Five Things I Am Into Right Now, June 2012

When I lived in Los Angeles, I found the weather boring. It was almost always the same every day!

Warm, no clouds. Warm, no clouds. Warm, no clouds.

And while for some that may seem like a piece of heaven, for me it made time non-existent. I didn’t feel days pass or time; it all felt the same, like a wheel on a well-paved road. I like bumps in the road to jar me into reality. So it is not surprising to me that most of my activities this month relate to things indoors.

That’s just how I roll…

Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Am I the only one that loves it when Apple does these long titles?  There is something wonderfully “out there” about doing  it. And speaking of “out there” in many ways this album  feels more experimental than her previous CDs; surprising, since this is her first album in 7 years. Her demons are still tormenting her and make appearances in every songs, but there are also wonderful little moments of innocence and beauty, under the slighty out-of-tune piano and tribal drummings and random chantings.

My favorite track is the opening one, “Every Single Night.” A song that opens almost like a lullaby and then become primal during its chorus, if you can call that primal. I feel in a way like I am a therapist and she is opening all of her mind to me in something akin to a stream-of-conscious conversation.  I love watching her creativity unfold like this.

Seriously, she should make albums more often. There are few artists out there like her that walk the line between pop and artistic experimentation.

Yet, let it be known this is not an album for someone who simply wants some background music or something catchy. No, Ms. Apple has something to say and she wants your attention.  Strangely, it reminds me of John Coltrane and his music.

The books of Ray Bradbury

After the announcement of his passing (Something I would like to point he claimed would not happen since he was promised immortality), I wrote about Mr. Bradbury and what he meant to me as a writer (You can read that article here).

I have not read Bradbury in years. It’s not like I fell out of love with his writing, it’s just I was in a different place and the work he was creating in his later years, never hit me like the earlier work. His sequel to Dandelion Wine still troubles me. Seriously, characters talk to their penises in the novel… No, I’m not joking.

I am planning to tackle two of his books this month. First, From the Dust Returned; I’ve not read this one, but I have heard good things about it (I’ll probably recognize a lot of scenes and stories in it from his collections since this is not the first time he has used these characters). The second will be Something Wicked This Way Comes. I remember being really moved by the father-son story in it the last time I read it so many years ago; now that I am a dad I want to see how differently I experience the work.

Ray Bradbury was a fountain of ideas and the amount of work he created is awe-inspiring to me. In many ways, that Bradbury has been gone for a while, but his death ends it all more permanently. I am going to miss knowing he is out there, waking up again after a very inspiring nightmare that he just has to write about.

Uncharted 3

This game plays with my mind.

No seriously, it does.

I never took the warnings on the front of games seriously until I played Uncharted 3.  Have any of you had this experience? After playing the game for a few hours I felt not exactly “real.” I kept staring at my hands and everything felt close and faraway. It was creepy and fascinating all at the same time.

Okay, after that I promised myself I would never play it more than an hour again.

Still, I love the game. The characters and story are fun to watch play out. Everyone compares Nathan Drake to Indiana Jones, but beyond historical adventure I don’t see it. Indy is more real, he takes a hit and falls down. Drake has the capability to scale walls and recover from bullets; Indy never had those skills.

What I love about the game is the supporting characters. Oh, yeah, Drake is fun to play with, but the interactions he has and the relationships are great. I just wish they spent more time on the bad guys. So far they feel very cookie cutter to me. Still I can see why people are obsessed with Uncharted games… assuming they don’t play it for more than one hour at a time.

The Films of Wes Anderson

I cannot wait to see Wes Anderson’s new movie Moonrise Kingdom. I have been a fan of his work for years, but thanks to the trailers for the new film, I’m geeked about his stories.

I love his dialogue, and what it says about his characters, he gives each line an importance; its in a way like each character bares his/her soul with each conversation. Nothing is ever out of place in his worlds, everything serves a purpose. Making it not surprising he has made so few films.

My favorite of his films is Fantastic Mr. Fox. That film makes me smile from beginning to end. I have also rewatched Rushmore recently; strangely, I must admit, I didn’t like this film the first time I saw it. I blame the marketing of it more than anything else since everyone compared it to comedies. It’s not really a comedy, per se, more a character study with some comic elements.

I am still floored by the emotional impact of The Dajeeling Limited. I don’t want to give too much away, but the story of the Indian father haunts me.

I hope to see The Royal Tenanbaums again later this month… and of course, Moonrise Kingdom once they bother to open it in my area (Sometimes I miss living in Los Angeles, just not the weather; but if still lived there I would have seen it by now. Argh!).

Prometheus

I wrote about some of my issues around this film earlier this week (you can find that article here), but I can not deny the fact that Ridley Scott has made a film that continues to distract me.

Will I see it again? No, probably not.

Will I buy it on blu-ray? No.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the experience, but it was just that, an experience. I was on the “ride” and now I am off of it. If you liked his film Alien, I recommend it, and if you like a good philosophical film hiding in an action-adventure, I again recommend it.

Just don’t expect everything to make sense when you leave the theater.

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