Song of the Week: Thousands are Sailing by The Pogues

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By Franz

We ain’t gonna talk about specific types of songs at this blog, it doesn’t matter is it new or old, metal or Irish traditional-folk-punk, as long as it’s a song we have something to talk about. So today, my pick for the song of the week is Thousands are Sailing by the Irish folk-punk band The Pogues.

Listen to it by clicking here!

The Pogues formed in 1982, after Shane MacGowan and some of his friends (Shane was from the punk scene) decided to mix to genres, Irish folk and this new music called punk. MacGowan was from an Irish family (though lived in England) and his musical roots came from Irish music, but also from the punk scene of the late ’70s. The name Pogues comes from the Irish term “pogue mahone” which means “kiss my ass”. Their first album, Red Roses For Me, in 1984 was somewhat of a success, at least in England and, of couse, Ireland. It got pretty good critical reviews and at least put The Pogues on the map. It’s a decent record, it’s very heavy on being Irish and most of the musical components are strictly folk, and only MacGowan’s weird, somewhat terrible vocals are punk. But it’s a fine record. The next year they released another album, Rum, Sodomy and The Lash (produced by Elvis Costello) and that became a huge hit, pretty much internationally. It’s now considered a classic and one of their best records, and yeah, it’s pretty amazing. It’s more original and mixes the genres better than the first one and it has some of MacGowan’s best songs, not only lyrically but also musically. It’s one of those records that you can’t help but tap your leg with it.

But, the song I’m gonna talk about is from their third record, which is also my favorite from them, their 1988 If I should Fall from the Grace with God. And the song surprisingly isn’t written by MacGowan (who wrote a lot of their stuff), but written by their guitarist, Phil Chevron, who proves himself as a talented song writer. Thousands are Sailing is about the Irish immigrating to America in midst of a famine, simple as that. But the words are so powerful and moving. And because of it’s subject matter, it’s pretty relevant right now, considering all the immigrants coming to Europe. It’s not only about immigrating to a new land, but also keeping your heritage. It asks the Irish-Americans “do you feel Irish and if yes, how so?”. It’s not negative about the immigration, rather it’s a sad song for those who miss their homeland. “Do the old songs makes you cry? Did you count the years and months, or did your tear drops quickly dry?”. It’s about being proud where you come from and staying Irish even when you’re not living there.

There’s a line that always gets me, it’s “Everywhere we go we celebrate, the land that makes us refugees”, it’s just so relevant. Nobody’s happy being a refugee, everybody just wants to survive, but also every single immigrant wants go to back to their country.

Musically I love this song, as well. It starts off very melancholic (which is does stay), it somehow remind me of a very misty night, sailing away. The echoing guitars, the slow build up with the flute and then it stops to hear MacGowan’s sorrowful voice. Now, MacGowan can’t sing technically, he sounds drunk (probably because he is) and mumbles most of the words, but it works most of the time and especially here you hear anger and regret in his voice. I love the drum-heavy chorus, it’s just so epic and bouncy and when the banjo hits afterwards, it’s so fucking awesome. That banjo line after MacGowan shouts “And we dance!” is so lovely. Musically it’s a powerful, melancholy song that works perfectly with the sad, haunting lyrics, creating a beautiful, tear-jerking atmosphere.

If you’re interested in The Pogues, I would recommend with If I should fall from the Grace with God for the first album you should listen to, especially the title track, it gives you a pretty good idea what the Pogues are all about.  Thousands are Sailing is one of the bands masterpieces and truly an epic song about a very relevant subject matter. It’s a great song by a great band.

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Song of the week: L’Enfant Sauvage – Gojira

*Yay, a new post. I know we’ve been very in-active, but we’re trying to keep this blog alive, so Patrick decided to do these Song of the weeks every Monday and yes, I realize it’s Tuesday, but expect them to come out on Mondays. Anyway, enjoy*

By Patrick

Welcome to SHM’s song of the week. This weeks song is L’Enfant Sauvage from Gojira. Song suggestions will be greatly appreciated. – Patrick

Gojira is a metal band from Ondres, France. Gojira was started as Godzilla in 1996, but changed it’s name to Gojira in 2001 due legal issues. Gojira is known for it’s spiritual and enviromental themes. L’Enfant Sauvage was released with Roadrunner Records in 2012, it was Gojiras fifth album. L’Enfant Sauvage translates to “The Wild Child.”

Gojiras lyrics are often written in a poetic style, dealing with environmental and spiritual issues. L’Enfant Sauvage is on the surface about god, a creator, somebody who created life but forgot give life to her- or himself.

“Betrayed your child with desire, but you wont attempt to reveal yourself.”

But i think it’s too obvious, I think L’Enfant Sauvage is deeper than that. I don’t think it’s about anything specific, I feel like the song is about wasting life. The author has hurt, lost or gave up on something important, he isn’t in pain but he regrets the wasted time. The lost passion for something (faith, music?) is the reason he owns himself life.

“I’ve killed a part of me that was aching. The pain is gone, But denial runaway from institutions, I owe my self life.”

Gojira unites many different genres like melodic death metal, progressive and groove metal. The verses low-key guitar line creates a chilling atmosphere and gives vocalization the spotlight. L’Enfant Sauvage twists and turns from clean groovy guitar scheme into a hard pounding guitar riff segway and back again. The song is building up to an amazing breakdown at the end then the the track cuts into a muffled version of the verses guitar scheme, leaving us haunted and craving for more. Joseph Duplantiers vocals are a mix of death metal growling and clean vocals, he growls so you can hear the words without loosing the heavy and threatening sound. Gojira is beautifully honest, they give you the most intense kiss while also kicking you in the balls.

Seahorse Mafia’s Halloween Special (Part 1)

By Franz

Well it’s October and Halloween is right around the corner, so I’ve been trying to watch more horror films than usual. Okay, I haven’t seen a lot, but goddamned I’m trying! I’ll try to find the time to keep this shit going for the rest of the month, but if you know our blog(s) well enough, you know we ain’t making promises. Anyways, today I’ll review two and a half films: Circle (2015), a gimmicky indie scifi thriller, Lady in the Water, a film so terrible it made me want to punch someone in the face and I’m maybe going to touch another Smalyanana film, Signs. Well, not time to waste, let’s get to it:

Circle

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By far the most interesting of the bunch is Aaron Hann’s and Mario Miscione’s Circle. Like I said, it’s a scifi thriller/horror about a group of people in a circle and every minute (or two minutes?) a person dies. Basically they all have their small space where they can’t leave, if they do, a mysterious force kills them. But they quickly learn they can vote who dies next. I realize this sounds not only confusing, but stupid and it is, but it’s not as confusing as you might think. They do a decent job setting it up, even though they never explain how they can vote, like do the aliens read their minds or something? I mean, I guess so, it’s kinda weird that they never explain it, I hoped for something, but hey, movie logic right?

This starts people. I would name who, but I have no idea who they were. One of the ladies looked like she was on Downton Abbey. That’s it. The human beings in this film play the most stereotypical and at times racially offensive characters who argue about who should die and have the most pretentious and tedious “philosophical” conversations about race and religion, among other fun topics. Honestly, that’s the problem of the film, it feels like it was written by a nineteen year old college douche who thinks he’s being so smart by having characters talk about heated topics. But it comes off as uninspired and highly unoriginal. Especially the discussion of race, was especially painful, it said absolutely nothing new about anything, it clearly tried, but the writer wasn’t witty or intelligent enough to bring anything new to a very interesting topic. Sadly. Because this has potential to be an interesting movie about the human nature not only by the moral choice of choosing who dies but also how, even in a situation like that, we would still argue about race. However, the film is never that witty.

And also the characters are stereotypes to the max, I’m not sure was it intentional, if it was, they do nothing with that and it wouldn’t make sense, because the stereotypes are so outrageous and hammy, it destroys any kind of message you had about the human nature, because nobody is like these people. And if it wasn’t intentional, well then you’re a cunt. I’m sorry, but the republican, conservative man so over-the-top it made no sense to have him like that. I mean, who, since the 80’s, has dressed like that? Even the republicans aren’t as evil as that man was. But I’m guessing it was intentional, which furthermore hurts the films message.

But there are positives, some of the actors did a fine job, especially the married couple, they were fine. And the teenage kid, he was fine. And the ending, not the last scene, but the scene right before that was surprising and the only time I felt like they did something interesting with the gimmick. Also, it’s somewhat decently shot, I would have wished it was more interesting visually, but what we got, was fine. I’m actually recommending this, not because of things I just said, but because of one reason, which is an important one: it’s incredibly entertaining. I’m amazed how they made a concept like this, even though how pretentious and tedious it is, so goddamn entertaining. I, at no point, was yawning or looking at the watch, for some reason this was fascinating. So, that’s why you should maybe check it out.

But that doesn’t excuse a shitty fucking script, 3/10

Lady in the Water

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Since everybody has already thrashed this film, this won’t be too long. I’m going to be talking about the positives, negatives and the “point where it made me want to punch someone” and then, of course, overall. Since I’m such a positive person, we’ll start with the good things:

Good things

Christopher Doyle’s cinematography.

The Martian (2015)

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I know I haven’t been very active lately, I just haven’t had the time to review a lot of stuff. But, finally I’ve made me glorious comeback to film writing. So, what am I going to review? Well I just saw Luis Bunuel’s classic 1961 film Viridiana. And I also saw James Marsh’s Man on Wire, oh and also Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu. But I know most of you don’t care about those films, so I also saw Ridley Scott’s The Martian. So, I guess I should review that one, since it is a new, big budget film.

I was hyped for this, I didn’t read the novel, but I like Scott’s work and the trailer looked really good, like absolutely fucking good. I was so hyped, I actually went to the the theaters to watch this, and I rarely go to the theaters (no time, no money, you know). And to my surprise, it was okay. I want to stress that I haven’t read the novel, so I have no idea how the film differs from it, I’m judging this as a film, not an adaptation. So, let’s start the review:

Characters/Performances

This film has a lot of characters and a lot of famous actors: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Donald Glover, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels and the list goes on. But really there’s only one main character and that is of course Matt Damon as Mark Watney. His character is a smart, wise-cracking, joe-schmoe-with-a-degree-in-botany and Damon does a decent job. He’s very likeable with his sarcastic remarks and his tough human spirit thing, but I didn’t really think he’s all that special. Sure, he’s a lot of fun, he’s the everyman (kinda) so it’s easy to relate to him, but as somebody who prefers complexity over everyman-status (in most cases), I can’t say that I found the character to be anything more than a popcorn film star. I mean, Damon is very natural in it and he has a lot of charisma so nothing feels awkward at all and Watney is a very sympathetic character, it’s very easy to root for him and his comments are often chuckle-worthy.

dömen, my man

I’m not saying he’s a bad character at all, but we rarely see him anything more than a sarcastic smart-guy. There’s like two scenes, where he’s desperate and thinking he’s going to die, now, you could argue he doesn’t indulge into fears like that because he’s a trained astronaut, but that’s a bit stretching to say, considering NASA probably doesn’t train astronauts to survive alone in a planet. So, I would have hoped to see a bit more desperation, a bit more of him losing his sanity. Most of the problems are solved fairly easily and not a lot of problems even come. I was expecting something awful to happen constantly like in Gravity, but really only one (albeit majot) bad thing happens, which again, is solved pretty quickly. There is a wonderful scene where we do see Watney scared, which is the little moment when he is looking at the MAV (I would give more detail, but I don’t want to spoil it). That was a quite stunning, subtle scene. But, basically right after he goes back to the headquarters, after almost dying and his crew leaving him, almost right after he’s like “I’m not going to die”. Which was strange, I mean, you’ve been there like two hours, you should be thinking “I am going to die here”. But, anyway, Watney’s likeable enough, nothing special, but whatever.

Like I said, this is filled with recognizable faces and most of them are pretty good. Daniels as the douchebag authority is fine I guess, though his character is a bit cheap, he brings some charisma. Donald Glover as the quirky scientist is decent, I liked Glover in Community where he was pretty damn hilarious, but here he’s the standard quirky nerd type which doesn’t really fit him, so at times his delivery is awkward, but overall he was very decent. Kristen Wiig was surprisingly forgetable in this, which is strange, ’cause she’s a very good actress. I don’t even remember what her character was doing in the film. Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena and the rest of the crew of Hermes are all just cardboard cut-outs, they have no personality other than Pena who is the “bro” for Watney. But the rest are just so basic and boring, I found them the dullest part of the film. Sean Bean was fine, I guess, he looks like he’s about the cry in every scene he’s in, but fine I suppose. Chiwetel Ejiofor (totally had to look how to spell that one from IMDB) is good. He’s very natural in his performance, though his character is average and borderline boring, Ejiofor brings charisma to it.

Basically the only stand out performance was the lead, sadly. Though it’s an impressive cast, I can’t say many of them were very unforgetable. Glover sticks out in my opinion, but probably just because I’m a fan of Community. While nobody was terrible, nobody was really spectacular either, which was a disappointment to me, since I was hoping a lot more from this cast.
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Top 8 Films of 2012

By Franz

Yay, a list! This time it’s my top 8 favorite films of 2012. 2012 was overall a very “meh” year in films, there was a lot of films that I found interesting but lacked a decent script. Like: Flight, Django Unchained, Seven Psychopaths, The Impossible and Lawless, to name a few. None of those films were bad, I just thought the scripts sucked balls. I could do a list of what I thought were the worst of the years, because I would have a lot more material on that (Spoilers, I hated The Impossible), but I’ve decided to be positive today, so let’s look at the eight films that I consider to be the years finest.

8. 

Django Unchained

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“Hey, you just said that it has a shitty script!”, you’re probably thinking that. Yes, I think Django has a not-great screenplay and Jamie Foxx isn’t very interesting or good in the film, however, not only did this list need fillers, I also really enjoyed this movie. Maybe it’s because I love westerns, maybe it’s because it’s impossible to dislike Christoph Waltz’s accent or maybe it’s the over-the-top cartoonish, yet highly enjoyable violence. Django is not without it’s faults, the script is so loose that at times it’s boring as fuck, it’s like Tarantino’s forgets theres an actual story to be told as well. So, yeah, there’s some Tarantino-jerking-off moments here, but for the most part, it’s very entertaining. The main character is very weak and I can’t see Foxx playing a badass, somehow he just doesn’t fit in my opinion and also his character is just very dull and basic. Waltz on the other hand is absolutely terrific, he’s overly charming and cool, totally reversing his role from Inglorious Basterds and doing it well.

Tarantino’s violence is infamous and this is a violent film as well, but he handles the violence in a lot more comic tone, almost making fun of himself with the bomb-sounds as the bullet hits a body or the massive amount of squids exploding. The mansion shoot-out is one of the most hilariously over-the-top gun battles he’s ever shot. Does he go over the fucking top in it? Absolutely, but I didn’t mind. The score is ridiculous and does not suit that scene at all, but still it’s a badass moment.

Also the cameo by Franco Nero was fucking genius and if you know who he is, you probably smiled like a dumbass at that too. And while there are no “great” moments from the film and it has it’s flaws, it’s still an entertaining movie, one I don’t mind re-visiting. By the way, the greatest scene Tarantino’s has shot and ever will (in my opinion) is the bar scene from Inglorious Basterds with Michael Fassbender and the rest pretending to be Germans. That’s was more Sergio Leone than any scene here. But still, it’s a solid 7.5/10.

Ps. If you are a Tarantino fan, never ask Patrick’s opinion about this film…

Film Review: Amour (2012)

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*I know, fucking finally a new review. Sorry boys and girls, I’ve been busy and shit like that, enjoy this review now*

By Franz

I’ve seen only four movies by Michael Haneke, but I must say I’m absolutely loving his work. I adored the ambiguous brilliance in Cache, Funny Games US was an entertaining and thought provoking film about violence and while I didn’t love Benny’s Video, I do respect that film for what it’s trying to say. And his 2012 film about love and the pain of losing someone, Amour, might be my favorite of his. Amour was just about the last 2012 film that I wanted to see, but hadn’t, until recently and somewhat surprisingly, it’s probably my second favorite of the year, behind P.T. Anderson’s The Master. It’s one of the most difficult films I’ve ever seen emotionally and one of the most perfect I’ve seen.

While some complained that the film is “cold”, since Haneke directs it very objectively, rather than trying to emotionally manipulate you into feeling something. The subject matter is sad, heart-breaking and something we can all relate to, either you have experienced what the main character is experiencing or you will. And even if you haven’t, it’s still a powerful emotion. So, Haneke’s objectivity can throw you off, thinking it’s a cold film, but it’s not, it’s simply trying to show something “real”, without wanting to sugar-coat it, showing you the harsh reality. If the film could be described with one word it would be “real” or “humane”, at least in my opinion. If this was an American movie or simply a movie by a lesser director, there would be big, emotional crying scenes and a happy ending of somewhat. But Haneke does almost the exact opposite. For example, when Anne has her first stroke and goes to the hospital, we expect a hospital scene, something right before the surgery or something, but no, Haneke skips that. And almost every “big” moment, Haneke doesn’t show, rather he decides to show their everyday life, showing her decay slowly and the impact of their normal day to day life. And that’s a lot more effective than having a tedious hospital moments. And another thing, Haneke shows them as humans, as real people, they aren’t perfect. We slowly see how the husband starts getting sick of her, you feel his pain as his wife is slowly dying and as each day passes, she isn’t the same person anymore. And of course the ending is something you wouldn’t see in a classic tear-jerker movie. Haneke shows his characters as honestly as he can, as flawed people, which to me makes the film so heart-breaking and humane.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanualle Riva are both fantastic, of course both are excellent actors, who worked with some of the greatest directors of all time like Bertolucci and Alain Resnais, they’r one of the main reasons why this film works as well as it does. Of course everybody talks about Riva’s great performance as Anne, and she is heart-breaking and so real and most definitely should have won the Oscar, but Trintignant is great as well, showing how difficult it is to let go and showing so much restraint through out the movie. Riva is amazing as well, the embarrassment and humiliations on her face is so painful to watch at times, she’s just so real in the role and especially the shower scene is one of the most difficult scenes of all time. And those two are pretty much the only people in the film, sure their daughter is in this too, and she’s fine, but she has like three scenes. However the character is still very interesting, wanting to keep her mother alive but knowing how it will end and how soon that will be. She’s frustrated and shows it a lot more than the much more frustrated Georges. But she doesn’t have a lot screentime, so she’s not really worth talking about. So it’s basically just Riva and Trintignant, and Riva doesn’t really talk after the first hour so basically they have to carry the movie and they do it amazingly well.

The film is slow and if you don’t like slower paced movies, you shouldn’t watch this, especially the last ten or so minutes are very slow and even I’ll admit it went on maybe a minute too long. But the pacing didn’t hurt the overall, the slower style suits the film, like Cache, it creates a fantastic atmosphere rather than bore the audience. I guess you could say that about every Haneke film, though my only big complaint about Benny’s Video was that I thought it way too fucking slow, un-bearably slow at times. But Amour, even if the last ten minutes are very quiet and slow, never gets boring, the acting and Haneke precise camera work kept me interested through-out and even if the film doesn’t show “big” moments, the day-to-day stuff is still so heart-breaking. It’s a very quiet film, of course one of Haneke’s trademarks is he doesn’t use music that isn’t “in the story”, only music here is when it’s featured in the film, for example they go to a concert in the beginning and we hear the piano. And that’s effective, somehow the lack of emotional violin music in the film, actually make the film more emotional. Even the camera work is so naturalistic and subtle, Haneke doesn’t waste his time with expensive jerking-off shots or even beautifully lit moments, rather he prefers realistic settings and subtle cinematography. Everything seems so realistic and down-to-earth. Some could argue that Haneke doesn’t have a “style” but I would disgaree. People who say that are probably the people who say Zack Snyder has his own “style” because his films look slightly different, but that doesn’t make you an auteur. Haneke’s style isn’t visual, rather story-telling, always being objective and realistic, leaving the moral questions to the audience to decide for themselves. His visual ques are mostly subtle, every edit and angle are just about perfect and it seems like he knows why to shoot a scene with angle like this or that, rather than just doing a nice angle for the sake of having a nice shot. Every shot and cut seems meaningful and honest. Ps, I’m not ripping on Snyder, he’s fine, not unique in any way, but fine as a director.

If you don’t mind a little slower pace, you’re going to fall in love with Amour (pun intended?), it’s heart-breaking, emotional, humane and most importantly, honest. It’s a tear-jerker, but not your traditional one, it’s shows the pain of the characters very objectively and doesn’t force you into liking these people, but it’s asking you to understand them. They’re flawed people, who are trying to do the best they can, but sometimes they can’t, because of human error. It’s one of the most beautiful films ever made, with some of 21st century’s most realistic performances. If you have a heart, this is going to break you down and probably depress the shit out of you. It’s a masterpiece: 10/10.

Thoughts on: Southpaw (2015), Maps to The Stars (2014) and Cache (2005)

By Franz

Yeah I know, long time no new content. But, like I said about five times now, I’m working on a screenplay with a bunch of friends so that has been keeping me busy. But since I think I’m some what comfortable with the progress so I can take a brake from worrying about how big of a piece of shit it will be, I thought I should review some films I’ve seen recently. I thought I would give each of these their own review, but I’m too lazy and honestly only one film here actually deserves a lengthy review and that is Cache, because it is a brilliant film, but I think it has been analyzed to death, so I’ll be brief (or try to be) with these.

fuck faqua

So up first is the brand new Jake Gyllenhaal boxing movie Southpaw aka Rocky 7: The Revenge of Adrian. I was fucking hyped for this movie, Gyllenhaal coming straight from Nightcrawler, where he played a skinny weirdo, buffing himself up to be an aggressive boxer, it looked and sounded great. But then the trailer hit and it sucked. But I thought “Well, I shouldn’t judge based on the trailer”, but my judgement was completely right; it fucking sucked. While movies like The Fighter and Warriors are cliche in the story and even in their characters, they get away with those because of the acting and most importantly: they seem genuine. They seem like they were passion projects and aren’t just some heartless studio hack stuff, but sadly Southpaw is just a cliche, boring hack-eyed and lazy film that suffers from terrible directing and sup-par performances and characters. If you ever said to yourself “Hey, I would love to see Rocky 1, but with more melodrama, even more cheesiness and the villain from Rocky 3” then you’re probably a fucking mongoloid. Practically everybody’s terrible in this, sadly even great actors like Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams (okay, not a “great” actor but still). However there is a somewhat saving grace here, and that grace goes by the name Jake Gyllenhaal. But, kinda disappointingly, it’s a good performance, but not a great one. It should be a great one, it should be his show, but somehow he never reaches that intensity and power he showed in Nightcrawler, which isn’t his fault, since there were plenty of scenes were he acted his ass off, the script just wasn’t very good.