It happens to me sometimes that for years I completely ignore certain finest works of music, as if being blind and deaf, and then suddenly, after one more listen, an eureka moment occurs.
Belong‘s October Language is an example. I always adored their second dreamy shoegaze Common Era, but for some reason attempts to listen to their debut went nowhere.
After having listened to “October Language” a double digit number of times over the past week, the phenomenon described is almost surreal. How could I not recognize the brilliance of this album earlier? Brian Eno, Tim Hecker, and Belong. Appropriate. Notably, Josh Eustis did contribute to the sound.
This reminds me of Brian Eno‘s “Ambient 4: On Land”.
While this track has a similar feeling that Tim‘s Radio Amor and Mirages leave. Indeed, these were contemporary works (“October Language” was recorded in 2004).
It is uncertain whether Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones will release more music in the future as Belong, but they did perform “October Language” live in 2017, which leaves some hope.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (地球最后的夜晚). A wonderful effort from Bi Gan. The celebrated long take is indeed impressive. Did seem too slow-paced at times. At one point, the protagonist (Huang Jue) mentions that he fell asleep in the cinema and ended up in a cave. That did happen to me too (although the cave was on the screen). The Tarkovsky‘s and Lynch‘s influence seemed apparent. 8/10
Babylon. The sound quality was horrible, not sure if it is the fault of the cinema, or the film. The story seemed authentic and convincing. 7/10
Toy Story 4. Not as good as previous installments, mostly due to the creators’ decision to allocate little time to many of the original toys (that were great and funny). 6/10
Midsommar. Ingenious, atmospheric, humorous, psychedelic, and unique. Ari Aster is a new master of smart horror, directing one of the best films of the year the second year in a row. 9/10
Crawl. Kaya Scodelario is very convincing and impressive. One might think that this kind of alligators-eat-humans movie does not allow for a demonstration of acting skills, but the whole film is worthy mainly due to her. 7/10
The Farewell. This is an American film directed by Lulu Wang and starring Awkwafina as the main character (both are Chinese-Americans). Indeed, the contrast with Chinese films (some of which were “reviewed” in the previous months) is visible. The film, story, and actors are absolutely incredible though, especially the chemistry between Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen. All praise is well-deserved. 9/10
Wild Rose. There is nothing especially interesting about the story, and it is hard to sympathize with the protagonist, but some songs are very good and touching, and Jessie Buckley is amazing. 7/10
The Art of Self-Defense. This is a hilarious comedy that half-way turns into a satirical thriller. Alessandro Nivola steals the film, but all the cast are amazing. The line “I see now how her being a woman will prevent her from ever becoming a man.” (recalled from an article by Tom Philip) was indeed a memorable one and a good example of the film’s satire. 9/10
The Lion King. I don’t think I watched the original film, but this one is nothing special. The Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) were memorable though. 6/10