Thursday, September 29, 2011

Changing Of The Guard: The End Of Disney's Latest Golden Age

Another classic from the Processed Grass Wordpress Vault:

A few hours ago the Disney Channel Original Series juggernaut, Hannah Montana, aired its final episode. As a fairly big fan of Disney Channel I was compelled to watch this episode, sadly I missed the first half. Actually, I am not really a fan of Hannah Montana, but as a fan I cannot help but feel a sense of sorrow at the end of Miley's time with Disney. The starlet's departure ushers in the end of an era, a changing of the guard of sorts, and given Disney's recent scramble to find any sort of replacement has me worried about the quality of the programing as a whole.

Losing The Legend: Too Linked To The Past?

We are at the end of days, my friends. Not in the 'watch out for the Rapture' sort of way, more like the 'sorry I ran your Teddy bear through the wash, you probably shouldn't have left him in the hamper with all of the other clothes perhaps you should just pay more attention to where you're playing pretend so that I do not have to go sorting through these filthy rags that keep you decent' sort of way. We are, in fact, on the cusp of the Nintendo Wii's demise. But in one final gasp for air, an attempt to find relevancy in the zeitgeist, a way to rekindle all those old nostalgic flames of glory before the fire is doused and the Wii-U rises from the remains. And in that final breath we are met with a familiar shield, a green tunic, and a whole lot of waggling. Yet as the November release date of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword draws ever closer, an entry in a franchise that I have been enjoying since I was a child, I struggle to garner any sort of excitement for the game. And there has to be something wrong with that.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nobody Gonna Steal My Head Now That I'm On The Road Again

Drive (Winding Refn, 2011)

I love driving. I don't enjoy gas prices or the idea of potentially stepping into a metallic death trap each time I get behind the wheel, but there's an undeniable allure for me of being insulated in a world full of music. A personal retreat for my mind. It is with this attitude that I approached Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn's Cannes award winning art house affair that chronicles an episode in a nameless driver's life. Here's the thing though, I don't really care for cars all that much. So as the film started playing I really was unsure exactly what I was going to be getting from this much buzzed about genre film. And you know what, even though I don't think that I benefited from knowing very little about the specifics of Drive, I would not blame you for waiting to read this - or any other - review of the film before checking it out. If you want to preserve that surprise then know this: Drive is great and you need to see it. And now, let's light this candle.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Endless Dreams: A Tribute to Satoshi Kon

Back when I did a short stint on WordPress I typed this up. About a year has gone by since Satoshi Kon, one of my favorite directors, passed away. I think it's a poignant time to take a look back at this entry for all the readers who may have missed it. Let us never forget the works of a man who truly was a master and innovator of his craft.

Early today it seemed the Twitter world - who would have guessed- was all about about Satoshi Kon, revered anime director of Perfect Blue and Paprika fame. Reports started cropping up that on August 23rd, one day ago, the director passed away suddenly at the age of 47. I had the chance to see Kon's Paprika during its 2007 theatrical run, my first film from the director, and was instantly floored not only by the sensory overload but also by the intricate plot and essential love letter to cinema that had been sent. After seeing this film I made it a point to check out the rest of the man's work, and much to my surprise I had already previously fallen in love with the visionary's creation without even being aware. Kon's series Paranoia Agent ran on [adultswim] and had initially turned me on to the power of anime as a storytelling medium. Kon existed as a storyteller in the purest sense of the word.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So How Did You Get Here Under My Skin?

Contagion (Soderbergh, 2011)

At times while watching Steven Soderbergh's latest film, Contagion, I could not help like feeling that it had topically missed its mark. As a member of the United States I have lived through a few biological scares, but the most recent one seems to be so far in the past that I hardly consider the extremity or fear that is bred during a disease scare. I have never been directly affected, and the sensationalist media has always made me think that these bird flu and swine flu scares are simply hyped up contained cases that will be easily controlled by the world's vast medical technology. What Soderbergh is tasked with doing then is not only making me believe that these very real diseases could be...well, real, but he must also turn a vastly biological affair in to a gripping story. So after focusing on a singular individuals in his last three films (Che, The Informant!, and The Girlfriend Experience) can Soderbergh expand, as he has with other films such as Traffic and the Oceans series, once more to encompass a global scare?

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Just Want You To Know, I Can See Through Your Masks

Restrepo (Hetherington and Junger, 2010)

Cinema offers viewers the ability to visit different landscapes, different worlds, different universes; however, these journeys are usually kept within the confines of a constructed reality, a world that exists on the reels of film and perhaps in our minds, but not in our 'world.' Documentaries still create this barrier, but the realism of the genre is at worst an examination of a world that many of us are unaware of and are, at best, a portrayal of some truth that all great films can reach. I have not, and likely will not, travel to Afghanistan in my lifetime, nor do I plan on fighting in any literal wars, so Restrepo's portrait in to life during wartime in one of the world's most dangerous conflict zones makes an attempt at capturing the spirit of men tied together by a desire for combat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don't Give Up Now, Just A Little More Persistence

The Interrupters (James, 2011)

Over the summer I visited Chicago for a weekend. While I was aware that I had not actually even scratched the surface of what the city has to offer, after seeing a film like The Interrupters I almost feel as if I should have taken even more precautions as I walked a very standard pass through the city. Actually, as I exited the theater in Philadelphia and I walked back toward the train station to get home I almost felt a bit more paranoid than I should have given the time of day and relatively safe area of the city. But as I continued down the streets, looking all around and moving at a quicker clip than I normally would, I became cognizant of my actions. I was acting this way because of the documentary I had just watched.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Used To Be The One Of The Rotten Ones And I Liked You For That

the Last Song (Robinson, 2010)

A common complaint leveled against the present day Hollywood system deals with the lack of originality. Every film seems to exist as a remake or an adaptation, leaving creative filmmakers in the dust and keeping a fine control over exactly what ideas and perspectives are brought to a wide audience. While I do not find the constant desire to remake films or adapt existing franchises to the screen as a necessarily bad tactic, when looking at a film like the Last Song, based on a Nicholas Sparks novel that at the time of filming was still a work in progress, certainly could have used a bit more originality, and a much larger injection of creativity. But many films have enough intangibles to transcend typical flaws, so can the Miley Cyrus factor shoulder the weight of the film on her shoulders?

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Wanna Be Like You, I Wanna Walk Like You, Talk Like You, Too

Animal Kingdom (Michod, 2010)

"Every morning in Africa a gazelle awakens knowing it must today run faster than the fastest lion or it will be eaten. Every morning a lion awakens knowing it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It matters not whether you are a gazelle or a lion, when the sun rises you had better be running." This African proverb seems to perfectly encapsulates the world of David Michod's Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom. The people in this film, whether cops or criminals, are always running from, or after, one another in an attempt to keep balance in Melbourne, Australia. The world is a bitter struggle for comfort and survival, two ideas the film explores in great depth.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NFL Season Predictions

I know the team (of one) here at ProcessedGrass appears too sophisticated for the common physical activities of sportsmen, but it actually turns out that we do love games of sport. And what game do we love more than any other? Football, naturally. Well the NFL season is finally starting tonight. The clouds have parted, the earths have quaked, the rains have fallen, and the bars will once again flood with amateur experts and soon to be dejected fans alike! But if you're a betting man where are you going to be putting your money? I can't pretend to know, I can just observe and look at the bigger picture. We like to be comprehensive, this is all about taking off the blinds. Big pictures! Picture this!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Found Your Pictures, Mailed Them To Your Mother

Tape Club (Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, 2011)

Last week I wrote up a short post highlighting some of my most anticipated music releases set to come out this fall, and as I mentioned in that post some of the releases have already been made available for listening by the bands. PolyVinyl Records band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin first popped up on my radar last year when they released their fantastic album Let It Sway. Their latest release Tape Club, streaming in full over at the band's BandCamp page, is actually not a full on follow up, but rather a collection of unreleased songs, B-Sides, and various other recordings from the band's ten year history.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Forward Thinking: Music and Albums

This year I have been on a quest to listen to an album a week, a goal I was originally not sure I would be able to meet simply because I never feel like I give the albums I listen to regularly as much time as they truly deserve. Still, I have mostly be able to stick to this schedule - at least as far as final tallies go - in part because of the way the music industry has changed. On a weekly basis many artists choose to stream their newest albums on a website as a way to generate interest in owning the upcoming release. Additionally, many groups such as The-Weeknd have made their own mixtapes available for free on their own domains. Yet still, with the rise of the mp3 purchasing music has never been easier. External download services like Amazon's mp3 cloud service offers a welcome alternative to iTunes's stranglehold on the market. With so many great albums released so far this year, I find myself looking forward to what else is on the near horizon. As the weeks continue to rush by as 2011 starts to draw to a close, here are a few of my most highly anticipated albums.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Turn The Bunsen Burner On. My Creation Comes Alive

TRON: Legacy (Kosinski, 2010)

Earlier in the year we had princes of Persia, men made of iron, ogres in quadruple, more vampires, and dream theft. All, in their own way, disappointments, at least of the ones I had the unfortunate chance to view (so all except Shrek, Twilight and Prince of Persia). Without the potential promise of a Nolan at the helm or the inclusion of a Robert Downey Junior in front of the camera I placed on my 3-D glasses with great hesitancy as this sequel to a film I have only tangentially experienced through Kingdom Hearts II displayed the oddest warning about 3-D versus 2-D presentation typed itself across the screen. So without any of these draws, without this background knowledge, with all these warnings could TRON turn in a strong showing or make me wish I had been derezed?