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Taylor Swift review

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Nov. 26 - Dec. 3, 2008

All hokey, no pokey in Twilight
Rating:
Twilight is a book by Stephenie Meyer about a normal high school girl who falls in love with an abnormal high school vampire. I bet you knew that. By the time you are reading this review, you have probably already seen the flick, and the ineffectual musings of neither me nor anybody else are going to stop you if you intend to and haven’t. But I still think it’s a bad decision, because director Catherine Hardwicke’s adaptation of Twilight isn’t very good. The movie opens with Bella (Kristen Stewart) moving from Arizona to Washington to live with her police chief dad (Billy Burke), while mom and stepfather go and travel around the country or something. But, hooray, the local kids are more than welcoming and Bella ends up fitting right in. Bella soon develops a crush on the weird local boy with odd eyebrows and a knack for talking kind of silly. His name is Edward (Robert Pattinson). She looks over at him. He penetrates her with his eyes. If you want any more than that, you should probably watch a different vampire movie. So, Ed acts weird, and Bella is interested. Then the boy shows off his super strength and speed while saving Bella from a certain car-inflicted death. Now Bella is way inter-

SOUND CHECK
Artist: Taylor Swift Album: Fearless Rating:
Taylor Swift released her sophomore album “Fearless” on Nov. 11, inspiring every peppy college girl to update her iPod library. This pop country album epitomizes the stereotypical storytelling country song, with predictable lyrics, good melodies and catchy choruses. Which is understandable; Swift became a big country music hit after her freshman album attracted a younger female audience. Let’s start out by saying you can expect nearly every song to either be the typical fairy tale, or the complete antithesis of one. In particular, “Love Story,” the new single by Swift, is the ever-so-cliché Romeo and Juliet, without the dying and all that. “You Be-

A Summit Entertainment Release. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Written by Melissa Rosenburg. Based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer. Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Billy Burke. Rated PG-13.
ested. Then she figures out he’s a vampire. Edward says they should be very far away from one another. Bella says f- that. So now they are in love, and Bella is going to be in constant peril from here on out. Sweet. Let’s focus on the couple’s lack of sex in this movie. Most teenagers want to get laid, and if they don’t, they definitely want to make out. But Edward and Bella can’t do anything because Eddy might lose control and eat her. Not sweet. I smell an abstinence parable, but Twilight doesn’t handle it in any believable way. The couple’s sheer lack of physical chemistry brings into question the very mechanics their relationship is based on. It’s pretty much awkward conversation and equally awkward glances. The camera does a bizarre thing of tilting up into the sky when Bella and Edward are about to kiss and don’t. It does this because there is nothing else for it to do. It can’t very well stay on these two kids while they don’t indulge their hormones, because what follows is not the love story that Twilight strives to be. Realistically, there would be an awkward pause, followed by something like, “So you want to go play racquetball or something?” But perhaps it’s simply that Bella is in love with the bad boy. And maybe Edward’s awkwardness is endearing to her. And maybe living forever and drinking blood sounds awesome to Bella. This would make her attraction to Ed and want for immortality have some validity. But you know how they say you shouldn’t get a tattoo with your high school sweetheart’s name on it? The same should be said for getting all eternal with them. The trouble here might be the source material was meant for 12-year-old girls and just doesn’t really hack it as a movie. Perhaps screenwriter Melissa Rosenburg did the best she could with what she had. But in the words of screenwriter Richard Price: “A movie is not a book. If the source material is a book, you cannot be too respectful of the book. All you owe to the book is the spirit. Everything else -- just tear that motherf-er apart.” Unfortunately, Twilight is as Meyer’s source material dictates. What doesn’t help is Hardwicke’s decision to handle the film with a side of cheese, causing everything to ring ridiculous, from the visual effects to the story itself. If I were flipping through channels and Twilight was on Sci-Fi, the only thing I would have noticed was, “Isn’t that the chick from Into the Wild and that dude from Harry Potter?”

long With Me” is the story of the high school nobody who wishes the football star would notice her instead of the girl in the mini-skirt. “But she wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts/ She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers” says it all about the predictable story lines. Been there, done that. There are a few songs that break this trend. “White Horse” contradicts her fairytale theme with lyrics such as “I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale,” reiterating the fact that Swift will never be the girl desired by the boy she likes. “Tell

Me Why” is Swift‘s attempt at edgy and angry over her breakup with Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. The songs do have enticingly catchy melodies, but the lyrics remain right on target with a 19-year-old pop country music writer. Hopefully, as Swift’s experience grows, so will her cache of lyrical creativity. Despite the predictability of this album, the music is cute and bubbly enough to be something I would listen to. Peppy female college students, rejoice.

Photo courtesy of blogs.pioneerlocal.com

It was upon listening to Jon Brion’s haunting score to Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York that I, the film critic, decided to jump over and play music critic. The album, which is entirely instrumental except the final three tracks, begins with a truly bizarre -- if not remarkably jaunty -- tune, appropriately titled “Tacky Entrance Music.” The song’s cheerful piano and resounding trumpet act as misdirection, as the soundtrack to Synecdoche, New York is a melancholy composition made up of mostly somber piano and low draws on the violin. Brion’s music seems to reflect that life can be depressing, even in its victories. The following tracks seem to consider a more driv-

Artist: Jon Brion Album: Synecdoche, New York (Soundtrack) Rating:

ing and obsessive force; in particular, “Forward Motion” uses an insistent low violin against a curious high violin to indicate a search, seemingly without end. The song, like many on the Synecdoche, New York soundtrack, ends with a dropping off of the music, as if something was given up in someone’s life. The word “synecdoche” refers to a part as it relates to the whole, or the whole as it relates to the part. Kaufman’s film is one about the world’s impact on a man, and the man’s impact on the world. And so it is appropriate that every song on the film’s soundtrack fits into the grand scheme of the al-

bum, each offering its own individual impact into the overall work. Listening to the CD can be compared to realizing the grand spectrum of human emotion (if all those emotions are all, in some way, downtrodden). I originally downloaded the soundtrack to Synecdoche, New York for two of the vocal tracks, “Little People” and “Song for Caden,” which were performed by jazz vocalist Deanne Storey. However, upon listening to the entire work, I can’t help but feel all the tracks on this album are remarkable, whether or not you have seen the film.


				
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