Saturday, February 9, 2008

Reviews, Absolutlely

Not only are reviews fun, but I'm so crazy about these two reviews I get to speak in absolutes, and that is always the most fun thing ever. In the whole world.

First, let's ring in Black History month with a standing ovation for Kadir Nelson's We are the Ship. Now, don't get all dismissive once you find out this is a children's book... it really is well worth the scribbled note put in your pocket, so that next time you visit the bookstore (or library... wink!) you track this gem down.

I noticed this book in it's arrival on the bookshelf and was drawn to it by the stunning blues Nelson uses for his skies. Upon opening the book, there was no denying how Nelson's illustrations immerse you in this Vermeer-lit world of powerful and iconic paintings. We are the Ship tells the story of Negro League Baseball pioneers with immaculate writing and Nelson's best illustrations (from the expressions on these faces to the vantage points he takes) yet. We are the Ship is the most moving non-fiction children's book I have seen in ages, you taste the dust, feel the strong bright sunlight, hear the crowd around you. Though I am obviously head-over-heels for Kadir Nelson's incredible illustrations, his first venture into authorship is
straightforward and compelling.

The book has had great reviews, Kadir Nelson himself was interviewed (here) on NPR. Looking through these online shots of the book is really pale in comparison to the moving experience of holding this book in your hands. I absolutely recommend it, this is a book that stays with you.

They've started talking about Black History Month on Etsy today, too, and for those interested there was a post about a blog (here) started by Etsy artists of color. Stay tuned to the Storque (Etsy's online magazine) for more news and articles about Black History Month and community news!

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On a totally different note, if you like disturbing character driven movies as I do you need to drop everything and run to the hills to go see There Will be Blood... right now!

I don't want to give away anything so I'll settle for lauding the profound directing prowess of Paul Thomas Anderson, and the astounding performances of Daniel Day-Lewis, Dillon Freasier, and Paul Dano. Right from the beginning and the acoustic whine that permeates the set-up (reminiscent of the same tone that brings us into the isolation and surrealism of The Shining) we are brought into this seamless cinematic epic.

The movie is long, be prepared, but if you are watching for the beauty of a scene as much as the depth of character, you'll be very much on the edge of your seat the whole time. From those claustrophobic close-ups to the menacing over-the-shoulder shots, the omnipresent Devil flavor of evil to the tender and human moments between father and son, There Will be Blood leaves no emotion unturned, thrills without a second of cheep Hollywood "thriller".

I'm happy to absolutely say this is (absolutely in my opinion) one of the top 5 movies that has come out in my lifetime. It's wonderful that we just happen to be watching Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth , a little more flavor to the archetypal/ mythological story.

1 comment:

Dhadhoo said...

I am impressed by the depth of character,
and the strength you line! You've moved way out since you began. I hope to see much more! Thanks
love the Splash, and hugs