July 31, 2012

Tuff Fest II: Great Expectations (1946)

Hey cool kids, I'm back with another post from my Tuff Fest series.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Great Expectations was the first of three David Lean movies in the Fest, and all three were serious high points.  The poster's claim that this is the greatest Dickens film ever made arguably stands to this day, save for possible the brilliantly executed Scrooged, staring Bill Murrey (I'm only half kidding I think).

Dickens was undeniably an important and terrific author, but adapting his dry technique to the vivid, fluid world of the silver screen is a task that should not be taken lightly.  Just spending half a minute on the Charles Dickens IMDB page, you can read the names of hundreds of Dickens adaptations, mostly of A Christmas Carol it should be noted. The amount of adequately adapted novels on that list can be counted on one hand.  David Lean's Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are clear outliers among the deluge of Christmas Carol adaptations, and for a good reason.

David Lean appears to have a brilliant grasp not only on the tone of Dicken's works, but how to bring that tone up to date, and translate it to celluloid.  The characters aren't the stiff, dull characters that one could so easily mistake them for in the source material, they crackle and pop with life, if even just barely below the surface.  The world they live in may be dusty and stuffy, but the expertly crafted characters bring life to the oppressive surroundings, sometimes by accenting the fetid, confined atmosphere of Miss Havisham's mansion, and other times by emphasizing the chaos of Mr Jaggers' law office.

Great Expectations is a hard sell.  Not just this movie, or the other adaptations, but the story itself.  As the years go by, the audience for a story about a white English boy getting everything he could have ever wanted simply handed to him, and him dealing with the consequences of that, will continue to dwindle.  It's not that it's not an important tale to have been told, it's more that what the world is defining "important" as is changing.  I may be overstepping my boundaries, but I do think it's safe to say that, at this point, Pip's tale of falling into money and generally just doing anything he wants isn't something people either can relate to, or even wish to read about.  It may be that we've just become so inundated with variations on it, or that type of people who are consuming media (books, movies, music, etc.) has finally shifted to the point that old media is no longer written for us or by us, and, because of that, it no longer hits home the way it used to.

That said, Lean's Great Expectations is a piece of history, well told.  Even though a story may seem a little out of touch, a well told story is still satisfying in and of itself.

-Luke Hunter James-Erickson
To see all the movies written about so far, click here: Tuff Fest II
To see all the movies written about during Tuff Fest I, click here: Tuff Fest I 
For an explanation as to what this is all about, click here: Tuff Fest Introduction.

July 29, 2012

more mixes coming up. (Olympics on crack)

I have like 300 songs I'm slowly making into mixes.  I do hope you will listen to them.  First one of the new batch will be up this week.

In the mean time, here is a poster I made, inspired by the Olympics, and its ridiculous opening ceremony:

July 24, 2012

Tuff Fest II: The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Hey cool kids, I'm back with another post from my Tuff Fest series.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

I remember once hearing a quote by Ice Cube in response to someone asking him about his success as an actor.  Ice Cube's "success" as an actor is, obviously, subjective, but the fact remains that a lot of people really enjoy his work.  The question in question was in relation to why he thought so many rap stars, himself included, were able to so easily make the leap from the recorded medium to that of the filmed.  His response was, roughly, that he thought that people who became successful rappers had something in them, so undeniable spark, that pushed them to put everything they had into anything they did.  That they grew up in an environment that forced them to always work at exactly 100%, otherwise they wouldn't amount to anything.  As a result, everything they attempted, they did their absolute damnedest to be the best.  John Huston is a person of similar ilk.

(read more after the break)

July 17, 2012

Tuff Fest II: Melancholia (2011)

Hey cool kids, I'm back with another post from my Tuff Fest series.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Lars von Trier's Melancholia is an overwhelming, stunning movie.  It's a slowly, methodically moving behemoth, gently crushing your spirit while treating your senses.  From the first moment to the last, it's an assault of swirling, neigh-gaudy images coupled with the prelude to Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and effect which is as troubling as it is pleasing.  I found this movie immensely enjoyable, but it is certainly not for everyone.

Read more after the break!

July 13, 2012

There's Always Money in the Banana Stand

So yeah, moving is a terrible thing.  But some cool things have happened this week.  One being that my band, The Don'ts and Be Carefuls, was named "Best Indie-Pop Band in Denver" by Westword.  That was pretty nice of the people who voted for us.

The other good thing is that I have now completely fallen in love with just about everything that Banana Stand Media is putting out.  They sent out their comp like a month ago, and I've only just recently really had a chance to check it out.  It's really good.  I was first introduced to their sessions via the Nextdoor Neighbors' session a while back, and it's good to see that it's still going strong.  They release new sessions a lot, and, so far, they're all pretty good .  Go check them out.  Also, in lieu of a mix tape this week, here is their comp:

Also, after reading a few of their posts, it's one of my new favorite blogs. These kids are kinda hilarious.

July 10, 2012

Tuff Fest II: The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008)

Hey cool kids, I'm back with another post from my Tuff Fest series.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Not so much an adaptation as an homage, The Good, the Bad, and the Weird (herein referred to as GBW) is seen by most to be the Korean version of Sergio Leon's notorious spaghetti western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but I must add my voice to those proclaiming it to be more then just a rip-off.  Aside from similar main characters, the stories are almost completely separate.  Unlike it's inspiration, however, GBW is hard movie to like.

More below the break!

July 5, 2012

SLM Mixtape #21: Get Yrself a Dance Partner

Depak Ine - John Talabot
Marchin' In - Lo-Fi-Fnk
He's Not Such A Bad Guy After All (12" Version) - Kid Creole and The Coconuts
Bear Hug - The 2 Bears
Callgurls - Handbraekes
Dist - Kazety
Cha Cha 2000/85 - Klaus Dinger + Rheinita Bella Düsseldorf
There But For The Grace Of God (12" Version) - Machine

I may be skipping next week and maybe the week after because of an unexpected need to move.

July 3, 2012

Tuff Fest II: Introduction

Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Hey cool kids.  Last year I decided to do a crazy thing.  I took off a week of work, and watched roughly 60 movies.  I called it Get Tuff Fest (Tuff Fest for short).  Well I went and did it again. Why?  Because movies are awesome.  They are windows to not only our world, but the human spirit.  And I love them, almost as much as I love music.  Last time, I watched roughly 60 movies in 10 days, and it took me months to finish writing about them.  This time it was over 70 in the same amount of time, and I plan on giving each movie a full and fair review.  So be on the look out during the next 70+ weeks for movie reviews, on top of regularly scheduled music updates.


-Luke Hunter James-Erickson
To see all the movies written about so far, click here: Tuff Fest II
To see all the movies written about during Tuff Fest I, click here: Tuff Fest I

Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011)

Hey kiddos, I'm back with a short series on some documentaries I've seen recently that I enjoyed.
Simul-posted here: The Movie Advocate

Page One: Inside the New York Times
Page One's subtitle only gives away about half of what this movie is about.  During the "inside the NYT" parts of the movie, where we watched "real journalism" take place, I was bored. Now, I know the inside of a newspaper office can't all be like a paper version of News Radio, but I really would have liked to see a little bit more hustle.  Or even a little bustle.  But I was left hanging.

The other half of Page One is composed of a history of the NYT, and a chronicling of not only its decline, but the decline of the newspaper as a medium.  This part of the movie was fun, but still not all that engaging.  The most entertaining parts of the movie were when we followed around a rough-and-tumble, from-the-gutter-to-the-executive-suite journalist David Carr, whose gruff, no BS attitude coupled with his professionalism and knowledge gave way to several deeply entertaining confrontations.  Past those parts though, I can't say my interest was held for very long.