Bon Iver: Holocene

The weather has really taken a turn for the worst. Where there was a bright spot of sunshine and warmth it has done a complete 180 and the cold and snow has come back full force.

In order to get through these bleak winter days I have been listening to a lot of Bon Iver especially one of his best songs “Holocene”. The terrific guitar work and Justin Vernon’s voice creates a really relaxing and captivating atmosphere to supplement the bitter cold weather I am stuck in. Check it out.

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Generationals: Put A Light On

Recently I have been listening to a lot of upbeat music including songs from New Orleans indie pop band Generationals. The band has become known for their penchant for 60’s pop and soul music which appears on their best known single “When They Fight, They Fight”.

I first heard about this band last fall and I have been following them ever since. Their third album “Heza” was released last April and one of the best tracks on it is “Put A Light On” which is makes use of a variety of sounds to create a bright and sunny song. I immediately took a liking to this song due to how simple and catchy it is. Check it out.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

As an adolescent in Chicago, John Hughes’ films really served as my interpretation of what high school was going to be like. Unfortunately, my very own high school years was no where like a Hughes film but still those movies played an intricate part in my life in providing an entertaining look at teendom. Now after watching “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” those nostalgic feelings of my teenage years come back but with a more realistic context.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is about Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) a high school senior who decides to skip school in order to spend a day in Chicago. He enlists the help from his best friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) in fooling his ever vigilant Dean of Students Mr. Rooney (Jeffrey Jones).

 

Cameron is a nervous wreck who has a terrible relationship with his father and Ferris tries to show Cameron a good time in order to get him out of his head. Ferris is also wary about life after high school and doesn’t know how his relationships with Sloane and Cameron is going to be. With all of this Ferris is being tracked down by suspicious Mr. Rooney and his younger sister Jean (Jennifer Grey).

I have watched this movie so many times over the years and I still find it to be one of the best teen films ever made. Hughes had an uncanny eye for capturing the pettiness and confusion of teenagers who are wrapped up in their own worlds. This film also has a cameo from Charlie Sheen as a philosophical juvenile delinquent in a police station which is both funny and quite interesting. With just a few lines he completely steals the scene.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day off” is a film that revolves a fun-loving teen who is uncertain of his future and losing those relationships that are close to him. He decides to immortalize one single day in order to have that memory with him for the rest of his life and he does a pretty successful job of that.

Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” is a remarkable film that showcases a different side of Bill Murray that critics and fans have never seen. The movie also pushed Coppola into the spotlight with its funny and introspective moments which garnered her a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award.

“Lost in Translation” is about Bob Harris (Bill Murray) a middle-aged actor who goes to Japan to film a commercial. Harris is unhappy with the path that his career has taken and also feels like a stranger at home with his family. One day he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) a young woman who has come to Japan with her photographer boyfriend (Giovanni Ribisi). Charlotte is lonely and spends a lot of her time touring Japan by herself. She finds in Bob a fellow outsider that leads to a burgeoning friendship.

Bill Murray as Bob Harris is one of his best performances in his career. Bob is a man who feels like he is selling out in favor of money over dignity. When Bob is performing during a commercial you can see just how unhappy he is even though he tries his best to pretend that he is having a good time. He is drawn to Charlotte’s quiet and introverted personality which has him thinking about the choices he has made in his life.

I thought this film was really entertaining and moving from start to finish. Both of the main characters are beginning to question what they want for their lives independent of ties to other people. They both feel lost and unappreciated by their significant others and think that staying in Japan would help to solve a lot of their issues.

After watching this film I decided to revisit all of Sofia Coppola’s films and pay more closer attention to her directing abilities. Next up is the 2010 film “Somewhere”.

The Truman Show

I have been on a Jim Carrey binge lately. I finally checked out “The Truman Show” after it being on my list of ‘movies to see’ for years. I have to say I was really impressed by the concept of the film as well as Jim Carrey’s performance. I honestly feel that there is so many facets to him that critics and fans are completely unaware of.

“The Truman Show” is about Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) a man living in the picturesque town of Seahaven. Unbeknownst to Truman is that his entire life is being filmed live for the entire world to see. Everyone in Truman’s life is acting according to producer Christoff’s (Ed Harris) imagination of how the show should go.

One day Truman begins to become aware of how life seems to revolve around him to which has him questioning everything and trying to escape from the stifling environment he is in.

I really enjoyed this film especially how over the top the performances were by the people in Truman’s life. Laura Linney as Truman’s wife is hilarious as she pretends to be always chipper and positive no matter what Truman says. Also I liked how the production crew did everything to prevent Truman from becoming aware of what is really going on especially the scene when they quickly grab his supposed-to-be-dead father from in front of his eyes.

Jim Carrey is superb as Truman who is eager to escape from his hometown. He makes several attempts at leaving for Fiji which has everyone scrambling to prevent this. His perfect world is boring and monotonous which leads to him yearning for more out of life.

 

Vampire Weekend: Hudson

Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City” is their mature and best album to date. It took me a few listens to really get into the album. I was thrown off by how different it was in comparison to their previous records. The songs didn’t click with me until I listened to the album about five times.

The best track on the album to me is ‘Hudson’. It is the only complete oddball song on the record with its dark and somber sound. The song literally sounds haunting with its eerie ghost-like atmosphere. I was especially caught off guard by the lyrics which trace the history of the Hudson River. Check it out.

The Horrible Crowes: I Witnessed A Crime (live)

I have been listening to The Horrible Crowes and The Gaslight Anthem a lot lately. Both bands are fronted by the incomparable Brian Fallon. Where The Gaslight Anthem is loud and aggressive, The Horrible Crowes is quiet and downbeat.

One of the best songs on The Horrible Crowes’ album “Elsie” is ‘I Witnessed A Crime” which is absolutely amazing live especially in the above video where the band performed at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. I really like how the band goes into that instrumental soulfum jam towards the end of the song. Check it out.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is without a doubt one of the best films ever made. Written by very imaginative screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and starring an ensemble cast this film is not only visually stunning but also deeply moving. The soundtrack by Jon Brion is also as perfect as the film from the very start of the film.

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is about Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who after a tumultuous relationship decide to have their relationship erased from their minds. Joel who is still in love with Clementine after they breakup is devastated by the news that Clementine had him erased from her mind that he decides to do it to rid himself of the hurt that he feels. He ventures to Lacuna Inc. where Clementine had her mind erased and sets up an appointment where the specialists (Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood) will erase every trace of Clementine from his mind.

However as Joel is having his memories of Clementine erased he starts to have second thoughts and tries everything possible to stop the process while asleep.

There are so many amazing things to point out about this film that I will start with Jim Carrey’s best performance to date. Carrey’s Joel is a reserved and sensitive man who falls for energetic and complex Clementine. He is drawn to her wild and free-spirited personality and finds himself doing many things that he never would have done. He tries his best to please her and even protect her which causes frustration on Clementine’s part who wants more. Even after their relationship ends Joel still has feelings for her and attempts to win her back even though it results in the realization that she no longer knows who he is.

Another great point about this film is Michel Gondry’s animation/directing abilities. The movie is a wonder to behold with its bright colors and eccentric scenes where so much is happening as the characters talk or run to escape the environment that is changing around them especially in Joel’s mind. There is a scene where Clementine and Joel are in a bookstore and as they are talking the books begin to lose their color and become completely white. One of the best scenes happens close to the end of the film where the house that Clementine and Joel are in begins to disintegrate.

I have watched “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” approximately three times totally and I still find myself impressed by it every time. The cast especially Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are incredible and Gondry’s visual effects are absolutely terrific. I highly recommend this movie.

Woods: Moving to the Left

Brooklyn indie rock/folk band Woods are releasing their new album “With Light and With Love” in April and the first single from the record is ‘Moving to the Left’. The track is in the vein of the band’s well-known sound of neo-psychedelia and folk. ┬áSinger and guitarist Jeremy Earl’s voice refracts over hazy guitars and eerie wind sounds. Check it out.

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