Once - The Movie

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I’m just as mindless a sucker for the big budget summer movie as the next rube. As you can see from reviews here, here, and here. I pretty much took in all the “major? movies this past summer. Most of them are a lot of fun and the ones that aren’t at least provide a way to keep cool during a hot summer night. Unfortunately a lot of these movies are like cotton candy: tasty, but gone quickly and ultimately providing empty calories, something forgotten before you find your car in the parking lot.

Fortunately I also like to keep an eye out for “smaller? movies, as well. Quirky or grown-up movies that are little more challenging can be much more satisfying and stick with you for days if not weeks later. One such movie comes out of Ireland and it’s called Once. It’s a low budget movie (apparently shot for about $200k) about a going-through-the-motions singer/songwriter/vacuum repair man in Dublin who meets a young female Czech immigrant piano player and through their friendship, gets back on his feet and starts living life again.

Its low production values actually adds to the charm as the camera work and sound editing give the movie a more realistic feel. The two main characters are not professional actors but do a wonderful job, these are completely believable characters and part of the reason is that they have lived the lives they are portraying. The plot is simple and the ending is not clichéd nor is it shocking or unbelievable either.

What really sets this movie apart is the music. The music is actually what movie snobs call diagetic which means that the music comes from the world of the movie and not a soundtrack placed over the dialogue from somewhere outside of the movie world (it’s not 100% diagetic as one song is repeated at the end of movie in a montage that shows how the characters move on in their lives). The performance of the songs was done live and typically in one take with only one or two cameras. The songs are absolutely mesmerizing and will haunt you for days afterward. Also since they songs are performed live within the movie the viewer gets to enjoy the song in its entirety and not a snippet or one chorus as is typical in movies.

I don’t want to give a whole lot of the plot away as it is more fun to watch these two characters grow and make their life decisions without preconceived notions. It is a joy to watch and I encourage anyone who is sick of the big blockbuster to check it out either in the theater or when it is released on DVD.

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Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.

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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on September 13, 2007 10:14 AM.

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