Amoeblog

What Gives "Superman Lives"? Jon Schnepp's What's in My Bag and Kickstarter Campaign

Posted by Charles Reece, February 3, 2013 09:18am | Post a Comment

Along with being a director for Cartoon Network's Metalocalypse, Jon Schnepp is the fellow who designed its protagonists, the group Dethklok. He's currently trying to get Kickstarter funding for The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened?, a documentary looking into the vagaries of Tim Burton's aborted Superman project that was to star Nicholas Cage. It could've been the most spectacular travesty of a Superman film ever made ... and that's saying something given Superman III and IV. Jon recently visited Amoeba Hollywood and recommended some stuff:


Jon Schnepp

Some Records That I Liked in 2012

Posted by Charles Reece, January 28, 2013 12:50pm | Post a Comment
I'm going to get back to my top 11 film list, but I'm interrupting it for the standout music of 2012, which was really a bunch of reissues of stuff that wasn't so readily available before (and because most of these reissues are limited, the music will continue to be not readily available in a few years).

possession score lp
Andrzej Korzyński - Possession (Finders Keepers)

The recent interest in the cinema of Andrzej Żuławski is a joke, but as far as it goes, Possession is probably this halfwit auteur's pretentious masterpiece, a risible prime example of Eurotrash art horror. Although the film oeuvre deserves to stay forgotten, Korzyński's electo-orchestral score is brilliant, and certainly the best argument for the director's faddish resurgence.

the beyond score lp
Fabio Frizzi - The Beyond (Mondo Tees)

One of the top 5 horror scores of all time. It doesn't get any better than the choral cues on this record.

halloween iii score lp
John Carpenter & Alan Howarth - Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Death Waltz)

Forget how shitty the movie is and how disappointed you were upon first seeing it; this is the best score Carpenter ever did. With Howarth as his co-composer this time around.

Le Triedre fertile
Pierre Schaeffer - Le Trièdre fertile (Mego - Recollection GRM)

Really, the whole line of GRM electronic reissues should be on here, but my favorite so far is Schaeffer's first and only fully synthesized album. At a proper volume, his tones will turn your skeletal structure to warm honey. The sound quality of these LPs is as good as you'll ever hear.

dockstader electronic volume 1
Tod Dockstader - Electronic, Vol. 1 (Mordant Music)

Dockstader's never made a bad album. He's one of the best electronic composers, always creating a full aural environment. Here he proves himself to be one the best composers of library music, too.

One of my favorite films from 2012: Lincoln

Posted by Charles Reece, January 20, 2013 10:16pm | Post a Comment
lincoln poster

Intellectual critics tend to hate Steven Spielberg's films, and Lincoln is no exception. The nastiest laceration I've come across is from one of my favorite social critics, Thomas Frank


Spielberg & Co. have gone out of their way to vindicate political corruption. They have associated it with the noblest possible cause; they have made it seem like harmless high jinks for fun-loving frat boys; they have depicted reformers as ideological killjoys who must renounce their beliefs in order to succeed. This is, in short, what Lincoln is about.

It is true that the film dramatizes Lincoln's greatest achievement by showing the less than pure, even immoral, underbelly of the politics involved: the cajoling, lying, shaming, threatening and bribery. In doing so, it also argues that a radical "killjoy" like Thaddeus Stevens has to publicly repress his own views in order to get things done -- in this case, passing the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery. (Imagine radical voices not being heard in this country! Hard to believe.) Frank condemns the film for what it doesn't show: those times when such morally compromised methods lead to or support political corruption. But he never really gets around to the fundamental point here: politics is always compromised, even when on the side of angels. And contrary to his take, the film does make distinctions in compromise: Lincoln goes beyond the law with the intention of freeing the slaves (who are legally enslaved), but doesn't compromise with the Confederates in order to end the war when it wouldn't serve his (very moral) goal of changing the law. And, more importantly, the film shows us what's needed when democratic compromise breaks down. Adam Smith argued that slavery could be more easily ended under a "despotic" rather than "free government" when it was the "freedom of the free" that was "the cause of the great oppression of the slaves," that is, when "every law is made by their masters, who will never pass any thing prejudicial to themselves." [quoted in Liberalism: A Counter-History, p. 6, by Domenico Losurdo] Sure enough, it was extra-legal measures that vanquished slavery: a war and Lincoln's temporary dictatorship (e.g., his suspension of habeas corpus). For this, his critics called him a despot. They weren't entirely wrong, but he proved to be the kind of despot we needed. We haven't really had Abe the Dictator presented to us in the movies, for which I found the film -- whatever creative license Tony Kushner took with the script -- refreshingly honest.

Unleashing My Essay and a Few Others on Django Unchained

Posted by Charles Reece, January 8, 2013 07:44am | Post a Comment
Samuel Jackson Stephen Django Unchained

My essay, "Snowball's Chance in Hell," on Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is up. I had some problems with the film:

So, instead of a critical reflection of Django’s narrative, complicating his own generically derived existence as black performativity (cf. blaxploitation), Stephen is treated as little more than a blackface projection for white fantasy. As Tarantino has stated over and over in interviews, he clearly wants his audience to take sides, cheer at the ending — not, I conclude, reflect on the problematic that the house negro presents. Django is the oppressed that white folk would like to be in such a situation, fighting for freedom (just as they would now, of course), with Stephen’s freely working for subjugation the negation that gives such freedom meaning — as if chattel slavery and its concomitant subjugation of black identity were a choice made by the subjugated!

Ishmael Reed
really didn't like the film:

Throughout the movie,Tarantino reminds us that the Foxx character is unique. Comic book white racists, when reacting to Django, say things like “I ain’t never seen a n—– like you.”Or “I ain’t never seen a n—– on horseback.” In case you didn’t get the message it’s said twice in the movie that Django is “one in ten thousand” blacks. It might have been Django producer Reginald Hudlin who introduced Tarantino to the “Talented Tenth” concept originated by W.E.B DuBois. I wish that Hudlin had written the movie. As it stands, Foxx is chained to this stupid screenplay.

No Feet in Django Unchained: Tarantino on Stern

Posted by Charles Reece, December 24, 2012 12:26am | Post a Comment

My critique is coming soon, but in the meantime here's Howard Stern's recent interview
with Quentin Tarantino about his new film (among other subjects), Django Unchained.
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