Archive for the ‘Arts&Media’ Category

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Wonder Wednesday

December 5, 2018

First, John Williams is creating new music for Galaxy’s Edge!  Second, great footage of the progress on the new park — it is looking fantastic!

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Wreckin’ It Twice

November 25, 2018

Wreck it Ralph was director Rich Moore’s first film for Disney.  It was a fun and inventive movie, full of great potential and lots of heart, yet marred by lackluster storytelling, extraneous jokes, and veering away at the last minute from actually engaging with the very strong contexts (ostracization and bullying) it had been heading towards.  My opinion has shifted gears over the years to where I now find it a solid movie, if one that still feels like it could have reached higher.

So, for me it was a great delight when Rich’s next film (along with Byron Howard and Jared Bush) came along to find that these weaknesses had all been addressed – the storytelling was buttery smooth, the humour well integrated, the puns turbocharged, and in absolutely. no. way. did the movie avoid the profound and difficult inquiries it was grappling with.  It was moving, it was beautiful, and it was, of course, Zootopia, a film I may have written a thing or two about

Now, two and a half years after Zootopia and six years later from the original comes the sequel to Ralph (directed again by Rich along with Phil Johnston).  As was the tradition, I avoided as many spoilers as possible, watched the original to get ready, and headed to the theatre opening weekend to catch a showing.  Would Ralph Wreck the Day (in a good way) again?

(Spoilers Ahead!) Read the rest of this entry ?

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Will the king rise again?

November 23, 2018

Without much fanfare or warning, Disney dropped a teaser trailer for the “live action” remake of The Lion King…

… and I won’t lie, I got chills from watching it.

In no small part this is unsurprisingly due to the gorgeous visuals on display in this new teaser – the “realistic” rendering on display is quite stunning.  Mainly, though, the chills arise because this trailer shows only beat-for-beat remakes of scenes from the original*, and the original, especially coupled with the great score by Hans Zimmer, will almost always give me the chills.

As for the enterprise as a whole I still have massive concerns about what will result from this remake.  The remake of Beauty and the Beast left me cold in more ways than one** and I do wonder what the intent of this is (besides making a tonne of money, of course).  There are only a pawful of narrative (or other) weaknesses that I’d say would need ameliorating; will they address those or miss them, will they try to shoehorn in unnecessary stuff, will they go for some radical reworking, or will they just leave it as a pure visual overhaul?***  Some of those paths could lead to something amazing.  The others… not so much.

The 1994 release of TLK really landed for me in ways I may never be able to fully understand why.  It had a monumental impact on my life, both in terms of how it spoke to me, what I took from it, the many friendships I developed around it, and the life-directing choices that emerged from it.  I’m not concerned that the remake will ruin my time or memories of that time – I would never give anyone or anything that power – but this movie is something special to me.  I already think it is a great movie, with good storytelling.

Again I won’t lie:  they are clearing doing this, and I so want, and hope, that whatever gets released next year remains equally great, moving, wonderous, and powerful.

Paws crossed.

 

* Which makes me wonder why they didn’t actually pull a page from the original and release the entire Circle of Life sequence as the trailer…

** And Lindsay Ellis unraveled it even further here, enumerating a number of things that point to why my view of the remake had been souring further since I’d written my review…

*** Perhaps strangely I could get behind this direction.  It does leave open a big question of “why bother?” but at the same time, so long as they’re being honest about what they’re doing, there’s an appeal to making something purely for aesthetic delight.

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 20, 2018

“From time to time we receive letters from readers who wonder why there’s so much moralizing in our mags. They take great pains to point out that comics are supposed to be escapist reading and nothing more. But somehow, I can’t see it that way. It seems to me that a story without a message, however subliminal, is like a man without a soul. In fact, even the most escapist literature of all – old time fairy tales and heroic legends – contained moral and philosophical points of view. At every college campus where I may speak, there’s as much discussion of war and peace, civil rights, and the so-called youth rebellion as there is of our Marvel mags per se. None of us lives in a vacuum – none of us is untouched by the everyday events around us – events which shape our stories just as they shape our lives. Sure our tales can be called escapist – but just because something’s for fun, doesn’t mean we have to blanket our brains as we read it!

Excelsior!”

— Stan Lee

 

Storytelling is one of the, if not the, thing that makes us human.  It is one of our greatest gifts.  A good story can excite us, can move us, can inspire us, can make us feel all manner of feels.  Stories can touch us deeply.  And, most importantly, it is through stories, both heard and our own, that we come to know ourselves and our world.  Our very identity and relation to the world is codified through story.  This conflux of narratives is what gives us our experience of life.

Storytelling is something that is to be honoured, cherished, nurtured, supported.  The stories we tell are just as important as the equations and knowledge and skills we teach.  Entertainment is fabulous!  And entertainment is never in opposition to great and intentful storytelling.

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Architecture Monday

November 19, 2018

This is by architect Tadao Ando.  So you know it will have spaces that evoke, quite viscerally, feelings of exquisiteness and marvel.  His mastery of light and form and proportion and volume is second to none.

Even if you haven’t been a follower of of my previous architecture posts, with an intro like that I don’t need to say that he’s definitively one of my favs.  I’ve admired many of his buildings, but this one has something extra unique and of interest to me:  it’s an adaptive reuse of an existing building, an insertion into a robust and formal brick shell, using the pre-existing walls and openings to create new forms and experiences within.

From those powerful atriums, where his silky and monochrome concrete forms play beautifully off the rich and rough red brick, to the more intimate and subdued galleries, to the new rooftop pavilion and glass-lined walkways, there’s almost no moment that doesn’t delight.

A wicked tour de force.  And much easier for me to visit than heading off to Japan again.  Very much on my list of places to visit.

Wrightwood 659 Exhibition Space by Tadao Ando & Associates

 

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Wonder Wednesday

November 14, 2018

Cute little kitty ramen truck!

by Tim McBurnie

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 6, 2018

It is like tuning an instrument

 

You cannot expect to do it just once

And have it stay perfect

 

You have to do it ongoingly

Daily

Tuning

And adjusting

So that it sounds better and better

 

So too with life

 

You cannot expect to transform something

Learn something

Gain wonderous insights

And get something, once

And have it stay perfect

 

You need to keep doing it

It is a practice

 

And with practice

You approach that more perfect state

Leading to evermore beautiful harmonies

And to evermore beautiful lives