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Last night we watched "The Boys are Back" with Clive Owen.  What I thought would be a emotionally-laden film filled with gut-wrenching moments turned out to be a carefree examination of the loss of a mother figure and the transformation of a father figure.  The melodramatics were spared by the events being viewed through the eyes of a six-year-old and the father's (Clive Owen) distaste for his new situation.

The film dealt with divorce, another sticky subject for movies to run across; however, the real enemy role of the divorce situation was very matter-of-factly placed on the father's shoulders.  There were brief mentions of fights, and some steely glances from the ex-wife of over six years, but mainly the real touchiness came from the older son's sadness that his dad had left him years earlier to be with his new wife and son.  Much like the death and the funeral scenes early in the movie, this situation was also approached in a straightforward manner that doesn't illicit tears on behalf of the viewer.  

The plot - though based off a true story - felt almost too formulaic and choppy for its own good.  The director spends so much time laying down the sequence of scenes that the viewer has a difficult time relating to the characters through their various grievances.

What it DOES do, however, is provide many moments of smiles and knowing warmth from being around children.  There's a scene in the movie (and the trailer as well) when the father hears a horrible noise coming from the hotel bathroom, and races in to find his young son with goggles on and tub overflowing asking, "Can I do it again, Daddy?  Can I?"  There's also a scene where the father is very busy getting ready to leave, and the son comes in to the room.  The father says despondently, "You've got those on the wrong feet!" to which the little boy replies, 'But these are the only feet I have?"

In addition to the heart-warming moments interacting with the children, what stands up with a head above the crowd for this film is the cinematography and music selection.  I squealed when I saw on the title screens that some of the music was by "Sigur Ros" - they are absolutely one of my favorites (embedding is disabled by request on YouTube, otherwise I would provide a link).  In addition, one of the first songs of the movie is "All the Wild Horses" by Ray Lamontange (see below), which only two weeks prior to my viewing I had found and been obsessed with, listening to it over and over.  The movie is based in Australia, and the sunlight pouring over the fields and the house, soaking up in the boys' hair, is almost too much to deal with - it is that beautiful.  My photography self only wishes that I could be transported instantly there to be bathed in the same sunlight.

Overall, the movie was a pleasurable experience despite having rough transitions and a more formulaic plot.  The rich coppery sunlight, the interesting camera shots, the music, and the affection with the boys more than made up for any production deficits.   
 
 
This is what I'm listening to right now as I construct a new class syllabus:
I stumbled across Jorane three years ago and wrote almost my entire Masters thesis listening to her.  Her voice is ethereal, but it blends well (especially in some of her other songs on her album) with her heavy cello sounds.  I love this album to pieces, mainly because this is what I expect from a cello in a performance art piece.  It's like she's hugging the cello truly and deeply, and the cello is kissing passionately right back. 
 
 
Hello
It's good to see you coming back again
It's been a long time
Since I sat with you, my friend

I'll lend an ear
It's not that so severe
Time has killed the pain
And dried up every tear

And now
I'm thinking bout what went, down
All the heartache
I laughed away
Just like a clown

And now
Sit around talking
Drink some wine
I'm really glad you stopped in
Spend some time
You sit around talking
Thinking bout the past
It's funny how it lingers
But nothings meant to last

And my Ma
She'd like to say hello
But shes a little scared
That I can't let it go

So let on, ease back, brother
And let it slip away
I'm tired of hanging onto
The pains of yesterday

Once again
The money is so thick
It makes your heart go numb
It makes your mind get sick

So come on by
Stay and talk about it
Drink some wine
I'm really glad you stopped in, brother of mine
We'll sit around talking
Drink some wine
And maybe by the morning everything is fine
Everything is fine
Ease back, brother
Let this clear your mind

Come on by
And drink yourself a good time
Have some wine
And think about each other
Sister and I are fine
Yes, I've been alright now
Take it lightly
Step on out the front door
I'll see you in some time
-Amos Lee, Ease Back
 
 

Starrfadu is a Springfield, MO band that Kleenex used in their advertisement, "Let It Out."

While I was in Springfield recently I meant to pick up their new album, but didn't get a chance.  I bought their first album when it first released (2005) "A Narrow Road to Silence" and it's nice.  I was able to see them live a few times.  It's always nice to see a hometown band "make it."  (Yes...I just called Springfield my home town!  I miss it!)

Anyway, glad they are getting some national recognition. 

Let It Out, Kleenex commercial