Archive for October 2009

5 Quick Pics

29/10/2009

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The Girlfriend Experience (Soderberg, 2009)

LOVE the way this film looks and I found the script very funny.  At the end the amateurish acting doesn’t distract.

*** 1/2 / *****

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Drag Me to Hell (Raimi, 2009)

The scariest film I’ve seen in years.  Alison Lohman charms as usual and the kitsch works throughout.

**** / *****

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In the Heat of the Night (Jewison, 1967)

Satisfying in the way Rod Steiger’s sheriff slowly develops a vague appreciation of Poiter’s Mr. Tibbs without being overly preachy in the slightest way.  Instilled with a wry sense of humor and stands up well to today’s better pictures concerning race relations.

**** 1/2 / *****

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Body of Lies (Scott, 2008)

Even though I had to watch it almost three times to get most details I didn’t mind it.  Very cool treatise on modern day warfare.

*** 1/2 / *****

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Downfall (Hirschbiegel, 2004)

Had to check it out after all the parody.  Bruno Ganz is a god of acting in a pretty straight forward run of the mill thriller.

*** / *****

Bach – Works for Orchestra – Karl Ristenpart – Chamber Orchestra of the Saar

14/10/2009

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As a teenager I was blessed with the discovery of Karl Ristenpart and the Chamber Orchestra of the Saar’s 1960’s recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos, the pinnacle of Bach’s production, IMHO.  My mother had purchased the cassette version of the recordings by chance (I think) and I was immediately taken with the beautiful, emotional performances.  This helped set off my serious interest in classical music and after the tapes wore off I set about to find everything I could on vinyl.  I was, for the most part, successful in collecting a good number of Ristenpart/Saar Bach records.

I would strongly recommend picking up this collection of CD transfers released by the French label Accord  in 2000.  Not only are the Brandenburg’s included in this 6 CD box-set but also The Art of the Fugue, The Orchestral Suites and a good number of the Harpsichord Concertos.  Some of the recordings are in mono, but done in crisp 24-bit remastering.  Many modern recordings (e.g. Pinnock and Hogwood although they are great in a different light) have been made in somewhat clinical digital recording environments of ancient instruments lacking in the emotion heard here.  This is the alternative.  I also strongly suggest parents pick up this box-set for their kids, not only as an introduction to baroque music but as music to study too.  Interestingly enough, Ristenpart’s 1960 tour of European Bach performances aided in post-World War II French-German reconciliation.  You can find it on Amazon.