Thursday, January 26, 2012

Scott Pilgrim: Movie vs. the Book

The graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim by Brian Lee O'Malley is one of the few books that I can separate from the film. That's the goal of any director who translates a book to the screen, they want their vision to be able to stand apart from the original one. I can honestly say that Edgar Wright managed to do that with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010).
The thing I liked about the books that I feel the film captured well is the visual aspect. So much of a graphic novel is the characters' facial expressions and what is going on around them. I loved how Wright captured the comic book feel and unique style of O'Malley's books.
The thing that the movie brought to the next level was the incorporation of music. Since it is a series about a band and O'Malley has numerous and varying musical interests it only makes sense that the film had an awesome soundtrack.
I also thought the casting was perfect. I loved everyone, Michael Cera playing his normal "I'm-socially-awkward-but-at-the-same-time-kind-of-a-jerk-don't-call-me-Jesse-Eisenberg" role and Mary Elizabeth Winstead playing to all facets of Ramona's personality from her complexity, vulnerability, and toughness. My personal favorites were Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells and Ellen Wong as Knives Chang even if her character lacked the emotional depth and growth that her book counterpart had. I just thought that Wong was adorable and just desperate enough.
The one thing that I did not like about the film was the ending. I thought the book's ending (#6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour) was very well done and provided a full amount of closure and understanding about the characters' personal journeys that the film lacked. I thought especially Ramona's motives became more clear and her character more likable.
Overall, I loved both experiences on their own. I need to see the movie again now that I have read the book so I can compare them more thoroughly.
Movie review: No milk needed 
Book review: Needs milk 

I Think You Should Know Thursday

This Thursday, I think you should know Tegan and Sara, the Canadian band formed by twin sisters of the same names. The girls are best described as intense and brooding; their sound has always been mature, even in their early albums. There is a darkness that seeps from the lyrics giving the listener the thought that maybe these two girls have seen their fair share of the world. Despite all this their sound is not hard. Tegan and Sara may be tough but their vocals are nothing of the sort. They convey their emotions through songs that are heavy hitting, but also lyrical and soft.
"Nineteen" is one of my favorite songs off of their 2007 album The Con. It is a beautiful song that rises and falls along with the strong background instrumentation.
"I felt you in my legs
Before I ever met you
And when I laid beside you
For the first time
I told you
I feel you in my heart,
 And I don't even know you"
"Like O, Like H" is another song from the same album that has great lyrics and an almost chanting beat. Sure to get stuck in your head.
"SOS to my mother
Take the hinges off the door
Oh, oh sugar spell it out like
Like O, like H
In your gut"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Think You Should Know Thursday

This (finally) snowy Thursday the band I am sharing is the Massachusetts electropop band Passion Pit. Besides knowing the band, the story of how it formed should be heard solely because it is adorable. The band began when lead singer Michael Angelakos wrote and performed a CD for his then girlfriend as a late Valentine's Day present. The CD traveled around their friends and family until eventually it made its way into the hands of Ian Hultquist who approached Angelakos to play together. The rest is musical (semi-known) history. The band game together when they added several other collaborators including a drummer and bass player all of who attended Berklee Music College in Boston.
The band has an electric sound without sounding too "dance-y." They are able to be simultaneously  upbeat and serious; not a band concerned just with rhythm, but also lyrical content. They also do incredible remixes, including "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyonce and "Grenade" by Bruno Mars (check them on youtube).
"Moth Wings" off the 2009 album Manners was featured on several television shows when it was first released. It's one of those songs that can easily get stuck in your head and has really interesting lyrics.
"You're just like your father
Buried deep under the water
You're resting on your laurels
And stepping on my toes
Whose side are you on?
What side is this anyway?
Put down your sword and crown
Come lay with me on the ground"
"Sleepyhead" is the song that started it all. Passion Pit's single from their first album Chunk of Change (2007-8) and the one most people know if they have actually heard of them. It is much more electric in sound and slightly nonsensical in lyrics than "Moth's Wings."
"They couldn' think of something to say the day you burst
With all their lions and their might and thirst.
They crowd your bedroom like some thoughts wearing thin
Against the walls, against your rules, against your skin"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Think You Should Know Thursday

This Thursday, since I remembered that it is Thursday, I am sharing with you another sort of one man band, The Mountain Goats. The core of the band is John Darnielle, a singer song writer who occasionally collaborates with others such as Peter Huges and Jon Wurster to form the band. The Mountain Goats are known  for releasing their music on cassette tapes in the most  indie darling way.
The band is a favorite of young -adult- author-with-a-cult-like-following John Green. Many fans of the band have discovered them because of his writings which is pretty cool. Most of the YouTube comments for the band are quotes from Green's books. Anything that gets kids today reading and listening to good music is fine by me (that just made me sound really old).
"Woke Up New" from the album Get Lonely (2006) is my favorite song by the band. The lyrics read like a poem and Darnielle's voice is melodic and soft. It's like a lullaby for the lonely. It is one of those sad songs that manages to be hopeful at the same time.

"The first time I made coffee for just myself, I made too much of it

But I drank it all just cause you hate it when I let things go to waste
And I wandered through the house like a little boy lost in the mall
And an astronaut could've seen the hunger in my eyes from space"

"This Year" from The Mountain Goats album, The Sunset Tree (2005)is one of those celebratory songs you belt at the top of your lungs. With its feel good chorus and great opening instrumentation, this song is another gem. 
"I am going to make it through this year
If it kills me" 

Here's What You Missed

Since I've been a terrible blogger this winter break, here is a recap of some the movies I've watched in order from best to worst.
1.) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (dir. David Fincher)
This film was amazing, exactly how I knew it would be. I loved the cast, the bleak setting, the cinematography, the music. It had just the right amount of darkness. Rooney Mara was a very different Lisbeth than her Swedish counterpart. There was a power to her performance but also a real vulnerably; here was a girl who had been hurt before and was extremely damaged. Daniel Craig was also exactly how I pictured Blomkvist. I felt that the movie had great pacing and unfolded exactly like the novel and since I couldn't remember everything it made for a great murder mystery.
Review: No milk needed (Fincher never does, that's why he's my favorite director.)
2.) The English Patient (dir. Anthony Minghella)
I was in the mood for a sad love story and this proved to be exactly what I was looking for although not as heart wrenching in my opinion as say Atonement or Titanic. My favorite style of films are non-linear narratives, especially love stories and this was no different. I love the way Minghella weaved the story and created an emotional attachment to the characters. Ralph Finnes was spectacular as always as were the set pieces and costumes that usually go along with a sweeping period piece such as this one. 
Review: No milk needed
3.) Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (dir. Tomas Alfredson)
This film was a great, old fashioned spy flick. Gary Oldman was everything I thought he would be and more; I'm devastated that he was not nominated for a Golden Globe and hopeful that he still has a chance of winning that elusive Oscar. I really liked the color scheme of the film, it had great tones of blues and greys with the occasional pop of color that really made certain set pieces stand out. The film also put Benedict Cumberbatch on my radar which is good because his name seems to be showing up everywhere lately in the casting world. 
Review: Needs milk
4.) Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (dir. Eli Craig)
This film was one that I went into with no expectations and came away completely satisfied. It was a hilarious, bloody mess, but in the best way possible. I am in no way squeamish; I do not flinch during Tarantino films, but for some reason this film made me look away and squee like a school girl. I enjoyed 
the film's power to make me slightly scared and grossed out. I also thought Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine had great chemistry. What a horrible set of circumstances for their characters though.
Review: Needs milk
5.) The Sorcerer's Apprentice (dir. Jon Turteltaub)
This was one of those films that happened to start when I turned the television on so I watched it. I have to say I found it cute mostly because of Jay Baruchel and his likable "every-man" character. He had just the right amount of self deprecating humor and sweetness to make him believable. This is also one of those rare films like National Treasure that I did not hate Nicholas Cage in. He was over the top and goofy, sure, but it worked. He was playing a wizard after all. I did appreciate the pop cultural homages to Indiana Jones and Star Wars as well as to the original Fantasia film that this one was inspired from. 
Review: Soggy 
I feel like I can't have only seen five films this break, but these are all the good ones I can remember for now. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ready to Start

I have been a terrible blogger recently. Usually my New Year's resolution is to write more, but with the new year here I have only written one post. Winter break has kept me busy working which is no change, but it seems to be taking up more of my time than usual since I have had hardly any time for any movie watching or reading. The thing I have been doing a lot of  though is preparing for the future. What a scary term. With three semesters of college left (I can hardly believe it) the real world is quickly approaching. I will be leaving my university armed with only an English degree and a false sense of hope in how the world works. So preparation is necessary.
My preparation comes in the form of looking for an internship in the entertainment industry. It is my dream as I have said before not to make my own films (at least not yet), but to help others in their projects, to be involved in the magic that is movie/television making. So far, I believe I am heading in the right direction of making my dreams come true. Which is terrifying and amazing. After an application and a first round interview I have become a Final Talent Pool candidate for a potential T. Howard Foundation summer internship. I could be placed with one of many entertainment companies as an intern and while nothing is final, I remain cautiously optimistic. This is much further in the process than I ever thought I would get.
Also, via my LinkedIn profile (for those not in the know, LinkedIn is like facebook but instead of connecting with friends you connect with potential employees), someone from Warner Brothers has gotten in touch with me saying they read and like my blog and potentially want me to work on a blogging/social media project (more details to follow if this actually works out). Warner Brothers is one of my favorite studios. Having someone from there say they actually read my blog and like my rating system seems completely unreal to me. I'm just some random girl from barely upstate New York with big dreams and a big mouth. Things like this never happen to me!
Everything suddenly seems like it is going so well, which is weird because I am not used to it. I hate talking about all the good events in my life though because I'm so afraid of jinxing myself. But as of right now, 2012 could be my year. I'm ready.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Letter to the Doctor

"The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life...that you don't just give up, you don't just let things happen, you make a stand, you say 'no', you do what's right when everyone just runs away."- Rose Tyler (potentially the smartest thing she's ever said) 
Dear Chris,
Christopher Eccleston: the 9th Doctor
I just finished watching season one of Doctor Who and I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for making me a Whovian and immersing me in the wacky, wild, and wonderful Who-universe. Every episode was crazier than the next; you met Charles Dickens then traveled to the year 200,000 and back again and yet I found it all plausible. You rooted yourself in reality while at the same time exploring the stars, something that was no easy feat.
I really liked you as the Doctor. Your grizzled and tough exterior made it possible for me to imagine the horrors you must have gone through in the Time War and the way you occasionally looked off into space (and maybe time) made you seem vulnerable and oh so lonely. I love that you have the ability to convey all those emotions at once. Your wry British humor was also fantastic. You were never the man with a plan; or if you had a plan, you were never completely certain it was going to work which always made for good fun.
Most of all though, I want thank you for putting up with Rose Tyler. I know that could not have been easy and we both know she rarely deserved the affection you showered on her. She may not be the smartest girl in the galaxy, but because of you I found her endearing and even sometimes likable. I found myself defending her actions to people. And really she was not that bad. Just an average girl who got the chance of a lifetime. We would all probably make the same mistakes in her shoes (okay, that might be taking things a bit far...)
As I move on to season two and many a Whovians favorite Doctor, David Tennant, I will never forget you. You may not be my favorite Doctor once this is all finished, but you will always be my first and that counts for something.
P.S. I also have to thank Alex (who I know will read this) for making me watch Doctor Who and want to go adventuring through time and space with him.