Archive for January, 2012|
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 26, 2012 by admin in Popular MediaThursday, January 26th, 2012
If you’ve never died, done hallucinogenic drugs, had an out of body experience, or been in a serious car crash, you may have trouble connecting with the film “Enter the Void”. I’ve done pretty much all of those things, so this may be one of my favorite films in a decade.
If you’ve never died, done hallucinogenic drugs, had an out of body experience, or been in a serious car crash, you may have trouble connecting with the film Enter the Void. I’ve done pretty much all of those things, so in spite of rather mixed reviews, this is probably one of my favorite films in years. I don’t know how I didn’t hear about this film when it came out in 2010, but…ah, scratch that. Clocking in at 2 hours and 41 minutes, and being comprised mainly of visually stunning, meandering shots of Tokyo sex clubs, street scenes, car crashes, swirling colors, and neon landscapes that connect a bunch of vignettes that border on pornographic or feature death, drug abuse, sex, and birth, the film didn’t enjoy a very wide release or much promotion in the states. Which is a shame, because I think – with one trivial criticism – it borders on being a cinematic masterpiece, eschewing tired, 120-page-script-driven storytelling to embrace the amazing tools that film puts at one’s fingertips. I would be willing to bet that this is a film that David Lynch would have wished he could have made, which for many, of course, would be a solid argument AGAINST the idea that it might be a masterpiece. In any case, while reading negative reviews one thing you’ll consistently notice is that the reviewer will say incredibly thick-headed, entertainment-biased things about plot development, acting skills, or their frustration with the length or having to view the back of the central character’s head more than they’d like. As a film lover since childhood, reviews like this simply affirm to me that this is indeed a great film; if you’re not pissing someone off, you’re probably doing it wrong. And director Gaspar Noé does it right in this film, managing to tell a textured, multi-layered story that is only simplistic – or “puerile” as one critic put it – if you’re too stupid or impatient or lazy to grasp what is being explored. The “plot” is launched by the main character Oscar’s introduction to the The Tibetan Book of the Dead as he starts a drug trip, and then is presumably killed. The ensuing two hours are a journey through life, death, base human experience, beauty, love, loss, and more, brilliantly told with little dialogue. Most of the film is a seamlessly connected series of mostly overhead shots as you journey from interior to interior, to the night streets of Tokyo, to strange “other worlds” of light and sound, and to flashback scenes from childhood. Thanks to remarkable implementation of boom shots, helicopter shots, handheld, CGI, lighting effects, and even tilt-shift-like focus effects, it’s impossible to tell – and therefore not disruptive to the flow – when one or another is being utilized. The stunning visuals are lent much of their effectiveness and seamlessness by some of the most brilliant sound design I’ve ever experienced. Arguably one of the most overlooked apects of creating film as art, Enter the Void’s “soundtrack” is on par with films like 2001 in terms of sound as an integrated part of stoytelling, which is probably not a coincidence – apparently Gaspar Noé saw 2001 at the age of seven, inspiring him at that point to become a filmmaker. If you’re interested in the technical aspects of how the film was made, there’s a detailed summary on Wikipedia. But I honestly wouldn’t recommend reading much about the plot, the technique, or the critical reception – I’ve said far too much here. The film just left enough of an impression on me that I had to spread the word. I personally saw the film after seeing nothing more than the image below. I somehow knew instantly that the film had something I needed to experience, and I was not disappointed. If you decide to check it out, just make sure you actually have the time and space to enjoy the film – it’s not for the impatient, and is as long and ponderous as it is brilliant. Read the rest of this entry »
Including a simple recipe for self-destruction: one part MPAA, one part RIAA, one part Washington, and three parts greed and ignorance.
I’m sorry movie and music industries, that you’re so goddamn stupid that since you can’t figure out how to make money with one of the greatest technological achievements in human history, you want to destroy it. No really. I feel bad that the mostly white, fatass males that run a multi-billion dollar industry that pays most of the hardworking working people struggling to get into it a pittance in comparison to their own incomes can no longer lounge in ease by the pool with a bevy of hookers. I’m also sorry that after buying Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl, cassette, and compact disc, that I copied it a few times for friends and personal use, and I’m sorry that after buying the “theatrical release” and multiple “director’s cuts” of Blade Runner on VHS and DVD, a friend gave me a copy of the Blu Ray version. Hang me. I’m sorry that when confronted with the terrible loss of revenue you’ve created with your own fucktardedness, the only solution you see is to grease the already slippery palms of Washington and lose even MORE money on doomed strategies. Because you know what? This little soup you’ve been cooking, this “SOPA DE MIERDA” as I like to call it, is probably going to be the last dish of crap you try to serve us. You see, there’s this OTHER recipe for entertainment we can ingest, and it’s been simmering nicely for a while now. It’s called INDEPENDENTLY PRODUCED MEDIA. We have the same tools you have now, and aren’t as greedy as you are. We can make more money than you ever paid us DOING IT OURSELVES. I mean, aside from all the great indy bands and films that have sprung up triumphantly in the wreckage of your business model, there’s USER GENERATED CONTENT. Let’s face it. Who wouldn’t rather watch funny cat videos for a hundred twenty seconds than watch crappy retreads like Cars 2, The Hangover 2, and a Conan the Barbarian remake for a hundred twenty MINUTES? Watching most of the movies your hallowed industry churns out these days is like a weirdly recursive cinematic bulimia, where one is forced to eat and re-eat the same meal over and over. I’m sorry, movie and music industries, when you’ve completed your grandiose acts of self-destruction, I won’t miss you.
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 13, 2012 by admin in Editorial & OpinionFriday, January 13th, 2012
Call me old fashioned, but I think this debate was framed all wrong.
Let’s face it. LOTS of things may have
contributed to this despicable act.
I’m so (ahem) relieved that world leaders have finally taken a stance on that whole peeing on corpses thing. Afghan leader Hamid Karzai’s heart seems to be in the right place; I think most of us would agree with his assessment that peeing on dead people is wrong. And I guess it was pretty big of the Taliban to not take offense over the whole affair, but I imagine that whatever public statements were reported by the press omitted the part at the end where the spokesman muttered “Hell. We do it to YOUR guys ALL THE TIME”. Call me old fashioned, but to me the weirdest part about the global dialogue about the appropriateness of urinating on the dead was the way it was framed in the first place. I mean sure, pissing on someone – whether they’re alive OR dead – is just plain rude. But isn’t it even RUDER to KILL them? So there’s that. But having accepted that you’re going to put a bunch of men in killing suits, and then having trained them for several years to get into a calculated frenzy to kill OTHER guys in killing suits, what do you expect? Imagine you’re one of these soldiers. You’ve just spent months in the desert with a small band of comrades who are the only thing between you and certain death at the hands of ANOTHER small band of comrades – whose biggest ideological difference with you is really just that they want to kill you – and you finally achieve the goal. Which is of course not getting killed, and often involves killing the other guy in terrifying night time conflicts where half the time you’re more worried about not getting your family jewels blown off by an IED, or not killing your pals in the dark by accident than anything else. Face it. A person is pretty pent up and stressed out at this point, and has been driven beyond any sense of rational human behavior. What are they supposed to do? Re-enact some cheesy scene from an old war movie, and hold the guy dying in his arms while he says something quotable for his Wikipedia page? The absurdity of this whole debate about peeing on dead soldiers led to a heated argument with a friend of mine. We were talking about warrior conventions, and he said something about how Klingons – the quintessential expression of the warrior spirit in Star Trek films – would probably find few things more dishonorable than urinating on their dead comrades. I pointed out that there were numerous incidents in the Star Trek sagas that specifically highlighted the Klingon’s lack of concern for what was done with their lifeless bodies. But then my friend asked “In any of these instances, was someone trying to PEE ON THEM?” I had to concede on that one. If you know a Trekkie who can answer that question with any authority, drop us a line. But in the meantime, I have an idea that will help avoid the sticky question of whether or not it’s appropriate to pee on someone after you kill them. How about we don’t kill each other in the first place. And heck, for good measure, let’s also just generally agree to not pee on each other either. Unless of course it’s someone like Kim Jong Il, who – now that his body will be lying in state for ETERNITY – stands a pretty good statistical chance of getting peed on. Which reminds me for some reason of the video below Read the rest of this entry »
[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 3, 2012 by admin in Lifestyle & CultureTuesday, January 3rd, 2012
If we’re all expecting the end of the world as we know it, we might as well plan the new one.
Okay, we’ve all had our fun pondering the end of life as we know it this year. I even took a humorous stab at it just the other day. I guess we needed to get it out of our systems again. I mean, it’s been over ten long years since the last time we got all nutty about the impending apocalypse. Personally, I’m of the opinion that this yearning for a dramatic end of the world scenario is driven largely by the collective unconscious guilt of the human race. On the one hand, the guilt that wealthy elites unconsciously feel, knowing that the tablet device their ten year old is watching Disney movies on as they fly to a tropical retreat was made by the cracked and bleeding fingers of ANOTHER ten year old, half a world away. A ten year old that gets paid a dollar a day so that the company that made the tablet can “retain the talent” of the overpaid CEO that was largely responsible for taking that dollar-a-day kid’s crappy job away from some former middle class American because they got paid 20 times more for it. And on the OTHER hand, the collective guilt fueled by the laziness and apathy of that same former middle-class American, who didn’t vote, didn’t pay attention while their country got gutted by robber barons, and instead sat around ordering out for pizza and watching “reality TV” and cable news while their home got repossessed and the cost of education skyrocketed so high that their kids will be doomed to the same second-rate first-world life that they are. Do I sound cynical? I’m not. In fact, I figure if we DO finally have to face the end of the world this year, that just means we have opportunities to create a new one. And the ball is already in motion. From the recent massive protests in Russia, to the Occupy, Tea Party, and “think local” movements in America, to the “Arab Spring”, regular people all over the world are demanding a better world. I think we can make one. How about you? Below is my starter wish list. Feel free to chime in or tell me what an idiotic Utopian I am. Read the rest of this entry »