LISTENING

Oldy but a goody, I re-listened to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fever to Tell while driving through rural Illinois. The NYT BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2003, how can you not love this album? I had a radio show in college and definitely tried to play at least one Yeah Yeah Yeahs track every week, preferably something off of Fever To Tell or their other earlier releases (like the Machine or Yeah Yeah Yeahs EPs). Some tracks (“Tick”, “Man”) are so rock and so punk I can’t sit still listening to them. “Maps” is a modern classic and also has a beautiful music video. I really don’t know what else to say about this album, other than it’s amazing. Fave track is definitely “Y Control.”

 

WATCHING

Enter the Void (Noe, 2009) is so bad I’m not even going to link to the trailer. Don’t watch it. Wasted 2.5 hours of my life and also made me feel ill.

Ghost in the Shell (Oshii, 1995) because I wanted to know what Ghost in the Shell was but don’t want to watch the 2017 version because I don’t want to endorse whitewashing. I honestly expected it to be much better. The animation is fine, but the pacing seems off. I think it falls into the trap of many adaptations in that I get the feeling there’s a lot of background to the main conflict in the film which is not explained because it’s assumed the audience knows because it was such a popular manga. I kept getting confused about Section 6 and Section 9 and who’s minister was who and what the conspiracy was. I still don’t really know. Probably better to just skip film versions (I can’t possibly imagine the 2017 version will be able to overcome this issue) and read the manga because the philosophical ideas in the narrative are cool.

Personal Shopper (Assayas, 2017). I enjoyed Clouds of Sils Maria (Assayas, 2015) and Personal Shopper has been getting a lot of good press so I thought I’d watch it. Definitely a thriller, both psychological and real, as in there is perceived danger and real danger and one of the interesting things about the film is the blur between them. There’s a lot going on in it that I can’t quite grasp, but the film is about main character Maureen is having an existential crisis after her twin brother dies, the brother whom she kind of just followed her whole life as a means of making her identity, and that is something I find intriguing and applicable to my life (although I have no twins and no one I love has died, I am [and have probably constantly been] in the throes of an existential crisis. There are bits of dialogue that seem contrived, but most of the film is excellently executed.

 

READING

I finished The Circle (Eggers). It took me about 200 (out of a total of ~500) pages to get “hooked” to the point I actively wanted to keep reading. I’ve since read some criticism about the book, which I actually completely agree with, yet I still liked the book! I think there were many times where I was like “really?!” in terms of how far some characters were willing to give up their privacy. Also there’s a scene that’s so obviously a metaphor for what’s going on it’s almost embarrassing. The main character Mae is infatuated with the Circle and is in a way bullied so much initially to participate that she allows herself to be brainwashed. The only real criticism I have with it is the relatively unmotivated conflict between Mae and her best friend Annie in the last quarter of the book. It felt like it was just there because it needed to be there for the plot Eggers set up to work. Overall, the novel ends satisfactory given the circumstances. IDK. It felt like a Dan Brown book: not super realistic but entertaining nonetheless for some reason. Give it a read if you like reading…IDK.

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