taxidermed

MEDIA DIARY: APRIL Part 2 (8th-14th)

MOVIES:

Imitation Game (dir.  Morten Tyldum, 2014)

Though this film captivated me from the beginning, I found myself rolling my eyes more than I would have liked. There are at least 3 lines that are repeated as some kind of forced narrative glue trying to make the film seem like it means more than it does. At times it felt like the director or screenwriter wanted to make the film Spielberg-ian but kept forgetting what their goal was and periodically threw in Spielberg-esque moments. Cumberbatch offers a great performance even if he looks like a taxidermic sloth. 

A Single Man (dir. Tom Ford, 2009)

My interest in this film kept wavering dramatically as it progressed and I ultimately felt disappointed when it ended. Maybe I should rewatch it to get the full effect because it feels like that sort of film, but I don’t think I will. Visually, I loved the movie but narratively I just felt disinterested a lot of the time. Kinda pretentious and not very fulfilling to watch.

Silence of the Lambs (dir. Jonathan Demme, 1991)

Brilliant movie, but that’s nothing surprising! Expertly shot and acted. I think everything good that’s been said about this film has been said so I just need to say that I really liked it. Everyframeapainting’s analysis of the strategic use of camera distances and framing is a super interesting companion to the film as well. Going into it with this knowledge revealed to me just how much of a masterpiece this film is visually.

The Apple (dir. Menahem Golan, 1980)

This movie’s a mess. Wow it’s a mess. I can’t tell if it was so bad it was good or if it was so bad that it became bad again. The ending is incredible though. I’d recommend going into this movie completely blind about the ending, unlike me. It would make it totally worth a watch.

The Road to El Dorado (dir. Don Paul / Eric Bergeron, 2000)

As a fan of animation I feel kinda bad about waiting so long to see this film. It’s very clearly an animated movie from 2000. By that I mean, aesthetically and narratively it mimics the prominent style of the time: geometric character designs, Warner Bros.-esque comedy and animation, bright colors, shoe-horned in CGI elements, and skinny white or white-coded characters acting as the main protagonists. It fits right alongside Atlantis, The Emperor’s New Groove, Cats Don’t Dance, and Iron Giant. I’ve got as many complaints as a I have praises. Visually, the film is a marvel. The animation, designs, and overall look of the film holds up super well 15 years later. Aesthetically this is the pinnacle of Dreamworks animation and it’s a shame that this was one of the last traditionally animated films they released. At times it felt like they’d animated the film in CG and then rotoscoped it. Incredible! The voice acting and comedy is pretty solid too. There are clear moments of Dreamworks’ infamous pop-cultural *super edgy* humor but its not overbearing. And the cast of primarily POC characters is pretty admirable even by today’s standards which is kind of a shame. That being said, there’s a kind of racist undercurrent to the premise (i.e. white heroes con the *dumb* natives then save the *dumb* natives from themselves and from outsiders, natives have access to magic for some reason, natives are in a cruel and primitive society that white protagonists need to *fix*). Also, the narrative structure feels weird and disjointed. The climactic moments feel misplaced, poorly built up and kinda awkward. The villain has a super weak presence too and a kinda unclear motivation. Plus, the music was boring and the film couldn’t seem to decide if it wanted to be a musical or not. Most songs were just a disembodied voice singing about what was going on. But when all is said and done, I wish this film hadn’t bombed because there’s more good than bad and Dreamworks could have created a phenomenal lineup of traditionally animated films if given the financial incentive.

TELEVISION:

Better Call Saul - season 1 (2015)

I think this spinoff exceeded everyone’s expectations. It’s clearly within the same world of Breaking Bad but it tells its own story, engages with its own themes, and is structured just differently enough to feel like a completely separate but equally as engaging series. Bob Odenkirk is in top form here. You’d never think his character from Breaking Bad could be made this compelling. Also of course Jonathan Banks is incredible as well. Episode 6 in particular focuses on him and I don’t think I’ve seen a more expertly acted scene in the Breaking Bad canon than his final monologue in that episode. Newcomer to the BB-canon Michael McKean expertly portrays Jimmy’s brother Chuck. If you are a fan of Breaking Bad check it out. If you are a fan of comedic-dramas check it out. If you are a fan of good television check it out.

GAMES:

Smart Ball (dev. System Sacom / Game Freak, 1991) - SNES

I’m using Ken Sugimori’s original art for this post because the boxart for this game is atrocious. I really like Game Freak’s platformers. They’re always fun and innovative, totally underrated and beautifully simplistic. Much like Pulseman, Smart Ball, or the more accurate Jelly Boy as it’s called in Japan, is a cute game that had enough challenge and unique mechanics to really draw me in. Playing as the protagonist Jerry, you can stick to walls and ceilings, attack by contorting your body with the D-pad and absorb attack balls, jump balls, iron balls or seeds to use as power ups or projectiles.  I’d definitely check it out. I’d liken Pulseman to a more creative electricity based MegaMan-style game in the same way that Smart Ball is like a trickier Kirby game. Tonally, the games are pretty similar but Smart Ball offers a bit more of a challenge and a faster pace.

READING:

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life - Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman (2015)

Excellent book! Lotsa valuable insight into Grazer’s analysis and reliance on curiosity as an important life skill to cultivate. Definitely got me thinking about how to practice curiosity everyday. Grazer’s mental state is something I’ve always consciously strove for and never been able to fully grasp: optimistic, constantly engaged, willing to grow and willing to seem vulnerable doing so. He didn’t even really begin his curiosity focused journey until he was 23 so that’s left me pretty hopeful to internalize his strategies moving forward. Filled with interesting anecdotes about Grazer’s conversations with important figures like Andy Warhol, three separate presidents, Fidel Castro and Princess Diana. I recommend it!

studsonas replied to your photo:hrmmm!
Dont you have a collection of dead stuff

i have 3 taxidermed beetles, a dead dragonfly and dried piece of fungus from my grandmother, a deer jawbone, some complete but defunct bird eggs that are probably rotten as shit by now, and a tiny deer antler

so yes/no