Monday, January 01, 2007

All Is Quiet on New Year's Day

All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day.
--U2, "New Year's Day" (1983)

These are the reviews and other as-
signments I'm working on this month.

Amazon: Happily N'Ever After (Shrek wannabe), New Year's Day (David Duchovny's first film), Shottas (Scarface-inspired
"rastaploitation" flick), Seven Swords (Tsui Hark's over-long, if
stunning actioner), KT Tunstall - KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extra-
, The Animation Show - Vol. 1 & 2 (theatrical series
from Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt) [two-disc set], Two-a-Days - Hoover High: The Complete First Season (MTV documentary
series on high school football), [three-disc set], The Golden Girls - The Complete Seventh and Final Season [three-disc set], Border Radio - Criterion Collection (first film from Allison Anders!), and
The O.C. - The Complete Third Season [seven-disc set].

(I am the queen of the teen soap!
See also Beverly Hills 90210,
Grosse Pointe, One Tree Hill, etc.)

Resonance: Re-wrote my
profile of the Brothers Quay
and interviewed David Lynch.

Siffblog: The Treasures of Long Gone
, SherryBaby (Maggie Gyllenhaal's
first starring role since Secretary), 51
Birch Street
(best documentary of the new year), and Le
Petit Lieutenant
(ace policier with Nathalie Baye, above left).

Steadycam: I contributed my top 10 to their year-end poll.

Endnote: I realize it isn't cool to like U2. Well, it may not be
1983 anymore, but they meant a lot to me at the time. And Paul
Greengrass's decision to use a live version of "Sunday Bloody
Sunday" over the credits to Bloody Sunday, his docudrama about
the Derry massacre, was a masterstroke. Obvious perhaps, but
perfect, nonetheless. (According to Wikipedia, "New Year's Day"
concerns the 1981 suppression of Solidarity in Poland. Hey, who
knew?) I like few of the "anthemic" bands U2 has influenced--or to
which they've been compared--the Alarm, Big Country, Coldplay,
etc., but War will always hold a special place in my heart.


Paul Martin said...

Hi Kathy, I found your blog through your post at Last Night With Riviera. I am also fascinated by the convergence of music and film, though I'm not comparing myself to you without knowing more.

I'm not particularly analytical about music during a film but am very conscious of whether music works or not, whether it is contrived or not, and whether it is purely a cynical cross-marketing exercise to put together a saleable soundtrack.

Some films where I think music has worked exceptionally well in an over-the-top fashion are: Pulp Fiction, Lost Highway (my all-time favourite film), Romeo and Juliet and Run Lola Run. Other times subtle music works really well. My favourite film of 2006 was Em 4 Jay where the music of The Black Keys was used in a restrained way but to tremendous effect.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of U2, but I consider them one of the best rock bands of all time. My favourite album was perhaps their poorest selling one - Achtung Baby. I think this was their creative zenith. So many bands lose sales when they try for a new and innovative sound; people were expecting more of the same.

kathy fennessy said...

Hi Paul. Thanks for writing.

I discovered Matt's blog through GreenCine. He seems to like a lot of the same stuff I do, so I was happy to find his site. I also like what he has to say about film (and music).

I love "Lost Highway," too. The music works well in context, but it's not the kind of thing I'd want to listen to sans visuals, except for the Bowie track--best thing he's done in years.

I dig the Black Keys (especially "Rubber Factory"), so I'll definitely keep an eye out for "Em 4 Jay." Ever seen the duo live? Wow.

I was a U2 fan for two years in college--the last album I bought was in 1984. I'm not a fan anymore, but still take an interest, and I don't ever want to be one of those people who edits their musical history to make it look cooler or who writes off their pleasures as "guilty."

Once U2 released "The Unforgettable Fire," I realized it was time to move on. They'd changed, I'd changed, but boy did we have a good time for a while there!