Tag Archives: film

Them Snakes

Snake_bones

I remember seeing the character “Zuma” on the silver screen when I was a small kid. I don’t remember the movie exactly, what the title villain’s motivations were, or why I was even in the theater watching it (Who would take me?!). But I do remember the character vaguely; green skin, shaved head, loin cloth, and two snake heads, which at a young age I wondered, “where are their tails? How do they poo?”

zuma

I gotta say though, the whole things does reek a lot of Freudian imagery: the hyper penises, the ultra-macho character, the allusion to rape, the deflowering imagery, and the preying on white, blonde women.  It even says so right there, the victims are “young, virgin girls.”

I consider myself a feminist, although I’m not one of those hyper-feminists who devote so much effort trying to find patriarchy where there really is none. It is interesting however to see a character that is quite overtly inspired by male aggrandizement and sexual violence. I guess that was part of the appeal. I guess that’s also why it’s still in my memory.

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Porn For Freedom

NKOREA-POLITICS-KIM

Still annoyed at the North Korean hacking thing. God help the poor people of North Korea. The shenanigans of the people in power of late are not really helping those that truly need help in that country. There is no win in this story. Here are a few thoughts:

-North Korea still denies they were involved at all, and proposes a joint investigation with the US, threatens the US if they don’t cooperate. I wonder how far I would go in life if I handled my affairs this way.

-I always liked George Clooney. His little petition, which was sadly left unsigned due to cowardice, proves just how much awesome that man is made of. I would write more about the ways he’s awesome, but I only have so little time for posting entries.

-God bless Larry Flynt. God bless pornography for all the things it brought us, from technology to freedoms. Larry Flynt just announced that he would be making a parody of The Interview. This is brilliant, both in its stand against censorship, also in its genius in marketing. This might be first porn movie I ever used real money on in years.

-Speaking of porn. See how the great men of pornography stand up for rights? There’s Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse, artist, dreamer, social critic, and wearer of awesome medallions. He’s always been a hero of mine. Then there’s Larry Flynt, founder of Hustler, freedom of speech vanguard, political critic and provocateur. And finally, there’s Hugh Hefner who awards people for protecting First Amendment rights. Your pornography at work.

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Please Let Me See This

I wonder if I can get a Kickstarter going where I buy The Interview from SONY and release it myself. Too bad I would have to raise over $100 million.

That’s what SONY’s losing… over $100 million. It’s a pretty expensive price to start a precedent on capitulating to terrorists, a huge setback for freedom of speech.

But really, I don’t blame SONY. Aside from probably fearing further leaks of sensitive and embarrassing information, they are in a no-win situation whether they go ahead with the theatrical release of The Interview. They release the film and something happens, they get sued as well as blamed for whatever tragedy happened. “Look at SONY, ignoring threats and putting people’s lives on the line for profit!” And really, why release a film if no theater is going to show it? Why would a theater show it if their insurance won’t cover it?

If they don’t release the film, they lose their investment, get called cowardly, and get blamed for starting a dumb precedent. And still, all of this doesn’t guarantee that the leaks from the hack will stop. This specter (haha!) will continue to haunt the company until the perpetrators are caught and all the data is accounted for, all 100 terabytes of it. But yeah, how do you truly contain and control information that in on the Internet? It’s like the company’s nude selfies were stolen from the cloud. Who knows who has copies of them?

I’m not even upset at SONY’s reaction when it didn’t immediately inform its own employees about the hack. Of course the company had to investigate and try to contain the problem. Of course they had to say it’s an “IT problem.” It is an IT problem. What difference would telling people immediately make? Nothing. There would be no panic, just people checking for anything funny going on in their accounts. I’m sure the reaction would just be the same as now, people getting upset at SONY’s lax approach to security. This was not the first time the company has been hacked.

Since the hack was discovered, people have speculated that the hackers were not from North Korea and that they were just using the banana republic as cover. If that was the case, then freedom of speech took a backseat for the lulz. The movie was taken down for the sake of bragging rights. SONY, the theaters, and also the FBI, gave more power to hackers. See what they can do? While they can shine a light to many issues and affect change in a positive way, they can also do the shittiest thing to freedom of speech, and that is to silent it. In a way, it’s no different from misinformed and overreacting parents successfully petitioning Target not to sell Grand Theft Auto, except that those parents did it out of concern for their children. If it was a just some hacker group, then it was done for ego and lulz. What kind of world do we live in? Lulz. Where is our generation’s great cause?

This is not to say that it would be better if North Korea was behind it all. The United States and huge companies like SONY were bullied by a country that can barely feed its citizens. It doesn’t matter who did it. Whoever did it was a bully, a terrorist, and SONY and those theaters bowed down to bullying. If indeed, North Korea did it, then Kim Jong Un must be the most fragile person alive. He’s like a dainty little flower. His father was mocked in a movie before, so was Hitler. Heck, everyone gets parodied, everyone is fair game, even Jesus… but for whatever reason, this punk must be kept in an insult-free bubble. It’s not often that I praise Kim Jung Il, but Kim Jong Un’s father was a man who loved film. Heck, he kidnapped a director to make his own Godzilla film. Though he might’ve been embarrassed by the movie Team America, I would like to think he understood what parody was. And as for his politics, Kim Jung Il tried to create better relations with the South.

As for Kim Jung Il’s kid, his fat spoiled kid, what has he done? Just a few years ago, he was just some kid getting fat in Switzerland, watching basketball. Being the dictator of a starving country IS HIS FIRST JOB! Kim Jong Un has never done anything significant ever. Well, correction, he has murdered his relatives and brought Dennis Rodman a couple more minutes of fame. But has he ever done anything positive? Is North Korea any better now that he’s in power? He doesn’t even have enough smarts to avoid getting gout on his thirties. Every time I see him, he goes about like a relic… someone who has innumerable accomplishments, ruling a mysterious kingdom, and deserving the fear and respect of his noble people. And his generals and advisors surround him in antiquated costumes, hanging to his every word and action. But that is exactly what everyone is wearing: a costume. Those old men are not wearing military uniform; they are wearing the costume that keeps them employed. And Kim Jung Un… he’s wearing the Kim Il Sung/Kim Jung Il costume. He’s neither his father nor his grandfather. He’s just some fat kid who had it all. He’s probably scared out of his mind should the North Korean people finally snap out of it and realize all of this. And he’s probably bored to death with all of those factory tours. I’m sure he wishes he could be courtside watching a basketball game instead.

What the whole thing demonstrated though was the power of 9/11. It is like the n-word of the calendar. Mention the n-word in a conversation, and the whole tone changes. It was all fun and games with leaked e-mails about Angelina Jolie until someone said 9/11. Things suddenly got serious. And again, if it were just hackers doing the whole thing, then shame on them for their cowardly tactic… but also touché for knowing exactly how to get people to pay attention. It’s just like magic, “9/11.” And if it is indeed North Korea, then shouldn’t the US government be more aggressive in all of this? Wasn’t this a direct (albeit probably hollow) threat? Countries have felt the mighty hand of the US military over less direct aggression.

And where was the NSA in all of this? These are people who gather information and try to get hackers and journalists when they reveal something embarrassing to the US government. These are the same people who spy on their own citizens in the name of national security. How come they don’t seem to know anything about these hackers? Freedom of speech just got taken down big time. Not only that, but a multi-national company just lost out on its investment, and we all know how the US government loves its multi-national companies. It was an attack on capitalism. Where’s the NSA and the FBI on all of this?

I really hope they catch whoever did this. I really hope this doesn’t start a precedent of appeasing cyber terrorism. The Internet is about knowledge and freedom. It is a platform where ideas are shared and opinions are expressed, not a tool for shutting down speech. A part of me thinks that perhaps this is all just a brilliant way for SONY to sell their film. Some critics have called it unfunny, but now it is all beyond that. “Watch The Interview! Do it to spit on the face of tyranny!” And I would, I totally would. Maybe not in a movie theater, but I would gladly give SONY money to watch this suddenly historically-significant Seth Rogen film.

All to spit on the face of tyranny.

 

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Comic Book Rambling

Parliament_of_Trees

Ah… Parliament of Trees. If you’re gonna pick a not-so-popular comic book to read, pick up Alan Moore’s run on the Swamp Thing. Excellent writing! People often know of Alan Moore through The Watchmen or The Killing Joke, but most of his stuff is gold, and I suggest reading his work on whatever series it may be.

While Jim Lee has always been my favorite artist back when I started collecting comics during the X-Men heyday, he was soon replaced by Masamune Shirow. Not only is he a great artist, his books (both comic books and illustration collections) are often filled with insightful and humorous commentaries. Orion was my introduction to his work and still one of my favorite books, and Ghost in the Shell is one of the greatest series ever. It’s a shame however that there are no signs that Shirow will be coming up with any new books soon, just collections of artworks, mostly erotic stuff. It’s also a shame that DreamWorks is still planning to create a live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. With the way Hollywood studios westernizes foreign IPs and creatively butchers them (Dragonball, The Last Airbender, Oldboy…), my expectations are set really low.   Speaking of comic books turned movies, I’m surprised at the zeal of adapting comic books to movies these days. It’s like movies have turned to the new comic books, especially since many people would know of characters like Moira Mactaggert and events like Days of Future Past without even picking up a comic book. There’s been hints of the Infinity Gauntlet run being adapted into movies, and Guardians of the Galaxy, a series that I wasn’t even sure was all that popular, is set to be released in 2014! Whoa! I think people need to slow down. While it’s great that there’s some continuity and connection to the narrative of the Marvel/Disney movies, I think they’re going to burn out soon. It’s gonna get tiring, and people would want to watch movies not based on comic books or an IP from the 80s. For a while there, even the Superman vs. Batman project seems like it’s being developed and cast in a panicked rush. I’m glad they’re finally trying to move on with the series and not re-telling the Superman origin story again and again… having Batman, a hero everyone loves, fight Superman, a re-launched hero that not too many people care about, sound like a disaster.

A few random comic book thoughts (or hate) in closing:

I never liked Rocket Raccoon nor Squirrel Girl. I find them both incredibly corny.

I also don’t get Deadpool. Wasn’t the funny, breaking the fourth wall thing done by Spider Man before? I also can’t reconcile the idea of a morally ambiguous, mentally unstable villain to be a “funny” character. I don’t find it cute. The fact that he was created by Rob Liefeld and portrayed by Ryan Reynolds are just nails in the coffin.

I’m not a fan of the Iron Man films. I find Tony Stark grating. Wasn’t he supposed to be the serious scientist-type with a drinking problem from the Avengers? What’s with all the wit and quips? When did he become Spider Man? I also found Iron Man 2 incredibly one-sided, like the billionaire industrialist Tony Stark versus The Wrestler (“an old broken down piece of meat”). Weren’t we all supposed to root for Tesla and not for Edison?

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Lesbians and their sex

sexy

Just saw Blue is the Warmest Colour and it broke my heart. The past couple of months, with none of my regular shows on the air, I’ve been catching on films that I really should be watching, you know, movies that are meant to nurture the soul and make me a more cultured individual. Sorry, Fast and the Furious series. Just saw Room 237 too and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Most of these movies, due to the hard subject and the fact that it requires subtitles, often have me watching them all by myself. Which is unfortunate, really. I regret not having the same taste in movies as my wife.

Going back to Blue is the Warmest Colour, I’m surprised at the backlash the movie is getting due to its portrayal of lesbian sex, how it’s unrealistic and heteronormative. Well, I find that this is quite a common criticism of all lesbian sex in film, be it normal movies or the X-rated kind. I often hear that sex is often portrayed from a male point of view and that it is based more on fantasy than on anything else. Well, I’m sorry for all the lesbians out there, but I really think this is the problem with all sex in general not just for lesbian sex. I don’t really buy the notion that lesbian sex is this mystical thing that men just don’t have a grasp of what it truly is. I’m sure they’ll know if they asked (if men truly cared about real lesbian sex, that is). Men would know lots of things if they asked and if they truly cared about it (insert pleasing women in bed quip right here). It’s just that realistic sex, be it homosexual or not, maybe is just not that interesting when portrayed realistically.

Sex is rarely portrayed realistically on film. And if it is, it is often either so ugly that is deemed raw and controversial (like the ugliness of rape), or so normal that the players are either criticized or praised for showing off their less than ideal bodies (like the portrayal of sex in Girls). So yes, I forgive Blue is the Warmest Colour for the inaccurate depiction of sex. It is just a film after all.

And to the people at Posture Magazine. The way these lovely women reacted to the film. I’m sure that that’s how a lot of heterosexual people would react to watching heterosexual sex, whether it be from a major Hollywood film or a gonzo flick, when they are in polite company. Personally, when I see something, I’ll find some things hot, some things impossible, some things doable, and some things I’d want to do but I’m sure my significant other would never let me do. We’re not all that different, ladies.

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