Bläeckfisk is the Swedish translation for the word octopus. I am not Swedish, but I do own a lot of furniture from Sweden and I like octopuses while admiring their multi-tasking ability. I would like to travel to Sweden at some point, plus I think it is a pretty cool looking word. Anyhow, speaking of words, I guess you could say that is why we are here. Words are the foundation for way we try to wrap our thoughts around everything in the galaxy. The tendrils that lead to emotions and curiosity. I am not here to solve the mysteries of the universe, just to discuss words in general. Specifically words written by other people and have been printed off and slapped between two slices of thin card stock. Many of these sandwiches go on to bigger and better things, some bigger and better than others. So, I guess we will be talking about those as well. If you share an interest in words or enjoi seeing what they can look like in action....välkommen! (Swedish for welcome.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

B7: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

"I wanted to make sure someone heard what I had to say."

Imperious. Idiosyncratic. Eccentric. Visionary. Revolutionary. Just a few words that float to mind when attempting to describe the portrait of Apple's founder. Steve Jobs was many things and this smartly written book about his legacy examines the moving parts that make up the man responsible for transforming the computer/movie/music/communications industries throughout his career. I was skeptical at first to read this book since it came out so quickly after Job's passing, but I am glad that I did. Built upon several years’ worth of personal interviews, Isaacson masterly composes the symphony of Steve's life, bringing new insight into his successes and the bridges that were torched in order to achieve them.

With the backdrop being the surrounding towns of where I grew up, it was extremely compelling hearing Job's life story. From his love of calligraphy to why he wore black turtlenecks, Steve Job was truly one of a kind. His chilly temperament and fiery passion for creating a legacy propelled projects he was involved with to unthinkable heights. He was the true embodiment of the yin and yang. Sensitive yet apathetic. Bohemian yet futuristic. He loved creative design, and at the same time was obsessed with the color white. The type of walking contradiction that carried the scorn of being put up for adoption his whole life, only to spurn the birth of his first child.

Steve Jobs was many things. Genius. Artist. Unscrupulous. Beloved. Maybe most importantly, iconic. This exceptional biography is one that you do not want to miss. You will probably see it this holiday season all over bookshops and cafes and for good reason. It's that good. So engrossing and authentic that Jobs himself did not read a word that Isaacson wrote, instead trusting that he would indeed capture what he had to say. Did he ever. Well done Mr. Isaacson.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

F10: My Week With Marilyn-Directed by Simon Curtis

"Have faith in your talent."

While this may not be a terribly wonderful film, the acting in it simply is. Michelle Williams' portrayal of the legendary yet mercurial Marilyn Monroe is captivating and will surely garnish a Best Actress nomination. She has the innocently dense routine down and her imitation of Marilyn's voice convinces you that you are watching the famed starlet on screen. However great her role, she is almost upstaged by the performance of Kenneth Branagh, playing the iconic Sir Lawrence Olivier. Just like Williams, he dives into this role and delivers a wonderful performance, touching on many of Olivier's temperamental and quirky traits. Look for him to bag an award or two in the coming year.

The film retraces the adventure of directing Marilyn Monroe during the film The Prince and The Showgirl and her connection with one of the assistant directors, Colin, played by Eddie Redmayne. While Colin is a first time on set problem solver, the relationship between Ms. Monroe and Olivier sets the table for a brief romance between Colin and Marilyn. We get a glance into the kaleidoscope of what it would have been like to know Marilyn Monroe and how tormented she seemed to be off camera. I did enjoy this film and think that it is unmistakably worth viewing, as the acting alone will keep you captivated. Time period films are always enjoyable and this one with make you smile.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

F9: Like Crazy-Directed by Drake Doremus

"I'll be there in 30 minutes."

For such a simple story, this film was immensely enjoyable. The premise follows the predictable trajection of girl and boy. Girl meets boy. Boy takes girl out. Girl and boy connect on a profoundly unique plane. Boy loves girl and wants nothing more than to be with girl. Only this time, girl did not follow the laws of immigration and violates the terms of her student visa and must return back to the UK.  What follows next is a tumultuous jaunt of ups and downs following the couple's budding romance.

I love the rawness of this film and the director's style lends to the authenticity of the story he is trying to tell. Both characters are portrayed in a light that makes you feel like you actually know them, or have come across them at some point in your own life. You find yourself really pulling for this couple and hoping that it works out for them, despite the physical and growing emotional distance that plagues their relationship. Weave in a killer soundtrack and some fresh camera tricks and this is not one you want to miss. See it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

F8: Anonymous-Directed by Roland Emmerich

"Of course you have a voice, you are an artist."

To write or not to write, that is the question in question in this recent release by Roland Emmerich. Did William Shakespeare really pen all of his sonnets, poems and plays? Or was he simply an eccentric, spurious individual that was driven solely by fame and glamour? I had heard of several theories on the authenticity of Shakespeare over the years, and the theory revolving around the Earl of Oxford being the main author is explored in this movie. Details such as Shakespeare being illiterate, and how nothing of his work was mentioned in his will, provide the groundwork for this theory.

While it is a truly complicated story and really hard to follow, I enjoyed this film based on sheer content. It is fascinating to be thrown back to a time where writing and acting was seen as such threatening devices and how scrupulous the leaders within the kingdom of England could be towards each other. Mistresses and scandal. Beheadings and whispers of arcane pregnancies. All of which add up to be a dramatic theatrical performance in itself. The acting was grand, the costumes magnificent and the scope of England during the Essex Revolution was brilliant. If anything, the editor of this movie could have done a better job helping the viewer connect the characters with the events.  The story jumps back and forth over different stages in Queen Elizabeth's life, sometimes muddling the flow of the events. Overall though, I would recommend this picture as the idea that greatest play write the world has ever seen, is not in fact who he claims to be. Decide for it better to be a witty fool or someone with a foolish wit?