Amoeblog

Up & Down: Up (2009) & Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Posted by Charles Reece, July 5, 2009 09:50pm | Post a Comment
up poster pixar

The Plot. Two things struck me about the celebrated elliptical opening sequence of UP, where the young version of Carl, the protagonist, is shown to age and fall in love with Ellie, who remains dead for most the picture: (1) Despite Pixar's raison d'etre, overloaded digital spectacle, what the company excels at is character portraiture. This tends to be done in the first third of their stories, after which the plot kicks in, and I get bored. Unlike Wall-E, however, UP is mostly about Carl just hanging out in his floating house, talking to this chubby little cub scout stowaway, and befriending some linguistically enhanced canines. All of which makes it the best Pixar film to date. (2) Seijun Suzuki and Pixar know something about generic expectations that Steven Spielberg doesn't. Like all moviegoers, my emotions are mechanized, habituated responses to the levers, pulleys and cables of traditional storytelling. Thus, in abstracto, I'll feel elation on cue when the hero risks it all to save those more unfortunate than he, even if the particularities involve an Aryan saving some Jews (a lesson that can be had from Star Wars' appropriation of Triumph of The Will). These 2 and 1/2 hour-long movies of Spielberg's could be cut down to a few, brief sequences leading to the big crescendo, and we'd all still have the same reaction. Much like Suzuki tends to jump cut over the dramatic cliches in his films, Carl meets Ellie, they share similar interests, yadda yadda yadda, she's dead, now her absence structures our understanding of Carl for the rest of UP. Less flippantly worded: poetic resonance isn't based on word count, nor are genre pleasures.

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FAITH RESTORED

Posted by Charles Reece, June 14, 2009 10:53pm | Post a Comment
faith no more angel dust vinyl mobile fidelity

The above is the only remastered vinyl that I've been willing to pay 40 bucks for. What can I say? I'm still a fan, and it makes me pleased as punch to see these guys playing together again. But it's without these two:

faith no more jim martin cowboy hat
     faith no more chuck mosley
Jim Martin                                   Chuck Mosley

I didn't much care about the band after guitarist Martin was given the boot, and still don't. So, here are my favorite songs from the Big Jim-era albums that Faith No More played live at the recent Download Festival in Donington Park, UK:

Introduce Yourself's "Chinese Arithmetic" (coupled with a version of "Poker Face" from someone named Lady Gaga -- she's popular, evidently):


The Real Thing's "From Out of Nowhere":


Angel Dust's "Midlife Crisis":


And while mining the web for info about the reunion, I found this 2005 interview with Metal Hammer (it's still around!), where Roddy Bottom, Billy Gould and Mike Patton dish on their erstwhile guitarist:

Bottum: “Jim Martin had always been very conventional in what he wanted to do with the band, very much a fan of guitar music only and metal specifically. During the recording of Angel Dust it became apparent to both him and us that we were heading in very different directions.”

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DON'T NEED A WEATHERMAN

Posted by Charles Reece, June 7, 2009 10:28pm | Post a Comment
A Kiwi gentleman (hiya, Stevv) pointed me to this online time-waster, the Political Spectrum Quiz, so I figured why not put my results on this here blog. What does being from the South and reading too much Frankfurt critical theory get me? Well, this:


My Political Views
I am a far-left social libertarian
Left: 7.63, Libertarian: 6.57



My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -4.03


My Culture War Stance
Score: -8.04




What do you know? I don't trust big business or big government, just the former a little bit less.

gomer pyle nabors surprise



This American Strife: Animation from Chris Ware

Posted by Charles Reece, June 7, 2009 09:56am | Post a Comment
I finally caught up with the cartoons Chris Ware has been doing. I was avoiding them because of their association with This American Life, a show I hate. The narcoleptic punctuation of host Ira Glass makes me want to slap him on the back of the head. With the show's tempo, it's like being trapped for an hour with a bunch of Dave Eggers' readers in an elevator designed by Errol Morris. And the cutesy stories of irrelevance make a good argument for Maoism. Ugh. Anyway, here's some good artwork (sound is advisedly optional):







THE RETURN OF TRUTH

Posted by Charles Reece, June 5, 2009 08:39pm | Post a Comment
"As a philosopher I never accept the world as it is because it is as it is." -- Alain Badiou

Amen to that. I just started reading Badiou's Conditions, and I like how he's not afraid to use the word 'truth.' He's worth a listen, so for your convenience, comrades, here are some samples of his thinking.

On Nicolas Sarkozy, communism and capitalist failure:


bill the cat ack

On philosophy itself, truth and politics:


And lest this blog be accused of dealing with anything more important than crass pop culture, Badiou is supposedly appearing in Jean-Luc Godard's new film Socialisme (along with someone by the name of 'Patti Smith'). According to infinite thØught:

[I]t involves Badiou being on a cruise ship somewhere in/near Turkey; he is in three scenes; firstly having breakfast with a Russian spy (not a real one, although as he is really Badiou he asked Godard if the spy was really a spy, but she is an actor); secondly, he will be seen writing a lecture on Husserl's Origin of Geometry, and thirdly, he will deliver the lecture, still on the cruise ship, to an empty auditorium.

Sounds fun.
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