Friday, March 17, 2006

Remember, Remember the 5th of November or perhaps the 11th of September

'And a character actually says, "God is in the rain"; if a fanboy creates, I may have to hurt somebody.'
- Eleanor Ringel Gillespie (Atlanta-Journal Constitution Reviewer)

So the Greg Lloyd illustrated, Alan Moore written (Watchmen) comic has been turned into the first blockbuster of the year. I know that professional critics (Ms. Gillespie) cannot allow themselves to be wrapped up in the exuberance of the moment. The critic, self-appointed gatekeepers of the global-consumerist dominion, must maintain the cool air of the intelligentsia and be the detached reviewer asserting their emotional superiority over the Hollywood-psychological-trick-bag. Fortunately, since neither you or I must answer to such lofty goals, we can succumb to the mysterium-tremendum of the Blockbuster film experience. With that said, V for Vendetta is a great movie. Yes, a character does utter that phrase, and I am sure Ellen will have to bring out her hurting stick since some fanboy will probably have a blog named or the I guess with our postmodern sensibility, sentimentality is for the under-informed. I remain blissfully ignorant and bow in humble reverence for the sheer power of film-making. No, V for Vendetta is not the greatest movie ever made. But it is damn good, and is worth a look. I have not had the pleasure of reading the Alan Moore comic, and I know he himself had some issues with this project; nevertheless, I was impressed. There are certain characteristics of the movie that might appeal to my particular sensibilities a bit more than the average Guy. So, I understand if many do not respond in a similar fashion. Fortunately, that is why they have selections for the consumer, so that everyone is satisfied, "BE SATISFIED or else." V's lines (Hugo Weaving) much to Ellen's dismay are a bit grandiloquent, and he sounds a lot like an underemployed Shakespearean actor. John Hurt is a bit too Hitler-redux. Natalie Portman despite reports to the contrary looks older than 12 (except in the schoolgirl outfit...hmmmm). The political commentary is intelligent, and not as over the top or as obvious as you might hear otherwise. Part of the dilemma is that for those who have made up their mind about the world, they will either wholeheartedly agree or disagree with the politics. If you are one of those precious few who are holding judgment on humanity just a bit longer or heaven forbid refuse to make the call-then I think the message is much more subtle and disturbing. Clearly, V is a terrorist in terroristic society. This is unequivocal. His methods are violent, his mercy is absent. His reasoning is the same reasoning that those that seek to cause chaos have always used. He exists in a world that for him is transparently wrong, corrupt and evil. He seeks to recreate a world where different choices can be made. Justice is violence in V's world, and justice wears two faces neither of which are blind. There are the less than vague references to situations currently affecting our world, at one point V in a moment that the directors must have known would generate a bit of awkwardness with American audiences, justifies the destruction of a building, he calmly yet emphatically states, "With enough people, blowing up a building can change the world." Clearly, the Wachowski brothers were a bit timid indeed, as V casually states this point, wearing an apron, with a very Clintonesque hand-in-fist delivery, with little emphasis or dramatic pause. It was as if someone had mentioned that it was going to snow today, and that someone happened to be in Colorado in the middle of Janurary. The movie carries forward and we see the how the parallel plot lines of V and Evey and the government of a fascistic England are all connected in a sort of classic Hollywood interweaving, which ends with a fairly dramatic conclusion. However, the movie in the end does not so clearly, as some would argue, come down on one side of the violence and justice issue. The music that is playing during the credits has clips of Malcolm X and Gloria Steinem speaking about Black Power and the sexual revolution respectively. I believe genuinely that this movie despite Ms. Gillespie's cute review of V for Vacuous has enough philosophical meat that it could qualify for one of those "and Philosophy" books. Though, this comment should in no way suggest that this movie does anything more than any other good movie usually does, which is to make you think differently or better yet make you feel differently. Freedom forever! And Moreover...Natalie Portman is Lolitishly- sexy in that schoolgirl outfit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Funny....because it's True, Vol. I

Mobile Blogging 2 : This time it's personal

This is the second test of a mobile blogging system.
Blackberry transmitted Ahmad approved.

This seemed to have worked. I for one am impressed. To what degree I will employ this lovely feature of is an unknown, but that it works fairly well and rather easily is something of a boon on technology's part. Many are quick to denigrate the role of technology in making our lives interesting and entertaining. There are of course many, many downsides to technological progress. I think the disconnectedness that can occur when one spends too much time on the internet, the rapidly developing weapons of Mass Destruction, the reliance on technology to do the things that at one time people could do, maybe not as quickly or as accurately but added that touch of "magic" for a lack of a better word that made human constructed items "charactered" all represent the dangers or problems with technology. But Ipods are neat, Blogging though occasionally ridiculous-also fun. Blackberries and other mobile telecommunication devices are so useful it's scary. So perhaps like much else in life, technology is a mixed bag. But I think in the end, it comes down to how we use technology and not the other way around, yet!

Monday, March 13, 2006

She Wants Revenge...

The latest buzz behind the band She Wants Revenge...
and their eponymous debut is an example of the latest tendency in the media to define, restrict and categorize with accusations anything which the poor, unsuspecting listener might believe is different. This San Fernando Based duo (Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin) have released an excellent debut. What becomes of them and their future exploits is yet to be seen. However, this release is fundamentally sound and there are no noticeably weak tracks outside of maybe the first one, "Red Flags and Long Nights." Their press though is disgustingly predictable, comparisons are constantly being made to Joy Division (New Order), Bauhaus, and early Depeche Mode. As if to call out the band in some sort of conspiracy to claim their "sound" as unique. See Panic! At the Disco, reviews as another example of this type of call out. To the actual comment itself, if you mean having hard driving slightly-ominous bass chords and synthesized instrumentals behind a strangely disconnected, slightly tinny yet melodic voice singing retro post-punk Goth 101 lyrics, then yes, they sound like Joy Division or Bauhaus. But to the degree that this should be taken as a meaningful comment is suspect. If you do like those bands, than I imagine that you will, in fact, like She Wants Revenge, but even if you don't and moreover if you have never even heard of these bands (listen to music before you were born people...) you may think this band has something to offer. Part of the irony of She Wants Revenge especially as regards their press is that they are so thoroughly aware of their predecessors. For example, their name "She Wants Revenge..." is probably a fawning homage to New Order-Peter Hook's side project which was called "Revenge." Moreover, their first single, "Tear You Apart" is probably a reference to Ian Curtis' much loved "Love Will Tear Us Apart." However, The video to this first single is thoroughly contemporary and facetiously so at that. Directed by Joaquin Phoenix, it is an uber-Drama, full of lipsticked pseudo-goths running around narrow streets and dark clubs wearing clothes from a bizzaro-Salvation Army store, it even has subtitles-English subtitles (trey arthouse). But I think the Amazon review has it right, it is so blatantly borrowed so clearly derivative-that it has to be intentional and ironic. For the reviewers and pundits (myself included perhaps) that don't see that are missing the point. I think the only way that "She Wants Revenge..." is fooling people is how good they really are.