Sunday, April 26, 2015
Kog'Maw (boys are gross)
Female Monsters and Villainy
Good Girls (Good Boys?)
Men as Animals
Female in a Supporting Role
The Male Body in Video Games
The Changing Shape of Lara Croft
Friday, April 24, 2015
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Thoughts on the unique approach to narrative structure taken by Owl Cave Games in their follow up to (and expansion of) Sepulchre, their new release called The Charnel House Trilogy:
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Monday, April 13, 2015
When I think about "fun," "games," and "play," I, of course, immediately think "violence," "gore," "depression," "anxiety," and "loneliness."
So does the Cat Lady.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience
Monday, April 6, 2015
A student told me today that her father used to wake her in the morning by pouring water on her and shouting "Śmigus-Dyngus!" He said that it was a Polish tradition.
While I am of Polish heritage (I'm basically half Polish, a quarter Irish, and a quarter French. I usually just claim that I'm Irish), I had never heard of such a thing.
So, I took a look around the web for the potential origin of such a practice, and it turns out that today is Śmigus-Dyngus or "Wet Monday," a day celebrated in Poland and in some communities of Polish Americans on the first Monday following Easter. According to Wikipedia, the important traditions of Wet Monday are celebrated through the following festive activities:
Traditionally, boys throw water over girls and spank them with pussy willow branches on Easter Monday, and girls do the same to boys on Easter Tuesday. This is accompanied by a number of other rituals, such as making verse declarations and holding door-to-door processions, in some regions involving boys dressed as bears.
So, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and prepare my bear costume for today's celebration. A merry Wet Monday to all and to all a good night.
Friday, April 3, 2015
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
So, I finally sat down and watched Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. I've heard that critics hated it. However, it isn't terrible.
The opening several minutes are admittedly not great, with far too much overcooked voiceover dialogue being shoveled at us for a prolonged period of time. (Yes, I know that overcooked dialogue is part of the point of Sin City, but this just gets tedious here.).
Additionally, frequently the film lingers far too long over Jessica Alba. Personally, I just think the woman lacks any real talent at all, and I can't stand watching her stripper-style dancing. It's tacky, but not in the right way. She's just awful.
Finally, the Marv character just feels terribly overused throughout.
Those things being said, I do like Nancy's transformation towards the close of the film. I may not like Alba, but the framing of these sequences is good.
Also, I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the character that he is portraying is just super fun. He's an actor that I feel on and off about, but I really like him here for some reason.
But the real reason that I find the film "not terrible" is because of its paralleling of two plotlines, one concerning the femme fatale and one concerning the damsel in distress, which suggests complementary characteristics shared between them. This seems especially appropriate to me given the Sin City series's reliance (maybe overreliance -- maybe -- I'm very torn on this because of the nature of the genre) on the damsel in distress as a central motivator for so many of its characters' activities and the centrality of the femme fatale and the damsel in distress as a motivator for the actions of the protagonists of film noir or hardboiled fiction on the whole (see the opening paragraph or two of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep for a plainly obvious allusion to and parody of the hardboiled detective's concern with and for helpless women, as Philip Marlowe ruminates briefly about the image of a knight in the process of rescuing a fair damsel).
I can see that many film critics might get twisted up about the extreme and typological representations of women in general in the series. Certainly, it relies on traditions and stereotypes, traditions and stereotypes that are historically common to noir and hardboiled fiction and that often bug contemporary critics. That being said, I don't think the film is entirely stupid about interrogating these typologies (as a matter of fact, I think it is clearly the central interest of A Dame to Kill For, if not of the first Sin City, too).
Much of the framing around Eva Green in the role of the femme fatale is really, really smart. Several shots that shortly follow a sex scene between the characters Ava (Green's character) and Dwight (Josh Brolin), I think are exceptional, conveying everything that the film wants to say through the relationship between the bodies of Ava and Dwight, all framed tightly within the borders of the camera's lens, and not requiring any dialogue or exposition to do so (Dwight's submissiveness is expressed very starkly in particular, for example). I don't know if these moments are the result of Miller's panel arrangement in the comic book or Rodriguez's direction, but in either case, I think that the framing of images (objects, bodies, etc.) in order to clearly represent ideas is impressively executed here. When Rodriguez is on, which he is in Desperado and the absurdly fun Planet Terror, he is one of the best directors out there for getting these moments right.
Additionally, the film wants to interrogate the connection of the femme fatale to what may be similar kinds of characters (witches, succubi, and the like) from various folklore traditions, and having recently read Ed Brubaker's Fatale and being underwhelmed by a similar effort to do so in comic book form, I find Sin City's expression of these ideas more interesting, maybe mostly because the movie deals with this idea in starker, more focused terms.
And that actually is the truth about the movie. As I said, it isn't terrible, but I'm not sure that I want to say that it's "good" either. I still do think that a lot of it is interesting, though, and I am often enough more engaged by "interesting" than I am by perfection.
Oh, and A Dame to Kill for is a great title. What else is worth killing for?