January 16, 2009

Star Wars... or whatever...

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Thanks to Lumpy G for sending this to me.

December 21, 2008

The Dystopic 70s

THX2.jpgI just found out that Mac users, like me, can now view some Netflix films online. That option has been open to PC users for over a year now, but don't get me started on that.

So I was strolling through their catalog and, without really planning to, I started watching films and shows from the 1970s, the era of my childhood. Of particular note were THX 1138 and Logan's Run.

I remember watching both of these a long time ago, but was pretty fuzzy about the details of each. Both are about a dystopian future where computers pretty much rule everything, but beyond that they are very different futures.

Logan's Run is a future in which everyone looks like a model and runs around like they are in a groovy soda commercial. The only catch is, you have to die when you are 30, but you get to die in a pretty cool pyrotechnic show in which you get to fly around in spandex, so that's not so bad.

THX 1138 is a future in which your medicine cabinet talks to you in comforting tones, suggesting what kind of medication you might want. The police are robots who also talk in comforting tones, while looking like black and silver nightmares, and hot pursuits are budgeted in real time and they have to break off pursuit if they go over budget.

The interesting thing that both of these dystopias foresaw was a world in which the natural world, the world outside, was completely unknown and alien. In both stories the hero, who is rebelling against the dominant paradigm, is trying to get outside, much like Plato's cave hero.

Both also address religion as a root cause of the enslavement of their societies. In Logan's Run it is a permissive religion that allows any pleasure as long as they submit to termination or "rebirth" at 30. In THX 1138 it is an impersonal voice of OMM which soothes, comforts, and encourages drones to work harder, be submissive, and consume more.

Logan's world does appear, on the outside, to be a technicolor paradise, if you like endless malls and food courts of very thin people. THX's world, on the other hand, appears to be a world where everyone is miserable all the time and in desperate need of Rogaine.

Interestingly, THX 1138, which I remember as being a real snooze fest, held up better over time for me while Logan's Run seemed really dated, exploitative, and clunky. That said, I still think Jessica 6 is hot.

Anyone want to weigh in on these two films or what you remember of them?

April 4, 2008

God Rocks - A RockuMockumentary

God Rocks is the first feature film by Duluth based 4 Track Films. It's set to be released soon. It features a lot of people I know and love. It looks hilarious.

November 18, 2007

They Paved Paradise...

07-10-13%20wapa%20theater%20marquee.jpgI'm looking forward to heading back to my spawning grounds this week for Thanksgiving some 750 miles away. One of the things I love to do when I'm back at my ancestral home is to go to the old Wapa Cinema, an old single screen movie house that was actually built as a theater for traveling vaudeville shows. So imagine my shock last night when I was on-line to check out what was playing there and found out it's closed.

It was an anachronism in the age of multiplexes and it has, apparently, succumbed to the forces of the marketplace. Even though they showed films for much less than the cinemas 30 miles away, they couldn't make it go.

I am rendered forlorn.

Another part of my childhood has been stripped from me. What's more, my children loved going there. They loved the feel of the place, the non-sterile non-corporate quality of it. Going to a movie there was as much about the space as it was the film. I loved the sloping wooden floors, the creaky seats, the balcony that overhung the last few rows of seats on the main floor.

Still, they haven't torn it down. It's just closed. Maybe someone with a vision can come in and make it work. I don't know. I just hate to see it closed.

September 29, 2007

Hot Chicks

You are probably aware of Jack Chick, even if you don't know the name. You've probably read at one time or another one of his scores of fundamentalist comic tracts. What I didn't know was that somebody had turned nine of them into a film.

July 24, 2007

Tired of those stale, store-bought films?

free_range_annie_small.jpgThose corporate, factory farm films are often filled with preservatives and pesticides and very little nutritional value. Sure, they look good on the shelf with their bright colors, but will they really fill you up?

Well, don't despair! Go to the Free Range Film Festival where the films aren't made on those big, corporate plantations, but raised organically by local producers. Sure, they might not be as flashy, but taste the goodness!

The Fourth Annual Free Range Film Festival is being held this weekend in Wrenshall, Minnesota (near Duluth) in an old barn on an organic farm. The two day festival features almost 40 films many of which are 10 minutes long or less.

July 1, 2007

This Christless Country

I love how Duluth has been the butt of jokes for years in the movies. Truth is, it's a beautiful city and I've lived in far worse places and we know how to laugh at ourselves.

Continue reading "This Christless Country" »