As you have no doubt heard, the Academy Awards nominations were announced on Tuesday. For the benefit of film-loving book geeks I have put down my Walter Mosley to ridiculously overanalyze that most writerly of Oscar categories, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), to try and determine this year’s champion based on the completely unscientific merits of the past winners.
Before we begin, this year’s nominees are as follows:
District 9 - Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell An Education - Screenplay by Nick Hornby In the Loop - Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire - Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher Up in the Air - Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”.
Many things can be said about the latest Vertigo work to emerge from the team
of Mike Carey and Peter Gross. It can be said that The Unwritten is an examination of the human need to escape into a fictional world during troubled times. Or The Unwritten is metaphorical look at just how powerful the creative process truly is. Or a profound meditation on individuality, identity and the all-too-common theft thereof. Or a warning to pay attention to our own history so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. Even an outward strike at J. K. Rowling seemingly “borrowing” concepts from Gross’ Books of Magic for her records-breaking Harry Potter cycle.
In all honesty, The Unwritten is all these things and more.
Danny Paul Grody’s Fountain is the first full-length solo recording by one of the founding members of San Francisco’s Tarentel and the Drift. For those familiar with these music/art based acts, Fountain is a sweet reminder of Grody’s subtle guitar work—a cornerstone of both projects that often doesn’t get center stage in the ambitious mix of instrumentation, field recordings, and sound-scapes that make up the bulk of these bands’ output. Not that Fountain doesn’t use employ these techniques. There is no shortage of organ and feedback drones, recorded environments, modulated delay and ambience, but the album’s core is Grody’s evocative finger picking style—a style he says is an attempt to integrate something of psychedelic folk masters of the ‘60s, contemporary minimalist composers, and African thumb piano music structures. The result is pattern heavy music that achieves depth through very little surface movement. Repetition is the key to Grody’s compositions and a patient, quiet, even half dreaming approach to listening yields the best results.
Grody once went under the moniker of Furniture—a name copped from Eno’s idea that music should become furniture in the room. Like many of Eno’s concepts, this one is not quite as ephemeral as it seems. Furniture after all is integral to a room’s atmosphere as well as its functionality. The deceptive stillness of Fountain achieves both aspects of this concept quite nicely, creating an almost marginal backdrop while at same time giving us solid, haunting melodies that are perfect for resting our thoughts and memories upon. While some of these pieces are certainly stronger than others, hopefully Fountain is just the beginning of a wellspring that Grody will continue to draw from.
Fountain is available at Root Strata. Grody’s award wining soundtrack collaboration for the documentary feature October Country will be available soon and can be heard at the film’s New York release Feb 12 -18th at the IFC Center in NYC.
I pressed “songs” on the iPod within my iPhone, and then pressed “shuffle”. The first song that came up was “The Loco-Motion” by Little Eva from an album called The Best of the Girl Groups Vol. 2. What a precious tune. It was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and first topped the charts with Little Eva’s version in 1962. The song appeared on the American top 5 two more times, each from a different decade. Grand Funk Railroad released their chart-topping “Loco-Motion” in 1974. In 1988, it was Kylie Minogue who took her version of the song into the top 5.
Here are the three versions in chronological order. I’ve included the videos to get a real taste of the eras.
Hollywood should be ashamed. One of the best Super Bowl’s in the 44 year history of the game and Tinseltown could barely muster an interesting set of ads. Granted, at $2.6 million of 30 seconds, the studios needed to be picky, by there is a certain senselessness to pimping something that’s debuting in five days (The Wolfman) or ten (Shutter Island), especially when there’s been endless months of previews for both. Indeed, aside from snippets for a few new scenes and a head-scratching lack of narrative clarity, most of the 2010 movie trailers were terrible. Going over them one by one (including a couple we swore we saw at some point during the proceedings), it’s clear that, unless you dig spectacle or superficiality, there’s wasn’t much mystery or allure present.