Wild Nothing: Nocturne

Wild Nothing seems to make some of the most nostalgic feeling music that I have ever heard.  The band’s songs seem to transport you to a time and place where everything was simply good. “Nocturne” is one of their songs that does just that with its atmospheric guitar riffs and Jack Tatum’s wistful vocals.

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Kerry James Marshall Exhibit

A few months ago, I went to check out the Kerry James Marshall Exhibit at the MET and didn’t have the chance to post the pictures of his paintings to this blog. Well, here they finally are.

The exhibition really opened my eyes to how great an artist Marshall is. A lot of the paintings I never saw before and I also saw his comic that I didn’t have the chance to take a photo of.

 

Revamping the Blog

I am going to change up the blog somewhat. The music video highlights will continue as well as the Sunday Soul series, but I want to incorporate long-form blogs on my thoughts and what I find interesting. When I first started this blog, I wanted to focus strictly on the arts, but now I want to shine a spotlight on black artists/musicians/writers and what people are doing for social change. This idea has been floating around in my head for

When I first started this blog, I wanted to focus strictly on the arts, but now I want to delve into my thoughts on the many facets of life, as well as shine a spotlight on black artists/musicians/writers and what people are doing for social change. This idea has been floating around in my head for some time and I want to get it out.  Hope you all are excited as I am! Thanks!

Sunday Soul: Sly and the Family Stone – Just Like a Baby

“There’s a Riot Goin’ On” is the album I always return to whenever I want to listen to Sly and the Family Stone. The album’s dark and somber tone was written during a period when the country was at war with itself. The civil rights movement was coming to end and the people were trying to figure out just how the country was going to move forward. The group produced an album that captured the modern time.

One of the best songs from the album is “Just Like a Baby” which features a slow and steady beat that incorporates the band’s funk sound. Check it out.

Manchester by the Sea Review

For the past ten years, I have been telling everyone just how great an actor Casey Affleck is. After watching both “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” I instantly became a fan of Affleck. His roles in both films showed a varied and moving portrayal of a man in turmoil. I was initially taken aback by Affleck, because I had no idea he was that good of an actor. He seemed to always be in the shadow of his brother Ben.

Affleck garnered significant buzz for both films and seemed destined for better acting roles. Since then, I have followed his career closely as he acted in some forgettable films and a few good ones. It took a while for Affleck to star in a movie, “Manchester By the Sea,” that showcased his stellar acting chops. With his performance being singled out by critics and Golden Globe win, I feel like a proud father as I watch the attention that he rightly deserves.

“Manchester By the Sea” is about Lee Chandler(Affleck) a janitor living in Boston. He is a quiet and sad man that spends his time drinking and dealing with the many tenants in the apartments he maintains. One day, Lee receives a phone call from a friend telling him that his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has died.

Lee hops into his car and heads out to his hometown Manchester-by-the-sea and deals with the funeral arrangements for his brother and his nephew Patrick, who is now parentless. In his hometown, Lee is confronted by past demons that come rushing forth as he finds out that Joe made him the guardian of  Patrick. Lee also comes face to face with his ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and struggles with his inner issues.

Casey Affleck always shines when he plays characters that are depressed, tormented or despondent in nature. He did a great job in the film “Lonesome Jim” where he played a depressed writer that is forced to return to his hometown after not attaining any success in New York. In this film, Affleck’s performance as Lee is both heartbreaking and moving. Lee is a man who is consumed by guilt that he can never shake, no matter what he tries to do. He tries to look out for his nephew the same way that Joe looked out for him after tragedy struck his family.

Lee is a man of few words that is quick to get into a fight when feeling angry or threatened. He gets into several brawls that he starts intentionally. He is afraid of the responsibility of watching for his nephew when he can barely take care of himself. He does try, which makes his plight even more captivating.

Director Kenneth Lonergan does a great job of capturing the characters issues and personal pains. He also showcases the tragedy that haunts an idyllic town as Manchester-by-the-sea for Lee and his ex-wife.

This film was one of the best films I saw in 2016 and eagerly await the Academy Awards to see if Casey Affleck will win an Oscar for his performance.

Slowdive: Alison

Slowdive has grown to be one of my favorite bands. Their dream pop /shoegaze sound is very soothing and Rachel Goswell’s voice is hypnotizing. One of their best tracks is “Alison”, which has a heavy atmospheric sound. Check it out.

Brand New: Handcuffs

Like every other Brand new fan, I am still waiting for them to release another album. It has been a long wait, but I am still hoping beyond hope that it comes out soon. Brand New is a band that I was introduced to later in life and their music opened my eyes to a different side of post-hardcore music.

“Handcuffs” is one of my favorite tracks from the band’s third album “The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me”. The song is quite dark and slow in tempo. Check it out.

Cleo from 5 to 7 review

CLEO DE 5 A 7 - French Poster 2

“Cleo from 5 to 7” is the first film that I have watched by director Agnes Varda after seeing her name grouped into the French New Wave genre. I read countless times that she was one of the best to come out of that group and after watching this film I am eager to see her other films.

“Cleo from 5 to 7” is about Cleo Victoire (Corrine Marchand) a singer who is afraid of hearing her medical test results from her doctor. She believes that she may have Cancer and in the beginning of the film she goes to a fortune-teller to see if she is doomed. Her close friend and maid Angele tries to console her but Cleo cannot shake the distressing feeling that she is going to die. She spends the next few hours walking around Paris and running into friends. As the time nears for Cleo to speak to her doctor she meets a soldier at a park whose optimism distracts her from her sadden state.

This film does an amazing job of showing the passage of time as Cleo tries to avoid the inevitable by surrounding herself with people who are upbeat and full of life. It also does a great job of  capturing the dread that Cleo inhabits as she throws herself into various emotional fits.

The location shooting of Paris is spot on as the viewer feels as if they are right along for the ride with Cleo as she travels all over the city. There are memorable scenes especially on the bus when Cleo and the soldier talk while bus moves along its route.

Overall this film really holds your attention from beginning to end as you wonder if Cleo will receive good news from her test results and presents a wonderful slice of life in Paris.

Solaris 1972 film review

1972-solaris-w-polsce

There are only a few movies that have completely caught me off guard and changed my own perspective on life. These films reaffirm my passion in film and what can be accomplished when done outside the box. Solaris is one of these films. This film is not only intelligent but philosophical in its attempt to explain its existential theme.

“Solaris” is about psychologist Kris Kelvin who is tasked with going to the Solaris space station to investigate why the crew members are sending back nonsensical messages to Earth and to check on their psychological state. Kelvin is shown footage of a conference by space pilot Henri Berton who wants Kelvin to understand what is going on at the space station. Solaris inhabits an oceanic planet that appears to be a brain itself. Berton hopes to convince Kelvin that he is telling the truth and was not hallucinating when he explains that he saw a very tall child on the ocean while on a rescue mission but Kelvin does not believe him. Berton leaves in frustration.

Kelvin arrives on Solaris to see that the space station is in disarray and that the other members are reluctant to see him and appear to be distressed. Kelvin Kelvin also discovers that one of the scientists have committed suicide due to his supernatural experience on the station.

On his first night on the station Kelvin awakens to find his dead wife Hari in his room. Kelvin is shocked to see her and tries to figure out if she real. Kelvin struggles against the other scientists who tell him that she is not real but a memory created by the ocean Solaris is inhabiting. As Hari begins to question her own existence and falls in love with Kelvin things become drastic as Kelvin finds that he is also falling in love with his wife all over again.

I have been trying to watch Solaris for years. I first heard of it after reading an article about its revered director Andrei Tarkovsky. I finally had the chance to watch it and after a slow start I became completely engrossed in the film. This is a smart science fiction film that challenges the viewer to think about its deep themes on existence. Each scientist is conflicted by their own manifestation that the ocean has created for them. They know that they need to put a stop to it before they lose their sanity.

This film examines what it means to exist and what can be explained as real. Birth and recreation are presented as real and fake but does not exactly hold true when the copy begins to believe that they are just as real as anything else. I enjoyed this film tremendously with how it stretched and bended the science fiction genre beyond its limitations. Superb acting and writing makes this film worth watching.

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