Monthly Archives: November 2009

You Have Been Assimilated

by Lewis Manalo

This is what we have become.  We not only acknowledge that we are plugged in from the moment we wake up until the moment we sleep, we celebrate it.  We take for granted that it is a part of our lives, a part of every small moment that matters to us.   Making out in a cab?  Don’t forget to check your text messages and email.  What identity do we have if we are not plugged in?  Do we even exist away from our screens?

Our hearts and minds are half cybernetic.  We used to shop for comfortable ear buds, but now our ears conform to the buds.  Continue reading

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1,004 Words: Persona

Eye of the beholder.

Freak of the Week: Alice in Wonderland (1949)

This Saturday, Cinefamily in Los Angeles is showing a rarely screened version of Alice Wonderland featuring stop motion animation by Lou Bunin. It looks fun:

Why “rarely screened,” you ask?  Well, it’s a classic case of Disney co-opting a public domain story to the point that they think they own it.  Somehow Disney lawyers managed to bury this 1949 version in enough legal crap to suppress it and avoid competition with their own animated adaptation in production at the time.  Of course, this is not to say anything of how Lewis Carroll’s trippy tale had already been adapted five times prior.  See kids, Hollywood remakes are nothing new.  And neither is poor regulation of big business and disrespect of the public domain.

Learn to Be Herzog

by Lewis Manalo

Really? I read about Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School in tandem with this promotional noise for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. But really?

It claims to be “not for the faint-hearted; it is for those who have travelled on foot, who have worked as bouncers in sex clubs and wardens in a lunatic asylum, for those who are willing to learn about lockpicking or forging shooting permits in countries not favoring their projects. In short: for those who have a sense of poetry.” It doesn’t seem very oriented towards technique.

But do you really need Werner Herzog to tell you how to do anything if you’re the type of ruthless soul his film school is for? If you need Herzog to tell you how to lie, cheat, and steal to make film, you probably don’t have the cajones to lie, cheat, and steal to make a film.

Just make a damn movie if you feel like it. Why pay to attend someone else’s publicity stunt?

1,006 Words: Forbidden Games

Ce n’est pas un happy ending.

A Fear Too Beautiful To Resist!

by Tony Nigro

Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu is my favorite cult film that I’ve never seen.  Recently, the indispensable Janus Films has been touring it theatrically and I’ve managed to miss every L.A. screening.  I can only hope the tour means a Criterion DVD or Blu-Ray release is imminent.  The newly subtitled trailer Janus posted today only reinforces that hope.

“HOUSE IS CALLING TO YOU COME BACK HOME AND MARRY ME.”  Enough said.  You had me at the disembodied fingers playing piano.

Be sure to also check out Midnight Eye’s recent feature on Obayashi, and one of his early, rather avant-garde short films.

Freak of the Week: Wapakman

by Tony Nigro

I’m going to be honest here.  I don’t care about boxing.  I do, however, care about aspiring politicians and superheroes because they are the people who make this world go ’round.  Manny Pacquiao happens to be both, with the latter aspiration on display in Wapakman.  So here’s to Pacquiao being the next Dwayne Johnson and learning from Schwarzenegger’s political missteps.  Maybe fighting a giant crab will even help his already stellar boxing career.

I’ll be honest about something else.  The bad aspect ratio of this trailer kills me like fake HD at a sports bar.  Someone please upload a corrected version, or offer me money to do it for you.