Archive - 2009

The Messenger's Positive Message About Women

A few days ago I blogged about the film Avatar and how it reinforced gender stereotypes and dominant ideas about body images. I also saw this week a very different sort of film, one that I was pleased to see presented a much more realistic and healthy idea of what female bodies can be like, in addition to a more realistic vision of male/female relationships..  This sort of thing is so rare in the film world that I just have to mention it. Read more>>>

The Fortress of Solitude

The Fortress of Solitude

author: Jonathan Lethem

name: Steev

average rating: 3.86

book published: 2003

rating: 5

read at: 2009/12/28

date added: 2009/12/29

shelves: fun, novels, own-it

Tall Blue Hot Nature-Mama Barbie Dolls Who Sway Their Hips and Kick Ass

I was unsure, for several weeks, whether I wanted to go see the film "Avatar."  The concept was interesting, but given that it was James Cameron directing, and something like the most expensive film ever made, I was expecting it would have problems.  Not to mention that action movies appeal less and less to me these days, mainly because the cinematography for them, in general, has been steadily ramping up to a level of intensity that way too much for my nervous system to want to handle.  The fact that this film movie was 3D made me even more wary - crazy over-the-top adrenalin-soaked action that also popped out at me? OMG.

Nevertheless, some people I know convinced me otherwise. One acquaintance said it was "just about the best movie" he'd ever seen, and that the violence was not excessive ("aliens throwing spears at Marines, I don't consider that violence."). My friend Jose, whose  opinion I have the highest respect for, even wrote in his blog that "Avatar is as close to perfect as a movie gets". Wow. Okay. I guess I had better go see it, I thought.

Well, I don't regret going to see it. And I was relieved to find that the camera work and violence wasn't as annoying and traumatizing as some other features I've seen recently (although it was still more extreme than I prefer and contained lots and lots of killing and dying and gut-wrenching scary chase scenes through the forests and skies).  Avatar was worth seeing. It was so well-executed technically, so visually stunning and beautiful, that it can probably be recommended on just those grounds alone, for those who don't have PTSD.  Furthermore, the "deep-ecology," anti-Iraq-War, anti-corporate, anti-industrial and anti-colonialist subtexts really deserve lots of kudos. It was also pretty thoroughly entertaining and hence the 150-minute elapsed time flashed by and felt more like 100 (which is still too long IMHO but not as exhausting as I expected it would be). However, I would have to respectfully disagree that it is a perfect movie or close to it.

Because of some of the aforementioned redeeming qualities, I don't want to spend a lot of time griping and complaining. Most of the negative criticism of Avatar can be dismissed or forgiven with variations of the following explanation:  It's an ultra-expensive Hollywood blockbuster and hence, of course, it is subject to market forces. Even stepping a bit back from a cynical economic analysis, I can charitably forgive a filmmaker who fudges some things in order to make the story and characters be more interesting and understandable to a wider audience. So, I won't go into all the science details and plot points that I found difficult to suspend my disbelief for (pun intended: the floating mountains, for example, are ridiculous).

But there's one aspect of Avatar I simply cannot abide, and will not let slide. Because although it does, in a way, fall under the "market forces" category I mention above, there is a limit to playing that card and I believe this problem with the movie goes over that limit. Read more>>>

Reel To Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies

Reel To Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies

author: bell hooks

name: Steev

average rating: 4.03

book published: 1996

rating: 4

read at: 2009/12/27

date added: 2009/12/27

shelves: filmmaking


Yesterday's Twitter Tweets

  • 14:53 getting ready for a family xmas ichat call. #

Yesterday's Twitter Tweets

  • 11:25 discovering that the new puppy hates one of my favorite albums, Descargas by Los Samplers. damn. #
  • 21:15 playing scrabble. #

Yesterday's Twitter Tweets

  • 11:44 Mailing xmas packgs #
  • 12:44 phew. the paltry pile of xmas gifts i felt like i needed to give are now all purchased and sent. yay. #

Yesterday's Twitter Tweets

  • 09:24 shopping for new espresso maker. #
  • 11:44 renewing some domains. the periodic ritual of the digital homesteader... #
  • 12:21 looking again after a couple years at this amazing database/searchengine of films #
  • 12:46 reading awesome news, Walt was granted 4 month extension to complete 300 hours of community service for his humanitarian "littering". yay! #

Yesterday's Twitter Tweets

  • 08:31 thinking i kind of want to see Avatar, but i'm kind of scared of seeing it in 3D. can i not see it in 3D? can i just not put the glasses on? #
  • 12:27 going to farmer's market to get the weekly goatmilk. #

Yesterday's Twitter Tweets

  • 05:41 getting ready for the MTV Made shoot. I have to get out there at 7 and do a timelapse of the sunrise... #
  • 07:06 Taping a beautiful Sonoran desert sunrise. #
  • 07:50 Sitting waiting at gate 2 pima motorsports park while reading Delillo story in The New Yorker. Strange days. #
  • 13:46 Almost done w the shoot. More waiting. Of course. 2 bad most bystandrs dont know 2 wait #