Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Song of the Week - Oh Love/Green Day

It doesn't get much better than new Green Day, right? I can't wait for the new album.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Words - Movie Review

Hollywood loves to make movies about writers. Since watching someone write is only slightly more exciting than watching paint dry, it’s amazing how many films show people sitting at a desk, struggling to bring words to life.

The new Bradley Cooper film, The Words, deals not only with the struggles of writing, but moral dilemmas. If you had a hard time making it big in the literally world and you stumbled onto to an old manuscript that was brilliant, would you pass it off as your own? We all know that once an author has one wildly successful book, publishers will often release older works that never made it into print. So could this manuscript serve as a gateway and would the ends justify the means?

Cooper plays, Rory Jansen, a struggling young author trying to live in New York and be a literary genius to his new wife (Zoe Saldana). However, this is simply a story being read to an audience by an older established author, Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid). This is where The Words runs into some problems.

The trailer gives the impression that the film is about Bradley Copper’s character, and it is, but when you realize in the opening that Quaid is reading from his new fictional novel, something is immediately lost. Of course most fiction is derived from real life and questioning Quaid as to whether he’s telling a story, or writing a cathartic autobiography is pivotal to the film. Still, a lack of connection exists for the viewer.

We have two stories now and yet we will be told a third by Old Man (Jeremy Irons), the author of the lost manuscript. His story is told with heart and you feel the passion he has for love, family and art. The film is only 97 minutes though, so it’s a lot of people to cram into one cohesive story and you don’t get to be with anyone long enough to get too emotional attached.

I saw this movie with my daughter and it just didn’t work for her. Myself, being a constant struggling writer, I was able to feel the pain and betrayal these characters felt. It did all come together for me in the end and I could see how Quaid’s successful author was necessary to the storytelling. I thought the film portrayed the act of writing and writers better than most films and I really did like the story and the moral dilemmas it presented. If this is subject matter you enjoy, I think you will feel very satisfied with this film.

Of course my critical eye had some problems that I couldn’t let go of. How could Rory (Bradley Copper) and Dora(Zoe Saldana) afford to go to Paris for their honeymoon? Seriously, we keep hearing about how broke they are and how much they’re struggling and they go to Paris and they have money to buy stuff? Even my 19 year old daughter leaned over and said to me, “How could they afford to go to Paris?” Take a moment to say it was a wedding gift from the parents or something because that was just too unbelievable.

Secondly, even non-writers know that publishing houses are suffering. It is next too impossible for an unknown author to be traditionally published these days. What actual writers know is that all writers have day jobs to pay the bills. That’s one of the reasons writing is so hard! So, to think Rory would be writing full-time after college, live in New York City and think that’s going to work out for him, makes him unbelievable about the current state of writing these days. Heck, this guy doesn’t even have an agent! Wasn’t this type if thing discussed in his classes? All of his professors are writers AND they are teaching!

It sounds like I didn’t like this film, but I actual did. The acting was great and the emotions from all three main characters, Quaid, Copper and Irons felt very real. It had a great jumping off point and I wanted it to be better. I’m glad I saw it though and I would probably watch it again on DVD, I only wish I could have extracted a bit more from it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Song of the Week - Tuesday Morning/Melissa Etheridge

I heard this on my local radio station this morning in rememberance of 9/11. What a beautiful song and tribute. I've never heard this song before. When Etheridge sings a song she really puts her soul in it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Song of the Week - Littlest Things/Lily Allen

Yesterday I saw Celeste and Jesse Forever. It had a killer soundtrack, which I don't seem to be able to find anywhere. At least you can count on the internet to provide people's personal lists of songs. I found out that the song Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg sing in the car is this great song by Lily Allen. I hope my iPod is ready to play this one over and over again.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Roundup!

Labor Day officially marks the end of the summer movie season. I saw a lot of the movies this summer. I reviewed a great number of them, I'm behind on writing up a few, and some I missed altogether. I about a million times I planned to see The Dark Knight Rises, but it never seemed to materialize. I ended the season with seeing, Celeste and Jesse Forever. I'll try to review that this week. Here's a list of what I did see. What were your favorites of the summer? What were the duds? Let me know.

The Amazing Spiderman
The Avengers
Magic Mike
Moonrise Kingdom
The Odd Life of Timothy Green
Ruby Sparks
Safety Not Guaranteed

**I'm working on my review of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Your Sister's Sister and Celeste and Jesse Forever, look for those later this week. My favorite surprise gem of the summer was Safety Not Guaranteed. I actually went and saw it a second time. Now on to the serious Fall Flicks!