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January 29th, 2009

03:43 pm: huh.
This is interesting. I don't think I worked up a post about it here, but I remember going to see BABYLON A.D. and walking away horrified by the implications of and dumbness in it, and then picking up the book it was based on - BABYLON BABIES - and being horrified all over again once I'd realized how much the novel was torn to shreds and turned awful.

So it's rather nice to know that was never Diesel or Kassovitz's intention, now. But it's painful to realize just how horribly 20th Century Fox screwed over what could have been a seriously fucking amazing movie, and instead turned it into something awful and ugly and repulsive - and that I never even knew it had intended to be anything else.

I don't know, though; Kassovitz made GOTHIKA and it wasn't very good, either, and he blamed that on studio interference, too. It's entirely possible what BABYLON A.D. would have been still wouldn't have held up well. His track record in English-language cinema isn't very encouraging.

But from his quotes, it's clear he understood the point of the book better than the movie that bears his director's credit would indicate, so in this case I have to say he's right to be pissed because he's probably telling the truth about the movie. Which is just plain depressing to think about - if BABYLON A.D. had been done even halfway decently, it would have been one hell of a trip, and at the very least thought-provokingly weird. Which is close enough to the spirit of the book - a bizarre melange of politics, religion, economics, metacommentary, philosophy, cutting-edge science and dimestore pulp action wrapped around a juicy treatise on the rottenness of the idea of a "just war" - that anything done to screw up the plot would have been forgivable.

Instead, we got half-naked nubile teenagers trying to get in the pants of mercenaries at least three times their age, as well as all sorts of magic-pregnancy awfulness, some violence, and very little else. Compared to what might have been, that's just pathetic.

January 28th, 2009

05:42 pm: in the war on flame
This is about tone.

Hold still.

This is going to hurt a bit.

It might even (gasp!) leave scars.

Funnily enough, I don't much care if it hurts. I've carried scars from this kind of thing most of my life, and I live with their presence every day. If you get hurt because of what I have to say, I don't much care, because these are scars that hurt me always, in ways you will never understand.

understand that it's here that i'm coming from )

You don't fight fire by being nice to it. You hit it with water. And you make a little smoke in the process, but it kills the fire.

And killing the fire is the only important part, when the fire's already eating your skin.

So fuck off already about tone.

January 24th, 2009

12:53 pm: It occurs to me that I am so terribly quiet here because I haven't nearly as active an flist as I'd like to have; I am pathetically easy to spur onto activity when I have lots of people being active near me already, and lack of constant information for me to devour means I get quiet real fast.

(There is also RL to consider, but!)

So. In the interests of maintaining my interest: are there any people, oh flist, that you think I ought to have friended here on IJ that I, for whatever reason don't?

I know there's usually a friending meme that goes around for this, but as I missed it last time and I would feel incredibly self-conscious trying to host one of those on my own, I'm just gonna keep this quiet and simple: anyone I ought to be reading but am not? Any asylums I ought to join that I'm not in?


12:13 am: [info]cmshaw made me do it!
that icon meme )

also, i have been (re)watching BUBBLEGUM CRISIS TOKYO 2040. )

January 19th, 2009

10:46 pm: addendum to "notes from the underworld":
Oh, look, Chi's not my friend anymore. I wonder why.

Funnily enough, I don't much mind! I wonder why.

(Perhaps it has something to do with my utter disgust at her entire behavior in response to what I thought was a reasonable fucking plea for people to consider that if they're willing to research string theory and kelpies in their stories they should be willing to research real people, too; perhaps it has something to do with her telling PoC their experiences don't matter to her. Or perhaps it's really because two-thirds of the way into the discussion, she thought saying "I wasn't paying attention" was a suitable apology.

(Fucking hell. I never expected this shit to come from one of my friends. I feel ashamed of myself.)

January 18th, 2009

04:51 am: bsg 4x13 'sometimes a great notion'
i'm not awake enough to register anything other than OH GOD, THE AGATHON FAMILY IS THE CUTEST THING EVER.

this episode was really bleak! but i liked it. even the parts i want to punt with a steel pole.

oh man, i missed the days of this show being able to rip my heart out like that was something i needed.

January 17th, 2009

12:27 am: notes from the underworld
Full disclosure: I wrote, and posted, this on my LJ first. Much of the discussion is happening there, on LJ. But this is something I feel strongly about, and suited to the goals of both journals - and I'm reposting it here.

I find it really fascinating, and by "fascinating" I mean incredibly disheartening, that in the recent discussion on race and racism in fiction of all kinds, when well-intentioned, smart, thoughtful white folks get up and say "no, you know, I thought I got it right but in listening, I clearly got it wrong" and these are, again, smart, thoughtful people, that barely two comments in other white people jump on them and say "YOU HAVE NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR THESE MINORITIES JUST WANNA WHUP SOMEONE FOR BEING WHITE".

Because that's really what it boils down to, and it's horrifying and upsetting to me. Because, you know, these people reflect back on me. These are my people, as horrifying as that is to acknowledge: I'm white, and no matter how out-there I get on other issues (and this isn't about one kind of privilege being more important than others, except for how in this situation, because we're discussing it in this situation, racist privilege very clearly is) I will go to sleep white, I will wake up white, tomorrow I will eat and breathe being white, I will be white till the day I die and nothing is going to change my cultural context and privilege.

I cannot be something besides that. I cannot magically score points for being non-racist and have this somehow negate my being white. This isn't even about scoring points, because it can't be, that's like saying privilege is a, I don't know, basketball game where the object of the game is to prevent the other team from calling foul when you're constantly punching them in the stomach, and I don't think it works that way.

The point is, nobody writes what they know. Even when they're writing self-inserts, because even Terry Goodkind writes about crack like evil chickens and do you think Goodkind's ever met a chicken that he hasn't bought in a grocery store aisle pre-cooked, half-price, southwest rub? The worst thing that happens when somebody writes something they don't know about (again, to use Goodkind as an example) people call them on it, make fun of them for it, wonder how their editor ever thought they could get away with it, or feel so insulted that they, well, write scathing reviews about it.

So, to all those other white authors who feel like this in any way actually limits their ability to write (and I've been there, honey, I know how you feel, but that doesn't mean you're any less wrong for buying into that nonsense):

Congratulations, your words are no longer your own. That's terrifying, isn't it? To realize that someone who isn't you could be reading those words and - gasp! - forming opinions about them that don't agree with what you intended to say!

No, it really isn't; because outside of a few cases and even those are borderline, when writers publically release their stories they are not doing so with the intent that only they will read their stories now that their stories exist where other people can see. They are waiting for someone else.

And, if you're a writer, you ought to realize by now that whoever that "someone else" is going to be, chances are pretty high that someone isn't going to be you.

They're not going to eat the same food you do, they won't walk the same roads as you, they won't necessarily speak the same first language, they won't share all or any of the same cultural signifiers, they will not be you.

And, here's the rub: you're not really writing about things you know, but eventually you're going to have to write about something they know, and if you get it wrong they'll notice. This is a natural part of writing stories. This is why editors and friends exist, so you can get their advice first - and, you know, unless you live under a rock, your editors, your friends, your family of any kind? They are also not you. Your editor will use a red pen, your friends will punch you, but in the end, it's all the same: they'll tell you you done fucked it up if, in fact, you done fucked it up.

And if they don't? If they miss something? (Because people are not each other and not everyone notices the same things, after all.) Then where's the fault in a fan, a stranger who wants to do nothing more than express an interest in your work, pointing out what they missed? Where's the fault in doing a little research to make sure you're not missing everything? Where's the fault in realizing that what you thought would work can't, and having to change something? Doesn't that happen anyway? At least in a situation like this you'll have an idea of where to start! (Hint: it starts by asking about the thoughts of people who aren't you! How shocking a concept! Writers must never do anything so abhorrent as reach out to other people! That would be, I don't know, limiting! Somehow!)

You're not writing yourself. You're not writing for yourself. You're writing for other people. Why are you so afraid of finding out how they think?

(And, to all the non-white, minority, often-invisible, unnoticed, half-tongued readers and writers out there:

Say it. You've got the right, even if we - and, by now, I think it's clear what "we" means, so I'm going to use it here - try and tell you you can't, even if the words we use have years of privilege and power and control behind them, you should not need our permission to stand up and say: "you fucked up, you're wrong, I wanted to see me and you gave me you instead," because at the end of the day, writers aren't writing for themselves.

We write for, and about, other people.)

Both parts of that - "other people" are important. We're not writing for ourselves. And we're not writing about objects of interest - we're writing about people, with different lives and different influences and different cultures that are not going to be our own.

Fuck, the non-white writers get this. They grew up reading about people who aren't them. They grew up hearing, all the time, about heroes and heroines and sidekicks who aren't them. They get that writing is about other people - other people, written, is pretty much all some of them ever got to see when they were kids!

Congratulations, your words are no longer your own. I said that earlier in this spiel, but they might mean something different to you now. Think about that, in the context of growing up with a skin color that ain't white and speaking one language in your house and having to learn English to speak anywhere else.

And if you think that kind of thinking is too hard, well.

Fuck you, you racist little shit.

October 21st, 2008

10:02 pm: fsdlsaal; yuletide nominations, omg!
I. I have never done Yuletide before and that's because I've never actually been able to uh. Complete anything over 1000 words that wasn't an essay of some kind, or related to fandom RP.

But as I've recently learned not to fear the giant grim reaper of sliiiiightly longer fic lengths than I'm used to (I blame it on hanging out with people like Dele, Claire, and Alison for too long), I decided I would ... give it a shot? Just once. If I can do it, I might consider doing it again! If not, well, ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff, at least I tried right?

So we'll see! Here are my om nom nom noms:

1. Grandia II
2. Gundam Wing (anime)
3. Mai-HiME (anime)
4. Mai-Otome (anime)
5. Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3
6. Top o Nerae 2! Diebuster (anime)

(For the record, RuroKen apparently isn't a rare enough fandom for Yuletide this year, but P3 is - despite their respective levels of fannish activity distinctly trending the opposite. I do not ask why it is so, but I will console myself over the loss of being able to write RuroKen by knowing that someone, somewhere, out there, is going to get to read a story from me about P3. I think that's a fair trade, somehow.)

And I'm going to steal the format here from [info]lcsbanana, since it just works so well:

Nobody Will Write This For Me, Ever
Mai-HiME (the chief motivation behind me even trying to do Yuletide, at all, this year - I know it's hopeless, but oh, I still hope - and if a story from this fandom shows up when the submissions go live, I do believe I've just ruined my chances at anonymity forever, because it's probably going to be mine), Grandia II (secondary motivation, sob), Diebuster (nobody loves me ;_;)

I Can Write 1000 Reasonably Darn Good Words of This in Under Six Hours If Necessary
Gundam Wing (not that I do it that often, because I usually don't have the time), Mai-Otome (not. that. hard)

May Be Declared Ineligible Next Week
Persona 3 (if it's not, it'll only slip by because the fandom focuses on RP more than it does fic), Gundam Wing (inactive fandom, maybe; rare, hell no)

I Cannot Possibly Write This But Someone Might Very Well Write It For Me and That Would Be Marvelous
Diebuster (yes, that's a contradiction; no, it makes perfect sense if you've seen the series)

I May or May Not Offer This Depending How Much I Hate Myself During Signups
Mai-Otome (also a contradiction; also perfectly goddamn sensible to anyone who's tried watching it), Lovecraft (that much superfluous prosy might damage my head, among other things)

People Who Ought to Be Ashamed of Themselves
--I gotta say, LC had the right idea here: whoever nominated IRON MAN movieverse as a rare fandom deserves to have their head examined. (Also, SUPERNATURAL definitely doesn't qualify and anything related to DOCTOR WHO probably shouldn't after the first four Doctors.)

September 26th, 2008

06:50 pm: there are about seven separate posts in this post.
But I decided to consolidate, so:



3. On the start of HEROES s3 (spoilers, obs): )

4. On the shutdown of MINX: )

And, on Ragnell's probably unintentional prompting ...

A musing on what might have been )

5. A word from Deerhoof, one of my favorite bands in the world, regarding Obama: )

6. And, finally, a dose of complete fucking outrage, posted outside a cut because everyone needs to know to avoid these fuckers like the plague:
There is an indie-rock band currently making waves in the pop-culture press.

Name of The Muslims.

Every single member of the band is a white college graduate.

When asked about their name, the lead singer said, "we thought it sounded cool, it's just a name."

Supposedly, he then fucked a narwhal horn as a way to demonstrate his cultural sensitivity.

September 18th, 2008

06:32 pm: fuck yes!
GENIUS landed a winning slot in the second PILOT SEASON contest.


Att'n. everyone who said "this comic isn't relevant to a larger audience": stick that in your pipe and smoke it, fuckface.

(In case it wasn't obvious, I'm pleased by this news.)

September 14th, 2008

11:52 am: still here.

I've been more busy elsewhere, but overall, RL and school beginning again have kept me sufficiently busy that most of my time's been spent engaging in other people's conversations, rather than having some of my own.

I'm supposed to be writing two papers and a speech and finishing a design project right now, as a matter of fact. I'll get back to that in a moment.

Right now, I'm wondering about GENIUS and Rodney King and white misapprehension of police racism (see also, the old song and dance about "this used to be such a nice neighborhood (until those black/hispanic/colored people moved in)"); I'm wondering about BLEACH and female characters (Rukia, the female Visoreds, Rangiku, Karen, Tatsuki, Orihime ... on the one hand they're amazing, on the other hand that excuses Kubo Tite's breast fetish ... not much at all, dammit, what the fuck?); I'm wondering about BLEACH, AIR GEAR, TENJHO TENGE, and TOKYO TRIBES and how Japanese mangaka approach POC representationally (do characters like Kaname, Buccha, Bob, Chad, etc. function as exceptions to the otherwise still-very-informed-by-colonialist-minstrelsy-portrayals comprehension and appropriation of POC in Japanese popular media, or not?); I'm wondering how reliant musical media fandom is on interpreting "stage gay" as representational of potential "real" feelings for the sake of telling fictional stories, and whether or not it's justifiable to treat those "performances" as real in constructing personal fannish narratives and where to draw such a line in the first place; I'm wondering about CODE GEASS and narrative construction (does an author achieving their "intent" affect enjoyment of a series, or can the experience of "frustrated intent" inform a series' future value in different but no less valid forms? --cf. "serious" vs. "comedic", high/low, etc., and the role of absurdity as a function in postmodern art - does this apply to R2 or not?).

But I will have to hold off on pursuing these thoughts much further, as - well - I have papers to write and projects to finish. Hopefully they'll see some sort of polished form eventually.

July 13th, 2008

09:09 pm: consider/compare:

The Houses of Mystery and Secrets, from the eponymous series, SANDMAN, et al.

Tartarus, in PERSONA 3, and Yukiko's Castle in PERSONA 4.

Danny the Street, the Insect Mesh, more precisely the Pentagon Horror, in Morrison's DOOM PATROL.

Mystery Architecture; labyrinths; abysses of human dreams and nightmares and inhuman loves.

I keep trying to form thoughts on this but I can never seem to get anywhere with it; all I know is something fits, here, something important, but I just can't find the right words to say it yet.

July 2nd, 2008

08:40 pm: thoughts on WANTED
Because I think I'm cute, allow me to mangle Shakespeare: "I come not to bury WANTED, but to defend it." (Before you ask: yes, I know what the line means in context.)

For those of you who've read it, I have a single question to ask:

Did you, when finished with the comic, have any desire whatsoever to live in a world where people like Wesley Gibson had control?

If you, like me, finished the book and answered to the above question, "No, no, hell no, a thousand times no," then (in my opinion; I am not about to seek Millar's words out to find what he thinks was the point) you have discovered the point of the book.

WANTED, the comic, as I see it, has two parallel structures running through it at the same time:

1. Stylized hyperactive superherovillain action movie shenanigans that Millar believes the average white boy middle class comics fanbrat wants to read (and on that score, having looked up online reactions, I am quite certain he was right in his judgment);

2. A barely-veiled screed filled with contempt for the ground said fanbrats walk on and a scathing portrayal of everything that makes it bad, in Millar's eyes.

Does this make the book hypocritical? OH, hell yes.

Does this make the book good? Not really.

What does it make the book? A middle-finger-squarely-up-the-nose attempt to play so-read "superhero" conceits so straight it comes out the other end and becomes a subversion of those values and concepts instead.

It doesn't completely succeed, but from where I'm sitting it was, at least, an interesting effort.

And the end result - the cry, from readers aware enough to register what they've just read, of "This world horrifies me and I never want to experience anything like it again" - is, possibly, worth it, if only because -

and this is just my interpretation of the book's subtextual intent -

The world needs to be a better place, and if it takes someone writing a comic book filled with horrible things to make people galvanized enough to do something about keeping those horrible things from happening, even if the book is shit, maybe it's a little bit worth it.

But with WANTED, an additional specter is raised: a large portion of the audience just thinks it's a bunch of action bits and hot chicks, and the comic itself does a pretty poor job of proving their case wrong.

And that's why it fucks itself up, in the end. "Man cannot serve two masters"; you can't write a book whose only redeeming social impact is measured in the negative - in that WANTED offers no clues on how to better the world, only a vision of what could fuck the world as a way to say "DON'T DO THIS" - and write it so that the very culture you're critiquing spends the entire story having its dick massaged with pretty explosions and ass-shots.

It just doesn't work. It's great as an immature joke, but very little more; and while I can enjoy it on that level, it is still a deeply flawed failure as a story, much less any redeeming kind of entertainment.

It is, however, a good book to keep handy when I need a quick refill of seething, incandescent rage at what passes for comics fandom these days: whatever else you can say about WANTED, it portrays a select population's mindset so faithfully it's almost a religious thesis - warts, misguided (stupid!) rage, racism, sexism, immaturity, and sexual inferiority complex and all. I like having a handy reminder of all the things in comics fandom I despise within my grasp at all times.

So it's good for that.

You could probably poke someone's eye out with the hardcover copy if you swung hard enough, too.

The defense rests.

I don't want to live in Wesley Gibson's world, and neither should you.


June 29th, 2008

01:42 am: random moment of hot: tenten fight 116
I'm not cutting something this pretty. Besides the filesize is not that bad.




Tags: ,

May 31st, 2008

05:23 pm: sukebandeka 3x01 picspam
And now, a brief summary of SUKEBAN DEKA III's first episode.

With pictures.

not dialup friendly in the slightest. a whole lot of 640x480 .jpgs behind the cut. )

NEXT TIME: Kidnapping for Great Justice!


May 29th, 2008

12:30 pm: gip
This is technically my first "fights like a girl" icon. I figured it would have to be justifiably awesome, considering I have made several of these for other people that I then didn't use for myself; also, I have so many icons of girls kicking ass already, the one I was blatant about it with ought to be something special.

So yes. Meet Kazama Yui, the third Sukeban Deka. SUKEBAN DEKA is a title given to a female juvenile delinquent (the "sukeban" of the name) by a shadowy Japanese agency - the kind with plausible deniability and sekrit etc. - who gets hired to work for them and ferret out threats to the Japanese government before they can strike (the "deka" - detective - of the name) . . .

. . . using a compound-metal yo-yo of DESTRUCTION.

So you have a Japanese schoolgirl taking on yakuza (and worse) with a shiny yo-yo of doom.

There's no way this isn't a recipe for awesome, even if most SDs simply beat down on yakuza and corrupt government officials and violent, abusive teachers.

But no, that's not enough for Yui. Yui, you see, gets to fight the Shadow Emperor, an intergalactic force of evil, and his organization of shadow ninja, one of whom happens to be HER FATHER, who she thought was dead of a terrorist bombing, turned to the dark side, and - oh, you thought that was the end of it, didn't you - and, also, the Shadow Emperor's chosen physical representative on Earth is Yui's twin sister who she never knew existed.

On top of this there are doppelgangers, there are monsters, there are lots of the aforementioned shadow ninja, and also, did I mention that the series openly cribs from the original Star Wars trilogy? (Not that you would know this unless it spelled it out for you in the promotional material, because uh. The Star Wars trilogy ain't exactly "unique" in its plot.)

Of course, Yui - with the help of her two older sisters Yuka and Yuma (notice a theme?) - wins. And then she goes on to help the second Sukeban Deka, Yoko Godai, fight off an attempted coup of the government by a former terrorist who now runs a private academy of terror on an island off the Japanese coast. In the process, she WRESTLES A HELICOPTER.

Attempts to, anyway, since the helicopter just kind of drags her along instead of her actually doing anything effective with this. But you know, it's a special sort of person who thinks helicopter-wrestling is a logical course of action in a fight. (Then again, this is also the girl who fired a homemade bazooka made of bamboo at a bunch of hooligans chasing her and thought it was the best idea she'd ever come up with in the first episode, so she's kind of got a reputation for this kind of thing.)

This isn't even counting the second movie she stars in, where she takes on the de facto Japanese government to clear the name of a group of homeless people - and wins.

So, yeah. Yui. She fights like a girl. She's fucking amazing at it. And she does it all dressed like a schoolgirl duplicate of Sonny Chiba from STREET FIGHTER.

I dare you to tell me that's not the most amazing thing you've heard today.

May 28th, 2008

05:58 pm: these words are not my own.
So if you want a bunch of lyrics to read that have been rattling around in my head of late, then click past - otherwise, disregard. First person to guess the throughline gets a cookie.

Matt & Kim, '5k' )

Islands, 'Kids Don't Know Shit' )

Asobi Seksu, 'Thursday' )

The National, 'Apartment Story' )

TV on the Radio, 'Province' )

May 18th, 2008

01:31 pm: Someone convince me not to do this.

Look, it's NOT MY FAULT that the Harkers are tailor-made for gothic-vampire-romance melodrama ......... okay, it kind of IS, but that doesn't mean I don't want to do a story where Sam Harker falls in love with a pretty vampire boy in high school and is torn between his family's quest to rid the world of all vampires, his new boyfriend's inability to control his bloodlust, and his own inability to say that all vampires are good or evil.

It would, logically, end in heartache - literal, on the part of the boyfriend, and figurative, on the part of Sam. Because he would tearfully stake his love to save his BEAUTIFUL SOUL from further damnation, in the end.

And then there would be a family hug. And pancakes. But Sam would never forget his first boyfriend, who made him see such pretty things in the world. :(

(And meanwhile, his irritating little sister Eliza would keep popping up and trying to kill his boyfriend FIRST, right in the middle of makeouts. Terribly inconvenient timing. TERRIBLY.)

May 14th, 2008

09:09 pm: on a less aggravating note: REDBELT
This trailer is a lie. Watch it, then put it out of your mind immediately. It gives away all the wrong things.

REDBELT is an absolutely stunning movie, meticulous and thoughtful and ultimately made more of the gaps where understanding fails and simple action prevails than one would necessarily think David Mamet capable of, given his pedigree and reputation; it is a martial arts movie that is not a martial arts movie at the same time, and I defy anyone to watch the climactic fight and not realize that this - this - is a movie not very interested in the pasts or futures of its characters, but intimately present in their breath and in their beat. This is a movie that ultimately makes itself useless in the most beautiful way imaginable: its final climax is so perfectly executed that even if the rest of the movie had failed to make the central intent clear, by the time it is over the motive force of the film is nakedly apparent to the audience.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and co. are in top form, though it is not a stretch to say that Mike Terry's footsteps pick up almost impatiently where the Operative of SERENITY's left off, completing the journey Ejiofor started in that movie - was he even aware, when he finished SERENITY, that the Operative's searching would lead him, inexorably, into Mike Terry's conclusion?

The main character lives the point of the movie - it isn't about the glitz of it, or the extravaganza, or the adrenaline rush/release - it's about the art of combat. This is a cinematic treatment of why and how this is an art - it is an analysis of what creates "martial arts", not a simple bodily appreciation of it; there are fewer fight sequences than there would be in most movies of REDBELT's ilk, and they are quick, efficient, and smooth, in keeping with the movie's emphasis on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as its driving metaphor. The trailer above, if watched carefully, gives away a great deal of the actual viscera of the fight while sacrificing much of the flow that makes them work on screen. I did say that it gives away all the wrong things, and I meant it.

The only real surprise in the plot and characters is in the method of their execution; if you've seen THE KARATE KID or any of the movies that it stole its plot from, you know how this is going to play out, and you don't need anyone insulting you by pretending the plot is even half original. The what is known; all that the movie does uniquely, really, is the how and why.

In that REDBELT is also far from unique, as the recent trend of arthouse/grindhouse mashups seems to show no signs of slowing; Mamet's vision of the kung-fu flick takes its place beside THE BRAVE ONE, CLOVERFIELD, and several others coming in the not-too-distant future as just a small part of what modern genre cinema is remaking [sic] of itself.

It's taken modern genre cinema twenty years to understand the gift of the grindhouse when married to an actual point: it zeros out all the superfluity of the what, leaving the point of the movie in the details, the hows and whys of its execution. Every angle begins to tell a story; every shift in method foretells a mood.

By eliminating flashy angles and visceral takes, by confining much of the action to long takes and slow, deliberate camerawork, the whole tone of the piece becomes something utterly spellbinding and entrancing, like a delicate, brutal wave of motion that continually ebbs and flows to its own rhythm.

It is a lesson in Zen, both in its abstracted, almost footnoted conclusion and its almost-ephemeral camera direction. I could give you a list of martial arts movies that capture the adrenaline of watching two people beat the crap out of each other better than REDBELT, and you'd be perfectly satisfied with every one; what makes REDBELT unique among them is that it is one of the few that makes even an attempt to accurately portray what it's like to perform the act of combat.

And just as that lightning bolt of enlightenment strikes, it smiles, breathes, and is done, its lesson complete.

09:04 pm: ... wait just a fucking second.
DC/Time Warner object to the use of their copyrighted characters in a fundraising auction, issue takedown notice. Auctioneer complies, however reluctantly, because .......

............... auctioneer was running said fundraiser so he could make enough money to treat his son's cancer.

Way to go, Warner Bros.! I haven't seen a major company fuck themselves so hard in the anus since .... well, ever, to my knowledge, but there must be something I'm not thinking of.

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