film

boyhood is like slowfood

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Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood was born of such a simple, smart idea, it begs an equally simple question – could he just keep going? Every year for 12 years, the writer/director shot the same actors to tell the story of a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his life from the age of 6 to 18. It’s an idea that, obviously, could be extended to tell the character’s story for years to come. There are other extremely formative times in a person’s life, outside childhood.... germain lussier//slash film
Richard Linklater‘s “Boyhood” was born of such a simple, smart idea, it begs an equally simple question – could he just keep going? Every year for 12 years, the writer/director shot the same actors to tell the story of a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his life from the age of 6 to 18. It’s an idea that, obviously, could be extended to tell the character’s story for years to come. There are other extremely formative times in a person’s life, outside childhood…. germain lussier//slash film

i was enchanted by the film “boyhood” directed by richard linklater as i watched it yesterday and a couple of things certainly jumped out at me – pacing and content.  the first and very noticeable was my own jittery feeling at the pace and the length of the film. the content was abundant and flavorful, but my own anxious reaction was a point of curiosity. and the second delicious and familiar experiential are the truth and wisdom that evolve through the years by just living life itself.

the film was made over a period of 12 years and the cast and the script evolved and changed with time even though intention remained the same. just like a family holiday dinner, i believe that the ritual of making the film created its own ritual quality that became a supporting character in the film just as it becomes a ritual in an actual family. i had no doubt that the reality of comfort grew into its own as the storyline grew with its characters.

the truth, pain, and wonder of self-discovery and emotional hop scotch that is part of growing up comes across like gravy on mashed potatoes. the flavor in life often comes from what is mixed with our experience in our family life. and boyhood underlines this. and

this is a good film. this is a wonderful idea. this is worth your time. this is evolution. this is film making growing up a little. this made me want to slow down a bit. and it reminded me that life doesn’t always give us the family we want. we get the family we get and we have to find a way to make that fit.

“We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods… A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life… May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the contagion of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency. Our defense should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food.”(Excerpt from the Official Slow Food Manifesto, as published in “Slow Food: A Case for Taste” in 2001)

 

no sleep till tom tom

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the older i get, the more television i watch-this seems a reality i cannot escape. most of this is not memorable. but once in awhile there is a spark of something here or there that catches my eye. the most recent of these is tom wlaschiha whom i ran across on a new tv show called “crossing lines”. the lips and eyes are moody, dreamy, and hard to forget. as i inquired more, i realize he has been around a while and has a healthy cinematic resume including another favorite of mine- game of thrones. upon further inspection- his resume expands- delightfully so- see here-

this post is juvenile. it is adolescent. it is asinine. and yet here it is. and i’m coveting it like a box of godivas or chocolate covered cherries. sweet, delicious, and over-rated. but as you might see, it is also a cultural norm- this admiration of the physical that overtakes us now and then. now must be a “then” for me. and i can’t wait to see the film made about christopher isherwood for myself. it must also be adapted from the two novels known as ” the berlin stories” as was the globally famous “cabaret”. 





cloud atlas is a pousse cafe

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Definition of POUSSE-CAFÉ
: an after-dinner drink consisting of several liqueurs of different colors and specific gravities poured so as to remain in separate layers

Origin of POUSSE-CAFÉ
French, literally, coffee chaser
First Known Use: 1880
the main thing i remember about a pousse cafe is the layered effect of the drink. it is entirely 
made of liquid, however because of the density and color of each of the liquids, each ingredient remains distinct from its counterparts, resting gently yet firmly apart from its neighbor. each of these layers of colored liquid form a more perfect union- a collection of tastes that seem overwhelming and overpowering perhaps simply because of the presentation. even though i have no plan to drink, the concept of this zany and monumental digestive concoction came to mind.
this is how i interpreted the film “cloud atlas” which i just finished viewing at the theater. it is certainly epic, just as a pousse cafe. it has bold strokes of storytelling layered upon itself, so stimulating to the senses that it is hard to discern the taste. i don’t know if i liked the taste, but the experience was delightful and seemed profound.
i haven’t read the book, so i cannot dissect the story transfer. but i can articulate that that it does present the idea of reincarnation, life, death, heaven in a way that felt genuine. i don’t feel able to retell any particular scenes at this point, because i feel as if i heard a fable and need some time to absorb the intent.
i do realize that i was not able to pick out all the actors in each of their roles. there are 6 story lines running simultaneously with most of the actors having a role in each one. they look very different each time, sometimes changing races and sexes. i understand that the work was a source of inspiration and true joy for each of the thespians.
i know i will see this film again- probably more than once. i also know that the immediate themes that jump out to me such as greed, power, and fate remain a source of intense curiosity and compel and propel each of our generations forward. cloud atlas underscores these ideas. no matter which century there seem to be those who profit and those who foot the bill. 
the film is an adventure, a fantasy, a fable, and a little philosophical. i savored it on several levels. it is visually astounding, intellectually challenging, and opened my imagination. there is a scene near the end which does involve watching the clouds. it reminded me of the wonder of being a child, laying on the ground, and watching the clouds drift by, change shape and density which engaged my brain and stretched my understanding of life. 
i know that film changes my thinking. it is an experience for me which i have always and will always value. cloud atlas has done me a great service with a wide stroke of its brush. it is not a small story. i am compelled to explore my assumptions. it is not just a moment in time. it is a multi-layered and colorful legend that i hope will help me get somewhere.

so the album posted below does not connect anywhere with this film except in my mind. i have recently been introduced to dj nico (nicolas jaar) and am captivated by his sense of storytelling, tempo, and suggestion. it stirs echoes and memories in my heart and mind, perhaps just as this wachowsky/tykwer film “cloud atlas” did for me. this soundtrack, the film, and a pousse cafe are not not a mere digestif for after dinner. they are an experience for the senses to rejuvenate and inspire. 

Denver Sneak Preview- How To Survive A Plague

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GIVEAWAY: Enter to win an admit 2 pass to the advance screening of HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE!
IFC Films presents HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, the story of two coalitions—ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE opens at the Denver Film Center Colfax on October 12!

Be one of the first to see the film on Wednesday, October 3 at 7:00PM in Denver! Enter to win by texting the word CHANGE and your ZIP CODE to 43549. (Entry deadline: 10/1 at midnight; Example Text: CHANGE 80246). Winners will be notified on Tuesday, October 2. There is no charge to text 43KIX. Message and data rates from your wireless carrier may apply. Remember, movie companies overbook previews, so arrive early because seating is not guaranteed.

the anonymous people

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image- greg williams.. the anonymous people

i came across this vid on kickstarter by a guy named greg williams. it is a testament to the burgeoning social change movement that has been kicking up its heels on the eastern seaboard over the last 10 years. addressing the undeniable stigma of addiction as well as highlighting the lackluster outcomes of our now traditional substance treatment, the film asks questions about the invisible block of americans who have moved beyond their addiction and become happier and more productive members of society. this fact, of course, never getting much airtime or front page coverage, unlike the devastation and drama caused by active addiction.

the film clip stirs so many emotions in me. i believe that the wonders that have touched my life in recovery have rocked my world. it’s hard to imagine that others wouldn’t  want this if they understood it, even if they  only got a fraction of the relief i have found.

none-the-less greg williams is tapping into something greater than himself here. i encourage any readers to watch his clip and consider a contribution to his efforts. the local recovery organization i volunteer with has decided to donate enough to snag a private showing next year with a guest appearance by greg as well as a q&a. i fully support recovery coming out of the shadows and into the light.

here’s the link for his kickstarter project.

people like us

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image credit...collider.com

after reading a couple of reviews online, i had shied away from bothering to see this film. prior to that, there had been only anticipation on my part. but the review that soured me was from usa today and said something about mawkish cliches featuring unreal people yada yada.

those words and that sentiment are biting and offputting. for some reason- probably chris pine- i decided to see it anyway and boy-o-boy was i surprised. just like a really incredible birthday present surprise – one that really fits and looks good. i had no idea “people like us” would give such a sweet and endearing look at the frailties of modern american families. i didn’t find alex kurtzman’s sweet and tender film a bit mawkish- only the reviewer seems mawkish.

i got hooked pretty early on. any movie than jon favreau takes time to participate in,  usually works for me. the story seemed real- at least most of it. the connections and the disconnections between these two siblings is very familiar to my own story. i have two siblings that i have not connected with much at all. the very few encounters i have had with both have been rife with hurt and rivalry, fear and mistrust, anger and denial. this is my truth and i watched it being played out on the big screen so very adeptly.

michelle pfeiffer’s performance i think might be my favorite of hers to date. she was stellar. imperfect, quite flawed actually, and tough. elizabeth banks is so perky as a recovering alcoholic bartender who is adrift in her life. and of course i loved the 12 step bits. but chris pine really stole the show. he has a tendency to breathe life into his lines (and the story) in a way that seems so very fresh and organic. loved him in star trek, but this one made me a fan.

without a doubt, the young man’s role- the son, nephew, and grandson is perhaps the glue that binds it all. we find him in the throes of acting out his frustration, but his shenanigans (and more) are so very transparent and penetrable that i couldn’t resist believing that i wanted to help this kid somehow. and the characters in the film must have felt the same way. his behaviors never overshadowed his feelings which are at the heart of this film. i guess it is “people like us” that still connect to all the things that were f’d up in our childhood and our families.

if you haven’t seen it, i am not gonna give you the plot or the bits. suffice it to say that it seems to me that no matter what the “focus on the family” folks try to sell at the carnival, american family life is splintered and disparate in enormous ways. we have again become nomadic and gypsy-like, technology and commerce leading some of our choices, while libido and lust still  bring us to howl at the moon.

the loveliest thing i took away was hope in our spirit. our human ability to cope with things that are not easy to cope with. we lie, we cheat, we are greedy, we manipulate to get what we want, and yet we hope for the best and we can often find a way to make good of a very very difficult situation. of course i have no choice in the matter, but i am glad i am “people like us”

i have included the liz phair song written specifically for this movie as well as an interview with her about that process. all in all, a thoughtful and introspective time was delivered by this movie. i needed a look back and a look in. and i did it with some kind thoughts in my heart.

the beautiful south

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image credit… samuel hodge
If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s, then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name. ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1958, spoken by the character Holly Golightly
6 days in bed with pneumonia makes a girl a little stir crazy.. or maybe even a lot. i have slept and sweated and sweated and slept. the creases and the clumps in the pillows and the bedding have become just like the pea under the princess’s bed and have made it almost impossible to get comfortable.
 i’m almost as tired of sleeping as i am tired.  i am hoping that wellness is on its way.
during my week long romance with bed rest has been an ongoing madness for drama- especially the cinematic kind.  star trek (chris pine and zachary quinto) made me smile  and smile again.  secretariat continued to be a winner. dolphin tale actually made me cry 5 times.  the film that continues to stand out the most for me is the help. i have been racking my brain trying to figure out exactly why.,
i am from a small town in central illinois- not the south. my grandmother, who is responsible for most (if any) moral fiber i have was from alabama. her family were farmers who emigrated to illinois. i don’t know if the writing, the stories, the drama, the conflict of the south has particular significance for me, but it certainly is easy to wear. 
i have loved tennesseee williams, carson mccullers, willa cather, truman capote,  thomas wolfe,  and flannery oconnor, and harper lee. i have read and watched those stories with fervor and adulation for as long as i can remember. and as i languished around this week, partaking of this newer delicacy over and over, i found myself feeling as if i had been given a very large and comforting hug from a storyline rife with regional language, sarcasm, innuendo, but mostly the undaunting tenacity of the human spirit. 
i/m not sure about past life wisdom. i am not an expert on reincarnation. but i believe in my mind there is a case for it here. i grew up as a small boy listening to stories told around the kitchen table. and these southern writers and stories sound very much like the same thing to me. they seem to be familiar and personal, like it’s being told over a tall glass of iced tea.
so on a week long dirge like this, when i have fever, fatigue, and spend most of my time alone, it makes sense that i would like to drench myself in something that reminds me of my childhood. laughter and drama being played out in stories at the kitchen table. and then there’s all that confection and fried food.:)
Minny Jackson: Eat my shit. 
Hilly Holbrook: Excuse me! 
Minny Jackson: I said eat… my… shit. 
Hilly Holbrook: Have you lost your mind? 
Minny Jackson: No, ma’am but you is about to. ‘Cause you just did.