Monday, April 28, 2014

Not That Srange, But A Lot Happened (Book Review)

Published: Sept 2009

Strange Things Happen - Stewart Copeland B-

Strange Things Happen was not the wild and raunchy rock tell-all I expected from one of rock's most popular drummers, Stewart Copeland of the Police. Nevertheless, Copeland is an interesting guy and a true artist for whom I have a newfound respect after finishing Strange Things Happen. I have never been much of a Police fan, but I enjoyed his anecdotes about creating films scores and jamming with Oysterhead.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Under the Skin - Movie Review

Under the Skin (R) 108 minutes B-
Cruising for Oozing

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan and Lynsey Taylor 

I didn't realize how much this film had gotten under my skin until hours after it ended and I was still thinking about it. Under the Skin is weird. It's definitely not for mainstream audiences despite the presence of a mainstream Hollywood star, Scarlett Johansson. But, it is artsy, intriguing, and hypnotically obscure. This film is directed by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast & Birth) and has the distinct claim of being Johansson's first explicit nude scene in a film.
Under the skin is adapted from Michel Faber’s extraterrestrial novel of the same name. The film is set in Scotland and driven by Johansson’s cryptic performance as Laura. With her plump bosom, vacant eyes, mysterious black hair and full pink lips, Laura cruises the streets of Glasgow. Innocently she talks unsuspecting blokes into her van. She then drives them to an undisclosed location where an inky black pool of deception awaits. I cannot claim to understand what it all means, or its purpose. But, I personally surmise that the film’s essential meaning revolves around the mundane alienation and vulnerability of the human spirit. In our self-obsessed existence we fail to truly understand what is under the skin.

This sci-fi drama is a puzzle film in which all the pieces do not fit; but, don’t get hung up on that. Under the Skin is a one trick pony as far as plot and it feels longer than it actually is. Yet, thanks to Johansson's allure, the Kubrick-like vibe, Mica Levi's ambient soundtrack and Daniel Landis' moody cinematography, audiences should spend more time appreciating the film and less time decoding it. Sometimes it’s just nice to go to the movies and experience something other worldly... even if it leaves you feeling a little mystified.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Object of Beauty and Mystery (Book Review)

Published: March 2013
No Object - Natalie Shapero A

In the poem, "Lean Time," Shapero writes: "Outcasts only care what outcasts think." After I read that line I knew I had fallen for Shapero's twisted enlightenment. No Object is smart, witty, challenging, and accessible. Yesterday, I was reading the book in a coffee shop and caught myself saying out loud to myself, "Oh my god, this is brilliant!" These poems are slightly odd, slightly menacing, and full of questions. My favorites include: "Stars," "Bad Key," "Lean Time," "News to Me," "Little Winter," "Our War," "Arranged Hours," "No Please After You," "Hot (Normal)," and "Close Space."