Amoeblog

Unwanted Popsicles: Nymph()maniac Receives Frigid Reception from Disney Fans

Posted by Charles Reece, December 9, 2013 09:07am | Post a Comment

I want this to be true, since I can't imagine a better use of Lars Von Trier's entire oeuvre: pornographic portions of the above trailer for his new film Nymph()maniac were shown during the cartoon, Steamboat Willie, which was serving as filler while a Tampa, Florida theater was dealing with some technical problems in projecting Disney's Frozen.

"They put in the filler, it looked like Steamboat Willie, the old Mickey Mouse cartoon, and then all of a sudden it goes into this other scene," grandmother Lynn Greene told My Fox Tampa Bay. "It seemed like forever when you're trying to, you know, cover a little guy's eyes. I didn't have enough hands to cover his ears too and he got the sound down real good."

Although I share Film Drunk's skepticism, it's a truly beautiful idea.

The Late, Great Paul Walker

Posted by Charles Reece, December 1, 2013 09:12am | Post a Comment

Paul Walker's finest ... well, only good film ... but it's so fucking amazing and he's great in it: Running Scared.
Who cares, though? As Orson Welles said, you only need one. 
Walker died yesterday in a car crash.

I Seen It at the AFI Fest 2013

Posted by Charles Reece, November 18, 2013 08:40am | Post a Comment
the strange colour of your body's tears poster french
The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears - Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani

the fake poster saibi 
The Fake - Yeon Sang-Ho

herblock the black & the white poster
Herblock: The Black & The White - Michael Stevens

the unknown known poster
The Unknown Known - Errol Morris

moebius poster
Moebius - Kim Ki-Duk

r100 poster
R100 - Hitoshi Matsumoto

my dog killer poster
My Dog Killer - Mira Fornay

the green inferno poster
The Green Inferno - Eli Roth

nothing bad can happen poster
Nothing Bad Can Happen - Katrin Gebbe

harmony lessons poster
Harmony Lessons - Emir Baigazin

Thor: The Dark(er) World (2013)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 10, 2013 11:23am | Post a Comment
thor dark world poster doaly

If you'll recall, the first Thor film stirred up controversy by casting Idris Elba, a black man, as the character of Heimdall, the door man to Asgard -- not because the first black Asgardian is a door man, but only because Norse Gods are Aryan and thus presumed to be white. (I doubt it would've been the white power advocates objecting had Jarvis been made a black man, rather than A.I., in The Avengers and Iron Man.) The sequel, The Dark World, defiantly expands his role, having a lot more people, gods and various mythical beings enter Asgard, thereby keeping Helmdall busier than if he worked for a hotel in a 30s screwball comedy. The filmmakers also give the racist complainers even more whatfor by casting a lot of the Asgardian warriors as black (and one Japanese). See all those black dudes punching something or other in the background, or kneeling to the greatest of all Asgardians, Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth, a white man), after he proves his mettle in battle? I can imagine the decision made at the meeting: "this will really fuck with those white power assholes!" This is post-racial Hollywood, so I guess it doesn't matter that the servant is still black, just like Rochester, and the master who, like Mr. Benny, makes all the major decisions, is still blue-eyed and white. Perhaps simply applying black faces onto white mythology isn't the best approach to solving problems in representation.

The Dark World does actually bring up an interesting problem about representation in fantasy on film (sigh, DCP). One of the main evil dark elves, Akrim (the second in command), is played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, a black man. Keeping with the film's racial sensitivity, he's the first major character to sacrifice himself for the cause. He doesn't exactly die, but instead transforms into a giant mutant elf, Kurse, with the actor subsequently completely covered in prosthetics and, I suspect, often rendered digitally (at least, in the battles). My question is does he still count as black representation? Too bad for the actual actor, but the answer seems to be 'yes,' since (1) in the fictional narrative of a novel, simply assigning a character as black (like Rue in Hunger Games) is enough to make them black, (2) a black character in a cartoon is an example of black representation (Green Lantern in Justice League), so why not this digital creation who clearly starts off as a black man? and, relatedly, (3) if the digital creation Gollum continues to be white, because of who he was as Sméagol, a white hobbit, the same rationale applies to the black elf becoming a mutant. (Not that any of this was probably thought about during pre-production.) 

Continue reading...

American Monomyth: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Posted by Charles Reece, November 5, 2013 09:51am | Post a Comment
12 years a slave poster

It should no longer be necessary to defend Richard Fleischer's Mandingo, not after the eloquent and thorough defenses proffered by Andrew Britton and Robin Wood. Anyone who dismisses the film as exploitative trash hasn't read their essays. I say read them if in doubt about its substance. What's interesting to me about the film here is the great amount of narrative overlap it shares with the current slavery epic, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave: the brutal whippings, the race-horse inspection of prospective slaves, a castrated slave uprising, the decimation of black families by separating children from their parents across plantations, enforced illiteracy, hangings, the demeaning and ambivalent status of the house negro, the rape of a young slave girl by her master and the subsequent jealousy and violent reprisal from his wife, who is herself much abused. The latter film even suggests a Mandingo-type vengeful desire on the part of the plantation mistress, Epps, towards a slave, Solomon Northrup, through a couple of closeups (one occurs as Solomon hangs from a tree). This desire is much more than mere suggestion in Mandingo, of couse (cf. poster below), but it's the master-slave sexual attraction that's always served as the locus classicus for the dismissive reading of the film as mere exploitation.

Despite these many commonalities, 12 Years a Slave is being celebrated as a primary Oscar contender and demanding of serious respect by the majority of critics writing about it. It's a decent film, but doesn't say anything more than Mandingo did. Indeed, it says (or attempts to say) a good deal less, since Mandingo was much more concerned with exploring the structural relations of slavery to other features of American life, particularly sexual politics (as both Britton and Wood detail, the purpose of women and children are linked with that of the slave, devices by which the system ensured the spread of capital through space and time, i.e.,  the plantation and its generations of familial owners). Ownership of others is endemic to the country's development, not an evil otherness that can be put to the side as something we now reject. And that structural concern has a lot to do with why Mandingo has been largely rejected as exploitation, but the psychological analysis of 12 Years a Slave is celebrated. The latter mostly puts the model viewer into the place of the slave, Solomon, which is a morally comfortable place to be: owning others as property is something someone else would do, I (the model viewer) am on the side of the oppressed. Slavery is almost entirely subjective in the film. Mandingo, as "exploitation" tends to do, has the viewer principally identify with the morally compromised position, that of the slaver Ham, who both partakes in and guiltily rejects the advantages of his position. There is no Schindler's List sort of redemption awaiting audience identification with him. His position in the peculiar institution, although inherited, implicates all of his choices, even when he's attempting some bit of kindness as he sees it. By aligning the film with his point of view, the institution isn't pure otherness and we aren't allowed to run away from it. All actions are read through the evil of slavery.

Continue reading...
BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  >>  NEXT