Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bob Marley/ I am Legend/ Candice Breitz

This is a different film review/comment entry. Call it a coincidence or the collective subconscious, but today I heard Bob Marley songs in two major works; Candice Breitz video installation and Will Smith's blockbuster I Am Legend.

I'm currently in Denver, Colorado and being a sunny,snowstorm-free-day, I went to the new Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) which opened in October. The building is not big, but its spacious enough to fit a group of great artists. I appreciated the distribution, the smooth black wooden floors and the current exhibition titled; Star Power: Museum as Body Electric curated by Cydney Payton and featuring seven emerging and established artists from around the world (among them, Mexican Carlos Amorales). The exhibition starts on the basement where there's only one installation and the museum offices. That one installation echoes on all the museum levels, reminding you of the power of Bob Marley.

Candice Breitz, the artist from Johannesburg, South Africa is responsible for Legend (A Portrait of Bob Marley), an installation that she created by inviting thirty Jamaicans from all walks of life to sing their versions of Legend in a professional recording studio in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Each participant was invited to individually re-perform the entire Legend album from beginning to end. The resulting thirty performances are screened simultaneously on a wall of thirty monitors.

Later on (or two museums later... cause I also went to see the new building of the Denver Art Museum that Daniel Liebeskind built, but I don't want to write about cause it makes me feel dizzy) I went to see I Am Legend. Since the beggining of the film, my stomach was aching... I was stressed and I certainly didn't expect that much suspense. I just wanted to see our friend Ryan AKA Skeletor Boy in the Brooklyn Bridge shot.. but never saw him. New York looks super desolate and scary. Just to think that all this destruction was caused by Emma Thompson's cure for cancer. Ha! The lady sitting next to me, kept screaming and jumping out of her seat. But during the calm moments of this flick, Will Smith pushed play on his Ipod and he would sing along to Marley's lyrics ("Don't Worry, about a thing, cause every little thing, is gonna be alright."). And later on, he even gives a small lecture about who Marley was.. describing him as a peace trooper.

I just wonder, is this how kids who where born in the late 80's or early 90's will know Bob Marley? Will he be recognized as "Damian's Dad" now?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Juno - Jason Reitman

Sometimes, the way I rate a movie has nothing to do with academic standards or production values. My gut and my throat are the indicators. Yup... When I really like a film, I get overwhelmed and this funky feeling -similar to the butterfly flutter you get when you are "in love"- takes over.

This happened with Juno.

Juno is the story of a courageous high-schooler who goes through teenage pregnancy without loosing her cool (well, only when Pauly Bleeker decides to go to prom with someone else). And let me tell you, I relate. It resonates. It made me laugh and cry. I'm still trying to figure out what made it exactly... Luckily, I never went through teenage pregnancy, nor any of my friends, but Diablo Cody (the former stripper, now author) hit on the spot. I never expected the next Jason Reitman's film to be like this. After the frivolous Thank you for smoking, he picked a good fresh script, a cool, young Canadian actress (Ellen Page) the cute/femenine geek of the year (Michael Cera) and a great soundtrack.

So yeah, probably the songs were cued during the "you should cry moments" and certain characters ended up being pretty well fleshed (check out Jen Garner... she does a good job).

So, the soundtrack (expect cutsey pastoral songs for girls and boys wearing cozy sweaters)
lots of Kimya Dawson
Belle and Sebastians
The Moldy Peaches
Cat Power
Antsy Pants
Sonic Youth
Velvet Underground

*Will be out in stores till Jan 8.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm not there - Todd Haynes

I just noticed that I've been seeing more than a couple of films about musicians lately. Starting with Julie Taymor's Across the Universe, and Anton Corbjin's Control...

I enjoyed I'm not there... but I think it was about moments. All the times where Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale did Dylan were my favorite. Also, I prefer Sienna Miller as Edie Sedwick instead of Michelle Williams as "Coco". Another rant; I dunno why people love Chalotte Gainsbourg so much! She's always her same malnourished suffering self... As for Heath Ledger, the Marcus Carl Franklin, the Wishow dude and Richard Gere... allow me to say that I didn't get it.

I loved that Halloween town! I Felt it was very Jarmush. And hey, Haynes aced with the music choices (out of Dylan's ample repertoire) Check out the "Visions of Johanna" sequence... I think its dreamy.

P.S. The October issue of Film Comment has this great essay by Larry Gross (The Lives of Others: Todd Haynes's Anti-Biopic I'M Not There is about "Bob Dylan" not Bob Dylan)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chuck and Larry - Dennis Dugan

This how I start my x-mas vacation. I left three recently acquired friends in my apartment (two Americans and one Italian) and took the cab to the airport after sleeping less than four hours cause I was tied up working on some film proposals.

Traffic had me worried that I was not gonna be able to make it on time to catch the 3:30 Delta flight, but in exactly 30 minutes I set foot on terminal 2 of the Benito Juarez airport for the first time. Pretty nice! Step two was the long line to get to the counter... it probably took an hour and I was starving plus my feet were hurting (I was wearing stiletto heels, duh!). After that wait, I got a dry and decrepit chicken and bacon salad at some store. Yuck! I had to compensate with a Twix.

Finally jumped on the plane and discovered that I was in one of the cool ones with individual screens... lots of films to watch... well, not really. Half of them, I had seen and the other half were x-mas flicks. My first choice was The Andy Samberg movie. I wanted to check it out but after 10 minutes I was done with it. hmm I guess I'm getting old and the Adam Sandler movie make me laugh much more.

My second choice was Chuck and Larry. It made me laugh, it had cool cameos, a gay tap dancing kid, and it even made me think of Adam Sandler is not bad looking... that's weird. Nevermind. The other thing that I liked was that it was shot in NY and I could recognize some of my fave stores on Cobble Hill/Carol Gardens. For instance, Rapisarda (on Court st) where Dave Mathews (yeah from the band) was a gay retail associate who hits on Sandler. Go figure... he looked pretty gay to me. Actually in the beggining I thought he was Jeremy Piven. aight... the only question I had was; why did Chuck and Larry go get married in Canada and not in Jersey? its nearer...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Love Kristen Schaal

Few people have made my day (or my night) lately and one of them is comedy actress Kristen Schaal from the HBO series Flight of The Conchords. Her "Mel" character is hilarious... she's geeky, sexually depraved, clumsy and a stalker. She's the grupie you don't want to have. In the series, she pops out of the blue, always wearing a t-shirt with the band's picture. I read from the Brooklyn Vegan that last year she won the Andy Kauffman Award and Best Female Stand Up Award at Nightlife Awards NYC. I can't wait to see her stand up show... I'm her fan! or her Mel???

Tuesday, December 11, 2007



The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
Heyday - Kurt Andersen
Thick as Thieves - Steve Geng
Teenage; the creation of youth culture - Jon Savage
The Warhol economy of Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City - Elizabeth Currid
Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making your own wardrobe - Wendy Mullin
La Ceremonia del Porno - Andrés Barba


Yves Saint Laurent:His Life and times - David Teboul
Despedida de Casada - Juan de Orduña
Etre et Avoir - Nicolas Philibert
Pays de sourdes- Nicolas Philibert

"Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express" - Go- Betweens (la re-edicion 2004 trae muchos goodies).

Friday, December 07, 2007

Key to Reserva

I love Marty but to do a Freixinet commercial using a Hitchcock forgotten script is kinda uhh... well, just shows us that once you're on top you can do whatever you want and it will pass as "funny" or "cute". Nevertheless, I loved it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Paranoid Park by Gus Van Sant

I can't help it. I'm biased. I've always liked the films this controversial director makes. I think the only one I don't relate to that much is the one with the student and the teacher and all that sentimental crap. The thing is, every time I watch a Van Sant, I get depressed cause of the darkness that he portrays and cause I wish I could write/direct like that or at least participate in a project like that. The photography as always, is beautiful. Those glares, and the slow and subtle camera moves. I wish that camera could shoot me so I can look pretty... even Macy's pimples around her mouth make her look real and authentic but charming. On the other hand, I love how Van Sant casts his films. The recent ones have excelled and the kid he chose to play Alex, the main character, has this cherub, Mona Lisa face that shows his youthful innocence.

This film is about a skater boy who's somehow involved in a very bloody and mysterious death and how he deals with it at the same time he deals with growing up (his parents divorce, his airhead pushy girlfriend and peer pressure).

Music choices are great as well, although they sort of reminded me of Thumbsucker (Mike Mills) with those Elliot Smith songs (and the slow motion skateboarders doing al Ollie Hop).

FACE feria de arte contemporáneo emergente

La primera edición de FACE se llevó a cabo del jueves 29 de Noviembre al Domingo 2 de Octubre en la azotea del CAD en Polanco. Los que fueron el jueves, seguro se percataron de la falta de organización (común en las primeras ediciones) y las débiles carpas que la lluvia traspasó. El viernes, comentaron los artistas, que "estuvo muy floja la venta" y el sábado, que fue el día en el que yo acudí, pintaba igual.

Sinceramente que creo que la feria es una buena idea. Sin embargo, el ambiente que imperó cuando yo visité me hizo tener sentimientos encontrados. Los artistas le
"echaron muchas ganas". No creo que sea fácil sentarte en tu stand y sonreirle a todo el mundo para así invitarlos a escuchar el discurso sobre tu obra. Repetir una y otra vez lo mismo, para después darte cuenta que estabas hablando con un estudiante que ni con la mesada de un año podría comprarte algo.

Ser artista visual no sólo es una profesión; es un modo de vida que requiere de valentía, autoenfrentamiento constante y persistencia. En ningún momento mencioné ser buen vendedor... y eso, es lo que causa frustración... no vender.

Entre los artistas me gustaron los siguientes;

Juan Pablo Macías
Emmanuel García
Pablo Cotama
Gustavo Villegas
Adela Goldbarg
Gilberto Esparza

Si no tuviste la oportunidad de visitar FACE, puedes comprar el libro mArt de la Editorial Cuarta Pared. Cuesta $200 y los valen!