Then & Now
● By Style
Arcade Fire – Funeral
Maybe you said, “Who?” when Arcade Fire won the 2011 “Album of the Year” Grammy for Suburbs (like Roseanne Barr on Twitter). It might surprise you (and Roseanne) to know they’ve been around for six years. The 2004 debut of Funeral is a great starting point to get to know the band. By now you’ll recognize the single that was everywhere, “Wake Up,” but overall this seven-member, multi-instrumental “chamber pop” group plays cinematic, romantic music that clears away the cobwebs.
DeVotchka – 100 Lovers
Even if you’ve never heard of the band, chances are you’ve heard Devotchka’s music, used extensively in commercials, TV shows (recently an episode of Weeds) and more notably, the score for Oscar-nominated 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine. Their fifth studio album, 100 Lovers, yet again blends Eastern European, mariachi, folk and punk influences into seamless, romantic tapestries of cinema-esque soundscapes. Haunting, beautiful and evocative.
What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg
A biting fictional account of Hollywood, the 1941 novel What Makes Sammy Run is a rags-to-riches portrayal of a young screenwriter who will literally stop at nothing to achieve success. The most telling effect of its starkness might be that it has not yet been filmed. Before his death in 2009, Schulberg noted that 60-plus years after its publication, What Makes Sammy Run is still perceived as “too anti-industry.” High praise indeed.
What You See in the Dark by Manuel Muñoz
Award-winning short story writer Manuel Muñoz debuts his first novel What You See in the Dark. The intriguing second person narrative centers on the 1959 filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s Pscyho in Bakersfield, where the buzz and excitement of Hollywood overshadows a love affair between two locals. But the love affair quickly spirals into something more tragic and sensational than Hitchcock himself could have ever imagined.
Jon Voight won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his role as an escaped convict who climbs aboard a train destined for disaster in this 1985 film based on an Akira Kurosawa screenplay. Co-starring Eric Roberts as a young prison escapee, this adventure film goes beyond the conventions of the genre and combines thrilling action scenes with characters who seem to jump off the screen. What sets Runaway Train apart from most action movies is its existential quality – questioning what it truly means for prisoners to be free.
When a train carrying toxic waste gets loose and threatens thousands of lives, a veteran engineer and a young conductor are the only people able to prevent a deadly crash. Starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, this film is an exhilarating race against time that will have you holding your breath. Like their onscreen counterparts, Washington is a master of his craft and Pine delivers despite his newcomer status. Unstoppable takes off in the first five minutes and the suspense and excitement go without impediment.