2009/10/31

Sensory Overlap

Today was Halloween and I watched the following films, each by their own right has caused a pause in me; collectively, they have committed me to silence until after I can sort all the information out in my head.



Elizabeth: The Golden Age - (2007) Directed by Shekhar Kapur

Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen



Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - (1941) Directed by Victor Fleming

Starring Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner



Zodiac - (2007) Directed by David Fincher

Starring Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhall, Robert Downey Jr.


An Afternoon with Two French Fries and a Pizza

Pierrot le Fou - (1965) Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani



Une Femme est une Femme - (1961) Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Starring Jean-Claude Brialy, Anna Karina, Jean-Paul Belmondo



Edipo Re - (1967) Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Starring Silvana Mangano, Frano Citti, Alida Valli

Take Me As I Am

...Only then can we discover each other.


On the Mistrial of Moral Judgement

by AE Paulino

Should a person's moral character be judged, if at all, by their internal or external constitution? That is, which behavior dictates whether an individual is deemed "good" or "bad?" Is it the external behavior, that which the individual displays to others, from which these others form an opinion of the individual. Or is it the internal "true colors" of the individual and nothing else that can only account for how a person may be morally judged. Is it what you do or what you feel that counts?


One would assume that what you do is based on what you feel; that would, in fact, be the case if everyone were honest. And it is true that there are honest people and that their behavior can be taken at face value but there are others who, not only put up a false appearance but are so aware of social-moral judgement that they can put up a front right into their graves. It is my belief that an individual can have views that never surface through external behavior, regardless of whether those views are "good" or "bad." You may wish to be romantic and argue that it isn't possible to live with oneself under such pretense--To you I say, you under estimate the social human condition.


Think of small things that you can't stand, for instance a successful band you hate, or a current fashion trend you can't grasp the popularity of. And even though you can't stand these things you decide not to go around and campaign against them. Rather, you just hate them to yourself but never admit it to others. This doesn't mean, necessarily, that you pretend that you are crazy as everyone else over these pop culture landmarks, only that you reserve your opinions to your own internal indiscretion. By changing subjects, politely ignoring, or vaguely agreeing, you steer around any personal output; there is always a way around any subject especially after practice, politicians may attest.


If a person is capable of withholding such trivial feelings, then is it likely a person may also have the build to behave likewise for stronger, further critical views that may impact how others regard the individual morally? I say trivial because ultimately, what does it matter if others know that you do not like Lady Gaga or think H&M to be a cheap brand? But people are strange for strange reasons, and hating Lady Gaga may invite others to feel you're a music elitist or H&M lovers may mistake your comment as snobbishly high maintenance. This may all be in the individual's head but as they say, "your mind is your worst enemy," and once he's locked you in, its very difficult for the outside world to pull you back out.


There is an obsession with fitting in, with not standing out if its not the fashionable way of standing out. There is a pressure that I need not even mention as we are all aware of. I maintain that a person may passionately hold a perspective without external demonstrations that reveal such a perspective, ever. Whether it be a lifelong crush, secret discriminations, hidden fears or joys, an individual may feel just cause for not disclosing any windows from which the external world may judge inwards.


If a person is impatient on the inside but does not reveal this, as they never make a bother of lateness, slowness or procrastination; if they appear understanding and forgiving, thus making the late party comfortable and unaware of their insulting behavior, how could one recognize the individual's impatience? Self conscious of how others look when impatient, resentful of how aggressive and proud others appear when misunderstanding or unforgiving, an individual may personally commit to an effort to avoid appearing as that which the individual finds an unappealing behavior. The question remains, is such an individual impatient? By action? No. However, internally there is a conflict. One is resentful for not being authentic, for grounding their true emotions from flight. A conflict like that may not pose a mortal threat but nonetheless, it can definitely be quite a nuisance. The individual, under such a conflict, is constantly aware of the insincerity of his/her actions, regardless if others are not. If the actions do not match the personal ideas behind those actions, shouldn't the "actor" then be judged by the ideas? If you feel impatient, you are impatient; if you don't, then you are not, despite your performance. Would Love be allowed the same leeway, would you mind at all that internally a person didn't love you, so long as that person never showed their true feelings?


At the same time, how could you know what a person is feeling if they never express it? And with that said, how could you ever truly, morally judge a person by their actions? Sure you can judge if a person is guilty of a crime, if a person has earned an award, or is sick; each of these can be deduced by factual, physical symptoms or evidence of actions but how a person internally feels is solely provided by what that individual chooses to communicate to the external world. That communication provides the evidence but as in a criminal trial, if the evidence is found to be falsified then it becomes insubstantial. We cannot rely on the assumption that everyone is being honest, until telekinesis develops in humans we cannot morally judge another person based on action alone.


Morality itself is a touchy subject, everyone has their own notions of good and bad, right and wrong. I don't think a person should be morally judged at all, morals divide people and shroud understanding by simply labeling and conditioning a behavior. But even if I felt morals were constructive and helpful in the overall evolution of mind expansion, how could I correctly make a moral judgement of an individual without all the facts? Without all the evidence, internal and external. I believe I cannot. Because only when the internal matches the external is the individual an authentic representation of their self and who they really are.


Is it what you do or what you feel that counts? It is what you do with the feelings you feel, what you feel for the things that you do, and if there is conflict between action and emotion then you cannot be judged because that is a coin that lands standing vertically, falling neither heads nor tails. External behavior alone cannot stand without disclosure of the internal sincerity of each act. That is, a patient person who is impatient on the inside is in fact, only pretending to be patient on the outside. Just the same, such a person is patient, because they are practicing patience regardless if they enjoy it or not; however, such a person is not authentically representing their self.


It is complex and human but I don't think it is something to be proud of, this conflict. We should all accept everyone as they are, understand and learn from one another, without fear of having our characters judged. Then we shall realize that when we reach that point where no moral judgement can be made, because we have fully understood one another, because we have become crystal clear as if our bodies were made of glass; there and only there, at that apex where no judgement need be established, thats the only point where moral behavior may validly be judged.

2009/10/30

How I Most Likely Got Brainwashed into Kylie Minogue

This afternoon I saw an old classmate from grade school. Her name, "E." She has a son, I didn't notice the kid since she still had the prettiest smile. We recognized one another and exchanged a smile with a partial nostalgic hand wave. I've seen her a couple of times in the past 2 or 3 years, though its the first time I've seen her son. Its weird because today E looks like a mom, like an adult woman walking her son home from school but when she smiles I see her at about her son's age back in first grade in 1988.


I had a few crushes in grade school, E was never one of them but I always thought she was pretty. In first grade we sat at the same table. One day I thought I'd cheat on my writing exercise, we were suppose to work on our letter Ts, so I figured to make things easier I'd write out a series of vertical lines, like a bunch of lower case Ls and then in one long stroke, I'd pass a horizontal line through all the lower case Ls to transform them into crossed Ts. Of course when Mr. Cohen made his rounds and came upon my desk he didn't find it as clever as I did, in fact, he said I had to do it over. E and the other girl at our table thought the humiliating correction to be hilarious. I wasn't too fond of either girl much after that.


I also remember that E had a thing for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack as well as Locomotion by Kylie Minogue. Everyday after recess, Mr. Cohen had us lay our heads down and he'd play music for ten to fifteen minutes, whenever E got to pick the playlist it was a sure bet, Hungry Eyes, Time of my Life, and/or Locomotion. E was a dark puerto rican girl with long dead black hair, she looked like a native american princess dressed like a mini Molly Ringwald.


Mr. Cohen by the way always reminded me of Tom Hanks.

2009/10/28

Young Women, Marriage, and the Men They Drive Wild

The Other Boleyn Girl - (2008) Directed by Justin Chadwick

Starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana


Father wants daughters to bed prince.


I enjoyed a few things about this movie, Natalie Portman, the subject, and the costumes. Out of the three I mentioned, the last one left the biggest impression. The wardrobe was really detailed and looked really good in the film, so was the lighting, many scenes looked as if Vermeer himself was commissioned as set designer.


I felt really bad for Mary, people say Scarlett is a bad actress but she's all right when in the right role, Ms. Johansson gave Mary an inexperienced vulnerability that worked really well on screen.



Take Her, She's Mine - (1963) Directed by Henry Koster

Starring James Stewart, Sandra Dee, Audrey Meadows,

Robert Morley


Father wants daughter away from all men, even princes.


Fun Comedy, Jimmy Stewart as a over-protective father, who by the way resembles Jimmy Stewart and constantly gets himself into questionable situations in the name of trying to look after his newly matriculated daughter. Not that it would've worked but I could imagine this film in the 80s or early 90s with Bill Cosby and Lisa Bonet.



Barefoot in the Park - (1967) Directed by Gene Saks

Starring Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Charles Boyer,

Mildred Natwick


Princess marries prince but takes a moment to live happily ever after.

2009/10/27

Put the Blame on Mame

Gilda - (1946) Directed by Charles Vidor

Starring Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready,

Joseph Calleia


Gilda, are you decent?


Rita Hayworth stunningly stings as the title character in this 1946 film noir classic. Gilda is the type of girl you hear about in a Deftones song, an Rx Queen. In fact, White Pony would make an interesting soundtrack for the constant knife party between Rita Hayworth's Gilda and Glenn Ford's Johnny Farrell.


I hate you so much that I would destroy myself to take you down with me.


Hate is a powerful and, as the film states, "exciting" emotion. To have hate is to have love, the line between both is thin and translucent. To hold something to such an esteem as hate or love is to extremely wind up your feelings to a heightened sensitivity, so tightly pressured that at any sudden relief the hold snaps. This is why the slightest disappointment with a lover can easily slip into hate or why in contrast, the obsession of hatred becomes as consuming as love until it is warped into love, a harsh, violent explosion of love.


I hate you so much I think I'm going to die from it. Darling...I think I'm going to die from it.

2009/10/26

Observe

Stranger, When We Meet

by AE Paulino


I rode the train back home

and couldn't keep my eyes off my reflection,

this always happens--

obsessed, I have to know how I look

moment to moment, stop to stop,

the subtle changes in who I am,

glass acrossly framed, tells me

in transparent summary;


There's no time to meet

the attractive eyes of a stranger,

the jealous, the nervous, or the curious--

No, no, there's no room on that glass

where I'm strange enough for me,

jealous enough, nervous, and by every mean--

curious.

I know some can see my amazement,

my fascination, my subject;

I worry they think me two dimensionally vain

but, only for a slight second's fraction--

before I notice how such a thought

shapes my face, gives it character,

establishes a reserved countenance

of satisfied disappointment, paranoid trust,

of discorded agreement with the fellow

in the glass who, for a second's fraction

did not mirror my vision--

and like a director to an unprepared actor,

I function it my privilege

to extract that performance;

for myself and the strangers

The Love Sequential

I'm pretty sure there is only one woman for me. I've had the fortunate plaisir of not only meeting her but enjoying a brief accumulation of time with her that might not sum to much but given the quality, has lasted.


There is comfort but there is also tension, understanding trailed by confusion, surrender but also dominance, pride, and conceit...The likes of which only Selfish Lovers may know. For now, we're to make due as friends, which apparently we can't stop being, regardless of sabotage from either party. Not to portray myself as hopeful but there is that little human habit of assumption through pattern recognition and conditioning, it tells me, "its far from over." Thats not a good thing but I keep it to myself (I guess not anymore).


It doesn't matter since she doesn't read this blog. She shouldn't be surprised, its not a crush, we both know the deal. Over the years I've made a myth of her, only recently have I returned to those first eyes of mine that originally saw her.


here's a video that says it better than me.


Èlégant

Coco avant Chanel - (2009) Directed by Anne Fontaine

Starring Audrey Tautou, Benoit Poelvoorde, Alessandro Nivola,

Marie Gillain


I enjoyed this film, its a limited bio on the early adulthood of fashion pioneer, Coco Chanel. Yet another important figure I did not know a single thing about other than associating the name with fancy clothes. Ironically, fancy is what Chanel's fashion was meant to not be about. Extra fuss and unpractical design was exactly what Mademoiselle Chanel sought to dismantle, believing in freeing the woman's body from corsets, giving her back her shape, as oppose to an unnatural cage that conformed to man's expectation of woman.


The film, I felt, successfully borrowed the style of Chanel, it was free and natural, not romanticizing Chanel, it possessed the 'elegance of simplicity.' However, because of this simplicity, there's an underlying anxiety of greatness, a constant hint of what this woman will have accomplished, influenced, and changed through the course of her life and then beyond; one almost wishes the film were epic so as to see this cause for legacy manifested on screen. But then again, this film should be considered a biographical prequel. And judged as one, I would say I thought it rather well executed.


Three things I hate about prequels:


01. Allusions to the future via catch phrases or mannerisms.


02. Random appearances by people who don't necessarily serve a purpose other than showing them in the past.


03. Darf Vader


Coco avant Chanel had none of these annoying clichés. And yes, I included Darf Vader as an annoying cliché.


The film ended with the beginning of Chanel's success, in a scene made extra special by mirror reflections for an interesting natural effect. Anne Fontaine's bio-pic does not show dates throughout the film; only 1895 at the beginning of the film, which is where the only voice-over narrative takes place (just one line). The film is also shot, at certain parts, by a hand held camera. Much like Michael Mann's Public Enemies, the unsteady movements of the camera in Coco avant Chanel provide me with the opinion that this technique adds a new form of respectful realism to a period piece. Instead of keeping the camera still to avoid the viewer's becoming conscious of technologies non-existing in the setting of the film, it moves fluently but does not alienate the viewer, rather further includes him/her by offering a modern style into the perspective. I feel this works when done correctly because "modern" is relative. 1912 was modern in 1912, our modern camera movements only reinforce that to these characters in the setting, their period is modern. The technique also reflects Chanel's boldness and innovative philosophy, giving the past back its body, allowing it movement instead of the very still cage that frames it for the present.


I'll lastly state my wish to understand french; especially so, in this case, to make better use of actor, Benoît Poelvoorde's performance as Étienne Balsan. He has a really cool voice and his presence is very charming, his character may not always be agreeable but overall you can't find the sufficient means to hate the guy.

2009/10/21

...That is the Question


The Doctor's Dilemma - (1958) Directed by Anthony Asquith

Starring Leslie Caron, Dirk Bogarde, Alastair Sim, Robert Morley


As soon as you discover this film, as well George Bernard Shaw's play from which the film is adapted, indeed has an overzealous surgeon named Cut-ler, you are aware that the comedy is intentional. Between Cutler's scalpel and Sir Ralph Bloomfield-Bonington's obsession with "stimulating the phagocytes!" there lies a black comedy about the value of talent versus the value of character. Sir Colenso Ridgeon is the doctor asked to save and prioritize the life of an artist.


A doctor refuses to save the life of an artist based on his judgement of that artist's personal moral constitution. Of course in the place of that artist, the doctor chooses a colleague who is financially unsound, who treats very impoverished patients for free, many times without the accessibility to materials and equipment he cannot afford.


The doctor's decision is a noble one but there is also another reason why this decision is made. The artist is rather good, remarkably talented even, however of a scoundrel he is thought to be, there is no denying his skills as a painter. The artist is also young and if it weren't for the tuberculosis, a long future of celebrity and success awaits to meet him. The doctor is aware of this as well as the fact that the artist is also a liar, a thief, and practically an anarchist who makes a mockery of society, its establishments, and all their laws.


The doctor's mind would be easily made up if not for the artist's wife. Though not legally married, she very much loves her husband and cannot or does not see as the doctor does, the artist's manner as that, no more than of a deplorable lout. The doctor employs the notion that art's value increases with death, as does the artist's. This notion also preserves the memory of the artist as his wife currently regards him, that is with reverence and devotion. The doctor also hopes to marry the artist's wife after his death since the doctor has no doubt fallen in love with her; it is that love that keeps him from soiling her idolization for her husband, the artist. There is no telling in the film, whether the doctor could soil her admiration to the artist but it is the doctor's belief that he can. The doctor does not marry the artist's wife who hates him for not saving her husband's life.


Hopefully the doctor has learned a bit more about morality from his dilemma. Perhaps he notes, men are neither good or bad, nor their decisions. Choices are to be made to the best of one's capabilities and circumstances and the right choice is usually the fact that a choice has been decided upon with consideration and practicality. Morals are fixed ideas that change over time but until they do they are solid blocks of ready-made opinions and judgements. This is a very limited perspective with which to service the millions of people, all who possess in their heads, their very own individual institution of thought. None of us think exactly the same way, the print of our brain is as unique as the one found on a finger. The doctor may have discovered this as it is he who is now judged by the artist's wife the way he once judged the artist.


After watching the film, I immediately thought, did he make the right choice? I didn't have an answer. And that's just it, I don't think there is an answer to that. But I feel its definitely the question director, Anthony Asquith wanted us to ask ourselves.



Guilty Conscience - (1985) Directed David Greene

Starring Anthony Hopkins and Blythe Danner


This was a TV movie!


I still cannot get over that this was a TV movie. I am very near to adding this film to my list of favorite crime dramas, if I had such a list, of course. Anthony Hopkins is sharpened and intelligently sinister enough to make him the number one choice for Dr. Hannibal Lecter six years after this film was released. I'm not sure if Anthony Hopkins was in fact the first top choice for Lecter but this movie definitely couldn't have hurt the making of that decision.


The film's protagonist is a crime lawyer who, like the retail worker who understands the department store's security and takes advantage from within, understands the system he works for and decides to cheat it. This is the case for Arthur Jamison, the crime attorney who is conspiring the perfect murder of his wife. The murderer is conspiring throughout the entire film, thoroughly considering and analyzing different ways to go about it. The murderer is careful and with the help of the "guilty conscience," which is really (in the film) just logic projected as a prosecutor as the murderer takes the imaginary witness stand to defend an established alibi, the murderer tries each plot for strengths and weaknesses.


Examining a number of possibilities, including reasons as to why they'd fail, the murderer schemes. Finally the murder is committed and it is up to us, the viewers, to decide if the murder is perfect, how likely will suspicion be dismissed from its perpetuator?


The film is good for its story's intelligent delivery and the suspense--well cushioned by a subtle soundtrack and unpredictable sequences. I'm not sure about the color as I took no chances and set my television's color down to black and white.

2009/10/19

Asa Nisi Masa

"Accept me as I am. Only then can we discover each other."


Fellini has made a film about a fictional director who is attempting to make a seemingly impossible film that can be both fresh and honest. What 8 1/2's fictional director, Guido Anselmi, doesn't realize is that he himself is the protagonist of a film that is just what he sets out to direct. And regardless of whom Guido Anselmi is based on, that parallel is not of adamant relevance. What is of important note, for me, is an artist's selfish need to confess through expression. To be pure to oneself and not compromise, even if your artistic disclosure isn't limited, personally, to you as the only strict subject. You're not only confessing yourself but the honest, uncompromised truths of others through association. Should this matter to art? Art's function, is it not to express, before and above all else? The artist's work isn't inspired to make friends (or enemies for that matter), its not for scandal or reputation (though it may very well seem like); Art is simply in the business of creating and destroying. Its not a matter of one or the other, it is in fact, a fact of both. Art creates and destroys, the flux from one side to the other, distributed howsoever the perspective of the viewer is inclined to receive it, this is Art.


"Of any artist truly worth the name we should ask nothing except this act of faith: to learn silence."


Fellini has made a very creative and destructive film with much success to, at the very least, what Guido Anselmi wished to accomplish. Guido within such a film however, met a different success than his invisible director. Its also a case of honesty and truth when an artist must accept the end. To force something out with no intention other than to stubbornly glorify oneself in the name of commitment alone; ladies and gentleman, here is vanity. When Guido finally stops pursuing his vision through means that could not properly express that vision, having realized this, it was with the same honesty and truth he gripped as weapons that he healed himself when those weapons were used instead, as gauze.

2009/10/18

Buzz Kill

To sleep: perchance to dream...


Recently on my right arm, what appears to be a mosquito bite, has mounted in cerise pride. Its on my bi-cep and maybe its because I've never been punctured there by Madame Suck that it feels unlike any mosquito bite I've ever experienced. My right arm actually feels slightly heavy because of the hickey; such a gipsy, that little vampire bug!


Fresh for '88, you suckers!


The bite occurred about two nights ago, yesterday it seems the bite inspired a dream. However, the dream was not about mosquitos, rather bees. I was walking through some weird american town in the middle of Iraq, all these white kids were riding bikes and people were hanging by some small lake that most of the houses faced (I didn't see one Iraqi yet I knew I was in Iraq). I wanted to go by the lake but I knew I would stand out and garner looks and an undesired variety of attention, so I walk around instead, behind the houses. There was an empty street with lawns and driveways and at this point I was wearing a book bag (relevant?). As I passed a tree I saw that I had knocked down some bees. Now I didn't slap them to the ground or accidentally bump over a beehive, they were floating about and when I walked into them they fell to the ground, weak bees huh? Before I could notice what had just happened I walked into another group of bees by another tree and once again, to the ground, I knocked them. To avoid a third time, I took to the street but I began to notice some bees were stuck on me, on my shirt and some had stung me in the very tiny instance we made contact. I kept finding a bee or two on my shirt and trying to get rid of them before they stung. Despite my efforts by the time I got to the end of town I had Popeye arms.


I checked my arms when I woke up, it felt so real, the pain.

Floggings for the Privileged

So I received a phone call earlier today. A call back from a job I applied for sometime in September. Its a retail store, specializing in women's interests. I applied for one of the overnight stock/receiving positions yet I suppose it doesn't matter as all applicants will be interviewed in groups, regardless of positions applied for. They have informed me of a specific set of directions, which I was suggested to write down as if it were a formula. I was to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early on this week's Thursday for an 11:00 group interview. I am to dress professionally (because retail is a profession?). I am to bring a copy of my resume and references so that in a small group, I may compete with others for a job that is nothing more than a check and a waste of my personal energy. So from here to Thursday it is my duty to sharpen my personality, blade-like, and indirectly dissect others open so that they're flaws may be as visible as my strengths. I hate this!


They dress the job up and make you go through all this hullabaloo, as if the job you're applying for is as important or even interesting as you're polishing yourself out to be for their benefit. Thats all they're after, they just want to screen out those who do not wish to cooperate and thoroughly inspect the sly ones, like myself, who do not agree but walk in with that sheep's wool and fangs hidden under lips. If you can get past them, they tend to not care that you do not agree, because you understand what it is they do not wish to see, that is, your mind. They probably feel the same way you do and so long as you know it isn't acceptable to express it in your work, they could care less about feelings, yours or theirs.


I predict a very cold, lonely winter. I predict preparation and fatigue, taxing efforts and hatred as fuel, love as negative space, I predict exclusivity of myself from others and the continual exercise of shortening the passage from mind to mouth. If all goes well, I'll smile at you on the other side, on that lovely spring from which I first arose. I'll look upon you and reward you, I'll know exactly what to tell you and everything will be fine. Fine, but I'll be twice as lost, four times as free, and certainly not concerned with the thoughts that are going to bother the hell out of me from now 'til Thursday and even more so if I actually do get the job.

Directions


8 1/2 - (1963) Directed by Federico Fellini

Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale,

Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, Rosella Falk


I have to watch this again. Really good film but I need more than one viewing before I can have anything to say about it. I wish I knew Italian, I speak spanish and can catch some sense of occasional french and italian sentences, enough at times to notice that the subtitles don't exactly match or don't loosely match or just aren't there...people are speaking and I have no clue what they're saying...I don't like that. I find this a problem in Godard's films as well, I feel like the subtitles are misleading me. Noted, that I understand translations can't be literal, a good translation is based on capturing the best parallel expression; however, I feel like this isn't executed to well by whoever is in charge of the subtitles.



Wendy and Lucy - (2008) Directed by Kelly Reichardt

Starring Michelle Williams, Lucy, Wally Dalton


Anyone else get really angry when she got caught shoplifting? Anyone else wish that punk snitch would turn up again to catch a beating from a homeless crew, all newfound disciples of Wendy Carroll. It was, after all, the shoplifting incident that ignited the rest of the series of events that lead to this:


Michelle Williams was really effective, I was very pleased with her performance; favorite parts from her include, the way she yells out "Lucy," the way she says "yea yea" through out the film, and the many parts where the look on the picture above says simply what words do not. I thought this film would be a very quiet one, I wasn't disappointed in being incorrect. Mind you, its not a heavy metal concert but its no visit to the library either.

2009/10/12

Rock the Boat

Titanic - (1953) Directed by Jean Negulesco

Starring Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck,

Robert Wagner, Audrey Dalton


This summer or spring, the last survivor of the Titanic passed away. I was at the World Financial Center. Inside the WFC, there's a Winter Garden Theatre thats occasionally used as a rather impressive music hall. I forgot the composer but I believe the piece was called Requiem for The Titanic and it was then followed by the news of the last survivor passing away that same day.


I can't help but compare the two films. After all, in 1997 I was 15--In 1953, well, I think my mother was born in 1953. Naturally, I saw the 1997 version first. I don't think either film was bad and keep in mind it would be unfair to call James Cameron's film a remake of Jean Negulesco's film of the same title. That would be like saying Roman Polanski's The Pianist is a remake of George Steven's Diary of Ann Frank. Yes, they both take place during the same event and yes, both follow characters trying to survive the unfortunate catastrophe of said event but the stories are different, as are the protagonists whom each story occurs to. So not only would it be unfair to call the latter a remake of the earlier, it would also prove untrue. However, if your imagination is just as vivid a playground as mine, you'd also enjoy noting that as Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck argue over custody of their children and the current state of ruins that was once a successful marriage; at the very same time this is occurring, Leonardo Dicaprio is running around with Kate Winslet on the same sinking ship. The two stories run parallel. Just like Wladyslaw Szpilman and Ann Frank, as one was hiding in an attic in Nazi occupied Amsterdam, the other was in an abandoned Warsaw ghetto, both during World War II.


Like I said I like them both, its just I like each at different parts. I like the central story from '53 slightly more than the story from '97. The romance between Leo and Kate is just not for me I don't care about their love, I'm a cold iceberg myself, in fact that was my favorite character in that film. I enjoyed the failed marriage, the father's relationship with his children, as well as the fact that Clifton Webb is just so great to listen to in the 1953 film. Its a good central story and could easily have been a film on its own if it took place on land with a resolution that did not involve sinking, separation, and death. However, the rest of the cast and their smaller stories don't seem to do much other than remind you, The Sturges aren't the only people on the Titanic. An underdeveloped love interest between a student (a young Robert Wagner) and daughter Sturges (Audrey Dalton) and a lush ex-priest nearly come close to interesting at first but then are interrupted by the iceberg before anything useful to the film can happen.


And there lies the difference, the 1953 film is itself sunk by the iceberg while the 1997 film gets snapped in half and the remainder stands straight and high with great momentum, suspense, passion, and panic. As much as I don't care for the love story it is effective in investing interest in the characters so to enhance the action after the ice cube pokes the boat. 1997 also has subplots involving class division; not to mention the special effects and set designs that fully bring to life the last hours of The RMS Titanic. The film is huge, its Titanic, which was probably what James Cameron had in mind.


Another fun thing my imagination likes to do during 1953 Titanic is imagine Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as the Sturges, it would be like Revolutionary Road onboard The Titanic. I'll stop now.



An Affair to Remember - (1957) Directed by Leo McCarey

Starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr


Wow! This was far more romantic than I was ready for. Its probably one of the most romantic films I've ever seen and I watched it alone, late at night on Columbus Day.


October has wasted no time in getting cold, no formalities or subtleties, just straight down and forward into business. My hands are gloved in a thin atmosphere of cool air, leaving my fingertips with a most strange sensation whenever I move them across the keypad of my laptop. Getting into bed is the worst, it takes so long to warm up under the sheets, especially my feet.


I thought about how one could not know the full story when something set to happen suddenly doesn't; how the most natural idea is often a greedy and selfish one. And then one day, you realize this about yourself and immediately everything inside shifts and rearranges once again as it was before, like an involuntary reaction. I haven't found the right quotes for certain events of my life, I haven't read that many books and I haven't had that many events. I do know I've had a Terry McKay and a skyscraper to meet her on, I was there but she was too busy rushing into her own accident.


At night I eventually fall asleep despite the cold feet and hands.

Pirates of the Caribbean

O brave new world that has such people in't!


In Junior High School, my 7th grade social studies teacher was a diabetic and a rather large man who had a hard time getting around. He sat behind his desk in front of the class and dictated the lesson. The blank blackboard would stare at us students, jealously curious as to how the teacher's word would look in written form. In that class, I saw Last of the Mohicans, and obediently covered my eyes during Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Crowe's sex scene (later I would discover it was only a steamy kiss). Earlier however, in October, my classmates and I took our seats and Mr. T (as he had asked us to call him as a mercy to his ears from potential mispronunciations) had started the lesson about Christopher Columbus. .


It was the first time I ever heard anyone refer to Columbus as a pirate. It was the first time anything I had been previously taught was challenged by an alternative, logical version. He was the first but not the last of my teachers who dropped gems when The Board wasn't looking. So every Columbus Day reminds me of that discovery. I call it Tabachnikov Day!

2009/10/11

At the Height of it All


J is in the hospital, A made this for her. A also made this for Ms. Mosshart who is 60 feet tall. If any other girl were like J, she'd have to be 60 feet tall; if any other girl could take J's trouble she'd not last long, were she not 60 feet tall.


For the cold, shameless, and dangerous A, there is no alternative.

2009/10/10

Dear October, iHate the Robots

Ladies and Gentlemen, set your mood organs to "congratulatory enthusiasm" and "spring glee". Then you can successfully deny that the future is going to be a scary place. To make matters worst, if I may quote a friend, "if the future isn't now, I don't know when it'll be!"


FAKE WOMEN




ELECTRIC SHEEP




Incase anyone is curious where I stand on this: This is not good!


IRREPLACEABLE:


Takes All Types to Make a World


The Detective - (1968) Directed by Gordon Douglas

Starring Frank Sinatra, Lee Remick, Ralph Meeker, Jack Klugman


Frank Sinatra is amazing as Det, Sgt. (later Det. Lt.) Joe Leland. Leland is tough, straight-forward, and as an idea or two about what's right and what's wrong, getting him to change his mind about either is like, well, lets just say you'd save a breath by simply asking for a confrontation. Confrontation, or a fist to the sternum! This film is well acted, as well as it is bold, in fact, main character Leland and the Story are at constant rivalry over who's the bigger badass.


Lee Remick plays Sinatra's beautiful, nymphomaniac wife. Most of their relationship is played out in flashbacks that give the film's date away through a dreamy dissolve that, in my opinion, seems humorous and out of place. I'm guessing without the dissolves the film might become too confusing to follow, as one might not know he or she is watching a flashback. I wonder if Christopher Nolan is a fan of this film? This is mostly because without the dissolves, The Detective would be a dual-linear story, recalling or pre-calling, Memento and The Following.


I was surprised to see some of these subjects in the film, homosexuality, nymphomania, class struggle, and police corruption, treated so seriously and maturely. Leland is the hero but by the end of the film he loses his job, earlier in the film he and Karen (Remick) separate, and after the film we don't know if Leland's exposing of City Officials even has the slightest of impact on any one other than himself. I love that. I'm trying to remember if there were any scenes in the film without Leland.



Compulsion - (1959) Directed by Richard Fleischer

Starring Orson Welles, Diane Varsi, Dean Stockwell

Bradford Dillman


Based on true events. Richard Fleischer directs Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman as wealthy law-school students who wish to express their superior intellect by partaking in the social experiment of cold-blooded murder. The perfect crime is later foiled when Judd Steiner (Stockwell) is questioned for his lost eyeglasses that were found near the body of the murder victim.


Dean Stockwell, who will later become Number One, John Cavin, in the Battlestar Galactica revival is really cold and scalpel-sharp as Judd Steiner. Arty Straus, played by Dillman is Judd's other half and together they planned a kidnapping gone wrong, that eventually resulted in a murder mystery.


I love how the film's star, Orson Welles doesn't show up until halfway through the film but when he does...its over! I don't mean that the film ends, no, on the contrary, it just gets started. Welles plays Jonathan Wilk, a righteous defense attorney, who is noted for his atheism and stand against the death penalty, as well as helping low-income clients pro bono. Wilks changes the defense's plea of not guilty to guilty and fights for the boy's natural rights to live, rather than be executed by the state if found guilty. Welles delivers a great speech at the end of the trial, which is another reason why his being absent for most of the film affects his powerful performance in the last quarter of the murder mystery turned law-crime drama.


Both Compulsion and The Detective are about understanding others, not just judging them. You can judge a person based on what you believe is right and wrong; but you also need to understand that this person's definition to either term is different from yours, Society may be a unified body but the cells within it are individuals, each unique and not necessarily all in agreement, especially since there are many facets to an individual's background, a backstory that supports and is responsible for that person's mental development and his/her perspective. If we could all understand one another, eliminate barriers between one another and empathize; then there, there is where we can begin to help one another. Law and Justice are not defined terms, they are ideas that have to constantly be reinterpreted, as they are constantly tested; and they change depending on social opinion, not social fact.

Playing Herself in Her Girlfriend's Mink

Sally got a one track mind

It doesn't matter if its yours or mine

'Cause if you're getting dough

And you wanna get wit' her

You can hit her!


Goddamn, my borough looks good in black and white. I've watched this video most of the afternoon. Sally, apart from having a one track mind, is also really cute. That probably doesn't help her situation one bit. Then again, it depends on your perspective.


2009/10/08

Confessions of a Crap Artist: Top 10 Jobs

So throughout my job search, I've become rather disappointed that the real jobs that I'd rather like, are nowhere near available. If anyone knows or hears of any of these positions opening please relay unto me, the info.

TOP 10 JOBS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE


10. Absolute World Controller


Brain with his Orson Wellesesque ambition, Apocalypse and his Darwinian self-entitlement, Secret Societies, and Alexander the Great, Napoleon, his Fordship, Mustafa Mond! These and others have cradled in me, an unescapable desire to rule Earth, entirely, absolutely. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely! But I won't set out to rule for anyone else's sake other than my own. As Absolute World Controller, I shape the world into my corroded image and its inhabitants shall do my bidding or their own resting, in graves. It wouldn't be too bad after 2/3 of the Earth's human population is destroyed, there will be no jobs, no money, no law, more space, less children, eventually I don't want to even be acknowledged.


During my rise to power I will demolish this familiar world I live in for another to be constructed from it, yet this is a job for men who are interested in such investments, I just want an emptier planet to roam, to be lost in. Such a position demands great, perhaps even, superhuman abilities to sustain that kind of power; fore I want no army, no elite, no insurgents, no circle of authority, it will all begin and end with me, absolutely.


09. God


This is quite similar to Absolute World Controller, only with showsmanship mystique. Like the magician who is as great as the secret to his best illusion; God is only just as great the more detached, unresponsive, and absent God remains from his faithful fan clubs. So this position could in fact prove to be the easiest if no supernatural powers were involved, only my quiet compliance to the omnipresence and omniscience assumed upon me. People won't even know if I really did exist or not. Imagine a job where you don't even have to show up, not even work for that matter but you still receive a check, in fact multiple employers send you a check and fight over who's check you cash, not realizing you cash them all.


08. Ghostbuster


When I started this list, I thought about both the Men in Black and the Scooby-Doo Mystery Gang. The Mystery Gang are a bunch of reckless hipsters and eventually they're going to walk into the wrong kind of trouble that won't end with the unmasking of a mischievous no-gooder. Think about it, these silly motherfuckers step into some really shady towns, we're not even sure what country they're in sometimes (they could be in Central or South America or Canada just as likely as the U.S., Hanna Barbara doesn't know the difference). Its only a matter of time before they pull that move and meet something they're not ready for, like a slit throat and raped rectum.


As for The Men in Black, I'm just not a people person. Better stated, I'm not a social person. I'm definitely open minded and understanding but I just don't do well in the area of diplomacy, and that seems like a job where you have to deal with all sorts of backgrounds (some further back than others).


Thinking both of these jobs over, I wondered: Is there a way to deal with the paranormal in a non-social manner without having to travel into potentially shady situations with unqualified specialists.


Yes! Of course there is, who else would you call? Its a good staff, I'd mostly be like Winston, since he's the least knowledgeable in the field of paranormal studies, though I'm also a wise-cracking slacker, like Dr. Venkman. But I'd probably spend most of my time as the annoying lackey of either Dr. Ray Stanz or Dr, Egon Spengler. Learning about ghosts, ectoplasma, and subatomic physics.


Unlicensed nuclear accelerators, ghost traps, good pay so long as there's demand, room and board. These are all good reasons but unnecessary ones. I'd no sooner join The Mystery Gang if Janine Melnitz took the place of Velma.


07. Blade Runner


Okay, anyone who really knows me is aware of my love/hate relationship with technology. I hate cellphones but I love drum machines, I hate Myspace and Facebook but I love MAX/MSP and synth patches, hate television but lasers and spaceships are like visual viagra. So why shouldn't this love/hate qualify itself as an efficient tool when hunting rogue androids.


As of recent, scientists and engineers are going bats over Singularity, which in part is, when the human mind is mastered and capable of being replicated. Ray Kurzweil could even stand in for Tyrell for the time being. When they are successful, as all mad scientists are, eventually, I will be more than glad to blast the artificial life and memories right out of any Andy's face.


Dilemma, I fall in love, "found love on a prison ship" and now she'll die or be killed. I'm not too fond of humans as it stands, I'll be less inclined to warm any frigid regard if they take from me, that love which they were responsible for creating, that love that reattached me to what it was to be human in the first place.


06. Santa Claus


Lets face it, Santa has it made! My man works on one day, sure its for 24 hours, and sure the preparation for that day must be pressure enough to blow diamonds out of coal mines like information from a nervous snitch; still, nine months of free time is worth it. I can deal with the cold weather as well; and human isolation isn't much of a setback as it is a step forward. The elves are probably real gnarly cats to be around and Jessica Claus is all I need as far as both woman and human.


My only problem is the weight. You see, I'm a tall, slim, melancholy cynic not a jolly, rosy-nosed fat man. Now if there were some elf magic involved, where I can become that rosy nosed fat man for that Christmas week, I will become jolly, as is what one must do if one became a rosy nosed fat man. Honesty, I think "jolly" is the result of flying reindeers and the speed necessary for such a tour as, "every good child's residence in one 24 hour night". Santa's heart must sound like an Autechre track after such a ride. "Ho ho ho...!" This is the sound you makes when your heart is about to jump out of your throat.


But I can't say no to milk and cookies plus the priceless hatred directed at me from major toy corporations.


05. Tooth Fairy


Kid: Wait! You're the Tooth Fairy?...Isn't the Tooth Fairy supposed to be a woman?


AutoSpade: You watch too much TV kid. You gotta a tooth for me, or what? Oh, I see. Still attached, huh?


Kid: Yea and you can't have it anyway!


AutoSpade: Oh really? A wise guy, huh? Luckily I got me this companionship of a brass knuckle, I call him The Scholar, he just loves it when people get wise. Why you cryin'?


04. Gluttony


I'm not into tormenting and causing suffering to others. Eternal Damnation was never my bag. But if The Devil, Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, or whatever moniker it was going by at the moment, was in fact, not only real but faithful to its depiction as played by Elizabeth Hurley in the remake of Stanley Donen's Bedazzled, then I gotta roll wit her!


I have to be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, just so I can work closely with her. I think I'll be good as Gluttony. I can eat unnecessarily, I usually do anyway and what's more, I often inspire hunger. I say this, not only because I'm skinny but because I've oft a time been informed that while I eat, I advertise the action of food consumption quite effectively. Yes, I do enjoy eating and yes, I do rub it in that I am slim but Its my mischievous nature that lures me to Liz Hurley's Lucifer.


During the film I kept comparing her to Peter Cook's portrayal and found they were both good and I would be Gluttony for either, my preference for Hurley simply for gender. Both, however would be great to scheme, plot, contrive, and conspire with.


"I say ol' man all 'at talk about cholesterol and fat is just corporate balance so's to see you don go and eat yisself into 'isteria, so's you do it responsibly like drinkin, mate 'as all. Is not really gonna do ya any more 'arm than its dun me...Why, look on me will ya? All bones like as 'a day me mum saw me fit t'be a man, and cholesterol 'asn't change 'at, no fat, never mind you what I diet, ah usually start at ev'rything and any less 'an 'at is famine!


"So, go on will ya, 'ave anuva 'un will ya, 'er ya go, na look un ya, nawt a scratch, as fit as a suit, ah'd say! Don'nat feel good! Don'nat feel royt! Don let any bugger tell ya sum uva 'an 'at!"


03. Death: The Grim Reaper


Although quite a busy occupation, also a very technical and creative one. Diseases, accidents, abortions, murders, overdoses, shock, and any other agent of Death are to be carefully casted and directed, each like a specific film that requires a specific ensemble. The job also requires traveling, lots of organization, a reliable staff to closely work together and time manage all the appropriate accounts according to the schedule. Its a 24/7 job and not for easily upset stomachs or the mortally insecure. Multi-tasking is a must as is the ability to think fast and independently.


This spells me all over! I don't believe in overworking but I do believe in this product and goddamn it I will sell it! With a fervor and gusto that would've made Billy Mays proud. I don't mind being a skeleton and the unpopularity, likewise, doesn't phase me. I'd probably receive most of the cold shoulders from humans anyway, since every other earthling is smarter and far more mature than that. My only concern is whether The Grim Reaper has a global, galactic or universal jurisdiction. If its global than its ideal for me, if any of the latter, I'll need a really competitive compensation.


02. Interstellar Expeditionist


You don't even have to pay me for this! I won't need anything from Earth ever again! To get on a spacecraft, that can support its own exploration without human navigation for at least 200 years, equipped with books, music, films, art, mannequins, food, recording and music production equipment, waste disposal, and a 3-D projection of Kylie Minogue as representative of the ship's mainframe to keep me company, this is my flight without a return ticket. Of course, along with the things I mentioned, scientists will stock the ship with necessities for my physical and mental health before lift off.


The ship should be the size of California and its mission to explore in one direction, whatever is to be discovered. I, however, have my own set of plans and once I free and seduce the 3-D projection of Kylie Minogue, we will have our course re-set to the nearest dying star on the brink of going supernova. Our course wouldn't be re-set right away as there is so much space and universe to see, it would be a shame to not hostage advantage of it. No, it would be after a good 40 years of space that we'd start drawing the curtain for our grand finale.


01. Nebula Production Manager


This would be like an artists' studio, a decent intergalactic loft with a high ceiling overlooking a milky coma cluster. All types of work will be created, my job would be to supervise but I'd feel so excluded without involving myself, hands on, with every project just a little. From editing to engineering, cropping, matting to framing, recording, sketching to mixing, blending, tracing to constructing, I selfishly want a hand in all the stages of production. Not enough of a hand that its an iron fist but just enough to cop a quick feel. I can't imagine the over-emcompassing sensation of creating a star, having the perspective to actually be able to see a sun being born. I wouldn't want to ever die if it meant I'd have to stop creating stars, dust and other celestial bodies.


Yet another job you wouldn't have to pay me for. A nebula, a creative workshop, specializing in creating stars and other celestial bodies. Quality not quantity would be the main idea here. We want stars that can be something, mean something in the grand scheme of universal orchestration. Whether stars of long or short life spans we want to ensure that what the short life spans lack in time they make up for in shine, or what the dull giants lack in shine they compensate for in density. We also want independent stars, suns that may possess creative skills and set out on their own, founding solar systems. We encourage the romantic lovers in an intimate, Natasha Khan dance for Two Suns as well as the constellation communities who prefer large, hall concertos.