Brendon’s Top 5 Movies of 2012

I might not have actually done a review since 2010, but every time I spend my $10 and settle myself in one of those shoddy Palladium seats to take in a couple of films, my eyes still try to take in every single piece of the director’s vision and actor’s emotion that spills out of the screen. Film is about experience – about imparting an emotion, sharing a moment, asking a question that people haven’t asked themselves, and having the audience experience people they’ve never met, or even parts of themselves they haven’t met before.

With that in mind, there are some films that did that and then some for audiences in 2012, myself included.

5) Looper

Looper poster, courtesy

Despite the inevitable confusion, this interesting take on time-travel and the world that it can create gives us a peer into our own souls. Would we sell our souls for the chance to live the next decade as rich b*tches? Would we look into our own eyes and pull the trigger to stop someone from killing us right now? Would we protect someone that could make other’s lives a living hell, and would we protect that person from ourselves? It has its own surprises; some characters we did not expect, with some stories that add a lot more layers than people might have first expected. What we also might not have expected is for Looper to be as slow as it was, but it proves to be a much more cerebral film as well, which it wins as.

4) Skyfall

Skyfall poster, courtesy rediff

For the James Bond fans, this is a very clever homage to the aspects of Bond that has made him a legendary film trope for the past 50 years, as well as an interesting conversation about the transition from old to new, for films, their characters, and us as people. As a fan myself, I think that there’s going to be a lot more new pieces of the 007 story, much like Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. But as a fan of characters, the idea that we get to see Bond at his least flattering – killing an assassin after he kills his own target, pulling at a lady’s blouse a week before asking her name. But we also see him show some real emotional vulnerability, and for those who know Bond, this is big. It proves that director Sam Mendes took this film seriously enough to figure out who Bond is, was, and maybe even should be.

3) Life of Pi

Life of Pi poster, courtesy

For those who didn’t yet know, director Ang Lee doesn’t make joke. He’s one of the few directors with a truly colossal success with different genres of film that speak about different peoples and cultures. With his most recent experiment, he gives audiences a truly spiritual experience with vivid images and a powerful, well-written story. Stories with one central character tend to be either hit or miss, but the character we meet here – Pi Patel – has a faith, determination and compassion that make him just too adorable. Whether its the beautiful world he meets, the tragic story he survives, or the awesome person he continues to be, Pi’s Life is bound to bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face.

2) The Dark Knight Rises

Dark Knight Rises fan poster, courtesy Infiak

Christopher Nolan, in my opinion, might be the best director that Hollywood has ever seen. He might also be the scariest, but that’s another matter altogether. Nonetheless, his entire Dark Knight trilogy has managed to keep us on the edge of our seats, and looking at one of our favorite heroes in a completely new light. The vision, by the way, is all his from writing to directing, and not only is the story intricate and surprising in the writing, but it’s intense and emotive in its directing. A character in this film hardly feels like a breathing prop in this film, but rather a gear turning in the machine that gives us what we need at the end. Even folks who are not fans of Batman the character can fall in love with this action-packed thriller, but those who are familiar with Bruce Wayne will get a lot extra.

1) Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-it Ralph poster, courtesy

This might be a weird choice for some. After all, animated films, while very entertaining, are not the most serious of film genres. But I’m secure enough in my masculinity to say that this film made my eyes tear up almost all the way to the end. And that’s what experiences like this are engineered to do – to make us feel. And every emotion that Wreck-It Ralph aimed for hit the mark precisely, from the witty jokes and game references to the chapters of Ralph’s journey to become a hero. As far as a giant game reference goes, there was a little more to be desired, but as a film for all ages it is more than capable of leaving everyone walking away feeling things they didn’t know they could for pixels. Take it from someone who actually hates animated movies…

Special Mention: Abraham Lincolm: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter poster, courtesy

Okay, so it’s no Lincoln, but what it does happen to be is a cleverly-written farce that manages to still take itself seriously enough to present characters of some worth. Sometime while watching this film, you’ll find yourself still suspending your disbelief, no matter how silly you find the idea of Abraham Lincoln vanquishing undead creatures. It’s because the story’s not written as a very bad joke, but rather a very far-fetched what-if that rides the train of thought to the end. And the ride is so exciting that we stick around to see what the destination looks like.

Documentary of the Year : Marley

Marley poster, courtesy

It’s no One Day in September, but Kevin McDonald does show that he’s learned a lot from the truckload of documentaries he’s directed since 1995. Marley is a very holistic look into the life of the reggae legend that is bound to make you love him and hate him just a splash more than you did before you saw it. It reveals the story behind not only the music he made, but the man that made that music and the people that helped along the way. Add to that an interesting side-view of the Jamaica he grew up in and grew to make that lovely music for, and some social and even political factors that influenced how people saw him at that time, and you have a truly enlightening experience. And it would not be complete without some of Bob Marley’s beautiful tunes playing in the background.


Make Sure They’ll Pay For Gas

It just dawned on me that I was single for the entire year.

It took me so long to notice because I didn’t allow myself to be single.

For the entire year, I’ve been having conflicts about being alone, not being understood or cared about. I was afraid that no one would want to be intimate with me, understand the intricacies of my heart and soul. And all those fears got realized from Day 1 of 2012.

Now, as the year reaches a close, I have seen that it was simply that I was being prepared for a very interesting path. It’s an unorthodox one, a hard one, one that requires a great deal of mindfulness and decisive action. It’s a complete path – you can’t come on it half-assed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have my same fears. After all, people not wanting to be on my path means that they don’t want to be on a path with me. It means, to some degree, that those people don’t think I am worth enough to them for them to come on a journey such as this with me. And it does mean that I will be travelling this path alone, the exact way I did not want to travel it. Especially when the path is this hard, it helps that you have a support system of folks that Love you and care enough to be a part of that journey with you.

But that matters not.The journey is mine. I’ve already chosen it. And, along that journey, either I will meet people who consider me and this journey valuable or I will continue seeing the value in my own adventure and helping others find the companions for theirs.

This new year, you all will begin the journey that will take the rest of yours lives. In fact, that journey’s already begun, and the path you’re on now can be the one that you’re on forever if you let it. Make sure that the destination is one you want to rest at, and that the people walking at your side are the ones that can navigate you to safety. Make sure they are good company, and keep you safe, and look over you when you rest. Make sure that they would take shifts driving you to your Promised Land, and that they can pay for gas. As the year moves on, you’ll realize what I meant…

And, if there are no such people, don’t let them come on the road with you – you’ll travel faster without them.

Time to Invest

Me, in Trizzykidd's studio working on my first track on an upcoming mixtape...

Me, in Trizzykidd’s studio working on my first track on an upcoming mixtape…

The tough thing about being an artist (especially with poetry in my opinion) is that putting your money where your mouth is always turns out to be a very thoughtful and drawn-out affair. After all, the chances of getting the returns you were looking for is so slim that you might as well not bother and save up for a much more sure thing. Some folks take the safer, low-threshold route, like recording their own pieces or doing small paid events. But when it comes to putting your neck out and taking your own hard-earned resources to make something that will last for you, people get a lot more skeptical…

This new year, I’me going to take money out of my pocket to record a Spoken Word LP. It’s something that’s crossed my mind before, in the form of an amateur mixtape project called “Soundtrack Of No Great Success/Surrender” (that I’m still slowly doing), This time, though, I’ve decided that if I want something good and lasting that I can use to market and refer to myself, I need to be willing to reach out and invest in it.

A lot of artists, here and possibly all over the world, are always too worried to invest in their talent because they think they’re not as good as the others or will never get that lucky break or simply don’t have a real chance at making a living doing the thing that they Love. Trust me, it’s nonsense. Worst case scenario, you have something that exists with your name on it, as a testament that you have a talent that you’re trying to hone and be recognized for. Even if it’s not a Top 10 Best Seller, you tried and you have one thing more to show for it than the average guy. You can hate on Rebecca Black as much as you want about her singing and songwriting…but do you have a YouTube video with thousands of views? Thought so…

So I’m about to create. This is just one of many projects that I’m taking this new age to invest in. Send me Blessings.

Just In Case You Were Wondering…

Here’s a reminder – Our planet changes alignment on 6:05AM on the morning of Friday 21st December 2012. Before you ask, what we thought the Mayans said was wrong – it’s not the end of the world. But the Mayans were still right, in a sense – it is the end of the world as we know it.

The new era that we’re going into is, ideally, a more spiritual one. Some of you might’ve noticed that friends of yours were becoming more in tune with their spiritual sides. Maybe it was just weeks or months ago, or maybe it was since the year before for the folks who were more connected to the change they had to make for themselves. Maybe some of your friends have shown more enlightenment, and have played a bigger part in your life as supporters, friends, counselors and confidantes.

You might’ve also noticed some of your friends making falls lower than they ever have. You would’ve seen some of your friends have some violent upheavals, whether it was financial troubles, difficulties with keeping a job or finding a place to live, addictions and terrible mistakes, sickness and passing away… You may not have noticed that these things are the trials those people need to either break free of the bindings on their lives or to recognize those bonds and move to free themselves from them.

And, for some, this past week has either been a brilliant Blessing or a time of much more upheaval. Because, for those who have found where they need to go to, the Universe has started preparing them for that move. For those who still are where they were, the Universe is finishing the job of tearing their muscle to make them stronger.

On 6AM this Friday, you’re going to blossom into the person you will be for the rest of your entire life. And you choose where that person is, what soil he or grows on and whether you’ll get the sunlight that you need. Your petals spread apart from now, which means those decisions happen now. So, just in case you were wondering, you’re flowering right as you read this…

What kind of flower are you?