Amoeblog

Sukiyaki Western Django

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 14, 2008 11:25am | Post a Comment
Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django
Japanese director Takashi Miike is a freak. Based on ongoing discussions I've held with friends and co-workers I'd say his films seem very either/or; anyone who has seen even one of his films has undoubtedly come to the conclusion that they've either seen one Miike film too many or that they've become Miike movie addicts. I've seen only a few films of his that could be categorized as middling (my favorite is one of these: the wonderful musical-comedy-horror farce Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)), and plenty ofQuentin Tarantino in Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django others I had trouble watching or couldn't finish due to the shocking visual content his stories are often soaked in. Being highly prolific (he has directed over seventy theatrical, video and television productions since 1991 and is credited with directing fifteen productions from 2001 to 2002 alone) and internationally famous for making movies capable of churning stomachs and blowing minds with such outrageous depictions of extreme violence and bizarre sexual perversions in underworld or otherworldy settings that often involve gangsters, outsiders and general sickos, it is no surprise Miike's films caught Quentin Tarantino's eye. It is a surprise, however, to see Tarantino himself all gunslingin' and gussied up in the opening sequence of Miike's latest creation, made available this Tuesday on DVD, Sukiyaki Western Djangoturduckin for thanksgivingI was so not expecting his performance or much of what followed, but I can say that I had a good night of movie magic enjoyment.

Continue reading...

Playing With the Boys: the Blue Angels are Top Gun

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, October 16, 2008 02:33pm | Post a Comment
U. S. Navy Blue Angels fly vertical
San Francisco's annual Fleet Week is over, but I'm still reeling in its aftermath. Every year on the last day of the air show I get together with a few good friends, pack a picnic and some drinks and head to a good vantage point to watch a few fly-boys do what they do best; that is, make a spectacle of their exceptional flying skills. Every day, the show is punctuated by an exemplary performance put on by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels who exhibit nothing but aviation at its extreme finest. It seems like everyone in San Francisco has something to say about the Angels, whether its the oft repeated dour expression of dislike or the rare wide-eyed, glowing expression of praise. Perhaps that's because their presence is impossible to ignore -- it's not every day that one hears what sounds like God taking a seam ripper to the sky. (Thankfully, the Fleet Week air shows did not coincide with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this year, much to the delight of all the music lovers who flocked to Golden Gate Park.) I, for one, enjoy their ear-trembling display of non-normalcy. I understand those who argue that the Angels represent a militaristic waste of tax dollars and non-renewable resources, that they're noisy and scary, and that they exist essentially as a weapon, but just look at what they do! There really is nothing quite like them. No matter what is said against them I stand firmly planted on my ground of wondering what the hell possesses people to push themselves to such limits. Whether what they do is deemed right or wrong in your eyes, chances are what they do is something you can't fathom. It is the stuff of dreams and they, the Blue Angels, are like flying rattlesnakes waking you from your sleepy-head, from a world obsessed with headlines, deadlines and the horrid notion of the possibility of bread lines. 
Goose and Maverick sing You've Lost That Loving Feeling
After the show my friends and I settled in for some pints and pitchers at a local pub. To my surprise there were more than a few sailors and Naval officers among the bar patrons. Like the Angels, their presence could not be ignored: handsome young men, clean cut in crispy white uniforms, shiny shoes and the hats hats hats all piled up on a ledge, I imagine for the purpose of keeping them tidy while they watched football or played air hockey. There was certainly a hat for every serviceman in the joint: starchy white and rounded sailors caps and wide-brimmed and polished officer's hats adorned in gold ornaments and filigree. Put together with the flamboyant aircraft we'd watched all afternoon, this picture of seamen at play reminded me of a movie, hard. This meeting of the real and the fantasy of the days' dealings was noticed by everyone and so when it was declared, in friendly buzzing slurs, that before the end of the night Top Gun must be seen, the decision was unanimous. I hadn't seen the film in quite some time and the thought of having to see it with such friends as those who, like me, so suddenly cultured a need for speed sent me into a frenzy of excitement. 

Continue reading...

Target Practice 1: On Sundry Topics

Posted by Charles Reece, March 1, 2008 09:09pm | Post a Comment
This is my trial run at blogging on my new laptop.  I switched to a Mac, which is a bit like what those really young kids must've felt in Piaget's experiments on object constancy where they hadn't yet developed the proper conceptual framework to understand that when a doll goes behind an obscuring object it doesn't cease to exist.  My perspective is all out-of-whack -- no right-clicking, can't figure out how to easily shift between programs, there's a bunch of little objects at the bottom of my screen that have no meaning for me -- forms without functions -- and I have no idea if files still exist once I've saved them.  It was definitely time for a change, however.  My other laptop looks like it was dug up on a excavation in New Guinea, a talisman from some forgotten arcane ritual.  Now, everything on the Web works the way it's supposed to (well, once I downloaded Firefox) and I don't have to wait for the grinding gears to stop before my next action, so I'll get used to it.  Baby steps.  The agony of living in the First World.

~ ~ ~

On my conversion to Macatholicism, I'm reminded, of course, of this piece from Umberto Eco, written way back in 1994:
The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

BACK  <<  1  2  3  >>