Oscars Predictions

•February 20, 2009 • 4 Comments

Best Picture:
Will Win – Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win(of the nominees) – Milk

Best Director:
Will Win – Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win – Gus Van Sant, Milk

Best Actor
Will Win – Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Should Win – Richard Jenkins, The Visitor

Best Actress
Will Win – Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Should Win – *abstain* only seen Streep from the nominees

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win – Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Should Win – Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win – Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Should Win – Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Best Animated Film
Will Win – Wall-E
Should Win – Wall-E

Adapted Screenplay
Will Win – Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Original Screenplay
Will Win – Happy-go-Lucky
Should Win – Wall-E

Best Score
Will Win – Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win – Wall-E or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Tie

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

•February 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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Yeah.

The Wire: Part Five Season Four

•January 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

If animal trapped call 410-844-6286, Baltimore traditional
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The fourth season of The Wire brings what any new season of The Wire brings. New characters and a new setting. This time it’s the schools of Baltimore, particularly Edward Tilmond Middle. Randy Wagstaff, Nammond Brice, Michael Lee, and Dukie four friends, are all entering the 8th grade. They all have distinct aspects to themselves, Nammond is a wanna-be gangster, Randy is the salesmen, Dukie is the “oddball”, and Michael is their soft-spoken leader. They all have on thing in common though, they’re all trapped in one way or another.

Marlo Stainfield is the new King. With enforcers Chris and Snoop terrorizing the streets, and “disappearing niggers” left and right, the drug trade has changed. Bodie is one of the few remaining Barksdale people still on a corner, but is bought out by Marlo and is now working for him. In a way, this is Bodie’s season as much as it is the kids. Throughout the season he’s contemplating if he’s getting old. Though, he can’t be more than 25. The corners have changed, there’s no honor left in Bodie’s world. His rise through the ranks has been well documented on the show, a true soldier if there ever was one. But if there is one rule to The Wire, it’s that the best characters, are often the most likely to be eliminated.

The theme of this season, education, is displayed not only through the schools. We see Greggs learn the ropes of the Homicide Division, Marlo learn just what it takes to be The King, Carcetti learn that being a full-time politician is exactly what it’s brought up to be, and of course Bodie learn that people like Marlo, have to fall.

Each child is befriended by an adult character on the show. Each thinks they have a way of saving the kid in question. Dukie is befriends by Prez, who is now a teacher. Prez sees the children bully Dukie because he doesn’t shower often, and is just the dirty child of a classroom. Prez brings Dukie clean cloths and allows him to use the school showers. Though this helps his appearence, Dukie still goes lives in a home of drug addicts who don’t love him. Dukie is promoted to High School halfway through the year, much to his dismay. On his way to his first day at a new school, Dukie becomes afraid and decides to return home, to a life on the corners. In the final montage, Prez sees Dukie on the streets dealing. He appears to be defeated.

Nammond is befriended by Colvin, whose now working on a pilot program involving corner boys. Colvin’s attempts at rationalizing an irrational industry are seen again, as he’s trying to civilize these corner boys more than anything. At first Nammond can’t stand the sight of the man, but he grows respect for the man, and by the end of the season doesn’t want to be soldier anymore. Nammond is the son of Wee-Bay(former Barksdale soldier) and idiolizes his dad at first. Then both Wee-Bay and Nammond realize this isn’t the life for Na. The street has changed, and Nammond would die on those corners. Wee-Bay allows Colvin to become Nammond’s guardian, telling his wife D’Londa(whose reluctant to Nammond giving up the life of a solider) that why should Nammond be a gangster if he can be anything else?

Randy’s story may be the most tragic. Through many coincidences Randy finds himself in the center of Major Crimes current investigation into Marlo. He tells the police nothing of importance, but that’s not the word that gets to the street. He’s outed as a snitch among his classmates and Prez begins to regret telling Carver about Randy. Carver however is the one to befriend Randy, attempting to keep him from going to another group home when his current foster mother is injured because of Randy’s ‘snitching.’ Though unlike Nammond, Randy is not saved. He is taken away to another group home, where he is still tagged as a snitch, recieving a beating from other boys soon after his arrival. Carver is devastated.

Michael is befriended by the most unlikely source. Chris Partlow, a Stainfield enforcer. Michael earns Chris’ respect after refusing to take free money that Marlo was passing out to the local kids. At first Michael wants nothing to do with Chris and the business with which he deals, but when an old enemy returns to his home, he has no choice but to ask Chris for his help. The old enemy is Michael’s mother’s old boyfriend, who previously molested Michael. Chris has an odd understanding for what Michael wants, leading us to believe Chris was abused too. Chris delivers one of the most heinous and violent deaths ever put on to screen. After this, Michael is one of them, learning the ropes to being a gangster rather quickly. By seasons end he has his own corner, and has killed his first man. Michael went from the soft-spoken nice boy, to cold-blooded killer.

I go back to Bodie, whose story comes to a close in season four. After being arrested for kicking a police car(an action caused by learning Marlo had a friend of his murdered) McNulty picks Bodie up at the courthouse after getting the charge dropped. However he’s spotted by a man working for Marlo, and is quickly reported, and a hit put out for him. McNulty takes Bodie to a park where they reminisce. Bodie comments on how Marlo is simply killing people for the sake of doing it. On how he’s not a snitch, but Marlo has to be taken down. McNulty comments on how Bodie is a real soldier. He responds “hell yeah.” The next scene with Bodie is his last. Chris and Snoop are attempting to come up to Bodie’s corner but are spotted. Bodie’s friends tell him to run but “this is my corner, I ain’ runnin’ nowhere.” However, Bodie is snuck up on from behind and shot dead. Dead on the corner.

I’m going to be blunt here. The fourth season of The Wire is a fucking masterpiece.
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The Wire: Part Four Season Three

•January 7, 2009 • 2 Comments

…we fight on that lie…

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The thrid season of The Wire moves back to the streets of Baltimore, but also into the political aspects of Baltimore. There are an array of new characters, from the mayor, to councilmen, to new street players. Avon Barksdale is coming home, and there’s a new independent on the streets. He goes by the name of Marlo Stainfield. The Major Crimes unit(with McNulty, Freamon, Daniels and company) eventually moves to investigate Stringer and Avon again.

Stringer Bell and Major Bunny Colvin(commander of the Western District) are both trying to rationalize an irrational industry, drug dealing. Stringer by forming ‘The New Day Co-Op’ where all the major dealers in Baltimore work together, using the same package, and not dropping bodies. Major Colvin by legalizing drugs. He makes a deal with the mid-level dealers of his district, telling them they can sell drugs in certain abandoned areas of B-More without police involvement. The one condition was, no more bodies. Major Colvin’s decision is extremely controversial among his subordinates. Some wanting stay loyal to their commander, and others wanting to tell either the commissioner or even The Baltimore Sun.

The primary theme of the third season is reform. All three organizations, the police department, the mayors office, and the street all experiment with new ways of doing their business. But they’re always taken back to where they began. Stringer Bell is trying to get away from “gangster bullshit” but Avon wants to keep on soldiering. This brings both men to their breaking points. It becomes a battle of whose going to turn on who first. Avon is approached by Brother Mozone. He wants Stringer Bell eliminated for a past betrayal, and Avon gives Stringer up to Mozone. Soon after, Stringer is cornered by Omar and Mozone. They tell String that Avon was the one who gave him up. Stringer accepts his fate, and utters his last words “get on with it motherfu…” and at last Omar and Mozone get their revenge. Omar’s boyfriend was previously murdered by Stringer and others in the Barksdale crew.

This season is also a bit of a parody to the Irag war. The Barksdale crew is going to war with Marlo Stainfields crew. The only reason being, Marlo won’t give up his corners. The parody isn’t really made obvious until Slim Charles says the italicized quote above. Saying once they’ve gone to war, there’s no going back. All but Avon in the Barksdale organization are convinced Marlo ordered the hit on Stringer, and they’re ready to do whatever it takes to get even. Before Stringer was murdered, he met with Major Colvin. He gave Colvin Avon’s safe-house location, where Avon would usually be with a variety of weapons. Stringer wanted reassurance it would only be a 5 year sentence, but Colvin made no promises. Colvin gives this information to McNulty and the Major Crimes unit, and they quickly move in on the safe-house. Avon is arrested, and in the warrant he puts in that Bell was the informant that gave the location up. The war that barely had started, was now won by Marlo. He now carries the crown.

In the police department, Colvin tells his superiors why crime in his district was down. He’d legalized drugs. This is met with fury from Commissioner Burrell and Deputy Ops Rawls. They inform the Mayor immediately asking to move in on these locations and make arrests before the press gets word. The Mayor however sees what Colvin has done is working in a sense. Mayor Royce says they need to find a middle ground, keeping these zones alive without killing their political careers. However the press gets word before The Mayor makes a decision on what exactly to call the ‘mess’ Major Colvin has made. He’s forced to abandon the experiment and order the Commissioner to arrest everyone in those zones. Young dealer Bodie escapes charge by claiming entrapment. McNulty, whose in the interrogation room when this happens, is willing to let Bodie go without a second though. With the lose of Stringer, McNulty needs a familiar face on the streets to chase, and Bodie is that face. McNulty’s motives have become more and more apparent over these three seasons.

The performance from this season are exceptional. From Idris Elba’s stunning and powerful job as Stringer Bell, to Robert Wisdom’s depressing and sympathetic take on Bunny Colvin. Micheal K. Williams also shins as the series’ finest character, Omar Little. One of the few men on The Wire with a code.

The third season of The Wire in short, is one of the finest pieces of entertainment produced in recent memory.

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The Wire: Part Three Season Two

•January 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Business, always business
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The second season of The Wire contains some of the best and worst the show has to offer. The focus of the show and police investigation moves to the port Baltimore. We meet the Sobotka family and the Greeks. The Greeks use Frank Sobotka’s docks for smuggling in, well, whatever they damn please. From the Sobotka’s we met Frank(the father, caught up in this dirty business) Ziggy(Frank’s son, and born fuck-up) and Nick(born to keep Ziggy out of trouble). The Greeks are a mysterious bunch. The Greek himself is not actually greek, and his right hand man’s name Spiros Vondos, is of course, not his real name. The Sobotka’s, like many people in the Barksdale organization, are doing these illegal things because they have to. Frank just wants to keep the port alive, Ziggy just wants to please his father, and Nick just wants to do the right thing.

The street of Baltimore has no been abandoned. We see Stringer Bell become more and more of a business man. Bodie begins his rise through the Barksdale organization, beginning to make himself more sympathetic even after killing of the most likable characters. In prison, Avon and D’Angelo are still in the game. Avon continues dealing drugs, to prisoners themselves, but D’Angelo wants nothing to do with the game. Stringer feels “D” has gone ‘out of pocket’ and orders a hit on him. D’Angelo is deemed a suicide. Avon is devastated.

The main theme of this season, and a theme throughout the show, is that the corruption within businesses ultimately destroy them. This is no better shown, than through the Sobotka family. Frank and Nick are shocked when Ziggy is charged with murder. Ziggy was trying to start an enterprise himself, and ultimately things got out of hand. Frank and Nick want to get clean. Frank agrees to testify against the Greeks, but has to met with them one more time before any arrests are made. The Greeks know of Franks betrayal, and he is murdered. Nick then agrees to testify, but doesn’t know nearly as much as Frank did. The Greeks, now knowing they’ll have to leave Baltimore, are long gone before any warrants go out, always one step ahead.

The theme of corruption does not stay away from the police either. The only reason they were to investigate The Sobotka’s, was because a major within the department had a quarrel with him. We see more of this in the coming season.

The second season of The Wire is a bit different from the rest of the show, but it’s just as excellent.

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Albums Listened to in 2009

•January 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

January:
Pomegranate, Poi Dog Pondering
Nil Recurring, Porcupine Tree
Detrimentalist,Venetian Snares
Passover, The Black Angels

February:
XTRMNTR, Primal Scream
Directions to See a Ghost, The Black Angels

March:
Superunknown, Soundgarden
Blood Money, Tom Waits
Alice, Tom Waits
OK Computer, Radiohead
For Hero: For Fool, Subtle
Lateralus, Tool

April:
I Care Because You Do, Aphex Twin
The Downward Spiral, Nine Inch Nails
Come to Daddy, Aphex Twin
Kid A, Radiohead
Electric Ladyland, The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Are You Experienced?, The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Foley Room, Amon Tobin
Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian, Prefuse 73
Sounds of the Universe, Depeche Mode

May
The Bends, Radiohead
A Cross The Universe, Justice
Filth, Venetian Snares
Bone Machine, Tom Waits
Do You Want More?!?!?!, The Roots
Evil Empire, Rage Against The Machine
It’s Blitz, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear

June
Entoducing…, DJ Shadow
Tigermilk, Belle and Sabastian
Yes, K-OS
Trash, Aspera

The Wire: Part Two Season One

•January 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

All in the game
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Note: Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the show

The first season of The Wire puts its focus on the streets of Baltimore. Following the investigation of drug kingpins Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale. Unlike other cop shows, The Wire shows us the points of view of the cops and the criminals in an unbiased fashion. From the Barksdale organization we see, Avon Barksdale(The King) Stringer Bell(The ‘get shit done piece’ or The Queen) Wee-Bay Brice(the muscle) D’Angelo Barksdale, Bodie, Poot, and Wallace(The Pawns). From the police department Jimmy McNulty(the antagonizing ‘me against the world cop, who got the case going) Cedric Daniels(the conflicted superior) Kima Greggs(hardworking and loyal friend to Daniels), Carver and Herc(the comic relief) Prez(the good-hearted fuck-up) The Bunk(Homicide detective, and longtime friend of McNulty) and Lester Freamon(natural po-lice). There is also Omar, known for ‘ripping and runing’ or robbing drug dealers, and Bubs the charming friend of Kima, and also key criminal informant. We see both redeeming and not so redeeming qualities in all these characters.

The main theme of the season is that, everything that happens in the drug trade, from the bodies, to the murderers and the police investigating them, is all in the game. It’s all tied together in the same institution. This can be best seen through Wallace. Wallace is trapped in the game, he makes lunches for his brothers and sisters in the morning before sending off to school, and himself going to sell drugs. He has to provide for these kids since it appears they have no parents, at least none who care. Wallace spots an enemy of the Barksdale crew, and reports to them his location. The next morning Wallace sees this man not only dead, but mutilated. The site horrifies him, and compels him to leave the drug trade. The police eventually convince him to snitch on his friends, but Wallace is apprehensive. He is sent off to his grandparents house, out of Baltimore until McNulty and company have enough evidence to arrest Barksdale people. Wallace returns to Baltimore on his own terms and has a conversation with D’Angelo. D’Angelo knows if Wallace does not leave Baltimore soon, Stringer and Avon will have him killed to save themselves. Wallace, though has nowhere else to go. He utters the line “this is me yo, right here” and D’Angelo understands there is nothing else he can do. Bodie is contacted by Stringer, and Stringer orders him to murder Wallace. Bodie, hardened by the game accepts. Him and Poot take Wallace into an empty house and shot their old friend, even after begging for his life.

Even without Wallace the police are able to make a few key arrests, including Avon Barksdale, but Stringer is left on the street. D’Angelo decides he wants nothing more to do with the game, after losing friends such as Wallace, and wishes to start over. He agrees to testify against his uncle and friends, if given a chance at a new life. However his mother(Brianna Barksdale) tells him he is nothing without them, and would be better off to take 20 years in jail. D’Angelo, like Wallace is trapped in the game.

On the police side, McNulty and Daniels have to backdoor their bosses in order to keep the case going. Breaking chain of command numerous times, but for the greater good. They get the case they wanted, but in return are demoted to posts that have no action or rewards. All in the game.

The first season of The Wire is not as stellar as some of the other season, but it’s still better than just about anything on television.
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