Eternal Sunshine

I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the fourth time yesterday, and I realised that I like it even more every time I see it, and that it can actually be considered my favorite movie at the moment. It has everything: A script that's both mind-bendingly smart, showing how good non-linear storytelling can be, and poignant, and two marvelous performances. And of course, Michel Gondry made sure it was visually fascinating as well.

That, of course, and it's one of the most romantic movies I know. Romantic, and never sappy. What I realised while watching it yesterday is that, unlike most romantic movies, this one doesn't close with a kiss. The movie really isn't about kissing. You don't see their first first kiss or their second first kiss, and yet you can see that these two characters are together more clearly than in any other film. Hollywood has glamorized the kiss, made it all important, but how much more romantic than a kiss that resolves nothing is the moment when Joel says, "ok" at the end of the film?

Kaufman is a genius. And lucky for us, a hopeless romantic too.


Declaration of Principles

I think I'm starting to figure out where this blog is going. Figuring out what I want to do with it. Figuring out which subjects belong and which don't.

So I've made myself a declaration of principles in true Kane fashion. Enjoy!

  • I will update once a day. More often only if I find something that absolutely cannot wait, but never less often.
  • I will try to make at least one in 3 updates a true, long update with things I've written myself, instead of just linking to things I find interesting.
  • I will add a picture (and make it square) for every update. I will try to make these pictures aethetically interesting and, if possible, relevant.
  • I will give credit where credit is due if I remember how I discovered a certain web page.
  • I will keep at this for at least a month, even if I get no comments at all.
Despite #05, I would really appreciate comments though. As in, comments that are not spam.

I've done a lot of random surfing (i.e. procrastinating) lately, so my link folder "for blog" is getting pretty full. Some updates you can expect soon:
  • A full-blown Firefly review & linkorama
  • Geek Podcasts and why I love them
  • The how and why of this blog's title
  • Fiction and writing online
  • Jules et Jim review
  • The Fortress of Solitude review
And of course the usual links updates. I'll try to make them a bit less random though.

I hope you like the setup,



I couldn't have said it better...

I stumbled across this website following a link from geekphilosophy. Meg Wood's Boyfriend of the Week. And below is an excerpt from one piece I particularly agree with. For the rest of it, just go to her site and search the archive for this gorgeous man.


Boromir, Boromir, Boromir. He's a complex kinda guy, don't you think? And man, I just really had a lot of sympathy for him, despite the fact I'm sure a lot of people thought he was a weak, greedy jerkface. Who hasn't been so tempted by a piece of shiny jewelry that they haven't gotten a little close to losing control? Okay, okay, so I'm not really into jewelry. But if that ring had been made out of espresso and I'd been camping all weekend with a bunch of short people with hairy feet and no camp stove? I would have totally acted the same way. And besides, he knew he screwed up, and he redeemed himself fully in the end when he sacrifices himself to keep Frodo safe. (I'd apologize for the spoiler there, but if you haven't see "Fellowship" yet, you have no business being here in the first place. What is WRONG with you??)

However, I do have one complaint about Boromir, and this goes for Aragorn, Eomer, Faramir and all the other "men" in the films. Ever hear of taking a bath? Because, honestly, you all just look like a bunch of stinkbombs. Yes, I understand that you had bigger fish to fry. But was there anyone else out there besides me who went, "Yeeeeech!" when Aragorn bent in to kiss Arwen? I mean, I love a good smooch as much as the next girl. But you just KNOW he smelled like sweaty socks. And she was all clean and pretty and looking like she spent a lot of time shopping at Bath and Body Works. I think a gentle hand to the chest and a "Hie thee to the showers!" would've been perfectly acceptable behavior on Arwen's part. Dodge that kiss, baby. Otherwise you're going to have to soap up for days just to get the grime off.

Alas, I digress.

Aside from the movies I just mentioned, though, and the 80 million Sharpe's installments, I was surprised to see that Bean hasn't really had much of a Hollywood career (not that that's necessarily a bad thing, mind you). He seems to be doing a lot better ever since LOTR (for obvious reasons), but many of the other movies in his list look either really obscure or just plain bad. And, even worse, just from looking at the descriptions of many of them, it appears that his niche is in playing bad guys. Which, of course, he does very well. But can't somebody cast him as the lead in a romantic comedy? I mean, it could be a period thing so he could still ride horses and wear chain mail and stuff. But I'd really like to see a lot more of his smile, if that's okay with you movie producing types. It's a rare thing to see in a film -- bad guys don't smile much, and when they do, it's because they're psychos and they're relishing the fact they're about to blow your head off. Somehow, not such a turn-on, you know what I mean? But dang he's got a great smile. And for evidence, just look at the right-most picture above -- doesn't that just pull at your insides? Don't you just want to grab that smile and plant a smooch on it?


Back soon with more geeky goodness.


Great article about Cronenberg

The soundtrack of my life

I just saw the special music trailer of Cameron Crowe's latest, Elisabethtown. In it, Cameron Crowe explains how to him music is crucial to movies, and that the package of notes he had for the film's music was thicker than the script. This only makes it all the more surprising that the result of this hard labour is, well, unsurprising. Granted, I liked finding Ryan Adams on the list, but there would have been more interesting Ryan Adams songs to choose. Aside from that, it's some beatlesque songs, some sacharine pop, and, of course, a lot of slightly bland, melancholy songs. Tom Petty? Come on. And while Crowe rants against original music in the trailer, why then did Nancy Wilson contribute so much music for it?

Now, I can already hear the next objection, namely, are melancholy, slightly bland songs not what I listen to most? While I would object to the bland part, it's true, but music for a movie needs to be a bit more than that, needs to be a little unexpected. In my humble opinion, music needs to be a bit unexpected in a film to have full effect, needs to provoke a little, call up associations you wouldn't necessarily had had with the images alone.

To be entirely honest, I still need to find out what exactly it is that people love about Crowe. Singles was ok, but already so dated. Jerry Maguire? Amusing enough, some strong scenes, but overall just too cute. Vanilla Sky? Although I liked the music in that film, the original was better, and even that explained things to much at the end, made them both prosaic and unrealistic. Admittedly, I haven't seen Almost Famous, but a unitmate has it on DVD, so I will as soon as I find the time, maybe that will change my opinion. So far, I reserve judgment about whether Crowe is worth all the fuss.

I'm not saying putting together a terrific soundtrack is easy.I'm just surprised that Crowe is known for it, emphasises that aspect of his films so much. What do I find good soundtracks then? (Sidenote: I will not talk about musicals here, as they fall in an entirely different category)

First of all, I like soundtracks by (mainly) just one artist. And by artists, I mean people who don't usually compose for films. Example of the above are the soundtrack Air made for The Virgin Suicides, for example, or the soundtrack Belle & Sebastian made for Storytelling. The soundtrack Badly Drawn Boy made for About a Boy could not have been more perfect. The inverse, when directors use songs by a certain artist as a template for their film, works too: Aimee Mann's songs existed before PTA made Magnolia, but now they are impossible to separate from one another.

I'm not saying the only good soundtracks are by one artist, but those by one artist seem to have a higher probability of being good. Making an amalgam of songs fit well too the movie and fit well together is much harder, and even if this is achieved, the soundtrack sometimes falls just short of greatness. The soundtracks for Garden State and Lost in Translation for example are filled with beautiful songs that fit the mood of the film perfectly and that fit well together, but as a total both get bogged down too much in emo, and the songs are a bit too alike sometimes. Wonderboys pulled it off, with a collection of wonderful singer-songwriter songs, but was almost too repetitive.

I think there are at the moment only two true masters when it comes to choosing songs for the movies and making it theirs, making it impossible to imagine any other song in a certain scene than the one they chose. The first is Wes Anderson. and he's getting better with every movie. He has a knack for finding totally obscure music that you can grow to love, from baroque pieces to portugese covers of Bowie songs (by Seu Jorge) to Satie to songs by Bob Dylan in his more obscure periods. And all this music fits in with the movies perfectly, are an inherent part of what makes Wes Anderson's world so peculiar, but still familiar from one movie to the next.

The second master is, of course, Quentin Tarantino. Who can hear "Stuck in the Middle with You" now without seeing Michael Madsen? "Miserlou" without thinking of Pumpkin and Honey Bunny? And all songs for Kill Bill have been used now for commercials and TV shows, sometimes to strange effect: the horror movie tune Darryl Hannah wistles was used in a idealistic commercial for a family car. With Tarantino, it even goes so far that because I saw Kill Bill II before I finally saw The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Morricone's soundtrack felt a little out of place in the latter film.

I agree with Crowe that music adds something to seeing a film, can make the experience of seeing a film unforgettable. But I also think that for it to do that sometimes takes some unconventional choices.