Movie Review: The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines starts off with a bang! We first meet Luke (Ryan Gosling) in his surreal work environment at a carnival as an extreme motorcyclist who sees an old fling, Romina, (Eva Mendez) waiting for him outside the tent one night after the show.

 

Ryan Gosling's fling with Romina seems to have been based on physical attraction alone and it is clear that Luke is a loner with no direction in life. Luke learns that Romina has a son and that the baby is his. From this point on Luke tries to hold down a steady job at a mechanic's shop but can't seem to make enough money to get by, let alone support his son and Romina. Luke doesn't have a meaningful conversation with Romina about his parental role as a father and has an attitude that if only he had more money he could be a better father. Luke's convinced himself that he can make it work for his new family even though Romina is currently living with her new boyfriend who is fathering her son.

This is such a sad turning point in the movie and reveals Luke's serious moral and ethical flaws. Luke has a very limited understanding of family and what constitutes a meaningful relationship. From here on out the plot revolves around a cop named Avery (Bradley Cooper), and his family whose lives have been brought together with Luke's under unfortunate and tragic circumstances. There are more twists and turns that unravel when Luke and Avery's high school age boys become unexpected friends. Their relationship is more about them coming of age and their individual rites of passage into adulthood and what that will entail for each of them is both heart-wrenching to watch but quiet epic.

Overall, the The Place Beyond the Pines is about the intertwined lives of all the characters in the small town of Schenectady, NY that Luke touched in some way and about how family affects our perception of ourselves and shapes our future even when their only legacy is the baggage they leave behind.

Best of 2013 Playlist and Reviews

Listen to my Best of 2013 playlist on rdio.

  • Washed Out, A.K.A, Ernest Greene's third album, Paracosm, didn't venture too far astray from what he does best, super mellow chill wave ambiance. The whole album is cohesive and combines multiple layers of clapping, chirping birds, crowds of chattering people mixed with chimes and lyrics that are self-conscious and showcase his vulnerability and honesty.
  • Darkside is another band that jumped onto my radar in 2013. This Brooklyn duo is a collaboration between Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington. Their album Psychic combines lo-fi distortion and sustained loops that are both suspenseful and dramatic. I would love to see ERAAS perform with Darkside. That would be an amazing show. The nondescript vocals create tension and anxiety. Overall, this album could be the soundtrack to a new David Lynch movie. I'm looking forward to seeing them on tour this year. Here's their tour schedule. I'm excited to see them in Austin, Texas on Jan. 31st at Emo's.
  • Deafheaven's Sunbather was quiet a revelation for me. Having rarely listened to black metal before, the sheer energy of the drums and the harmonies of the guitars gripped me and kept me completely engaged the full length of the album. The vocals add an extra layer of intensity. This was the album quiet literally made me interested in black metal. I find the combination of chill wave and metal to be a thrilling combination and I can't wait to hear more from this band. What they've done with Sunbather was quiet extraordinary. My favorite songs on Sunbather are Dream House (of course) and Vertigo.
  • Fuck Button's, Slow Focus is a study in masterful and eerie beats combined with a knack for knowing when to trim the fat and lead the listener slowly into a more elaborate web of textures. If you are not familiar with Fuck Buttons I recommend listening to Tarot Sport first. The song, Surf Solar, happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time. I think it will give you a little taste of how much FB's musicality has expanded over the years if you listen to it back to back with Slow Focus.
  • The Knife's, Shaking the Habitual takes this Swedish electronic band's high strung antics up a notch with their 2013 album. The song Full of Fire is intense, in-your-face with dissonant strings and fast-paced frantic beats. This is their fourth album and it seems like they are not losing their focus.
  • Small Black's Limits of Desire has been on repeat on since my first listen. The band's uncanny ability to write anthems about cliches and heart ache that don't come off as trite or over thought makes them a winner for me.
  • Widowspeak's Almanac and The Swamps was a tie for me. I love them both equally. There's a wonderful whimsical retro vibe about them that I initially fell for but they continue to amaze with their delicate folksy indie rock. I'm hooked on Molly Hamilton's voice and it doesn't hurt this duo is from New York. They have a refreshing sound that keeps me coming back for multiple listens.
  • Chelsea Wolfe, Pain Is Beauty. This album is pure black magic. I mean that in the best way possible. There's a hypnotic poetry to her lyrics that I liken to being in a seductive trance of a lover. I would love to see Chelsea Wolfe play with Esben and the Witch.
  • Gauntlet Hair, Stills was quiet a departure from their debut album. Gauntlet Hair has since broken up, much to my dismay. I'm sad that I didn't get to see them perform last summer in New York. The song Human Nature on Stills continues to shine off their last album. Record Label: Mexican Summer
  • Beach Fossils, Clash The Truth is probably the only band that I have included on my list that is shoe-gazer indie rock. I'm not sure why others didn't make it onto the list. My favorite songs are Birthday, In Vertigo, and Burn You Down.

Bohemian Scents for Summer

Karma by Gorilla Perfumes at Lush Boutiques:
Price: $45.95

It's their signature scent, combining intoxicating layers of orange, spices and patchouli. Recalling London in the 1960s, clouds of patchouli mingle with uplifting sweet orange and cleansing pine. A unique and truly Lush perfume for free spirits.

Layer with Karma soap and bubble bar, Karma Komba and Karma Kream  for a truly immersive dose of good karma.

Notes: Orange, patchouli, pine, lavandin,lemongrass, elemi, cassie.

 

 

Sisters of the Black Moon Essential Oil Blend in Moonshine at Feathers Boutique:

Price: $42.00

 

Essential oil blend by Naked Eye Beauty exclusively for Sisters of the Black Moon.

Ingredients:

  • Organic grapeseed oil, essential oils of sandlewood, patchouli, clary sage, vetiver, mandarin, lemon, grapefruit, neroli, vanilla, musk, juniper, rose geranium and jasmine.

 

 

MOSS by Commodity

Price: $99.00

Sold at Sephora and Commodity.com

A crisp aroma that captures the balance between fresh cool greens and musky earth undertones. Mother Nature would be proud.

 

 

DRAM APOTHECARY

The owner of this Colorado-based company mainly sells bitters and syrups for drinks. However, they have a scent that matches their rustic and holistic nature that was developed with RL Linden & Co, a Denver plant-based skincare and beauty company, their website says "to capture the essence of mountain life at DRAM: a native woodland scent with notes of fresh juniper berries, foraged rose hips, DRAM wild sage bitters, and evergreen needles suitable for both sexes. Our perfume oils contain no synthetics, phthalates or isolates and are created with only pure, plant-based, organic, raw and wildcrafted essential oils, absolutes and resins in a base of organic jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil."

I'm a fan of unisex scents and think this one would be great for summer.

 

With Love From Berlin

With Love From Berlin

KulturBrauerei is an amazing old brewery that now has micro brewery stalls and food carts, public soccer match viewing on big TV screens, live music, andis a dog-friendly environment. It’s a hipster crowd and definitely has my vote for one of the coolest places to go on a date or just hang out with friends. Also, on an interesting side note it is owned by Lonestar Brewery from Texas. 

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