"Art is not a thing; it is a way."

Elbert Hubbard

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jazmine Sullivan!

Ian McEwan

Compellingly written and satisfyingly demanding of its audience, McEwan's much-lauded novel will probably go down as one of the classics of the 2000s. It's a fine mix of tension and passion and uses the always present guilt anyone feels when having wronged another to within an inch of its life to create three-dimensional characters who quite painfully emerge fully formed from the pages. Modern romances tend to fall victim to the saccharine yet Atonement is the very antithesis of this. Without presenting its narrative in a cynical or finger-pointing way at the general public's desire for a happy ending he manages to evoke an incredibly strong sense of remorse and pain and in Briony he produces a woman so effectively flawed she becomes almost more human because of it. It's a very fine novel.

District 9
Neill Blomkamp

This is quite simply how one makes a genre film - ground it in a sense of reality. Sure the film in itself is lacking very much in reality but what is real is the concept of humanity being presented within the folds of the story. Using a post-Apartheid South African backdrop Blomkamp bring a real energy to the screen with a keen sense of how to move a story along whilst making a point. This isn't science-fiction for the sake of science-fiction it is a story about what is within, using the structure of a science-fiction story. Sure, the subtext is a little heavy-handed at times but he recovers nicely with his willingness to go to the hard places - Wikus leaving Christopher upstairs to be killed is a prime example of the ugly side of humanity that Blomkamp does not shy away from. Technically outstanding, District 9 has to be one of the surprises of its year. A corker of a film.

Bill Ryder-Jones

This cinematic journey made as an imaginary soundtrack album is a fine example of successful conceptual music. He knows where his strengths are as a composer and he handles the quiet moments well. It's an episode in gorgeousness and does indeed make one wish for the accompanying film to see how the sound and image would meld.

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