Monday, May 23, 2005

What have you been listening to, watching, and reading?

Broadway, You're Fired
I don't know what thoughts go into deciding what ideas may make a great broadway musical. But I can't believe The Apprentice--yes Trump's TV show--could possibly be either decent or successful, but that's not stopping them from trying.

DVD Releases this week
include The Aviator and The Godfather II (it wasn't on DVD before?)

Lewberry recommends Motorcycle Diaries, and that we get off our collective butts and, uh, read about exercising. Food for Fitness and Slow Fat Triathlete are his suggestions. Also, he's looking for some new tunes. My recent listening is below.

New Music Purchases
In order of recommendation, here are some CDs I rewarded myself with for ending the semester.
1. Ben Folds--"Songs for Silverman" I've never really gotten into the nerd-rock scene, including Ben Folds 5. Not even sure why I bought this one, but I really like it. It's probably some kind of illness, but I have images of him as potentially a modern-day Randy Newman (I know, Randy Newman is still the modern-day Randy Newman, but you know what I mean). Maybe I'm just trying to like him because he lives in Nashville now.
2. Arcade Fire - "Funeral" Kind of like if the Pixies and The Band had a love-child. I'm late to this one; it got lots of 2004 hype. Lots of instruments keep things fresh and different than your ordinary rock. Compellingly forceful. Or forcefully compelling.
3. Beck - "Guero" I may come around to liking this one more. I usually like him more after several listens. Nothing bad about it, but nothing special. It's a mixture of his Odelay rapper days and his Mutations somber songwriter days. Both kinds of tracks, but not sure that they're as convincing as they were in both of those earlier albums. But it may be too early. I reserve the right to change my mind.
4. Aimee Mann - "The Forgotten Arm" - Nice, but not up to my expectations. Not horrible, but nothing striking. The songs all kind of sound the same (and I've been a fan of hers); but the worst thing is that I know it's a theme album, adn I've read the lyrics with that in mind, and I still can't make heads or tails of it. No real thematic/character unity or development unless I'm just densely missing it, which is always a possiblity. Only had one listen so far, so I could come around on this one too.

Article 19 Film Recommendation: Star Wars, Episode 3
************** (14 out of 19)
Had no trouble getting tickets on Saturday night. I think it was playing on every screen. I thought it was great for what it was, and did a good job dealing with a difficult plot situation: everyone who knows the Star Wars series already knows what the major twists must be. The visuals were fabulous and the sound was amazing. A few things bug me, but I suppose they are easily surrendered for the sake of the movie:
1. Why most Yoda walk with a cane when we know he can jump/spin/fight like a madman? Kenny B says he obviously has to use the force for physical activity and shouldn't use it for something as selfish as walking.
2. Volcanoes are hot, right? Like really really hot. You don't want to be surfing on lava, inside a volcano I'm guessing.
3. They seem to be able to transmit holographic images of themselves at will, when it's convenient to the plot. But I guess they never think of it when they could really use some help.
4. Yoda uses different grammar - know that by now we do. But some of his sentences in this one were just painful.

But overall I thought it was much stronger than 1 or 2. The biggest flaw is the toughest element - making the transition to Darth Vader/the dark side convincing. He has to be weak enough/flawed enough so that it seems reasonable, but strong enough and with enough good character that he could be the person Obi-Wan describes to Luke in the original film. I don't think he quite lived up to this second requirement. But walking that line is probably impossible.

Also, there's no way any reasonable person can come away thinking this movie is about Bush. If you think about it, you can notice similar mistakes in outlook. But it was hardly an attempt to jab him.

Quote of the Day
Only the summer leaves me still enough to read any poets. Here's Rilke, from last night.
[B]e patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within yourself the possibility of shaping and forming as a particularly happy and pure way of living: train yourself to it - but take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your inmost being, take it upon yourself and hate nothing.
Weekend Box Office
1. Star Wars, Episode 3
2. Star Wars, Episode 3
3. Star Wars, Episode 3
4. Star Wars, Episode 3
5. Star Wars, Episode 3

Well, practically.

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