Last December I noted that Synapse Films’ Bluray of Leni Reifenstahl‘s Triumph of the Will was the first to abandon the traditional blue-trim packaging (routine on just about every Bluray the world over) in favor of funereal black. The black was insisted upon by restoration guru Robert Harris, who felt that the doc’s content and history demanded it. Today the Bluray for Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived, and the first thing I noticed was the black plastic trim. So now there are two Blurays with this signature appearance, but only one with a thematic reason for being black. I’m told that 4k Blurays also have black trim but who buys or even inspects those at retail stores?
I was feeling twinges of sadness and resentment at the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and had I unfolded what I was feeling I might have written something akin to what Devin Faraci has tapped out here. Faraci knows the geek realm better than I, but I’ve been a Zack Snyder hater for a few years now and so Faraci’s article, which is titled “Superman and the Damage Done,” stirred something more than agreement. It ignited emotions that I felt but hadn’t articulated. Here’s an excerpt:
“Zack Snyder’s intentions in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman is to destroy Superman, something he actually accomplishes literally at the end of the latest film. I can only imagine what sort of hyper-distant, Dr. Manhattan-ish being Snyder will pull from that grave in a future movie, especially since BvS has officially killed off Superman’s human alter ego, Clark Kent. Snyder has been chipping away at the foundations of Superman for some time, killing Dr. Emil Hamilton, a close comrade of Superman, in Man of Steel, and unceremoniously executing Jimmy Olsen in this film.
“BvS also tells us that Snyder has every intention of killing Lois Lane in the future, as his gameplan for the future of the DC Movieverse is to recreate the Injustice game/comic, where Superman becomes a murderous warlord after Lois Lane is killed.
Donald Trump seems unable or unwilling to do research. If he did he could at least make it seem that he knows what he’s talking about. But no — he seems to be winging it, making it up as he goes along. Using verbal precision when stating beliefs or positions during interviews seems to constantly elude him. That line he shared with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews about women who’ve had abortions needing to face “some form of punishment” was promptly walked back, but the next appalling statement is just around the corner. He just can’t play it like a pro. He has to start fires.
If Trump is nominated Hillary Clinton has the Presidency totally locked and in the bag. The Republicans know they’ll lose if he’s nominated, and so the current talk seems to be that they need to deny Trump the nomination in Cleveland and at least lose with a candidate they can stomach.
I haven’t linked to that two-day-old essay by former Trump PAC spokesperson Stephanie Cegielski, but it seems to contain all anyone needs to know about the game Trump is playing. Yes, Snopes Dan Evon reported yesterday that while Cegielski was a strategist for the Make America Great Again super PAC, she was never Trump’s “communications manager and top strategist.” But she was close enough to his campaign to write the following, which should give pause to anyone with half a brain:
“[Donald Trump] does not know policy, nor does he have the humility to admit what he does not know — the most frightening position of all.
“I consider myself a part of the silent majority that led to Trump’s rise, which is why I want you to know that I am with you — I wanted Trump to be real, too.
“He is not. He even says so himself. His misogyny? That’s the character. His presidential candidacy? That’s a character, too.
My agonizing sound-synch issues have been solved…I think. The miracle worker was a guy named John Tillett (firstname.lastname@example.org) from a San Fernando Valley outfit called INC Technologies. Tillett’s genius move was to disconnect the cable connecting the Digital Audio Output (located at the rear of any high-def TV) to the Sony sound bar, and instead use an HDMI cable to employ the ARC (Audio return Channel) option. 20 minutes after he arrived the sound from all devices (Oppo Bluray, Roku 4, Direct TV, Sherwood Region 2 Bluray) was perfectly synched. Coping with this issue has been a terrible throbbing headache for me, and now it seems to finally be over. And if it’s not I can always call Tillett and ask him to drop by. I’ve talked to several people about this problem over a period of three or four weeks, and not one of them even mentioned the ARC option. This is the home-tech world we live in now. Not that many people understand the whole equation.
A couple of weeks ago I noted that the almost uniformly positive reactions to Jeff Nichols‘ Midnight Special were due to the fact that (a) critics have decided Nichols is one of the auteurist good guys and a likable one at that, and therefore (b) any semi-coherent film he makes gets at least a pass if not a thumbs-up. The same thing seems to be happening now with Richard Linklater and his latest film, Everybody Wants Some!, which currently has ratings of 97% and 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively.
It’s not that critics are being too kind (although I think some of them are) but most are not really levelling with their readers. Which is why people don’t trust them. They know/sense that critics live in their own elite realm, and that they always seem to write about this realm (self-regarding, navel-gazing) rather than the one inhabited by ticket-buyers.
There’s obviously nothing wrong with recognizing and celebrating Linklater’s exceptional vision and extraordinary focus, but at the same time you have to at least mention that Everybody Wants Some! doesn’t tell anything close to a story, and that there are millions of Joe Popcorns out there who go to movies expecting some kind of narrative with a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s fine to say “this is better than the usual-usual, and it’s so special that it doesn’t need to tell a story”…no problem with that. But you have to at least admit that the none-too-hips are going to have a problem with a movie that ignores the playbook and makes up its own whimsical music as it goes along.