F•USIC – AUGUST 2017

F•usic is a section I do at the end of each month in which I pick (F)ilms and M(usic) that I’ve consumed and loved over the period and pretty much just recommend and gush about them for a little while.

Game of Thrones Series 7 – David Benioff & D. B. Weiss (& a lot of other people)

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Strictly speaking, not film or music, but still one of the best things I’ve watched this month. It honestly doesn’t feel appropriate to call this “Game of Thrones” and remember the first seasons that were muddy, gritty, political and lacked the budget to even show a battle. Because series 7 is an out and out blockbuster. Get over the infamously controversial nudity, sex, bloodshed and plot twists and get excited for a spectacle featuring dragons, zombies, monsters, assassins and queens. It’s completely cheesy, far fetched and lacks some of the sharper writing of earlier days; but if you’re like me and found the last 3 series a bit of a slog (spare for a handful of outstanding showstoppers), then this is just the right amount of “fuck it” that the penultimate series of something like “Game of Thrones” should have.

Carrie & Lowell Live – Sufjan Stevens

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It’s 3 AM. I’m clicking through random YouTube recommendations and decide to open, on a whim, a performance of Sufjan Stevens’ album “Carrie & Lowell“. I keep meaning to get into his catalogue of work (I think I might have had “Illinois” saved for about 2 years now) but I’ve never found the time. I don’t really know what to expect. The lenses must have water on because the lighting refracts off of them into blurry shards that obscure the performers, but through the smudges of colour I can vaguely see a small man wearing a battered yellow cap, he holds an 8 string and he begins to sing. Behind him, screens shaped like church windows peer into memories filtered through an old VHS tape. He sings of love, death and grief. It is completely, utterly absurd. His voice is too soft – almost achingly saccharine and the lyrics are so shy and vulnerable and scared but they’re performed with such theatrical flamboyance and sometimes to such a crescendo that it just boggles me. You should click here if you’re sick of me describing it and watch for yourself, because ultimately it’s alien, compelling and beautiful. I’ve since listened to the original album and yeah, it’s heartbreaking – Stevens uses the death of his mother as material for most of the songs – but there is just something about this strange, delicate performance that really hits it home for me. 

A Ghost Story – David Lowery

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Independent film magazine – and graphic designers’ wet dream – “Little White Lies” score films in 3 parts: “Anticipation”, “Enjoyment” and “In Retrospect”. I mention this not only to highlight an ingenious way of evading many of the pitfalls that come with conventional reviews but also because David Lowery’s newest was rated a 3 in “Enjoyment” but a 5 “In Retrospect” by the mag: it sums up exactly how I feel about the film. “A Ghost Story” is kind of a non-movie (something the director himself struggled with during his own creative process) and if I had to sum up what Lowery has delivered here I would call it a series of stimuli to meditate upon. And moment to moment, that essentially boils down to long (beautiful) pondering – but trust me, it haunts long after and it haunts deep.

SATURATION II – BROCKHAMPTON

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Precisely what expression in 2017 should look like: collaborative, diverse, colourful, experimental, populist, funny, angry, authentic, iterative, unique, independent, boisterous, progressive, spot on, way off the mark… downright excellent. Basically, the fact that SATURATION II” exists would be enough – the fact that it’s this good makes me ecstatic. 

Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock

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Between this and “Barry Lyndon“, I’m learning that it certainly does not take the latest equipment, golden hour and spectral camera movement to create the best cinematography. Topping countless “Best of all time” lists, “Vertigo” has maybe the best visuals I’ve ever seen. Technicolor film slices the perfected colouring and it bleeds richness, framing is bold and confident and just right. It’s not as chilling as “Psycho” or “Rear Window” but it’s just as (if not more) immaculately crafted: every frame earns the screen time, every second serves the atmosphere. “Vertigo” just feels classic, a staple film that needs to be seen.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – James Gunn

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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2″ is hands down the best thing that Marvel has ever done. Classic rock anthems wrap up a mindless plot with an even more ludicrous colour scheme and art direction. Ships jump through universes to gum-ball planets where blue men control lethal arrows with whistles; Raccoons crack one-liners, using futuristic mines to toss henchmen in to the air; Golden goddesses step onto the snow of a rave that never dies; Chris Pratt reminisces on a time when he was a lovable comedian rather than a corporate commodity. It just doesn’t care, and I didn’t either: a match made in heaven. Here, Gunn understands and executes the very definition of a spectacle. 

Waking Life – Richard Linklater

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Though – as a Director who tries his hardest to defy convention – Linklater would be aggravated by this synopsis, I’d say that “Waking Life” is probably the purest form of his movies that you could find: walking and talking, with less of the walking. The plot (if you can call it that) consists of a boy, played by Wiley Wiggins, who wanders a seemingly infinite dream-scape, observing and sometimes participating in various philosophical and profound discussions on the planes of human reality. There’s too much to take in. Every scene is like a whole seminar diluted down through colloquialism and the rotoscope animation seems almost fragile: morphing and vibrating until you are lulled into a daze (*ahem*) of existential instability. Certainly not for everybody; admittedly perfect for me.

Written by Caleb Carter

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