I thought I was capturing a droplet of rain caught in a leaf in a photo but it turns out I was capturing myself inside a droplet of rain caught in a leaf in a photo. That about sums up my head going into the New Year.
I’ve been away in Florida and Texas visiting family for the holidays, so I’m super late in wishing y’all a very Merry WhateverYouCelebrate. This was one of my best Christmases ever, because I got to spend it with family. My daughter was on cloud nine the entire time. You would think, having received a year’s worth of toys and whirling doodads and colormethises, Maya would be sated but no, she only wants more. You would also think I could resist her wants but… dat face. Today is New Year’s Eve so I guess you can expect a post about that in March.
I hope wherever my inu-tachi are, you’re safe, warm and with people you love.
The message, delivered by the generically British woman who sounds like my GPS, is clear, “It’s up to you to make the future,” because Disney is done dreaming for you lazy assholes.
And now we don’t even have Jeremy Irons, who was a step down from Walter Kronkite, to deliver the doomsaying.
When I was a kid, Spaceship Earth, the symbol of Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center and a giant golfball-shaped ride through the creepy mannequin history of mankind, was oddly inspiring. Sure, its out-dated vision for the future which involved deep sea living, and singing happy birthday to grandpa from a space station outpost via videophone was hokey… but at least it was something. Where once Spaceship Earth, sang to me of Tomorrow’s Child and dazzled me with visions of an international space station that promised a future beyond our Earth, now it’s a silent tomb.
Any future mankind may have dreamed of is gone, beaten back by fiscal reality. A reality in which NASA has stopped doing stuff and the seas are terrifying, stuffed full of killer giant squids. I almost wish we’d been eradicated as a species so that the Epcot of my childhood stood where this cynical and bitter one stands now. At least the aliens who found us a million years from now would have the impression that we hoped for something, anything better.
In ONLY GOD FORGIVES, Nicholas Winding Refn finally grows so disinterested in dialogue (and words in general) that he steals the remote and lowers the volume for the viewer, instead turning up his tunes to drown out whatever’s being said. Because.. who cares what’s being said? Talk is cheap and full of self serving lies. Everything that needs to be said can be said with a fist or in lieu of that, dead, leering eyes. It’s a technique that grows wearisome, but through repetition eventually builds an honest and brutal power. Gosling here as Julian makes his DRIVE character look positively chatty by comparison, but even he is out quieted by Thai police enforcer, Chang, whose cruel judgements are written with a razor sharp blade. It’s because so much of the character is hidden below the icy surface, that when Chang sings for a gathering of stony faced officers, the sudden warmth of his voice becomes as intimate as a prayer. Julian has only one scene where we see any real expression of his constipated emotion, and in just one screamed command “Take it off!,” we understand him completely and actually sympathize with a character who up until that point wes inscrutable.
So silence truly is golden. However, at the rate Refn is losing words, I expect the next screenplay to just say, “Ryan Gosling looks on” for every scene.
My friend Jojo sent me this link to a snippet from an interview with Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman himself) in which he discusses the remastering of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse for its blu-ray release. The gist: The Christmas Special was shot on film with effects added to the dubbed tapes. So, they now are going back in and essentially re-editing the whole thing and relaying in effects. Prepare ocular sensors for incoming eyegasm.
Personally, as a child, I found the show terribly frightening. Like all good 80s kitsch entertainments, it sat on a thin line between candy-colored dreamscape and grotesque nightmare zone.
This is pretty neat but a traffic light beaming you wi-fi is something of a mixed signal, no? Also, smirking kudos to the graphics guy that added the vertical THE MATRIX scrolling binary code to help illustrate that, yes, data was being transferred. If only the real light could duplicate that retro feel.
It’s hard to say how I felt about UPSTREAM COLOR, the new-ish film by Shane Carruth in which a woman pieces her life back together after, get this, being force fed a worm that allows a criminal to hypnotize her and steal her wealth and security. It also has a pig farmer/worm harvester who has a side business doing foley work for film and TV. If you’re like me, you’ll think he’s an allegory for God at some point. In fact, you’ll think everything is a something something for something else right up until you realize that it’s not. You’re meant to take pretty much everything at face value.
There’s an FAQ all about it here that explains the film’s complex systems that, somehow, I was not privy to as an actual viewer of said film. LOL. Some of these ideas you might be able to make a leap of faith to, but for the most part I’d say, they simply aren’t manifest in the film I watched.
Which is odd to say because on the one hand, the film was weirdly comprehensible. On the other, defiantly impenetrable. Most puzzling of all is a love story between two people I was convinced were really mental patients dreaming the whole thing up.
At least it was different and beautiful. Truth be told, isn’t something something a something something for something something after all?
Wanna get angry?
Read this: AFFLUENZA
I just want to say that this may be the best title of any blog posting I have ever done. Let’s all bask in my cleverness for a moment. Ahhhh.
Now, back to anger. I’m not one to shout, “off with his head!” at every offense I read about. In the case of an underage drunk driver, I lean more toward second chances than I do to dead ending someone so early in life. 10 years of probation with counseling and check-ins, that seems a tad too lenient but not outside what I’d be willing to nod in agreement to if it were wrapped in honest remorse.
It is not.
Instead what we’ve got is the usual blame-shifting razzle dazzle of fancy high-priced lawyers and a judge who ate it up with a spoon, a silver spoon perhaps. The most loathsome word to surely be added to the Oxford English dictionary next year is here: AFFLUENZA or the “I’m too rich to be guilty” defense. It sickens me.
As the article notes in a quote from Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University,
“There are families where very, very few limits are set at a time when they should be,” she said. By age 16, she noted, it’s too late: “The horse is out of the barn.”
To that I say, if that’s all you got, maybe it’s time to put down the horse? Or at least hold those who reared it responsible for its actions.
How fantastic is Amy Acker as Beatrice in Joss Whedon’s literally homegrown adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing? She’s boozy, belligerent, powerfully sexy and each syllable from her mouth is filled with longing. She crackles. I’ve never understood the character as much as I do in this film. I swear that every time I watch a performance of Shakespeare, I come away with some new understanding of the bard and am unduly surprised by this. Were I in a scene with these characters in whose mouths are delicately set floral arrangements of varying temper and tone, I would no doubt be a dullard amongst them cud-chewing posies.
The take away from this: I need to see more Shakespeare.
My review of the PS4 indie puzzle game, TINY BRAINS is up over at This Is Infamous. An excerpt:
There’s a formula which is essential to the enjoyment of Spearhead Games’ four player indie co-op puzzle action game, TINY BRAINS. It goes like so:
You + A Free Saturday Afternoon + Tiny Brains + 1 or more friends on a couch = CRAZY FUN.
Deviate at all from that formula and you risk downgrading to SORTA FUN or PASSABLY FUN.
We dug it (AND YOU SHOULD TOO!)