Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Cleopatra," The Lumineers

The 2016 follow-up, "Cleopatra," to The Lumineers' self-titled debut LP has arrived. The radio and mainstream success of the folk/soul-rock band has allowed them to remain relevant after four years of little in the ways of new music. The mainstream acceptance of the band seems to be because of instead of in spite of Wesley Schultz's oddly beautiful, intimate lead vocals. This intimacy comes through across "Cleopatra," and still remains bright and energetic.

I mentioned on my first Wednesday Morning Playlist that I've been craving upbeat music lately. "Cleopatra," for all of its simplicity and fun has been fulfilling this need for me. Yet the wistfulness and poeticism that draws me to quiet indie rock and folk never wavers. The radio-friendly "Ophelia" is just the tip of the iceberg.

Don't miss: "Sleep on the Floor," "Angela," and one of my all-time favorites, finally released, "Gun Song"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wednesday Morning Playlist

I thought I'd continue Michael's habit of posting a playlist on Wednesdays. Mostly because he had already started it, and Wednesday is my morning on the Reference Desk. Which was probably why he also posted on Wednesdays. Anyways, it's felt particularly Spring-like over the last few days which has prompted a desire for upbeat music during my commute.
  1. Cold War Kids, Hospital Beds
  2. The Civil Wars, I've Got This Friend
  3. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Home
  4. Sia, Cheap Thrills
  5. Taylor Swift, Style
  6. The Weepies, Wild Boy
  7. Jimmy Eat World, The Middle*
  8. Alessia Cara, Wild Things
  9. The Lumineers, Angela
  10. Ben Gibbard, Carolina

*Because I, along with the rest of the internet, love Taylor's Apple Music ads. They've even made me consider subscribing to Apple Music. Almost, but not. I am a librarian after all.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hello (from the other side)

Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Mural of famous movie stars on building, Los Angeles, California
I'm Larissa and I've been the Teen Librarian at the DFL since the beginning of the year. It's been a great experience so far, and I'm looking forward to all of the new adventures I'll get to go on — like taking over this blog from Michael as he departs onto a new adventure of his own.

Music has always been a part of my life, between growing up with a musical grandmother, and later being a part of my high school band. Now, I've settled into certain sounds and writers that truly speak to me. Some of my favorite bands and performers are City and Colour, Gabrielle Aplin, The Avett Brothers, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Weepies, William Fitzsimmons, Sufjan Stevens, and The Head and the Heart.

One of my best friends once told me that she didn't trust people that only liked one kind of music. And this stuck with me, so I try not to close myself off to music. This is part of why I also enjoy Taylor Swift and Adele, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, and all sorts of other seemingly random music.

Movies have also been a natural obsession for me. I love stories, and I love a well-scripted film or show just as much. This is part of why my boyfriend and I became friends a few years ago. He studied film at art school and together we just completed production on a full-length documentary last summer. This mostly means I've spent more time in the last year making a movie than watching movies, but I'm excited to have more time to indulge, and this blog is as good an excuse as any.

I hope you'll keep reading, because I'm going to keep updating this based on what's going on and hitting the shelves at the DFL. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This is Ron Burgundy Signing Off...You Stay Classy San Diego

Dear loyal readers (of which I know there are thousands), it is with a heavy heart that I am relinquishing the reigns of Dive Deep Into Music and Movies.  I will be leaving the DFL and moving on to the Hingham Public Library as their Local History librarian.  Writing this blog has been an absolute treat and I will miss it dearly.  I hope that those of you who read it will continue to do so as our fabulous YA librarian Larissa takes over and brings her unique opinions to the ever growing collection of AV materials we have here at the DFL and beyond! Thank you to anyone who has ever read anything I've written.  I hope it inspired you to watch or listen to something new!  For now, I'll leave you with a final playlist...

1. Pill Popper - White Pages
2. Youth Decay - Sleater Kinney
3. Gloria - The Monsieurs
4. Cat and Mouse - Radkey
5. Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin
6. Dammit - Blink 182
7. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day 
8. Goodbye Cruel World - Pink Floyd
9. Come Sail Away - Rush
10.Leaving on a Jet Plane - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Song's from this Morning

1. Life on Mars? - David Bowie
2. Caring is Creepy - The Shins
3. Teenage Superstars - The Vaselines
4. Porcelain - Moby
5. King of Kings - The Evens
6. Rats - Black Beach
7. Going Down - The Germs
8. Validation - Minutemen
9. Burnin' for You - Blue Oyster Cult
10. Keep on Knocking - Death

The Academy Awards: Better than Last Year...But Good?

The 88th Academy Awards have come and gone.  All I can say is PHEW...Mad Max Fury Road didn't win Best Picture.  All is right in the universe.  Though it did beat out some huge films and swept the technical categories taking home Best Production Design, Film Editing, Costume Design, Makeup, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.  That being said, there were some pretty big upsets.  Ex Machina, one of my personal favorite films of the year took home Best Visual Effects over popular favorites like Star Wars and The Martian which was both surprising and well deserved.  Spotlight, a true underdog in my book, took home the most coveted award of Best Picture which was a delightful shock and Leo finally secured Best Actor for his role in The Revenant.  His acceptance speech was both humble and poignant as he used his time to talk about the problem of global warming and a variety of other world issues.  Brie Larson won Best Actress for her stunning role in the emotionally powerful Room which I'm still DYING to see.  Alejandro Inarritu secured Best Director for The Revenant, his second year in a row (last year he won for Birdman).  Final highlights included Ennio Morricone winning Best Score for his soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight and Pixar's Inside Out taking home Best Animated feature.  As anyone knows though, the awards are only half the night.  Chris Rock was a great host who kept things light but decidedly topical focusing almost entirely on the lack of diversity in this years nominees.  A speech by the head of the Academy on diversifying Hollywood added a seriousness to Rock's jokes as she addressed the audience directly and called for all involved in the process of making movies to try harder to include more people of color in the film industry.  Overall, the night was just what I've come to expect from the Academy Awards.  A few upsets, some hit and miss jokes, some long winded speeches, and some poor choices.  But hey, at least they raised over $65,000 for the Girl Scouts of America by selling cookies to tipsy celebrities.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Black Mass Could Have Been Way Bettah

Eh.  That sums it up.  The highly anticipated crime drama Black Mass directed by Scott Cooper was good but ultimately, could have been significantly better.  Living in the Boston area, everyone and their mothah was wicked excited about the movie about South Bawston’s own Whitey Bulgah.  Many in this area have vivid memories of the notorious crime boss and his penchant for violence.  After the media storm surrounding his capture and trial in 2011, it made sense for Hollywood to cash in and the result is a film that follows all the standard “mafia movie” tropes.  As a result, the movie comes across as an amalgam of themes, scenes, and dialog that feels straight out of BETTER organized crime dramas of the past.  That being said, the film is essentially a story about the character of Whitey Bulger – a man whose brutality has become myth.  In this respect, it was well done.  Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Bulger while over the top at times felt authentic and conveyed the deep seated madness behind the family man from Southie.  Regardless, you’re always aware that it’s Johnny Depp (the problem with such recognizable actors) and you’re even more aware that Depp’s accent is false.  Given, he does a pretty phenomenal job as fake Boston accents go but it’s still a hurdle to get over that distracts you from the dialog (which admittedly has its ups and downs).  Supporting actors Benedict Cumberbatch as Billy Bulger and Joel Edgerton as dirty cop John Connolly are shadowed by Depp and feel almost unnecessary.  It would have been nice to focus solely on Bulger himself and not get bogged down with the story of Connolly’s role in getting Bulger set up as an informant for the FBI.  Overall, the film was OK but disappointing in that it could have been great.

Today's Playlist

1. Coffee - Kal Marks
2. Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
3. Blank Generation - Richard Hell and the Voidoids
4. The Weather Song - Ought
5. Jane - Barenaked Ladies
6. Nightswimming - REM
7. Where is My Mind? - Pixies
8. Future Police - Downtown Boys
9. Lemmings - Blink 182
10. Promises - Fugazi

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Daniel Craig's Time as James Bond Ends with A Flop

                James Bond is an icon; an eternal character too large for one man.  Thus every actor’s stint as the suave British agent with a license to kill must come to an end.  Connery, Dalton, Moore, Brosnan…their times have all come to a close and with the release of Spectre, Daniel Craig’s chapter as the tuxedo wearing, martini drinking, Astin Martin driving spy is now part of the pantheon of greats that have come before him.  But that’s the problem.  Throughout the course of Craig’s four Bond films the character has become a shadow of itself.  Maybe it was a Bond for a new generation; a Bond with an edge who sacrificed the debonair attitude for some grit and grime.  I’d be able to accept that if the films were any good.
                Now don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed 2 out of 4 of the Craig films.  Casino Royale was based on the first Ian Fleming Bond novel and thus had most of the elements of what we’ve all come to expect in a 007 flick: the Astin Martin, the martinis, the sex on the beach.  Quantum of Solace was a miss in my book, a continuation of the events of Casino Royale in a way that DID NOT feel like a Bond film.  Part of that comes from the fact that they were forced to create a plot without the help of a Fleming novel.  They took this “new” Bond which Craig had helped create – the kind that rudely says “I don’t give a damn” instead of “shaken not stirred” to the bartender – and thrust him into a new world.  While Quantum fell flat, Craig and co. turned it around with Skyfall, a film that in every way felt like classic Bond.  Diving deep into James’ past as well as his lifelong personal relationship with Judy Dench’s M was spectacular.  Javier Bardem’s villain was superb.  He was the classy, sophisticated psychopath you expect to try and take over the world.  I was blown away and had such high hopes for the follow up; which brings us to Spectre.
                What happened??  The film fell flat and was not the “go out with a bang” I was hoping for for Craig’s last iteration of Bond.  While Ralph Fiennes is INCREDIBLE as M, Christopher Waltz’s rendition of classic Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld was bland and forgettable.  This is immensely disappointing as I’ve come to adore Waltz as an actor, particularly in the role of the villain and yet he is completely forgettable.  Gadgets are nowhere to be found and the sleek, bullet proof spy car only has a rear flamethrower...whoop dee doo.  The evil organization SPECTRE where the film gets it’s title does not come across as all powerful but instead a rather plain group of individuals ruled by…money? power? influence? force? It’s never abundantly clear leading you to not really believe the fact that they are “everywhere” so to speak.  Aspects of Bond’s character are almost non existent and make the film feel like a generic, run of the mill action movie with dark undertones.  If it weren’t for the Bond theme playing in the background, it would be possible to write off the film as just that.  Ultimately, it’s a poor and disappointing end to Craig’s time as the titular hero but ultimately, an accurate reflection of his version of the character from the beginning.
                Craig’s “rough around the edges” adaptation of 007 has never quite fit.  Something has always been a little off and Spectre seals the deal.  It reminds us that while his four films have elements and aspects of the classic Bond movies that came before, they never quite hit the mark.  Something was always missing.  Now that he’s moving on from the character the world will wait anxiously for a new Bond to take up the reigns.  Without the constraints of the Fleming novels the character could go in any direction.  But I’m holding out hope that after the raucous thrill ride that was the last four, we’ll see a return to form.