Tag Archives: hopelessness

Akira (1988) [1988 Week]

(spoilers ahead)

Akira is one of the most visually stunning movies I’ve ever seen. I didn’t get everything about the plot, but I mostly didn’t mind because the images were so impressive and amazing that every frame is worth admiring. It’s also a fearless movie, willing to go any place it wants to go, no matter if it’s violent or nightmarish or apocalyptic or sleazy. Again, I’m not sure about the story exactly but the movie is never boring and always astonishes you with a new set piece. Its world is complete, so fully fleshed out, that it is very easy to fall into it. Sometimes you don’t know exactly why the characters are acting the way the do, but you don’t care as long as you can follow them through this world of Neo Tokyo, with its fascination for technology and brain power. It is no surprise to see Akira was very influential for many filmmakers. It’s impossible to watch this now and not think of The Matrix, to name just one. It is simply an impressive movie.

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Go Play: Escaping, Assassinating, Warring

Go Play: Escaping, Assassinating, Warring

I realized I look at so many different things here, movies, music, books, comics, etc., I should include something else. Sure, I could also narrow my focus, but I’m not good at that, I want the big picture, all of it. So, today I want to look at video games. Why? Well, just like all the others, they are an essential part of our cultural canon, especially (but not exclusively) for younger people.  More than all the others, they engage you actively in an activity, thereby shaping your ideas and values in a different way than other mediums. I’m not saying they have a bigger impact, but it is a more unique impact than just consumer media. Anyway, I think video games have a different way of portraying and transporting cultural ideas. So, I thought I face them now. Here’s my plan: I look at the list of upcoming games (from Wikipedia, all the quotes are from there), pick some games and see what’s there to see.

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You Belong on the Radio – 2012 Edition [2012 Week]

Just like last theme week, I decided to look at the popular songs of this year to see what they’re telling us. I’m assuming the songs from two years ago don’t sound so different than the songs nowadays, but I’m still interested to see what we find in those songs. For this I’m using the lists of number one songs and top 10 songs from Germany, the US and UK, which again overlap a lot.

You can read the full post here.

 

The Grey Zone (2001)

grey_zoneThe Grey Zone is the Holocaust movie that every other Holocaust movie isn’t. As Roger Ebert points out in his review, The Grey Zone denies us any kind of hope, which most other Holocaust movies do. Things may be bleak, but not all is forsaken. Here it is. That doesn’t mean there aren’t people who try to do good things, but the strength of the movie (or more specifically the script), is that it doesn’t allow you to find easy answers. Often the questions seem so difficult, that an answer seems impossible. I came to this movie after watching The Pianist (which I really liked, more than The Grey Zone), because the idea of an even tougher Holocaust movie intrigued me, if that word can even fit in that context. It is a good and uncomfortable movie, with some flaws that keep it from being great, but it definitely is a movie that stays with you. Which flaws? Some of the conversations just go on to long, reminding us that the movie’s origins are in a play (and all of it is done by Tim Blake Nelson, play, screenplay, direction), but the worst part is definitely Harvey Keitel’s accent. Everyone talks in normal English, but Keitel applies the heaviest German accent you can imagine and it’s unnecessary and completely ridiculous. Some of the other actors also evoke that feeling that they really wanted to play the part of a poor, conflicted Jew, starved and desperate, but this is not a movie that should boast itself with semi-big names (sorry, Natasha Lyonne, Mira Sorvino and Steve Buscemi, even David Arquette is more convincing). It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen about the Holocaust and despite its missteps that counts for something. And the fact that you’ll probably never forget some of its images.

 You can read the full post here.

 

Music Box in 1980: Joy Division’s “Closer”

UnknownI almost couldn’t decide on an album to pick from 1980, not because there was no good music, but because there wasn’t much that spoke to me. There’s not a favorite album of mine from 1980 or something with a personal meaning. So I just picked an album I like and that I knew would offer me something to write about, Joy Division’s Closer, which was released two months after Ian Curtis had committed suicide. It is unsurprisingly dark and cold, yet undeniably powerful.

CloserYou can read the full post here.