Movie Love: ‘Once’

Hi there! It’s taken me a little while to get back into the swing of things for the new year, but here I am. After looking back at my posts of 2010 I realized that this blog was beginning to morph into a music blog, not the all around music, movies, tv that I had originally planned for. That’s ok I guess, I’m going with the flow. However, I would like to balance it out a little bit, so for my first post of 2011 I thought I’d write about ‘Once’. A movie…about music. Baby steps, right? (It worked so well for Bill Murray in “What About Bob?”)

‘Once’ is a lovely, small-scale indie film about two musicians finding their way. They are both in kind of transitional phases in their lives, and both lonely. After one or two scenes, the movie really gets started with ‘Guy’ standing on his own in the middle of a dark Dublin street singing his heart out. The camera slowly zooms in as the song he’s singing becomes more and more intense. One scene in and the emotion of Guy singing ‘Say It to Me Now‘ is enough to almost move you to tears. When he finishes his song the camera zooms back out, only to discover that he has gained an audience of one, ‘Girl’.

This random meeting on the street proves to be the beginning of a beautiful journey between two kindred spirits. These two people are able to develop such a deep and meaningful relationship through their musical endeavors. Not only is the music simply breathtaking, it also acts almost as a third main character in the film, bringing the two main characters closer to one another. One of my favorite scenes of the movie is when the Guy and Girl get together and play ‘Falling Slowly’ in a music shop. The placement of this song in the story is a an absolutely perfect way to express their budding relationship. It expresses so much. (See a wonderful performance of this song below.)

Another aspect that makes this movie so great is that the lead characters were not played by actors, but by real life musicians with no prior acting experience. I can see how this could have been disastrous, but instead of going terribly wrong, it catapulted the movie to a whole new level. Glen Hansard is the front man of his band, The Frames and Marketa Irglova is a singer/songwriter. The whole movie was shot almost documentary style, which was started to keep Glen and Marketa comfortable in front of the camera, but grew into the predominant style for the movie. To make it feel even more real, Marketa and Glen were actually falling in love while filming. (Awwww!) Everything about this movie just feels so truly authentic, and that is one of the reasons it is so wonderful.

The music in this movie, and Glen Hansard’s music in general, is so full of emotion. I love listening to him sing because he has a way of letting you feel exactly what’s he’s feeling and it gets me every time. Some of the songs in ‘Once’ had already been written for The Frames, but both lead actors/musicians wrote new songs for the film. What resulted was one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard and a new musical collaboration between Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova called, The Swell Season.

The Swell Season (By the way, I LOVE his guitar! Look how loved it is!)

I love everything about this movie. The entire thing gives me goosebumps. If you want a movie that is heartfelt and real please give ‘Once’ a shot. Keep an eye out for ‘Once’ the Broadway play, too! I can’t wait for that! Also, be sure to look into music by The Frames and Swell Season, including the Oscar-winning soundtrack to ‘Once.’

One last thing: You can see an entire 35 minute Swell Season NPR Tiny Desk Concert here. It is totally worth checking out.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

-T

Song of the Moment: Christmas Song

Yeah, I celebrate Christmas and love the holiday season, but I am not an especially religious person. I’m still figuring out my ‘spiritual path’ if you will. Don’t worry though, I’m not going to go all deep and emotional on you. I just mention it because it’s the reason why I find it almost interesting that my favorite song of the season isn’t about Santa, elves, or snow. It’s straight up about the life of Jesus.

‘Christmas Song’ by Dave Matthews is my all time favorite holiday tune; I love it so much that I listen to it all year round. As Dave says in one of this song’s live recordings, “This is a nondenominational tune here. But it may seem otherwise, but take it as you will. It’s just a song I wrote about an amazing man who got screwed. Not an uncommon story.” I don’t get uncomfortable listening to this like I sometimes do, listening to songs with religious themes. It’s just an honest, down to earth, no nonsense kind of song and I appreciate that.

I really, really love it, and I think it’s a song that is pretty approachable to all types. There’s a simplicity about it I really admire. Many Christmas songs have A LOT going on in them. Jingle bells, children singing in the background, etc, etc. Not this one though. This song is a very simple guitar piece and Dave singing. That’s usually it. Depending on the recording, he may have some back up assistance from the band or Tim Reylonds, but it’s minimal.

Dave Matthews proves himself a master story teller with is simple, yet poignant lyrics. He tells the story of Jesus’s life in such a way that it doesn’t feel like he is preaching. I don’t feel like I’m in church, I just feel like Dave and I are having a conversation almost.  My favorite lines in the song are “Gamblers and robbers; drinkers and jokers- all soul searchers, like you and me. Like you and me… searching for love, love, love. Love, love, love. Love, love is all around.” I think it’s the message of love that makes this song my favorite. People are people. We all want the same thing. We all just want love.

Here’s Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds performing ‘Christmas Song’ in Las Vegas in December ’09.

If your interested in buying this song for yourself, my favorite version is on the ‘Live at Luther College’ album. 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Song of the Moment: A Harmonic Celebration of Wintery Songs (Concert Edition)

Number of times I have cried during concerts? Two. That is, if you count getting teary-eyed as crying. The first time it happened, I was watching Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin, sing “The Scientist”–acoustic–out in the crowd. The second time was when Joshua Radin played “Brand New Day,” a song with a lot of sentimental meaning for me. There aren’t many times I actually get teary during a concert.

Well, that changed on Sunday night thanks to a folksy troupe of local ladies performing at Club Passim in Cambridge. Maybe it was that I have been really over tired the past couple of weeks, or maybe it was just the holiday spirit of it all. Whatever it was, their performance nearly moved me to tears at least twice.

I wasn’t even planning on blogging about this show going in. I was thinking that it wasn’t really a concert. More like some live music at a restaurant. Well, that taught me to go in judging. It was just a tiny resteraunt bustling with energy in anticipation of the performance, but it exceeded any and all expectations I had.

The show was entitled, “A Harmonic Celebration of Wintery Songs” featuring Jennifer Kimball, Margaret Glaspy, Aoife O’Donovan, Rose Polenzani, and Catie Curtis. I had never heard of any of these women before except for Catie Curtis, and that was only hours before. The show consisted of these lovely ladies putting their own spin on some holiday favorites with acoustic guitars and 5 part harmonies. They sang ‘Silent Night’ acapella, and before long the entire room joined in singing. It was simply beautiful. I also really moved their covers of ‘White Winter Hymnal’ by Fleet Foxes and ‘Winter Winds’ by Mumford & Sons.

I walked out of that resteraunt having a new favorite versions of nearly every Christmas song they played. After the show I told the friend I was with that my Christmas wish to have a cd of that exact concert. Well, guess what? It was being recorded! Thanks, Santa! Here’s hoping they release it out to the populous!

To give you a taste, here is one song they sang. Catie Curtis and Jennifer Kimball’s  rendition of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” which was also featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

As always, thanks for reading!

Also, special thanks to Caitlin (@cheshirecat512) for going all grammar nerd for me. 🙂

-T

Song of the Moment: Freelance Whales (Concert Edition)

A week ago tonight, I went to see the band Freelance Whales at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge.

They were even cuter in real life. Hard to believe, huh?

You may have seen that I had a bit of a crisis that night. I found out earlier in the afternoon that they weren’t going on until 11:30pm, which is pretty late on a work night and …. it was the a BIG Bones night. I toyed with the idea of not going, but in the end I obviously decided to go, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision.

I have to admit, I don’t think I had ever heard of this band before I was invited to the concert, but I rarely turn down the chance to see a live show. Luckily, it turns out Freelance Whales are pretty awesome and after listening to their album, Weathervanes, a few times I just couldn’t wait to see them perform.

Before the concert I listened to their music nonstop. I like to try and know my stuff when I go see a band live. After listening for a couple of days, I knew that they reminded me of something but I couldn’t quite figure it. Finally, it came to me. Freelance Whales are kind of like a mix between Sufjan Stevens and The Postal Service. For the record, I thought of that all by myself before I checked the wikipedia page…which would have been the smart thing to do in the first place. Haha. I also almost think what Freelance Whales has is what Owl City has been striving for. Their musical arrangements are interesting, multilayered, and unique. It’s fun stuff to listen to, but it also lingers with you for awhile. I found myself actually thinking about this music long after I turned it off.

The band played every song that included vocals off their album. Weathervanes may be their only album to date, but it’s a great one. It even came in at #29 on Paste Magazine’s Top 50 Albums of 2010 (The entire list is great, by the way). It ranked better than Girl Talk’s ‘All Day’ and She & Him’s ‘Volume Two.’ Whoa (Horse)! It is easy for me to hear why.

My last concert recap was over the top, like the band I went to see, but this was more of a traditional ‘Tory concert’. It was in a small venue and featured nothing but the musicians and their instruments. (Well, that’s a tiny lie…there was a bubble maker roaming the crowd at one point. 🙂 ) It was also the type of show where you could enjoy the company you were with. It was an all around fun time hanging out with some great friends and listening to some awesome music. This was a much better representation of my usual concert going experience. Low on the theatrics, but still amazing performances.

I leave you with this. A great performance of one of my favorite songs on the album, Generator ^ Second Floor.

As always, thank you for reading. 🙂

TTFN

-T

Song of the Moment: OK Go (Concert Edition)

So, I went to see OK Go at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Sunday night…you have haven’t heard. Haha. I’ve been pretty vocal about my love for them, but do you know OK Go? I’m sure you do. If you don’t know them as OK Go, you might know them as the guys with the treadmill music video. Now, I love OK Go’s music, it’s catchy, fun, and unique, but I think that it’s their creativity, quirkiness, and enthusiasm that keeps me coming back. They have the best music videos out there- the kinds that go viral instantly. Since I can’t put every one of their videos in the blog itself, I’ll link to some of them as I go and at the end for those I’ve missed. I highly suggest watching them.

Anywho, this was my third time seeing them live and yeah, they’re still awesome. I’m talking a show with hand bells, multiple trips out into the crowd, 3D glasses for their 3D music video, super secret ways to get free music, suite jackets that light up, fuzzy guitars that glow and shoot lasers out the end, and confetti…lots and lots of confetti.

Needless to say, the show was amazing. It didn’t hurt matters that the venue is pretty tiny, and I was right up front- hands on the stage and everything.  It began with the guys coming out on stage in their standard primary colored suites, all with little personal touches. Andy in red with a slick black skinny tie, Dan in green with a stylin’ fedora, Tim in yellow with his pants rolled up past his ankles and the usual cap, and Damien in blue with sneaks and bright green tape in lieu of a belt. Already, how could you not love this band for its individuality?

Left to Right: Tim, Damien, Dan, Andy. Seriously stylin' dudes.

Left to Right: Tim, Damien, Dan, Andy. Seriously stylin' dudes. (Not my show- same set up though)

They opened with ‘Do What You Want’, shooting confetti out of cannons on either side of the stage showering the crowd, the stage, and the band. The show continued in this fashion most of the time playing, the confetti cannons going of every now and then, with a few little interludes.

At on point they moved a table of hand bells to center stage (yeah, the ones from church) and played a rendition of ‘Return’ using just the bells.

Ok Go- Paradise Rock Club in Boston.

 

This was a pleasant surprise because both times I saw them prior to this they played ‘What To Do’ on the bells. When it was time for Damien to play ‘Last Leaf’ , he made is way out to the center of the crowd to play with just his acoustic guitar (for the inevitable ‘hippies’ in the crowd, of course).  I love how he even makes sure to do a 180 turn half way through the song so he can face the other half of the crowd.

As soon as he finished, he announced that it was “Technology time!”- the point in the show where everyone finally gets to put on their old school, red and blue 3D glasses. Everyone was so excited that they all pretty much forgot that the lead singer of the band was still out int the crowd! All focus was turned to the backdrop behind the stage for the ‘White Knuckles’ video in 3D [insert echoey noise here]. I really love this video as it is, but it was especially cool in 3D. Just image the at 00:47 jumping right at your face. It was great.

(Andy going by with the goat at 2:50 is my favorite part! Ha!)

Also during the show, they put a phone number up on the screen that the entire crowd could text their email to in order to get a free OK Go cover of Boston’s Pixies song, Gigantic. Don’t let all of these nifty technological tricks fool you though. OK Go doesn’t run on technology, they “run on magic.” 🙂

The last song of the set was, of course, not actually the last song. They came back out onto stage in a manner only OK Go could. All four came out on stage, backs to the crowd, suited up in black jackets. All of a sudden the sounds of slot machines starts blasting and the back of their jackets light up scrolling slot machine style. Jackpot! The lights settle and all together they spell out OKGO. Then they turn to the crowd and start playing ‘WTF?’. But, again, it’s never just as boring as that. They have switched out their guitars and basses for ones that are adorned with furry rims that glow and shoot laser pointers out the end.

Andy and his glowing guitar (from my camera phone)

Ok, I can understand how all of this might sound tacky or over the top, to some people, but trust me, it’s not. They rock it.

Their last song is the fantastic ‘This Too Shall Pass.’

It’s the crowd’s job to sing “This too shall pass!” and Tim and Damien know exactly how to get everyone screaming the words at the top of their lungs (threatening that New York did a better job than this Boston crowd- yeah right). They start the song and when the crowd’s part comes up, Damien leans out over stage as far as he can without belly flopping right out into the crowd.

Kinda like this. (Pic from Life is Good Festival '10-- Which I also went to.)

Soon enough, he’s had enough of that and jumps right into the audience holding the microphone out to catch all of our lovely voices. It is an amazing finale to an amazing show. If you ever have the chance to see them, do it. I dare you not to have fun at an OK Go concert! 🙂

Here’s the set list they played that night. It was a great mix of old and new tunes.

I now have to try to put my OK Go obsession on hold while I immerse myself in the world of Freelance Whales. I am going to see them at the Middle East in Cambridge  on Thursday night. Get ready for another concert edition of Song of the Moment! But, until then here are some of my favorite OK Go videos that didn’t make it into the body of the blog. Even if you don’t love the music, they are all worth a viewing for the creativity alone! Enjoy!

This Too Shall Pass – An alternate version of the video…think marching band.

End Love – Featuring their Goose friend named Orange Bill.

Million Ways – Backyard dancing!

Fade To Black– Bonus! As I was ‘researching’ for this post I found Andy’s solo project Secret Dakota Ring, this fantastic song, and the adorable video to go with it.

A Sleepless Night with OK Go – Bonus! This basically just makes me want to be friends with them even more. ” It was so loud, at one point Damien was playing a song that I didn’t know and I Shazamed it through the floor.” Damien dancing makes my life better.

Thanks for bearing with me and my OK Go overload!

TTFN

-T

The Little Moments I Love: Bones

I didn’t want to talk too much about Bones in this blog because there are others out there who do a much better job than I, but since it is pretty much my number one obsession at the moment, it can’t be totally avoided. So here it goes:

If you know me in any capacity, whether it is via Twitter or in ‘Real Life’ you know that I am easily amused. It is often the tiny things in life that make me the happiest. This goes for all of my favorite songs, movies, and TV shows too, including Bones. A lot of times, my favorite parst of episodes are the things that casual veiwers might miss. Things that I thought everyone else missed … until I discovered that there were people just as obsessed with me on Twitter. 😉

So, what are those moments you ask? Well, here are a few of my favorites:

When Booth calls the police to the Hyperion Hotel (The Girl with the Curl)

I love crossovers in any size or fashion. Even if it is one tiny little line like this. A shout out to Angel fans coming from Booth’s mouth makes me squee every single time I watch it. And then I proceed to tweet about it… every single time. So, I’m sorry if this is the zillionth time you’ve had to read about this. Lol!

The ‘Leg Grab’ (Judas on a Pole)

I just watched this quite recently and it’s kind of what gave me the idea for this post. ‘Judas’ is such a fantastic episode- it’s one of my favorites. I love it for so many reasons: David Duchovny directed it (enough said really), the debut of Ryan O’Neal, “There’s more than one kind of family,” the epic hug in Brennan’s apartment, Caroline and her awesome little car, a pat with an open hand on the shoulder, and how all of “Booth’s people” raise their hands to help. However, as much as I adore every single one of those moments, none of them are my favorite part.

My favorite part is when Booth and Brennan are walking into the diner at the end of the episode, and Booth grabs Brennan’s leg in a really cute, playful kind of way. It looks like something that was just a spur of the moment DB thing… I think that is why I love it. It’s just so freakin’ adorable.

DB laughing at JFD (The Double Death of the Dearly Departed)

I love bloopers. I am always extremely disappointed if a DVD doesn’t include them. Perhaps I’ll have a whole post dedicated to bloopers sometime. That’s how much I love them. I think it has something to do with the fact that I desperately want to hang out with and have fun with the actors. Haha, annnnnyyywwwaaaay….

What I love even more than bloopers as DVD extras is when the little bloopery moments aren’t caught in editing and are left in the show. There is at least one such moment in Bones that I love. It’s quick and hard to see, so you might not catch it the first time, but it’s worth watching for. According to Netflix it is at 22:06 when Sweets comes up to talk to Booth and Brennan while they are talking to Dr. Amayo.

I don’t quite knows what happens there, but check out DB in the background when the camera isn’t focused on him, he is trying SO hard not to laugh- and he’s not exactly successful. It makes me giggle! It just looked like they were having so much fun making this episode.

Booth trying to get Brennan to guess. (The Bones that Weren’t)

Yet another baby-sized moment that I love from Booth (Am I sensing a character/actor theme here?). In ‘The Bones that Weren’t’ Booth tries to get Brennan to guess which one of their suspects is actually guilty. He says, “Come on. Guess, guess, guess, guess!” It’s great. There is no further explanation. I just love it!

Brennan tapping Booth on the shoulder. (The Titan on the Tracks)

Finally, a Brennan moment- haha! This part cracks me up. I think it is absolutley hysterical when Brennan wants to get Booths attention while they are on the stake out so she just taps him on the shoulder and says, “Excuse me.” She is SO cute! I just can’t get enough of her adorableness! This moment reminds me of the part in ‘It’s a Wondful Life’ when George Bailey’s son follows him around the house saying, “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me!” And when George finally asks what he needs to be excused for he says, “I burped.” Ha! I laugh every single time.

I know there are a ton more of these little moments to love in Bones. What did I miss?

TTFN

-T

Movie Love: ‘A Single Man’

Before I begin this next post, let me introduce you to my love for movies. Just as I love my music, I LOVE my movies. Again, I have almost 200 DVDs (not including my TV shows) that I don’t watch as often as I should. I simply feel comforted by the fact that they are there. I can go into my DVD case and find anything to suit my mood. The other thing about me and movies is that I am not very critical. I like pretty much everything! So, when I talk about movies this blog will probably be more of a love fest rather than a criticism. Hope that you’re cool with that.

On to today’s movie. A week or two ago I finally say ‘A Single Man.’

This is a movie I have been want to see for moths, ever since the previews came out. The first thing that drew me to it was Colin Firth. I just love Darcy. I mean Firth… I love Colin Firth. 😉

The one and only Mr. Darcy

However, the more I read about it, the more intrigued I became. So, when I finally received it from Netflix I was really excited, but worried at the same time. For some reason, my attention span has been that of a goldfish. In other words, I’ve had none. I was concerned that I would not be paying the movie the attention it deserved, but I knew I wanted to give it a shot. I popped it into the DVD player knowing the following:

– It is set in the ’60s

– It is about a man whose partner of many years recently died.

– The acting is brilliant. ( I knew this going in because (A.) Colin Firth is always brilliant and (B.) There was a lot of talk of this movie taking home a bunch of Oscars at the time of its release.)

Well, as soon as I started watching I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about giving this movie my full attention. I was sucked in from the get go. It was about so much more than losing a loved one. It was a beautiful story of a man who has decided that there is nothing left to live for, but instead of being a depressing movie about life and death, it is about a man living what he ahs decided to be his last day in a whole new way.

He takes risks he normally wouldn’t, he says things that would usually be seen as out of character, and he notices the beautiful things about everyday life. I think that is what I liked most about this movie. A reminder to appreciate the little things in life is never a bad thing.

I loved the artful way in which the main character was shown to be appreciating these things. He would be looking at a woman’s face, or a little girl’s shoes and all of a sudden the colors would brighten and light up the screen. Until it happened the first time, I didn’t even realize that the colors were a bit faded. It was as if he had been leading his life (since his partner died, at least) with dulled senses, but when he noticed and appreciated the little things in life they would become vibrant. I also just loved the cinematography and the way the movie was directed. I thought it was gorgeous.

Overall, I can say I loved this movie and I think that everyone should see it. While I didn’t find it depressing, it is sad and is not necessarily the cheeriest movie out there, so just be prepared for that. However, the acting is amazing and, in my opinion, the way in which the movie was made was masterful. So, check it out.

I’m not a movie critic and I’m not pretending to know what I’m talking about. I’ve never taken a film class, or really analyzed movies or the way they are made, but it is something that I have always wanted to do. I love looking out for things like cinematography, methods of directing, etc. And I know my thoughts on the subjects aren’t always right, but I just like to put them out there. For the record, I am totally open to hearing other opinions on the movies I write about. I like to learn from others. 🙂

Thanks for reading!!

TTFN

-T

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries