Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Crudblud

Pages: < Back  1 [2] 3 4 ... 39  Next >
Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: July 11, 2023, 11:26:20 PM »
why did you post the spoderverse 2 review twice?
Because It is! For one thing, it's more of what made the first one so good - really fun and inventive action, beautiful animation, and terrific voice acting. But something else that I think really speaks to the quality of this movie, especially when comparing it to other fairly recent movies/TV shows with similar premises, is that you don't really need to be all that familiar with the various spoderman properties being included, referenced, or parodied to still be invested in it. It's a nice bonus if you are, of course, but the story and characters are compelling enough to carry you through the movie even if none of the other miscellaneous spoderman stuff registers. Similarly, there's a dense layer of hidden jokes, background details, and Easter eggs that observant viewers can catch, but unlike that stupid fucking Mario movie, you don't have to spot them to enjoy the movie. Even with only a surface level  of engagement, you'll still be seeing a movie that's funny, frantic, and looks great.

I really have just one problem with the movie that I feel is worth mentioning. The first act of this movie leans heavily into a capeshit trope that I think we as a society need to permanently retire - the hero whose duties make them late for or entirely miss important social obligations, inevitably leading to an uncomfortable scene where they get angrily lectured about how selfish and lazy they are. Oh, of course they aren't really selfish and lazy, but the hero can't explain that without revealing their secret identity! The dramatic tension is palpable! Stop it with this shit. It's been done a million times by now, and has never been anything other than unpleasant and deeply frustrating to watch play out. There are so many other ways that maintaining a secret identity could create tension with loved ones without having to fall back on "they're late for and/or miss appointments a lot" every single time. Like what this same movie does with Gwen and her father, you know? That was a good idea. And what makes the whole thing worse is that I actually really like this portrayal of Miles's parents, both of whom are funny, quirky characters with distinctive personalities. They deserve better than to be wasted on this Baby's First Capeshit melodrama.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Cazazza Dan
« on: February 05, 2023, 09:32:15 PM »
Please, if you please, check these short shorts, my cohorts.

This is basically my way of staying active while university eats away at my composing time.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: February 02, 2023, 07:54:31 PM »
It's a Cruddy cinema roundup! From least to most recent:

The Happening (dir. M. Night Shyamalan)
I was expecting this to be one of those overhyped "worst movies of all time" that was simply mediocre, but no. This is actually horrifically bad, and enough has been said about it over the years that mercifully I don't have to relive it in detail here.

Fantastic Four (dir. Tim Story)
Casual sexism galore as stupid men get upset about horrible women while also becoming super. Way better than Josh Trank's odious Fant4stic, but still quite horrid.

The Turin Horse (dir. Béla Tarr)
Apocalyptic potato eating and long tracking shots courtesy of the king of slow cinema. Oddly compelling but so slow I had to watch it in instalments.

X-Men (dir. Bryan Singer)
Competent and pretty good fun overall. Certainly makes for a nice change of pace after so many MCU and DCEU movies.

Manifesto (dir. Julian Rosefeldt)
Cate Blanchett dresses up in an array of disguises and reads various manifestos. I'm wary of being too harsh on this since it was originally designed to be seen as part of an installation in which all its vignettes would play simultaneously. Watching them in sequence is pretty tedious, though there are some nice ideas and Blanchett puts a good amount of oratory heft into a rather dry concept.

Ulysse (dir. Agnès Varda)
My first Varda, the French art house legend I've known of for some time but am just now getting around to. This is a short film about a series of photographs she took decades prior and the people who modelled for them. One of the most relaxing films I've ever seen.

Nightmare Alley (dir. Guillermo Del Toro)
Carnival noir! A moody slow burn with a few characteristic Del Toro twists. I had a lot of fun with this one!

Uncut Gems (dir. Joshua and Ben Safdie)
A sacred cow of contemporary cinema, and a much vaunted return to serious cinema for leading man Adam Sandler. I've really enjoyed Sandler in his previous dramatic turns with Punch Drunk Love and The Meyerowitz Stories, so I was disappointed to sit through what amounts to two hours of hateful dullards yelling at each other about nothing. I think you have to be able to sympathise with the Sandler character to care about what happens to him and I just didn't. Another GoodFellas for me.

Antiporno (dir. Sion Sono)
Sono was hired to make a "serious" plot-driven soft porn movie to help revamp Nikkatsu's "Roman Porno" genre in Japan. Sono being Sono, he gave them a postmodern psychodrama about a woman whose life is falling apart as she deals with a terrible grief and the societal double standards for women in Japan. This is an intense film and quite a difficult watch, but a sharp and wildly artsy skewering of misogynistic eroticism. Worth watching if you have the stomach for it.

Event Horizon (dir. Paul W. S. Anderson)
Before the Resident Evil movies, the reason Paul Thomas Anderson has to use his full name was trying to warn us that he by no means should be approached to direct horror movies. A spaceship bends space around itself and teleports to another part of the universe, or does it??? What if I told you it actually went... to hell?!??!?! (prety sppoky huh? lol :3) Cue 90 minutes of swishy tensionless space goings on featuring a crew of morons and a gaping hole where most of the gore was cut out because test audiences just didn't care for it. Most bafflingly, this is essentially a cheesy PG adventure movie that suddenly veers off into spooky town when you least expect it, but you only don't expect it because it doesn't make any sense.

The Other Side of the Wind (dir. Orson Welles)
Yet another legendary lost Orson Welles movie. Welles returned to Hollywood in the 1970s after it had shunned him so many decades before, naturally his first move on being welcomed back was to fashion a cinematic bayonet to stick it with. This is a satire of Hollywood, both Old and New, of auteurism, of art house cinema, of erotic cinema, of critics, of groupies and hangers on, of directors and actors and their debasement and destruction at the hands of a parasitic industry. Perhaps above all it is a self-parody. Gorgeously and chaotically shot in both colour and black and white, and on different kinds of cameras and film stocks, the film records the events of a screening party for an incomplete film by the impish and imperious master Jake Hannaford, played with acerbic aplomb by the great John Huston. Imperfect and still rough, for it was never finished and what we have here is a sort of best guess compiled from over 100 hours of footage and Welles's copious notes, this is nonetheless the kind of film that could only be made by a director who has such complete mastery of their art as to be able to coalesce their love and hate of it into a unified vision.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: January 14, 2023, 09:28:36 PM »
Mank (dir. David Fincher)

A not entirely successful venture from David Fincher, who is here swept up in a sort of De Palma fantasy of artifice. The black and white doesn't really seem to do anything to service the story and is merely a case of the presentation being foregrounded. The script is witty and abounds with charm, as does, in my opinion, Gary Oldman's central performance. Yet the meta intent behind the film somewhat misses the mark; for a film about the writing of the script for Citizen Kane, it doesn't reach for the heights of its subject. It is an imitation without purpose, but reasonably enjoyable overall nonetheless. And no, I don't give a shit how much of the story it tells is true.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: January 04, 2023, 08:03:47 AM »
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (dir. Charlie Kaufman)

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge mark for Kaufman. With the greatest regret possible for someone not in control of the relevant events in any way, shape or form, Charlie Kaufman will never write a film for Andy Kaufman directed by Lloyd Kaufman. This movie isn't anything like what I imagine that would have been like, but that's fine because it's wonderful in its own way. I see a lot of comparisons to Lynch, but I think people have a habit of defining Lynch as "weird things happening with foreboding sound design". One point where Kaufman and Lynch do run along parallel lines is their love of process, albeit Lynch in the doing, Kaufman in the recording. I'm Thinking of Ending Things can very much be read as a companion piece to Synecdoche, New York, and I have a strong suspicion that your liking for this film will have a clear precedent in your liking for that one. It definitely has a lot of thematic crossover with other Kaufman films as well. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind comes to mind most readily, but I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a much more successful film precisely because it doesn't rely on a twist which, once revealed, makes the rest of the film less interesting. This is one of Kaufman's best films.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: January 01, 2023, 10:56:12 PM »
Marriage Story (dir. Noah Baumbach)

As a big fan of Baumbach's previous film The Meyerowitz Stories, I really wanted to like this. It has a lot of good elements, but I think also so many things I didn't like that I'm not really able to say that I liked or disliked it overall. I think, despite Baumbach's characteristic deadpan "realism", I didn't really buy the central relationship, which was just a couple of people being angry jerks. The most intense moments between the two leads played out for me as a kind of hysterical comedy. Structurally I liked that Baumbach committed to doing quite a few long scenes which foregrounded the acting over the directing or editing, but I felt the structure was ultimately too cute in its arcs and repetitions to come across anything like as real as it seemed he wanted it to be. Randy Newman's beautifully orchestrated but cloyingly saccharine score offers neither support nor counterpoint to the tone of the film, instead seeming like it was made for something else. My experience of this film was thus of a bunch of individually mostly (and in some cases very) well done things that didn't really sit together, not even in a way that could be taken as an embodiment of the messiness of the relationship it depicts.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: December 16, 2022, 04:39:46 PM »
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the best MCU film by quite some margin.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: November 11, 2022, 06:04:58 PM »
It wasn't just Batman when Conroy was doing the voice, it was Bestman.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Liz Truss
« on: October 20, 2022, 06:43:48 PM »
The Tories have become incestuous and cannibalistic, they need a good decade or more in opposition to sort themselves out. Better yet, I hope Labour makes good on the PR manifesto vote from this year's conference and enacts it when they inevitably win the next GE. Put country before party and let in a greater plurality of voices. If we have any sense (wishful thinking?) we should all want to get well shot of giant dinosaur parties after this exclamation mark at the end of a long sentence of absolute fuckery.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: September 16, 2022, 09:36:54 AM »
Morbius ("dir." Daniel Espinosa)

Do I rate it low because it was shit or do I rate it high because it was so astoundingly shit that I had a good laugh watching it together with Снупс? The experience was one of a kind, at any rate.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: September 11, 2022, 10:49:12 AM »
As Снупс mentioned above, we've been watching through these together. Here's my ranking of MCU shows so far with brief commentary.

1. Moon Knight — Great first outing for one of my favourite (anti)heroes. Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke are great adversaries, and the special attention paid to the character's Egyptian roots is much appreciated.

2. Loki — Ambitious concept more or less pulled off, with a few disappointing non-twists where it wimps out. Tom Hiddleston finally gets to shine and is no longer an annoying side character you can't figure out why Marvel keeps shoehorning into centre stage! Plus, Owen Wilson wowin' it up is more than welcome.

3. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — Solid nuts-and-bolts action thriller dealing with the sociopolitical fallout of the "blip". Nice moments with Bucky and Sam lend it a heartfelt sensibility that ultimately wins out over its frequently hard-headed militarism.

4. WandaVision — I really wanted this to be top of the list, but as it stands this might be the biggest fumble in the entire MCU. It starts and ends strongly but sinks into the depths of its own insecurity in the middle, as it becomes a turgid mess of recap after recap after Kat Dennings, because Marvel has no confidence that its audience might not be made up exclusively of morons.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: The Queen
« on: September 08, 2022, 04:43:04 PM »
It had been starting to actually feel like she’d love forever. End of an era for sure.
Don't worry Iceman, the Queen's love for her subjects is eternal.

I made a mistake in my first post by saying that a machine can't create anything new. What I meant to say is that a machine can't generate anything new, because creation is entirely beyond its capabilities. Sorry for muddling up the terminology.

What I've learned from observing the latest in machine-generated music is that a machine can only (fail to) reproduce what already exists, it can't truly create anything new in the way that a human being can. What I've seen of DALL-E and other visual arts AIs is much the same, it can be prompted to create an amalgamation of known things, but it can't produce something unknown. Granted we live in an era in the arts where we are "out in the ocean", and there is no identifiable progress* as such other than technological. Perhaps progress in art is now, rather than new material, new efficiency in reproduction of old material, but nonetheless personal style remains unquantifiable.
The very concept of art being "new" is a human abstraction, and has to do with the expression of ideas rather than any concrete definition. All art is, after all, a combination of existing colours and shapes in some way. I don't think it makes any sense to say that an algorithm can't create new things because a computer simply isn't aware of that distinction.

What is probably going on is that, given that the vast majority of art in general is highly derivative, you are experiencing sampling bias due to the relatively small quantity of AI-generated art, and the fact that most people using it are just noodling around and not really trying to create anything groundbreaking.
Of course all art is a combination of existing colours and shapes, but a machine can only reproduce existing combinations, while a human has the potential, not the innate ability, but the potential to combine existing things in new ways. A human being has experiences through which they form perspective, and from the application of that perspective comes style, that is a way of seeing and combining things which cannot be completely but is at least partially unique and potentially significantly so. A machine has no experiences, no perspective, and cannot develop style; it cannot think and it cannot create; it may be programmed in a unique way, but that is an act of human creation. The creative element of machine-generated art comes, as you pointed out (see my emphasis above), from the user who devises the prompt.

What I've learned from observing the latest in machine-generated music is that a machine can only (fail to) reproduce what already exists, it can't truly create anything new in the way that a human being can. What I've seen of DALL-E and other visual arts AIs is much the same, it can be prompted to create an amalgamation of known things, but it can't produce something unknown. Granted we live in an era in the arts where we are "out in the ocean", and there is no identifiable progress* as such other than technological. Perhaps progress in art is now, rather than new material, new efficiency in reproduction of old material, but nonetheless personal style remains unquantifiable.

*of course, progress can only be identified in retrospect

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: August 04, 2022, 07:40:32 PM »
Thor 4

Better than Thor 2.
A ringing endorsement there.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: June 24, 2022, 06:22:31 PM »
The Batshit Odyssey makes its long overdue return!

The Dark Knight (dir. Christopher Nolan)

Where to begin talking about a film that seems to be defined more by its reception, indeed its reputation, than its content? Few if any films this century have risen so quickly to Olympian heights in the public consciousness, fewer still have been so closely shadowed by external tragedy. Through his death, Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker was transfigured in the popular mind; in many ways it is the film, is what people talk about when they talk about The Dark Knight. So what should I talk about? I have been accused on occasion of resisting cliché to the point of absurdity, all for some egomaniacal, perhaps narcissistic desire to stand apart from the crowd. In fact I love cliché, I love commonalities; I am not ashamed to admit that I am like most people in most ways. Rather I cannot stand to repeat myself, and I feel as though I, despite having thought little about this film since I first saw it in 2009, have had this discussion myself so many times that the bottom of the barrel has been scraped dry and sanded smooth. I hope, mostly, to talk about the film itself, and to try to reconcile what it is in itself with what it is remembered to be.

The second instalment in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman films, The Dark Knight pits the caped crusader against the Joker and Harvey “Two Face” Dent. For those of us who are familiar with these villains already—most will be intimately familiar with the former purely through his ubiquity, his status as the king of Batman villains—there is a sense of inexorable tragedy. We know that the Joker can never be saved from himself, we know that Harvey Dent will place his faith in the coin toss and the absolute fairness of chance after a transformative event changes irrevocably his perspective on human conceptions of justice, human systems of law. So, too, for Batman himself, who hides in plain sight among the upper echelons of society as Bruce Wayne; his two halves, his bipolar masquerade, can never be resolved. This conflict in itself is what defines him, even more so than his own transformative event, the killing of his parents. In many ways, then, we already know, as soon as we encounter each of these three leads, precisely where the film is going.

The Dark Knight is a more or less direct continuation of Batman Begins. Following his saving of the city from Ra’s al Ghul, Batman’s heroics have inspired confidence in the citizens of Gotham, in some cases a little too much, as armed vigilantes cheaply outfitted in the Bat’s image take to the streets with automatic weapons. This particular consequence of Batman’s vigilantism is touched upon only a couple of times in the film, which I feel is a wasted opportunity. If Christopher Nolan is indeed the “thinking person’s blockbuster director” (a mantle which, I should point out, he seems neither to warm to nor shy away from in his public statements) then a deeper consideration of what comes in the wake of not a superhero, but an essentially ordinary man taking justice into his own hands and striking down thugs and drug dealers and their bosses, should be his bread and butter here. The somewhat nuanced, empathetic treatment of Gotham society, penetrating the various strata that make it up, to which we were treated in the first part of Batman Begins, seems here to have been forgotten. The film’s presentation of Batman’s unwanted army of trigger-happy doppelgangers is no discussion at all but a statement, a claim, unexplored beyond its most superficial level: it exists. Batman seems to be held responsible for the shift in attitude towards crime in Gotham, that is, he has shown Gotham that crime is in fact possible to defeat, or is at least containable, manageable, punishable; this not least of all by the mob, which feels the tightening of the screws at every turn, and becomes more and more desperate, like a wild animal cornered. Harvey Dent, the new District Attorney, an optimistic, grandstanding young (by the standards of the legal profession) man, rises over Gotham as Batman prowls beneath it, and the people seem ready to believe that together, even if official policy would have them at opposite poles, they will fulfil the promise of the new optimism blooming on the city’s bustling streets. Yet all is not well in the Gotham legal system, mob-compromised cops work surreptitiously within its halls and offices, and, when the mob itself becomes compromised by the Joker, the entire structure seems to teeter upon the precipice of total, irretrievable collapse.

Harvey Dent is dating Bruce Wayne’s former squeeze Rachel Dawes, here played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (as Katie Holmes, who had previously portrayed the character in Batman Begins, was then busy being abducted and brainwashed by cult leader and walking Teflon advertisement Tom Cruise) and you already know where this is going, even if you haven’t seen the film. Dawes is to serve as collateral in the Joker’s sadistic plot to corrupt Dent. One thing I do particularly enjoy about the Joker in this film is just how extreme his actions become over the course of the film, as he continues to attempt to push Batman over the edge, to turn him into a killer, by burning down the order he seeks to uphold. However, the “love” between Dent and Dawes, thus the tragedy of the latter’s fiery death, is blunted by the little screen time we see them spend together. Even with a new actor in the role, at least the Dawes/Wayne relationship was previously established; no matter how well Aaron Eckhardt plays Dent’s pretence to quietly resolved protective desperation over the situation of his beloved, he cannot add an extra film’s worth of shared character development to their history that will make us believe that she is his beloved.

In The Dark Knight, Two Face is the Joker’s creation. Not only is the Joker the cause of his disfigurement both physical and mental, not to mention the defacing of what will become his signature coin, but the clown prince of crime comes to Dent in the hospital and rattles off a speech tailor-made to impress a teenage boy on the verge of rebelling against his parents, which apparently is good enough for a highly educated man approaching middle age. To be fair, Dent is suffering from severe trauma, and I can be charitable and accept that even if Dawes were a complete stranger, the deeply felt pang of survivor’s guilt would doubtless see him in an emotionally fragile, susceptible state of mind. Alas, if only someone had brought him a copy of Seneca’s On Providence first! By hook or by crook is Two Face thus born, revenge the only word on his twisted lips as he escapes an exploding hospital and somehow finds himself a rather perfectly half-burnt suit. This he seeks to take not on the man who put his former self and his former self’s love in the most heinous of predicaments, but on slightly dodgy copper Jim Gordon, whom Gary Oldman’s slightly dodgy accent returns to play.

The dramatic climax of the film is played out between Two Face, Gordon, Gordon’s family, and eventually Batman. Two Face holds Gordon’s family at gunpoint, and asks Gordon which one he loves the most, so that he might, supposedly, experience what Harvey Dent experienced. I have already commented on the somewhat ludicrous prospect of Dent taking the loss of Rachel Dawes this badly, and at the risk of repeating myself I find it even more ludicrous that Two Face would go after Gordon when he is precisely aware of the Joker’s involvement in Dawes’s kidnapping and death, and even had the opportunity to kill the Joker in the hospital. So the plot sort of resolves to a damp squib of a scene in which a Character A goes after Character B and essentially subjects Character B’s family to emotional torture because Character A was reduced by trauma to the intellectual level of an angry fifteen year old boy smoking cigarettes he stole from his dad’s bedside cabinet. Batman shows up, Two Face falls to his death, Batman runs away having taken the blame for Harvey Dent’s crimes because Harvey Dent was a symbol of hope and blah blah blah.

Essentially, The Dark Knight’s Two Face has the exact opposite problem that plagued the one we regrettably encountered in Batman Forever. In that film, Tommy Lee Jones played a Joker knock-off who had no prior life upon which to base his villainous mutation; in this one, Aaron Eckhardt has a relatively rich prior life that exists to basically serve us a tragic villain who dies after maybe ten minutes of screen time. Jones is undoubtedly far worse on every level, turning in a horrid, idiotic performance that cannot merely be blamed on the litany of failings to be found in the script and direction, whereas Eckhardt’s problems are entirely imposed upon him by the film itself. Rather than doing the sensible thing and setting up Two Face as the possibly redeemable anti-hero in the sequel he already knew would be greenlit, Nolan was more concerned with sacrificing this reasonably well-developed character to a dramatic climax that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The treatment of Dent’s nascent tragedy here seems so artificial because we arrive at it by such mediocre means, and I feel little for his fall from grace despite the fine performance Eckhardt gives in the role.

I began this review by talking about the Joker as a sort of cultural synecdoche for the film itself. It’s strange, then, that I should find myself now having very little to say about the character or Heath Ledger’s performance, which was made monumental by his overdose. I also said that the Joker cannot be saved from himself, and perhaps Ledger was much the same. There is a temptation to read in, to blur the lines of fantasy and reality, professional and personal, to give in to the romantic notion of the method actor, who inhabits their role and temporarily loses their own being, sacrifices it to their art, maybe even relinquishes some small part of it forever. Few are more keen to have this notion accepted than the ones who do it, what some call “love me” acting, wherein the Method, originally a far more humble, “pure” craft-oriented conception of acting through deep empathy, gives way to the spectacle of the actor, of a performance beyond the performance. The desire to conflate events occurring around a film with the film itself is a curious one. It seems in some ways a mirror to the desire for (typically) science fiction and fantasy media to expand infinitely, so that the adventure, the escape, never comes to an end. Here the fictional spills out into the real, the artifice loses its boundaries; Heath Ledger becomes the Joker becomes Heath Ledger.

To be clear, I do not accuse Ledger of attempting to gain something, of myth-making through death. For all I can tell, Ledger was a somewhat self-effacing actor who was devoted, at least in his final years, to the craft of acting. He took his work seriously. The baggage conferred by the vagaries of reputation had initially led to outcry among certain circles that Ledger, who had played many throwaway romance and adventure roles and presumably given little or no indication that he could play in a “serious” film about a man dressed up in a bat costume punching people, was unsuitable for the role. The only other film I have seen Ledger in is The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which he began filming after The Dark Knight, so I am not in a position to comment on his prior work. As I said, for all I have written about the reputation of Ledger’s Joker, I find myself with curiously little to say about the performance itself. The tail may well have been wagging the dog back in 2008, but that dog now stalks a hinterland that would seem to be beyond reach, beyond human time, ageless and on some level insensible. Suffice it to say it is the most engaging portion of the film, injecting clown colours and a wonky panache into the same grey and brown anywhere cityscapes that made Batman Begins so impersonal.

The Dark Knight is more personal than its predecessor, it is more about characters and relationships than anything else, even if they don’t come off anywhere near as real as they were intended to be. The cosmic scale of Ra’s al Ghul’s crusade rendered Batman’s fight for Gotham partially intangible, for all that Gotham itself was the focus; here the Joker’s earthbound terrorism cries out for a Gotham to destroy, but instead he is reduced to corrupting, or attempting to corrupt, a handful of people. When he pits the captive passengers of two boats against each other, each one rigged with a bomb to which the other has the detonator, that he, or better yet Gotham might see whether it is a group of hardened criminals or of ordinary citizens that will pull the trigger on the other, a bunch of people we neither know nor care about are suddenly introduced as stakes in a game the rules of which have never been clear. The Joker claims he is an agent of chaos with no plan, and the film seems structurally sympathetic to his raison d’être to the point of distraction. He dominates the film to its detriment; all the goings on with Batman himself even seem forgettable, marginal events on the periphery of Joker’s litany of carnages. The mismatch of scale and intent leave the film itself scrabbling for a satisfying conclusion, one which it cannot find, but that is wrapped up in authoritative drivel—which would be platitudinous if only I believed that even the writers actually knew what they meant by it this time around—which was either intended as a placation of the audience for an unsatisfactory ending, or perhaps thrown together without much thought since it was already known, already understood that the Joker was so strong as to reduce all else in the film to a triviality.

The Dark Knight is the very definition of slick mediocrity, which is more or less what I have come to expect from Christopher Nolan over the years. He is a brilliant deviser of intriguing, sometimes astounding set-pieces, but he is at a loss as to how to piece them together into anything resembling a complete work of cinema. Whereas, for example, Quentin Tarantino had a sort of golden period before his scripts degenerated into mere collections of, on a good day, individually fine scenes, Nolan has never convinced me of a macroscopic understanding of narrative and theme, of character and place, how these things coalesce into an artistic statement. This film has many good elements that would be exciting were they not strung together without purpose, except perhaps a shallow exploration of nihilism. The plot is constructed with the understanding that the Joker must remain an enigma to the end, but it doesn’t understand that the Joker and the film as a whole are connected yet discrete entities, and that what is true for one does not necessarily hold in the case of the other. The Joker’s arc—a term I use only for simplicity’s sake—cannot resolve to an answer, but he does have a point that he is driving at continually, while the film conversely answers its own questions but in doing so reveals that it has no point. Ultimately, there have been sweeter sounds and greater furies than this, and I can’t help but find that whatever impressed me in 2009 is no longer there in 2022. The Batman film we need, the Batman film we deserve, whether they are the same or not, whether such criteria can be applied to superhero movies at all, is somewhere other than here.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Terrible Political Memes
« on: June 04, 2022, 11:40:56 AM »

How has this thread stayed in the Lounge of all places for so long?

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: March 03, 2022, 05:25:05 PM »
Well, I just discovered a new bug. If you quit out after respawning at the Stake of Marika before Royal Knight Loretta, when you load the save you will appear in a void and instantly die. Not sure if this is just for this Stake or a problem in general but I found it pretty funny so I don't mind so much, even though the run back from the bonfire is kind of annoying.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: February 25, 2022, 05:13:42 PM »
Elden Ring is kicking my arse. I wondered if it was because the game is hard or because I'm a naked dude with a club. So I started another playthrough as a dude with armour and a sword, and I still got my arse kicked. The bosses in this game are serious. So far I have only beaten the Beastman of Farum Azula, an optional miniboss. Anyway, I'm really enjoying it so far. It's a very successful expansion of the Souls formula, with a bit of Sekiro thrown in for good measure. The horseback combat is oddly reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors and I can imagine Miyazaki getting a kick out of colleague reactions to the idea when he described how he wanted to implement it.

Of course, it's not all good. As is typical with From games, the technical side is lagging behind the incredible design. There are definitely some performance issues on PC, I've been getting stutters and frame drops despite my rig meeting the recommended specs. Hopefully it's fixed soon.

Pages: < Back  1 [2] 3 4 ... 39  Next >