Saturday, September 30, 2006

Checking In

It has been pointed out in more than one place, and not necessarily in a glib tone, that "everyone has a blog", and they are as easy as "making your own urine", and about as interesting to outside viewers/listeners/tasters. It has also been pointed out that I'm not particularly rabid or foaming in print, just in person. And finally, those that are also procrastinators point out that it has been a week since I last posted.
This is not to say I have been idle..or even too busy to post.
There have been plenty of include little things like the evisceration of the US Constitution by the executive branch, bombs in mosques, kidnappers and congressmen sexual dalliances, and the voluntary surrender of freedom by my surrogate daughter. On a personal
level, the banning of my Picasa Web Album features pretty highly.
That was a> unexpected, 2> unexplained, and C> frustrating! I have removed the link to that album from my sidebar. This is, of course, not the end of the saga. I have asked for an explanation of why and how to get privileges back, but, it is a bigGooglesphere!
The lack of movie reviews? Well--I saw "Fearless" in the theatre--wonderful--but already reviewed on this blog before release. I have also seen some movies on the big and the small screen, but, as many of you know, I don't write negative reviews.
That is based entirely on not liking things at one time and then liking later on. I am not saying this will happen every time, but on even the worst of movies some people have poured their lives (at least temporarily) into making it. It is wrong to spit a gob of opinion on something like that. Positive energy is at a premium these days.
So a list of movies not reviewed here:
"Bad Guy"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Black Dahlia"
To be reviewed after I finish the last installment, as I am loving it: "Smiley's People".
Keep the faith, I am here to stay.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stratosphere Girl

Review the movie or rebut the reviews? Deconstruct and nullify the obvious "Lost in
comparisons, or highlight the essence of the differences between the two films? What if my loyal following hasn't seen either? Can a loyal follower not have seen "Lost in Translation"? Why can't I find a picture of the main character that captures her beauty on that mysterious series of tubes that Al Gore created without emitting any carbon we call the Internet? Is it appropriate to bury political slams in a movie review? When does the review start?
Point taken.
One line synopsis: Disenfranchised youth takes opportunity in foreign land without research and a confidence in strangers that belies her powers of observation.
Mayhem does not ensue.
The movie burbles along, enchanting us with beauty and camera and music. The stakes do ratchet
up, the passing of time jumbles, but our heroine remains at the center, beguiling the world and irritating her lesser companions with her unintended charm.
The soundtrack was put together by Nils Petter Molvaer, and is well suited to the film. Camera moves constantly, from macro focus through animated fades and cuts--appropriate for a movie centered around the journey of a artist who fancies herself a superhero in a comic book.
Perhaps my only criticism of the film is that a movie narrated by the female lead deserves a female sensibility to the camera. The camera tends to linger on the ladies, which is fine by me, but may alienate those inclined to cry misogyny without validating the power of the image.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Police State Embraced

This will take a bit to get right. Let me outline factors, then connect the dots, then argue my point. These are in no particular order.
1. Email monitoring at federal level without oversight
2. Phone tapping and monitoring without due cause. "terrorism" is not a blanket of due cause
3. Pouring bottled water out before getting on a plane
4. Lawsuits dismissed in the name of National Security
5. Reclassifying public records from 30 years ago to "secret"
6. Random car searches on a weekday on the only highway between Topeka and Manhattan
I work with people that defend these actions as necessary for a secure and functioning country.
These abuses will not stop until the citizens--you and me--leave work and take to the streets.
Have they stopped teaching history? I know the oath of office mentions the
Constitution, and there was even that movie "National Treasure" (yeah, I thought that was a horse too) that shows that we as a people had a backbone once. That our answer to job security wasn't the Great Wall of Mexico, but instead innovation. Our answer to spilled coffee used to be to clean it up, not sue. Planning for retirement used to mean more than buying a lottery ticket every week. Rewriting history, doublespeak, and newspeak were once the province of paranoid futurist authors, now they have their own departments, in every corporation(and the USA Inc). What was our budget for Iraq Propaganda? 20 Million this year? Propaganda used to be synonymous with Wartime Lies, now some of the best paying jobs in journalism are all about spinning, and retouching, and overdubbing footage...
I believe civilizations act like titration in chem class -- the green liquid stays green even as you add the clear drops until that one drop turns the entire beaker red. How will the green of our civilization turning red manifest?
Bio disaster?
Armed lock down?
I do not believe the USA will continue its slow downward slide into a gated community for the 1%...Rome's fall was slow because there was no tech.The "hyperpower" called the United States may be 6th or 7th on the tech ladder, but we still have the nukes--and the zealotry to use 'em.


Matador, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Wasabi, and now Crank. "Action Comedy" I suppose is the genre I am being dragged into, but that's ok, I love it. I don't want to split hairs here, but these are not as easy to pull off as it may seem.
Each of those movies above had the pace, charisma and smarts to leave me pumped rather than bloated when I left the theatre. Each of them had directors willing to push the camera, the actors, and the soundtrack to the roller coaster edge.
I am not talking groundbreaking stuff here, but a smart script leaned out and fed high octane images makes for a satisfying movie experience. Yes, it was too quiet on the Megaplex screen opening night--they need to stop setting volume during the louder trailers. Yes, the theatre was less than half full. Apparently not enough TV advertising.
No TV at my house, it was the trailer that dragged me in--the trailer that also set expectations so low no one thought it would be one of the magic B movies (see list above)and that is a shame. This will be on dvd in October no doubt, but catch it in the theatre, it has big camera.