Monday, August 1, 2011

Chrysanthemum [part one]

I feel the weight of angst in my bones as I walk across the floor. It clings to me, even as I try and shake its grip- it poisons me, even as I move to dose its flames. It is a hunger, as much as it is a feast of stale bread. My eyes can see where I've been, but many times not where I should go. What should I make of this? Especially as I dream of so many great things? I hold fast to you...these ideas will emerge from the dust and rubble of failed trials. The cave was where I found comfort- in almost certain disarray, as I walked with lanterns fading, and body tiring. All I had was a vision of you my dear, all pretty and proud and so near. I called your name at the dawn of the evening, and oh how I sought its sound.
I thought how to pray, to seek his face- as I wash with water, I feel his embrace. I see through broken eyes, the perfection of surrender and as I reach out- I take hold.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

surface vertigo-the continuing thought, volume#4

How is it that we decipher the events that take place in our lives? Is it instinct? Are we somehow trained by others?- is it a matter of self-discovery or innate characteristics? I haven't the slightest clue what the answer is, and maybe that is why it seems interesting to me. The very nature of the mystery of that which is within is just as important as the mystery all around us. If I ever come to a place where all of a sudden I feel as though I know everything, then I essentially know nothing- as my comfort, or my sense of how things should be, can never truly encompass everything. But its exciting. Somehow, in some way to feel alive and aware in order to feel that sense of humanity. To step outside of ourselves and peer back in to see how things have unfolded. Think of this moment like a film's intermission, with the images and words of the first act trickling in the back of your mind and the culmination of such actions coming into view on the horizon. We will see everything, fully realized and in color and its terrifying and eye-opening in all sorts of ways. We won't see all good things, in fact we will see many ugly and disgusting things, but somehow we keep looking- searching for that moment of beauty, that moment of realization. Its like that moment in a film when the culmination of the characters struggle, the scenery, and the music coincide and explode into a moment of pure raw emotion. You can't pull away because you are immersed, and somehow this realization frees you.  I think I am a romantic in many ways, and I believe my thoughts turn to this in a time when I am beginning to realize how much of my voice has been lost or shrouded by past events and relationships. I find that as I continually move towards that horizon, I slowly lose the baggage that had come before- but only because I acknowledge that it is indeed there. I wouldn't say that someone put it there, but I also don't think that I would be the person I am today had I not endured through difficult moments. Though they were hard and sometimes heartbreaking, I am still alive in so many different ways and perhaps I acknowledge the power of such things as a sign of a life not dictated by myself but by something greater than I. This might be a lot coming from a blog entry that has, in the last few months, simply become the grounds for an obligatory post about the new wii system or about links posting to paper cutout sites, but I find that as I write this and share it with all of you it gives me a new sense as to how powerful thoughts can be when spoken to words or written down to see. It's amazing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

misc.inc.: paranoid android


Weezer doing a cover of Radiohead's Paranoid Android.

Sometimes all that's needed to be said can be found in a song

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekly Update: Monday June 27th: Scattering Thoughts about Opportunities and Being Poor

I haven't written on this blog for awhile, and though I think I have valid reasons for being absent, I don't think it is an excuse not to try. Lately I have been going through a challenging "determination" period, in which I needed (and still do need at some points) to decide where to take the next step. I just got a full time job doing e-commerce type work and was finally able to give my frustrating and simplistic temp position a two-weeks notice. I know what some people will say to my giving this to them, "did you really need to give them two weeks, it was only temporary?", and while I understand the logic behind this kind of attitude, I have trouble just leaving people hanging even if I really don't really see how the job will fit into what I actually want to be doing. I am excited for this new opportunity, as one of many arising these days,  as it not only relieve a sense of job security but also seems to be a new healthy work environment hopefully absent from lots of stress. Win!

Even though the work isn't exactly what i had hoped to be doing, I have a wedding I am planning right now and both Maggie and I need a sense of new directions for at least the upcoming year. Weddings are ridiculously expensive and full of options to decipher. I think someone told me this once and I think I laughed... I am not laughing now. I just need to keep being positive about it, and keep thinking about the possibility of going to the Dominican Republic for the honeymoon (yes).

Some more exciting news comes in the form of possible freelance opportunities that both of us are considering. It would call for an investment in the new Final Cut program and purchasing a camera (Canon T2i) to shoot video/pictures on; but if we can figure out a way to pull this off we are going to! We are thinking about doing some freelance for our portfolios, short films for festivals, and a way to earn some extra money for the future. Win, again!

I hate being poor. I feel like I better understand what George Orwell was writing about in "Down and Out in Paris"... "For, when you are approaching poverty, you make one discovery which outweighs some of the others. You discover boredom and mean complications and the beginnings of hunger, but you also discover the great redeeming feature of poverty: the fact that it annihilates the future." It just eats your sense of empowerment and sometimes you just feel helpless. I definitely haven't forgone a sense of hope in the situation, as I daily am coming to the conclusion that I am not that worse off compared to so many suffering in the world today, and it actually helps me to better understand the world as it is for so many that I will never see. Its damn hard though sometimes... that I will not deny, especially feeling like going to college only made things worse rather than better at times.

I have started to write down all of the ideas I have throughout the day. It really helps me focus on something besides data entry... and it gives me something to look forward to. I have made it a personal goal to try and finish more of these than I can come up with, but I know that won't be the case for some time. I am thinking about starting a website to organize some of these things... perhaps a personal blog that I can keep things up on but no one can see.... not that I don't want to share!

Well I would like to update with more but my lunch hour is up...

Till next...


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pages{good_reads reviews]: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Book #2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy)

Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
(Book #2 of the Hunger Games Trilogy)
Note: I am aware that I did not write a first review for the original novel, and for that I have to say, "I didn't think of it until finishing the second book."

Catching Fire picks up a year after the end of the previous Hunger Games novel, and thus attempts to reengage the reader with new challenges, new villains, and a not-so-new scenario that capitalizes off of the original's unique setting by bringing us back into the games. No doubt by now most avid readers, or perusers of Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com, are more than aware of Suzzane Collins award winning young adult trilogy about the effects of violence and war on youth reaching maturation in a neo-apocalyptic American society. What initially draws readers to Collin's work? Well perhaps lends its success to the constantly evolving young adult novel craze that seemed to emerge after Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts, or perhaps it has something to do with the Hollywood film adaption of the first novel coming to theaters Summer 2012. Either way, The Hunger Games trilogy is constantly gaining new readers every day whether by word of mouth or promotional marketing, and Catching Fire continues the themes instilled by the first novel in ways that this review hopes to examine.

Oh how our little girl is growing up. The emotionally conflicted and at times socially innate Katniss Everdeen, is a much more a young woman than a teenage, and one that grapples the line between survival and regret with such great precision its a wonder how she ever finds time to get around to tell the young men in her life just how she is feeling. Yes just as the original novel harbored said love triangle, so does the sequel intend on making the wounds and scars of teenage romance all the more sweet. As readers of young adult fiction we almost innately expect to see the romance between Katniss and Peeta and Katniss and Gale to culminate into something weighty and emotional- which is exactly what happens, but in varying and sometimes brief bookended scenes. This becomes a second, or possibly third plot point however as Katniss Everdeen finds herself in a whole mess of something greater than she could ever have imagined. Interestingly, it is in the central foundation of the book, that truly reveals Katniss's hardened view of the world around her coming afire, just as her dress had ignited in the first processional parade in the 74th Hunger Games, but her awareness of her newly appointed role in said society has only a few moments to become realized before the last page is turned. More on that later.

As readers of the first novel know- the world of Panem is essentially a neo-world war version of a ravaged American nation. The once united States have been sectioned off into export unique "districts", which fall under the totalitarian rule of a sovereign state known as the Captiol. Much of the first novels plot focused on Katniss and her fellow district 12 partner and sometimes lover Peeta Mellark, and their enduring survival both inside the arena and in the Capitol itself, and in this the author went "head over heels" in attempting to create a widely imaginative world full of  dystopian communities and futuristic warfare methods. This societies foundations are built upon the destruction of the past and initiates a mysterious atmosphere of tension and doubt that surprisingly isn't quite as present in it's followup. This realization came about early for me, and it becomes both a problem and a success for this edition as the story remains chained and tethered to its previous plot devices, and yet somehow releases rather ploddingly into future events transpiring in the trilogies third installment, Mockingjay. It's really too bad actually, as the first novel is so well crafted and thus satisfying as a book in this genre that it's sequel could feel so hollow. It is not that Katniss's evolution into the girl that inspires "the fires within those in Panem" isn't interesting by itself, but when the central focus of the book becomes survival in a copycat version of the original novel's central device, it just feels over done.

Though the games continue, the rules have changed by placing former victors back into a strange and deadly arena for the 75th Hunger Games, called the Quarter Quell for its unique declaration of another quarter century passing since the Capitol's destruction of rebel forces. Katniss is not alone in this edition and though she had chosen self sufficient survival throughout most of the first novel, it seems she chooses groupthink in the second. Within the arena, Katniss and Peeta forgo a sense of district unity and on the words of Haymitch Abernathy, their drunken mentor and coach, attempt to band together with a large selection of other combatants. This almost assuredly does little but make every moment of conflict feel both forced and almost downgraded in comparison to the 74th games in which her survival depended upon her entirely.  In fact one of my greatest complaints about Catching Fire resides in it's utter lack of opposition that Katniss encounters in the arena itself. Her disparaging meeting with the Capitol's President Snow, the main antagonist of the trilogy, seems lifetimes removed from the time spent focusing on the Quarter Quell, and the events transpiring between those inducted into its death arena seem to only downplay the emotional and physical survival that given the right "personalities" could have been seen as real challenges. I understand if Collins was attempting to create this image of the Capitol holding complete control over anything and everything, but without a chance to embody and characterize those emotions it almost feels like the contestants are running through a funhouse maze. Katniss is unfortunately fighting against an enemy we barely even get a chance see and know seemingly less about. It is only after the third act do we realize what Katniss should have discovered perhaps earlier on, as the last few pages bring about big changes in which a giant cliffhanger is purported looking more like a hastened synopsis for the book its held within, rather than an actual revelation. The intuitive nature of the Hunger Games trilogy becomes troublesome in moments like this, as entire climaxes are confined to allusive paragraphs that seem to explain more than 100s of pages of plot and action seem to do but without the satisfaction of learning alongside the character.

If Suzanne Collin's had elaborated upon elements pertaining to characters, as the novel began to to in part one, over the elements circumventing the inner workings of the arena then perhaps I would not have felt as mislead. As the sequel to the Hunger Games, Catching Fire had a lot to live up to and unfortunately it seems to miss many of the opportunities that it sets itself up for. Katniss Everdeen is becoming a young woman, and that transition is a tough one, but it doesn't mean that external forces cannot equal that maturation, as the novel seems to transpire within itself everytime we drift away from that internal resolution.

Catching Fire is certainly worth reading if you enjoyed the Hunger Games, but do not attempt to call them equals, as they are completely different examinations of very similar situations. For what it is worth I did enjoy reading Catching Fire, and feel that above all the writing carries many of the tones introduced in the first novel, as well as embodying at least the universe for which the story is told within.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thor (2011) Cinema Summer Session 001




Though sweeping and epic in its source material, the film version of Marvel's god of thunder Thor seems to act as a mere reflection of what it could have been. Kenneth Branaugh's summer forray into Marvel's version of norse mythology is bogged down by its inability to define itself and seems to take a step back rather than forward as films like Iron Man (1+2) and The Dark Knight have set out to do. Its really too bad because Chris Hemsworth makes for an impressive, and rather gallant god of thunder.

What could have been a chance to elevate the career of a WWE wrestler or UFC fighting champion, became a casting choice straight from the halls of Asgard itself. Hemsworth is as his father Odin, played with a surprisingly underwhelming performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins, calls a "vain and stupid boy, but one of great power and bravery." This is a guy that audiences want to know and ultimately see change over the course of the film. Although at times this seems like the focal point of Thor, there is just too much going on to really stake a claim in.  The culmination of our hero losing his godly abilities, thus being subjected to mortal life on earth, seems to only find meaning through a humbling and hastened relationship with a human (Natalie Portman). Portman's Jane Foster is instantly likeable but becomes lost in the shuffle when more complicated plot devices are used. By the time we get around to how Sir Thor feels for Lady Jane, well the results aren't quite what you'd expect from two people who literally met 24-hours before. I know that in classical literature this sort of thing, meaning love at first sight, occurred quite often but for a modern audience it might have just been too quick to know if a second date was even on the table.

All is well in the world I suppose, save for a rather convoluted plot involving a race known as the Frost Giant seeking entry into the world of the gods, a dangerous annihilating robot called The Destroyer, and a double crossing silver-tongue who takes advantage of Thor's rather unique predicament. If Director Branagh had simply focused on his greatest strength in the film, the rather Shakespearean wordplay among the gods especially that between Thor and his brother Loki, this film might have been able to break free of its sometimes overly silly design. The dialogue is actually quite intriguing and opens up more than one would expect. The scenes between the gods are among the best in the film, and perhaps in a different circumstance might have helped propel the film to a well rounded conclusion.

I suppose with a superhero film involving rainbow bridges, and artifacts containing the all encompassing power of a supernatural race- the exclusion of things like CG worlds and fantasy enemies might have turned fanboys off as being too picky, but perhaps that might have downplayed the often simplistic logic placed on the characters and events occurring around them. Speaking of the CG graphics- the muddied backgrounds and unimpressive creature designs left me wishing that a more authentic and perhaps less grandiose vision had been implemented, if it worked for a film like Lord of the Rings, it could certainly work in a fantasy film like Thor. Although, several of the set pieces and costumes, really did help to promote the films unique style. Having done production design in the past, I could appreciate the detail that went into scenes like the inauguration of Thor, the fight between Thor and Loki, and those involving the transporter room at the end of the rainbow bridge.

Tom Hiddleston is a major standout, who much like Hemsworth, embodies the role of a god with great classicism. Hiddleston's Loki is a villain torn both internally and externally and though we do not see his true intentions straight away- we feel for his pain. I suppose this is something that Hemsworth failed to bring to his Thor, as you never really feel that sorry for the guy. As for Loki, well let's just say spoiler free manifestos could not delve into the inert sense of difference this character feels when compared to his older brother. Idris Elba is a similar standout, whose fervent Heimdall the gatekeeper, keeps life around Asgard rather interesting. Heimdall has the honor of even bettering Thor in both strength and intelligence, which came across perhaps stronger than Brannagh and company might have expected. The lack of scenes showcasing the gods daily life at least allowed for characters like Loki and Heimdell to help guide the film, even if just for a short time.

Thor is a film that doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a prequel designed merely for the introduction of Thor into the world of the Avengers, due out next summer, or is it a slightly overweight origin story that hastens Thor into existence by sticking 40 years of comic history into a 2-hour film. Either way, Thor feels like it is missing more than it shows and perhaps if sequels do arise, we can get a better understanding of just who this character truly is. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekly Update: May 18th 2011

I'm perpetually playing catchup with my own life, or at least that's what it seems like, so here it goes...

I haven't sat down to write without an external sense of urgency for some time and its weighing heavily on me. I am trying to juggle about ten different things at once and often times what truly motivates and inspires me seems like a distant set of unattainable distractions. Should that be the case? Should I be sweeping my dreams and desires and ambition under the rug because I don't have as much experience as a business professional or someone with a lot of money and connections? Something tells me that that feels wrong. Although there are several large events on the horizon that deem my immediate attention, marriage to my wonderful fiance Margaret and saving for a future together, I just really feel the need to bring myself back to square one and ultimately reassess what exactly I am attempting to do with my life.

Some days I feel as though everything I worked for in college was simply just to pass the time or to appease my sense of misguidance in a world without opportunity, and now that I am paying for it through largely "over grossed" loans I can't help but feel even more confined to my past missteps as I transition from undergraduate education to the "real" world outside of it. Now that graduation  has become a past event, in December it will be two years, my desire to go back to school and continue my education has more than doubled since my original decision to "one day" apply. As of Tuesday, Margaret and I have obtained both the 2011 GRE study book and a set of flashcards- hello study weekend!

Settling into an improper and mostly unfulfilling business oriented "job" seems downright out of character at this time in my life, and will probably continue to carry similar sympathies long into the unknown future. I didn't go to school to work in business, at least not corporate business, and it really saddens me to see every chance for opportunity get eaten up before I have a chance to state my case. I need sustenance and I am asking to be feed, but where are the routes of this journey leading? I cannot say.

I want to utlize creativity, writing, media, film, television, teaching, education, promotions, music, literature, video games, video production, social justice non profiting, documentaries, theology, philosophy, philanthropy, stewardship, creative management, and creative design to revolutionize the world. I want to invent, I want to envision, I want to design, I want to foster new ideas and new avenues of originality. I need to BE.

For the last year and 5 months I have settled for what was right in front of me, and though I know things like the economy and lack of networking contacts factor into its success rate, I don't want to accept this as MY life. At the very most some things hold a sense of promise and progress that things like my degree have not like my consistently growing relationship with Margaret and my ongoing strife in self discovery. However, I am not getting paid to have those breakthroughs take place and regardless of what I wish to achieve in this life, as it stands right now I am tethered to a stack of debts and constantly finding myself in need of financial assistance. This sounds like a broken record to so many people, many of which are more qualified than I; but in reinstating my case my desire to do something greater grows exponentially each day, and sometimes I fear I might just explode.

I am officially on the warpath for a new job as well as a new motivational desire to revitalize my lagging time spent in projects, writing, and making progress in applying to graduate schools.

Here's to the beginning of something new and exciting.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Linkage: To the Past and for the Future- 16 Bit Marvels// Thor Preview (middleaisle)

Linkage [to the past][for the future]
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Excerpt: As Thor sets out into Theaters this weekend I have set aside time, at work no less, to familiarize myself with what appears to be a very complicated comic mythos. I had never really read The Mighty Thor comic books when I was a kid, and for the most part was always kind of oblivious to his existence. About two years ago when I read that Kenneth Branaugh (Sleuth, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V) was taking direction of this project, I was at taken aback. The classically trained Shakespearian actor/director doing a movie for Marvel Studios? And maybe more importantly, its starring who again?
I think that my confusion was shared by many moviegoers, especially before the trailer was released last fall, but perhaps this could turn out to be something actually quite unique in a landscape of upcoming traditional superhero films.

Chris Hemsworth, the father of young Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams re-envisioned Star Trek franchise, leads a cast including recent Academy Award winner Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), Tom Hiddleston (a relatively unknown British actor here stateside), Stellan Skaarsgard (Good Will Hunting), Kat Dennings (40- Year Old Virgin), Idris Elba (The Wire), and out of nowhere- Rene Russo (Get Shorty), who hasn't appeared in a major studio film since the terrible 2005 family comedy, Yours, Mine, and Ours. Thor represents a big risk for Marvel Studios, who first premiered with 2008's Iron Man, directed by Jon Faveru and starring Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, and Gwenyth Paltrow....
The rest of this review can be found at themiddleaisle.tumblr.com tomorrow evening around 10 o'clock (central standard time). Please show your support.
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The Site: Thor: Bring the Thunder (16 Bit Promotional Game for Summner 2011's Thor  
GameURL: http://marvel.com/games/play/56/thor_bring_the_thunder
NewsURL: http://marvel.com/news/story/15802/play_16-bit_thor_bring_the_thunder_online_now

The Concept: Although pretty self explanatory, Thor: Bring the Thunder is an online flash game that throws us back to the heyday of side scrolling, 16-bit adventures while adapting a simple arcade style reminiscent of games like Capcom's Mega Man. The game features four playable worlds with 3 levels apiece, and at the end of each one- a boss battle! Many familiar faces, in the Thor community, make an appearance and attempt to act as a companion piece for the upcoming film. Unfortunately, neither Oddan nor Loki make an appearance, and although the game relies on a scoring system for individuals, it does not feature any kind of global listing.



What you do: Thor discovers that Asgard (the immortal world of the gods) and Midgard (the unimmortal world of humans, a.k.a. Planet Earth) have been overrun by the destructive forces of evil! Wielding the mighty hammer Mjilnor (see: Mjilnor: wikipedia article) and the power of storms (Thor is the god of Thunder who also controls thunder, lightning, and powerful winds), you must go from the celestial cityscape of Asgards capitol (world 1), to the dark rocky mountains of Svartelheim (world 2), underneath the fiery volcanic ruins of Muspelheim (world 3), and finally across the concrete jungles of Midgard (world 4) to rescue both Jane Foster, Thor's earthly love, and the warrior goddess Sif, who happens to also be in love Thor. Looks like the son of Oddin has got it pretty rough...

What you need: Nothing really save for the required internet access. The game is not that difficult of a challenge and will probably take you between 20 minutes and a half and hour to complete. There is no life count so game overs are not a possibility, and the game utilizes its basic side scrolling atmosphere to create an enjoyable showpiece of Thor's classic 1970s look and feel. The boss battles are the highlight of each world and some can actually be quite a challenge for less experienced gamers.




Thor and Thor: Bring the Thunder are registered trademarks of Marvel Comics, Marvel Entertainment, and Marvel Studios. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Linkage: Desktop Gremlins

Linkage [to the past][for the future]
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Hello Readers, have you ever thought back to your childhood and sat reminiscing about pop up books? yeah me neither, but if you are into graphic design and interesting art projects, as I am, you will find Desktop Gremlins paper craft to be a nice distraction! The sites variation of Legend of Zelda baddie, Ganon was recently featured on the gaming website IGN as a participant in Hyrules Most Wanted, an arts and gaming community collaboration focusing entirely on artistic interpretations of classic 8bit/16 bit/ and 64 bit villains from the series.

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The Site: Desktop Gremlins
URL: http://desktopgremlins.com/
Facebook Link: http://www.facebook.com/DesktopGremlins
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/desktopgremlins

The Concept: To create printable art sheets for assembling popup characters for parties, bragging rights, and fun!
What you do: Its actually quite simple, you simply print, cutout, and assemble these little art projects to display anywhere you want! They look difficult but actually are quite easy to put together.

You will need: a printer with photo paper and color ink, some scissors, and perhaps some scotch tape.
Note: All files are PDF's and can be downloaded to your desktop or printed straight off the web.




Desktop Gremlins is a registered trademark of David Landis and Landis Productions.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Update: For all the weeks I missed

Its been weeks.

Everytime I manage to pull up Blogger or Tumblr in order to write, it seems like I have nothing to say- and moreso I have so little time to sit around thinking what to say that days go by before I even realize what I could have done. Its a tossup, as I had a job where flexibility gave me the daytime to access projects, writings, reading, and a sense of ongoing freedom- but I had to give up virtually every evening and every weekend to a job that led me nowhere. I now work full time, days now instead of nights, and although I have my weekends free, I find that I can never find time to catch myself up on all the things that I feel will prepare me for the things I actually want to be doing. It really does feel like I work just to pay the bills, and my mind feels like mud nearly everyday. Its like the stimulation that I was once riding high upon melted away to make way for a weekly check and a free saturday. I don't really know if the substitution actually helps me or hinders me from where I want to be. Perhaps if I was doing something more... let's say 'meaningful', then maybe I would feel like the sacrifices were benefiting. But as of right now I can't really figure out where to go from here.

I don't even have time to reread this...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Surface Vertigo III: Trends

For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about the topic of "cool" as it relates to my particular stage of life. Sometimes I feel as though I could write an entire book on the subject, at least theoretically, to promote the understatement that new ideas and revolutions take place when iconoclaustic, outcasted individuals find meaning in something they don't see or find in society, and instead make it a reality that goes on to surpass society at the point of inception- but then I realize that by trying to explain the entirety of "cool" in an attempt such as this, thinking I would actually make it cool, somehow seems to make it uncool. Lame.

I don't think of these changes as finding the "next big thing"necessarily, but instead finding the next big stage of cultural and historic change that would not happen unless people were willing to let their voices be heard. I read a book about change a couple days ago, that many people know as "Who Moved My Cheese", and I found it to be pretty simplistic. Basically this book summarized the notion of change as being something that is a) bestowed on you like a gift, because someone else knows more about what you need than you ever will, and b) it will either cause us to break down emotionally, only speaking about how life is unfair, or instead go along for the "ride", as a sort of brainwashed one-track mindedness to achieve an everchanging stability, but only on the surface. I guess that relates back to the "lead, follow, get outta the way" idea, and has virtually nothing to do with the notion of cool. Cool is... something that we apply to something to explain why its desirable, but at the same time its this unattainable yet attained persona that allows someone to set the trends, ideas, and actions that change our cultures- you can't predict it (not really at least), and you can't create a formula that will achieve exactly what you want. It doesn't work like that.

I read this article (see link below) that really plugs into the essence of the rising trends and consistant failings of hipsterism, as well as the social implications of society changing ideas. I love the quote, "There is that hope which springs eternal in the human breast. Sleeping with the windows open. Sleeping by the river. Wildness that can absorb all dull shrillness and help take off the steel of skeleton costumes." Awseome.


Check it out if you have a minute.

http://www.hammertonail.com/editorial/essays/obliterate-the-new-hipster-with-love-by-noah-buschel/


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Screens + Shades: Illuminating My Screenwriting Resistance (reblogged from themiddleaisle.tumblr.com)

Screens + Shades:


If you don't make time for the things you hope to achieve, you might not get the chance to see yourself actually succeed. Its not like you sit around waiting to "make it", that would be stupid. Instead you simply have to just "do it", even if the act of doing it goes back around to kick you in the ass. Its a big circle honestly, the trial and error of ambition.

This is what I have been thinking about for weeks as I prep myself for a recommitment to screenwriting, that I put off what I learned in film school because I couldn't bare the notion that I felt like I failed. I went to Los Angeles thinking I was going to stay and make something of myself in the film industry, but ended up burnt out from long nights of stress, and a bank account barely reaching the five dollar mark. The time I spent in the basking shade of Hollywood was a time I will not soon forget though, as I learned so much that otherwise would have stayed dormant. I found community in L.A., I found creative vision in L.A., and most of all I found out a lot more about limitation in L.A. You can't kill yourself before you live and you can't be an artist if you don't go through periods of uncertainty.... or something like that.

I have made plans, as of this afternoon, to start to write three short films by June and begin pre-production by the end of that month. It is going to be a large and probably stressful feat, but one I have put off for far too long. Going to L.A. was one of the best and worst things I ever did. It opened my eyes to much, closed them to others, and re-constructed them to see things not as I did before but in sometimes un-identifiable and stupid ways. Its not like you can go back and undo what has been done though, you have to keep moving forward and hope that in your next venture you can determine just how you want to reinvent yourself.

In High School film was such an integral part of me growing into a man. I had the power of a painter or an architect when I held those Panasonic VHS and Super 8 cameras (so ghetto) and I liked it. My projects were never better than a particular group of fellow film students, I despised them in a quiet sort of way even though we were friends, until I actually bested one of their projects by a half grade- which felt great... but regardless, if I hadn't had that exposure, I am not sure I would appreciate the art form quite as much. Its really not about film at all, honestly, its about capturing the human experience, which is what art essentially intends to do. I am rambling aren't I? Well the point is that over the next few weeks I will be looking to start up again on screenwriting, something I put on hold as soon as I (along with Joe Arnhold) drove past the city limits of that city of angels. I haven't looked back, but now I see that I never really left... its still in me, in my growling and gnashing of teeth, and I gotta give it another chance. I am beaten, broken, and little more cynical than I was when I graduated from Simpson but I also feel more alive than I did before... something that I find all the more intriguing. Stay Tuned.

Look for updates @themiddleaisle.tubmlr.com on the writing process and the eventual production of three shorts!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dustbowl by Eric Wilkinson


Dustbowl
Eric Wilkinson


I waited along the side of this road
For what seemed like a thousand years
My eyes followed the sun each and every day
And as it continually set I lay and wait
This suit, stained brown by dust and caked-on mud
sticking to my brittling bones
I remember name-tags
Nameplates
Signs of seniority and dominance
Now washed away in dreams and smoke

Kansas brushfire, elements on elements
Highways never ending in a malignant papertrail,
I’ve seen an exit but I don’t believe it
Just keep going
Over hills oh so high and valleys so very low
Hang-
           ing 
my head down so far I'm afraid I'd lose my mind
when the banshees and devils of torrential rains
pour like bourbon on acid rained streets
clinging to my notes like a: 
  1. preacher to a pulpit
  2. A child to a mother
  3. A blade to its sheath
I can't recall but what I see.
Speaking in tongues is regular, right?
In reverberations, in pale eyes
I spoke all tongues as I walked, but didn’t write it out till afterwards
Damn.
Decaffeinated memories of being strung out
Replay like tapes caught in an imaginary street sweeper
Turning like the wheels of loss and struggle

Hung out for like an hour, feet over the edge
Down n out is the only way to travel, or so they say...I feel all right now... I guess

I have no words as they escape my dry mouth with puffs of ash ridden drifts

Clenching tight to keep the last vowel in… no use...sometimes Y
What seems like rain is dirt and it’s pouring entirely on me
Upon my pathway…blood crusting over like eggs in the sun
I’ve circled this dustbowl a hundred times
There is no place to go but onward
Upward is downward
Is sideways..... is byways

I thought I saw her face, but didn’t
Then I thought I thought the same thing, but didn’t
No use in saying it over
I didn’t think that
My face feels like 
m
 e
    lt
       in
                    g butter
I hold it onto my head to keep it from leaving

Over fields of sand harvests I lay flat
  • Slowly becoming dried up
  • Sand and Skin; Skin and Sand..................Granules of a millennium party- a thousand words, a thousand visions, a thousands EYES

 Shriveled up nosebleed fixture, I spring a LEAK
I feel like my face paint is drying as I spurt out nonsense ramblings
The sun is so hot I cannot see...

Moisture slowly sucking away
can’t 
stand 
straight
Becoming one with my path
Disappearing…drifting to wake
No trace outline
Behind, I left my fears and doubts
Piled high in separate stacks of un-calculated value
Blowing away in the wind
Empty.

Weekly Update: March 22nd 2011

I want to write but unfortunately I can't. I need time to spend on this blog. I feel like I'm slacking... but soon an update worthy of a post.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cinnamon Dinosaur: vol 1.0 issue .50- Mix Tapes + Futurescapes


Cinnamon Dinosaur: Word Vomit for Break Time
vol. 1 issue .1 
Mix Tapes + Futures

The creation of a great mix tape is something that shouldn't be rushed. In fact, the creation of the mixtape is not unlike that of a relationship- you meet, flirt, determine the relationship, and then you are in a relationship. It becomes complicated when you find out later that maybe you didn't take enough time getting to know one another and now you feel like a jerk because you don't know what to do to resolve it. This is still about mixtapes by the way. I unfortunately almost always get impatient when it comes to putting together a solid mix and I end up throwing a bunch of songs that I want to hear "in the moment" on a burnlist that ends up getting listened to about one time before I realize it wasn't what I really wanted, and then ends up getting tossed in the trash when I don't know what to do with it. If your creative endeavor has any "soul" to it it makes a difference. Think of it like a Pablo Neruda poem or a really existential thought given by someone with great insight (charlie sheen doesn't count).  When you finally begin to understand why you are doing something in the first place, the actual creative process does become a whole lot easier.

When I was in High School I didn't have a CD burner. I used to write down songs that I wanted and compile them into elongated lists which I would frequently peddle around- begging for someone to burn for me. I was poor, as most High School kids are, and devastatingly living (in my opinion) without a computer that allowed access to such things as NAPSTER or even CD ripping, I was stuck recording them onto cassette tapes as soon as they came onto the radio, which usually was at the spur of the moment and usually without the conveinance of actually recording from start to finish, instead of actually buying the full CDs like someone with money would do. Those lists I was mentioning would literally go through about 10 different variations before my best friend in High School, Kyle Gettman, would agree burn them for me, usually in exchange for my lunch. When I finally got the CD from him, which always seemed to take like 2 months to actually process, I was always blown away by how well the songs actually fit together. In this day and age we have been spoiled by PANDORA, iTunes GENIUS, and other similar systems that setup algorithms to determine the best ways to pair our favorite aritsts or songs. But if we really want to create something with our own sense of personality, we have to be able to put those "shortcuts" aside and determine how to take the journey somewhat blind. That's the hard part, and it sucks sometimes. Sometimes I would actually give up halfway and wouldn't make another mix for months because of it.

The truth is that: My girlfriend is much better at creating mixtapes than I am... But if you have a remotely sensible head for music on your shoulders, what you really need is a motivator. Creating a great mixtape isn't really about the mixtape at all, its about facing/encountering an emotion, or an idea, or an event, or a person and then expressing what you want to say about such things through the creative talents of other people.... pretty original.

 "You have to go in with a theme, an idea, a premise-- then you let it work its way into something really solid, something solid-ifiable."

Today I sat down to try and come up with a concept for a mixtape. The last three that I have down were thrown together in about 5 minutes each and I think I may have just tossed the disc after a single listening experience. It took me about an hour to really come up with a good concept, because like I said it really comes down to what you are "encountering", and ironically it was inspired by a bunch of bands that I really hated in High School. Its ironic that dwelling on music you hate can help you remember all of the music that you used to like, or that you still do like and tote around in front of others reminding them of how long you have actually been a fan. Now even if you have been a fan forever there will always be those people who love to fake it to win friends in conversation, for e.g.- I had this friend who used to go around saying that they had been listening to Radiohead since Pablo Honey but secretly only picked up In Rainbows at Starbucks last year and wanted to seem "indie". That seems kinda fake to me, and also a little bit shameful- shame on you man. So as I was beginning to narrow down my variety of options I actually found a few songs that I used to love and actually still do! That was  a real challenge as my musical tastes have changed more than Gaga's dress's at the VMAs... yeah I went there.

"With all the Bieberfever going around, I better get my shots up to date."

So after finally burning the disc, I got in my car and I drove... I drove all the way until the mixtape finished and had used up the remaining $10.00 of gas that I keep putting in my car. My choices ranged from Brandon Flowers to Weezer to Rage Against the Machine to Rod Stewart to Jimmy Eat World to Meatloaf and on through to Leonard Cohen. As I traveled, to a destination unknown, I was intent on finding something new and exciting to write down and share on this blog. Unfortunately in my haze of enjoying my accomplishment and the unintentional postmodernism that regularly creeps into my mind when attempting to nail something down, I came out on the other side feeling like I didn't really learn anything new. I had mentioned on my other blog (over at themiddleaisle.tumblr.com) that I have been itching to drive cross country, and perhaps attempt to do something like what Klosterman does in "Killing Yourself to Live", but without a real sense of time/money to apply to such an endeavor makes it difficult to decide when that will actually happen. Regardless of whether or not I actually found "myself" or whatever it is that I am trying to say, those 55 minutes in the car did make me realize a few things. I realized that the actual experience of having no identifiable destination, regardless of the amount of time you spend on it, is actually kind of a destination itself. I know that Klosterman talked about that in his book, sorta kinda, but it didn't really click with me until today. I guess that when you have a motivator to fall back onto, in this case a mixtape, you feel compelled to answer those questions that you with greater triumph than you would if you simply went at it out of obligation. Perhaps we determine our destinations just like we determine what goes on our mixtapes- through careful precision and open mindedness. Or something like that.

2011- Cinnamon Dinosaur

Friday, March 11, 2011

screen captures reel: series 1: Jason and the Argonauts


original screen capture



revised color alterations + vector changes= win


So as you can see I had a little Photoshop action going on this morning and decided to post the end result because it looks so freaking cool! I am very proud of this little alteration and as I become better attuned to the Adobe suite I will be putting together a portfolio of adjusted screen captures as a kind of fun challenge! I would like to work with black and white and turn it to color but I think I will stick with alterations first. Leave a comment below and shout out your thoughts! 


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weekly Update: March 10th 2011- "Facing the Shadow" (slightly revised at 4:00pm)

I found a bunch of scribblings as I began the process of clearing out my tiny little room yesterday. Its amazing that I still have so much junk even after 4 different moves since April 2009. These thoughts don't necessarily reflect exactly where I am at this week but they are a good reminder of where I have come from and where I will be going. Today I really was hit with a sense of longing for friendships that have either gone by the wayside or are isolated in other places that I am not. It made me kind of wish to be with them, wherever they are, but I know that what ultimately makes reunions all the more powerful is your ability to see how far you've come in the time since you've last saw them. I was listening to Mumford and Sons just a few minutes ago and a line from "Awake my Soul" kept resonating with me, it goes like this:

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies you will die- where you invest your love, you invest your life ("Awake my Soul" by Mumford and Sons)
That I believe is truth. That I believe is a more powerful example of honest- truth than any I have accepted in recent days, and I sit with it as I write this out. 

This came about only after I had driven to Starbucks feeling a weight upon my shoulders. I knew that such a thing was commonplace in this day-n-age, but to not feel released from such burden weighs on your sense of freedom. Seeing nothing but icy snow, with no sign of the sun, probably has something to do with it. So I popped in an old album, "Much Afraid" by Jars of Clay, and I began to listen to words that I have barely heard since I was 17. That's strange... to think how far back that was, but perhaps now I have achieved a distance to really evaluate how I feel about this album without a slant towards some event or even a person. Music has that effect on you. It can literally rip your heart out, piece it back together, and create emotional distance all in the same song and yet we run to it in times of discomfort, in times of joy, and in times of anger. Its kind of like the universal medicine, lap to cry on, and punching bag all in the same tense. Anyways, a line harped up on track 5, which I think was called "Frail", and I just had to write it down: "Convinced of my deception, I've always been a fool. I fear this love reaction, just like you said I would." ("Frail" by Jars of Clay) That hit me because I so often make excuses as to why I can't do something- and it shows up more often than I would care to admit.

Its an understatement to say that I find myself complex, and in just thinking that I have come up with about 20 different reasons why that it is true. But love... somehow being in love isn't complicated, its harder to actually be loved, I think. I have found love where I thought I would not, which is the essence of discovering not only the part of yourself that is missing but the path to which it shall transcend, and then walk in that love everyday. Though I will fail at times, I know that that love isn't an epilogue to a Grimm tale showcasing a sense of morality as a sign of weakness, nor is it a catchy tune meant to sway on emotion alone, but instead it is something to not only embrace but to fear. The entire concept of fear is a topic unto itself, but in the context of what I am saying I think that in America we tend to always view fear as negative. The fear of God is something that is resonating with the complexity of mysterious movement, mysterious love, and mysterious being. We embrace that resonation with fear because of how immense it truly is, and because we seek to run and hide in defense. Love is then this big mysterious other that we are submersed within and yet cannot define. Falling in love with someone has its ups and downs, but even in the lowest moments you just feel that persons heart and soul in your every momentous action. To throw off the ties to past failures is to shed the shells that contain you, break you, and seek to define you not based upon your own ability but on the account of that which you wish could/would/should not be you. I felt a terrible burden for so long and in the last 6 months I have freed myself from its shadowy bonds and ran. I feel lighter everyday, I feel happier everyday, and I understand that what one might call love in such hard times, can really be a manipulation of "wants and gives."

"there will come a time with no more tears and love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears. get over your hill and see what you find there with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair and there will come a time you'll see with no more tears. and love will not break your heart...."("After the Storm" by Mumford and Sons)

So here are some writings/musings that correlate with burdens, love, mystery, and fatigue... may they help to show my heart and perhaps help you to look to yours.

"it is when people do not allow the God of the universe to show up through them that the world collapses upon itself... to destroy and maim the remainder of what once was you"
"concern strikes out in half hazy dreamed photos of a face i wish i could relate to... at this time it doesn't make sense"
"i left because i wouldn't have the right to object to such truths, the bare essentials have become my support as i seek out help in places and people that were all around me and yet i did not want them. what a fearful fool i have been. i strip away the blockade and parade the white flag to show my lies... please be gentle oh friends of old...please be gentle"
"corporate wolves eat helpless lambs... but the lion... he stalks the doorway as means to destroy us all... us and all that we deemed worthy... a pile of soiled papers and bags of burdens and bludgeoned egos"
"as all is yet to be determined, so much so lets unravel it. when everything feels predetermined until chaos becomes creation, lets light up our cigarettes and in the wind lets run until we cannot find the ground- the ability for spontaneous combustion."
"love that you may find what love will do for others... for you have been loved and thus every day that light (however dimmed by your own shortcomings) should shine"
"drink in the day and sleep through the night, and if I could free myself from your possession I would and perhaps one day I will..." (and I did)

I will leave you with the video for Joe Pug's "Hymn 101" which I think perfectly summarizes exactly what I hope this reflection accomplishes for me... Thanks for reading. Leave a comment and wait for that sunrise.











Friday, February 25, 2011

The Trylon Microcinema: "Synocritiques"- Henry Mancini Showcase: March 04-06 and 11-13 2011

TRYLON MICROCINEMA
Theater Schedule for March 4-6; March 11-13
Theme: Henry Mancini: The Maestro of Mod
3258 Minnehaha Ave S Minneapolis, MN
Showtime hotline
(612) 424-5468


Films:


The Party (1968) (March 4th: 7pm, March 5th: 9:20pm, March 6th: 7:00pm)
Director: Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffanys)
Score: Henry Mancini
Starring: Peter Sellers as Hrundi Bakshi

Underneath the soothing glamour of Henry Mancini's calm and cool jazz score comes a comedy about unwanted party guests and cross cultural miscommunication! The always enigmatic Peter Sellers plays the timidly polite Hrundi Bakshi, an Indian actor who is contracted by a major studio as an extra in their new motion picture about the British monarchy in India. But after his bumbling proves to be too destructive for the Director (Herbert Ellis), he unwittingly finds himself on the Hollywood blacklist! But all is not lost for Hrundi as a Studio Moguls wife discovers his name and unknowingly invites him to the most sophisticated party in Hollywood! What follows is a loosely structured set of hilarious scenes involving Hrundi's interactions with the culture elite, as he attempts to climb the Hollywood "social ladder"at The Party.


The Pink Panther (1962) (March 4th: 9:00pm, March 5th: 9:20pm, March 6th: 7:00pm)
Director: Blake Edwards (The Party, Experiments in Terror)
Score: Henry Mancini
Starring: David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Wagner, and Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacque Clouseau

A notorious cat-burgler, a beautiful Princess, the worlds greatest diamond, and the worlds most bumbling detective make up The Pink Panther, a 1960s era slapstick romp filled to the brim with plenty of euro-style and ameri-class! The highly dysfunctional Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is always a few steps behind the elusive "Phantom" burglar, Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven), who is not only "wining-and-dining" the diamond's inheritor Princess Dahla, but also Clouseau's wife! Henry Mancini's score illuminates the counter cultural Europe of the 1960s by creating a rhythm-and-flow to the films culture sympathies. It is a film surrounding passionate lovers, hysterical pratfalls, and of course numerous plundering thieves seeking to steal the illustrious Pink Panther diamond!

Experiment in Terror (1962) (March 11: 7:00pm and 9:25pm, March 12th 7:00pm and 9:25pm, March 13th 4:35pm, 7:00pm)
Director: Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther series, The Great Race)
Score: Henry Mancini
Starring: Glenn Ford, Stephanie Powers, Lee Remick

Lurking behind the shadows comes an Experiment in Terror!, an underrated noir thriller by Director Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther) that utilizes the sharply suggestive score by Henry Mancini to highlight its dark and shadowy corridors with violent tension and undeterred suspense. Stephanie Powers plays Kerry Sherwood, a bank teller who is being blackmailed by a psychopathic killer to steal $100,000 dollars from the bank she works at. As Stephanie attempts to escape from him, it only seems to make matters worse as he is always just around the corner, watching her every move. 


.:RePost: Social Network Review// Grad of the 21st vol. II (reblogged from October 2010) for Relevance


REPOST: I felt that this article was relevant to this week, what with the Academy Awards being on Sunday. Enjoy!

Today it is so much easier than ever before to find who/what you are looking for. I saw the Social Network the other night and I can fairly say that it was a great movie. Does it have all the elements pulled together in the tightest fashion? No. Does it answer our burning morality questions about our generation? Not really. Instead it offers up, in a quite honest and approachable sense, the declaration that though we may find ways to create our journeys (in this example: connecting with others over social networks), we ourselves must traverse the gaps in order to truly make connection.  I don't necessarily believe that it defines my generation, as much as I feel it describes my generation. It is in our generation, and this time, that we have put aside so much on the behalf of the new and unknown. We are dreamers; but we are cynical about it. This film carries that cynicism like a worn t-shirt and it comes across very realistic.  In the process of creating a "network of community", the stability of these individuals are torn apart, redefined, and repackaged in a world that is ever-changing before them. This is a widening gap of identity, which today's graduates are facing more and more as we become more globalized, more "connected", and far less unique. The Social Network is definitely worth a watch, and I really appreciated Fincher's interpretation of Sorkin's script.

On to other things....
I have had three encounters in the last month or so, where my interactions with older businessmen have ended in discouragement for what I see as a widening "continental divide" of generations. Everyone has an iPad, everyone has expendable income (and time apparently), but what did they do to deserve it? Or maybe... did they deserve it? I think we have become self-absorbed with the idea that we have to compensate everything to make ourselves feel somehow superior. I'm not buying it. There seems to be no sympathy to people my age, as we don't have the experience or the prowess to elevate ourselves and instead are deemed with "cutting corners" to get by. Something about that doesn't seem right. I mean did I go to college for 4 years? yes I did. Am I paying school loans with all of the money I make? bazinga! Well then where is the justice here? I don't see it. I especially hate when these business people flaunt their positions in front of me as if I am supposed to be impressed. Well guess what! I am not. You can change the world with your life and thus change yourself, or you can  change your own individual world for the betterment of yourself. You can't do both at the same time without becoming a hypocrite. 

I believe that in the future we will find that we will want to amend the things that we have broken in our time and along those same lines- I believe we will perhaps realize that at times the lack of meaning we adhered to will place us as the killers of objectivity. But perhaps not. I mean, the philosophy of meaning has existed for thousands of years- whose to say we are the ones to do it in. I'm not saying it, but I am throwing it out as a possible course of future-history.

I find myself at Barnes n Noble a lot these days. I don't know if its a convenience thing, an environmental stimulator, or merely a sad puppydog-esque desire to have the money to buy books. I keep hearing about these e-book readers, and although it seems convenient to have, there is something about carrying real books that still catches my attention. I just don't think I'm sold on it yet, but maybe if someone gave it to me as a gift I'd use it. That and I, in this situation and in the iPad situation, don't have any money.

That's why I am....a Grad of the 21st Century: pessimistic, full of wit, and down on his luck.

Cheers

The Middle Aisle: Eric Wilkinson's Predictions for the 83rd Academy Awards!


Academy Predictions 2011 (revised)

As some may have noticed, I have reevaluated some of my original choices due to not having seen all of the Academy nominees on the big screen. It sometimes becomes difficult to catch every single film, and some are likely to fall by the wayside in preparing such a list, for example: I saw 'The Fighter' last week, and I haven't seen '127 Hours' or 'Winters Bone' at all.  



You can check out the Academy Awards on February 27th on ABC. Check local listings for times!

Below are my estimates for 2011 Academy Awards. While not all are necessary what I would personally like to see win, I have chosen what I believe has the best chance of winning.

Best Picture: The Social Network 



  • You can check out my original "pseudo review" here: http://freewheelinvertigo.blogspot.com/2010/10/secrets-of-social-grad-of-21st-vol-ii.html
  • I picked 'The Social Network' because I believe that it represents the ever-changing flow of technology and its implicit transformation of cultural trends. I don't necessarily believe that it defines my generation, as much as I feel it describes my generation. We are people who want to accomplish great things, and are not willing to sell out our ideals to get to where we want to go. Ironically there is a lot of "selling out" in this film, but the core characters retain their original sense of vision even though everything that has connected them falls apart. In the process of creating a "network of community", the stability of these individuals are torn apart, redefined, and repackaged in a world that is ever-changing before them. This is a widening gap of identity, which today's graduates are facing more and more as we become more globalized, more "connected", and far less unique. 
  • Jesse Eisenberg (nominated for the first time) is pretty much perfect as the titular social networking pioneer Mark Zuckerberg, and the Director (David Fincher, also nominated) does a fantastic job of using his obsessive and sometimes anti social behavior to create a film about real human connections rather than the actual technological networks that make up what we know as Facebook. This is an ensemble cast and pretty much everyone deserved to get a nod from the Academy for their efforts, plus the adaption of "The Accidental Billionaires" is very very good! 
  • I would have chosen Inception, as I believe it is a BETTER film, but I just don't see the Academy giving it credit this year as I have heard the real competition will be between this film and 'The Kings Speech'. Reminds me of the 2007 'There will be Blood' vs. 'No Country for Old Men' battle.
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth (The Kings Speech)



  • Firth is literally electric in his role as King George, a chain smoking and utterly tense monarch with a stutter worse than a ten year old. He completely embodies the character on several basic levels, but truly shines when he attempts to hide away beneath his kingly "duties" he sees as a god-given authority. His interactions with Geoffery Rush, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and 1996's Best Actor for 'Shine', are as hilarious as they are poignant, and in "bromantic" kind of way its all very heart warming to have a story about friendship blurring the lines of social class.
  • I would have picked Leonardo DiCaprio over any of the nominees this year, if he had even been given a single nomination! I couldn't believe that he didn't get nominated for either 'Inception' or 'Shutter Island'. 
  • Jeff Bridges only got nominated because he did last year, and he is playing a role that John Wayne won an Oscar for... there, I said it!

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)




Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale (The Fighter) * changed on Feb 25th 2011



  • Christian Bale is an interesting actor. At times his performances are fantastic portrayals of conflicted individuals dealing with human nature (think Batman, Rescue Dawn, American Psycho, or The Machinist), but in other circumstances he can just be plain boring (Terminator Salvation, The New World, Harsh Times). Needless to say, I was blown away by his transformation in 'The Fighter', which really only worked because of his involvement. Mark Wahlberg turns out a better than good performance as a conflicted family man who never got his shot at fame, but ends up rising through the ranks of boxing to shoot for the World Championship. Yet without Bale's involvement it just wouldn't have been as interesting to see him succeed. He literally draws all attention to himself and upstages Marky Mark several times throughout the picture. To be a Supporting Actor and have the whole audience take notice of you over the main performers, well that takes talent. Originally I had thrown my cards in for Geoffery Rush to win, but after seeing 'Fighter' last week I couldn't help but change my mind on the matter.   

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) *changed on Feb 25th 2011



  • The Best Supporting Actress category is always a hard call for me, as very few films in recent years have really utilized the supporting actress role to its fullest extent. I would say that the last time I saw a really good supporting role for a woman was Amy Adams character in 'Doubt'. Out of this years nominees I feel that Hailee Steinfeld has the best chance of winning an award for her role in 'True Grit', as she is the only performer that really stands out from this list of nominees. Originally I had said Amy Adams would win it, but after seeing 'The Fighter' post original predictions, yes I know that seems hypocritical or even lazy to do, but I just wasn't that impressed with her role, and neither was anyone else I think.

Achievement in Directing: David Fincher (The Social Network)



  • See 'Best Picture' category.
  • David Fincher has come a long way in his Directing career, and I think that by now he should be given some recognition for his unique style. His tones are generally opportunistic in that he always adds a layer of strength, even in the bleakest of situations (think Morgan Freeman in 'Seven' or Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Zodiac'). He utilizes the camera to create stories and characters, and rather than pander to plot devices he gives us real motivators to continue watching the film (think Edward Norton's spiral out of control in 'Fight Club' or Jodie Fosters first interactions with the criminals in 'Panic Room'). All in all I feel that Fincher deserves this award simply on the basis that he turned a film about Facebook into something so much more. 

Best Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3 (Pixar)



  • C'mon did you really expect anything else to win this category?? Honestly the third edition in Pixar's tentpole trilogy was by far my favorite of the three, as it found a new dimension to explore in what seemed like an exhausted subject. Lasseter and his team discovered a way to create real emotional distance using toys as the subject, and with a following of over 15 years its no wonder why by the end the audience was moved by a 'family' of plastic objects! The other two films are also fantastic, but you knew by the 'end of the day' that Andy still needed these toys, and that safety kept the distance to a relative minimum in comparison to the third edition. Obviously there were moments of distance in the first, when Woody is tossed aside for Buzz; or in the second, when Woody decides he belongs with his "own kind"; but in the third film, this comes out as- all of the toys will be forgotten and left behind because their owner is finally too old to play with them. Its really quite amazing to watch it unfold, and judging by the size of this explanation I obviously have something to say about it! It was also hilarious, which definitely helps an animated film with heart. No one wanted to see a dark Toy Story with no laughter and the Pixar crew turned out to have plenty of surprises under their sleeve. Now if they could only do that with Cars 2, it might not be AS TERRIBLE as the first film was.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin



  • See 'Best Picture' above.
  • Note: Sorkin is one of the key components that brought the film to the screen. His involvement added so much depth and imagination that he deserves to be awarded an Oscar this year for adapting a book that some might have thought it would unlikely to adapt. 

Best Original Screenplay: Inception by Christopher and Johnathan Nolan



  • Inception is one of the most original concepts I have ever seen on film, and definitely the most worthy original creation among these nominees. The Nolan brothers have truly contained themselves before this film, holding back on behalf of retaining some sense of familiarity, and yet you can see it move into new territory when in Inception they simply blaze past background information, and establishing introductions to throw the audience straight into a maze of dreams, futuristic globalism, teamwork, changing environments, inner turmoil manifesting into "reality", and the overall betrayal of one mans desire to return home. If you haven't seen Inception, you definitely should as I believe it should win Best Picture this year, but unfortunately I don't believe that it will as I stated before.

Best Score: Inception (although its a travesty that BLACK SWAN wasn’t nominated!!!)



  • Quick sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Guay6QlOzqU
  • Black Swan would have been my choice, as that entire film is dependent upon Mansell's score. He channels Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake through a envisioned, and rather deepening tunnel of self destruction. The music creates as much tension as Natalie Portman's portrayal, and its unfortunate that the Academy felt that because of its adaption of Tchaikovsky that the score wasn't actually original. Clint Mansell was robbed by not even being nominated, especially because its off a technicality that he wasn't included. Here is a quick sample for this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByOnVvhZ6JY
MORE AWARDS...


Best Original Song: Toy Story 3

Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland

Cinematography: Inception

Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland


Achievement in Makeup: Barneys Version

Sound Editing: Inception

Sound Mixing/Design: Inception

Visual Effects: Inception

Documentary: Inside Job

  • I did manage to see this film, and although I thought it was good I definitely think that if 'Waiting for Superman' was nominated, that it should have deserved to win. So I guess in this case, like the Score or Best Actor categories I feel that the 'runner up' deserves to win in its place.

Doc (Short Subject): Killing in the Name

Film Editing: Black Swan

Animated Short: Day and Night (Pixar)



  • If by chance you having been living under a rock and haven't seen 'Toy Story 3', then you might have missed the opening Pixar short combining 2D and 3D animation. Personally I believe this is one of their best short films, and honestly should be given the highest honor in short films for it! 
  • Check it out here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpN0vwgVBZk