Wednesday, March 29, 2017

eighth post

thirty reviews


fury (2014)

weak tea saving private ryan... biggest obstacle was the music score, really terribly obvious german marches and like strings amping up for the big fight... I prefer my war films to be nonplussed but this one had all the gore and some of the randomness of s.p.r. but also some pro-cynical warrior stuff incl. a hasty last stand/blaze of glory... biggest challenge was reconciling brad pitt's human rights abuses, a goal which is forgotten by the end of the film. Biggest and best scene is the middle one which is like 10+ minutes of an awkward/traumaticdinner between tom cruise and his kid and two captured german woman, basically the closest scene to being real social commentary, although this too sort of "trips over its own dick" when the kid and one german woman have sex and brad pitt is like "let them, they're young and alive" like that's supposed to be super salient. Did not watch end of film past "setting up for the blaze of glory by deciding we're all gonna die" scene.

shadow of the colossus

I first thought this game was, itself, an internal representation of the PS2 hardware. it is like a tech demo. You get the feel with wide open tracts of space with no functionality that this is like a tech demo, and the fact that there are little lizards you can shoot kind of adds to that feeling of limited or "test" functionality. By completely skipping over all the modern design trends of 1,000,000 little things to do we're instead left with an anthropology piece, the details of a culture long dead which are exposable only by conjecture. I felt like I was physically inside a realm of data.


the lobster (2015)

salient point here is that all the characters talk and act like they’re middler schoolers in a recital. Connects with metaphysical nature of the movie as parable about modern dating-- except existential bcause all relevant actors in the morality play spin off to their own consequences. At least the play seems half-interested in preserving its own moral lessons, hopefully to preserve the existential void at the center of it which bespeaks the childlike innocence of pursuing love, both deadly and salvative-- this why the middle-schooler-y speech(?)

top gun-


hellish bcuz trapped in military scenario, not real air force but an air force school, where the psychosocial tensions of the various characters get played out by cat-and-mouse games involving targeting reticule shots and bouncing and incomprehensible real fighter jet photography. Only comprehensible shot thereof is famous “middle finger” scene where Tom Cruise is flipping off opposing Russian fighter pilot while inverted above his cockpit. Also Tom Cruise pursues Kelly McGillis into a ladies bathroom to pressure her for sex.

apocalypse world (rpg)


combat is always bad bcuz designer Vincent Baker refuses to recognize combat-as-sport while all players everywhere know of literally no other mode of play. A.W. is good at builiding little post-apocalypse socities and then breaking them apart. However as the destruction is waged so too do the rules break, along the lines of “Fronts” and nefarious player advancement. Mbasically you get a cool little custom character sheet with checkboxes to fill out and then the GM asks you a bunch of questions about your sex life. Would be better if the MC (the GM) themself would get more hostile as play preceded (?)

space channel 5


Really good rhythm game, gogo eighties, immaculate aesthetic, taught me how to shame-walk-dance

tomb raider original version


achieves same sense of “quiet time” that 1.000.000 modern AAA games break apart with literal arrows on screen showing you where to go. Is much better once you find the “walk” button (you must depress this to walk and not tumble off edges). Is in MoMA, I’m pretty sure.


Basically all the simplicity of Doom or Quake levels, the library thereof being entirely compended by the common, “map design” being once a commoner’s art akin to shoemaking or coopery. You can see the sense of “place” in all these places, composed as they were mostly by a few polygons and some textures, even as they are death/doom metal alien traps. You wander through a winter cave for a while and it’s silent. Keen sense of exploration weirdly offset by 90’s obscene videogame “sex-crime” fiction aesthetic of cutscenes, glowing 3d-rendered bulbous adolescent fantasy.

the chronicles of amber


sex fantasy books from my youth. surprisingly did or did not hold up? at one point the author comments on what is obviously an ex-girlfriend of his, describing someone who gets crazy and cult-following after dating the main character.


Not really at all as powerful as Orson Scott Card’s “maps in a mirror” short story oddysy which is EXTREMELY HOT and BIZARRELY TERRIBLE, AS IN “PUBERTY AWAKENING” t.m.i

dan hoy: the deathbed editions
dan hoy poems: obviously an act of theory, more than practice, as like how would you get off on these? not super credible. But! The presentation of the book itself is so cool, perfect heft etc.


porpentine's "girl detective"
realllyy good that the girl detective dies. begins to resemble fantasia where characters are intermixed and played off each other. all for the description of the sensorium which porpentine seeks to oblige (?) porp said she was comfortable if everything she did was termed as porn, so…. this it, especially admiring guro or filth/sewage aesthetic.


house (1977)


another one of my “adolescent horror/sex” pieces, “house” is notable for being widely panned by its Japanese critics upon release. It’s there in the canon though bc the children of Nippon widely turned out to see it, an unprecedented cinematic achievement. As for being for children, the movie follows six young japanese teens who eventually get messily dismembered by a haunted house. Notable bcuz like most children’s movies there’s an element of “picnic” to it, every significant piece clashes against all the others, very punk aesthetic as well bcuz as the creator said it’s supposed to be a “cinematic reality” where the special effects aren’t designed to seem real so much as to “highlight the hard work of the crew”. So like during the martial arts scene you can see the strings lowering the hat; or like during the piano chomping scene; just google “house 1977 piano”.

the plot against america


phillip roth goes as far as to actually simulate via novel how potentially the united states could have gone fascist in 1942. Well, he almost simulates it, at the very last moment (after years of build-up) he backs off and has the Lindburgh presidential family de-escalate and America joins the war after all (on the right side). This book is immensely disappointing even for probably subtly translating the american jewish family experience on the wider immensely tragic tensions of the time-- behind every scene in the book is the reader’s knowledge of the then-unknown holocaust.  

ghost in the shell original edition vs. new?/


original edition ghost in the shell is kind of a cult film for even it’s sorta-excellent animation. “cult” because the quality isn’t consistent and the timing is sort of off and it’s clearly just the first part of a larger story. I mean american made ghost in the shell will fully abandon the plot in favor of whatever, I hope takeshi kitano’s o.k.

nicolas winding refn
people have ideas about “drive” so it’s like the intelligence of refn sorta applied well which takes a big miss on “the neon demon” and shows its own kinda joie nihilism in “only god forgives”. I mean the visual style of each film is really _not_ breathtaking except of course yeah the first scene from “drive”, many of the subsequent scenes, but like the message I keep getting (the credit sequence from demon was also _really_ good) is that there’s sort of base primality of man he wants to expose, the gravity of which I miss completely. Sure there’s x, y, and z but there’s also Ryan Gosling dragging a dude by his head, his fingers scooped in the maxilla, the image of which is enough. It’s about positioning the reader’s emotions or WHATEVER but it’s just the placid generation of these images, which is enough.


Although followup: the scenes of models bathing in blood in “demon” isn’t really awesome so I guess there is an ability to distinguish between the images that doesn’t seem contained in the films--- you see a photo album and you like some.


blood meridian


one of those important realms of history is ultraviolence and seeing the limits of horror practiced as a way of answering the dead part of your brain which requires those ideas. I sound emo here but understanding the role of the american army as a territorializing (controlling justice) force in 1887 makes america make _sense_ in a way it didn’t to me before. Like if you need to interrogate the role of mass violence and guns, as I do, plus some application to my dnd games which often become about similar acts of horrific terror.

we did porn


zak sabbath of OSR fame, who made several rpg tabletop books that I enjoy a lot, describes his experiences in the porn industry as an actor. Zak is a total knob-end in a way such as that I the reader have to deconstruct his knob-end-ness a lot because I can’t rely on the usual labels (=sexist, racist) to describe his male knob-end-ness. There is a lot of fatphobia in the book though, people are regularly criticized and characterized as monsters by their weight, so uh, point for me I guess.


Zak is continuously trying to do a Hunter S. Thompson   thing which does not profit bcuz unlike Thompson Zak  does not obliterate his own ego. To wit; Thompson stands in his own horror fearlessly calling out his paranoid/schizo responses to everything while Zak usually is the hero of his own narrative. But however at the end Zak admits some of his own deep-set fears about the morbid danger many of his friends are in, people who glance off society, and in that bit we get some of that rare “authorial humanity.” Other than though there is a whole lot of moralizing and advice-giving which turned me off.

The Story of The Eye


essential Georges Bataille “erotic” adolescent death ficiton, at times mostly exploring a few fetish ideas. Widely banned or whatever but fuses that triggering youth pain experience with craziness and legit erotic fiction. Kind of like playing around at the edges of what porn scenes can be, the feeling is of everything being especially set up to be an erotic tale but is also legitmately tripping on its own pathos.

Kathy Acker


“blood and guts in high school” was good again because it had awful youth sex stuff. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with this; oh wait, yes I do, it’s because kids ,like in the movie “Kids” (1995), flip society on its back, have incestual relationships at least in fiction that EXPLAIN everyone’s trauma and expose for me a world I always wondered about. You can’t get to the real meaning of your high school aquaintences until you know a lot of them were drinking every morning. Or like just getting away from society’s prescribed noitons, you knowww??? That’s ART!!!


That’s what “Blood and guts in high school” is mostly about except for the poetry which “was bad”.

Delta of Venus


related to above but erotica from Anais Nin who was able to fashion up some west-bank fiction which explores ppl’s sexualities back in those days. Really powerful or whatever. Mostly as a sort of short story collection, notable for me as a flip book for sex scenes, kind of dangerously written. IDK


Eunoia
Christian Bök’s book of chapter-length poems each of which makes use of exactly one vowel each is exactly what it sounds like. The execution is chilling and I wanna prescribe to Christian’s dead-seeming personality (from what I’ve heard). More or less without moral.


The Red Pony


John Steinbeck writes a scene where Jody, a 10 year old, has to watch his steed executed, and then later has to watch a mare executed by brain-hammer so it can successfully deliver Jody’s new baby horse. Later in the book there’s a parable about education wherein a hermit coded-gay man raises a child that in his hermit-ness leads his fellow schoolchildren into new realms of imagination, later to have his and his hermit father’s life destroyed by the PTA.

The Cornelius Quartet
WEIRD Michael Moorcock four-books I got through two- about an enigmatic James Bond-type who trolls reality constantly in search of his dead incest-sister. Basically notable because the metatextual elements come in without explanation to interrupt the first novel’s normalish spy story, there’s a lot of querulous free love, and a lot of seventies tabloid moralizing. In the last book apparently it all turned out to be the fantasy lives of some London doxies, so as to create the “vertiginous imagination” of the common folk or whatever.


Almost Transparent Blue


Ok, TAO LIN wrote a review of this book, the review thereof, and especially his other review of KOKO THE TALKING GORILLA, influenced me in writing and what could be possible in a critical piece. A.T.B. is the story of some japanese hedonists not dissimilar from the characters in Story of the Eye except they’re older. They host an orgy for money, beat each other up. Mostly notable for the fact that the perspective is punk rock moral-less and sensorium-diving set of descriptions. For that reason and for the post-script which tries to reconnect with the characters (the book is auto-biography(?)) you get the sense of the sincere hedonist and thus the cnxn to everyday life, human universality etc. Also new perspective on Japanese life near a military base.

how to write a thesis


Umberto Eco lays down the rules for actual graduate study, hopelessly inapplicable to real such study, but notable because he urges people who don’t want to do the work and just get the certification to plagarism.

coeur du lion


“Ariana Reines” collection of sorta ex-boyfriend-y poems. Notable bcuz they seem pathetic, as in deserving real pity*, like she inspects her own sincere desire for the return of this asshole-y guy. A person who seems exactly like the kind of man-child widely maligned by feminist ppl today, me included(?). Sort of this inner life.



taipei


TAO LIN’s novel which is starkly boring. Notable also that TAO LIN was abusive to his ex- which is part of why Alt Lit “was violently dismantled”. His ex- isn’t in this novel, it’s more of the Megan Boyle relationship, but uh mostly notable bcuz it follows a strange kink where it bends at the end. The first part is all ceaseless reptition of drugs and emotionless descriptions of other people’s emotions but then it gets halfway emotional at the end? Why would someone want to read this (review)??

Walter benjamin: The Arcades Project


a collection of the deceased philospher’s notes preceding a never-completed magnum opus re: the paris arcades, essentially proto-malls with brothels added. Totally worth buying a copy and fer instance paging thru the chapter on gambling and prostitution which is full of wise witicisms on both, along with quoted paragraphs (also wise). Mainly a sort of library text, available as pirated .pdf . I used to be able to turn to any page and find something cool but now I strangely have lost that ability… I think it’s due to the lighting in my apartment.

Borgman (2013)


film about an “alp” which strangely enough “Alf” of “ALF” fame was also I am assuming based on-- it’s that distinctive nose, and the fur**. This “alp” is a dude like a German homeless guy who slowly insinuates a family with his evil nonsense presence. It’s sorta cool but sort of a big jerk-off because the big reveal of “Borgman”’s character really is that he’s just an “alf”. I mean I had to google what an “alf” was after the film, trying to figure out what the movie was about, and it turns out it’s just straightforward “alf”-ness.

holy motors (2012)


“Leos Carax”: vignettes following incomprehensible French logic; each vignette is good, some are stunning. Why? Mostly bcuz they are little insights into aspects of film narrative, stories that are told into the real physical actors in additon to projected thru the screen into the audience’s brains. Like this implication that the author follows the work except told longform as a movie.



it follows (2014)
MY FAVORITE CHILD/SEX/DEATH movie out since 2014!!! Why is this such a theme??! I think it’s because we’re all hung up on teenagers, our teenage years. Anyway this film is a serious attempt at rendering the fears of adolescence into a monster movie, but done with the postmodern modesty that I need wherein the characters are embodied in actual persons so the costs feel real and not horror-movie-scripted. The mysterious monster is such so we can have that half-morality play feel that “the lobster” has. This movie trades off on frenetic orgasm-end for instead a mysterious and settled dread, like a married couple has.


*not condescending pity if that makes sense

**took a look at this, I’m maybe just making it up.

2 comments:



  1. AW:

    1e or 2e? I found 2e fixed some problems, by adding some explicit mechanical pressure in the form of "each session you must spend 1-2 barter for cost-of-living."

    I think I'd go further than you - for a good AW game, the MC needs to play hard from session 2 on.

    My problems with it are too much psychic bullshit piled on top of the real stuff. Also playbook moves that just let you do things everyone should be able to do. I think both of those make the game an order of magnitude more popular than my ideal (psychicless, playbook moveless) AW, though - the psychic bullshit gives the players distance, and people like accumulating little fiddly rules bits for their characters.

    Chronicles of Amber

    Yeah, I really liked those when I read them as a teenager, but I'm not surprised they don't hold up. What I still remember: descriptions of hellrides, that one battle on a bridge where one amberite took out like a thousand dudes. I don't think I realized it was, particularly, sex fantasy? If so, I must have been reading lots of sex fantasy and not realizing.

    Blood Meridian:

    I fucking loved this book, but I'm not sure I took much sociopolitical stuff from it. For me it was much more about what violence does to it's viewpoint character's soul.

    But also, the bit where they take over the ferry, right before the end. That strikes me as murderhobos at their worst.

    Also the big run-on sentence indian horde was fucking amazing.

    The Story of the Eye

    On my shelf, waiting for me to read it, along with dozens of other books. I got through the first half of Erotism, when thinking about materialism + mysticism + human sacrifice as they relate to Carcosa. I think I understood it, but I can't quite seem to explain it to other players of Carcosa. Or maybe I can, and they just don't buy it, so they can't play chaotic characters except with pure self-interest. And my two main Carcosa PCs are super-lawful, (one's a humanist, the other's an actual new england puritan) so I'm not playing a death-mystic either.

    Cornelius Quartet

    Eh, I only read the one that was The Dreaming City in a modern setting. The Dreaming City was better. There's just something compelling about the king of the elves who intellectually understands that compassion is a good thing, but doesn't actually feel it - while the rest of the elves don't even know what the hell it is.

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  2. I really gotta get Carcosa... ginna spend half my check on rpgtexts

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