Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Town

In honor of today being Halloween, I present to you my Halloween costume. I was Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, an awesome film and from what I've heard, an even more awesome comic (which I plan on reading very soon). 
I think I did a pretty good job, all I needed was the bag. 
 I just think Halloween is a fun time to dress up and be creative. Plus, since I love movies, its a fun time to become some of my favorite pop cultural icons. 
Ramona from the comics 
My interpretation.. Yes I'm taking a Myspace mirror pic. Deal.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Movie Talk on Sunday: the Blog -Animation

So I missed MTOS again. This is getting rather annoying. Good news though, I'll be around next week because I'm hosting! This week was an interesting topic with really creative questions. Also, there are some amazing movie shirts and posters on this site:
Once again, I'm going to blog the answers because I hate being out of the loop!
1. I see benefits to both. I think I'm more impressed with traditional animation, but the things they can do with computers today are amazing.
2. Aladdin. Lion King. Beauty & the Beast because I'm the most like Belle, just give her a book and she's happy. And Anastasia, the animation is still really good on that film.
3. Ooh tough one. 1 started the series so I have to go with that one. So many memorable lines. 3 is a solid second, so many emotional scenes!
4. No, I think that despite how good technology is getting there are still limitations to animated performances. Especially emotion-wise.
5. I loved how you can see every hair on Sully in Monsters, INC. so definitely that one. Same goes with the superhero costume fibers and hair in The Incredibles  And for when it came out like I said before Anastasia had great animation, you could see every footprint as she walked in the snow.
6. So many to choose from: Aladdin, Genie, Dmitri (Anastasia), Sully & Mike,  pretty much every character from Finding Nemo, Scar (best villain by far)
7. I hope its a fad, but part of me feels like 3D is here to stay. In terms of animated films it does add something extra in some cases.
8. I would like more dark cartoons in the Coraline style, but not sure what book/game that could be, maybe something involving a murderer... Also, I feel like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World could be really cool since its already very cartoony.
9. Too. Hard. To. Choose.
Classic Disney- Aladdin
Disney/Pixar-Monsters, INC/ The Incredibles
Non-Disney: has to be Anastasia
Stop-Motion: Fantastic Mr. Fox (I just really had to find a way to include this film, I love it)
10. As Snape would say "obviously" Pixar. I do think Dreamworks has begun to step up their game in the last couple of years as well. Brad Bird, whom I adore. John Lasseter who is also a god.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Think You Should Know Thursday

The artist that I think you should know this Thursday is The Narrative. I saw them a few years ago at the Loft in Poughkeepsie, NY and immediately fell in love with the harmonies done by Suzie Zeldin (who is a doll, I met her huddled under the merch table hiding from the rain) and Jesse Gabriel. Their vocals blend well together and are light and fun regardless of what they are singing about.
Their first EP Just Say Yes, was low key but well performed. It relied merely on vocals and keys played by Suzie. Just hearing a few songs from their new, self-titled album one can see how far the band has grown. The vocals are much more powerful and there are added instrumentation, notably percussion which adds a larger overall sound.
My favorite song from their original EP is "The Moment That It Stops." The vocals are stunning and the lyrics are catchy. Apparently the song was played on The Jersey Shore, which I did not realize, but regardless this is still a band people should get to know more of.
"And when you cry, the eyeliner will slip beneath your eyes to catch your breath.
Brush off your cheek, still aching as your hands whip at your sides, caress your dress."
"These days drag on; I'm losing faith.
You said we'd work it out together but you're pushing me away.
Well I'm here but I fear my heart is not.
You said your heart would follow me until the moment that it stopped."

"Fade" from their new album has a similar sound to their old material, but just kicked up a notch.
"We probably shouldn't talk,
cuz talking leads to thinking and
eyes wide open blank in the dark"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Movie Talk on Sundays: the Blog- High School Movies

So I've been playing flag football every Sunday for the last few weeks for my dorm building which is the reason I've missed Movie Talk on Sundays for the past few weeks. Also, because I live in the Eastern Time Zone and MTOS takes place at 3 in the afternoon here.
If you are a reader who does not know what MTOS is, here's the jist: movie lovers get together on Sundays on twitter at 8 p.m. GMT and discuss films. A different blogger hosts each week and each week there is a different topic. Questions are tweeted and everyone jumps in on the conversation with their opinions.
So since I couldn't make it this week and I've been meaning to do this for awhile now, I'm going to blog my  MTOS answers. This week's topic was high school movies and the questions can be found here:
I'm going to answer them quickly and not go into too much detail to try and keep it as close to the real MTOS as possible.
1. Anything by John Hughes. Dead Poets Society. Stand and Deliver. Mr. Holland's Opus. Remember the Titans. Also, I'm a sucker for High School Musical. And The Outsiders. And I really, really hate saying this, but I love Bring it On. (Wow I just keep thinking of more, so many good films!)
2. Does Grease 2 count? Honestly though, Mean Girls is hysterical.
3. Harry Potter (my gosh I wish). But for real, probably Napoleon Dynamite for awkwardness and irreverence.
4. The principals in The Breakfast Club & Ferris Bueller's Day Off. And Neil's parents in Dead Poet's Society. 
5. Molly Ringwald in anything. I love that ginger. And Ferris. Because let's be honest, we all want a friend like Ferris.
6. All the films set in the 80's need to remain that way. I would hate a remake of anything John Hughes touched. Maybe Grease?  That might be interesting. I don't know, I really hate remakes.
7. Does Grease 2 work for this one as well? I honestly don't really watch scary films.
8. I wouldn't say its the worst, but I really don't like Juno. That film tries wayyy to hard to be cutting edge and comes off overdone.
9. Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I just feel so bad for that kid. Plus, it must be hard having Ferris as a best friend sometimes.
10. Bender's fist pump at the end of The Breakfast Club. Ferris' speech about life moving too fast. Keating's speech about the beauty of words and poetry in The Dead Poet's Society. Usually any school dance scene in any high school film because that is when all the good stuff happens.

Everyone should participate in MTOS if you don't already, just use #MTOS on Sundays and jump in. I hope I can start doing it again because I hate missing it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Mysterious Production of Andrew Bird

Last night Andrew Bird performed at my University in Binghamton, NY. I had been looking forward to the concert ever since I saw it posted; I've been a fan of Bird's music since I was introduced to it by a friend in high school. I've pretty much been in love ever since. He is such a unique artist with his mix of instrumentals, quirky lyrics, and whistling. Also, if you remember, he was one of my "I Think You Should Know Thursday" artists a few weeks ago (
I was really surprised that he came to Binghamton of all places. The auditorium was by no means full and many people seemed to have just discovered Bird and his music. He is one of those artists who relies on word of mouth to gain his popularity, which is sad since he is so talented. There were however some people who were at the concert because they were actually Andrew Bird fans. Occasionally singing along could be heard to his more popular songs and outside waiting for the show to start there were those discussing his album  "Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs" which is my personal favorite and perhaps his most well known. It was an eclectic mix of people at attending, it was mostly college kids but there were some families and small children along with older adults who looked like the rocked out to Dylan in their day. There was also definitely more than one guy with a bow tie in the audience. That is one of the things that is so cool about Bird, he attracts a large and diverse group of people. And from what I heard after the concert, all came away satisfied.
 To read my full review of the concert check out this link:
I wrote it for the Pipe Dream Blogs, the blog for my university's newspaper which I have recently started writing for.
Review: Needs milk
Martin Dosh & Andrew Bird 
(Partial) Set list for Andrew Bird in Binghamton, NY. I tried to get them all, but he didn't announce all the titles and some lyrics were hard to understand:
2. Why
3. Instrumental
4. Nervous Tick Motion of the Head to the Left
5. Give it Away (new)
7. Fitz & Dizzyspells
8. Carrion Suite
9. It's Not Easy Being Green (Muppets cover)
11. Effigy
12. Experimental instrumentals with Martin Dosh
13. Plasticities
14. Headsoak
16. Tables and Chairs
1. Happy Day
2. Comin' Home

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Think You Should Know Thursday

The artist I care to share with you this Thursday is one that has received a lot of play on my ipod lately: Laura Marling. Laura is a folk singer-songwriter who is known as well for the men she's dated as the music she plays. Her original claim to fame was singing with the band Noah and the Whale (last week's band) while dating the adorable lead singer Charlie Fink. When she broke Charlie's heart (and helped him create beautiful music) she moved onto the Folk God himself Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons who I assume everyone already knows. (If not, then you have seriously been living under a rock this past musical year.) Oh and did I mention that she's only 20?
Laura is one of those artists I love to hate. I hate the fact that she is so young and so talented and the fact that she's broken the hearts of some of the best folk singers England has to offer. (I contemplated yelling, "Screw Laura" at the Noah & the Whale concert I attended over the summer, but I refrained.) At the same time, I cannot possibly hate her because her voice and songs are amazing and worth listening to. Her songs pack an emotional punch and originality that are surprising for someone so young and her voice is much huskier than one would imagine for someone so slight and sprightly. She is definitely a breath of fresh air in the over auto-tuned musical world we live in today.
"I know I said I loved you but I'm thinking I was wrong,
I'm the first to admit that I'm still pretty young,
And I never meant to hurt you when I wrote you ten love songs.
But a guy that I could never get 'cause his girlfriend was pretty fit
And everyone who knew her loves her so.
And I made you leave her for me and now I'm feeling pretty mean,
But my mind has fucked me over more times than any man could ever know."

One of my favorite and most played songs by Laura is "Ghosts" because its one of those songs that relates well to my life. It is also extremely catchy. 
"Presents her with the pictures and says
'These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you
These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you'
Opened up his little heart
Unlocked the lock that kept it dark
And read a written warning
Saying I'm still mourning
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts that broke my heart before I met you" 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Adventures in Filmmaking: Editing & Final Product

So my adventures in filmmaking abound. This weekend was actually one of my favorites of the semester so far in terms of filmmaking. For my project I had to shoot two rolls of film and then edit them into one cohesive 2-3 minute film to create visual rhythm. I was actually really excited to shoot because I went home for the weekend and shot around the Hudson River and train station. I had sort of an idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted my film to come out.
Thursday my film came back and it was time to put it together. I have to say I was really happy with the shots I got; the exposure came out really well and the scenes themselves were really beautiful. I decided I wanted to edit my film to create a kind of rising momentum that began slow, crescendo-ed, and then slowed down again which left me with a lot of editing. 
Super 8 film. It looks larger than it really is. 
The one thing I can say about editing is that it is tedious, detailed oriented work. You have to be meticulous, good at remembering things, and have A LOT of patience. Firstly editing super 8 film means literally cutting and taping together the scenes you want to use. And super 8 film is tiny.  Using a light bulb I had to go through each inch of my film looking to see where each scene ended and began, then cut that scene, and literally splice it together using the world's smallest piece of tape to the next scene where I wanted it to go. I also had to make sure that the film was all going the same way, meaning that all the sides with the emulsions were tapped together. If not, then some scenes would appear upside down and backwards, which happened to several of my scenes that I had to go back and fix. 
I had film hanging everywhere. The editing room has racks to hang the film on, but mine was so long that it hung on the floor and around the table. At some points I had film wrapped around me as well. I really wish I had brought my camera with me. My poor film went through hell because I kept stepping on it and scratching it all over the place trying to get the film to stick and holding/burning it on the light bulb, which lead to it having a cool (unintentional) effect later on. 
Film reel & project scraps.
I went into the editing room around 11 Friday morning and did not emerge until 5 in the afternoon. Somehow the time flew by. I really enjoyed the process of editing; I found it creative and amusing. It was something completely different from anything I have ever done before. It was the first time I though "I can actual do this, I can edit film." It was such a hands-on process. I kept wishing I had more time to really think about what I wanted to film. So many times while editing I got ideas for scenes I wish I had shot. 
Overall, I think my project came out really well. If I can figure out how to convert it, I may put it up on youtube. I think my favorite part of the project (besides actually doing it) was showing it to other people. One of my friends convinced me to let him see it and I was really glad I did because he liked it a lot. It was just cool to see people respond so well to something I created. It also made me less nervous to show my class when I was picked to go first. My professor really liked it; he said it spoke a lot about inhabited space vs. natural space which I thought was a really good way to put it. Also all the positive feedback from my class was a definite ego boost. 
I think this project and this class in general is really good for me. I am learning so much about myself and my creativity and about film in general. I have always said that I liked editing, but this is the first time that I can really say I like editing because I've actually done it. I'm actually sad that we are moving onto digital film because I want more time to explore and play around with super 8. 
Oh well, onto the next adventure... 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Think You Should Know Thursday

The band I think you should know this Thursday is one of my favorites, Noah & the Whale. Calling them an  "English Folk band" would not be doing them justice because Noah & the Whale are so much more. They are folksy and indie and fun and sad all at the same time. Originally composed of lead singer Charlie Fink and girlfriend Laura Marling along with Fink's brother and some other key players, the band began their career with fun, melodic songs about life and mostly death.
Then came the changes. Charlie's brother left the band to attend medical school and Laura went on tour solo, met someone else and subsequently broke Charlie's heart. 
Laura breaking up with Charlie was possibly the best thing that could happen musically to the band. He wrote an entire album about the ordeal,  The First Day of Spring (2009) chronicling the breakup in a way that would make Voldemort feel emotional. I admit it was one of the soundtracks of my summer and one of those albums I still turn to when I'm having a bad day (or guy problems).
I saw Noah & the Whale at the Irving Plaza in NYC this summer and it was literally one of the best concerts I have ever seen. Charlie and Co. sound as good (if not better) live than they do on the CD and it was just really cool to be in the same room as a bunch of other diehard fans. Plus, I kept making eye contact with Tom the adorable fiddle/keys player so life was pretty good.
"Five Years Time" is one of the songs from the band's Laura period. Note the fun, the frivolity, the peppy sing-a-long chorus.
"'Cause I'll be laughing at all your silly little jokes
And we'll be laughing about how we used to smoke
All those stupid little cigarettes
And drink stupid wine
'Cause it's what we needed to have a good time"
Now my favorite song from the post-Laura period is "Blue Skies" (and maybe my all time favorite song of theirs). It is a song that pretty much perfectly and beautifully describes anyone who has ever been in a relationship or ever loved and lost anyone. Its one of those songs that on the right day has the power to make me cry. Note the sadness, note the heartbreak, note the swelling instrumentals that make your heart soar.

"This is the last song that I writeWhile still in love with youThis is the last song that I writeWhile you're even on my mind'Cause it's time to leaveThose feelings behindOh cause blue skies are callingBut I know that it's hard" You deserve so much better Charlie.

"I Finally Saw...In Bruges"

In Bruges (2008) is one of those films that everyone, both twitter and real life friends, kept telling me to see but I never got around to. I finally saw it this week, in my Existential Literature class of all places and I now know why it got all the hype it did.
"Maybe that's what Hell is: the entire rest of eternity stuck in fucking Bruges."- Ray
First of all the cast is amazing. Half of the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire cast is in the film so right there is a good indication of the caliber of actor in this film. Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell are amazing in their roles as hit men with hearts. Since I watched both of the films in the same day, I can compare them and In Bruges has the character depth that Children of Men completely lacked. Gleeson and Farrell are so flawed and at the same time so real. They are also immensely likeable men. Ralph Fiennes is also pure evil as always, as Harry the hitman with a code of ethics.
The setting was amazing. The opening with its long sweeping shots of the cathedrals and canals really helped to establish the tone of the film and added a fluid movement that ran throughout the film. The slow establishing shots of the setting contrasted well with the quick action shots that came later on.

I think the thing I liked most about In Bruges was the emotional force that it brought. It was one of those films that made you laugh and then cry only moments later. It was both hysterically funny and deeply emotional and it is so rare that films can pull both those emotions off well. Since I watched it for class we spent a lot of time discussing the deeper themes and the issues of morality and choices that occur throughout the film. It did really make one think.
There was really very little I disliked about the film. It was worth the hype that everyone attributed to it. Everything from the music to script was spot on and everything was made better by the
Review: No milk required