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Showing posts from October, 2016

"Inferno's" twin satisfactions: Enjoying the frayed, young mind for romp and adventure, and destroying the radical

A man wakes up in a hospital room, not sure how he got there, but has a head full of horrible memories, a red-hued hellscape of tangled, putrescent, menacing bodies -- an urban, corpse-filled, blood-filled war zone. A young and beautiful -- it is a nurse?... no, a doctor, attends to him. There is an age disparity, but she knows who he is for his being a famous professor of Dante and for her being someone who has read and admired all of his books. Her name isn't Florence... as in Nightengale, but we find out that's the city he has found himself in. 
No sexual interest is ever admitted between them. Nevertheless, very promptly he finds himself dressed in her boyfriend's -- or is it maybe an astray or maybe an ex-boyfriend's clothes, for where is he through all this? why otherwise does he never get mentioned? A perfect fit as it turns out. Simply a sober fact, but on some other planet -- certainly not here! no, definitely not here! -- it might perhaps suggest that h…

Staring up at gods, in "Keeping Up with the Joneses"

Keeping Up with the Joneses

The expression "keeping up with the Joneses" could be thought by some to be synonymous with capitalism itself -- people prevented from being content by the never-ceasing lure of something glittering, something better, still not under their possession. One would think that in all circumstances this estimation of a society would be profoundly negative, yet it is possible to see its being vulnerable to such an attack meaning it's in possession of something of real value. To the point: it bespeaks a society where the majority, even if a mouth that never finds satisfaction, is still the principle venue for consumption that would-be elites remain dependent on... it means an empowered, a vital middle class, with reach. And a society which can be accused as one where members of the middle class pointlessly emulate and accumulate is also one that one might imagine being defended as actually one where class mobility is a real thing; as fluid and open; a…

The Accountant

The Accountant
Autism usually is taken now as something that owes to genetic mix-up; you're born with it. The Accountant offers dutiful fidelity to this now core assumption but dramatizes it as actually a kind of retreat of the mind -- the older conception of the mental illness -- in face of a consistently undependable childhood environment. Christian Wolff, aka "the Accountant," his brother and sister, are children of a military officer, who requires them to move maybe as much as five times a year. He and his wife aren't dependable either: there is discord in their relationship, which eventually leads to divorce, just before the children have reached adolescence. When you can barely count on the fact that the place you've settled into will last as home beyond a month or two, and when you're just beginning your epic life journey into adulthood and one of the two pillars you're absolutely dependent on falls off the grid for good, no wonder you have a panic …

Birth of a Nation

Birth of a Nation
There is a moment in the movie when another black man tries to caution Nat Turner away from killing. He argues that their killing whites will mean that the many of the slaves who did not participate will be killed in retaliation. His act, will mean all of their deaths. The movie communicates however that this particular man -- the one doing the cautioning, a notably feminine, fretful figure -- has become askew to the real desires of the black community. That all of them are quite ready to die to have one of them, even if only for a small moment in time, enjoy revenge on a cruel, exploitative culture. Nat Turner is told that his wife and his daughter will be killed. But he hears from his wife and his mother and his grandmother, only that they could not be more proud of him. Theymay hang us afterwards, but son, bury that hatchet deep into them today. We're afar but we'll know when the blade has bit, and we'll be joyous. 
Standing up to bullies feels great. An…

What to do with the pathetic in all of us?

The Girl on the Train
The first half of the film is about the delineation of a really sick person -- Emily Blunt's Rachel. She's irrepressibly alcoholic. She has lost everything of meaning to her, and now she's dependent for survival on the kindness of a very tolerant friend. And for something to live for: getting glimpses each day on her train ride ostensibly to and from work, of a couple who live a dream of life of never-dissipating sexual interest in one another and who are absolutely gorgeous to boot. She's the sagging hag, drinking deep her water-containered vodka, while they're redolent of living Adonises from whom even a fountain of youth might draw inspiration from. 
The only other version of her that we see is when she reminds herself of her behaviour when drunk while with her husband. She acted out, a lot; she was violent. She damaged other people's lives; cost them their jobs. Her husband evidently couldn't deal with it anymore, and, even though it…

The Magnificent Seven

Magnificent Seven
There are two kinds of people in the world universe of Magnificent Seven. There are breeders (the townspeople) and there are livers (those like the seven). The breeders don't quite exist for themselves but are valuable as part of a continuum. The reason they are to be protected isn't because there is value to each of their individual lives -- nothing about them is intrinsically worth exploring: there is nothing but the mundane in all their "art" of making and selling -- but more because somehow there's a sense that if their flow is squelched, if one generation of them becomes barren, the human line dies, and it'd be a failed cowboy who saw the herd about him go to waste. So if you're not a breeder but rather a liver, someone who you don't look at and see their parents nor any potential children, but rather someone who lives large on their own within his/her own time, it's important to keep the herd intact. You have the pleasure as…

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
You can make being forced to live in a comfy environment, where there aren't much in the way of changes but where you feel protected and enjoy fellow-feeling, seem greatly sad and perverse ... something to be broken out of in a hurry. The way I would do it is to remind people that that what was part of what living through 1930 to 1945 was like. This was not a time for individualism, for breaking free of expectations into a realm where you establish what life you might like for yourself; but rather for people cloistering in packs against a menacing world. It was a time where all pronouncements that every human life involves a process of individuation as children establish themselves as adults, have to be put into question: you could be, potentially -- and even very likely, for it's what the age wants of you -- pretty much the same person, as you orbit in your safe familiar routines, from age ten through adult. You could be the pers…