Saturday, January 29, 2011

5 Reasons Why "The Green Hornet" Is Worth Watching

Movie Review: The Green Hornet
rated PG:13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality, and drug content
Movie Making: 4 out of 5 stars
Morality Rating: Better than Average

Instead of a traditional review in where I walk you through in essay format the reasons for rating a certain film as I do, I have decided that a unique film like "The Green Hornet" deserved an equally unique movie review! Sure, it's been in theaters a few weeks, but I decided to see it just recently. And really really freaking loved it!
SO, here are my 5 reasons why "The Green Hornet" is worth watching.

1. The Wit/Humor
The dialogue in "The Green Hornet" was seriously a surprise to me. Usually I go see comic book movies and am bored with pretentious subplots and past histories of the characters that are long and boring. Usually, the main character has some sort of internal struggle with his identity (Spider-man) or is just trying to figure out his relationships (Iron-man) but in the case of The Green Hornet, what you see is what you get.
Seth Rogen was not only enlisted as the title character, but he gets credit for helping write the screenplay to this movie! This movie never takes itself seriously, as one could expect from a movie starring American's favorite raunchy-comedic actor, yet that is one of "The Green Hornet"s strong points.
How could you NOT like this guy?
Britt Reid is a playboy son  of a newspaper editor who can't seem to get a grasp on life. Rogen's script is chock full of lines like "You know what you are? You're a human Swiss army knife." (To Kato) and "You know what I like my women to have? Balls." (To Lenore Case in regards to her gutsy interview). Instead of his character developing and growing out of his child-like behavior, "The Green Hornet" has us laugh with Seth Rogen's Britt Reid as he bumbles along. I would say that the only major character development occurs when Britt discovers that being a crime-fighter is NOT a piece of cake!
Here is one more example of the kind of banter you can expect in this movie.

Kato: We'll need a car.
Britt Reid: Hells yes, we'll need a car.
Kato: Some weapons and armor.
Britt Reid: Cool rims. Spinning rims. 
Kato: I can do that.
Britt Reid: Kato, I want you to take my hand. I want you to come with me on this adventure.
Kato: I go with you, but I don't want to touch you.
Britt Reid: Ok, you don't have to take my hand but will you come with me on this adventure?
Kato: Ok.
Britt Reid: Yes.

2. The Cast
"The Green Hornet" contains one of the single most eclectic sets of cast members I have ever seen in a movie. Blame that on director Michel Gondry's quirkiness, or blame it on the studio. Either way, somehow, it works.
Seth Rogen has long been known as a comedic actor, appearing in such movies as "Knocked Up" and "The 40 Year Old Virgin". Needless to say, casting him was a MAJOR stretch that caused many fans to wince, yet it is a decision that pays off. Rogen defines the character of Britt Reid for a new generation, creating a character that feels somewhat relatable, yet believably awesome.
Jay Chou takes the role left by Bruce Lee in the original Green Hornet tv series and plays The Green Hornet's sidekick Kato with a cool, calm, Charisma. (wink) Everything seems like a breeze to this character, who not only creates all the gear used by TGH and team but also has created a machine that makes the perfect cup of coffee! In one of the movies' memorable scenes, Britt Reid storms around his father's estate yelling, trying to find the maker of such an incredible cappuccino. An added plus is that Jay Chou is the spitting image of John Cho, who co-starred in 2009's Star Trek movie.
Jay Chou or John Cho?
Cameron Diaz plays the lovely Lenore Case. Come on guys! It's Cameron Diaz!!!
Christoph Walz is the villainous "Chudnofsky" (Okay, yeah, that's one of the worst villain names ever conceived) BUT after proving his chilling acting chops in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds", Walz is hands down one of the best choices for ANY villain EVER.
He can deliver the right amount of cheese while still being believably evil.
And finally, James Franco (that's right ladies!) makes a surprise cameo at the beginning as a drug underlord in the city. Any movie with Franco in it is better in my books!

3. The Director - Michel Gondry
For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Michel Gondry (proncouned Mee-shell, NOT Michael) is the writer and director of 3 amazing movies in my books as well as countless music videos. 
He directed the critically acclaimed "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "The Science of Sleep" and "Be Kind Rewind". Among his many music video credits are The White Stripes, Radiohead and Bjork. This video gives you just a small glimpse inside this creative genius' mind.

Gondry is known for his very indie, visually trippy video work. His unique usage of lighting, handheld camera work and time manipulation has solidified Gondry as one of the most striking directors out there. It was Gondry who first invented the camera techniques used by the Wachowski's in The Matrix. 

Gondry has also guest directed episodes of "Flight of the Conchords" and "The Office". If you have time, check them out. ANYWAY, Gondry's ridiculously cool style leads us to point 4 of my 5 reasons why......

4. This Shot.....
As far as I'm concerned, this fight sequence is cinema GOLD. I was literally FLOORED when I saw this in the theater. Of course, the 3D only added to the depth of the scene.
And that is my final point....

5. The 3D conversion rocked
Following in the footsteps of Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" and "Tron: Legacy", "The Green Hornet" showcased some of the very finest 3D technology in Hollywood. While it was not shot in 3D like "Avatar" or the upcoming Pirates, Transformers and Hobbit movies, the 3D was used to enhance the experience. It was never a gimmick (as in "The Last Airbender") and only helped draw the audience further into the story! And yeah, it made That Shot look pretty darn cool. :-)

MY CONCLUSION: Is this. Go See The Green Hornet.
You won't regret it. 

The REAL Bowman

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coffee Talk: Community VS. Isolation

As I write this week's coffee talk, I am literally floating in a bathtub full of ice cold coffee.
Awkward pause.
No I'm not. I am in a Starbucks by the mall, watching it slowly wintry mix outside as I wait until it is time to go teach violin lessons for 5 straight hours without stopping. (sobs)

This week I have been thinking a lot about what it means to have community in Christ and how we are truly missing out if we find ourselves alone. You have heard it said that no man is an island, and this is especially true if we are believers in Christ. There are many metaphors used in the Bible, but one of the most prominent in regards to the church is the Body.

"Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." -Ephesians 4:15-16

And then of course the classic: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

This idea of being joined together in everything we do with Christ as the head is not only practical and encouraging, it is Biblical. It pains me to see relationships weaken more and more with the rise of social networking. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong in themselves with Facebook and Twitter. We just need to be careful as a church to not forget about the people behind those pages.

A personal struggle I have had for the last 5 years (college and post college) has been loneliness. It is so easy to become separated from the body when we get busy, and in that we suffer. With Christ as our head we grow TOGETHER, building each other up in love as we each do our part. Read the Ephesians passage again.
What does it mean to grow together, building each other up in love? Let us define scripture with scripture.

"There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." - 1 Corinthians 12:25-27

I'd like to focus in on the phrase where it says "each part should have equal concern for each other." And this doesn't work if only one person does it. No matter what kind of person you are- what kind of mannerisms, personality, love language- that you have, we ALL need to be encouraged in the LORD. If someone is having a bad day, go out of your way to show them some love! It doesn't have to be much, just reaffirm that you see them as a fellow member of the Body of Christ and that you love them. If someone is having a good day, go out of your way to rejoice and praise God with them! Show them that you see them as a fellow member of the Body of Christ and that you love them!

I Corinthians 12:27 says "You are the body of Christ, and EACH ONE OF YOU is a part of it." If we are a part of Christ and He resides within us, then if we are isolated from the body, then we are isolated in a sense from Jesus himself. Jesus says that whatever we have done to the least of these, we have done to him. We often forget that He is with us, and we forget (or ignore) that the church is His body! People of God, we need to wake up and start loving one another the way He loved us! If we continue to neglect each other, then we are going to wither and fall! It is through this accountability and family relationship with Christ as the head that the church thrives. 

This relationship is also the way that non-believers in Jesus will see Him. I John 4:7-12 (and the rest of this awesome book!) says this- 

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

The last verse says it all my brothers and sisters. Our love should simply be an overflow of God's love. We don't love the crummy sinner, we love the Christ within. No one has ever seen God, but if the Christ in me loves the Christ in you regardless of what I've done or what you have done, then perhaps the world will see that Crazy Love that Jesus has shown us. "God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." Wow.

I hope this post has encouraged you. I love all of you and hope that our relationship in the Body of Christ is strengthened. I hope to be able to serve you more and unconditionally love you with the love of Jesus and I hope you do the same to all those around you.

In Christ,
The REAL Bowman

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What it takes to be an A list actor

So. (I start a WHOLE lot of things with that word) This is a fairly simple post. I am going to tell you the 5
simple things that I believe it takes to be an A list actor. You know the type I'm talking about, right? That man that makes you swoon, regardless of YOUR gender because of his suave personality, debonair hair, chic wardrobe and charisma practically dripping off the end of his cigar.
YES, THAT is the A list actor. The man that can play anything, manage critical acclaim AND endear the audiences to himself. That elusive actor that not only can play a drug addicted drug addict that is addicted to drugs, but can also walk proudly on the red carpet in his Armani suit saying "I am the man." And you don't question him or call him arrogant. Because he is the man.
George Clooney. Brad Pitt. Leo DiCaprio. Hugh Jackman. Matt Damon. Christian Bale. Edward Norton. The men that- had they lived in the Rat Pack era- would been close friends of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.

So without further ado, here are the 5 things that make up an A-list actor (according to me).

1. Fashion Sensibility
Let's face it men! Men in the olden times dressed a heck of a lot better that we do now! It used to be customary to wear a suit when someone came over, or when you went out to eat, or when you read the paper. Ties weren't for dressy clothes NOR were they optional. They just were..... HECK, if your wife would vacuum the carpets wearing a dress and pearls?... yeah, I think the man of the house could be a bit snazzy too. It was just one of those things. SO, the A-list actor knows how to dress well in ANY circumstance. He doesn't pull an Ashton Kutcher and wear a trucker hat on the red carpet. NO. He wears a suit calmly and assertively as if he has spent 6 months in Tibet hunting down the suit and taming it.

I want you to stop what you are doing and sit down and just browse pictures of some of the above listed actors. In fact, here a couple examples of actors with Fashion Sensibility.

Our "Terrific Trio" of Metrosexual awesomeness

As you can see Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt (pictured in the Oceans movies) are calmly lounging in an airport, sporting casual suits with a nice set of shades on each face. NOTICE: They are not wearing ties. It is because the tie has a slightly different role in current fashion culture. The TIE is now hated widely and only worn for truly "dress up" events.

2. Cool, Calm, Collected Charisma
Yes. I put this on the list.
THINK ABOUT IT. Will we ever see Shia Labeauf or Zac Efron graduate to the role of A lister? Possibly. But first they need to understand the art of having a cool, calm and collected charisma. Example? Edward Norton.
A possible library ad?

As you can see, Ed Norton has this FIRE that burns within his eyes, yet he contains the beast. His very spirit conveys confidence and poise, yet the beast is caged. A lion rages within. The eagle beats. The eel squirms forth. Ed Norton makes men squirm like the eel in low self-esteem. Why? Because he knows how to carry himself. This quality is present in ALL the above listed actors. Brad Pitt is another great example. 

Who says this man has no charisma?

Look at how he leans forward! As if saying "I could totally fall forward if I wanted to. But I am charismatically collected, and so I won't". This man makes other men pee their pants. Many men have man crushes on Brad Pitt and it is because of this factor. Out of all actors, Brad Pitt carries himself with the most Charisma, and just plain COOL-ness of all the actors in Hollywood. And yet, he can still get away with a movie like "Burn After Reading" just because of his essence in "Se7en", "Meet Joe Black", "Legends of the Fall" and "A River Runs Through It"; and his just bad-a-ness in "Fight Club".

3. A 'Plethora' of roles (aka. Variety)
Let's face it. The reason that Zac Efron, Justin Bieber, Channing Tatum, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, Ed Helms etc etc etc will never be A list actors is that they have no freaking variety in their roles! Seriously.
Has Zac Efron EVER played anything other than a spaced out teen that is trying to find himself somehow in the midst of falling in love with a girl that finds his true beauty within? (cough hack)

Zac tries to use his eyes as his biggest selling point rather than his acting so he gets the same role every time. There are two problems with this. FIRST of all, if you rely on your eyes you will never be able to wear A-lister sunglasses. SECONDLY you will only be cast as reincarnations of your only character and honestly that just gets old! Perhaps stop making High School Musical style movies? JUST MAYBE we will start taking you seriously. He also needs to change his appearance every once in a while. Maybe shave his head and try a gritty crime drama. Or perhaps try out for an elf in "The Hobbit". Right now I'm pretty sure he takes a Nike swoosh or two, tapes them to his mirror, then tries to comb his hair behind them as he gazes into his steely blue eyes.

The award for PLAYING THE SAME CHARACTER IN ALL MY MOVIES goes to (cue that trumpet solo!) none other than Nicolas Cage!!!!! This man always has the exact same voice, no matter what. Even if his partner is about to be nuked in the head he is still cool and collected and all like "I believe that I can save you, so I am going to try." If he drops the sliced zucchini on the floor he says the same thing. If he tries to find a map in the Q'uran he says the same thing....
Need I say more?
4. Association with some sort of charity work
By now you all know that Brad Pitt adopts the world's extra children, and that is HIS contribution to the world. He hands them to Angelina Jolie who then stores them away behind her luscious lips.
IT IS CRUCIAL for an A-List actor to pick some sort of SOMETHING to be an activist for.
Matt Damon for instance is president of the "Do Not Freaking Elect Sarah Palin As President" society.
George Clooney.....ummm.....lives in...Italy.
Umm... yeah.
Hugh Jackman. I'm sure he speaks for somebody.....right? I mean, he is just so freaking awesome.
I'm getting off of this one.

5. The Ability to look Amazing without Smiling
I don't think I need to explain this one. Just look!

And then Jimmy....

And then Hugh...

See what I mean?

SUMMARY: There is really nothing more to say. If you want to be an A-Lister, you need to adhere to the bro code. Seriously. Suit Up. Carry yourself well. Be different from time to time. Support St. Jude. Don't smile!

Signing out,

The REAL Bowman

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Day in the Life: Being Unique

One of the most mysterious and infuriating parts of being in a band is originality.
For one thing, there are thousands and THOUSANDS and MILLIONS of bands in the world constantly writing new songs every day, so there is constant pressure to be different. Different. Hmmm. What a funny word!
You can either take that and roll in a litter box full of glitter like Lady Gaga, or you can embrace it logically by utilizing unique and forgotten sounds like current hit bands Arcade Fire, The National, Vampire Weekend and Mumford and Sons.

Wearing Muppets as clothing is different, right? Or is it frog-icide?

Unique doesn't have to be weird! Someone please tell Miss Gaga that. Or don't. She has certainly made a name for herself that way. And if she doesn't evoke controversy for wearing meat on her head, then who will???? Rihanna ain't at that point yet, boys.

So here are some DO's and DONT'S for bands. Things that are working and not really working these days.

1. Enlist the help of an A-list song writer/producer to help. 
Ryan Tedder, The Sexy Teddy himself!
Let's face it, sometimes you need a little help. I mean, yeah a lot of bands out there ARE unique and talented enough to self produce an album BUT when you are competing with a billion other bands, getting Brian Eno (Coldplay, U2), Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire) or Ryan Tedder (One Republic) to help you out is generally speaking, A GOOD IDEA! Ryan Tedder for instance has co-written and produced songs with Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, Jordin Sparks, Pussycat Dolls, Blake Lewis, Backstreet Boys, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Cornell, Natasha Bedingfield, (SHARP INHALE) Train, Carrie Underwood and a couple of songs like "Halo" by Beyonce, and "Apologize" and "All The Right Moves" by One Republic. See where I'm going? You've heard of all of them, right? I think I've made my point.

                                                  2. Utilize folk sounds and instruments in your music.
These guys look like Bob Dylan's paper dolls.
Mumford and Sons.
So out of the Grammy award nominees this year, several indie bands have been nominated. Bands like Mumford and Sons, Arcade Fire, The Decemberists and The Avett Brothers are all the rage right now because of their catchy melodies and sounds. Why? Teenagers and yuppie indie rockers are going crazy about these bands because of their 'fresh' sounds when in fact this kind of music has been around for a long, long time. But, it's a good sound! Mainstream people are noticing the banjos, mandolins and fiddles now. YAY FOR THE FIDDLE! Yes. As I write this blog, The Decemberists are getting ready to play on Jay Leno. Ha. I rest my case.

3. Make a specific group of people mad. Wait, DON'T!
It's easy, really. M.I.A. made gingers really mad with her music video for "Born Free". I would post it so you could see, except it is graphically violent and features nudity and red-heads being shot in the head and blown up. Wow. Or Kanye West, making people that aren't Kanye West mad. Generally, that is a very large specific group of people. But he is a d-bag and generally makes everyone mad because he is so arrogant. It is a shame because he is so talented, but his public opinion has plummeted. Especially after humiliating Taylor Swift last year.
I think Kanye thought Taylor would agree with him.
4. Write songs about your failed relationships.
Speaking of Taylor Swift, here is the track listing from her latest cd. (and who they are about)
1. "Mine" -about her breakup with a seagull from Finding Nemo.
2. "Sparks Fly" - about her breakup with Robocop.
3. "Back to December" - about her breakup with the Time Traveler's Wife.
4. "Speak Now"  - about her breakup with a French mime.
5. "Dear John"  - DUH. Her breakup with John Mayer.
6. "Mean"  - about her breakup with the Grinch.
7. "The Story of Us" - about her breakup with Adam Lambert.
8. "Never Grow Up" - about her breakup with Peter Pan.
9. "Enchanted" - about her breakup with Shrek.
10. "Better Than Revenge" - about her breakup with Darth Maul.
11. "Innocent" - Not about a breakup, the chick just felt guilty at this point.
12. "Haunted" - A song about George Lucas and Jar Jar Binks. 
13. "Last Kiss" - This one I can't figure out.....
14. "Long Live" - Or this one...
So..... See what I mean? It's gold for a best-selling record.

5. Be (or don't be) Justin Bieber.
If you can play your cards right, or bribe a witch, or hire a good plastic surgeon, you might be able to pull this off. There is no denying that Bieber was born lucky. Because he just has no talent whatsover. But somehow tween girls everywhere scream his name and throw their Hannah Montana undershirts at him on stage. And his voice is NEVER going to change, so that's a plus too. Right? There is nothing more unique than being the only one of your kind. If you ARE Justin Bieber then you cancel out the Bieber that currently exists. And he writes songs about Babies apparently. WHAT'S CUTER THAN BABIES?
I mean, who can resist? His glasses are just SOOO endearing.
So there you go.
I hope you young and upcoming musicians are enlightened now. 
If you need more advice, message me and I will put you on a career path so perfect that you are gonna leave Ryan Seacrest in your dust.

Signing out.
The REAL Bowman

Coffee Talk: Identity


I have been thinking a lot recently about my identity.
Besides the obvious (no, I didn't forget my name already!) (and no, I don't have Jason Bourne syndrome) I have been thinking about where I am in life and what my purpose is at this point. I am 22 years old, have a violin performance degree from the University of Memphis. I teach violin, write and perform music in a band and want to serve God through music and youth ministry. BUT my life just doesn't look the way I thought it would right now. Not that that's a bad thing! It's actually kind of an adventure. But at times I feel kind of insecure about things. As my friend Maggie put it "You are a freshman at life now." Ah yes, the fun times of a freshman.

So I enter into the next phase of life, trying to define who I am and what I am going to do. Just like I sought out upperclassmen when I was a freshman in college, I now find myself seeking out upperclassmen at life. Godly men who have been there and know what it's like to pursue God in the midst of music ministry and life. At the same time though, as much as I try to define myself and I try to figure out who I am, I manage to forget some of the most obvious answers.

My LORD has already told me who I am.

              "All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 
           For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back
           into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption 
           as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit 
           himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children 
           of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow 
           heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that 
           we may also be glorified with him"
                                                                    - Romans 8:14-17

I am a son of God, adopted into his family and fellow heir with Christ! If that doesn't boost your self esteem
I don't know what will. And self esteem is a personal vice that Satan has used for years to get me discouraged. I think that now, in 2011, I have finally understood that this promise is for me as well! Somehow we can get into the mindset that the promises of God somehow apply to everyone but us. I had a wonderful coffee conversation with my friend Dave the other day and this is exactly what we talked about. In the midst of our frustrations in life and battles, we forget that Christ has ALREADY WON! Hallelujah.
So, we are given the freedom to fight our battles FROM victory instead of FOR victory!

              "Since then we have a great high priest who has 
              passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God,
              let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have 
              a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our
              weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been
              tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with
             confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we
             may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of
                                                             -Hebrews 4:14-16

            "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
              through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither
             death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present
             nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
             nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
             us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
                                                              -Romans 8:37-39

This confidence that Hebrews mentions is the key to unlocking living TRUE LIFE in Christ. If nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and nothing is too big for our God, then WHY ARE WE STILL LIVING AS IF SIN STILL HAS A HOLD ON US?

This is not a matter of getting free of our sins, we ARE free from them! We just have to claim that liberty in Christ! I can say from experience that living under the bondage of guilt from our past will make us miserable. As Romans 8:1-2 says "There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has SET YOU FREE in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." (emphasis added) It's the same thing for the spiritual gifts. We act as if we somehow have to work up to being patient, and being joyful; act is if righteousness is something we can attain by ourselves. In fact, Christ is the embodiment of these things, and if we simply claim our victory and live in Christ, these things are automatic!

As it says in Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." Often we look over this passage as being nice and fluffy without examining its truths. It says our Father has blessed, as in the plural, as in it has already been done, US with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. How? My dear friends it is quite simple.
Jesus Christ.

So brothers and sisters, let us throw aside this insecurity and the weights and sins that so easily entangle us. Let us run together the race of life, looking to Jesus Christ- who is the author and PERFECTER of our faith.

Signing out,
The REAL Bowman

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thoughts on the Golden Globes (and other stuff)

As most of you probably know, the Golden Globes were awarded last night in
what could go down in history as one of the most unremarkable and boring
cinema award seasons of all time. I am proud to say that I called ALL of the big
awards (except for Paul Giamatti, that was just weird!) and thoroughly enjoyed
my correctness. "The Social Network" of course swept the awards show like my
mama sweeps the kitchen after shaving our golden retriever and took awards that
truly belonged to other films. Yes, "The Social Network" was fantastic, but did it
deserve to receive the Best Picture award? It's a movie about facebook for crying
out loud! (More blogging on blogging and facebook coming soon!)

In my opinion, "Inception" deserved an award for Best Picture. It was the most
original of the movies nominated and proved that high art could indeed be fun
AND make a few bucks. Why it didn't win anything shocks me to this day (the
day after the Globes)

Of course Natalie Portman won Best Actress for "Black Swan". That was a no
duh. For a split second I wondered if maybe she wouldn't get it, then laughed and
leaned back in my chair to watch Jeff Bridges say her melodic name. And then
dear, dear Natalie had to go and be all awkward in her acceptance speech. Don't
believe me? Watch this...
Natalie, darling. Don't talk about sex in your awards speech. Thank you honey.
But yeah, she sure as heck deserved it! Click HERE for my review of  "Black Swan".

And then Colin Firth got his Best Actor, and Johnny Depp DIDN'T get his Best Comedic
Actor, yada yada. The one thing that made me really happy was to see both Christian Bale 
AND Melissa Leo recognized for their amazing work in "The Fighter". Both did fantastic jobs....

NOW. I need to say something about "Glee". Yes, it is popular and YES it is a musical 
but NO NO NO it is NOT Golden Globe material! Ugh. I was really disappointed to 
see this mediocre show win over not only "30 Rock" but "Modern Family" as well! 
Gay propaganda aside, Glee just isn't comparable to these vastly superior shows.
And yes, I said "Modern Family" should have won. I don't agree with the very liberal
viewpoint of the show, but it certainly deserved something.

The highlight of the Golden Globes? Watching Ricky Gervais deliver biting jabs and
personal insults at high speed without any hesitation. This man needs to host the Oscars.
Yeah, Charlie Sheen, you have a right to be mad. (LOL as the Social Network kids say)

Alright: I've said my part. What did YOU think about the Golden Globes? Or do you 
even care? You probably don't care! Do you? It's ok. You shouldn't! The Oscars are
where it's at anyway in terms of film awards. Everybody just likes to see slightly 
intoxicated celebrities accept awards from other celebrities and then be all awkward
on stage. Hear that, Kanye?

My final comment is this: If you enjoyed Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" but need
to get rid of your frustration from last night's awards, then watch THIS......

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In the Studio with LWH: Day 3

January 15, 2011

I am VERY proud of the band. Today we worked for 12 straight hours
with only 45 minutes for lunch break. 9 AM to 9 PM.
And what we got in the end is WELL worth it.
Today we started by finishing up the guitar and key stuff with
Randall and Matt, and then spent the afternoon recording vocals and
violin stuff.
I absolutely LOVED working with Alex Rexroat as our producer. At one
point he literally picked up a tambourine and just started playing and was
like "We've got to record this." He was quirky but a very hard worker, and
genuinely seemed interested in our music. He told me to view a hard passage
that I had to record as a boss on the NES game system. Score.

He made sure to tell
us that the animal on top
of his speaker was a
a shark. Sweet action
as far as I'm concerned.

And then he was
wearing a
Ghostbusters shirt
today. BINGO.

There really isn't a whole lot to say about the recording process
today, other than it was a WHOLE lot of work, and we got it all
done. Yay!
Look for our all new EP to be released soon! Possibly this Spring.
It is tentatively titled "The Way Things Were" and will have the following track listing....
1. O Maker
2. Rachel
3. Who Knew Us Then
4. Out of Egypt
Folks, you are in for some good junk! I am amazed at how good the recordings sound already, and they aren't mixed and leveled yet!

By the way, I randomly searched on Google for the word "anagram" today and it asked me if I meant "nag a ram". Ironic, huh?

Above you can see two lovely photos! The one on the left is ME recording vocals in the sound booth and the one on the right is Alex's computer with one of our tracks up and playing. PLEASE note the Kentucky Wildcats hat on the soundboard. I will say that he managed to rub Coach Cal in our faces the first day, but then was kind enough to remain silent on the matter for the rest of our visit. Ahem.. carry on.
OH MAN! I just remembered a story of me recording vocals. SO, when I was recording the harmonies for "Out of Egypt" my voice started to go. I mean, one second I was fine and the next it was like Gollum trying to cover Celine Dion. It was BAAADDD news for me. Cause those vocals are HIGH! :-) But yeah, I went for it, and then my voice cracked and CRASHED! HARD! As Matt put it, it sounded like Homer Simpson doing his little yell (?). To me it felt like something as bad as Superman crashing into a building. And yes, it is a lofty thing to compare oneself to a superhero, but I like to think of myself as Superman at times. Although he is by far not my favorite superhero. That would have to be Batman. Or Spider-man. I like him. But then the whole DC vs. Marvel thing comes up, and that is just nasty. So who cares. I could pick some obscure character.
MY VOCAL CRASH WAS AS INTENSE AS ARMLESS TIGERMAN CRASHING INTO A BUILDING! But, we got a good take after everyone was done laughing. And yes, I'm glad you asked, I did laugh at myself too.

And finally the most important part of the day! DINNER: Today we went to Big Pie in the Sky and OH MY, this place had the most amazing pizza that I have EVER tasted! Each piece was literally as big as an Asian Elephant's ear, or perhaps my head if it was flattened. Or a small woman's shirt. BUT it was intense.
And epic. I do believe we all were expecting slightly smaller pieces.

Matt looking all proud with his pizza!

I have to say that this was one highly productive band trip and we are pleased to announce that the remainder of the tracks for our new record will be recorded here in the Atlanta branch of Pendlwood Studios!

Oh yeah

The REAL Bowman

Friday, January 14, 2011

In the Studio with LWH: Day 2

January 14th, 2011

today was LONG. Really freaking long. BUT we got a lot accomplished.
I am really tired so I'm gonna keep it to a minimum this time for the update
and leave everything else up to your imagination.

1. Rachel:
The song is coming along nicely! All the drums, bass, guitar, keys and vocals are
done already, so the only thing left is violin. :-) I'm gonna be busy tomorrow.
There is some new stuff going on in the breakdown that I'm excited about, thanks
to Alex's expert production. And Matt's. And mine. haha. But just know that the
piano is going to be featured in a new, cool way on this one...

2. Who Knew Us Then
By far the most time was spent on this one today. Matt created a whole bunch of
midi files and sound effects for this one, and in the words of our producer "It sounds
really 80's. Which is a good thing." SCORE. I also co-wrote a string part with Matt
in studio that we are going to lay tomorrow. I'm excited about the possibilities with
this one. For an idea of what the strings are going to sound like, check out "Our God"
by Chris Tomlin. Not exactly the same, but the effect is similar.

3. Out of Egypt
This one is really exciting. This is a curious song, as we came to the studio looking to
experiment and receive input on it. This is sounding really good thus far, even without
vocals and violin solo. BUT the guitar and bass work from Randall and Rex are superb.
Tonight for dinner the band hit up local Barbecue favorite "Big Shanty's Barbecue". Aside
from the obviously Kick-Butt name that is fun to repeat over and over in a pirate voice,
Big Shanty had some really good barbecue, and mac n cheese every bit as good as the kind
my mama makes. Oh yeah....

And since you care, I can tell you that when I wasn't producing or string part writing,
I downloaded the whole 1st season of Even Stevens. Remember that show? Good times.
Good times. :-)
And I spilled a huge old vanilla coke in my lap. Looked like I was too excited to contain

Until our roads cross, or you email me,

The REAL Bowman

The Fighter - Movie Review

The Fighter
Rated R for language throughout, drug content, some violence and sexuality
Movie Making: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Morality Rating: Average

The story of Micky Ward is one of the few "true stories" that Hollywood has deemed worthy of its
own movie that actually deserves it. I don't mean to bash those of you that love the countless films
that go for that warm-and-fuzzy life changing vibe, but at the same time, "The Fighter" is not such 
a movie. Instead, we get the grit, the sweat, the tears and the pain that Ward, portrayed here
by Mark Wahlberg, felt as he fought for his rise to the top.

Directed by David O. Russell, "The Fighter" is straight up a darn good movie. Forgoing the 
sweeping cinematogrophy and epic sound work that most of today's leading film-makers
love so much, Russell instead opts to throw us into the heart of Lowell, Massachusetts 
where Ward grew up. There we come face to face with the drugs, language and sleaziness that
almost managed to bring him down. While Mark Wahlberg delivers a stunning performance as 
Micky Ward, the real surprise in this film was Christian Bale as his half brother and fighting trainer 
Dicky Eklund. The story of Eklund's addiction to drugs and the emotional upheaval that had on his 
family was brilliantly told, leaving the audience literally aching at times for the family.

Bale is no stranger to taking on a role physically. He lost over 60 pounds to play a role in
"The Machinist" and almost immediately afterwards bulked up to play Bruce Wayne in 
"Batman Begins". In "The Fighter" Bale is a shadow of himself, gaunt and haggard in the shoes
of Eklund. His northern accent is perfect and the way in which he interacts with Wahlberg 
is endearing (as it should be) and well performed. . Eklund receives prison time for his drug 
charges in the film, which is the catalyst for change as he recognizes the need for change 
in his life. Simultaneously, Ward realizes that he can't let his family's failures bring him down 
and decides to fight again, supported by his father and girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams).

Morally speaking, yes there were things in the movie that I personally wouldn't condone, 
at the same time though they help us to relate and understand exactly what Micky Ward's 
life was like. Language is fairly heavy, with the F bomb being spoken throughout the film.
Drug use is HEAVY in this film and some sexual material is implied between Ward and 
Charlene. Because of these things, I wouldn't recommend this for any young audiences.
Even as an adult I found it hard to take in many of the things that "The Fighter" portrayed.
The darkness of addiction was great, but it made my heart swell all the more at the victory
that was won over it!

Conclusion: This awards season theaters are filled with the avant-garde (Black Swan),
the relevant (The Social Network) and the mind-bending (Inception). But out of all of 
these, can we view them and then walk away and feel inspired? Can we experience 
hope through the portrayal of one individual's struggles in life? Yes. That is why I 
loved David O. Russell's "The Fighter" so very much. It was a representation of the
struggle inside us all, and a reminder that no matter what we face in life, it is worth

Signing out,
The REAL Bowman

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In the Studio with LWH: Day 1

January 13th, 2011

After a rather confusing bout of dialog that led us to the conclusion that it WASN'T Friday the
13th, Loser's Way Home began work on what will shape up to become an ep of ALL new
music. We are here in Kennesaw, Ga at Pendlwood Studios. Our engineer Alex proved right
away to be both of the musical creativity level and wit caliber that we as a band so so so
desired! (Both of our previous recording experiences involved less-than-human humans)
Contrary to what I had previously said, today was almost ENTIRELY drum work.
Let's hear it for our amazing drummer Ryan Veach! Yeah! He totally pwned his parts.
The 3 songs are all shaping up nicely, but one of them (I think I'll let which one be a surprise!)
is gonna be OUTSTANDING due to a spur of the moment production choice by Alex to create
an original drum loop using Ryan's skills.
After looping and tweaking and putting effects on it, the loop sounded cooler than anything
anyone in Loser's Way Home had imagined. And so it begins!

Tomorrow will be primarily bass, guitar and keys, although I may get to use my Fiddle Skills. :-)
Alex is much more involved with production than we expected, which is creating a slightly different,
although welcome recording experience. His musical knowledge is leading to some new ideas and
new sounds that I believe will be gladly received by our fan base....I can't wait to pull out Freddy!
(that would be my fiddle)

I can't wait for you guys to hear these songs! I think it has been well worth your wait!

On another note: THE REST OF THE DAY
1. I went to a doctor and got stuck, x-rayed, prodded and God knows what else. BUT I end up with a
Z pack, prednisone, a cough elixir and an inhaler at the end of the day, so by vox the day after tomorrow
I'll be in ship shape!

2. For dinner the band decided to visit Wing Factory for dinner. I swear it felt like I was in a Lebanese
living room, but the food was legit. We all got wings and fries and MAN were they good.
I leave you with a digital scratch n' sniff for your pleasure!
Until the next studio blog!

The REAL Bowman

First Official Photo- Andrew Garfield "Spider-man"

At long last we get a glimpse of the all new Spider-man.
This picture was just released by Sony Pictures and shows Andrew Garfield in suit as
America's favorite web-slinging superhero.

Looks like a slightly different suit, a slightly different logo, and we obviously have a slightly
different cast.

The currently untitled Spider-man reboot swings into theaters next summer.
It stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. (can I get a cheer
for NO Mary Jane Watson?!)
Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) directs the film that is currently being shot in digital 3D.

I, for one, am excited to see this new vision.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black Swan - Movie Review

Black Swan
Rated R for strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use.
Movie Making:   5 out of 5 stars
Morality Rating: Very offensive

Leaving the theater following my viewing of "Black Swan" my mind was reeling. What had I just witnessed? The frenzied portrayal by Natalie Portman of the downward spiral of her character "Nina" was both inspired and horrifying. In my mind, there is no doubt that she is going to win the best actress Academy Award  for her amazing performance in Darren Aronofsky's directorial feat. At what cost however?

Black Swan follows- rather closely I might add- Nina (Portman) as she pursues the role of the Swan Queen in her ballet company's latest rendition of Swan Lake. The company director Thomas Leroy (played with poise by the ever-surprising Vincent Cassel) has just fired the aged 'face' of the ballet and is now searching for the new dancer who has what it takes to be Swan Queen. The trick is that his new star must be able to dance both the regal Swan Queen and the seductive Black Swan. New dancer Lily- portrayed by the spontaneous and free Mila Kunis-  is also up for the role and as Nina works towards the performance she becomes increasingly jealous and paranoid. Ultimately this leads to psychological meltdown and emotional climax in some of the film's most creative and horrifying sequences

This rivalry is what the tension in Black Swan is built on. Aronofsky's direction brings us directly into the middle of Nina's experience, utilizing the often criticized handheld camera work much of the time to make us feel one with Nina. Natalie Portman is literally in every scene in the movie, so by the end of the film we are left with an enormous emotional connection to her character. Film-making-wise I seldom see such well directed and well shot movies. Aronofsky has proven time and time again that he can direct, as evidenced by "Requiem for a Dream", "The Fountain" and "The Wrestler". This time around, though, everything is raw, sensual and visceral. We literally feel the obsession growing in our own minds as Nina desperately tries to entertain Thomas' every whim, both on the dance floor and at home.

From an acting standpoint Natalie Portman is an obvious stand out, based solely on the sheer emotional volume that the role of Nina required. Mila Kunis deserves recognition as Lily though. She will probably be overlooked come awards season, but it is good to see her developing into her own actress. The relationship that she has with Nina is both awkward and endearing, as she tries to support Nina in her art and get her to just 'free up'. This point leads us to the major, and I mean MAJOR problem with Black Swan.

Morally speaking, I cannot recommend Black Swan to anyone because of the graphic sexual content in the film. People try to justify the content by bringing up the context in which it took place, but regardless filth is filth, no matter how you look at it. On scene in the film ends up with a very high Nina and Lily making out and engaging in sexual activity on her bed. In context of the film Nina is hallucinating due to her obsession and jealousy with Lily Thomas' pressure to explore her sexuality, BUT that is no excuse. Not only was it plain awkward to see on screen, it was plain WRONG. Aronofsky has had a history of not holding back when it comes to sexuality, but this was something I was not expecting. And it is something I grieve.
Such a beautiful movie was ruined by a simple minute of immorality depicted onscreen.

So we find ourselves at my conclusion......
Sigh. What can I say? Black Swan is one of those viciously beautiful works of art that has become tainted. I felt while watching Black Swan that perhaps I was witnessing the creation of something amazing, such as watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel or listening to Homer recite the Illiad. As beautiful as it is though, I cannot keep my mind from recalling the sadness of Nina's fall into obsession and insanity. Natalie Portman literally hits rock bottom in "Black Swan" for the sake of her art. And apparently the audience is expected to as well.
The questions remains - will we allow ourselves to go through the depths of hell in order to find heaven?
It can seem worth it at times, but I can assure you that hell is hell, even if it is disguised with the music of Tchaikovsky and a seemingly innocent art form.
If you must see "Black Swan", I would recommend waiting until it's release on DVD and Blu-ray, that way you can do yourself the favor of skipping a dark splot on an otherwise spotless film.

The REAL Bowman

I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts! Did you see Black Swan? What did YOU think?