Posts Tagged ‘movies’

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Muse Rising on the Jedi, Redux

January 9, 2020

One big addition to (and to fix a glaring omission from) my review of TRoS from last Sunday, and that is to commend the actors.  They did what they could with the material given to them to do, and often went above and beyond the call.  Adam Driver especially – he didn’t even get to speak for the last third of the movie and managed to pull off a lot of communication with only body language and expression.  And a glass raised in condolences to John Boyega, for whom I think 50% of his dialogue opportunities was, started, or ended with, shouting “Rey!” in various ways.  Their embodiment of the characters throughout the trilogy (whether they were in all three or just some of them) is one of the series’ strong points, and for some of the installments was the reason why the movie worked at all in any capacity.

It’s also gotta be rough as an actor, signing up for something you’re excited in and then being presented a script… and a reshoot, and another reshoot… and then seeing on screen what was finally edited together.  And then everyone’s reactions to it.  (Doubly so since, especially for some of them, they were hit with insane and disgusting vitriol hurled towards them personally as actors.  That’s really shitty.)   Like many I both dream of and would jump at a chance to be in a Star Wars movie (or any other movie, really, but Star Wars has extra resonance).  I would sign on the dotted line and be ready to dive in.  I can also imagine then being handed the script like for TFA or TRoS and feeling my heart sink and continue sinking throughout the process.

Now, I don’t know if any of the actors felt this way, and maybe they didn’t, but I still commend them heartily for giving it their all and bringing what there was to life and for making us like and invest into the characters, even as we may have wanted to see them (with these feelings even heightened because the actors were doing a good job) in better stories or better told stories.

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Wonder Wednesday

January 8, 2020

From the moment I first heard/saw it on the Laserdisk release, I’ve always loved this early version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight.  It’s just Simba and Nala singing to each other, though not actually singing to each other.  It’s quiet and intimate and there’s something raw-er and more emotional present here than in the “heavenly choir” version used in the film.  And also something more… profound?  That might not be quite the right word for it, but there’s a greater sense of two lions becoming aware of their attraction while also dealing with what they’re carrying from their past.  It feels much more authentic and real than the polished and grand production number used in film.  The simpler orchestration here also really works for me.

All in all, an absolutely lovely version and definitively my favourite version of the song!

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The Rise of Musing Jedi

January 5, 2020

And so my friends we have come now to the end.  Episode IX, the final chapter in the “main” Star Wars saga!  Thus far in the trilogy, The Force Awakens largely disappointed, and The Last Jedi was strong in concept and rich in both direction and character arcs if, unfortunately, weak in storytelling.  For this third installment, JJ is back to direct.  Will the third time the charm?  Will The Rise of Skywalker rise to the occasion and satisfyingly wrap up this 42 year journey?

Spoilers ahead…. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Philosophy Tuesday

September 24, 2019

Tonight in comic form…

Mr Rogers and Thor.  Absolutely wonderful.  Pair it with previous posts on Mr Rogers, including what he gave and how deep into our hearts he saw.

Comic by Twistwood, based on a post by Matthew Wisner.

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Storytelling Sunday

September 15, 2019

“…our relationships with works of art, particularly those that have a massive impact on us, changes as time goes on.  The things that inspire you at 16 probably won’t inspire you or at least in the same way at 26 or 36 or any age past that.  And even if something has soured in your mind, mocking it wholesale seems more a sign that you still need it, and less like you recognize its flaws while appreciating the role it played in your life.”

— Andrew Saladino

I really like what Andrew creates in his video essay on outgrowing movies (and outgrowing art in general).  The whole trope/idea/action of “growing up = trashing what you liked before” is unfortunate.  Perhaps it is a misunderstanding of the phrase “you must leave things behind”?  Either way, outgrow is a much healthier word:  “I used to like that and it used to hold meaning for me.  Now, it doesn’t in quite the same way.  While it may not be perfect as I remembered it, it still shaped who I am, and I can revel in my excitement for it back then.  I can let it lie in the middle ground and go forth boldly.”

And for those times we revisit something and it is everything that we remember it to be — and sometimes revealing itself to be even more meaningful now?  Then its time to dance on the rooftops in unbridled excitement!

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 18, 2019

“There’s also the fact that we all imagine ourselves to be somehow immune to the way that the information feed shapes our understanding of the world.  But it is precisely the belief that we are immune to it that makes us so susceptible to it.  It is because we don’t think advertising works on us that it works so well, it is because we think that, you know, propaganda can’t affect the way we vote that propaganda is so effective at changing the way we vote.  We need to think harder about this stuff and not imagine ourselves as being people floating above a sea of information, and instead understand that we are fish swimming in that sea of information.”

“Yeah, the idea that we are at all separate from many of the things that go on in our culture is buck wild.  It’s part of us, we’re part of it, we can’t separate ourselves from it, and just because something happened in a movie doesn’t mean we’re going to be that thing, it’s not like a direct 1:1 relationship, but everything that we do is informed by culture.  We cannot escape that, so we have to be aware of it.”

John and Hank Green

 

(Oh so nicely succinct and well put.  They are, after all, called hidden views and biases for a reason.  Are you human?  If yes, then you have biases.  It isn’t about being good or bad, right or wrong, it’s just something we do.  We create our reality, out of the many fragments that surround us, forget that we did, end up with biases, and then, in the immediacy of our lived experience, not recognize that those realities, views, and biases are acting upon us.  Not to mention emotions and identities, the likes of which we totally pretend we are above and unaffected by.  We get trapped, of a fashion.  And the only way to not be trapped and hooked is to acknowledge that there is a trap, own our humanity, and practice being mindful to notice when the hooks come up.  Then we remain free to see, to be, and to choose.)

 

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Reach for the Moon

March 28, 2019

There’s a documentary out in theatres right now titled, simply, Apollo 11, and it’s rather neat.  For you see, while it is a straightforward documentary on Apollo 11, it has an interesting conceit:  all of the film is comprised of actual archival footage or audio from the actual mission.  (The only exception is a couple of shots from other Apollo missions, and some line drawing animations showing the position and sequence of the craft on its way to and from the moon.)  That’s pretty cool.  There are no talking heads, no voice-over narration unless it comes from audio spoken and transmitted at the time (to which mission control and news reports do a great job for that), and no big explanations or digressions.  It’s the closest you can get to ‘cinema verité’ and ‘home movies from space’, just the story unfolding in a narrative manner as it happened.

Best of all, a lot of the footage is of the “never before seen” type, found almost forgotten in a NASA vault, shot in glorious 70mm and scanned at a ridiculously high resolution.  There are some amazing shots and sequences that alone were worth the price of admission, doubly so worth it to see it on a large screen.  There were also some candid moments of levity between the crew and control that were both hilarious and oh so human, a lovely touch to this technological marvel that, at the same time, touches our souls deeply in the spirit of exploration, accomplishment, and wonder.*

I would have preferred things if they hadn’t broken the conceit to include the animations (though I understand why they did so, not everyone would be as familiar with it all as I was), but my biggest “complaint” is simply that I wanted it to be longer.  I wanted more of the amazing footage, more of the banter, more of the wonder unfolding before me.  And that’s pretty high praise indeed.

Apollo 11 is a definite good, well worth seeing in a cinema.  A great remembrance of a grand mission.

 

* To this end, if you haven’t seen the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon I highly, highly recommend it.  It’s the complete opposite of Apollo 11, composed of interviews with most of the astronauts who travelled to the moon (Michael Collins is a freakin’ riot, I love that guy) and it’s profound to hear of their experiences.