Saturday, September 26, 2015

Updates and Whatnot

Greetings Pups,

I know I haven't posted anything in a couple of weeks, and this time, I gave no real explanation as to why, like I did last time. Well, what can I say? Life happens. I'm sure all of you know about that. And it's been happening with me, so I haven't be able to do any writing here to share with you all. Sorry about the that.

But I do have some good news. I will be posting again soon. Give me another week and things will be up and running again, probably with another theme week. Yeah, I like to do that after a long absence to make up for lost time. They just take up a lot of that time. Also, October is approaching, which means that we are getting close to the season where a lot of good movies start coming out. There are two that month, in fact, that I'm planning to see. One I have high hopes for, and one that I pray doesn't make me cry in the bad way. Point is, I'll hopefully be having a lot of Straight From the Theater Reviews for you guys.

So, anyway, that's what has been going on. I thought I'd give something of an update to keep you all aware. Be patient, and I'll be posting again. Thanks much everyone!

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Monday, September 14, 2015

Decision Making

Greetings Pups,

Every day, things happen that lead us on to the next chapter in our lives. Sometimes, they are huge events; other times, they are so microscopic that we don't even know about them. And then, there are the times when something happens that doesn't lead us on simply by occurring. Instead, they force us to look at where we are in our lives and make a tough decision on where we have to go. In those moments, we have to take the reins and choose a path.

I recently had one of those days, and now I sit here wondering where I should be going. I've had this happen to me before, and I'm not so sure that I always chose the right path. It's never easy to do that, because what we think is right and what is right doesn't always match up. In fact, the wrong way tends to be quite deceiving. If there's one thing I never want to do again, it's lead myself to a place that I don't want to be. A place where I don't belong.

So, now I personally have a huge decision to make, and I don't doubt that many people, maybe even some of you reading this, are in the same boat as I am. If not the same boat, then, perhaps, the same ocean. Maybe you're considering making a turn from something that you've been doing for what feels like forever, as I am. That is always difficult to do, but if it's what you're supposed to be doing, or not doing, eventually, it will feel easier, because it's right.

And, in the end, what's right is right. Even if it feels wrong or difficult sometimes. So, for all of you who are at some kind of crossroads, do as I plan to do and have some faith that it will all work out in your favor.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'm Not There - Music Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

Have you ever seen a trailer and thought, "That movie looks interesting...and confusing". I have, several times, and I used to let that deter me from seeing the film. Fortunately, I started to take some chances and see movies that I would not have otherwise, and it led me to some really amazing cinema. Such was the case with what I'll be talking about today, I'm Not There.

I'm Not There is a 2007 film that kinda sorta tells the story of Bob Dylan through his music and by way of six different characters that represent different aspects of his personality and/or life. And - surprise! - it is told in a nonlinear fashion, because, of course it is. Confused yet? Good. It doesn't even matter. See, as I mentioned before, some films that seem confusing are actually quite easy to follow. This is one of them. But let me give a quick synopsis of those six characters, the actors that portray them and what they do. Ready? Okay.

First, we have Arthur Rimbaud played by Ben Whishaw. His scenes consist of him participating in something of an interrogation where he gives what I would call very poetic answers. A lot Dylan's quotes from interviews were used for this part. Second, there's Woody Guthrie (not his real name) played by Marcus Carl Franklin. He's an 11-year-old boy who is basically a drifter obsessed with, you guessed it, Woody Guthrie, as was Dylan in his youth. Then, we have Jack Rollins/Father John played by Christian Bale. Now, even though he has two different names, he is still only one person. I think. Look, I just don't want to be wrong about saying there are only six characters. Anywho, he represents Dylan both during his time as a folk singer and also his time after becoming a born again Christian. And, yes, it was super awesome seeing Christian Bale as a preacher. Next, we have Robbie Clark played by Heath Ledger. His character is an actor who portrays the aforementioned Jack Rollins. This part also tells the story of him and his wife and their tumultuous relationship, which parallels the marriage of Dylan and his first wife, Sara. (Blood on the Tracks, baby! Sorry.) After that, there's Jude Quinn played by Cate Blanchett. Yes, she's a woman playing a man, and, contrary to some other actors playing the opposite gender and my totally not buying it, she was rather brilliant here. Brilliant enough to be robbed of the Oscar, but what do I know? Anyway, Jude Quinn is Dylan as he makes his way into playing electric and therefore, alienated his "fans". I say "fans" because, if you truly admire an artist, you will let them grow. Finally, we have a character known as Billy the Kid played by Richard Gere. This is a reference to when Dylan had a role in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. I also heard this theory that it might be referring to when Dylan kind of ran away to do the Basement Tapes, but who knows? And that is the basic layout for the movie. Sorry if I was long-winded.

Now, of course, these six actors are the foundation, but they had much help in filling out the whole thing. And they got some great people to support them. We get Bruce Greenwood, David Cross, Kris Kristofferson, and the late, great Ritchie Havens. Even people of whom I am not a fan were kind of okay in this, like Michelle Williams, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Julianne Moore. Yeah, I just conceded on that. I told you I can be honest, no matter how painful it is.

Bottom line, this is a very well put together film. And I think all things considered, with the structure and all, it could have been a hot mess in less capable hands. But, thankfully, it just ended up being thought-provoking and interesting. Now, you may be wondering if Bob Dylan fans will love this or hate this. Of course, it could go either way. Things like this usually do. But speaking as an admirer of his myself, I believe that this was a very creative and artistic way to explore all the facets of his life and career. And at no time did I feel like it was being disrespectful to him at all. That would be a major plus.

So, I say if you do love Bob Dylan, check out I'm Not There, if you haven't already. Actually, if you've never known much about him and are interested, I recommend it even more. Even though it's technically a fictional account of his life, it might intrigue you to know more. I mean, I already knew a lot and it even did that for me. That is not easy to do. Congrats, movie.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Snowpiercer - Movie Review

Greetings Pups,

Why do great movies constantly get shelved or swept under the rug whilst movies that are, at best, "meh" are the ones making all the money? I don't know. I guess with enough advertising/indoctrination you can convince enough people to see those sub par ones. Which means it's up to us to spread the word about stellar pieces of art that aren't appreciated nearly as much as they should be. That's why I've chosen to talk about Snowpiercer. Spoilers: It's good. It's very good.

Snowpiercer is a 2013 sci-fi South Korean film that is based on a French graphic novel called Le Transperceniege by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette. Calm down! Calm down, people who hate reading. This is not a heavily subtitles film. In fact, it's pretty much all English. Bless your ethnocentric little souls, it's in English. Actually, this is the English language debut of director, Bong Joon-ho, who also wrote the screenplay along with Kelly Masterson.

Anyway, it's all about an ice age that occurs after an idea to end global warming goes terribly wrong. Most of the life on Earth is gone, and those who are left live on a constantly moving train, which continually pierces the snow that has covered the planet. Hey! I just got the title! Much like it was in the world they once lived in, the passengers are subject to class separation, with the "lesser" humans shoved in the back, cold and hungry, and the more "valuable" people living in a state of luxury. I wonder if some of the people in the train aren't happy about that and intend to make changes. Yes, that might be what happens. And that is all I'm going to say, because this is one of those films where the plot is the journey and the struggle of the people within it, and you must go along for the ride, if you will.

When it comes down to it, that's what I think this movie is about. It's about people who are fighting with all their might for their worth to be seen, for their lives to be appreciated and for their right to exist as human beings. It's almost like something that is ultimately an action film can have a whole lot of depth to it, and not just be a toy commercial. Who knew? At the heart of this, beneath all the bells and whistles, so to speak, is just a good story. And THAT should always be the foundation of any movie. It isn't always, but when it is, I am happy.

Of course, this wonderful story was helped along by the amazing cast that they assembled. At the helm, we have Chris Evans. And may I just say to Mr. Evans, should he ever read this...ahem...HOLY CRAP, DO MORE STUFF LIKE THIS MOVIE!!!!! Sorry, didn't mean to shout, but not every film he has done has been worthy of his talent. THIS is worthy of his talent. Seriously, Chris, pick stuff like this always. Besides him, we get Tilda Swinton, looking unrecognizable. I just knew it was her by the stellar acting. Also, there's Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris and my man, John Hurt. In addition to them, we are introduced to South Korean actors Song Kang-ho and Go Ah-sung. I had never heard of them before, but I'm glad I did through this movie. Everybody here was just about perfect.

You know what? I am going to take back something I've said before, possibly on this blog, certainly in real life. I, along with many other people, are just plain tired of all the redundancy of Hollywood. What with all the remakes and reboots and franchises, it's easy for us to believe that there is nothing new being thought of out there. But there is. There are original ideas being created in the minds of writers and film makers. And, yes, I know this is an adaptation, but the book gave us a literary new idea, which was transferred to a cinematic new idea, so it all counts as original. Problem is, as I mentioned, all the attention goes to those big budget, familiarly themed movies, whether they're good or not, because people will gravitate toward things they recognize. It's just the easy way to live. But I would rather do a little work to find things like Snowpiercer. Maybe if we ALL try a bit harder to find them, maybe if people, who have the power to do so, do a little extra sifting through that slush pile, we can turn the tide and get more excellent films like this one. Now go watch it.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Consenses: The Story - Documentary Review

Greetings Pups,

I'm going to do something a little different today. Normally, when I review a documentary, it's one that has been released in the theaters or on DVD or some other widespread way, and they are usually feature film length. Not the case today. This documentary is less than an hour long and found on a website that I follow called Consenses. Hence, the title. But, perhaps, I should give some back story first.

If there's one thing I love about social media, it's the way that like-minded people can find each other quite easily. Okay, I know that has potential to be a bad thing, too, but we'll stay positive today. Now I had never heard of Consenses, until they started following me on Twitter. I'm pretty sure they found me because I started following Sally Taylor. What's the connection? Well, as it happens, Sally Taylor is the one who founded Consenses. And I'm so glad that she did.

Consenses, if you don't already know, is something that was created to connect artists to each other, and this documentary tells the story of how it came to be and about some of the people who have taken part in it. It's something of a game of artistic "Telephone" where one person shares a piece of their own art and it inspires another person to interpret it by way of another medium and another of the senses, and then it goes on to another person and another person, until the whole thing somehow manages to come full circle. Sally actually uses this fable called "The Elephant and the Blind Men" to show the spirit of what she's trying to accomplish with this. How some things, even the whole world, can only make sense when we come together and see what others are experiencing, so we can build their entire existence. It's almost as though bringing things forth by way of our individual perceptions can create a whole new life.

I have to say it is so refreshing to see everyone connect the intricate way we were all made with the intricate way that everything was made through art, so that we can make, with our own hands, even more beauty. I feel like the world through the eyes of artists is like clouds through the eyes of children. A million eyes can look at the same thing, but come up with a million different interpretations of what that can be. Now, I happen to be one of those strange people who believes in absolutes, but I also believe that some things are open for interpretation. Art is number one on that list. In fact, I think it is our duty in life to show everyone how many ways and how many angles that can be used to expose every facet of every thing we encounter each day of our lives. And through Consenses, so many amazing artists have been able to do that, hand in hand with their fellow creators.

Okay, I see now that I have gone off on a bit of a tangent, maybe more reviewing the project than the documentary, and I apologize for that. Getting back to the task at hand, I will say that this short film is a wonderful account of what the project is and the gifted people who are holding it together, pushing it forward and giving it life. I sincerely feel honored to be connected to it any way that I can be. If you're interested in this, you can go to consenses.org, watch this documentary and find out for yourself about the fantastic things that are happening.

Love and full moons,
Becky the Writer