10/28/2002 10:55:43 AM
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Lethargy month is drawing to a close. I’ve been out and about for the usual films and rock shows, but the time spent at home has been occupied with less will to be creative than to stare at the walls and play countless hours of TimeSplitters 2, which might be time better spent if the game wasn’t significantly less good than Perfect Dark. I’m in the process of lulling myself out of the slump with a renewed interest in screen-printing.
The last two weeks:
Secretary was worth watching for a pretty fantastic performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal (and for the first time ever, James Spader didn’t give me the creeps), but it kind of choked as the last half of the film sank into conventionally retarded romantic comedy. I finally saw Matt Pond PA play at the Troc and they were damn good, though I thought it a little odd to play a record release show virtually devoid of new material. Exhumed Films’ Living Dead Marathon was fun – I never expected that my first time seeing Dead Alive on the big screen would be in a New Jersey shopping mall at 5:30 AM (although maybe I should have). Bowling for Columbine is on par with Michael Moore’s other films and at times it’s considerably more affecting. Skeleton Key at the Balcony was a bit disappointing, as I noticed that singer/bassist Eric Sanko is once again the only surviving founding member, and the new dudes don’t really do it for me. My friend and bandmate Rachael is back from a year in Europe and has informed me that her friend’s filmmaker brother wants to make a video for our song “Dead Babies.” More on that as (if) it develops.
10/12/2002 12:16:57 PM
I’ve been back from Ottawa for nearly a week now and the annoying cold I contracted while I was there is on its last leg, so I am finally getting around to reporting on the festival. This was the third bi-annual Ottawa International Animation Festival I have been to; I counted seeing 162 short films in just about three days and for the first time there was nothing that really blew me away. Which is not to say there weren’t lots of good films. Most of the winners were deserving (particularly Christopher Hinton’s Flux and Robert Bradbrook’s Home Road Movies), but I thought it especially unfortunate that Adriann Lokman’s spectacular Barcode was overlooked for Best Non-Narrative Film. Some other good shorts overlooked: Das Rad, a German puppet film involving animated rock formations observing the effects of entropy over the entire course of human civilization; Tom Schroeder’s Bike Ride, a conversational narrative about a young man’s impromptu 50-mile journey to visit his girlfriend; and Paul Fierlinger’s Still Life with Animated Dogs, an autobiography through tales of the filmmaker’s various canine companions.
Last night I went to the Philadelphia Ethical Society in Rittenhouse Square to see Mark Eitzel and the beautiful, beautiful Low. I was previously unfamiliar with Mark Eitzel and I really enjoyed his performance: intense, occasionally humorous acoustic folk, and his voice reminded me of the late Mark Sandman from Morphine. Low was awesome. Given their somewhat extensive discography, the set was perhaps a bit uneven with material almost exclusively from their last two albums, but they sounded great. This week’s City Paper describes Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s harmonies as “unearthly,” and I think that’s pretty accurate.
10/1/2002 10:50:06 PM
I’ll be in Ontario for the next five days at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Some brief scattered comments before I leave:
One Hour Photo was a stale and boring waste of 95 minutes. I went to see it based on the strength of some decent reviews and the fact that it looked subtly creepy, and while I’ll concede that the production design (particularly set design and lighting) was exceptional, the story was practically nonexistent. The recipe: 1) Take one socially awkward loner on the verge of mild psychosis. 2) Mix with “the perfect family.” 3) Film the foursome milling about and conversing blankly in the blandest of suburban banality. It reminded me of a crappy 5-page short story I cranked out in a couple hours for a creative writing final in high school, except it was much, much longer.
Moments ago, I was introduced to NoiseRover, which is host to some gorgeously designed and truly bizarre Flash animations, certainly some of the nicest and most original I’ve seen in quite awhile.
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