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

Elbert Hubbard

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Max von Sydow!

The Tiger's Wife
Tea Obreht

Astonishing in its clarity and verve, this debut by the twenty-six-year-old Obreht presents an assured world of the former Yugoslavia. Magic realism is a tricky hand to play with as the reality needs to be real enough to allow for the magical elements to work. Praised works like Marquez's 100 Years... left this reader bewildered and confused, wondering what the fuss was about yet somehow this wunderkind of modern American literature seems to get it just right. It's not a perfect novel - there is a repetition used and a lack of focus in the continuity of the piece towards its end - but through the eyes of Natalia, a young volunteer doctor, we see a past, a present and a future for this part of the world tinged with the right amount of contempt, cynicism and hope. Energetic writing is always exciting to read. It's even more exciting when it has something interesting to say. Obreht's novel is a welcome confirmation of the hype surrounding her.

Capitalism: A Love Story
Michael Moore

Once again Moore finds a really interesting topic that all should be thinking about and milks it for all its worth. Once again, however, he fails to hit it out of the park because his egocentric antics get in the way. Bowling For Columbine was a shining gem within the world of documentaries and whilst he has continued to document the current world with vigor and insight none of his subsequent work has amounted to the power of that film. Here he returns to the grounds of his Roger And Me and investigates how quickly the whole of the USA is following in the footsteps of Flint, Michigan. Greed is highlighted in all of its forms, perhaps most abhorently in business life insurance policies to profit on the deaths of employees. Capitalism: A Love Story ends up being a powerful film lessened ever so slightly by its provocateur's insistence on including himself in his work.

Keep Your Dreams

This inconsistent but at times brilliantly evocative piece from the Australian duo shows a completely bizarre lack of continuity idea-wise but a steady sense of tying it altogether with a nice understanding of production. There are absolute corkers on here in the likes of ‘Tonight’ and some truly odd saxophone solos – it sounds as if the 80s have been ‘snapshotted’ and firmly implanted within their LP. It won’t be for everyone’s tastes and there will be those who write it off as poor man’s M83 but as a whole there is enough here to get excited about.

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