Too Many Hobbies, Too Little Time

I played cello growing up, from 6th-12th grade. I really enjoyed it, but ended up letting go of it as I want to college. But in the last several years, after teaching myself how to play guitar, I’ve been itching to get back into it.

So a couple of weekends ago, I walked into a violin shop, rented a cello, and took it home. It’s been 15+ years since I had a cello in my hands, but I’m really surprised how much I remember. It’s definitely not like riding a bike… but it’s somewhere close.

So now the list of things I want to do includes cello. Because playing guitar, watching movies, playing racquetball, watching Arsenal, reading, and board games wasn’t enough, on top of being a father! I’m starting to wonder if I’m spreading myself too thin but I can’t imagine cutting anything from the list.


Film Taste

Everyone has different tastes. As a man obsessed with film, I’ve come to evolve certain tastes that I’ve been able to more clearly identify lately.

When I watch a film, I don’t want to be told everything. I want some level of mystery, confusion, and uncertainty in a film. I seek that type of movie because it provokes discussion, multiple points of view, and a high-degree of rewatchability. I don’t even know how many times I’ve watched Michael Haneke’s Cache in the last 5 years… maybe as much as Star Wars in my youth.

If I watch a film and it is chock full of clarity, exposition, and directness, I feel as though I’m just being beaten over the head with a story. Even if a movie like this reveals some deeper meaning after the credits have rolled, it won’t have lasting power with me.  I want a film that treats me like a person capable of complexity – not a child in need of a bed time story.

Interstellar is a movie that definitely reinforced my understanding of my current tastes. There were a number of times throughout that movie that I rolled my eyes in frustration. But the unfortunate part is that I found long stretches of that movie to be quite fantastic, but those were only to be undone by trite dialogue explaining practically everything.

I’ve come across a lot of these types of movies – otherwise great pictures that have too much exposition for my taste. If I could just have some magic editing-room powers, I would edit these films down, pulling out their overt descriptions and directness. I bet I could pair Interstellar down to a fantastic film with a 2-2:15 run-time. But then a movie like Transformers 4: Age of Extinction would probably only last about 30 minutes – definitely not a film for my editing.

Words of Wisdom

I want leaders in my team who confidently establish, communicate, and build support for a clear plan, under conditions of uncertainty and chaos.

I spoke these words with a pensive brow to a mentor of mind, and he hastily wrote them down. It was the first time in our exchanges that he was doing the transcribing, and not the other way round.

Kodak’s 500T 5230

Andrew Dominik, the masterful director behind the mouthful that is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, just released his latest film Killing Them Softly. Also staring Brad Pitt, Softly chronicles an episode in the life of an organized crime hit-man during the 2007/08 economic collapse and presidential campaign, based on the book Cogan’s Trade.

Our basic idea was a low-con image, a kind of creaminess, that harked back to a look that might have existed in the SeventieS

Dominik and DP Greig Fraser employed the use of a new film type, 500T 5230, Kodak’s latest color film foray. The American Society of Cinematographer’s published a recent interview and analysis of the film in great detail, delving into lighting, camera, and lens selection.

Killing Them Softly is shaping up to be one of the year’s sleeper hits, liked by critics, but not by the movie-going audience at large.

Funny Games – Shot for Shot GIF Comparison

Reddit user kondrat1983 recently created an imgur album of gif’s showing a shot for shot comparison of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, because that is the sort of thing Reddit users do. This is a great view into how Haneke kept the aesthetic from his original film, despite filming the American version a full decade later. Not to mention that he was working with different DP’s. Take a look and be exploited by Haneke’s web of violence all over again.

The GIF’s do contain some spoilers.

AV Club on “The New World” and America

Perennial favorite AV Club recently published an interesting take on Terrence Malick’s The New World that is all but a must-read, even for those who hate both nature and voice-overs. In it, author Scott Tobias expounds upon Malick’s style impacting the story of what is essentially the birth of a nation. This movie’s entry into the AV Club’s long running ‘New Cult Canon’ is a long overdue addition. Though perhaps they are giving Malick the same sort of frequency in attention that he gives in frequency of film production.

If you have not seen The New World, it deserves to be in your library. Although many regard it as one of Malick’s weakest efforts, it is perhaps the most accessible to the modern movie-going audience. Let it be your gateway drug.