Day 336: Some Kind of Monster

This weekend I had a LOONG discussion with a friend regarding monsters (we were both supposed to read/write at Intelligentsia…). Since we could not really come up with a lot of answers, here my attempt to take the debate to the streets:

1. If we assume that each specific stage of capitalism creates its own monster in cultural production (e.g. Industrial Revolution –>Frankenstein), what is the monster that corresponds to contemporary capitalism? (pre-emptory note: zombies do not count, since they do not qualify as monsters per se, since monsters must be freaks that stand OPPOSED to a norm, while zombies often are a way to represent this very norm itself in a freakish way).

2. What stage of capitalism does the alien in Ridley Scott’s Alien represent (the first movie–just by means of explanation: EVERY character in the movie is very specifically materially coded–class and otherwise–and the story itself is at heart an allegory for a transformation in international trade–remember what turns out to be the entire logic of the space mission–so how do we read that alien itself)? Bear in mind: this movie was released in 1979 (hence we must be very specific here as far as economic transformations are concerned).

Just wondering if people have any ideas.


Day 310: Cloverfield

I need to see a different post than Day 306 when I get to this page. Hence, just quickly, here some info on a new movie that’s coming out in a little less than a month, which I am quite excited about (mainly because of the flurry of cultural, affective and marketing activity surrounding the release and the production of the film). It’s a new J.J. Abrams production that seems to be very much in the spirit of Lost. Here some basic background info. I also love the film’s aesthetics (of destruction) and the fact that it is entirely filmed with handheld cameras.


Day 292: Lars and the Real Girl

I just saw Lars and the Real Girl. What a beautiful little film. It’s been a long time since I had to hide my tears at the end of a film about a man who orders a sex doll online–and the best thing is: none of the parts of this previous sentence are ironic, sarcastic, or meant to be a joke. What a beautiful little film. Again, as so often, I am with Marcuse when it comes to the importance of the emotional tie. There is much sociopolitical potential in it. Love isn’t sappy. It’s radical. It’s progressive.

Hug somebody today. It may hurt at first (like frozen feet that begin to thaw when you get back inside), but you can work through it.

Day 250: No Country for Old Men

I have no idea why I haven’t heard about this before: The Coen brothers directed an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men (limited: November 9, wide: November 21). I am slightly scared to see the outcome of this gutsy project.

Personally, I don’t think the novel lends itself well to filmic adaptations. The outcome will doubtlessly focus more on the actual action of the novel than the psychological struggles, the political backdrop of immigration and globalization, which is juxtaposed with traditional US values, morals and narratives and the philosophical conflicts contained in the interaction between the characters–or so I fear. Maybe it is just because I am actually writing about the novel in my dissertation and fear that too many hack critics will write crappy CS criticism about the movie I will have to deal with when revising the dissertation for a publisher later on. In any case, the novel is fantastic. Especially memorable scenes include the final encounter between Chigurh and Llewelyn’s wife, in which Chigurh explains in painstaking detail the reasons that require him to kill her. In the novel this is a long, drawn-out scene that contains a very complicated argument regarding the attachment to universalizing teleologies, an argument that runs through the entire novel via the intersected passages that reflect the thoughts of the Sheriff on the “new world,” which is simply no country for old men. McCarthy’s novel, however, illustrates to us the pervasiveness of those desiring structures that are clearly outdated, but which at the same time appear to be difficult to supersede. Many of us, so McCarthy, are old men in a country that seems to travel faster through history than we appear to be able to.

Let’s hope the Coen brothers are able to at least capture a part of McCarthy’s extraordinarily sentitive and insightful exploration of the present US psyche.

Here a trailer:

Day 214: Frost, Death Proof and BJs

Still: writing day. Still: minimalist. Hence, two short public service announcements:

I have been getting lots of traffic from people who want to know what the poem in Death Proof  (second, Tarantino-directed, part of Grindhouse) is. First: have you never taken a literature class? It is one of the most recognizable poems in US literature! And, as all other poems by this writer, they seem conducive to being misused, misinterpreted and mis- lots of other thingsed by popular culture (because no one ever reads up on Robert Frost himself and realizes how deeply ironic, yet connected to New England his poems are–or bothers to read poems CLOSELY, as in the case of “The Road Not Taken”–right, advertisers?). So, here the answer: the poem in Death Proof is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. Maybe the only thing that really bugged me about an otherwise decent movie. Terrible use and completely over-Tarantinoed.

The second PSA is for women. Doo-Wop Bee-Jay. Go nuts.

Day 213: Hipster Love

Still writing. Minimalism continues.

Also: when will I ever find love like this??? (or at least a good kicking fight) I may try out the “thinking about crossing?” line when I get out of this room again.

P.S.: why is it that I do not consider it far fetched to fall in love over Swamp Thing (or some good zombie splatter)?

Day 210: Rambo 4 Trailer

Cerebraljetsam is experiencing cerebral overload.

too many insults

too many cynical jokes

too much disappointment

too many (frankly way too obvious, one would think) points of critique

here the trailer:

The trailer above might not work any more (copyright). If so, try this one instead: