Saturday, February 17, 2007

Continuing on my list of top ten movies and albums, her is numbers SE7EN* through five. Enjoy.

*I'm sorry, I couldn't resist.

Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima directed by Clint Eastwood

-Flags of Our Fathers and its companion piece, Letters From Iwo Jima, tell the story of the famous battle
between the Japanese and the Americans from both
views. A average director would have only filmed the
American version of the battle, providing the viewer
with only half of the spectrum. Clint Eastwood does
not take the easy road in making the film only from
the "winners" of the battle, he shows each side from a sympathetic view-point: two opponents united by
their similar situation. Eastwood's saga may seem as
an anti-war film due to it's shameless depiction of the horrors faced everyday by the brave soldiers that
fought for their country, but it is quite the
contrary. The films are able to blend honour for the
soldiers who risked their lives to stand up
for what they believed in with a certain distrust for
the governments who start these wars, all
while depicting the true horrors of war. The result: a
harrowing master-work from one of the finest
directors alive.

Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways
-The first album from the last recording session of the late, great Johnny Cash is at once a masterpiece and a heart-wrenching performance. The "Man in Black," on his deathbed during the recording of this album, hides nothing. Listening to the album, you feel as if this man is baring his soul to anyone who will listen. Cash's sickness is clearer here more than ever; you can hear it in his voice. Although listening to the album after Cash's untimely death is difficult but also rewarding: you are able to hear one of the greatest artists of all time in action once more. For any one artist to get a giant number of celebrities to perform in his video is a task in itself; for a dead artist to get a giant number of celebrities to perform in his video is nearly impossible. Not for Johnny Cash. In the video for "God's Gonna Cut You Down," celebrities such as Kanye West, Bono, Chris Martin, Kate Moss, Johnny Depp, Brian Wilson, Mick Jones, Rick Rubin, Owen Wilson, etc. lined up to star in the three-minute black and white clip. For anyone else this would be impossible; not for Johnny Cash. R.I.P.

Pan's Labyrinth directed by Guillermo del Toro
-At face value, this film may seem like a fairytale intended for all ages; it isn't. Quite the contrary, this is a fairytale intended for adults. The film follows the life of Ofelia, a young girl with a exceptional taste for fairy tales. Ofelia, whose father recently died in the war, is on her way to meet the equivalent of Schindler's List's Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes). Ofelia's mother has married Captain Vidal, the man in charge of killing people who rebel against Fascism. Ofelia discovers that she is in possession of the spirit of the princess of an underground civilization and is offered to join the eternal civilization if she can complete a series of surreal tasks. The film is beautiful and disturbing and brilliant all at once. Del Toro shows that he is at the forefront of creativity in film.

TV on the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain

-How do you know that your band is good? When the "Thin White Duke" tells you that you're good. David Bowie contributes to this fantastic album by providing vocals to "Province," a song that is only made better by the addition of Bowie's vocals. The album is absolutely fantastic in every way imaginable. The album never falls into the trap of using too much distortion like many others have. "Wolf Like Me," which sounds similar to David Bowie circa. Low, is by far the greatest song on the album. For anyone who hasn't heard of this band, which I am sure there are several people, should not hesitate to purchase this album immediately; it is worth every penny.

Volver directed by Pedro Almodovar

-When it comes to reading emotions, no one matches Almodovar. No other director is able to blend such a wide variety of emotions into each and every frame of film used. Penelope Cruz, who has never performed better, stars as a woman who is tangled up in murder, love and haunting all near the beginning of the film. Carmen Maura as the "dead" mother is fantastic. While watching this film, the heating was out at Centre Cinemas resulting in a freezing cold cinema, this film made me forget the fact that it was so cold and forced me to pay attention throughout. On surface level, this film looks like a straight forward tale; this opinion changes once you begin viewing the film. There are a surprising number of twists that engulf the film to the point where you become confused and have no idea what is really happening--Is her mother dead and back in spirit, or is she alive?--these questions only add to the eerie mood this film emits. Almodovar is able to get the most out of all his actors and sculpts their performances into a masterpiece of modern cinema.

The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers
-If the Raconteurs is a side project for Brendan Benson and Jack White, what would this album sound like if it were a main project? This album may be a side project, but what a side project! the album makes you feel like you are back in the 70's listening to some band play in their garage. Jack White, king of modern day garage rock bands, brings his signature style while Brendan Benson brings the pop vocals and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler bring the pounding bass that completes the package. It's modern day band playing 70's Camaro-rock. Blues, rock, pop all occur on the album and sometimes even occur in the same song. The Raconteurs have made an album that may even rival select albums by the White Stripes.

I'll be back in a few days to post numbers four to one on the list. Also, I am currently reading Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut; it is fantastic.



At 10:06 AM, Blogger Aren said...

I didn't know that you liked Volver so much. Interesting. I am still of the opinion that Flags of Our Fathers is a seperate film from Letters from Iwo Jima and can stand alone from it so I wouldn't put them in the same slot but that is just me.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I agree that both films are able to be seen seperately but in my opinion, to get the entire spectrum, they should really be seen together; it is therefore I put them on the list as one. I respect your decision to place them seperately, but for me, the films are able to convey a greater message, due to the similarities the share, when seen together.


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