Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2012 Art Walk Calendars are out

The good folks at Print Zero (Brian Lane and Jess Rees) have created another limited run of artist-created Art Walk calendars for 2012.  I was happy to give them an image this year - here's the result:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tree of Life (Dinosaurs?!)

I finally saw Terrance Malick's latest epic, Tree of Life, last night.  Malick has an amazing knack for taking subject matter of the most heavy nature (loss, God, regret, the meaning of it all), and through sheer beauty and sensitivity to the medium, turning it into poetry.  If I were to read any of his scripts, I would probably consider them to be sentimental, heavy-handed drivel.  I mean his movies are about longing gazes, "who/what am I:" voice-overs, and indulgent shots of nature.  BUT dammit, he gets it just right - they work despite their audaciousness.  Tree of Life is no exception.  It's a gorgeous story centered around one family under the rule of an overbearing father (Brad Pitt), a grace-of-God mother (the stunning Bryce Dallas-Howard), and 3 sons, the eldest of whom is played as an adult in some scenes by Sean Penn.  But primarily it's about the eldest son at about 13/14 or so, how he makes his way in the world ruled over by Father.  I don't need to get into it all, but you can imagine how the drama might unfold.  Under Malick's hand, though, simplicity and subtly tell us this story of loss, regret and love.  Sound trite?  Sure.  But Malick's magic is that he makes it magical.

It's the composed shots, the cinematography - the pacing, the editing that create the magic.  Malick worked on this with movie with Emmanuel Lubezki, who is known for one of the best-shot movies of the last decade, Children of Men and the two of them pull off some of the most gorgeous images I have ever seen on the screen.  Even a simple shot of the interior of a modern office building, a low-angle perspective, is filmed so well.  I could gush about the filming for pages...

But first, to the biggest surprise in the film:  Dinosaurs!

There's dinosaurs in this film!  That came out of nowhere.  Well not nowhere if you had read any reviews of the film when it was in theaters, but I shied away from the reviews this time.  Needless to say I was quite surprised by the dinosaurs.  They come near the beginning of the film, in what has to be the most beautiful, tender film sequence ever made that describs the creation of the universe, and the Earth -and the life on it.  It's like basic science:  big bang and evolution, complete with gorgeous shots of nebulas and even the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. It's a film within a film, and lovely to behold.  I've never seen dinosaurs depicted with humanity before.  (unless you count that puppet show:  Dinosaurs)  The movie is worth a look just for that 20 minutes. 

This is something like Malick's 5th movie in 30 years.  The guy does not play around.  Except a little bit with the dinosaurs.

Tree of Life:  4.5 Molos

Friday, November 4, 2011

Best Movie of the Year (so far)

Drive is the best movie I have seen this year.  The director, Nicholas Winding Refn, takes a script and idea that could have easily been turned into any number recent "case" movies but keeps the film grounded in cool.  A coolness that the fantastic cast, especially Mr. Ryan Gosling (best hollywood actor of his generation?).  Gosling's character starts out very much Bullit and ends up more Taxi Driver, but its such a subtle shift, done so quietly that you can't imagine it happening any other way. 

The movie has the style meter turned way up, but the sharp script and perfect pacing make it oh so real, and oh so much more pleasurable.  The rest of the supporting cast is great as well.  Carey Mulligan (one of my actress crushes) is fantastic again and Albert Brooks has a juicy, career-revival, role.  And my word, I have to applaud Refn for managing to actually tame down the beast of Ron Perlmann and making a sincere character out of what could have easily turned into a cartoon.  Plus the soundtrack is fantastic. We've seen this kind of story before, but rarely have we seen it done with such freshness and a restrained hand - the violence does come but manages to be both over the top and realistic at once.  The film needs a violent release, and it provides.  4.5 Molos

On being filmed for Art Zone with Nancy Guppy

I remember the first time I saw video of myself - it was when some of my art school friends were messing around with a camera in the studio, and they taped me painting and asking questions.  Watching the footage later really weirded me out.  I don't think to that point I really knew what I sounded and looked like to other people, and it was disturbing.  Basically, there's a disconnect between how I would like to appear to other people, and how I actually appear to others. 

Granted, I was in my early 20s, and just really figuring out myself and what the hell I was going to do with my life (art).  Still, I've never felt comfortable being the center of attention, and being filmed, well that's not only the center of attention but also a permanent record of awkwardness.

You'd think, that being near 35 now, and having grown up somewhat, done a few interviews, been taped a few times, that I would finally be okay with this sort of thing and not mind watching myself on film. But today; I saw the episode of Art Zone with Nancy Guppy that we taped last week, and there I am talking to the camera, and I can't watch it.  Not at all.  It still weirds me out. 

But y'all can take a look:

I am grateful for the press and it was a pleasure working on the piece, but who is that guy? 

Here's a few images of the pieces that are going to be in the SAM Gallery show on November 10th (reception 5-7pm) 

 Sluicing Down Beacon Hill

 The Denny Regrade 2

The Diners