In 2009, XXL Magazine named San Pedro, CA rapper Johnson Barnes (a.k.a. Blu) in their Top 10 Freshmen of the Class of ’09. He was in good company — also featured in the dynamic decathlon were Kid Cudi, Wale, Asher Roth and B.o.B. Incidentally, the latter 4 are artists who can claim to have reached at least a basal level of superstardom, while Blu has remained relatively underground. Still, indieness aside, with <i>Below the Heavens</i>, Blu and Exile have managed to produce a debut album that has been lauded again and again by critics as a consummate underground classic.
From the very start of<i> Shutter Island</i>, even in the opening credits, director Martin Scorsese is out to mess with minds. The first frames of the movie show a vomiting Leonardo DiCaprio, hunched pitifully over the toilet of a rusty ferry, stricken by the ruthless waves and impossibly thick fog. “Get it together, Teddy,” he coughs. Scorsese has no time for pleasant introductions. The ominous music never ceases.
Hollywood has no modesty. Since Tinseltown’s earliest incarnations, the illustrious directors and actors that have graced the big screen have attacked their tasks with a ferocious desire for distinction. As such, our cinemas are saturated with brainchildren of Michael Bays and James Camerons, waving their hands feverishly about, spittle flying across the room, conjuring up massive explosions and lush CGI landscapes. And why not? We watch movies to escape our dreary realities, to fall into a more captivating world. But once in a while, Hollywood will surprise us with a film that is deceptively modest, and we marvel at its unique beauty.
It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not referring to orientation, or rush, or the inevitable moment when your precious orientation BFFs get booted down to “awkward nod in Infinite Corridor” status. Rather, I’m referring to the short week in Boston during which the weather actually supports human life. Let’s face it, the Boston Weather Machine is nothing short of diabolical, especially during the extreme seasons. One hot summer day, I went jogging across the bridge, and came back a different ethnicity. Last winter, I went McDonald’s to get an iced coffee; they gave me a regular coffee and told me to stand outside. So naturally, I particularly cherish this <i>temps éphémère</i>, if only as the one time during the year that nature isn’t actively plotting my death.