REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)

If there’s only one time you want to make it to a movie theatre in 2017, it should be now.  This seems to be the only movie worth braving the crowds, incessant stench of over-buttered popcorn, traffic, and noise to go outside to watch.  It’s got everything anyone should want from a movie, except perhaps a satisfying finale.  And since I actually think it’s worth seeing, I’ll be avoiding spoilers for this review. Continue reading “REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)”

Wolverine, the MCU, and What Comic Book Movies Have Become

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is dog shit.  I’ve been working intermittently on a series of posts about it for about a year at this point, but I keep returning to the same fundamental problem.  There’s nothing there.  Almost every movie is the same movie, and every one of them sucks.

But how did we get here?  Is the MCU the logical continuation of the general trends in the comic book movie genre?  Do they reflect the prevailing interests and entertainment needs of society at large, do they cater to the lowest common denominator?  If they do, what’s changed, if anything? Continue reading “Wolverine, the MCU, and What Comic Book Movies Have Become”

The Border Trilogy (Cormac McCarthy – 1992, 1994, 1998, Vintage Books)

“What the priest saw at last was that the lesson of a life can never be its own.  Only the witness has power to take its measure.  It is lived for the other only.  The priest therefore saw what the anchorite could not.  That God needs no witness.  Neither to Himself nor against.  The truth is rather that if there were no God then there could be no witness for there could be no identity to the world but only each man’s opinion of it.  The priest saw that there is no man who is elect because there is no man who is not.  To God every man is a heretic.  The heretic’s first act is to name his brother.  So that he may step free of him.  Every word we speak is a vanity.  Every breath taken that does not bless is an affront.  Bear closely with me now.  There is another who will hear what you never spoke.  Stones themselves are made of air.  What they have power to crush never lived.  In the end we shall all of us be only what we have made of God.  For nothing is real save his grace.”

  —Cormac McCarthy
The Crossing, 1994

As chilling as he is lucid, Cormac McCarthy’s prose leaves little room for extraneous movement.  His writing reads as an amalgamation of popular arthouse directors—Lynch, Tarkovsky, and Leone each spring to mind; drenched in religious symbolism, divergent in folk-philosoph monologues, and dependent upon atmosphere over typical manners of characterization and plot development.  Few writers utilize the capacity of their preferred genre such that they can deliver an unremittent and cacophonous vision of their worldview and have their books come across as both humble discourses and enjoyable stories, yet all of McCarthy’s novels are precisely such endeavors.   Meditations on suffering lived through dreams and written as cathartic spiritual exorcisms. Continue reading “The Border Trilogy (Cormac McCarthy – 1992, 1994, 1998, Vintage Books)”

Death – Spiritual Healing (1990)

Recorded – 1989
Released – February 16, 1990

Chuck Schuldiner – guitars, vocals
James Murphy – guitar
Terry Butler – bass
Bill Andrews – drums
Eric Greif – Keyboard

The last of Death’s “pre-prog” period of death metal, Spiritual Healing presents a more refined approach than what was present on the sledgehammer of Scream Bloody Gore or the baseball bat of malice present in Leprosy. This album isn’t a single, somewhat unwieldly bludgeoning weapon of sonic destruction like the last two; it’s a bit more dynamic, better presented, and more complex both in music and in lyrics. Continue reading “Death – Spiritual Healing (1990)”

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