The Unrequited Friend Zone Love Mixtape

To all you gals & girls who are suffering from the pangs of unrequited love, the pain of rejection, the loss of friendship, the heartache of longing and the purgatory that is the friend zone, here’s a collection of songs just for you.  I had quite the response on the Dating Fails blog here on 5SecondFilms’ spot about the “We Can Still Be Friends” line, and as of late, I’ve been thinking lots about the nature of reconciled friendships.  So here we go folks, pass the time with some lovely rock, alternative, r&b, jazz and gaming sounds.  If you have any suggestions, send a comment in too.

Thierry Henry, Thy Name is LEGEND

As Arsenal’s foray into the FA Cup with Leeds United rolled forward, the chances that were created were spurned by skyed shots, narrow misses, gutsy dribbling, and the cowardice of a team that decided to play an 11-1-0 formation.  Arteta led well as our skipper today.  Ramsey’s brilliance was overshadowed by overly strong volleys, while Arshavin looked a bit more comfortable and tenacious, yet was denied any glory through a combination of vicious fouls and a set of finishes that needed an ounce more of bite.  Coquelin will be missed, but Yennaris appeared composed in back, as did Miquel.  Ox was tenacious today, so I can only hope he will start more for us in the near future.  Our Polish Wall saw little action today, save for some…er, saves at the end,  but it all came through when Chamakh was subbed by none other than Thierry Henry.

As the legend himself volleyed forth from the stands into the pitch, the stadium erupted in a frenzy, welcoming the man whose talent gave way to our storied club’s glory.  Cameras were ablaze and fans bared their red and white with pride as the man who helped win three FA Cups for Arsenal returned to keep the fire alight….well, at least for two months.

But yes, it was in the 78th minute where Henry truly welcomed himself home to Arsenal.  Song’s pass was brilliant as Henry hung clandestinely nearby the back four and made headway to the near post.  However, he spread his body wide, and aimed a curling low ball to the far post, and Leeds’ keeper was in the dust.  The net gave way to the volley, the stadium erupted in triumph, and a man who seemed to defy everything in his prime had all but done it once again.  He ran past the goal with arms splayed out, yelling, beating on the Cannon close to his chest and raised his arms up in triumph.  He embraced his old coach, his teammates, and more importantly, the cries of all those that came to see him once again.  The cheers were for Arsenal my friends, the cheers were for him.

Today’s win was a win for Henry, and yet, as the man who gave much to Arsenal’s glory walked off from the pitch in victory, it begs the question as to what truly constitutes an athlete as a legend.  Is it his work ethic, his victories, his bond with the fans, his feats, or is it his loyalty?  Those are questions reserved for a night at the pub, with ale on the table, food in your belly and your mates gathered ’round, but those are remarks well deserved for a player, a footballer, a man of such stature as Henry.  And no matter what we may say or claim about the beautiful game and its many, legendary exponents, there will always be one player, one man, that is dear to THIS club.  He is daring.  He is insouciant.  He is triumphant.  He is Arsenal.  He is Thierry Henry, and he is, above all else, legend.

Naika Reviews “In The Mood for Love”

Maggie Cheung (L) & Tony Leung (R) in Wong Kar Wai's "In the Mood for Love" (2000).

There’s no other way for me to open up the New Year (aside from moping about football and women) than to discuss film, and as of yesterday, I was completely enthralled by what some individuals consider to be a gem of a film, and that film is Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood for Love (we’ll abbreviate it as ITMFL from this point on).  Atmospheric, elegant, dark and often times subdued, ITMFL is something that deserves to be seen by anyone who considers themselves to be a lover of film.

While already high on my kick of only two of Wong’s films, the dreamy Chungking Express and the ever-wondrous Fallen Angels,  I was determined to see out all of what I didn’t get to finish on my initial viewing of ITMFL years ago on the IFC channel, and it was well worth it.  Set in 1960s Hong Kong, ITMFL tells the story of two neighbors, Chow Mo-wan (played with ease by Tony Leung) & Su Li-zhen (played by the ever-gorgeous Maggie Cheung, who, by the way, is miles apart from the ditz I saw in Police Story), who slowly realize that their respective spouses are having an affair with each other.  From there, the two of them gradually begin to form a friendship consisting of Su rehearsing her reactions to her husband’s infidelity with Chow, strolls in the streets and pairing up to write martial arts serials in newspapers, all the while promising to each other that neither one would indulge in the infidelities that their partners have.

While it may seem to be a simple idea of a love story to some, the beauty of this film lies in its execution, which is where Wong’s work really shines.  The use of repetition and slow moving shots gives the viewer a sense of how time passes between our two would-be lovers, who both give subtle and nuanced performances of characters who yearn for love without compromising their ideals.  Special attention has to be paid to Maggie Cheung, whose every expression and gesture, from the flash of her eyes to the movement of her body as she strolls with a new, vibrant cheongsam, is more evocative than any line of dialogue.  Tony Leung impresses as always with a debonair yet tortured demeanor as he portrays a journalist who edges closer and closer to the woman he grows to love, all the while trying his hardest to bury it.  In addition, the film’s score lends itself to the drama as “Yumeji’s Theme” gravitates our two characters closer and closer to each other in slow grace.  Couple all of this with some amazing cinematography from Christopher Doyle & Lee Pin Bing and what you have here is a certified masterpiece.

Nuanced and subdued, ITMFL is Wong Kar Wai’s love letter to the lovelorn, an ode where every glance and gesture between our two protagonists is a window into their intentions and desires.  With a breathtaking balance of both art and drama, ITMFL is a lurid study of loneliness and longing, illustrating the notion that in some cases, the silence and space shared between two people can create a bond that is tighter than what any ring or vow could create.