister, who barely remembers her, since their parents pretended that Juliette didn’t exist once she was charged with the crime. The movie follows Juliette’s reintegration into society and explores the sisters’ relationship as they get to know one another for the first time as adults.

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Star Trek (2009): A Review Monday, May 11 2009 

Over the weekend, PJ and I saw the new Star Trek movie starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. Here are two of the trailers for the film:

As everyone knows by now, this movie is a reboot of the Star Trek franchise. After showing us a couple of scenes from their respective childhoods, it relates how James T. Kirk and Spock first meet (at the Star Fleet Academy) and quickly get on the wrong side of each other. A major crisis to Vulcan, however, ends up uniting the two as they square off against Nero, a rogue Romulan played by Eric Bana who is out to destroy every planet that is part of Star Fleet.

My overall impression was that Star Trek is an entertaining movie but no where close to being the “best movie I’ve seen in the past two years,” as a friend of a friend intimated. The highlight of the film for me was Zachary Quinto as Spock. First off, Quinto is totally hot. (I strongly object to AfterElton ranking him a mere 94 in their Hot 100 list. He definitely deserves to be in the top 2 or 3!) But more importantly, Quinto is excellent as Spock. He strikes just the right note of logical control over seething subterranean emotions. There’s a great moment when his relationship with another character is revealed to Kirk; Quinto is perfect in his rapid switch from passion to total nonchalance. He’s completely great in this role. I can’t to see (hopefully) future depictions of him going through pon farr, the Vulcan mating urge!

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SotW: Mykonos by Fleet Foxes Wednesday, May 6 2009 

I don’t know anything about Fleet Foxes yet, but I ran across this song on iTunes and really liked it. So, I looked up the video on YouTube and really liked it too:

I definitely want to hear more of their music. Consequently, “Mykonos” is my song of the week. The lyrics are after the break.

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Cat Tuesday: Cat and a Box Tuesday, May 5 2009 

Thanks to Mark for sending me this!

Three Quick Movie Reviews Saturday, May 2 2009 

I’m way behind in blogging, so to catch up a little I thought I would review three movies that PJ and I watched over the last week: Wendy and Lucy, The Examined Life, and Holding Trevor.

This past week was the Athens Film Festival. I only made it to two films, the first of which was Wendy and Lucy. Here’s the trailer:

This movie stars Michelle Williams as Wendy, a woman driving from Indiana to Alaska to find work in a cannery. Her companion on the trip is Lucy, her dog. Wendy and Lucy is a quiet little film that follows Wendy as she deals with a series of setbacks over a few days. The film is ultimately heartbreaking, not because anything overly dramatic happens (it doesn’t) but because we see the difficulty with which Wendy much make some very responsible choices. It’s a beautiful film, and Williams’ performance is great — she dissolves into this character — but I was left feeling a little too manipulated by the film’s plot. I found it hard to sympathize with the choices Wendy confronts, but I don’t want to go into any more detail than that. It’s a good film but not one I’d want to see over and over again.

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