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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST - Reading Through Baudrillard

A Fine Movie

Production Credits

Company Information

  • IFC Films - Domestic Theatrical Distributor
  • IFC Films - Domestic Distribution Rights
  • K5 Media Group - Worldwide Distribution Sales

For a review and comments more traditional please go to the New York Times Link then come back for a post modern reading of it through Baudrillard.

Jean Baudrillard's thinking clarifies this movie. He writes of The Order of Production and the Symbolic Order of the Sacred. We see Changez alternating between the two orders.

To simplify this thinking there is a scene when Erica invites Changez to the opening of her art show. The art is similar to the art below: 

Erica's words in light are about Changez, their relationship, her love for him. Art is in the Order of Seduction, the Sacred. But modern contemporary art has become something different. It has become a production standing firm in the Order of Production. So Erica has "produced" art about something sacred to Changez, his love for her. He is furious that she has commercialized their love. She cannot even understand what she has done in terms of his world. He rages at her, she weeps bitterly that he doesn't understand the "gift" she has made of turning their love into art. He cannot believe she would do such a thing as to cheapen it. 

Two worlds, two different ways of perceiving. The difference between the "US as a business" (Killing Them Softly quote) and the Eastern world of the sacred separate from the secular. Changez has accepted the American dream because colonized countries have been permeated with the American Dream and have no dream of their own. This is what he is beginning to understand. 

And this understanding converts him from a genius financier to a revolutionary Islamist, a non-violent one as he returns to Pakistan to teach at the University and influence younger students in a different world from the American secular success story. One not ready made, but one that must be created, imagined and forged in Pakistan. One that is not completely secular. One that holds sacred values important. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: THE GREAT GATSBY - So Excessive It Is OBSCENE

All Gatsby did, he did for love of Daisy
 It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife,Mumtaz Mahal
Two men ruled by obsessive love of a woman

All just for Daisy
Alan Smithee's tweets from Cannes on Gatsby
Recent first:
God help you if you use narration in your work my friends! God Help You! - Robert Mckee in Adaptation

But this isn't his fault. This is the price that an actor has to pay if he is degraded to a marionette of/for an narrator.

from 'nice moment' to 'nice moment' because the characters have nothing more to offer except their appearance. --- That, however

As Walter Benjamin quotes Pirandello in his well known essay Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction: The actor used as prop, the face used as pornographic prop as Baudrillard argues.

But that can't disguise the fact that we need more to fill a film with emotion and content. From the very beginning we got butt kicked...

Leonardo DiCaprio is brilliant. No question. His detached acting in pink linen is exceptional and worth watching the film.

Hollywood is no longer capable of to draw on over 100 years of film dramaturgy in order to tell a story with the easiest, most formal means.

that today's recipient's aren't capable any more to get the clue if he had used the original music --- and keeps us all for complete idiots!

smoking factory and the black men shoveling the dirt of New York, degenerate into pure maculature.

'The Great Gatsby' is an impressive movie but it miss the subtlety of the literary text.

Unfortunately, the bombast of knitting technology destroys the intimacy and prevents it really crackles between the actors.

pounding hip-hop beats. The Idea is: Kick the recipient by force into the Roaring Twenties of Jazz and Green Screen atmospheric set ups.

The story threatens to be buried, especially in the first half of the film under the gadgetry, fast cuts, tracking shots,

You are sucked in like in a black hole and your common sense experiences Spaghettification.

Steven Soderbergh mentioned (mutatis mutandis) he his tired of Hollywood's Mega-Budget-Madness. He will do TV and Twitter Novellas!

schizophrenic camera that buries Fitzgerald's fragile prose under thick layers of equipment, Haute Couture

The first half hour of ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a overproduced, to fancy to be authentic extravaganza nightmare of ecstasy of a detached,

self-promotion. Cannes knows how to party. As Fitzgerald said, A ‘magnificent mirage’. Fitzgerald wrote his novel years before the stock

Besides the cast of ‘The Great Gatsby’ I saw also audience and people on the streets dressed up in ‘Roaring Twenties’ style in shameless

Interestingly enough, the Grand Opening of the Festival with ‘The Great Gatsby’ was more or less a reflection of the film itself.

And in this last comment we have it. The excessive frenzy, particularly of the opening sequences is even more excessive than the excessiveness it is presenting. So excessive it is, as Herzog, Nietzsche and Baudrilard would argue, OBSCENE. And mirrored by the excessiveness of Cannes.

Gatsby is a film composed of floating signs circulating referring only to other signs. A simulation empty of meaning, only speculation is possible.A simulation of the Roaring Twenties, which were themselves a simulation. A film that is a simulation of a simulation, a SIMULACRUM with its own uncanny meaning.

Darren Mooney's Review HERE: At them0vieblog.com

Thursday, May 16, 2013

THE HOST REVIEW: Reading Through the Paintings of Mark Tansey

OK I'll try Albert

Bob7 commenting on a review of The Host HERE:  http://www.hitfix.com/motion-captured/review-andrew-niccol-hammers-another-nail-in-his-own-careers-coffin-with-witless-the-host

Maybe Niccols hates systems. Truman Show deplores reality TV. I haven't seen his other movies, but maybe he's protesting bad cultural and political behemoths. Maybe's he's warning society what will happen if these systems rule our lives and thought, just like Truman Show way before reality TV became prevalent, explored its popularity and its effects. Just saying.
March 28, 2013 at 7:29PM EST Reply to Comment

THE HOST is more and more disturbing the more you think about it. Every scene is framed as a cliche. The screenplay presumably approved by Meyer is composed of ready-mades. There is not one original sentence in it. Each gesture is preprogrammed.The editing is unsurprising, the plot the same.

Mel - a - nee/ Steph - a - nee  Do you believe this Lacanian reading?

What is surprising is that there is nothing surprising in the entire movie, except the ubiquity of cliches as "floating signs", but I can't figure out why they are there.  The seduction between Melanie and Jared is produced, which means there is no perception of seduction. The same is true of Wanderer - Wanda - with  Ian. Both have a playing/kissing scene in the rain. There is a dance scene outside with Melanie and Jared jitterbugging. Wanda in the caves takes a bath and she raises her hands in a sensuous move, or it is supposed to be sensuous. Are you getting the boredom just reading this. Stephenie Meyer's standard GAZE with strange contact lenses, the incest between species, is all predictable from Twilight. 

The music is syrupy romantic 1950's slow dance music. Telling us how romantic the scene is to be experienced. You listen in astonishment not quite able to believe you are hearing this.

Who was responsible for this?

A diversion into Baudrillard:

The Simulacrum According to Deleuze and Guattari

From Copyright no.1, 1987, pp. 90-97.
There is a seductive image of contemporary culture circulating today. Our
world, Jean Baudrillard tells us, has been launched into hyperspace in a kind of
postmodern apocalypse. The airless atmosphere has asphyxiated the referent,
leaving us satellites in aimless orbit around an empty center. We breathe an
ether of floating images that no longer bear a relation to any reality

1 That, according to Baudrillard, is simulation: the substitution of
signs of the real for the real.

2 In hyperreality, signs no longer represent or refer
to an external model. They stand for nothing but themselves, and refer only to
other signs. 

(As Vija Kinski says to Eric Packer in Cosmopolis, "Money is talking only to itself.") Meaning "money" is only sign now.

So what is going on?

Niccol wrote The Truman Show coming out of the gate long ago. Here's Zizek on The Truman Show:

The ultimate American paranoiac fantasy is that of an individual living in a small idyllic Californian city, a consumerist paradise, who suddenly starts to suspect that the world he lives in is a fake, a spectacle staged to convince him that he lives in a real world, while all people around him are effectively actors and extras in a gigantic show. The most recent example of this is Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (1998), with Jim Carrey playing the small town clerk who gradually discovers the truth that he is the hero of a 24-hours permanent TV show: his hometown is constructed on a gigantic studio set, with cameras following him permanently. Among its predecessors, it is worth mentioning Philip Dick’s Time Out of Joint (1959), in which a hero living a modest daily life in a small idyllic Californian city of the late 50s, gradually discovers that the whole town is a fake staged to keep him satisfied... The underlying experience of Time Out of Joint and of The Truman Show is that the late capitalist consumerist Californian paradise is, in its very hyper-reality, in a way IRREAL, substanceless, deprived of the material inertia.

So it is not only that Hollywood stages a semblance of real life deprived of the weight and inertia of materiality — in the late capitalist consumerist society, “real social life” itself somehow acquires the features of a staged fake, with our neighbors behaving in “real” life as stage actors and extras... Again, the ultimate truth of the capitalist utilitarian de-spiritualized universe is the de-materialization of the “real life” itself, its reversal into a spectral show.

The Aliens have inhabited the bodies of the humans and taken over the planet Earth to save it and us from ourselves. Everything is peaceful and utterly boring, emotionless and cold. It is Simulated Reality. When we go to the caves where the humans are hiding out it is about the same. The young stud types are competitive, the older woman (Francis Fischer) hostile to Wanda and her difference, Uncle Jeb (William Hurt) is predictably protective of her, her little brother Jamie is a typical rather stupid child. The dialogue as boring as in the Simulated sci fi city, the CGI all hard edges and clean, sparkling bright in the city and curved and darkly mysterious in the caves.

(You can read my first reaction to this film that is like everyone else's HERE )

And then it begins to be clear just what Niccol is up to. The humans in the caves are also in Simulated Reality. There is no real. We are in the Matrix. Only the Desert is real so we are reminded of Morpheus's welcome to Keanu, "Welcome to the desert of the real!" Niccol is revealing Simulated Reality to us, our own and our reality to come - all of it simulated.

Every actor is behaving as stage actors and extras.

And then I get it, but only because I heard a presentation on Mark Tansey's work a month ago and was intrigued enough to pursue his paintings further. 
Derrida Queries de Man


What does it mean to make pictures about pictures in 1993? ...When Mark Tansey elected to make pictures about pictures, his was a strategy of confronting the predilection of critics of the late 1970's for minimalism and other forms of abstractions. - Judi Freeman

And BTW reproductions of Tansey's paintings are impossible. Detail is blurred and frustrating. Tansey himself has refused reproductions to become available for authors. It is obvious that he is saying we must see the originals if we want to see them at all.
Which is exactly in line with what his art is saying. He is confronting us with the simulacra that is engulfing us today. When Pap pics of Rob Pattinson walking like a Muybridge motion study and a fan phone camera shot is far more treasured than a gaze at a loved celebrity.

I saw this in Venice in 1972 as I watched the Japanese tourists so busy photographing the city that they never looked at it. Never saw it. I laughed at them. What astonished me then is mainstream today all over.

Andrew Niccol has made a film about films.

Niccol has done with film what Tansey has done with painting.
Niccol has made a film composed entirely of cliches. No fancy costumes to entice us, No cleavage, no faux passion we could mistake for real, music to tell us how to feel that doesn't at all, no real plot twists to surprise us, no face porn to squeeze emotions out of us, no exploitation of the audience to mask the emptiness of mass filmmaking, of film as "empty sign."
Now what can we say about Meyer?

We know she has said in an interiew that she preferred Jacob to Edward. She wants Bella to remain human because if Bella changes, she enters Simulated Reality. 

Is Meyer in on this game strategy? I really can't say, as it is ambiguous to me. Does she or doesn't she know what Niccol did?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

THE HOST: A Terrible Review of One Trick Pony Stephenie Meyer

Director:Andrew NiccolWriter:Andrew NiccolActors:Saoirse Ronan
Diane Kruger
Max Irons
William Hurt
Bokeem Woodbine
Producers:Stephenie Meyer
Nick Wechsler
Antonio Pinto

Stephenie Meyer is never going to eat lunch in this town again.

 Be grateful that she only got the clout to ruin Breaking Dawn I and II and had no input to speak of in Twilight, New Moon or Eclipse.  Breaking Dawn I, II made huge amounts of money and now we know Meyer had nothing to do with it. 

And Pattinson and Stewart had everything to do with the success of the franchise.

The Host has an excellent cast and that's it. Even excellent sounds dumb with these lines.

How Andrew Niccol could do the screenplay for The Truman Show and the screenplay for The Host will forever remain a mystery. His direction is awful also. 

Every visual cliche is in it over and over and over and over again and again and again. You feel as if you are watching one of those terrible movies from the 1950's.

The musical score is awful. The syrup flows with each passionate kiss without any passion. 
I cannot pan this movie enough. I even groaned aloud while watching it in all the right places.

It pulled in about 6 to 7 million above production costs. How it even did that I'll never know. Maybe because the Twilight audience came hoping against hope for another Edward. They definitely didn't get him.


I am quite sure now that this is what I have done with The Host. I have been programmed to perceive it as I have written about it above just like all the other reviewers. I shall be re-reviewing it reading it through the paintings of Mark Tansey. CLICK HERE