China, Uncategorized

Visually

4 Jan ’09


BeatWatch – Running Out of Time from BeatWatch on Vimeo.

One of the things I bought after Christmas (with the gifted money) was the Four-Disc Collector’s Edition of Blade Runner. Now, I know that to some people it’s a slow movie – but it moves at the pace that nearly ALL noir films move, so it’s on par with its genre. If you’ve ever seen it on television and even remotely liked the movie, you should get a dvd/blu ray copy and watch it on the best widescreen HD television you can find. For me it’s at least in the top 10 if not the top 5 visually great movies – ever. And that opinion includes all of the things beyond simple, flat imagery – mood, nuances and vision among all of the other criteria.

In other news – the day we got back to Atlanta, my laptop died. Oh it was expected – I have been getting an ‘iminent hard drive failure’ notice for the past year. And there are probably some things that could be fixed (power supply would be the first check) – I decided on a replacement since that laptop was roughly 5 years old (it was a year old when I bought almost 4 years ago.)

Since I’m not into building systems anymore (I never really was – that was and is still the area for my brother and father) – I decided to order one from Dell – they had the best ‘deal’ by several hundred dollars lower – oh, and I decided that instead of a laptop, I’d get a desktop – with a 3ghz processor, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 24 inch monitor. Sadly, it won’t arrive until the end of this month.


Innocence from Marc Sarro on Vimeo.

While I originally thought that the 2nd Ghost in the Shell movie was slightly self-indulgent, I think I’m changing my mind – or rather, I think I’m okay with it now. Oh, and a re-release of the movie will come out on January 13 – from Bandai instead of DreamWorks – who released the FAIL version (ha, I guess there is no english dub, and then the subtitle track is actually a hearing impaired track – which means that it has action descriptions like ‘footsteps’, ‘gunfire’, ‘door opening’…)

In other news… I finished reading Call of the Wild, and White Fang. I liked Call of the Wild considerably more. Currently, I’m reading this book:

Now… there are some criticisms about this book – specifically that it’s near fiction in its depiction and interpretation of Chairman Mao… and even before looking up what other people have said about this book – I could tell from reading the first few chapters that the authors really couldn’t help themselves from expressing their contempt for Mao. They attempted to come off a somewhat scholarly – and did considerable research, however the writing oozes with their hate for this man who did considerably terrible things. While I don’t think that they were incorrect in most of the events they document, I do think that their interpretation of Mao’s motivations range from generally correct – to completely biased, false, and even made up. If I were an academic, it would be difficult to not label this book as historical fiction. Still – it’s a good read and since so much of history is shaped by those who write it… I’ll make my best attempt at finishing the book.

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5 Comments

  • Reply anna 5 Jan ’09 at 10:48 am

    how is blade runner noir? i asked chris and i understand that it’s based off of old classic noir-sss, i just don’t agree. maybe it is dark, but…
    i agree with ghost in the shell/and 2. i bought the second one without previously seeing it but i don’t own the first one…

  • Reply mark 5 Jan ’09 at 11:29 am

    Well… aside from the fact that ‘film noir’ is too loosely used.. I’m lumping it in with detective crime dramas that take place in a big, cold city. But I did find the below portions from http://hem.passagen.se/replikant/filmnoir.htm :

    “When cineastes and critics use the term film noir today, they usually mean American film noir of the ’40s and ’50s. These movies have very typical features. They often take place in the underworld of a large city and are characterized by violent brutality and harsh dialouge. Both heroes and villains are cynical and world-weary, classic lonewolfs and “born losers”. Much of the action takes place during night in dim rooms and on rain wet asphalt, captured on contrasting, black-and-white photo with disturbing, symbolic shadows.

    As shown above, this is no exact label. Needless to say, it is difficult to decide whether Blade Runner really is film noir or not.

    Nevertheless, the American movies mentioned above — as well as many other movies labeled film noir by cineastes and critics — have some typical features, and these features can be found in Blade Runner:

    Deckard has a couple of superficial, but typical film noir attributes: a trenchcoat and a gun. Originally, he was supposed to wear a fedora hat as well. Furthermore, Deckard is a classic anti-hero: he drinks too much, he is a loner and he mistrusts authorities. Finally, he is a detective.

    The dialouge is harsh, brutal, witty and rich of memorable one-liners. A couple of examples, which would fit in any film noir movie: “They don’t advertise for killers.” “I’m not in the business. I am the business.” “If you’re not a cop, you’re little people.”

    The violence is brutal and very graphic. In some European countries, quite a few American film noir classics got restrained with total screening prohibiton. Governmental culture policies are liberal nowadays, but some scenes in Blade Runner were nevertheless saved for the International Cut — ironically with Europe as one of the target markets.

    A classic film noir feature is the femme fatale, French for fatal woman, who generally speaking is a seductive woman who lures the hero — as well as other male characters — into ruin. Rachael and Pris can be said to be typical femme fatales and to some extent Zhora too.

    Voice-over, as used in the original version from 1982, is a characteristic film noir story-telling technique. Originally, the voice-over in Blade Runner was supposed to be both more poetic and more cynical in a traditional film noir manner.

    Wealthy, self-indulgent families fallen into decadent insanity is a film noir cliché, and can e.g. be found in Raymond Chandler’s novels. There are indications the Tyrell dynasty might be such a family.

    The general look and atmosphere resemble film noir aesthetics: night, rain, deserted alleys, bright citylights, dim rooms etc. Throughout Blade Runner, there is an interplay between light and shadows, maybe most obvious when Deckard kisses Rachael in front of a Venetian blind, an explicit homage by director Ridley Scott.

    The plot in Blade Runner has classic film noir components: the hero is assigned a mission of proportions he cannot really imagine, he meets a dangerous woman and falls in love with her and finally he realises he has been deceived by powerful people.
    The possibility that Deckard might be a replicant — and theoretically every other character too — correspondes well with the film noir tradition of deceit and betrayal: everyone might be a victim and everyone might be an offender.”

  • Reply Yogagirl 6 Jan ’09 at 6:06 pm

    I didn’t know it until we go the special edition DVD, but Blade Runner is one of the last “in camera” or “model effects” movies out there..shortly thereafter is when they started using CGI for everything. Love that movie. And I never figured out why the whole “umbrellas with light sticks for handles” never took off? That seems like a *really* useful item…a really cool invention.

  • Reply Michie 8 Jan ’09 at 11:43 pm

    I read a great book of short stories called “Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused”. I have bought this book three times, read it three times, and then given it away… you guessed it… 3 times. It is fiction, but it is a great collection from Chinese authors.

  • Reply anna love 13 Jan ’09 at 10:03 am

    ok.
    when is the comp sposed to arrive again? we are at my mom’s. i’m depressed and scared and retreated.

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