Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nathan Phelps on Escaping Westboro

I'm a non-believer, an Agnostic-Atheist if you really want specifics. I generally don't believe in a deity (at least not the ones in most religions) and don't really care (although, I still find it an fascinating subject). Is it possible that a god exists? Probably. Is it possible that one of the more recent Abrahamic religions are correct? I highly doubt it. But despite our differences in religion and faith, most of us can agree on one thing: Fuck the Westboro Baptist Church and their bigoted, insensitive protest signs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Owl City's The Midsummer Station

It's been a crazy week for us HootOwls. The new album, The Midsummer Station, came out today, yes,  but before even that, Adam Young created his own Tumblr blog and posted a preview, a remix, and two demos. The man is able to produce songs on a plane ride.

Now, this new album is fairly different from his previous work under the Owl City title, different enough to divide a fanbase. On previous albums, all of the songs were written by Adam and only Adam (and produced with help of Matt Thiessen of Relient K fame, they seem to be best buds). With this new album, Adam decided to branch out and team up with other writers and producers. The result is something that many describe as have a "Top 40" sound, and considering one of the songs is currently IN the Top 40, I'm not surprised.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Radio Silent

I've kind of kept silent for the past two weeks, if you haven't noticed. I'm not too sure why, I guess I just needed time to get into the swing of things before I finally felt like working on something. And believe me, I WANTED so badly to get back to work on fanfics (at this point, I'm really considering taking an axe to the damn Rugrats Trilogy script, epic revisions ahead), but for some reason, I didn't feel like doing anything, aside from watching random videos and looking through Tumblr (incidentally, it's been one helluva week for the Owl City fans, but that's another story and shall be told another time).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another title card.

I would like to thank my friend Michael Watts for his excellent artwork and sense of humor.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Whoops, forgot to talk about this one before I left. On my birthday, my dad and I went to see Moonrise Kingdom, and we were the only ones there. That was the first time I ever saw a movie in an empty theater.

This is the latest opus from quirk-meister Wes Anderson, whom, just before this film, was responsible for the Fantastic Mr. Fox adaptation. To this day, I consider Wes Anderson and Roald Dahl to be a match made in heaven. If they were to remake Charlie & the Chocolate Factory again, Anderson would be a perfect choice.

Anyway, this movie is about two 12-year-olds who runaway together. The boy is a "Khaki Scout" who is disliked by everyone in his troop, and the girl is a troubled bookworm who can go into berserk rages. The boy is an orphan while the girl has the misfortune of having Francis MacDormand and Bill Murray as parents. The plot of the first half of the film is the scouts' search for the runaways, led by scout master Edward Norton and local cop Bruce Willis.

The film definitely has a certain style, this is Anderson we're talking about, and I certainly liked it. Basically, most of the dialogue from the kid actors are glib and blunt, while the adults...actually the adults are also glib and blunt, it's more like the children act like adults while the adults act like kids, kinda sorta.

While the characters aren't what I call "memorable", the subtle comedy in this film does stick out to me. This film made me really consider what I want from a movie. Usually, I want to care about the characters, so that I'm immersed in the story, but this film isn't like that. This film seems like it wants the audience to remain an outsider looking in on the obviously ridiculous succession of events. I guess, sometimes, the character don't have to be three-dimensional and human. Sometimes, the film itself has to be a character (if that makes sense).

I'm definitely getting this on DVD.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tag 1 im Deutschland

I've had a long day. I woke up around at about 8 am PST, I took a 9 hour flight from Vancouver B.C. to Düsseldorf, I took an 1-2 hour flight to Berlin, I took a bus to the train station, I applied for a train pass, I took a train, and 3 hours later, FINALLY arrived in Güstrow. I didn't sleep until about 4 pm GT, which is like 7 am PST.

On the 9 hour flight, they had touch screens for each passenger. They had a selection of movies and TV shows to watch and music to listen to. For some reason, they had 10 Bruce Springsteen albums. Anyway, I watched 3 movies on my flight: The Artist, Monster Vs. Aliens, and Justin Bieber's Never Say Never.

I've already watched Monsters Vs. Aliens a few times before, and I really enjoy it. It's a clever movie with clever characters and clever references to sci-fi movies and TV show. It's always a nice watch.

I finally saw The Artist, so yeah. It's definitely cute and well done as a silent movie tribute, but if I wanted to watch a movie about silent film actors trying to transition to talkies, I'll stick with Singing in the Rain, thank you very much.

As for Never Say Never...okay look, I never hated Justin Bieber, I never knew WHY I'm supposed to hate him. I grew up with seeing music videos of N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter, and Jesse McCartney all the time (Nickelodeon was my best friend) so I'm used to this sort thing. Not only that, but this kid got his start by posting low quality videos on Youtube. I can relate, is what I'm saying. His music is bland, yes, though I do like the music from the My Worlds album (the album tour the documentary covers) a lot more than his more recent crap. Anyway, I just never got why EVERYONE on the Internet hates him.

That said, the documentary covers Bieber's Madison Square Garden performance, the preparation of said performance, and his success story, and you know what? I liked it. I was really interested in...well, everything. The build-up on Youtube, the performances in small venues, the camaraderie behind the scenes, etc.

The part that really spoke to me was when it was a few days before the MSG performance and his vocal chords were shot. They had post-pone a concert (not THE concert, mind you) and he basically was forbidden to talk for a few days. This struck a chord with me because, recently, I saw Owl City (Adam Young is my favorite artist) in Seattle, and he said that he was losing his voice that night (still a great show, though). I waited afterwards with other fans for a chance to get an autograph, and when he finally came out, he went straight to the bus (with a few apologies, of course). I don't really blame him; touring is hard work, he was kind of sick, and he's all around introverted and shy on top of that (I did get Breanne Düren's autograph, though). Also, last year while on tour, Adam's vocal chords were so shot that he coughed up blood. So I sympathized with Bieber when he had to stay silent, because I could only imagine what it would be like to be 16 and having to go through all that just to live your dream. At least Adam is 27, so he's certainly used to it by now.

So yeah, The Artist was okay, and Never Say Never was a good watch, for me at least. I don't watch a lot of music documentaries, so there are probably (if not definitely) more better ones out there.

Also, at the Berlin train station, I bought the 1st season of Sherlock. Sweet, huh?