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.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

F23: The Master-Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

"You are simply awful. A true scoundrel in every sense of the word."

Let's pretend that this movie hasn't been discounted as a time period drama and that Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn't look just like L. Ron Hubbard. Or that the pseudo religion started by PSH's character in this film doesn't sport the same eerily similar tendrils of Scientology. Or that there are not any people in the world that intellectually molest others into believing their far fetched dogma with promises of a grander existence. Lets take this film for what it is: exceptional. The Master will become one of the most talked about pictures of the year once award nominations start being garnered and frankly I am a little surprised at the lack of protest from members of Scientology regarding how their movement is portrayed or even at the very least, what this film is insinuating.

The movie is simple. And dry and brooding and poetic. We are introduced to Freddie Qwell in the opening scenes and quickly learn that he is a tragic, war torn figure willing to drink just about anything he can get his hands on to help him cope with life. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a masterful performance of this memorable character and should hopefully finally take home some hardware for his talents. While out on a drunken escapade, Freddie winds up stowing away on a small charter boat headed for NYC. On board is the surly Lancaster Dodd, a self proclaimed astrophysicist-writer-philosher sent from space to save mankind from our true animalistic selves. Dodd is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest actors alive in my humble opinion. PSH is a Jedi and his role in the movie is easily worth your time and money. In fact I wish there was a tip jar at the picture house. After Dodd establishes the "Cause", what follows is the unpredictably twisted relationship between Lacaster's cult and the criminal minded Qwell. While this movie may not be the most exciting, riveting, action packed film you see, it will by far stage the highest level of acting you will come across this movie season. PSH and Phoenix are truly remarkable craftsmen and watching their interactions on screen is joy. This review could have taken several different turns as what lies at the heart of this movie is something worth talking and thinking about. While you are here to read reviews and not my rants on human maniputlation, I will end with this: see this film. Then get out there and find somebody to rant about it to. Kaboom.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

B13: The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (325 pages)

"I climbed the steps and rapped with the knocker a few times. The echo trailed off inside, like ripples on a pond. Fermin, who had assumed a respectful silence and looked like a boy on his first day of school, turned to me anxiously."
Fermin and Daniel and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books are back in a book that I have been waiting years for. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a favorite author of mine and his Shadow of the Wind title is near the top of my all-time favorites. He does not disappoint in this sequel, shining the spotlight on the affable, skirt chasing Fermin and diving into his murky past. When we first met this lovable character he was in tattered rags and his body a sack of bones. Daniel, our spirited protagonist takes him in and nurses him back to life. We now know why Fermin was in the state he was in and what he was coming from that dreaded night that Daniel happens to stumble upon him. After an insidious character shows up at Daniel's bookshop, the past of Fermin begins to come alive, unearthing all of his past secrets that the author has created for us via flashback.

Zafon is a very simple writer of impeccable technique and has mastered the art of character development. All of his stories are intriguing and set against backdrops that reek of adventure. This book is no different and is really a series of fascinating characters that have something unfortunate in common. They have all been arrested and set to rot away in the city dungeon for being outspoken against the dreaded Franco regime of 1940's. Thieves, authors and bohemians alike attempt to weave together a patchwork of humanity in the struggle to survive their individual sentences and the wrath of Warden Valls. Valls is memorable villain who is every shade of odious imaginable. If you have not read Shadow of the Wind, I would highly suggest pulling up and ordering it stat, along with this sister novella. I promise you will enjoy them both immensely and Carlos Ruiz Zafon will become someone whose work you fall in love with.