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Movie of the year! (Still just March, though.) Eastwood at his best. Sarcastic and bitter. Funny and human.

Deutscher Trailer.

Gran Torino song.

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Kinostart Deutschland: 26.02.2009!

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…not only a good soundtrack. Can’t wait to see it!

I’m trying to use a WordPress blog as content management system. So, I created pages that are no blog entries, finally customized the urls via permalinks, and also found a nice breadcrumb plugin.

Best test bed for this seemed to be all time favorite list

“I’m reorganizing my records tonight. It’s something I do in times of emotional distress. When Laura was here I had them in alphabetical order, before that, chronologically. Tonight, though, I’m trying to put them in the order in which I bought them. That way I can write my own autobiography without picking up a pen. […] What I really like about my new system is that it makes me more complicated than I am. To find anything you have to be me, or at the very least a doctor in Rob-ology. If you wanna find Landslide by Fleetwood Mac you have to know that I bought it for someone in the fall of 1983 and then didn’t give it to them for personal reasons. But you don’t know any of that, do you? You would have to ask me to…” * (Nick Hornby, High Fidelity)

PosterFatih Akin’s second ‘big’ movie after “Head-On” (Gegen die Wand) is definitely one of the best this year. Not as outstanding as the first (of a supposed trilogy), but more subtle, pensive. And once again, Akin proves his talent for casting fresh, but great actors!

At first view, he’s using known elements: Altman’s short-cut episode style, the German-Turkish theme, a love story… But then, one realizes it’s not really about Turkish immigrants, not really about Turkish politics (though it still is also about these things) — in the end there’s just a great movie about a universal generation conflict, love and forgiveness between kids and their parents. It’s the same story, from ancient times (Ibrahim/Abraham and Ishmael/Isaac to the 21st century, in Turkey and Germany — the same inner conflict, regardless of age or gender.

Dixie ChicksRecommended for everyone interested in American music, its business, and politics. This documentary is awesome!

The cameras captured the infamous Dixie Chicks event (“We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”) and its aftermath. The band suffered from radio boycott, personal insults and threats to their lives. Blind U.S. patriotism on the verge of the Iraq war in 2003 revealed how frail the right to freedom of speech is in America.

Besides, we get as close as one can get to the band on tour, in the studio, at home, and even in the labor room… Fascinating, funny, infuriating and emotional!

P.S. The Dixie Chicks defintely ARE the worst dressed girl group in the world! Whatever…

Saw this very interesting PBS documentary on TV. You can watch this online and read interviews with some top rank politicians involved in the Iraq disaster.

In the first weeks after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, a group of young American bureaucrats led by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III set off to establish democracy in Iraq. “We had an ambitious goal,” Bremer tells FRONTLINE, “to try to bring better government to Iraq and help them rebuild their economy [and] their country.” One year later, as Bremer made a secret exit to evade insurgent attacks, the group left behind a thriving insurgency, economic collapse and much of its idealism. “Our grand initiative there [was] to bring democracy to Iraq,” says Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post. Instead, says Chandrasekaran, “we were leaving with our tail between our legs.”

“The Iraqi people were, if not the enthusiastic, liberated populace that some of us had anticipated, were at least open-minded, and, on balance, prepared to work with the United States,” says James Dobbins, the administration’s former special envoy to Afghanistan and adviser to the Defense Department. “And that has largely been lost, and was largely lost over that first year.”

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say
But won’t you just say goodbye it’s Independence Day
I swear I never meant to take those things away

Bruce Springsteen


Garden StateLast weekend, I’ve watched one of my favorite movies again: Garden State by Zach Braff. Hadn’t seen it in a year, and now for the first time in English (way better than the German dubbed version). An amazing movie, even more if you know it’s Braff’s debut as writer and director! Besides, it has a great Grammy awarded soundtrack (New Jersey and no Bruce on it!).

Garden State is a coming-of-age story: Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff — yeah, actor as well) is returning from LA to New Jersey fro the funeral of his mother. As the plot unfolds, we learn that he hadn’t been home for nine years and was on anti-depressive medication almost all of his life. But I don’t want to tell the story here… In short: ‘Large’ is getting off the drugs and comes to life and falls in love. How could he not: back home he meets the sweetest girl in the world — Sam (Natalie Portman is just great here — she really follows Braff’s stage direction: “She’s so cute!”). She really helps him as he is thinking about his life and what he expects from it, as he trys to figure out who he is and who he wants to be.

The biggest problem of Large is his broken family, and ‘family’ really is the main topic of this movie (at least for me). I think an essential part of growing up is dealing with your former life in your family, and finding a way to exist as an independent person, live your own life. This can be really difficult for everone involved. Zach Braff put that beautifully in Large’s realization:

“You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in… isn’t really your home anymore. All of a sudden, even though you have some place where you put your shit… that idea of home is gone. Just sorta happens one day, and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know? You won’t ever have that feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself. You know, for… For your kids. For the family you start. It’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know. But I miss the idea of it, you know? Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.” *

Johnny CashYeah! “Walk the Line” finally made it to Germany… Can’t wait to see it, though I’m a bit skeptic that Hollywood might have ruined the movie…

X-mas time is movie time, right? I’ve watched a big one, “Out of Africa” by Sydney Pollack. Used to bore me, these kind of movies, but everything has its time…

Out of AfricaSo, the whole drama is about love and freedom, if and how they fit together in a relationship. Redford’s character stands for freedom above all things, and that’s why Meryl Streep loves him. He says, “I’m with you because I choose to be with you. I don’t want to live someone else’s idea of how to live.” But that’s not enough for two people to stay together, she feels lonely and neglected at times: “Why is your freedom more important than mine?” she asks. “It isn’t. And I’ve never interfered with your freedom.” “No. I’m not allowed to need you. Or rely on you, or expect anything from you. I’m free to leave.”

While they are trying to keep the real world outside, apart from their love, the magic gets lost along the way. Redford’s idea of freedom and “the best kind” of love, “the kind we wouldn’t have to prove,” is not working for her and them on a long term. And he? Must admit that she’s right in the end; with his ‘unique’ declaration of love: “You’ve ruined it for me, you know.” “Ruined what?” “Being alone.”

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