Dream 519: Stach

10.17.2017 § Leave a comment

I’ve taken a portal to a world very much like Ooo’s Candy Kingdom except slightly more busy, purple, and space alien-y. Mugsy is there, a demon played by Max Von Sidow. Initially in human form, he is creepy in that he explains to us from the start that defeating him is probably impossible, but he’ll do his best to give us instructions anyway. Each time we think we’ve done it he re-emerges as having greater and freakier powers, such as passing through walls, but he never comes across as having tricked us each time, more like apologetic for not being clear enough. Finally he is in the form of a giant rainbow lollipop colored fat sinewy twisty monster, and we defeat him not through anything he explains but through stabbing him in the thigh in a specific combination of colors of stripes.
I’m having fun messing with my grandparents, making increasingly absurd statements that they continue to accept as reasonable.
Our tech stack is getting crazy high. Some of Mugsy’s stuff mixed in with ours. At this point there must be five open laptops stacked inside each other. My dad is quite impressed.

Film Micrœview #379: A Touch of Zen (1971)

10.07.2017 § Leave a comment

Rating: Dr. Pepper.

Damn. I awoke from this fantasy of a film with one thought in my head: “I know Kung Fu.”

I can now no longer see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as much but an homage to this film.

So gorgeously shot and edited. Not sure what I could say about the sensuously flowing camera movements and dramatic, disorienting cuts during the action sequences that hasn’t already been said.

My only complaint is that the guy who played Ku didn’t seem to act with the same style as the others. He was so exaggeratedly emotive. I did chuckle when it became clear he was going to test each of his traps individually and cackle after each one, though.

I teared up at the power of the Abbott. Obviously this is not a new motif, but I’d never seen realized so beautifully the notion that to keep peace, one must be even more strong in battle than aggressors. What a friggin badass he was, declaring that none shall die on this sacred soil, and kicking ass to make it so. And the way this theme that violence devours itself was gradually developed, with Mu first accidentally killing his last henchman, then Hsu in a delirium semi-intentionally killing his own sons, finally consummated with his own suicide.

I always love it when films start off at the individual story level, then get swept up in a societal-level drama, and then even that gets swept away in a philosophical-level abstraction of struggle. Akira does this too. I can’t think of other examples this amazing. The writing was not overly tight nor overly loose. It’s right that Ku fades to the background in the end; even Yang and Shih are almost non-entities in the final conflict. I suppose part of this is a result of the fact that the film really was released in two parts.


Film Micrœview #378: Le Diable, Probablement (1977)

10.07.2017 § Leave a comment

Rating: Dr. Pepper.

The Seventh Continent now feels to me deeply indebted to this film. Wanna talk about pebbles in the shoe? This film is deeply disconcerting and off-putting from start to finish. Treading the line between mockery of this sort of pain and very much the embodiment of it. The unflinching rhythmic procession of events, the on/off of the street traffic. This film took everything I knew Bresson and transmuted it into something freakishly uncanny.

I found this article quite fascinating: http://offscreen.com/view/diable_1

Dream 518: Cheap but Good

10.07.2017 § Leave a comment

I’m fishing pennies deeper and deeper out of a wallet, letting a crippled homeless man get his unusual revenge instead of extra pizza.

Dream 517: Strange Bodies

09.30.2017 § Leave a comment

I haven’t been giving my pet turtle-lizard enough water. I’ve shaved off his shell, skimming off the toothpasty pale-blue spackle around a grid-based design of gooey blue gel. And I’ve given him half-person-ness so he has even more theoretic body requiring water! I lay on my side on his medium light gray rock surface, leaving a hose on, and he comes for it, also laying on side to drink it from near the nozzle.

The house has a main entrance, flanked by smaller doors, which were left wide open – no wonder so many bees got inside.

I’m taking over the company from Elmo. It’s officed in the warehouse basement now. I hang the black felt shower hanger thing on the wall as a token of my CEOcity. Karin knows how to do this and is critiquing my lack of skill and knowledge. Tristan puts on I Can’t Help Myself by The Four Tops, while a balding Dinesh exercises by dragging his butt across the floor. Noam turns a key in each of his abs, which snap like cracked knuckles.
A spider of my sister’s is loose somewhere on the rug. Clearly from the silhouette of its fat leg, this is a big freaky one.
A trinomial has been factored into two binomials of enemy combatants. I take them around the city street corner, placing them by hand a little ways up the hill, and consider myself to have fixed the situation.
On a train, I bump into Wanda. The situation almost became awkward because there are two other people who look almost exactly like her, perhaps taller, perhaps with redder hair, who I encounter on the way to her. I don’t actually even greet the real her at first, who skulks in a corner by a door. I finally reach out and introduce her to Sergey, who helped me out last time. At the moment Sergey is inducing pain in my fingers using an app he’s developed. I ask him how it works. He shows how for each section of my body plotted on his GUI there are three levels of soreness and three levels of relief that can be induced. Out of curiosity I tap the third level of bad on the representation of my genitals. I immediately panic, remembering how Sergey explained that the levels increase in drasticness quite quickly – the third level is actually complete destruction and severing of that body part! Fortunately my interpretation of the GUI was off, though – what I’ve really done is put the first level of bad onto the third segment of my genitals – the first was my scrotum, the second the shaft, the third the glans. Indeed I do feel a mild pain at the very tip, and that’s all. Now Sergey is causing some pain for me in my left eye. Looking at the interface from high above, I induce some pleasure in my left shoulder.

Film Micrœview #377: Trainspotting 2 (2017)

09.30.2017 § Leave a comment

Rating: bad.

I don’t recall the original clearly. I was amused twice, I think. Mostly tedious and indulgent. And I guess I don’t really care for “crime comedy drama films” after all.

Film Micrœview #376: Laputa, Castle in the Sky (1986)

09.23.2017 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

How had I not seen this? Apparently I had a blind spot for the first Ghibli feature.

It’s uncannily like every other Ghibli feature, which obviously means it’s great. But experiencing it out of order, after deeply immersing myself in some the others, for me has imbued it with with a feeling like it’s retroactively derivative. From the score to the story, everything kept feeling like I’d seen and heard it before, and unfortunately, partially due to the endearment of the other films to me, it felt inferior, even though I knew this one came first, while the studio was still developing. If anything, it’s amazing that Ghibli was already this on top of their game from the beginning (I don’t recall Nausicaa well enough to compare; it is not one of my favorites I’ve immersed myself in).

I think I can say fairly that Laputa is a tad more straightforward than your average Ghibli, with respect to both character and plot. On the other hand, I would also rank it toward the top of their gamut on Mystery – so many beautifully unanswered questions about this world and its history. Though in a weird intersection of this two comments, I could have used a bit more information on many of the characters, in particular the villain.

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