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Echoes and Mirrors » film

Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Movie Review: Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Blue is the Warmest Color“A French teenager, Adèle, struggles with her sexuality and meets Emma, a blue-haired art student, who allows her to become a woman and embrace her sexuality.” I’ve probably read half a dozen reviews, summaries and synopses of this Palme d’Or winning film that says, roughly, something to that effect. And it’s not a bad description – on the surface, this is exactly what this movie is about. Adèle is a sexually-confused young woman and she falls in love with Emma, who is, indeed, an art-student. I’ve also seen a bit about the controversy (which intrigued me, but ultimately has little to do with my review) and, without fail, the seven minute sex-scene (which does). But this film is so much more than a love story. It’s more than a queer love story. It’s something so much more basic and human than that. (Spoilers below)

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I’m glad I don’t have cable anymore

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

If only so that I won’t be constantly pissed at SyFy. What used to be, in my youth, a go-to for Science Fiction programming has been replaced with bullshit camp, paranormal reality, a cooking show and wrestling. The only redeeming show they still have is Being Human, which will remain successful (and good) for the same reasons SGU failed.

I waited to post this until I finished up watching the second and last season of Stargate Universe. Ever since the Battlestar Galactica reboot ended, the channel hasn’t had much to stand on for really great sci-fi content. Caprica and Stargate Universe were the last two really great shows they had. And they have stood by their decision not to renew either show by citing ratings. It’s a specious argument, at best:

Another lie recently told by Syfy is that for SGU to continue it would need 2.5 to 3 times as many viewers as it currently has.

That means SGU would need to hover around 3 million viewers to survive. This is absurd to suggest when Syfy dramas like Sanctuary and Haven have been renewed averaging around 1.5-1.75 million viewers. Eureka hasn’t even been averaging 2.5 million viewers.

I’ll never believe that it was purely a numbers game, so much as they want us to believe it.

No, I blame this on the fans. Well, on SyFy’s audience, anyway.

Warehouse 13 is not a particularly great show. Neither is Eureka. Haven and Sanctuary are even worse. But they’re still around.

What’s the difference between the shows that stayed, with lower ratings, and the shows that got canceled? Depth. SGU was tonally dark and at times disturbing. It was dramatic and had a series-long plot arc, not just season-long plot arcs. No single episode can stand alone. Compared to the other shows, of which almost any episode (not counting the rare two or three part episode) can be enjoyed all by itself, without any prior knowledge of the show.

Star Trek was like that: there was no long story in it. Once in a while, a reference from a previous episode would pop up, but that was essentially novelty. And there was a little bit of character development throughout, but if you look at the characters in episode one and in the last episode, they’re basically the same.

Closer to home, SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis followed that pattern, essentially. They did setup slightly longer plot arcs, but the characters never changed. They were heroes on day one, and they ended as heroes. They had, essentially, no major flaws to speak of. The characters on SGU did. I wish I could find a link to it now, but a comment I read was that they had no appealing virtues. They fought with each other, made morally dubious decisions, were sometimes petty. They were pretty real. But they grew as characters throughout the shows run.

The characters on the previous SG shows never failed to accomplish their mission, even when things were absolutely hopeless. And they’d do it in 42 minutes. The characters on SGU often failed and one even had to be euthanized (and not in a pleasant way). They were fuckups, but they managed.

It was a lot like the wonderful dynamic on LOST and Battlestar Galactica. It was clear that the show was meant to be as separate from the previous franchise shows as it could be. Honestly, if they could have done it without it being a SG franchise at all, I think it would have been even better.

Which is why SyFy is full of shit. They’re pandering to the lowest common denominator. It’s the SyFy fans that are assholes. They like the shows with pristine, morally-upright and, so to speak, perfect heroes as the protagonists. Neither Caprica nor SGU could deliver that. It’s just not the way they were; they relied on the flaws. They were character-driven shows. The rest are driven by whatever can make a dazzling bad guy for one episode, or a half-season arc. I am talking about the same channel that killed Farscape before it’s time, so it really shouldn’t come as much of a shock. Train your audiences to be lazy, and they’ll be lazy. Then they’ll reject shows like SGU and Caprica, proving that you were right to give them Marcel’s Fucking Quantum Fucking Kitchen instead.

Here’s a prime example of the asshole SyFy fan whose opinion matters more than people who like real content:

I wasn’t shocked at all, quite the opposite. SyFy, ruined the SG series with SGU. SGU consisted of a bunch of soap opera drama that most of us simply weren’t interested in. Not to mention the “stones” with “lovers quarrels” and even sexual contact were completely absurd. I could go on and on about how absolutely retarded that show is, but canceling it proves what so many of us said from the start. What was really funny is that they tried to contain the damage at gateworld by censoring complaining posts and even suspending complaining user accounts. We all told them that wouldn’t work either! All they had to do was fire their writers’ and get back some of their old direction. Instead they abandoned their known fan base and tried to force feed us that crap. HA HA HA HA HA HA! I personally canceled SyFy LAST YEAR in protest.
Moral of the story?
If your existing franchise is working, leave it alone.
If your entire fan base starts rumbling about changes you’ve made, LISTEN.
If your show starts dealing with raping people that are not “IN” their bodies. You should probably re-think was the hell you are doing..

They alienated their fanbase? Sure, but I don’t think it’s too big of a deal when that fanbase is a bunch of dicks like this. What’s funny is that he thinks that the SG franchise pre-SGU was working. It was a miserable situation, at best. There is a response to this that pretty much sums up how I feel about it:

first off you’re a moron, and an idiot, probably why sgu didn’t appeal to you, you want boobs, guns, and explosions. sgu was broadcast as a drama, not a action show, it was heralded as a drama, something completely different from previous stargate series.Stargate universe isn’t a show where you always know the good guys from the badguys, and that the good guys always always prevail miraculously.And always have english speaking alians. sgu is a deeper and far more realistic show centered around each characters, you end up with a attachment to every person on sgu.and the alians are actually strange and alian. both sg1 and sga were entertaining series, for kids, as well as adults, but sgu is the much darker adult version of the stargate universe. and as Joshua said, “Not to mention the “stones” with “lovers quarrels” and even sexual contact were completely absurd.” when i can speak from experience, months away from family, and friends can and will lead up to love affairs, and even just “sex friends” and being confined within a preset amount of space when such thing happen can also lead to “lovers quarrels” sgu was a much more down to earth and gritty stargate series, i for one loved it, and i am a fan, i actually watched the movie back a little while after it came out, and ended up watching sg-1 and sg-a back to back when i was in Iraq.

all in all, stargate universe was the adult version of stargate, and because they ended up without the shallow idiots who make up the fanbase, as their basis for deciding either the show is a success or not, is the reason why it’s being canceled, it has nothing to do with the quality of the show, but rather the quality (or should i say quantity) of the viewer base. thank you, you shallow retards who only enjoy breasts, bangs, and bombshells, enjoy the wrestling, and bullshit unreality show that will overrun the channel, all because sgu wasn’t breast and explosions.

You sir, win. I’m glad to know that at least some people feel the same way about the state of televised Science Fiction that I do. But given SyFy’s recent actions, apparently we’re in the minority. More people want the shlock.

There’s a more detailed rundown of the whole cancellation debacle here. It’s worth reading and pretty frustrating. But the big take-away is here:

Other than BSG: Blood & Chrome, which has not yet been granted a full series order, Syfy has announced no such “traditional” science fiction shows on its development slate. Perhaps the closest would be Sherwood, produced by the team behind Sanctuary and described as a sort of Robin Hood meets Firefly. So far that one is just an idea, however, and hasn’t been given the go-ahead to cast and film a pilot.

SyFy’s audience might want scripted shows, but they don’t want anything too cerebral. They don’t want drama. They want action and boobs. (Well, I like those things too, but get real.) They want infallible heroes. That’s where the problem is, but SyFy will give that too them. SyFy would have canceled LOST if it had been their show (thankfully ABC was a little smarter than that). They’re appealing to the mental midgets, to the child-like capacities of their shithead viewers and they’re doing Science Fiction a grave disservice. It’s probably better that they rebranded their name away from Sci-Fi, because that is no longer what they do all that well. Also, would it kill SyFy to actually hire a goddamned military advisor and buy decent, matching uniforms for the soldiers in their monster of the week movies? Fuck SyFy. I have no use for poorly written, over CGI’d, intellectually-vacant bullshit. I’ve seen Vin Diesel movies with more brains and better acting in them.

Being Human will do well because it is expected to be a drama and it has a fresh fanbase that wants that. But it already diverged from the BBC show and in a bad way. It’s still a good show, but why is it that a show about vampires and warewolves can have character driven drama while a show about space-travel can’t? Because the fans are mostly idiots.

I’m way off into drunken ranting land, but here’s the recap: SGU was too dark, too smart, and too fucking deep for the audience SyFy wants. It scared them. It was edgier than most anything they’ve done in a long, long time – even more so than Being Human is – and it was uncomfortable for the fucking retards that want wrestling on Friday nights.

There, fuck you, SyFy. I don’t have cable and I won’t watch your bullshit.

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Most Zen Video Ever Cut

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

TOBACCO – Super Gum from TOBACCO on Vimeo.

It’s kinda zen like that. There is no denying that what is in this video exists. It’s not really horrifying, or pleasing. It’s more like a benign tumor. Yes, yes it is a tumor. This time.

If I ever make a movie, I want it to be something like this but with more explosions and keyboard cat.

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Fury Road!

Monday, October 26th, 2009
I just stumbled upon this article about the new Mad Max flick. Sam Worthington seems like a good choice, but I am not entirely convinced. Max wasn’t a badass because he was necessarily physically endowed – it was because he was smart and took risks (although he was fit enough to pull off whatever he started). The inclusion of Charlize Theron? The only reason for this is to add a romantic sub-plot; it should be noted that none of the other Mad Max movies had one.

Also, the name is kinda hokey.

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Movie Violence

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

While I’m a huge fan of so-called art-house films I am also a fan of big fuck-off blowing-shit-up action flicks, too. Sure, Con-Air was bad but 300 was good. These movies don’t require cleverness or depth or require a huge amount of artistic merit. They exist solely to feed the desire to see shit get fucked up. Because we can really only do it vicariously. Very few of us have ever had the chance to blow something up or shoot at people or get into awesome fights.

Overcoming Bias had posted something about movie violence the other day:

One reason that real violence looks so ugly is because we have been exposed to so much mythical violence. … Contemporary film style … may give many people the sense that entertainment violence is, if anything, too realistic. Nothing could be farther from the truth. … [They] miss the most important dynamics of violence: that it starts from confrontational tension and fear, that most of the time it is bluster, and that the circumstances that allow this tension to be over­ come lead to violence that is more ugly than entertaining. …

From the first chapter of Violence by Randall Collins.

I have previously made a note about violence in movies, specifically about Straw Dogs before and quoted this gem:

A more astute observer would say “Violence never solved anything such that both conflicting parties were equally satisfied with the outcome”. Violence creates two entities: A winner, and a loser. Losers don’t like to engage in violence because it will make their plight both obvious and inescapable. Winners may avoid violence if there are less expensive ways to win, ie trade or psychological manipulation.

But there isn’t a whole lot of room for moral pondering in movies like this. You can do it, but it detracts from the entertainment value. I’ll take the eye-candy for what it is: eye candy. Some things just don’t need to be analyzed to death.

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Holy Carp, I found it!

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Thought Riot Interpretation

Fucking enjoy. The things I do for you people.

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A First Friday WTF

Friday, August 7th, 2009

… bravo to these daring young marketing execs.

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Zen Noir

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

H/T to Progressive Buddhism. I’m definitely checking this out ASAP.

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Autotune

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

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Pirates

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009


In honor of the sniping of three Somali pirates (BOOM! HEADSHOT!) I watched Pirates of the Great Salt Lake. What are you doing to celebrate?

PoTGSL is one of the best indie flicks ever made. You really cannot beat it. Nothing is over-done, there’s good production value and you can’t really make fun of it – you can only laugh at what you’re supposed to.

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