Eek. So I feel pretty drained right now. And kind of anhedonic (not wanting to do anything I normally do to pass the time). I suppose now would not be a bad time to pump out a few reviews...
If there is one word that I can use to describe this movie, it is "unique". If there is one phrase, it would have to be "awesome sandwich". The former takes its veracity from the fact that The Host is very hard to classify in terms of genres: one could properly call it foreign, horror, comedy, dark comedy, action, or all of the above. I call it good fucking cinema. My use of the term "awesome sandwich", on the other hand, refers to just how incredible the beginning and end of this film are. Because while, during its middle portion, The Host is still more innovative in its storytelling than 9 out of 10 movies you're likely to see, it is hard to beat the jaw-droppingly amazing first and last 10 minutes of the movie, which make the middle feel slightly draggy by comparison. Yet another example of how Korea shows no signs of stopping in its continued growth as one of the world's premiere film superpowers. Fuck yeah.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Yet another film that is defiant in its rebellion against typical genre classification, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is one of the few Charlie Kaufman gems that I had missed and finally had to NetFlix upon hearing about it again. Let's see, you've got your dark comedy, your serial killer flick, your cheeky spy movie spoof, your thriller, and your...biopic? what the fuck? If that sounds like a lot to squeeze in one movie, well, it is. I was constantly having to ask myself: what exactly am I watching here? But the skill with which this movie is executed, both in its top-tier writing (a la Charlie Kaufman) and its direction (George Clooney) make Confessions one of the must-see films that you may very well have missed, as I did for so long (it came out in 2002). While I have come to expect this particular sort of awesome from Charlie Kaufman, I was really quite impressed by George Clooney's helming of the film. As with Korean director Joon-ho Bong (who was behind The Host), it is hard to believe that a director with so few films under his belt as George Clooney could make such a masterpiece as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Go George, go.
Global Underground 27: Miami by Danny Howells
It had been awhile since I had heard a disc from the Global Underground Series (well, unless you count Sasha's excellent Fundacion NYC), so an with Amazon gift certificate to burn, I picked up GU 27 (Danny Howells) and GU 28 (Nick Warren). The former is a delicious clinic in blending electro with funky progressive house. It's kind of minimal, and therein both discs offer a great trip to a Danny Howells dancefloor. My most recent listen of this Global Underground iteration has guaranteed my attendance at Danny Howells' upcoming Vanguard (Giant) appearance. Now I just have to find someone to go with (yes Techno Goddess, I am looking at you).
Global Underground 28: Shanghai by Nick Warren
Disc 1 of this GU outing is so good that it rivals the best stuff that I have ever heard from the Global Underground name/label (though, admittedly, as I noted above, I haven't picked up a GU disc in awhile). Nick Warren's style is at once fiercely melodic, and features all of the things that make the elusive 'progressive' genre great. The CD starts out and makes one feel like a child, discovering something completely new, almost with a magical quality. And honestly, it sustains this feeling for longer than I have felt through a mix CD (if you can call a GU disc a mix CD) in a long, long time. It's pretty; the bass is warm and thick, providing a robust, lush shound; the beats are varied; and the melodies are trancy in the best sort of way. Et cetera et cetera. I can't say enough about how much CD 1 rocks. Though, whereas GU 28: Miami (by Danny Howells) spreads the love somewhat evenly between discs 1 and 2; disc 2 for GU 28: Shanghai (by Nick Warren) is pretty much incomparable to how awesome disc 1 is. That is, where disc 1 belts out an incredible, if conventional mix; disc 2 is largely experimental, and feels very fragmented by comparison. Make no mistake, however—Global Underground 28: Shanghai is easily worth the 20 or so dollars for disc 1 alone. Really, it's so good that it is hard to give disc 2 fair and independent judgment on account of how awesome disc 1 is. If you're looking for a mix CD that is groovy, breathtaking, and emotional all at the same time, look no further than this one.
Gabriel & Dresden by Gabriel & Dresden (artist album)
Like BT's This Binary Universe, this self-titled Gabriel & Dresden artist album grows on me with every listen. I have to admit right off that there are some filler tracks on this disc. Songs that no doubt could have used a bit less looping/sampling and more variation in terms of beats. But these songs are compensated for by some lovely tracks that, not unlike the ones present on Basement Jaxx's Crazy Itch Radio; both break the mold of what Gabe & Dres tend to produce and offer some sweet almost Radiohead-esque serenades. I cite "Not Enough" as a great example, though there are at least a couple others. Beautiful stuff. And more than enough to justify a purchase given the other hot tracks present on the album, like "Let Go" and "Tracking Treasure Down". As another bone to probable critics, though, I have to admit that some of the lyrics on this album are terrible. I mean, it's kind of a given that if you're as into dance music as I am, you can't be in it for the lyrics—I've sort of learned to tune out the words in songs like the excellent but horribly-worded "Just Be" by Tiesto. But still, every time I hear a song with laughable lyrics, I can only do so much to savor the vocal inflection of the words. It's kind of like eating a delicious steak with A1 sauce, only to feel the twinge of pain as the sauce finds the cancor sore in your mouth every few seconds. But oh well, I've always had a high standard for what can actually be considered not to be forced rhyme in any media, so I can't do much but enjoy shitty lyrics sung well...even if they will never be anything more than shitty lyrics.