post a trip to the hirshhorn

January 16th, 2011

Filed under: art — nics @ 8:57 pm

Before Ben sped away to New England, we made it down to DC to visit the Hirshhorn. We both wanted to go to see the Guillermo Kuitca show (which was interesting and definitely worth seeing), but what I ended up being most impressed with were a couple of video pieces. My favorite was a lovely video by Hans Op de Beek (plus, I just like saying his name). It is a black and white video of miniature sets of corporate offices, outdoor streets, and forests that gradually unfolds from one scene to the next. You even see hands come into view as they arrange the sets. The eery lack of people is kind of creepy but it’s also fun and playful. Some become so realistic that you wonder if you always remain in the miniature or if you are occasionally catching glimpses of the real world. It’s quite beautiful.

I also enjoyed a three part video by Cyprien Gaillard. One part of the video shows fireworks being set off from atop a large building and ends with the explosion and collapse of the building. Another part shows ariel views of a decaying communist bloc community. The last is documentation of two large crowds of men fighting each other for no apparent reason. I’m not sure why I can even explain why I was attracted to this piece other than each scene felt so foreign to me in such an odd way I couldn’t stop watching.

post 3 films in 3 days: my reviews

January 14th, 2011

Filed under: film,thoughts — nics @ 9:46 pm

To make up for lost time (being sick, lots of travel, x-mas/new year preparations…) Ben and I went the the theatre three days in a row last week. It was great. I should do this more often. Here’s what I thought.

Black Swan: F–
If I had to sum this movie up in one word it would be: boring. About midway through the film I remember thinking to myself I would be satisfied to leave then and there. The acting was fine and the cinematography was nice but the plot was practically nonexistent and the writing was awful. I couldn’t figure out if the “over the top” stereotypes and cliches were intentional and attempting humor or were… serious? Either way… it didn’t work. And I do like Darren Aronofsky so I was expecting at least a decent film. My advice to you: watch the trailer. It sums up the film, you can catch a glimpse of the pretty costumes, and there’s really not much else to it. But, then again, there seem to be a lot of people out there who disagree with me…

Tron: B
I found this film thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining. The graphics were awesome, of course. The plot and the dialogue were nothing to write home about but it was fine. I prefer not to compare it to the original Tron because, to me, they are simply two very different things. But if I had to, I would say that it’s not as if the original Tron was an epic work of literature either. It’s hard not to enjoy Jeff Bridges in anything. He is definitely the dude in this film. (On a side note… the argument arose amongst my fellow movie-goers and myself of whether he was the dude in the original Tron even though the dude didn’t exist yet. What do you think?) As everyone else seems to be saying: great soundtrack. It was what I was expecting. No surprises. But it lived up to everything I thought it would be.

True Grit: B+
True Grit seemed a little more low key to me than most Coen brothers films. I found that to be a good thing because I like variety. While this probably won’t be my favorite Coen brothers film, it was well done and entertaining. As always, they completely immerse you in the story, setting, and characters. And… Jeff Bridges is not at all the dude in this one. In fact, I wasn’t thinking at all of the actors and who they were, only the characters (that’s always a sign of a good film). I confess I haven’t seen the original yet. I must soon!

*BONUS* Troll 2: A+
We even snuck in a Netflix film (available immediately for you Netflix users!) one night amongst these three days. Troll 2 is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. If you haven’t seen it and you appreciate silly, campy (so campy it’s not even scary) horror, go watch it now! It’s about vegetarian goblins who want to turn people into bright green oozy sludge and then eat them (does that still qualify them as vegetarian? hmmm…). A special thank you to Ben’s friend Jeremy for turning us on to this one.