If I could cast an Oscar ballot for this year’s Best Picture nominees, I would go with:
10. “Dark Knight Rises.” When I first saw this movie in the theater, I had a lot of issues with it. For example, Bruce Wayne’s money is stolen via a fraudulent option trade. Now given the fact that Bane went in and shot up Wall Street, wouldn’t all trades for that day have been immediately cancelled (at a minimum, any unusual trades)? And why was Bruce Wayne so nonchalant about losing his fortune? Did Selina’s comments get to him? And even if her comments did, he could assume that either a Wall Street bank or the evil Bane made off with his money in this fraudulent trade. Why would he let Bane walk away with his money? I decided to re-watch this movie recently on Blu-ray. I thought that perhaps the theater shooting in Colorado may have made me more critical of this movie than I should have been. I saw it again, I loved it. It is making the list.
9. “Lincoln.” This movie makes you think and reflect. I also loved the political strategy and negotiations.
8. “Argo.” The CIA probably gets it wrong more often than right, but when they get it right it makes for an entertaining movie decades later.
One article I read was making it personal, essentially calling director Kathryn Bigelow a two-bit hack. This is an important debate to have (torture, not the two-bit hack issue). Since it isn’t like the ending is a surprise – unless you’ve had your head in the sand – I think it is worthwhile to read these various articles before seeing the movie. Also to keep in mind (and it might seem callous to do so considering the serious topic of torture) regarding this debate, but we also have to realize that this movie is a strong contender for Oscar’s Best Picture award and so there is nothing more Hollywood than knocking down a front runner. (more…)
As you may be familiar from some of his past columns about his travels (Sevilla, Spain, Prague, New Zealand, Lisbon, etc.), Notes from Vivace always makes a point to try to locate the local music scene in each of the places he is exploring at one point or another during his trip. This time around his adventures take him to Iceland.
The Blue Lagoon (pictured above) is a geothermal spa that is fed by the water output from a geothermal power plant. Bathing in the water is said to cure folks of their skin conditions. I was told by a tourist associate at the bus terminal that this was the one place I had to go – and other sources mentioned this fact, as well.
After three straight days of waking early and heading off to catch the 8 a.m. bus to various locations across Iceland, I did manage to sleep in just a tad bit longer, but I was still off to the Blue Lagoon by 10-ish.
I bought a ticket at the terminal and took off to the Blue Lagoon. When I got there I asked for a towel. I was told a towel would cost me an additional 1,000 kronas. “I thought I read online that a towel was included.” “You only paid for entrance, not the basic package.” I handed over the 1,000 kronas feeling just a tad bit cheated by the terminal as it wouldn’t have been all that difficult for them to mention this fact and I could have easily gone back to my hotel room to get a towel.
The weather was freezing, but that just encouraged a quick run from the facilities to the lagoon. And so I spent 1 hour bathing in the excess water of a power plant. Parts of the lagoon felt chilly so I managed to slowly acclimate myself to the hottest part of the lagoon and stuck around there. I could tell I was in the hottest part as others would make comments about how hot it was in this section and then move on to the cooler parts. It just meant that the crowds were on one side of the Lagoon while a handful of us had our section to ourselves.
Thursday also was the last night that I headed out to catch some local music. I headed off to the Faktory. I learned about the venue via a poster I saw on the street and was able to locate it via directions from a couple folks. I was thinking of not heading out that night as the English language newspaper (Grapevine) I was using noted that this was a singalong night. Singalong sounded silly to me, but I looked up the singer, Ólöf Arnalds, and noticed that she had a decent following so I decided to go with it.
Basically, folks came up with song suggestions by writing on a piece of paper. Someone in the back attempted to find the lyrics of the song and posted them on a screen. Ólöf than attempted to sing the song without looking back at the screen. She was successful sometimes and not so much other times. Of course, she did have control of the songs so if she picked up a slip of paper of a song she didn’t absolutely know, she’d tossed it to the side.
It was a fun night with a handful of tourists, but mostly what appeared to be friends of the singer. For a few songs, she was joined on stage by her friends.
Also, it seemed to me that she transitioned from speaking Icelandic to English in an easy manner.
There was also a debate on rather or not she should cover an Of Monsters and Men’s song. Since they are a Reykjavik band, I suppose everyone has had enough of hearing their music.
Lyric of the night (more…)
Location: El Cid
Drive He Said: “Run Like Hell”
Location: Silverlake Lounge
The Brixtones: “On Down the Road”
Location: Silverlake Lounge
The Aqua Dolls: “Honey”
Location: The Smell