The surviving members of Pink Floyd have announced a reunion of sorts. The biggest rift in the band always seemed to've been between bassist, vocalist, and primary songwriter Roger Waters and the late keyboardist Richard Wright. So I guess with Wright dead...
I recently revisited the last couple Floyd albums in the Waters era, The Wall and The Final Cut. The Final Cut was as lyrical and powerful as I remembered ("there were too many spaces in the line"), but The Wall carried with it more emotion than I'd remembered — maybe because I have more regrets now than when I first started listening to the album in high school or college. It still feels overwrought in places, but it holds up better than I expected, and the themes hit home in new ways for me.
I've also just listened to Pink Floyd's last album, The Endless River, which features guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour and percussionist Nick Mason playing over posthumous material from Wright. The entire album is almost wordless, driven by music the way a lot of passages have been on some of the band's best albums (Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here). It's not their absolute best work, but I expect it's something I can listen to more often than the Waters-led, lyrics-driven material (The Wall, The Final Cut, and especially Animals, which hasn't aged that well). I haven't followed the post-Waters Pink Floyd, but The Endless River is a good listen and would be great for a road trip — at turns relaxing and epic, and beautifully expansive in its sound.
Charlie Kaufman's stop-motion movie Anomalisa is idiosyncratic in the way you expect from the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich; Adaptation; and Synecdoche, New York; but it's also surprisingly accessible. Kaufman has a talent for naturalistic dialogue, and he marries that with very human characters. Lisa, voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh, is one of the most convincing and detailed female characters I've seen onscreen since Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha.
The stop-motion puppetry is nuanced and understated. And they even left in the mouth noises and the actors' breathing, taking the time to animate those, giving the stop-motion puppets a more human feel.
Kaufman employs a clever storytelling device that helps illuminate the protagonist's character and situation, and it's one that wouldn't work as well in a live action film. (You'll know it when you notice it — it's the main trick involving the work of Tom Noonan — but I didn't know about it beforehand, so it was a nice surprise, and I'd like to protect the surprise for those of you who haven't seen it.)
Anomalisa started as an audio play performed onstage for a project called Theater of the New Ear, which was a double bill with another piece written by the Coen brothers(!). This strange but rewarding stop motion version of Anomalisa was crowd-funded with Kickstarter (it was likely too unique for a Hollywood studio). I definitely recommend it.
Speaking of crowd-funding, you can support my comics work monthly on Patreon.
I update my sci-fi comic Flesh Machine with new pages every Tuesday. You can read today's pages, along with the whole story so far, at michaelavolio.com.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!