Tag Archives: the artist

So Long Winter Blues, Hello Blue Man

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It’s no secret that life in Chicago during the winter months is well, bleak. And even though this winter hasn’t been all that terrible, the fact that it’s winter and dark when you walk out of the office is depressing as hell. And that Lake Effect wind I just love in the spring, summer and fall is just brutal during this time of year. It’s why I always escape with a trip for a while. And why I’m ever so thankful Mom makes the voyage up here for a little trip. It feels like I’m getting away, without really going anywhere.

This time, Grandpa Norm made the trip up with Mom. We had ourselves a fantastic time and shared many laughs during their 3-day visit. Grandpa got to see where I work (Mom: “It’s like the kids are running the zoo”), see where I live, hang out with Maggie (Maggie: “I asked if I could hug him”) and enjoy all this city has to offer under bleak skies. We celebrated the city’s 175th birthday, caught a Blue Man Group show and saw¬†The Artist in the only way you should, in a theatre.

At the end of the trip, Grandpa Norm turns to me and says, “I can see why you love it so much here.” Seal of approval that I’m doing a-okay in life.

Hanging with a Blue Man

Silent, But Deadly

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During the years of my film obsession, I’ve developed deeper and more appreciation for things besides the actors’ performances. I’ll admit, I used acting performances to determine if I liked a film. That isn’t the case these days anymore. I find I’m more drawn to cinematography shots, a script with underlying humor and a musical score.

Today, I feel most everyone is plugged into some type of music. These notes and tunes and melodies serve as a way to soundtrack our workouts, ride to work, road trip with friends and sing us to sleep on the airplane. And our musical scores change with every season, every mood and every album release. It’s why so many of us just lost it during the musical score of UP. Music is more than just sound.

But this obsession and need for music is the sole reason everyone should rush out to see The Artist. This film, a silent film, shows how music moves us and carries us through emotions and storylines. The story follows a successful silent film actor, George Valentin and his struggle with conforming to the new demand of studios moving to “The Talkies.”

I’ll admit, I’ve never seen a silent film in its entirety; so I was anticipating art cards flashing up on the screen every 4 seconds to tell me what was going on. Not the case. It’s amazing what we can still pick up on through facial expressions as we use music for context clues.

The acting performances of this film are nothing but outstanding. They would have to be, seeing as the actors’ faces and body language are what carries viewers from scene to scene. And another perk of the film I wasn’t anticipating: hearing the audience’s reactions. Sitting in a room with strangers whom you could hear laughing, gasping and hoping aloud is something few films give us the chance to experience.