Anders Bergstrom's blog on Words, Films, and Music

Sunday, April 16, 2006

To everyone out there, I wish you a happy Easter.

Unfortunately, most of my Easter afternoon is going to be taken up with finishing (as much as possible of) my last essay of the semester before I fly out of here tomorrow night.

I like to write my essays to music; with iTunes I make big multi-hour playlists so that I can just work and not worry about changing songs or searching for things. Here's the song of the day for all out there in blog land.

It's been around for a while, but Scissor Sisters cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" is fantastic. Hopefully you enjoy it.

"Comfortably Numb" - Scissor Sisters

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's been a while since I posted anything. I'm a delinquent blogger.

I have two things to say at the moment.

1) Writing massive papers for graduate school is like pulling teeth. I know I have to do it, and I can do it. I just don't like the idea of it. It's hard to get out.

2) The Stone Roses rule. (And yes, their defining album did come out 16 years ago. But I was 7 at the time).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Wow, if anyone thought that Sufjan Stevens' Illinois wasn't nearly long enough (or that the titles were too short and uncomplicated) then they can look forward to June 25th when Suf releases The Avalanche: Outtakes and Extras from the Illinois Album. I must say that I'm excited. It will contain 21 tracks, some new and some alternate takes, that didn't make the cut for the main album. Seriously, Sufjan is so ridiculously prolific. He's a machine. An acoustic machine that is. Whatever, yes, I am mixing metaphors (I'm not a music critic).

Check out the acoustic version of "Chicago" here:

"Chicago (Acoustic)" - Sufjan Stevens

Thanks to "...good weather for airstrikes" blog for the link and mp3.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Today was a productive day. So that means I was allowed to go and rent a movie for the evening. However, I had a hard time deciding what to rent, but I saw something that I had wanted to rent had finally moved to the full week rentals.

Anyone who knows my taste knows that I'm not the worlds biggest TV fan. TV shows have to be pretty good, and my tastes run more to the comedic as far as TV goes. Dramas generally get a hard time from me. But tonight I decided to rent the first disc of Lost - Season 1.

I just finished watching the two-part pilot to J. J. Abrams hit series. Let me say that this is one of those times that I'm sad that I'm late to the game. The pilot is fantastic. It is intense. It is mysterious. It is scary. The characters are varied and interesting. It makes me want to watch more right this minute despite having to get up and go to my last class of the semester tomorrow morning. Seriously, I haven't been this hooked on a drama series after a single episode since Twin Peaks. And after seeing this pilot, I'm sure you'll agree with me that the comparison is not entirely without basis.

So, now I have something to look forward to in the evenings this week. The great thing about TV on DVD is that you can sit down and watch an episode (or two or three) in a sitting. You can fit it to your schedlue. And if my schedule includes working on essays, as my next week or two does, I can use the possibility of another episode as an incentive to work. And you don't have to wait on pins and needles for a whole week to see what happens next. That said, perhaps it destroys the serial nature of television somewhat. The effect of watching a show like Lost or Twin Peaks on DVD as opposed to serially, week-by-week is similar to the effect of reading Dicken's Bleak House all at once, rather than having to wait weeks, or even months, between installments. I don't think one is better or worse than the other, but it is important to note the difference in reception. I think serial storytelling is interesting (not surprising considering I'm a huge comic book fan), and it's nice to see that there's still quality being put out even in a medium as generally tepid as TV.

Ok, I can't go to bed just yet. Time for one more episode before I go to bed...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In case you're one of the two people on the Internet who hasn't seen this for whatever reason, check this out!

Summer 2007 and The Simpsons fans can finally see their favourite characters on the big screen.

Also, FOX has renewed the show for another two years, meaning that it will have be in its nineteenth season at least before it goes off the air. The Simpsons is now the longest running prime time entertainment show in history.

And there are rumours of Futurama's return as well. Matt Groening fans rejoice!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Movie journal time. I didn't watch a heck of a lot of movies this month. Probably something to do with being in graduate school and being a busy person, both professionally and socially. Still I managed to waste a lot of time watching bad movies on TV. I probably watched Rush Hour 2 more than the one time I have listed here if you count all the fragments I've sat and watched on TBS on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. And would I ever actually go and pay money to watch Armageddon? No, but it's one of those compulsively watchable films even as you know it's absolute shit. One could almost consider it a camp classic. Oh, and I rewatched The Matrix the other evening on TV as well. It holds up pretty well. I think it is a great movie (hence the four-star rating), but not one of the best of all time. Not by a long shot. Perhaps I'll have to revisit the sequels sometime. Or maybe not.

My theatre going was somewhat limited this month. I did catch Terrence Malick's The New World and it was easily my favourite first viewing of March. It's a shame it didn't get more recognition. It is one of the most beautiful films I've seen in ages. Visual poetry is what some people have called it, and I agree. I also caught V for Vendetta, since I'll pretty much watch anything with Natalie Portman in it and it's based on one of my favourite graphic novels. It's a solid adaptation. I also got to see The Big Lebowski in theatres at a midnight screening. Clearly one of the greatest cult films of all time. I also bought a few DVDs this month. One of them was American Psycho, which is a fantastic film that is a brilliant work of satire. And of course I bought Peter Jackson's King Kong. Do I need to remind you all that I love that film?

*First Viewing


3.05.06 Walk the Line (James Mangold, 2005) DVD, ***½

3.08.06 *The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005) Theatre, ****

3.11.06 Rush Hour 2 (Bret Ratner, 2000) TV, ***
Armageddon (Michael Bay, 1998) TV, **

3.18.06 *V for Vendetta (James McTiegue, 2006) Theatre, ***
High Fidelity (Stephen Frears, 2000) DVD, ****

3.19.06 *Election (Alexander Payne, 1999) DVD, ***

3.24.06 The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998) Theatre, ****

3.26.06 *The Squid and the Whale (Noah Baumbach, 2005) DVD, ***½

3.27.06 Wedding Crashers (David Dobkin, 2005) DVD, ***

3.30.06 The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999) TV, ****
King Kong (Peter Jackson, 2005) DVD, ****

3.31.06 American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000) DVD, ****