QUADRIVIUM

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Archive for January 2008

Why U2 is the Greatest Band in the World

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The Super Bowl Halftime concert – 2002

In 2002, I was still a bit of a punk.  I had yet to meet my wife, had yet to begin to allow Christ to temper the malcontented fury in my own heart, and had yet to really recognize or even appreciate U2’s incredible contribution to music, art, and yes, even worship. 

I do not remember seeing this when it first aired.  Not sure where I was or what particular hole in the ground I had shoved my head, but this…there just are no words. 

HT: Libertas

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Written by taj

January 31, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Posted in U2

That review for 3:10 to Yuma…

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…will be a little longer in coming than originally presupposed.  I deleted it by accident.  So, look for it soon. 

Written by taj

January 30, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

And this will make two…

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OK, sports fans.  If these tests really work, and the pharmacists ensure me that they do, we’re looking to add kidlet number two to the family sometime in Autumn. 

Now is the time I have to follow the immortal advice found on the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and try not to panic. 

😉

Written by taj

January 30, 2008 at 10:18 am

Posted in Baby News

A short word on “Hairspray”

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There’s a lot about this movie to like. Its songs play like a one big spirited symphony performed by a great cast. Its choreography makes some stupendous use of Broadway-style dance numbers, using the three dimensional scope of a 70mm frame (although, there’s a few moves in Grease upon which no one has ever improved). Its themes of genuine love, tolerance and civil rights do well enough, but the film cannot rise above stereotypes long enough to stick the landing.

The only real Christian symbol in the film appears as a crucifix hanging from the end of a bookmark that belongs to a white, middle class bigot who locks her daughter in a bedroom for dating a young black man.

The Civil Rights movement began in the churches of the south, and not a single black character appears in the film associated with Christianity (at least I didn’t catch it—if anyone knows that I missed something, please, let me know!).

Stereotypes come in handy when you want the audience to understand the characters quick enough to just sit back and enjoy the movie. Adding one or two moments to break stereotype adds a hint of complexity to the story and makes it more real. And the filmmakers accomplish this to a degree, pitting some stereotypes in conflict with others, shaping the film’s second act into a fuller story.

With such an explicit detail to represent the bigotry of the 60s, a crucifix around the neck of, say, Queen Latifah’s character, would have made a remarkable counterpoint to the Bible-thumping house-mom. Instead, it comes off like a cheap shot at religion. That’s really my only quibble. Dr. King’s legacy deserves a little more respect.

Written by taj

January 29, 2008 at 8:25 am

J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek Trailer

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Paramount placed the teaser to J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek on the premier of Cloverfield last weekend. Not much more than a quick montage of workers building Enterprise, evoking the past tense POV of the new film. 

Some observations:

— The filmmakers appear to be drawing most of their influence from the original series…a smart move.  Spy photos that have caught extras on set glimpse the faded blues and yellows of the old show’s costumes.  A brief glimpse of Enterprise’s nacelles in the trailer suggest the ship will look more reminiscent of the old tubular vessel that carried Kirk and crew to the stars rather the hyper-detailed model used in the first films. 

— Scan through the credits at the end of the trailer, you’ll see the name of the fellow scoring the film: Michael Giacchino.  Giacchino started out scoring video games, but was picked up by Abrams to provide the eerie tones of Lost and M:I:3.  But his best work explodes with the booming, epic 1940s-inspired score for The Incredibles, and the sweeping, classical influence that punctuated Ratatouille.  The Star Trek franchise once had a reputation for coaxing great work from some of Hollywood’s most talented composers.  James Horner earned an Oscar nomination for Star Trek II.  I think Leonard Rosenman earned the franchise’s first Oscar for music on Star Trek IV.  Cliff Eidelman brought a grand operatic feel to Star Trek VI.  Other films had relied too heavily on Jerry Goldsmith’s recycled themes, but when an original composer has been brought in to score a Star Trek film, the results are usually magic.
 
— The cast.  We have some relative unknowns, but some of these guys have been working the smaller roles in film and TV for a while, and the collection of talent here is impressive.  Eric Bana.  Winona Ryder.  Zachary Quinto.  And my favorite choice: Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard McCoy. 

We have the building blocks of something special.  However, the endless writer’s strike has already caused some minor challenges.  The film went before cameras with a full script ready to go days before the strike.  Abrams, as a member of the guild, cannot change a word of what goes before the camera as long as the strike continues.  He’s commented in places about revisions he would love to include, but ethics constrain him. 

Star Trek—back in the day, at least—was a pop cultural behemoth.  Lately it’s become more of a joke.  A Christmas release date indicates Paramount Pictures is crossing their fingers for a $100 million hit…something Star Trek hasn’t seen since 1986. 

Written by taj

January 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Movies, Writing

The next James Bond movie has a title…

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Quantum of Solace.

Yeah, it’s a little strange. The title comes from one of Ian Fleming’s short stories from 1960. I think the biggest challenge here is making the title look memorable. Right now, it looks like something I’d see on the Discovery Channel. Although, slap the 007 logo on it, and you’ve got an audience that’ll show up to watch it.

Written by taj

January 24, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Posted in Movies

Coming Up for Air

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You know, I’ve sat down write a post about six times in the last three days.  All I have to show for it are two unfinished posts.  So, while I wait for a lengthy document to print, here’s a quick look at what’s coming soon…

–A terse word about Juno (wonderful), Hairspray (not so wonderful), and Fracture (good plotting)

–Though Infuze is closed indefinitely, I still want to keep writing full reviews, so look for one on 3:10 to Yuma

–The new Star Trek trailer, and my thoughts. 

Plus, there’s always the chance something else will come to mind as well.  Until then…

Written by taj

January 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm