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Status Check

The Juno reunion is in a week and a half. Plans are afoot to do a professional filming of this event, so if you live in Outer Mongolia and cannot make it, you may be able to catch it in a few months (years, decades, etc.).

I'm still planning on doing a year-end 2CD set, but this process has been slowed considerably by the impending doom of final papers, grading, flying to Seattle, etc., so those may have to wait until the proper perspective of 2007.

I saw Borat, The Prestige, The Fountain, and Casino Royale in theaters over the last month. Borat is ridiculously funny, but if you're already overwhelmed with catchphrases spawning from the film, it may be best to wait until that dies down. I knew I was in a race against time when someone was spouting out every line from the movie on my T ride to the theater. The Prestige (magician movie with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, not Edward Norton) exceeded my expectations. It suffers from a bit too much late recap of the plot, but on the whole succeeds in developing compelling themes and letting the viewer ruminate over them after the film ended. If it hadn't been for The Illusionist, I think the hype over this movie would be more about the means vs. the ends of obsession rather than, you know, magic. The Fountain was Aronofsky's attempt to incorporate the philosophical ruminations of Kubrick's 2001 into a movie lasting barely more than ninety minutes. As expected, it was a decidedly mixed bag. There are some beautiful shots that add to the movie, some beautiful shots that seem completely unnecessary, and some beautiful shots that you'll see over and over, but the cinematography wasn't my primary issue. The primary themes seemed somewhat transparent in retrospect, leaving me with little to chew on after the credits. If the more subtle aspects of the film (repetition of symbols, etc.) add layers to this theme (the primacy of death to the human condition), so be it, but subtlety is not Aronofsky's foremost strength as a filmmaker, so relegating the success of his film to the background elements seems self-defeating. It's a mess that I'm more than willing to sit through again, a mess that I'm glad was made, but a mess nevertheless.

Casino Royale (or Casino Roy as my ticket stub calls it) lived up to the hype as one of the best, if not the best James Bond film. It's obviously a different type of film than its predecessors in how the wink-wink, nudge-nudge style of the gadgets, sexual encounters, and action sequences is almost eliminated in favor of grit and story, but you can relive those elements on Spike TV whenever you like.

Juno Newsflash (Not a Rumor, People)

Ahem. I have an announcement to make.

Juno will reunite to headline the annual KEXP Yule Benefit show at Neumos in Seattle on December 9 and 10 of 2006.

Tickets are now on sale. Go to TicketsWest and search "Juno." The Saturday show with the Junior Boys, the Annuals, and unnamed opening act starts at 8pm and appears to be 21+, while the Sunday show with Ted Leo, the Junior Boys, and the Cold War Kids starts at 7pm and is all ages. Tickets are $20, plus surcharges.

For those familiar with Juno, this news came directly from Arlie Carstens. “It’s gonna be deeply weird, but likely a very nice time. And loud.” Rehearsals are approaching, so if you’re already in Seattle, you might soon be able to hear the thunderous, life-affirming roar of “Covered with Hair” seeping out from a long dormant practice space. Jason Lajeunesse will assume bass duties for this event, much like he did for their 2001 tour.

If you’re unfamiliar with Juno, their two astounding full-length releases, 1999’s This Is the Way It Goes and Goes and Goes and 2001’s A Future Lived in Past Tense await your undivided attention for the next two months. If you need a sample, “When I Was in _____” happens to be my favorite song ever. If you’d prefer a more thought-out summation of their brilliance, I direct you to the top spot on New Artillery’s Top 40 of the 2000s.

Yes, I will be there. With goddamn bells on.