Vice

Is this thing still on? I guess it is! I was going to bring my blog back from hiatus to add some living abroad/travel stuff, but for some reason I got interested in other things along the way, so I am going to do that first. As many may know Vice, which brings a frat boy style mix of news and entertainment, is getting kinda big, and the New Yorker magazine wrote a really long, interesting article about them that is really worth reading in whole. While, at times, they appear to be rather repulsive, at the same time, their narrative seems utterly compelling.

On a side note they mention that one of their ventures that they do with sponsors, is the Creators Project, which is a joint venture with Intel. As a matter of fact I kinda knew the Creators Project already, as the music video of one of my favorite songs of the last couple of weeks is done in cooperation with them:

Another trilogy of music videos is from M83. The first song is very well known, but the whole trilogy is worth watching, because, simply said, it looks amazing:

Especially the last video is slightly over the top with the visual references to Dune and 2001: A Space Odyssee, but given that I loved those films, I don’t mind :-)

Finally the style and art direction of the last part of part 3 reminded me a bit of this new Samsung ad that was directed by Romain Gavras. Unfortunately the video is private somehow and I am not able to embed it, but you can find a nice write-up on it here.

I love Gavras’ style (as is evidenced here) and this video is just as brilliant.

How time travel works

FYI:

The fancy gentlemen from the Congo

Apparently some subcultures in Congo are just as obsessed with fashion as many of my Western compatriots.

These sappeurs (Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, or the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People) generally live in the slums but one of the slogans they live by is: “A Congolese sapeur is a happy man even if he does not eat, because wearing proper clothes feeds the soul and gives pleasure to the body.”

Personally I cannot imagine giving up the comforts of life just to wear fashion, but I have to admit they look FABULOUS :-).

(via Kottke)

 

Mr. Nobody

Movie: Mr. Nobody (Director’s cut).

What is it about? In 2092 the last “mortal” man on earth tells about the three possible lives he lived.

Passes the Bechdel test? No.

Did I like it? Definitely. It reminded me of The Butterfly Effect in some ways (without Ashton Kutcher, which is always a plus in my book). There is also a lot of Lola Rennt influence in this film (including the way how repeating yet slightly different shots establish how there are differences between the various timelines).

Initially I thought the film was quite pretty, but lacked substance and swerved a bit too much, but at some point the film got under my skin, also because the repeating symbols start tying the film together.

Art direction and camera are top notch, SFX were a bit weak, but not really immersion-breakingly so. The soundtrack is quite lovely too.

Final verdict: Not as good as Lola Rennt, but still a solid 8/10

Smoke and mirrors

I have seen this before, but it never ceases to amaze me how even trivial things get green screened and are fake these days:

The paradoxical upside of this is (of course) that modern television series actually feel much more real because the series go out in the world more instead of being restricted to a limited number of sets.

The future of Google Glass?

This school project looks pretty cool and raises some pretty scary implications:

The scary idea is that the whole idea of gamifying the pick-up artist thing are already quite feasible with a human operator on the background now, I feel uncomfortable with what the future can bring (and I’m not even a woman).

Another year (a journey between hope and fear)

Movie: Another year

What is it about? The film follows a happily married 50-60-ish couple over the span of a year and the interactions with some of the people that drop by in their house.

Passes the Bechdel test? Yes, by a wide margin, although I was so enjoying the movie that I barely paid any attention to things like this.

Did I like it? This film is beautiful, sad, warm, uncomfortable at the same time. I don’t really know what to tell about it, as the story doesn’t matter as much as the feelings it evoked in me I think.

This film has a lot of love for the main characters in the story, even the sad ones, and this is really a film that gets me thinking about what I hope and what I fear. I hope that one day I will be a friend like the leading couple Tom and Gerri, and have friends like them. At the same time Mary seems like a personification of my existential fear that somehow I will end up old and alone and a stern reminder to never start drinking.

As a 30-something’s guy the story of their son makes me think that somehow there still is hope for me too.

Final verdict: This is a beautiful, sad film that made me think. A well deserved 8/10

One point

This video shows brilliant how Stanley Kubrick was quite fond of the one point perspective.

This video also reminds me that it has been way too lang that I watched a Kubrick film.

Revisiting Before Sunrise/Before Sunset

Movies: This weekend I decided to revisit the Before Sunrise (1995)/Before Sunset (2004) movies. I really really liked them before and I was curious whether they would withstand that tand of time.

Passes the Bechdel testNo, basically all the conversation is between Jesse and Celine; the films would fail a male Bechdel test too.

Did I like them? All in it is a bit of a mixed bag. Now I see the film again, Ethan Hawke is much more of a dweeb than I remembered; he looks and acts a bit rat-like and I really have little patience with his dalliances with spirituality. On the other hand, Julie Delpy is much more amazing than I remembered. Not only is she pretty and charming (which is common enough), but what stands out is how strong her character is. She is forward, has her own problems and opinions, and is very strongly an anti-Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

A Manic Pixie What? The manic pixie dream girl is a trope that is pretty common in film. Essentially it is every guy’s dream; a lightly manic, happy girl, that has no problems of her own, and helps to propel the character story of the male protagonist (Zooey Deschanel excels at that role unfortunately). In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (a film I love to bits), Kate Winslet’s character reject the MPDG label, and I think that that awareness is one of the things that makes Eternal Sunshine an exceptional movie:

Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.

This video is a good primer on the concept:

Something I learned: Some of the unsourced factoids I throw around in random conversation (like the fact that happiness tends to be fairly stable, so unhappy people that win the lottery will end up being unhappy people with expensive cars, while happy people that get paralyzed will end up being happy people in a wheelchair) are mentioned in the movie, and given how long I have quoted this, it is very well possible that this film was my main source of this factoid. Oops.

Final verdict: Although I find the films less amazing than earlier, they are still really well made, and I really love the characters. Also, I discovered that they might release a sequel in 2013. I really like the concept as Before Sun-something turning into a 9-yearly franchise that is a window into the real life of a couple every 9 years, so I will really want to watch this sequel too. Earlier I gave these films an 8/10. I think that that is a bit high, so for now they will have to live at a still very able 7/10.

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