Triple whammy

An exchange between Molly Mahoney and Mr Edward Magorium from Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium:

Now we wait.

No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. Thirty-seven seconds, well used, is a lifetime.

Once again, after the marvel that was Stranger than Fiction, Zach Helm has got my heart and mind soaring with his words. Though I couldn’t quite grasp the intended magic of Magorium, it is what it is, I think. Something for kiddies to grow up with.

Best thing about the movie was another Zach — Zach Mills. Eric Applebaum, sculptor extraordinaire and hat aficionado, has got to be one of the most well-written parts for a child actor in cinematic history, but Mills is the one who makes Applebaum magical.

Ever since I read of Natalie Portman looking to the day her industry will tire of the way she looks (i.e. when she gets wrinkly), I’ve been looking out for signs of decay in her. Can’t help it, and haven’t spotted major cracks so far — though she’s not very lovable in this movie, is she? I’m sick of Generation Angst. Unless it’s in the form of a Wes Anderson film.

And Portman happens to pop up in the one I just watched, The Darjeeling Limited (and in which she is in her element). To me, a greatly appealing film, namely because it reminded me of India and was just aesthetically faultless. Plotwise, it tries a wee bit too hard to be rounded. I think it’s the actors (including the local extras and the landscape itself) and their squabbling humanities that make it a worthy watch. Hmm, I feel like adorning the self with blue and yellow.

Didn’t realise this before, especially not while watching King Kong (almost forgot he was in it), but Adrien Brody is a Great Actor. [Addendum on 11 April 2008: Jason Schwartzman is Napoleon. Owen Wilson is A Haunted Man.]

And Ian Curtis was a Great Artiste. I’ve spent the past decade in a sort of protective wariness against Joy Division (which I now know was named in ironic reference to wretched ‘comfort women’ of the Nazis). But after reading this article in the London Review of Books, and watching 24 Hour Party People, I am now eager to dive into the mythos and the misery.

Already I had chills down the spine watching Sean Harris portay Curtis in 24 Hour Party People. Words to describe the film — entertaining, smart, witty, impressive, discursive, mesmeric and, you know what? Anti-drugs. Plus it features yet another Andy Serkis transformation (this time as a real-lifer odder than Gollum — allegedly the only true genius in the story, Martin Hannett).

I shall leave you with an explanatory paragraph from the aforementioned article:

The growing interest in the band possibly springs from a shift in the way music fans pursue their interest. The web makes it easier to track down obscure tracks and long-lost film footage, and the recent flurry of CD reissues and boxed sets also reflects a move towards exploring and curating. But there is also the allure of their bleak vision. Joy Division’s guitarist, Bernard Sumner, recalls teenage years blighted by the simpering commerciality of the pop charts: he told me recently, with a wince, that one of the reasons he’d wanted to form a band was hearing the song ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’. Not enough attention has been paid to how depressing light entertainment can be: it’s no surprise that young people should be seeking out the challenging music of the post-punk years now, at a time when the public face of the industry is Simon Cowell. Similarly, the teenagers who formed Joy Division found their role models in bands from a previous era that had ‘lifted the lid on things’, as Sumner puts it: the Doors, the Stooges, Can and The Velvet Underground. Like other post-punk bands, Joy Division believed that music could be a medium for unsettling ideas. They also believed in the DIY aesthetic (putting out records on their own label, or a small independent label), and rejected punk and all the sloganeering that had gone with it. Tony Wilson, a hugely influential figure who ran Joy Division’s record label, Factory, explained the shift: ‘Punk enabled you to say “F*ck you,” but somehow it couldn’t go any further. Sooner or later someone was going to want to say “I’m f*cked,” and that was Joy Division.’

From ’77 Barton Street’ by Dave Haslam, London Review of Books, 3 January 2008


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