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Doug Paisley - Starter Home Music Album Review

Gracefully navigating the intersection of folk-rock and country, the gentle-voiced songwriter turns detailed images of domestic tranquility and promise into reflections on disappointment.
For a decade, Canadian singer/songwriter Doug Paisley has turned quiet, specific moments into inquiries on life’s larger struggles. On his 2010 breakthrough, Constant Companion, Paisley used the inevitability of endings to explore understanding oneself, the only possible “constant companion.” For 2014’s Strong Feelings, he mulled death and its uneasy relationship with life, or how their juxtaposition ripples into every wave of existence. And now, on his fourth album, Starter Home, Paisley details the chasm that separates what poet Seamus Heaney described as “getting started” and “getting started again.” These songs examine how the person you are never truly aligns with the person you want to be, especially when you stumble upon a sticking point that’s hard to move past.



Border Movie Review

A Very Edgy Border

Guaranteed to make my top-ten of the year, "Border" is original, weird, beautifully executed and left me staring in near-disbelief for almost its entire 108 minutes. It's Sweden's official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film and the only way it isn't one of the final nominees is if some voters find it too odd for their taste.

In the very first scene we see a person who appears to be a pretty unattractive woman standing by the shore looking out at a ship. She picks up a bug and places it on a piece of driftwood and watches it crawl.

The woman is Tina (Eva Melander) and she is a customs guard at a ferry port. She stands by a table along with a male counterpart as passengers disembark from the ferry. She doesn't just eye the passengers. Her nose sniffs at the air as they walk by and every so often pulls one aside to be searched for contraband. After she picks someone out, her partner takes them into the back room to be searched. She is dead-on accurate. One of those pulled in has bottles of alcohol. We're not sure how she has smelled the closed bottles, but she has.

She drives home from work to her house in the country that she shares with a man, but it's not immediately clear what their relationship is. Is he her husband, lover, brother, or a boarder? We do find out later. All we know for sure about him is that he raises Rottweilers as show dogs. They are mostly penned up, and Tina and the dogs do not get along.

One day Tina is at work when a group disembarks from the ferry. Among them is a man who bears a striking resemblance to her. She sniffs at him quite a bit, but he passes the inspection of her partner. His name is Vore (Eero Milonoff), and he turns Tina's life upside-down.

Directed by Iranian-born Ali Abbasi and adapted from a short story by "Let the Right One In" writer John Ajvide Lindqvist, "Border" is an odd type of masterpiece that I guarantee you will not be able to forget. Three or four times while I watching you will have the wind knocked out of you, in a good way. This "Border" truly lives on the edge.


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