Not signed in (Sign In)
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2012
    Paranorman was literally made in my town . . . at least, some of it. Laika's studios are scattered around the Portland area.

    Here is a good article about the studio from the local paper:

    I'm hearing very good things about the movie, and plan on seeing it this weekend.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2012
    OK. Just got back from the theater.

    I'll give "Paranorman" an unqualified, but not raving, thumbs-up.

    The story is only a B+. Funny, no real slow spots, good for young (well, maybe 8+) and old. But not utterly brilliant. Just a tad . . . well, sappy is the wrong word. Movies about appreciating misfits? Kind of routine by now.

    The visuals are A+. Just gorgeous. The characters are not lifelike; they're animated caricatures, but well done as such. The sets and lighting are, well, beautiful. The movie is set in an old New England town, and its depiction is dead on. A mix of old and new structures, kind of congested and scruffy. I've driven through many, many towns like it.

    If you've seen the commercials or trailer, you know the setup. I won't say more, to preserve what surprises there are.

    Oh . . . stay past the credits. There's a little treat at the very end. A kind of bow from the animators. Sweet.
    • CommentAuthorandycon
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2012
    Expendables 2 continued in the tradition of its predecessor in being Man Kind's Greatest Achievement.
    • CommentAuthorMercer Finn
    • CommentTimeAug 20th 2012 edited
    I watched Avengers AGAIN this weekend (alongside Thor and Captain America... yeah, caught the bug) and my opinion regarding the handling of Loki's character has been revised upwards. Actually very complex, particularly if you take Agent Coulson's reading on board. Put alongside the revelation about the Hulk, impressed at the way Whedon packs these character-defining revelations in single line statements. It's so throwaway you could be forgiven for not clocking the caverns of subtext underneath such pronouncements. The dialogue in the Avengers is v 'compressed', as it were, in that almost every line is telling you something about plot or character. It's also q comic-book-y in the transitions between scenes.

    Anyhoo, a lot better on a second watch. ETA: For me, that is. I'm sure most ppl on here only needed one go at the film to get all of that.
  1.  (10691.5)
    TF please say more about Nietzsche, charisma being produced by fear, please.
    • CommentAuthorabbeysbooks
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2012 edited
    For KeeperofManyNames:

    Your criticism is a stylistic criticism. I try to take Foucault's advice to disappear as an author. I like Burroughs cut and paste and do a variation on his technique. But most of all I follow Walter Benjamin is taking a text or a writer and reading her/him alongside another. In that way each text resonates with a deeper meaning for each.

    As far as my original opinions I think there are enough of them in the world and the world does not need mine to clutter it up some more with so and so says about x or y blah blah blah. I can understand why you might not like this as you are in the Dominating Discourse and you choose references that are also in that Dominating Discourse of film crit or lit crit.

    I am not and am consciously choosing not to be there. It's OK if you don't like it.
    • CommentAuthorandycon
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2012
    this thread is awesome
  2.  (10691.8)

    TF was quoting from my post (and I'm curious abt whether his 'hmm' was a sceptical one or not). My point was that authority arguably always contains an element of fear / threat. Captain America can punch very hard, and Nietzsche suggests that we do what Cap says because we are scared that he will punch us if we don't (I don't necessarily agree with this, btw). That's my reading of The Genealogy of Morality, anyway. I found the text here, and below is a taster:

    Such a man with a single shrug simply throws off himself the many worms which eat into other men. Only here is possible—provided that it is at all possible on earth—the real “love for one’s enemy.” How much respect a noble man already has for his enemies!—and such a respect is already a bridge to love. . . . In fact, he demands his enemy for himself, as his mark of honour. Indeed, he has no enemy other than one in whom there is nothing to despise and a great deal to respect!

    Which I pick out for the rather unbelievable notion that TRUE love is ultimately founded on respect, and thus fear. This may explain why Nietzsche had trouble finding a girlfriend, and also suggests that you should not take these theorists too seriously ;)
  3.  (10691.9)
    Also abbeybrooks, on behalf of the world I would just like to say that I AM interested in your original opinions, and would prefer if you did not hide behind other authors and just bash them together to produce some nebulous 'deeper meaning'. That's actually pretty easy, and not very valuable. Original thought is much harder and more worthwhile, and it's why the work of Nietzsche, Foucault, Burroughs etc. is so highly prized.
    • CommentTimeAug 21st 2012
    Your criticism is a stylistic criticism.

    It's not a stylistic criticism, man, you are utterly indecipherable. There is no substance in your writing. It is empty quotation.

    We can all read Foucault too. You pointing at him isn't adding anything to any kind of discourse, dominant or otherwise.
  4.  (10691.11)
    what happened to the movie thread?
    • CommentAuthorandycon
    • CommentTimeAug 22nd 2012
    Descartes once said "There Is No Movie Thread"
    • CommentTimeAug 22nd 2012
    So guys, they had a super advanced screening of The Master at the Castro Theater in San Francisco last night. I will tell you this, as you each get your opportunities to see it over the next few months: it's awesome. Don't pass it up. It might seem like a biting commentary on Scientology and Religion, but it's got so much amazing character-driven goodness in it that you almost forget about the giant "FUCK YOU" to L. Ron.

    Thumbs up! Can't wait for others to see it so we can discuss.

    @abbey You seem like a smart person, but I have to admit, your posts are hard to read and kind of infuriating. I get most of your references, so it's not simple ignorance, it's just that you kind of come off as "I read a lot don't talk to me" rather than any kind of reasoned discourse. I appreciate your attempts, but I gotta agree with others here that if you toned down the lit references a bit you'd have a more clear thesis and people would be more willing to respond to you. Also remember that everyone here is a reader (part of the character of the board) and no one else feels the need to wear it on their sleeve so harshly.
    • CommentTimeAug 22nd 2012
    ***sorry if this goes on a bit, honestly, it’s like a 1000 words – and it’s about a movie I saw months ago mixed in with ideas from books I read years ago and, looking at it now, my points are really obvious. Plus I bet I misspell Nietzsche like 5 times***

    @ Mercer Finn (and abbeysbooks – yes, the quote came from Mercer but I’m going to expand anyway)

    Not a sceptical Hmmm at all – a deep thinking Hmmmmmmmmmm (hence all the m’s!)

    The quote resonated with me because I also got a strange feeling from the vox pops, (specifically from the waitress’ abundance of emotion) that I couldn’t quite articulate.
    I put it down to the performance of the actress just being a bit much and, high on the cinematic spectacle of “Avengers! Fuck Yeah!” I just went along with the movie.

    Nietzsche places a lot of importance on charisma. A Nietzschean warrior (“genius”) is a person with a singular vision and enormous emotional intensity. As the warrior’s feelings are “explosively” stronger than others he will naturally dominate the weak minded. Nietzsche believed that people will find value in the emotional intensity of the charismatic leader who they need to provide them with a sense of character.

    Nietzsche offered, and this was furthered by psychologists, that a sense of relationship is necessary for charisma in a crowd dynamic and for such a relationship to exist a person must have both love and fear for the exalted as a child might have for their powerful parent.

    I’m not suggesting that Whedon was trying to make a grand statement about Nietzsche’s works, such a suggestion would be nonsense BUT Loki is such a deliberately Nietzschean figure the movie lends itself to playing with some Nietzschean arguments.

    So. I’m not gonna write the famous thing; instead I’ll have Nietzsche-Hulk say it:

    “Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

    Nietzsche argued that a world without god/values places significance on the “explosively powerful” person’s natural capacity to command.

    Loki, after sacrificing a scientist on an alter, aims to be the ruler of mankind, their god.
    It’s interesting that this action and his speech of intent take place at Stuttgart opera house where James Byrnes, US Foreign Secretary made a speech that laid out American policy following WWII. I bring this up as I feel the movie is concerned with propaganda and statements of identity.

    The movie begins with the cube declaring to the universe that the earth is operating at a higher level.

    Loki uses his scepter to change the hearts and minds of those who follow him. This is a visual representation of the goal of propaganda.

    Captain America is an old propaganda tool. “Phil” recreates his costume to be more colourful than the “soldier” version used in the Captain America movie. His identity remains wrapped up in being “old fashioned”.

    Iron Man is a celebrity, an entrepreneur and a brand/ propagandist. We meet him as he puts his name in lights above New York and Pepper suggests a press conference.
    When Loki tries to make Tony serve him he is protected from Loki’s magic by his corporate symbol –


    Thor carries the identity of a god while being a prince serving his father for the good of the kingdom. Thor’s primary concern is bringing Loki back to Asgard which would undoubtedly help the family politics.

    Conversely we have Hawkeye as a soldier for Shield who follows the most powerful guy in the room.

    Black Widow whose job is to be a shadow, a secret, an actress. She must project no personal identity (which is probably why she can see through Loki’s games as she operates on a different level). This is also why she is hurt when her identity / past is compromised.

    Hulk tries to hide from his identity. He tried so hard he put a gun in his mouth. Initially Banner is the only one of the Avengers that Tony respects due to his genius.

    Iron Man, the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist; is a Nietzschean figure. He stands alone as the person who can use his genius to create sustainable energy for the benefit of mankind. He admires Banner’s natural talent while “Everything special about Rogers came out of a bottle.” Tony invites Banner to play in Stark Tower, encourages him learn to master his power and has faith that when he’s needed Banner will become true to himself so he can wield this power.

    The propaganda theme meets the Nietzschean stuff in the news montage.

    We see citizens adorn themselves in Avengers iconography before generic authority figures with Nietzschean slave morality suggest that the fault of the destruction of the city lies with the Avengers. We cut to the Waitress who responds “How is this their fault? Captain America saved my life – I just want to say thank you.”

    Fury wanted to assemble these people to see the strength created by them working together. He says everyone on earth knows they’re dangerous but so do people on other worlds. They are a message. Phil told Loki he would loose because he lacks conviction. As a Nietzschean figure Loki had a profound emotional belief but perhaps the conviction he lacks is the ability to convince others he is right. The Avengers win through balancing their instincts and creating a new dynamic. Being a Nietzschean warrior isn’t enough.

    I think the Waitress, being on earth, is afraid but she is not a Nietzschean slave. Some choose to create and apply morality to the situation but she is free to feel grateful for their presence.

    The last shot of the movie proper alludes to Stark creating the Avengers Tower. He no longer puts himself first. What started as respect for his fellow Nietzschean genius Bruce Banner has led to inviting others into his temple where they can work together (and with the shawarma end credits scene become a family.)

    Anyway - I look forward to watching the film with Joss’ audio commentary; he’s done a good job of articulating his intent with the Buffy, Firefly and Serenity commentaries and they’re always interesting and educational.
  5.  (10691.15)
    That was an awesome post TF, thank you!

    I'm also looking fwd to the commentary on the DVD. Whedon's commentary on Serenity is what made me fall in love with his work all over again. They are deffo educational (dude can spend half an hour just talking about camera lenses), but also, crucially, very funny.
  6.  (10691.16)

    Nice analysis.

    I have to admit, though, that while the themes work really well within The Avengers, there's something about the sudden transition between Loki as exceptionally confused adopted frost giant and Loki as Nietzschean superman that doesn't quite work for me on a characterization level. But, both takes are so interesting in and of themselves that I'm not sure it matters. Does that make sense? (The vodka is saying that it definitely does, but the rest of me is saying that I should just, you know, make sure.)

    Getting away from The Avengers a bit, and returning somewhat to the general movies conversation... I really like what I've seen of German Expressionist cinema, but I'm really not sure what to watch beyond the classics that I've seen (Caligari, Metropolis, and I suppose M arguably could be counted among them). So... yeah. German Expressionism, and other odd, intriguing silent films that have a similarly fantastic aesthetic. Can I get some recommendations?
    • CommentTimeAug 23rd 2012
    Speaking as someone with an official degree in postmodern whatever, I can safely say (if there can be said to be an 'I' that speaks at all) that the best part of the Avengers was that bit where the Hulk beats on Loki like a redheaded stepchild. Also, that there was a reason why the popularity of postmodern analysis and of Rob Liefeld both peaked in the fever-dream economic bubble of the Clinton 90's.
  7.  (10691.18)
    @KeeperOfManyNames - Der Golem and Pandora's Box.

    [Though many argue that Pandora's Box isn't German Expressionism, I think it is and it also happens to be one of Louise Brooks' finest films.]
  8.  (10691.19)
    Mercer Flynn - Sorry but I am no Foucault, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, Burroughs et al. Occasionally I say or write something original but I am not interested in developing my writing that way. I am perfectly happy to "disappear". I agree all the names you mentioned are original and unique. I am having enough trouble reading media through them. If you want to check my blogs that would be great. It just seems to me that just a little understanding of these people would benefit the world, but only the "elite" seem to have any grasp of what they are saying. So why not read something they do get, say TDKR, and read it that way. I believe Nolan is struggling with this in TDKR. In other words how to change the goddamn dominating Discourse of the media and its control over the thinking of the masses.
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2012
    I have studied and read, but much like Finagle, I liked the bits were the Hulk and Batman punched shit.