Happy Accidents (2000)
It’s a strange movie.
Marisa Tomei’s beauty is what happens
when cuteness impregnant sexyness
while cheating on graceful
Vincent D’Onofrio needs a more writable last name.
And he is so magnificent. His acting is so elusive,
it feels like watching an eclipse of an apparition of
who he really is and a bold mass of who he acts to be.
Though odd, it’s a great feel-good movie.
A mellow suspense is drawn so carefully throughout the film.
It’s worth a watch, definitely.
As Good As It Gets (1997)
Jack Nicholson’s acting that tiptoes so hysterically on a line between an over-exaggeration and a professionalism.
I hear Frankie Vallis singing ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ every time Helen Hunt brights the screen. My eyes came, saw, then stared
The recent trend of abstract, obscene, and somewhat off-beat directing and editing does make me nostalgic toward good ole straight-forward, rich but no extra-baggage - maybe much simpler (compared to after 2000 era) style of 80s and 90s films.
Jack Nicholson is surely a huge part of why the film is so attractive. Melvin Udall is not an easy character to portrait. Transition from ‘impossible to love’ to ‘hard to hate’ has been done and dipped into by many actors - but I dare say - only a few successful. As one of his better ‘best’ works, Melvin Udall as a protagonist is a big chunk indeed. But the film is great, not solely because of Nicholson- but really due to abundance of fizzling chemistry. Chemistry between any two elements. Between actors, between Nicholson and a Camera, BETWEEN HELEN HUNT AND A CAMERA, between actors and a plot- between Udall and Nicholson, between a single line and how it is spoken. Great chemistry is found in every detail.
Oh and that damn adorable dog.
The phrase ‘As Good As It Gets’, generally, could mean two things. One is that no matter what you do, It will not get better, the other is that this is so great that it couldn’t be greater- whole half full, half empty deal- The film offers two sides of that coin in a sneaky way- but the strokes are firm and so obvious that they seem profound.
In these days a genre called Romantic Comedy has not been as … mesmerizing as it used to be. I think the problem is that filmmakers focus too much on corny ‘comedy’ and cheesy ‘romantic’, because they just assume that who they should hunt is female moviegoers. But really, with more fluent ways of embracing dramas and with well thought-out characters - Romantic comedy could regain the throne, it once had during 80s and 90s, and be loved by a larger layer of audience.
As Good As It Gets, is as it reads - indeed
as good as it gets.
you push aside
what is in front
but when it is done so
more than one is allowed-
what seems to be an eligibility
then patiently hindering
a hole, well a crack really.
though it’s only deep enough
to wet your feet
to comb your shins
to flirt with your knees.
and its, the hole’s, location
but wherever it may be
a wholesome picture of
what you’ve pushed aside
seems so filled with
reasons why a melody
needed a harmony,
I wanna squeeze that hole
and see what comes out of void
but that is not allowed
by my own pride
Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
According to magnificent Mr. Zweig
Chess, The Royal Game is -
“But is it not already an insult to call chess anything so narrow as a game? Is it not also a science, an art, hovering between these categories like Muhammad’s coffin between heaven and earth, a unique yoking of opposites, ancient and yet eternally new, mechanically constituted and yet an activity of the imagination alone, limited to a fixed geometric area but unlimited in its permutations, constantly evolving and yet sterile, a cogitation producing nothing, a mathematics calculating nothing, an art without an artwork, an architecture without substance and yet demonstrably more durable in its essence and actual form than all books and works, the only game that belongs to all peoples and all eras, while no one knows what god put it on earth to deaden boredom, sharpen the mind, and fortify the spirit? Where does it begin, where does it end? Any child can learn its basic rules, any amateurs can try his hand at it; and yet, within the in-alterable confines of a chessboard, masters unlike any others evolve, people with a talent for chess and chess alone, special geniuses whose gifts of imagination, patience and skill are just as precisely apportioned as those of mathematicians, poets, and musicians, but differently arranged and combined…..”
”In principle I have always found it easy to understand that such a unique, ingenious game would have to produce its own wizards. Yet how difficult, how impossible it is to imagine the life of an intellectually active person who reduces the world to a shuttle between black and white, who seeks fulfillment in a mere to-and-fro, forward-and-back of thirty-two pieces, someone for whom a new opening that allows the knight to be advanced instead of the pawn is in itself a great accomplishment and a meager little piece of immortality in a corner of a chess book-someone, someone with a brain in his head, who, without going mad, continues over and over for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years to devote all the force of his thought to be ridiculous end of cornering a wooden king on a wooden board!”
Now that two pages of multi-persona-like lecture on what is Chess,
beside a neck-squeezing storyline with developments of
characters that are beyond abstract yet truly realistic,
reflects what a professional writer
Zweig indeed was.
What a powerful book, a must read it is.
It is a sight of wet cement road reflecting dark orange lights at night that makes one’s mind a vessel of mundane reminiscing. Rainy nights tend to fathom my dithering ability of galloping a memory-lane. Each drop of rain echos so brazen, firmly hinting a possibility that one drop now could have been more than two then. If the first grand engineer indeed purposed two in every one, rain must be his proudest innovation. How portentous it is, but same time oh so jovial. It clouds a glassy surface of one’s heart at first but when one could not take to be more opulent of maudlin ashes of flaming what had been already burnt, rain sluices, burrowing through where one is too rueful to be aware of.
Tonight, while running in rain,
I missed the peculiar
It is surprising how many are collected… well… considered
these peculiar names, peculiar faces, peculiar nights
and peculiar ups - then even more peculiar downs.
I must confess my sentimental side has been nestled more
within missing what is remote- than what is less remote.
But it is true that there has been some prevailing chants of
not-remote-at all as well,
sprinting circles, in such a grotesque manner.
I think-, if I may cull the peculiar lesson here
Growing up is living what shall be missed.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami Haruki
Took me much longer than I had first estimated.
Though many distractions were there, some of them called priorities-
it did feel as though that the book needed to be consumed gently.
Each chapter has a distinctive flow-
a different message, but embedded similarly.
Murakami’s way of laying out a story
is, in my opinion, a bit hectic.
Like a dying light bulb, it blinks, warning for a sudden death
Like selective amnesia, it require fathoming what is presented
to undertake the whole reminiscing.
But the brilliance lies in his way of manifesting
a idea, or a theory regarding aspects of life
that we somehow share without fully realizing.
He seeds it.
He does not show every trinket of growing process.
What he lets us see is a landscape-,
a distant view, no avid focus-
of a field, delighting a grey weather.
Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs is a sweet pea with wings of a fly, Its beauty is so obvious, as much as the band’s provocativeness. As one of the most influential and most praised bands of 21st Century, Yeah Yeah Yeahs had survived a dozen years of the most ever-changing scene of musicircus, with thee magnificent albums. Fever to tell is now a memory, a classic one. If a scholar of future aimed to understand the blessed and cursed music of the initial phase of 2000, Fever to tell is the proof that the last female rock vagabond standing, Karen O, with her Yeahs of course, conquered as a pirate empress over the chaotic sea of what will have been once called ‘Indie’. Talking lyrical simplicity without talking Maps is not only a shame, but also a lack of gratitude. But hey, a grand first album is anyone’s game in these days right? What matters is what a band does after its success, yeah? Well Yeah Yeah Yeahs bonafided everyone’s expectations with Show Your Bones, then affirmed the gravity of their presence in the realm of greatness with the most ambient(not as a genre, but as sensation) album I have laid my ears upon so far- It’s Blitz!
The fourth album, Mosquito, is matured. The decrescendo of punkness, started from It’s Blitz!, is quite apparent now, replaced by Karen’s detailed vocal-compose and elements of electronica. Though there was a four year gap since It’s Blitz!, Mosquito does sound like an extended and much ripe version of Blitz! Kinda like how Show Your Bones was to Fever to tell. My notion could imply the band’s lack of endeavors to change, but that is not what I mean at all, I mean that Mosquito makes up what Blitz! lacked- flexibility. it completes what Yeah Yeah Yeahs wanted to achieve with Blitz- swimming freely and proficiently in the pool of more than punk, more than rock, more than artsy, more than indie, more than simple but better than complicated -WHILE keeping Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ initial shape, initial childish, vulgar, careless, dirty and oh so gory - courage.
Arguably countless, but Karen’s personalities in songs of Mosquito could be generalized(What a horrible word choice, regarding the queen) into three. First, a girl who is more drunk than you, by far. She, with a bruised knee and beer-wet hair, asks for a cigarette to a stranger, which is you. You hand her a cigarette, then flip out your lighter - but she got a zipper herself, stolen from her ex-ex-boyfriend. She takes a drag and a half then, with using her teeth, smothers the burning tip of the smoke stick. Then she holds left hand of the bewildered you, guides you to your car like she have always been watching you and knowing you like a private investigator.
Then comes second Karen, a girl with silent stories. She sits in her passenger seat. She breathes. An exhale is slightly - but noticeably - longer than an inhale. Her skinny body bloats like it is about to float. You see a foreplay. You see what comes after. You see a drunken girl. You see her closed eyes and you notice your crotch. Her eyes slowly open, all her silent stories done bickering and done rendering. Your car is still. She is still. You are still. Then she turns on the CD-player without asking .She looks at you, asking you to drive without asking.
Another smoke, then the third, the most hidden -and most loved Karen comes. She is a narrator. Her stories are told, you do not know if these are her silent stories. A first person unfolding with a third person’s point of view. Her stories are different - it does not have a beginning, it does not have an ending. Each story is a form of reminiscing a moment that could have been anyone’s moment. The stranger, you, knows what she means, knows that moment, it was once your moment- it is once your moment and it will once be your moment. But just a slight bit- but surely noticeably - her stories , her moments are more frantic - but more vivid.
The album Mosquito is a shivering-heart. It is a vessel of igniting-blood. It is a marvelous work of music. You will be placated. You, a stranger, will be guided to something that has always been yours,- then you will see its beautiful alteration to something you have always imagined. That’s what Yeah Yeah Yeahs does - altering us, altering the genres, altering the obvious, altering beauty.
What an album.
Night Garden by Soony Seo
a wonderful series by mother
her graduation exhibition to be exact,
featuring a beautiful song;
That Moon Song by Gregory Alan Isakov.
Photos of Long-Branch cafe, 2007.
by Tusam D. Clide
Before cigarettes were banned,
people were there to talk,
not to eat nachos.
“He was making choices not just on taxes and spending and trade and energy and climate and health care and agriculture and Social Security and Medicare, but also on education and immigration, on crime and justice issues, on environmental policy and social policy and politics. Being able to handle such substantive breadth and depth, on such huge decisions, in parallel, requires not just enormous strength of character but tremendous intellectual power. President Bush has both.”
Lust, Caution (2007)
I want to make it clear that I had no trinket of awareness regarding how naked and boldly front this film is before watching. I just saw Ang Lee moderately printed on its cover, and who dislikes Ang Lee? Ang Lee is like Oscar-drenched, Golden Lion-covered Jackie Chan for Hipsters and amateur critics. I had been recommended few times by my friends (their intents are rather clear to me now), but movie recommendations are meant to be neglected unless they are suggested by pretty beings, yeah?
Let’s not focus on the ever-given nudity and overwhelming sublimity within provocative scenes. Almost sickening bed-scenes are hopeless thieves- cause they steal ‘how the film shall be remembered.’ But same time, the instinctual scenes act as a blanket for a baby that is nested calmly and also is rooted deeply within - Psychology. And how does the film communicate, how does it deliver, how does it fume the most silent but surely the most impeccable aspect? Through ambiguity.
Nothing special, right? Ambiguity is like everyone’s favorite tool when one cannot create a smooth flow or when one is afraid of reaching into the realm of ‘generality’ - Obscene and obscure, two sons of devil that were born, thanks to those who were lack of structure and full of self-pity. From a creator’s perspective, ambiguity is established through what is not there- absence. From a viewer’s chair, ambiguity is completed with what is given- presence and how each given interact with another and fume what is meant to be found.
Ang Lee may have spiced up with nudity and body-fondling, but he guides the movie into the magnificent last scene(And, God It was so wonderful.) with psychological ambiguity. Nothing is obvious, nothing is clear- if one is certain of anything while watching - that is nothing more than an assumption. Tony Leung’s explosiveness and coldness coexist so tauntingly as he embrace subtle bareness of Tang Wei’s expressions. The chemistry exceeds the limits of expectations. And oh how neutral the camera is - all the time, Ang Lee makes sure that a viewer is ready for any circumstances. The movie is how a thriller should be.
What an emotional ride.
The last ten minutes of film will eat you alive with its silent explosiveness.
The Romantic Movement by Alain de Botton
I abhorred it.
Well, the only reason I bestow somewhat poor perspective for The Romantic Movement is that it was not fitting for my personal taste. It is a fine book. It is an amazing demonstration of how inner spectrum of love from two opposite sides work. It’s vast- how much the book offers. I see why Alain de Botton is praised as one of the most intellectual minds of this era.
But the problem is that all he does is lecturing. He explains every tiny move that is made within a relationship between Alice and Eric. It’s exhausting after awhile- de Botton speaks as he shall present this eureka-like truth beneath the countless philosophical demonstrations, but really all he does is analyzing, nothing more. After reading, there is this discomfort..like something is not resolved when It had been promised to me.
It was quite marvelous how he fluently guided a journey of ever-changing Alice’s attitude. But the book stayed way too long on the ‘ah I love him - I love him more than he loves me - but he loves me too so it’s alright’ part. de Button literally vexed me so much that twice did I almost give up reading.
As an analysis of love - , I guess the book is phenomenal. As a novel, as a work of literature - it was a bit of torture. There was no ambiguity. There was no abstract about it. There is no romance because endless analysis killed it. There was no love in this book, because love was extinguished by sharp and detailed reasoning. There were only these tiny movements that happened on each page that tested my tolerance over and over.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
A former-friend of mine, Aric with A I call him, once told me, while heavily intoxicated, that American movies are shinning shite compared to British cinema. At the time, It was hard for me, only after two years of Americanization, to distinguish whether Brad Pitt was a British or not, so I was excited to be educated by the person who had claimed that he only listen to The Smiths and The Beatles only. (Which was a lie, he listened to Plain White Tee’s too, but who didn’t?) A dialogue that followed was somewhat like this :
Aric with A: Luke, you have to remember. There are three British films that one must watch. They are the best. They put American films to shame.
Me: What are they?
Aric with A: Boondock Saints - It’s my favorite. This movie changed me. Green Street Hooligans, you know Elijah Wood? Frodo? and the last, not the least - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking fucking Barrels.
Me: What about Snatch?
Aric with A: … shit… well… It does not count, it’s another Guy Richie film. Lock, Stock includes Snatch.
Me: Which came first?
Aric with A: Lock, Stock.
Me: So… is Lock, Stock a lot like Snatch? I loved Snatch.
Aric with A: (drunk and frustrated) Yeah… look if you see the film, you will see what I mean- Lock, Stock is like … fucking father of Snatch.
Me: (not so convinced and a bit put off by his anguish) all right, man.
Aric with A: (even more frustrated) Look, all right- how about this - there are three British movies that you have to see 1. Boondock Saints. 2. Green Street Hooligans. 3. Everything Guy Richie made. Good?
Me: All right. I will watch Lock, Stock soon…but I didn’t like Boondock Saints.
Aric with A: I don’t like you.
Well, it took me about 7 years to keep my word. And he was right- Lock, Stock is really a father figure of Snatch. The similarity and how Snatch is an extended and more budgeted version of Lock Stock is so obvious that I do not see any point of mentioning.
But I do want to say this.
Vinnie Jones is the most bad-ass motherfather gentleman in the great land of Britain