Film Micrœview #430: Solo (2018)

05.25.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Bad.

A scatterbrained barrage of Star Wars themed bullshit, cliches, and tedium.

Music: Death Star cue! Rebellion theme! Tie fighter attack! Asteroid field! All in the span of like, one minute.

Characters? More like actors strung along on a plot.

Great, guess we have more Old Man Maul to look forward to.

Maybe one funny moment wasn’t some snarky, irreverent quip (I’m thinking of when Han could have used a uniform as a disguise had Chewie not ripped the bad guy’s arms off).

I’m pretty frustrated with the scene where Han gets his last name. It ruins the magic of Star Wars for me. Not the in-world magic. The magic of its cheesiness, I guess, is what I mean. Like, I definitely get lost in the world of Star Wars sometimes, but there’s something important about names like Han Solo, Greedo, etc. I mean, what the fuck is next? In the Admirar Ackbar spin-off, we witness some admin registering the name of his home world in the Republic’s records for the first time, and they’re like, “well, you look like a squid, so I’ll name it Mon Calimari!” I don’t know how exactly to explain this but maybe you get it too. Like, “Han Solo” the name is on the nose, but that’s okay so long as you don’t point at the nose? I am perfectly capable of suspending my disbelief over such a thing. I don’t need everything to be written by Tolkien who gives motivated, authentico-imaginary names to things. It makes sense that “Han Solo” is what we, the viewers from Earth, call this guy in the same way I understand that much of the time I’m watching Hollywood WWII movies and the Nazis are speaking together in accented English that “actually” they’re speaking in German but it is rendered in English for the benefit of my entertainment. But you wouldn’t fucking make a joke like, one of them says, hey, why don’t we switch into our mother tongue? I mean you could, if it was a fucking parody of a Hollywood WWII movie. But that’s exactly the kind of breach I feel just happened here. So what is this, a fucking parody of a Star Wars movie. Maybe.

I thought it would be refreshing to see a Star Wars movie where the fate of the galaxy is not directly at state, where it just happens to be set in said galaxy. I guess that part of it was fine, actually. It’s just that the movie was bad. I’m not deeply offended, just a bit insulted that this sort of going-through-the-motions contrivance passes as a Star Wars movie. Star Wars is over. I probably already said that for Episode VIII, but yeah, I am definitely not exciting myself over these things anymore. I’ll pass the time with the family watching one, yeah, but I’m not going to actively seek them out anymore.

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Dream 551: Snuggles All Day Day

05.24.2018 § Leave a comment

The family attaches a balloon to their camera. They’re almost going to lose it when they get the really high shot, but they manage to reel it back in.

Then back at home I’m with them. The dad has a tiny captive horse thing with a pig face. It’s like an inch tall, on his wooden work desk, tied by tiny strings to nails in the wall. He is trying to extract some substance from it. Definitely a kind of evil seeming purpose, contrasting with the freedom they feel after this family adventure and how it changes their perspective on space and scale, don’t you think??

“Have anything to drink? Coffee?” The mom asks me, though it’s weirdly late for that, and not clear that anyone else is having it. Also the dad (who was my more direct friend here) seems to be gone…

Heading home. It’s twilight. I realize I’m more lost than I thought I would be. I’m walking in the area by the hills of southwest San Francisco. How close is this to the shore, I wonder? Beginning to be more interested in the local geography than getting home. It turns out I’m pretty close to the shore, as I zoom out on Google maps. This is despite earlier getting this view from the family’s camera, which is maybe why I start becoming more interested in the Street View so I can see the hills around me. The buildings are not that tall here, quite pretty, though very not dense as I’d expect, kind of a pocket of undevelopment in the city. Maybe I’m late for something or about to miss a train or I’m just concerned about wasting time wandering now…

As I walk on I’m on Facebook and see that a designer at my day job who I’ve never had more than a passing exchange with is friends with Helen.

The designer asks me at a party if I go to this one other reoccurring party and I tell her no, though I’m lying, and as I lie I’m realizing that I even saw her at this party recently and continued to avoid conversation with her! But she doesn’t appear to notice or care about my lie.

At work together now we’re building a web app with the whole screen tiled with drag an drop plaques. But they are actually depressable, unmovable buttons. Moreover, what they do is launch shadows of themselves across the screen towards positions of perfect overlapping with other buttons like themselves, and upon exact overlap disappear completely.

I’m taking down the two clear plaques commemorating “Snuggles All Day Day” pinned into the wall with four corner metal pins. They have left little holes behind – is that okay here? Usually tape or sticky tack is used? There was one just before the staircase to the left and one to the right, in this area of the school basement where the main hallway T’s. Sadie had put them up, I learn once in the classroom. As class is getting confusing, though, I realize hey wait WTF!? And so I go to the snuggles.

ubject

05.20.2018 § 1 Comment

ubject, n. (ˈʌb dʒɛkt) – one which is neither subject nor object.

Dream 550: Cockroaches of Film

05.18.2018 § Leave a comment

I am taking a shower when I notice a massive swarm of large matte black cockroaches milling around, containing themselves for some reason to a corner of the bathroom floor next to the shower. Karin seems unconcerned with this development.

 

I don’t quite understand the shift in constraints coming on us from our peers over this latest film project.

Film Micrœview #429: Stromboli (1949)

05.16.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

Clearly a masterpiece. Unforgettable imagery of the volcano and fishing. Characterizations that get under the skin. A powerful, breathless ending.

Yet, personally, it doesn’t resonate. I just don’t particularly care which way it may go. This struggle doesn’t correspond with anything I can identify with. At times it’s even awkward or opaque.

Film Micrœview #428: La Strada (1954)

05.16.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Dr. Pepper.

Timeless storytelling, if judged only by the fact that I shared it with a couple friends who were unaccustomed to watching old foreign films and they were both completely engaged.

The film works both on the level of a story about interpersonal struggle, and as a metaphor for the internal struggle of the artistic mind. As Bazin puts it, “Gelsomina and the Fool carry an aura of the marvelous around with them, which confuses and irritates Zampanò, but this quality is neither supernatural nor gratuitous, nor even poetic, it appears as a quality possible in nature.”

Consider how perfectly the performances of the main characters fit their personalities. Zapano’s life is nothing but an endlessly repeating display of false strength and danger. Whereas The Fool’s life is an endlessly repeating subjection to real danger, a balancing act, living perpetually on the edge, taunting death as closely as he can get away with, usually in the form of a tightrope, but ultimately in the form of Zapano, which (he knows) he is doomed to eventually fail at, when his time runs out (his watch is broken).

I think Zapano is the primary vessel of identification, and I think Gelsomina and The Fool represent two sides of an idealistic coin. The Fool is the real artist of the two of them. Zapano cares so much about teaching Gelsomina all she knows, but blames her for not taking to anything, and knows deep down that he has nothing good to teach and that he teaches badly. He is deeply jealous that The Fool teaches her the only things that bring meaning and beauty to her life and those lives she touches. Gelsomina represents another element that artists aspire to: naive purity. In the longest, most critical scene of the movie, between The Fool and Gelsomina, she concludes that if she doesn’t stay with Zapano, no one will. It’s faulty logic; no one needs to stay with him, and he might find someone else anyway, but it’s how her personality works. Where Zapano represents part of the necessity for an artist to survive – the lies, the shock – Gelsomina represents the subservience and inability of the purity of art to overcome its draw.

The cinematography was beautiful. In particular I think back to the scene when Zapano abandons Gelsomina for the first time. A horse without a carriage. Staging in depth. His knee in the foreground. Rack focus. Cut to a few feet above and her standing up into the shot. The child comes around from behind the car. Sudden stopping and starting of the camera movement just before and after cuts, shots generally smooth and stable otherwise, imbuing the continuity with a remarkable energy. Soon thereafter Gelsomina leaving Zapano, and the shift in the structure of the montage from a stable narrative continuity to an anything-is-possible scatter, helping us identify with her adventurous mindset. The towering awe of the church, the greatest street performer of them all, and the surge of the crowd down an alleyway.

I also can’t get the coda for the film out of my mind. The way Zapano eats the gelato in a single bite. Indulgent but devoid of pleasure. He truly loved her but couldn’t express it. The Fool nailed it when he described him like a dog. The whole film is a working up to him experiencing a moment of emotion. The way his final act cuts just at the dangerous moment underscores how the risk was never real, and that is the core of his solitude. The suspense may spell, this time, as an old man, finally, after realizing the two lives he’s destroyed, his will may break and it will kill him. But instead it is the final sequence in which we witness his death. Not the death of his body. But the death of his lies.

Film Micrœview #427: Gates of Heaven (1978)

05.11.2018 § Leave a comment

Rating: Good.

Morris’s first feature and he’s already Morris. The subject matter could have been a Portlandia skit but here it’s a fascinating (and occasionally frustrating or ridiculous) window into desperate human needs.

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