( Wednesday, May 26, 2010 )

People Pleaser

Recently people have made disparaging remarks about me and my lack of blog posts. Some have gone so far as to call me vicious names, such as "Inconsistent" - "Lacker of Content" - "Potentially Mediocre," and even "Crap-face" (frankly I'm not actually sure Geoff knows my real name). Being the people pleaser that I am, I feel I must do something. And how!

Yeah, I could post another funny video, or the solution to a thousand year old math problem that has driven mathematicians to madness, or a poem that would break the hardest of the hard and the emotionally-bankruptest of the emotionally-bankrupt.

I had planned to do all three. But then I noticed that almost a year ago I had posted the trailers of several movies I was looking forward to seeing during the summer. So I closed the video, deleted the math, and trashed the poem, and decided to write up my reflections to those movies, on this the [almost] one year anniversary.

Let's begin:

1. The Road
Let's just get it out there: everyone hates when someone says, "Well, the book was better." Those pretentious sons-of-pretentious-mothers, we know it was better. It always is. Providing you like to read. Because if you don't, even the greatest works of literature would suck compared to the film adaptation. I'm not one of those people. It's not that I've read every book that's been made into a movie, and know definitively that this maxim holds true and should never be challenged. It's just that, well, books are better than movies. And I love movies, so that's saying a lot about books.

Anyway. I digress. The Road was an intense movie. It was a heavy movie. You will not feel happy and buoyant and ready to tackle third world debt upon leaving the theatre (or turning off the DVD, at this point). You might even feel like you were punched in the face. Truth is, I thought it was solid. It was relatively faithful to the book, as far these things go (though not nearly as faithful as, say, No Country For Old Men, another Cormac McCarthy novel-turned-movie -- that was almost word for word). Because it was so heavy, I actually think I prefer the book on those grounds alone. I remember having to put the book down a lot and just let the scenes soak in. It was bleak, as bleak if not more bleak than the movie, but one of McCarthy's brilliant strengths is his ability to break through this foreboding darkness with little but powerful rays of light. Every book of his that I've read shares that characteristic, of black-black-black and the light that punctures it. (Remind anyone of a verse? "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" --John 1:5.) Another reason to prefer the book: McCarthy's writing is pure poetry. A movie just can't capture that, no matter how technically accurate it is.

"You have to keep carrying the fire."
The Road

2. District 9
Without a doubt, one of my favourite movies of 2009. I thought it was original, smart, well-executed, and very well made for such a [relatively] small budget and unknown writer/director.

As an aside, I took a screenwriting class with the same teacher who taught Neill Blomkamp (the writer/director) at Vancouver Film School. Not that there was any pressure or anything...

3. The Boat That Rocked
Actually, I still haven't seen it. I heard it wasn't all that great, but it's got Nick Frost in it (Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/Spaced), so I'm holding out hope.

4. Where the Wild Things Are
Mmm. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I didn't have any real attachment to the book when I was a kid, so I wasn't interested in the movie for sentimental reasons. I just thought it looked great. I loved that the Jim Henson Company made the monsters and they weren't made in cursed *shudder* CGI. And I really like Catherine Keener (she won me over as Harper Lee in Capote). So those two aspects of the movie I looked forward to, and ended up really liking.

On the other hand, I couldn't get into the psychotic kid/monster kingdom/semi-overly-serious tone. By the end, though, I was enjoying it more than I was during the first hour or so. I just can't say I was all that crazy about it. Maybe it would take another watch to appreciate it, but the problem is, I don't want to watch it again. So there you go.

5. Public Enemies
Definitely not what I was expecting, but also, in a way, a typical Michael Mann movie. He uses the same filming technique as in Collateral and Miami Vice. I used to hate it (when I first saw Collateral I thought it was a joke), but have kind of fallen in love with it since. In the hands of Mann, at least. I'm not sure too many directors could pull it off. But he has a knack for realism, and the filming style does that. Especially in this movie, it feels true-to-life most of the time. Even his bullets sound like actual bullets, not Hollywood bullets recorded with pots and pans in a sound studio.

The movie was a lot slower paced than I thought it would be, and I think that's what threw most people off. That's the problem with trailers in general, I guess -- they're a marketing ploy to bring in the most people possible, not to bring in the right audience.

6. Moon
Another of my Top 5 movies of 2009. It was just incredible. I've always liked Sam Rockwell, and in this case, he just proved his ability to act. So good. What else can I say? (This is also another win for non-CGI based movies -- they went old-school and relied on physical models, miniatures, so everything would look real. They succeeded.)

7. Terminator Salvation
Horrible. I'm not even going to waste time explaining why it blew chunks of suckiness. Suffice to say, Christian Bale is no longer one of my favourite actors.

8. The Brother's Bloom
I fell asleep a few times while watching it, so I'm not really sure what happened or if it was any good. A few people I've talked to loved it. It's probably worth seeing again, this time from start to finish. What I did see, though, looked potentially-good. Maybe it was just too long. Or, you know, I was just too tired.
-- ~ --

And there you have it. My thoughts. My post. My return to Content. I hope you're happy.

For this summer, there is really only ONE movie I am completely and unabashedly excited for. And I know you're all crazy-excited for it too.

( Tuesday, May 25, 2010 )


There are currently three ways to find this blog. One is the old http://thinkversusthought.blogspot.com. That's ridiculously long, and frankly, I can never remember if it's "versus" or "vs".

The other two ways are new domains I bought. Both take you here. Why two? Because I couldn't decide which I liked better. Sue me.

So you can try either kyledotcom.com (easy, right?) or kylerhymeswith.com (which happens to coincide with my Twitter account, http://twitter.com/kylerhymeswith -- Branding: it's marketing 101, people).

Whenever I have the time (before my children are born? fingers crossed!) I'll be revamping (no, that has nothing to do with vampires--sorry Team Edward) this place to include both my cute little stories and my epic and brilliant works of literature that will stun the Internet and suburban housewives alike. Or be largely ignored.