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Archive | September, 2012

Weekend Movie: Robin Hood Starring Richard Greene: The Highlander

28 Sep
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Weekend Movie: Frankenstein (1910)

23 Sep

This is the classic black and white silent movie, “Frankenstein.”  It is short and I will do my best to supplement it with a second weekend movie later.

The life-changing poem about life that you have never read

23 Sep

When I was young and still had a lifetime of, “when I was young,” stories ahead of me, I noticed an old, brown book with a deteriorated binding, decrepit pages and to my endless delight, chapter upon chapter of poetry.

Obscure, reputed and the line that lies therein between, it was a treasure worth one thousand times its weight in wonder.  I opened to a random page and found a poem that after my first read, became the poem that I liked more than any short text in the world.  Within a short minute of intent, fascinated repetition, I had it memorised.

I still do and I most likely always will.  I carried it with me always from that day (it fell out of the book when I opened to it) until the binder in which I had carefully secured it, was stolen years later, along with my precious page.

When my life is going well, when it is going poorly and when I just need to be reminded that life is there to live, I think back to this:

When all the world is young, lad,
  And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
  And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
  And round the world away!
Young blood must have its course, lad,
  And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
  And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
  And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
  The spent and maimed among;
God grant you find one face there,
  You loved when all was young.
-Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)

Retro Film Review: Chasing Amy

2 Sep

“Chasing Amy,” Kevin Smith’s third “Askewniverse,” installment, pushes past the category of “Romantic Comedy,” by removing all the bows, ribbons and butterflies and cutting straight and deep into the euphoric pit that is true love.

Partly inspired by his relationship with then girlfriend, Joey Lauren Adams, Smith manages to smash through the wall that is cinematic division of gender ideals to offer an honest perspective relatable to all viewers.

The film stars Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams and Jason Lee, with a very brief appearance of Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith reprising their respective roles as Jay and Silent Bob.

Ben Affleck and Jason Lee star as roommates, Holden and Banky.  Early in the film it is made clear that Holden is the quiet, calm and more intelligent of the two, comparing his comic character creations, “Bluntman and Chronic,” to “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern meet Vladamir and Estragon.” to a somewhat confused fan.  Banky in contrast is shown as defensive, wise-cracking, impulsive and homophobic.

Joey Lauren Adams is the magnetic and charming Alyssa Jones, with whom Holden is enamoured at first sight.

Affleck’s acting is not always what you might call, “top-notch.”  He is no Olivier.  However, in this film, Affleck really delivers.  His character and all the others of this terrific cast, evoke empathy from the viewer with smoothness and ease while still deliver a chuckle in between every sigh.

The text is organic and amazingly well written, sticking with a true and natural voice, while still stylistically inimitable.

Chasing Amy addresses virtually every socio-sexual issue at the political forefront as well as some more quiet and taboo, in a way subtle enough that leaves about an hour before the viewer contemplates any individual statement.

The message behind most successful romantic comedies is often, if not generally, “love is not easy and requires some sacrifices to be made.”  It is a message that does not necessarily mean all that much when the two main characters are completely functional, have stable, white collar employment and Manhattan condos and suffer relationship problems that do not relate to the average person watching the movie.

Smith’s initial attempt at filmmaking and the first movie in the series, “Clerks,” cost him $28,000 to make, all of which was acquired using credit cards.

Smith’s movies are not flashy, over-the-top or action packed, often the photography and editing is not flawless.  Smith’s movies are, however most accessible of any director’s.

“Chasing Amy,” is a thinking comedy, except for the Jay and Silent Bob appearance, there are few laugh out loud moments.  The movie has layers of depth and complexity and should very well have created a standard for all romance movies that followed.

To simplify things, if you loved, “Something Borrowed,” you will probably not love, “Chasing Amy.”  This is not a movie in which the Princess is rescued by Prince Charming.  This is a movie in which Prince Charming and the Princess acknowledge their faults that cannot be reconciled and they do not find or look for reconciliation.

By destroying archetypal characters, by looking past ideals, Smith and the amazing cast of this film create a journey that offers no advice or answers, but an unbeatable and passionate lens of perspective, in a movie that will embed itself in history as one of the best romance movies of all time.

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