Archive for June, 2007

The Retarding of Like Words or Something

June 15, 2007

sheep at griffithI’m a fairly young individual so I haven’t been around to really experience tremendous shifts in our culture. Sure there was 9/11, but nothing really changed. I suppose I was around for the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of communism, oh, and the end of the cold war. But none of that really affected me or the reality of my world. Did I really think it was all going to end with the press of a button. At that age I was a bit more optimistic; I probably assumed the Transformers would step in to save the day. I missed the really big ones like Vietnam and the nuclear holocaust when our music and films were shaken by the political times. I don’t think I’ve seen a culture more affected in their art by the devastating effect that the nuclear holocaust had on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki. All that aside I consider myself an observant young individual, taking note of the smaller things, like shifts in style and taste of music, film genres and fashion. Sitting here I imagine a time in which the blue period was the talk of the town and critics alike. Romantic comedies were big a year ago, the blue period was big two centuries ago. That shift is not a cyclical one, that’s a cultural upheaval. That’s not a fad, that’s a phenomenon. But this awareness also extends to the way people represent themselves through speech.

(more…)

The Big Gay Bomb

June 12, 2007

Somebody brought this video to my attention.

It’s really quite astounding what people will come up with when they’re forced to think of any and all solutions they can. Especially when it’s non-lethal war material. Isn’t the idea of war to be lethal…otherwise it wouldn’t be war. I recall the scene in Doctor Strange love, “There is no fighting in the war room!” I guess we can never say that the military or our government doesn’t think out side of the box…or closet.

The news follows up with the usual suspects. Here’s the angry gay person, here’s the gay person who thinks the idea is silly. Here’s the response from the military avoiding the subject, probably because they know the idea is just as silly as we do! Let’s look at the note a little more closely. “One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior.” First, just admire the absurdity of this statement. That would have to be one pretty strong aphrodisiac to cause homosexuality among religious fanatics that like to blow things up. Secondly the word distasteful seems to actually imply that the use of such a weapon or the idea of building such a weapon that could do this would be distasteful, not that the act of homosexuality is distasteful. So the gay people whose arguments they get don’t really have grounds for arguments.

Truly though, it is just absurd.

Movie review from LA June 3 – June 10: “Hostel: Part II”, “Day Watch”, “Ocean’s”, Apatow’s “Knocked Up”

June 12, 2007

Gosh where do I start from this past weekend. I’ve seen 4 very different kinds of films between last Friday and today…Monday. Not only that but I’ve been going through the worst cold I’ve had in 4 years time. My head is swirling with sharply and poorly acted and written characters, dialogue, styles of directing, images of gore, of the fantastical, of 60’s and 70’s throwbacks, of comical and dramatic moments, of brutally hilarious disturbing images, of sexual intercourse (the kind that leads to really bad things). My weekend has been filled with tension and laughs, escapist fun and reality that’s almost too real to want to laugh at, and then reality that’s too real to watch. For one weekend at the movies, that’s a pretty crazy ride. I’m going to start with the most recent seen and perhaps the least favorite moment of the ride.

Being sick there’s that moment when you think you’re done using the bathroom, so you pull away and to your surprise realize that you may not have been done and end up having to wipe off the floor or your leg a little bit. Eli Roth’s “Hostel: Part II” felt like that dribble to me. Or at least parts of it did. Large parts of it. Only instead of cleaning those parts up and flushing them down the toilet with the other bad ideas, Roth kept it to show the world. Thank you Eli! In keeping some of those ideas there’s a certain kind of inspiration that you find in the Hostel films, one lacking in other films of this recently resurrected genre (Saw and it’s sequels). There’s a joy that Eli Roth takes in the carnage, and in that joy you see moments of someone who has the potential to be a really good filmmaker, which means there are moments of”Hostel II” in which we witness a great film, just as there were in the first “Hostel”.

“Hostel” surprised me. It was in fact a film that I intended not to see. It wasn’t until I was thoroughly creeped-out by the very simple teaser for “Hostel II”…

…that I started jonesing to see the first. That same level of psychological fear that I found in the teaser flowed underneath Roth’s surprise hit. Sure, there was gore to be had, but much of it was hidden in the shadows or cleverly built up to, or used to create emotional gravitas. And this is where Roth excels in part II. (more…)

Weekly Movie Update May 23- June 3: Depp, Paprika and Miike

June 4, 2007

As I sit here consciously avoiding any and all dairy so I can finally get over this infernal morphing sinus cold that I’ve had for a month, I’m taking the time to ruminate on the three most effective films I’ve seen this past week. And as different as they are they all tread on similar creative ground, that of the abstract and absurd.

I’ll begin with the experience that I look forward to most throughout the year. Those films that when you walk out of the theatre the world seems just a little more alive than it was when you stepped in. Colors are more vibrant, sounds more distinct and scents more aromatic. The world around you becomes almost hyper realistic. The film is Satoshi Kon’s “Paprika.” I show you this trailer (on the next page) safely knowing that the experience is saved for seeing the film itself.

(more…)