Friday, January 30, 2015

Embarking on a Project to Relaunch the Other Blog

So, my darling, charming, dashingly handsome husband makes movies. And watches movies. And loves to write about movies. He puts together some of the most head turning essays on film that I have ever read. But he bangs them out and posts them to his business related facebook page, which, because of the new algorithms, hardly anyone gets to read. So I decided to start migrating a lot of that content to the blog he completely neglects, partially to get the content backed up somewhere other than facebook, and partly to start building an audience for his blog. 
I went through and pulled three of the most recent essays, and posted them here 

http://septembersonfilms.blogspot.com/

And I'll be adding more daily. But there are... a lot. So, so many. He writes these things faster than I can keep up. This is going to take a while. 
Anyway, if you'd like to follow the revamped September Son Films blog, we'd love to have you! 


Film Count 2015 : 30
Watched this week:
(*not first viewing)

Wetlands
It Felt Like Love 
Fargo*
Disclosure
Drinking Buddies*
The Motel Life
The Woman in the Fifth
The Beach*

Things that are technically TV shows even though I only watch them streaming on the computer: 9
New this week:

Justified


Books of 2015 : 7
New this week:

Er...Nothing. I've been working on a revision for most of this week. Waiting for my copies of Thieves of State and Trigger Warning to arrive on my doorstep.



Things I'm Eagerly Awaiting in 2015 this week:

The next Lockwood & Co. book in paperback. And seeing something at the Oriental in Milwaukee in the next week or two. 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Instant Playlists

So, I am not a playlist maker as a habit. I've done a few on occasion, but generally speaking, I have no time for that noise. I wasn't a mix tape kind of girl. I bought the CDs I loved, and learned pretty early on that the rest of the regular radio fare grew teeth grindingly stale by the time it cycled out of the top 40 rotation. My brother is the musically inclined one. The one who plays four (or five?) instruments, the one who toured in London with his college band, the one who knows every single artist that hits the popular hive mind six months before I've ever heard of them.
In summation, I was not the kind of girl who kept up with the music scene.
And then Pandora happened. And I don't have to put together playlists anymore. They just happen!

How aptly named, sweet muse of harmony!
Your algorithms play straight to my soul,
With troubadours of old and new alike,
Revealed as if we were old acquainted!

In other words, I have suggestions.
For background music - Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
For running music - Two Door Cinema Club, or M83
For all those bands you can't remember the names of - The Submarines
For refreshing music - Bon Iver

Enjoy.

And now onto the weekly updates.
Film Count 2015 : 22
Watched this week:
(*not first viewing)

The Artist is Present
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou*
Fantastic Mr. Fox* 


Things that are technically TV shows even though I only watch them streaming on the computer: 8
New this week

The Fall

Books of 2015 : 7
New this week:

Telegraph Avenue
The Structure of Scientific Revolution
The Darkest Part of the Forest

Things I'm Eagerly Awaiting in 2015 this week:

Watching a tremendous list of foreign films that just came to Netflix


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Oscar Edition - The Wes Anderson Conundrum

So, I'm always conflicted about the Oscars, and basically every award program for commercially produced films (Independent Spirit Awards included. You bunch of sexy sellouts) . Honestly, who cares about award shows that are essentially nothing more than marketing campaigns for media properties that hardly need more brand awareness? And then there's the messy knot of trying to hand out merit awards to art, as if one could really be superior to the other, and the headache inducing clash of seeing purely commercial properties and high art put into head to head competition, with one awarded above the others by vote of a phenomenally homogeneous panel of judges.

Which is my way of saying, I don't generally pay super close attention to what the Oscars are up to. But I still do love seeing the filmmakers I love getting recognition, because I want to see more movies from them, and while I'd like to think that merit of work would be enough for artists to continue to get funding, we're also not naive enough to think that it doesn't come down 100% to money. Except perhaps for Terrence Malik, if you're not making a profit, you're not getting backers on your next project. A smaller or more niche film is going to need wider distribution to find it's audience, but paradoxically is less likely to make its way out of limited release, or even escape the event horizon of VOD nowadays, making it harder for the people who would like to see niche films to find them in the first place, because the more off the main road a film is, the less likely it is to show in the 30plex chain cinemas. No, you're only going to find those showing at the three screen urban art houses. Until they get Oscar nods. Then suddenly the multiplex has room on the dance card. It's a vicious cycle.

This year we have two filmmakers who came to the awards via the quirk route - Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson.

Linklater of course directed the refreshingly experimental Boyhood, but long before that, he helmed what has become the equally far reaching Before trilogy, which, if you haven't seen them yet, stop what you are doing and go find them. Now. Don't come back until those credits roll on Before Midnight.

Anderson has been slowly building one of the most cohesive and precious collections of films ever put together, over the past 20 years. And while I love Anderson's work, with his dollhouse chic art design, his impeccable taste in music, and his thoroughly developed voice, there is something I am starting to take issue with in his work.

Anderson's first commercially produced and distributed work was 1998's Rushmore, which, being set in a private boy's school can be forgiven for a certain top heaviness and homogeny among his characters. His follow up, 2000's The Royal Tennenbaums, expanded half a breath to included the same number of female characters, and also featured Danny Glover as Henry Sherman, accountant and love interest of the Tennenbaum matriarch Etheline.
Since Tennenbaums on, his films have become less inclusive, more whitewashed, and even more male centered. Moonrise Kingdom came the closest to cracking out of this shell, but while it featured a female lead, it still centered around a male organized institution, allowing him the convenience of writing a heavy majority of male roles. Anderson writes in a style that I describe as a 14 year old boy explaining what he thinks adults are like, and I mean that as a compliment. There's a challenge to writing from a child's perspective, even if it is in a satirical way.

I love your films, Wes, but is it impossible to write about anyone other than independently wealthy or upper middle class white men?

And yet, I was happy to see The Grand Budapest Hotel nominated, and in so many categories. I also think that lack of diversity needs to be a pressing discussion among artists in both film and literature, and an especially salient point in a year when a brilliant film like Selma is nominated  for best picture, but nothing else, and every single acting nomination was for a white actor. Is there really no work of merit being made by anyone else?


Anyway, on to my stats for the  year. An addendum to this list - books are new to me, but not all the films are first viewings. This is just a little compilation, mostly for me, of what I've seen for the year. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this list yet, but hey, with the new year, there was a perfect opportunity to do some actual journaling with this blog, so why not? Might make for some interesting stats, might not. Maybe you'll be reminded of something you wanted to see years ago and never got around to, and now you're trying to remember what the heck it was. And now you'll know. You're welcome.


Film Count 2015 : 18
Watched this week:
(*not first viewing)

Arachnophobia*
Adventureland*
Brick Mansions
Pee Wee's Big Adventure*
The Darjeeling Limited*
The Gambler


Things that are technically TV shows even though I only watch them streaming on the computer: 7

Low Winter Sun
Inside Amy Schumer
The New Yorker Presents
Project Runway AllStars
Forever


Books of 2015 : 4
New this week:

Lockwood & Co. The Shrieking Staircase
Miss Marple Complete Short Stories
Object Lessons - Paris Review Anthology

Things I'm Eagerly Awaiting in 2015 this week:

The First Bad Man, Miranda July
Nightcrawler (Missed it in theaters, out soon on video)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Things You Can Do With A Blog

I still love my blog. I still see a lot of fellow bloggers out there. Although with all the other options available that sometimes test my patience worse than a census taker, most of the peeps who were blogging when I started are either gone completely or have scaled back to the realm of long lists of "Hey I'm Back" posts, punctuated by weeks or months of silence.

*ahem*

Originally, this blog was a way to connect with fellow emerging writers, as I fumbled my way through the querying game. That's over for the time being. I have a superstar agent who does the querying for me (yay!) though I do miss it sometimes. When the waits become long, as they are wont to do in this world of stodgy old publishing, I used to be able to just shoot out a few new queries, see if anyone responded. In a way, being out on submission is being even more adrift than when I sent those first fumbling, misfired attempts out into the big wide world. Now I must be patient. I must wait politely without touching the cake or messing up my nice dress before the guests arrive. Well nuts to that.

Eventually, this will be the place to talk about any book type news. Exciting news. Like... anything.
For now, I'm left with the other options for blogging, like talking about my daily activities, but those are not going to be particularly exciting.

Work for me involves sitting down and writing, drawing, painting or sewing. Repeat for 365 days.
Work for darling dearest husband (who always knows he's going to be asked to do something when he gets called thusly) involves sitting at a computer and clicking on files until a movie is pieced out from hundreds of hours of footage. Repeat for 365 days. You're all caught up.

So, for 2015, I'm going to just keep a loose record of things that are awesome that I'd like to share with the world, mostly the writing world of course, but anyone else that wanders in, welcome, and go ahead and share things you find that are

Here we go :


Film Count 2015 : 12

Foxcatcher
The Deep Blue Sea
Edge of Tomorrow
The Summit
Last Night
Cast Away
1976: Hunt vs Lauda
After Hours
The Art of Flight
Only Lovers Left Alive
Night Moves
The Spectacular Now

Things that are technically TV shows even though I only watch them streaming on the computer: 2

Mozart in the Jungle
Bored to Death


Books : 1
Greenglass House

Things I'm Eagerly Awaiting in 2015: 6+
Trigger Warning, from Neil Gaiman, which comes out in less than a month.
The Imitation Game, Inherent Vice, and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, all of which are out, but I haven't had the chance to see them yet.
Crimson Peak - but we'll have to wait for the fall
Knight of Cups -? not sure when this one will be released.
Anything Werner Herzog, Sophia Coppola or Wes Anderson decide to make this year, but I don't know of any upcoming projects at the moment.


I could post reviews of each individual item, and sometimes I will, but at this point, I would recommend all of the above. I much prefer having discussions about books and film than reviewing them anyway.
So, what would you recommend I add to the list for the coming year? Only 51 weeks left now.