TTSS

 

when i first read tomas alfredson was set to direct TTSP, i was already conjuring up images of a moody quiet thriller punctuated with bursts of controlled violence.  if you haven't seen let the right one in then do so immediately. in my mind it is possibly the most perfect on screen realization of the modern vampire.  in TTSP he employs the same sort of tight dark control over his subject matter. alfredson's monochromatic london has a similar feel to his suburban sweden, but it really works. there is a gritty dirty quality.  an inner world created in a public space between those that share a secret and those who do not.   the use of color really struck me as well.  despite such an earthy somber palette, his characters both embody their surroundings and stand apart from them.  encased within an overarching sense of moral ambiguity, you get the sense that as long as they exist in an office, these bureaucratic spies would be at home anywhere in the world.  and of course- gary oldman is a total bad ass in glasses.

inception.lucid dreaming

when idries shah, the preeminant sufi teacher was asked to name "a fundamental mistake of man's," he replied, "to think that he is alive, when he has merely fallen asleep in life's waiting room."

- from exploring the world of lucid dreaming

"dreams, they feel real while we're in them right?. it's only when we wake up do we realize something was actually strange." -dom cobb, inception

when i first saw inception a few years ago, like many people, i was quite taken in by it. i recall thinking at the time that the film felt like a bit of a visual effects game changer in the way the matrix was ten years prior. i still feel that way. both films presented visual effects that were unusual and innovative and wove these effects into a story line in such a way that the results were completely psychologically immersive. the so-called "wizardry" of both bullet time and bending cities have now become iconic. but their emotional resonance within the films endure. i felt this was more than computer graphics posturing. they were and and remain examples of what can be achieved when vfx are allowed to move beyond the literal and into the abstract dream state.

i started thinking about inception again because, like the matrix it draws on some well known philosophical concepts towards constructing a pop oriented interpretation. to this end, the film's use of lucid dreaming theory and research is pretty well known.  having recently begun reading stephen laBerge's book on lucid dreaming however, i find the film's premise even more intriguing.  certainly the film posits some far out concepts. but in principle, the idea that we can achieve greater self awareness and reprogram ourselves in a waking state through lucid dreaming [in other words, inception] is entirely plausible as it turns out. at the moment i am only in the first phase  of the book which focuses on accurate dream recall. but stay tuned for future lucid dreaming updates...

 

hitchcock, horror...drive

On the surface, Drive is a fairly straight forward neo noir thriller. It’s about a heist gone
wrong, unrequited love and the violent underbelly of Los Angeles. Like many classical noir films,
the city of LA operates as a character within the film. There is perhaps a small debt owed to
Michael Mann here in the minimalist landscapes where the city vacillates between an abstraction in
the background and an ontological space we are acutely aware of. Drive is a film that is in dialogue
with itself. It is not pastiche or even simply homage, but something with more depth that emerges as
a reflection on genre and a meditation on the discourse of film itself.

 

 

A lot of directors have made this kind of film. Tarrantino in particular jumps out as someone
who is interested in making films for cinephiles. A lot of us enjoyed the overt references to film
theory in Inglorious Basterds. But where Tarantino employs a bloodbath of violence to disrupt the
narrative and invoke an awareness of the constructedness of the film apparatus, Nicolas Winding
Refn's
evocation of the language of film is more sustained and operates on a level that is subtly
woven into the narrative rather than a disruption or even extension of it. Where Tarantino’s films
feel like they want to show off what he knows, Drive lets the theory take a back seat. It’s there
informing the story in an important way, but as subtext.

more...

in the mood for...

in the mood for love is a terribly romantic film. it drips with atmosphere and longing. the slow takes, musical interludes and near perfect chemistry between tony leung and maggie cheung are hypnotic and very nearly lull the audience into believing that this is the kind of movie where love simply has to prevail. but- it's not that kind of movie. this is the kind of movie where the possibility of everything is dangled in front of us. we wait, afraid to exhale, lest the delicate bubble of desire pop. and we wait. and wait. unrequited love does not quite explain it. the film conveys an incredible sense of passion without a single screen kiss. it's not for the faint of heart. but if you like your romance weighty with a sprinkling of tears, go back to this classic. and happy valentine's day...

 

 

stills from wong kar wei's in the mood for love, 2000