Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Community?

As friends or readers of mine know, I do not make this move: that of supporting or promoting something highly critical of an artist, especially a novelist. But this is not about just Franzen, it is about us. We are a problematic generation. One with gaping, transmission sized defects and no tools nor hands to operate the tools even if we had the tools, to fix them. I am presently compiling the struggles of living with a specific sect of our generation, an awful and unworthy-of-life group, into a paper no one will read. I will post it nonetheless, very soon. In the meantime, as an epigraph, this is from B.R. Myers' "Smaller Than Life." It is a review and a critique of the popular novelist Jonathan Franzen and his latest work, Freedom. (From the 0ctober 2010 the Atlantic)

Franzen does not take his story very seriously, but the irony is indiscriminate and directionless; he hints at no frame of reference from which we are to judge his prose critically. Nor are we to imagine that a fool or semiliterate is addressing us. The same narrator who gives us "sucked" and "very into" also deploys compound adjectives, bursts of journalese, and long if syntactically crude sentences. An idiosyncratic mix? Far from it. We find the same insecure style on The Daily Show and in the blogosphere; we overhear it on the subway. It is the style of all who think highly enough of their own brains to worry about being thought "elitist," not one of the gang. The reassuring vulgarity follows the flight of pseudo-eloquence as the night the day. Like the rest of these people, Franzen should relax.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ice Cream Terrorism

Stealing a page from my long lost cohorts, an excerpt from a chat last night that had my sides splitting. FYI/BTW: I was imagining Wonder Breads, not a baguette.

12:17 AM America: i'm spilling ice cream all over myself
12:18 AM Thailand: haha
haven't had good ice cream in a minue
12:19 AM America: i shld ship u some of this
12:20 AM Thailand: oh yeah
the colbert one
America: hella good
Thailand: yeah
you know what the preferred vehicle for ice cream is here?
America: hahahaha
12:21 AM Thailand: yeah
a literal ice cream sandwich
its bizarre
America: hahaha
Thailand: in a culture that doesn't even really have bread, they put their ice cream on it
12:22 AM America: amazing
i'm still lol
Thailand: yeah
i still laugh when i see it
i'll find you a pic
12:23 AM America: k
i dunno maybe its good
12:26 AM America: hahaha
12:27 AM that looks AWFUL
Thailand: yeah
it doesnt' look great
maybe if it was like french toast or something
12:28 AM then i'd be down
12:29 AM America: yea, you shld try it
and write a bit about it
Thailand: yeah i will
12:30 AM i've been meaning to try it for a while
but whenever i see it i can't bring myself to do it
12:31 AM America e: i honestly dont blame you
Thailand: yeah
theres a lot of shit i still gotta try
12:32 AM weird shit
America: i cant get over the fact that the chocolate in that picture looks like shit
like real shit
12:33 AM Thailand: yeah thats the thing too
is the ice cream here is never good
chocolates never good
unless its from somewhere else
America: looks like bad soft serve
12:34 AM Thailand: basically anything thats not traditionally thai is done badly
America: such blanket statements only make me lol
Thailand: i guess thats how it always is
i'm for real
America: i never use "lol" but there's no other way for me to say it right now
12:35 AM Thailand: thai made chocolate is just bad
America: i believe you!
Thailand: i don't blame them
its a relatively new thing
same with ice cream
America: hahaha
12:36 AM Thailand: anyway
i gotta get going
me: ok
thanks for the laughs
Thailand: yeah
me: i shld probly sleep too
Thailand: the laffs are on me

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Throw a neg? #6: Funny People

look at the shorts
Judd Apatow sure does love his family. Every shot of Leslie Mann gleams, every shot of daughters Maude and/or Iris Apatow holds just too long. It's not like hiring Janusz Kaminski to light his pictures into "pretty" makes Apatow any better a filmmaker. But the problem isn't directing, per se, it's scope; which points to writing, which points to editing, which of course points to directing, too (we're after harmony after all, aren't we?). Endless coverage and endless post-production work shouldn't really be a problem, in theory, because you'd hope that editing was actually editing, or trimming--cutting off some fat. Hell, it's a recurring joke that Seth Rogen's gotten skinnier since the last time he was on screen. More, Apatow's trying to tell two too many stories at once, and each one is so moral. Granted, I felt good walking to the car; and, I suppose, self-reliance is a about as good a thing to preach as any. But, for every dick joke and for all the let's-get-serious talk, there's still a gauze on mess. It's a satisfied picture, no doubt, happy to know what it knows. It's Hollywood; it's fantasy. Solutions seem easy. After watching so much Hawks recently (a terrible and unfair comparison, I realize, but what are standards for?), I get that, for all his assurance of how the world works, Hawks is more about letting things play--or following a course as it leads. Despite the bloat of the running time, you can feel Syd Field all over Apatow's screenplays/outlines. Bottom line: gimme more movies about competition and more Aubrey Plaza telling our dummy boy-man Rogen she can fuck whoever she wants. --RWK

Friday, July 24, 2009

Candles #7: I see a new earth

Candles #6: There are smart people

Say what you will. This makes me feel great. He's such a real person, it's amazing. Biggest sign, clearly, is his commitment to work, and girls. --RWK [via carlton, via filmdrunk]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bag Raiders "Shooting Stars" Music Video

Instead of making some crap video of the two guys in the band taking a faggy walk down some Lawnmower Man/Miami Strip re-creation, they should have just filmed a young, beautiful multi-ethnic group of friends driving around in a convertible (slightly drunk) in LA because that's all anyone thinks when they hear this song.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Design Poach #19: Hitchclock

What: Hitchcock Chromotography
Stolen from: Hitchcock Wiki Blog via @dwhtwit.

Be sure to click through and look at the big versions. This kind of obssesive project is what the internet was made for. --RWK

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Throw a neg! #5: Harry Potter 6

through something
As soon as he says that line, you know it's over. Or, I did. I got up premature and beat it the hell out of the parking lot. No need to soak credits. For a film that long, with that much "plot," it's pretty damned minor. Yates seems to have a few good ideas about lighting, and jostling the screen sometimes, but there's a certain embalming patina over most things in the movie. It's definitely a movie of things, too, as all these Potter books/movies are, except for when Cuaron really turned the central thing into a theme in his picture. Now, this one cannot be deemed a nadir by any means, but it certainly doesn't mean much to state that. Nor does it mean much by itself, as all the things are just things, attached to very little. A film/story this reliant on "memory" should be a little bit more about the mind, don't you think? (Something Yates' #5 got, kind of.) No, this one's just a different kind of faithful to the book, exclusively a plot delivery machine, even though the color and consequence of the final confrontation/s has been transposed down, dampened or muted, and, quite honestly, smoothed over. We (or I, or other dummies like me who've read the books) know that the series won't deliver on all its mythological possibilities, but there's still hope, maybe, that the next two films (of one book! money! cash! greed!) will at least be loud. God knows there won't be any less exposition. Even without Gambon asking, in just about every scene, "You must be wondering why I've brought you here." My query is why I want to be lead, or why I keep on following.

Quick Lit Shit #25: Eyes Wide Shut [BFI monograff]

A fine elucidation that pays strict attention to the film itself and hardly interprets away from what we're given. I wish I was as rigorous to stay within the film as Chion. This isn't to say he doesn't talk of associations, or of the filmmakers and their process, but that all his interpretation is grounded, firmly, in details from the film. Also: I dig its simple, intuitive structure. The best film criticism reorganizes the film in a particularly non-linear way that activates the film again and again in flashes for the reader; this does that. --RWK

Quick Lit Shit #24: Vulgar Modernism

Wish I had more free time to spend with this but from my thumbing (no, didn't read it cover-to-cover) it proves, again, how talented and sharp and well rounded Hoberman's criticism reads. Also cool to see what was happening in the NYC film world before VHS and Laserdiscs and DVD changed (devalued?) rep and foreign programming. --RWK

Quick Lit Shit #23: Hitchcock's Films Revisited

Wood's is a fine primer. And a thoughtful guide for the familiar, too. Still a few things I'd challenge, though, like all that talk of identification solely in terms of a equals b techniques without further investigation. --RWK

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Design Poach #18: Heights

What: A cover of Wuthering Heights, which I've never read, but want to for the number of film adaptations there are, including one by our man of the moment, Mr Manipulator himself, Rivette.
Stolen from: An article in the Independent about the art of book covers, of course. Found via this recent 3:AM link dump.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Candles #5: Best Death Metal Elevator From London

Pretty amazing. Pretty damned amazing, Carlton. Imagine I'm yelling, imagine I'm John Darnielle:

Let's save our pennies and dimes! Let's get along real well!
Let's go ahead, let's book a flight, let's find things to sell!
Oh I want to slide dow that tube; oh I want it, I want it oh so bad.
OH I can't find my right mood, oh I want, I want to never be mad!
Jump into that chute!
Jump into that chute!
Let's jump intooOOOooo that chute.

More pix over here. --RWK

Friday, July 10, 2009

Freaks Flock Together

The Hunger, 1983, Tony Scott

Utterly bewildered to find this "vampire lesbo" movie is actually a stately, gorgeous piece of movie making, and it's directed by Tony Scott. It's like Dan Brown coming out with The Road and then he goes onto Oprah and says "I just wanted to write this quick, fun little apocalypse novel while I was researching the next Da Vinci Code sequel." Fuck you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two Goths, The Desert & Karl Lagerfeld

Teasers from the new Jonathan Glazer-directed DEAD WEATHER video. Did anyone see BIRTH? I mean, come on, it was the fucking shit wasn't it??

Friday, July 3, 2009

Enjoy the Fireworks, my Young Comrades

San Francisco has a nice way of dulling the 4th of July, not intentionally of course, but atmospherically. Who can get in the spirit of things American, such as explosions, if fog guards their glory? This year, the forecast is the same, and to tell you the truth, this time around, this particular summer, so varied and abstract for me, I would prefer a deep and disguised rumbling of the clouds to just about anything else. For all seven of you though, if any of you barbeque and party the night away tomorrow, I wish you the best, on our sweet collective birthday. In other words Blow (it) Up.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Encounter #145: Watermelon in Spain

Seeds spring life. I've never been to Spain. I'd like to go there. Everybody I know says it's the best. --RWK