Archive for February 23rd, 2009

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Oscar Thoughts: Slumdog Millionaire Deserves it All

February 23, 2009

I made a bit of a big deal out of the Academy Awards last night, and without much reason, really. I barely saw any movies last year, at least compared to previous years, so I could not fairly make judgements on most of what was nominated. I am a bit embarrassed to say that I did not see four out of five of the films nominated for Best Picture last night. The only reason I made such a big deal out of it, and why I invited all of my friends over to our dorm room to watch the event, is because I wanted to see the performance of a single film and all of those involved with it.

Slumdog Millionaire dominated the Awards, winning eight out of the nine Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, in addition to the four Golden Globes and countless other accolades it has recieved, and earned completely. Watching the massive cast and crew on the red carpet as well as accepting the awards and having a great time was an incredible feeling. It makes me extremely happy that this film has gotten the recognition and appreciation that it has, because I honestly believe it is one of the greatest movies to be released in years, and an all around inspiring and incredible film experience.

I first saw the film when I was in a very bad spot. I won’t say exactly what was on my mind, but it was that kind of agonizing feeling that someone just can never shake immediately. Slumdog Millionaire didn’t get rid of that feeling, but it certainly reminded me that my situation was natural and a part of a bigger picture. As you probably already know, the film is combination of many genres including drama, comedy, coming of age, adventure, romance, and perhaps an element of fantasy. I can scarcely say anything about it that hasn’t already been said, so I won’t even try. It is probably the best looking film that I can remember seeing, gorgeously filmed and directed, by the wonderful Danny Boyle, no less. Musically it is a revolution, a beautiful combination of Indian classicism and modern music from A.R. Rahman. The acting is superb, from an enormous cast, some of which are well known Indian stars, and the child roles handpicked from a school in Mumbai. But the script is what really stands out. The storyline and the characters in it put so much at risk, everything that they have, in fact, and the results are nothing short of stunning, a celebration of the trials and rewards of living.

If you haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire, make a point to do so immediately. I will in turn see Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Wrestler and the rest of the films who recieved the recognition of not only winning Oscars but also nomination as soon as humanly possible.

Also, a huge congratulations to everyone else who won last night, especially to Wall-E’s win for Best Animated Film and Heath Ledger’s win for Best Supporting Actor.

Much love all around.

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Arcade Fire – Funeral

February 23, 2009
Arcade Fire - Funeral

Arcade Fire - Funeral

For me, the definitive moment of Arcade Fire’s debut album has always been the middle stretch of “Haiti” where Regine Chassagne sings over the album’s catchiest hook “in the the forest we lie hiding/unmarked graves where flowers grow/hear the soldier’s angry yelling/in the river we will go.” It seems to embody the spirit of the album, that is, an incident frozen in time, either explicitly explained or implicitly suggested, where someone is there, living, loving and learning. Indeed, this happens on more than one occasion. A lover decides to dig an impossible tunnel to his lover’s window, a power outage wakes up a sleeping teenager who runs out into the night, a man on a horse muses of burned out streetlights and his loved one’s eyes, and an estranged first son named Alexander causes police lights to shine (being an only child named Alexander, this one seemed completely life changing at the time). While the album is named Funeral, it primarily recognizes death as a necessary component to life, and this puts all of its ambitious goals on a song by song basis into perspective. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Funeral is easily one of the catchiest, lushest, and most romantic albums of the decade, and no one ever questioned whether or not it would be the greatest album of 2004 upon release. Like other necro-centric modern masterpieces, Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise and Hal Ashby’s film Harold and Maude, the Arcade Fire’s album Funeral is another step closer to society moving away from crying in agony at every funeral and instead rightfully in ecstasy.

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire