spirited away is so full of imagination I tend to overlook any awkward narrative stuff that happens
I love it and can handwave some of it away because it is intentionally dreamlike. Things happen in dreams and sometimes they are immediately resolved and sometimes not at all. See it is a strength rather than a flaw.
Here are things that I am currently excited or want to talk about:
-8House #1. The art was gorgeous and the world feels like classic Brandon Graham. Big and weird and without explanation. Curious to see how it all works out because it is a monthly with a rotating set of writers and artists.
-Wolf #1. I've been on the fence about Ales Kot for a long time. Not sure that this is going to push me either way, but I'll at least pick the next few issues up. There are enough unanswered questions about all the supernatural stuff to keep me intrigued.
-The end of Mind MGMT. I've been talking this up in here for years and I don't think anyone has taken the bait. That's fine. Deeply inventive through and through, but obviously not for everyone. Looking forward to getting the conclusion next month and willing to follow Kindt anywhere on books that he draws.
-Nowhere Men finally being slated to return. Unfortunately Nate Bellegrade won't be coming back on art duties, but I'll be glad to see the book once again.
alan moore can be such an ass in general though. I just pretty much ignore what he says and take his work for what it is. It's not totally unheard of for an artist to miss a big message in their own work anyway.
I re-read promethea recently and was surprised I didn't pick up how perverse it was before (and how much spirtual rambling it contained) Then again after hearing about Lost girls it's not too surprising to have come from him. Still plan to read Lost girls some day if I can ever shake the feeling of being put on some kind of list for doing so, though I've probably read stuff from Moebius that was even "worse" on the disturbing sexuality front.
Moebius and Jodo both make and say some pretty gross things.
Did I post that I recently watched Election and it is probably my favorite Alexander Payne? Maybe a bit of a backhanded compliment because I think he's not that great of a filmmaker. The comedy works better than most of his other movies that lean in that direction which is nice to see because it really feels like he wants to do more than make you chuckle knowingly.
Weird to see how much of the direction feels really tied to the late 90s.
This season is moving really fast and not just because of the two episodes airing at a time. Just feels like normally, even in a shortened season, that main plotline would have ran a little longer. Sure, there is always the possibility of something going catastrophically wrong and probably it will, but still quick moving.
I went through the SNL cast list and counted 50+ performers that I consider funny. Varying degrees in there, but that's plenty. Lots of those 50+ are people that I didn't consider funny in the context of SNL - most notably Horatio Sanz who, as it turns out, is an complete weirdo and an off-the-wall improviser.
In my count, I have not included writers. There are plenty over the years that are massively funny.
What Jarmusch have you see uhh_me? I've seen Coffee and Cigarettes but nothing else.
Down By Law, Mystery Train, Stranger Than Paradise, Dead Man, Ghost Dog, Coffee and Cigarettes, Broken Flowers, and Only Lovers Left Alive. Night on Earth is next on my to-see list, though logically it is one I should have gotten to ages ago.
I can see you getting behind Mystery Train, Brad. And it strikes me as odd how everyone, even people I know that aren't terribly into film, has seen Coffee and Cigarettes. Why is that? The musician element? That isn't new for a Jarmusch film.
He's never been as good as his time on Detective Comics. The Black Mirror is his peak, but it works best if you've read Grant Morrison's Batman epic. It is still great if you haven't though. His current Batman fine and the art and coloring is great, but his arcs tend to run a bit long losing momentum 3/4 of the way through. Wytches seems strong a few issues in, but not the masterpiece it was of being billed as. American Vampire's first trade was good, but didn't leave me feeling compelled to continue.
I don't think conveying a message clearly is necessarily a slight against something. 15 Million Merits especially benefits from it, subtlety works in certain contexts, but doesn't by virtue make something better or worse.
Agreed, you'll not find someone that likes late life didactic Tolstoy as much as me. However, I think that subtly in satire works significantly better than going really over the top. I'd rather have the line blurred a little bit.
I watched the first two episodes of Black Mirror last night. I can't be the only one that thought they were a little bit obvious. Well constructed, sure, but kinda wham-bam-slam ya over the head with the message. I'll probably keep watching because there were enough moments that really pulled me in, but my expectations going forward aren't terribly high.
Yea Super comes close but doesn't actually have any powers. So like, a real superhero but without all the usual tropes. Dunno if you've seen it, but that 'If the Flash was directed by Bergman' video (which is obvs a funny parody), I think something could be done with that, without just being a comedy.
And the first comic I read from DC's New 52 thing was Dial H for Hero (written by one of me fave authors) which has this really interesting existential approach to heroism and individuality (whilst being pretty funny too)
Dial H was wonderful and it kills me that it wasn't allowed a longer run. Had a lot of really insightful things to say among the wackier stuff.
Sex by Joe Casey is also pretty grounded, though sometimes, uhh, too explicit.
Review is good. It took me a while to figure out how exactly the film worked, but I don't think there's much more you can do to explain that. There was a grammatical error in the 2nd or third paragraph That I can't find anymore. Something to the effect of you wrote the phrase "to the" twice in a row.
Here's my Manakamana piece for the blog. I'll take public feedback.
Manankama (2014) is a series of static shots of a pilgrims with offerings, local villagers, tourists, and others ascending and descending 3,426 vertical feet in a cable car. Each shot lasts approximately eight and a half minutes and either concludes or begins at the Nepalese temple of the same name. Cleverly, the lack of light at each terminal is used to disguise the arrival of the next riders not only almost creating a false single take, but also forcing the viewer to make wild guesses based on briefly glimpsed silhouettes.
Clearly, there is a tension between the old and the new running through the documentary – that much is obvious. The tossed off statement by one traveler that the trip to the used to take three days from her village speaks volumes. Three young men, wearing clothes that would feel more appropriate in a metal club than a 17th Century temple, laugh and take pictures of themselves during their ascent while still appearing to be reverent. They’re astute enough to recognize this break from expectations which is something Manakanama counts on from its viewers.
More interesting, to me, is the way in which the riders either embrace or ignore the voyeurism inherent in this exercise – again harkening to the tension between old and new by highlighting the difference between private and public. Being sealed into a cable car and seated across from two other people and a camera is bound to feel intrusive. The first pair of riders, an older man and a young boy, take opposite approaches. While the young boy occasionally stares down the camera and filmmakers to see who will break first, the older man, stone-faced and somber, acts as though he and the boy are the only ones in the cable car treating the ride as might be expected of the most stoic of pilgrims.
A set of older women appear out of the darkness of the station and are immediately presenting their most impassioned and bubbly versions of themselves filling those of us in the audience in on why their husbands were unable to make the trip to the temple, how things have changed for the better since their youth, and recounting a story of another temple. Each of avenue of their conversation feels rehearsed and calculated to create an interesting ride that will portray them in the light that they view themselves. Granted, this isn’t a detrimental or something that even rings untrue because putting on a certain face in social situations happens constantly – observation inherently changes one’s actions and doubly so when cameras are involved.
Most riders fall somewhere in between these extremes. Some play as though there is no camera and no filmmaker sitting across from them while still subtly acknowledging its existence through brief eye contact. One even smirks after that eye contact realizing that she broke the reality of the film, however moments later she scoots over in the car centering herself in the frame further destroying the idea of this as a natural document.
Many of the treats of the film appear in the second half, after the cable car shifts to a series of descents and seemingly becomes more comfortable with its own conceit. Two musicians tune their instruments and play to kill time, as well as entertain us. They are readily embracing their moment to shine without outwardly acknowledging the artificiality of the moment. The only riders to recur are a husband and wife who on the ascent speak of how having this opportunity to go to the temple is special while on the descent, the wife says that she almost gave her slot to their youngest daughter. Yes, their conversation is certainly about the actual trip up the cable car to admire and leave offerings at the temple to Manakamana, but the subtext is that having this opportunity to be part of this documentary is also something special and once in a lifetime.
Oddly, the place where I first caught wind of this film was in 12 Hour Day with JD and Connor, a podcast in which two New York City comedians record an unbroken, that is if there aren’t any technical problems, twelve hour block of their day. While it could be viewed at face value as an aggressive joke about the growing popularity of podcasts, it is really an excuse for two friends to spend more time together.
As disparate as they may seem, there’s a not insignificant parallel between these two explorations. There are times where in spite of carrying around a digital recorder, batteries, having lavs pinned to their shirts, and being intensely aware of producing content for their “viewer-listeners”, JD Amato and Connor Ratliff, the podcast’s hosts, occasionally seem to experience these weightless moments where the burden of recording their lives falls away and something truer is revealed about themselves. These unexpected glimpses when the self-imposed walls fall away or where the artifice of podcast as entertainment is forgotten are where the heart of 12 Hour Day exists.
Think of how people returning from experiences on reality television sometimes describe the way in which the cameras and the artificiality of that world eventually become such a normal part of their lives that they seemingly disappear. If the public observation can give way to private revelations during weeks of constant filming or during a single twelve hour period, the question becomes one of how quickly that can actually take place? Can the same thing happen during a brief trip in a cable car? There are moments that suggest the answer is yes.
In the finest moment of the film, and the one instance where that burden seems to be entirely lifted, two women, following their meeting with the goddess enjoy their return journey by indulging in ice cream bars, giggling like children, and poking fun at one another for dripping all over. Perhaps they are fully aware of the camera, but they become so lost in the pleasure of their frozen treats and one another’s company that they become what we, as viewers, can only assume are the truest versions of themselves and that’s something beautiful to witness.
Maybe Norton's character had reached his limit in terms of his story, like him making love to Stone/him finally becoming himself instead of acting 24/7 could be seen as his character finally overcoming his hurdle or whatever. So yeah, Norton managed to resolve his problem earlier in the film and so to include him just as heavily in the final segments of the film wouldn't have had many benefits for Keaton's story maybe?
I mean, I did question the lack of Norton in the last third when I was watching it as well but I only really did that when I saw him just before Keaton shot himself during the play. If I hadn't have seen him then, I probably wouldn't have questioned it.
I'll admit it, as usual I haven't a clue about what I'm saying
Can't some of the fading of Norton's character to the background be due to the necessity of him as a distraction to Riggan during the first 2/3s of the movie? Once Riggan becomes hyperfocused on ensuring the success of the play, the film has to take a more myopic approach, right?