Wednesday, August 24, 2016

8K Colors of New York is a video everyone should watch because it's so pretty.

This video of New York City is impressive. I've got nothing to say about it really, other than you should watch it. The city just pops with color and looks incredible. I hope to be able to see New York City someday. I just don't want to travel by myself, which is definitely part of the problem surrounding me and seeing the world.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Shin Godzilla looks heavy on the Godzilla which is a lesson the American version could have taken to heart.

The movie Shin Godzilla is the first Godzilla movie in more than a decade from movie studio, Toho. It gets released in Japan this week. I'm actually excited to see it (when its available to watch in America as Godzilla Resurgence). From a Godzilla fan, it looks like Anno and Higuchi--the men behind this Godzilla and such timeless weirdos as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Attack on Titan--have made Godzilla kind of creepy. He certainly isn't the "obese" Godzilla that people complained about in the 2014 adaptation (yes, Godzilla was "fat"-shamed and I even blogged about it).

The new trailer for it is packed with lots of serious-looking Japanese people (Japanese people can look very stern when needed), and Godzilla looks pretty unbeatable with his sheer size and apparent invulnerability to state-of-the-art weapons fire. All I can think is, it must be frustrating to be so large. There's literally no place you could go where you weren't either crushing or knocking over something. At least Shin Godzilla looks to be heavy on the Godzilla...a thing that the American 2014 version could have taken to heart before they filmed it. Not that I didn't like the American version. It's just that kaiju movies should have lots of kaiju in them :).

His weird appearance though does beg some questions: is the radiation that created him making him into something else? Is it making him sick? Is it killing him (you know...more effective than missiles are killing him)?

There's part of me though that dreads this new release. Toho hasn't made a good Godzilla movie in probably thirty years. Godzilla Final Wars was a smoldering pile of shit. Anyone that watched it would probably agree with me. Older versions of Godzilla focused more on the mythology, creating the tiny girls that sang to Mothra, and the whole mysterious "Monster Island" that featured other creatures (like a giant spider called Aspiga). In the modern age of monster movies, it's all about destruction instead of mythology (because the whole world has been mapped extensively and there are no more secrets). How can we destroy more things and make it look better on the screen? Bigger isn't necessarily better. The sequel to Independence Day learned that mistake.

Plus who honestly doesn't miss the aesthetic of good ole Monster Zero:
If this movie isn't received well, I'm going to say my reasons why (ahead of time). Kaijuverse Tokyo seems to be populated with terminally self destructive and demented adrenaline jockies. It’s where the unfortunate genetic casualties who lived under the plume of Fukishima come to blow their life savings on insane binges of roaring hedonism before the cancer kills them. It’s like a city-wide version of Aokigahara....a place to passive-aggressively commit seppuku...where depressed salary-men telecommute and wait for death. It’s where Kaiju-loving suicide cults pray to be taken to heaven by their favorite megabehemoths. Just wait long enough, and something will crush you.

After all, is there one true monster lover out there that can truly deny that they wouldn't want to see Gojira just kick back for 90 minutes, sipping water towers filled with Hoegaarden, smoking cigars, and playing a few rounds of golf? That's the Godzilla movie that the world really wants, and you heard it here first.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In Kubo and the Two Strings what will be the price Kubo must pay to get his happy ending?

Laika, the studio behind the stop-motion animated films, Coraline, Paranorman, and Boxtrolls, is unleashing Kubo and the Two Strings unto the world this weekend (as the summer movie season draws to a close). I haven't seen it yet, but I desperately want to so I will probably knock it off the checklist at some point (hopefully with a wonderful second person in tow). Both Coraline and Paranorman took me by surprise. These particular films featured incredible animation and razor-sharp script writing, which I wasn't used to outside of Pixar or Dreamworks. Paranorman in particular shocked me when one of the muscular and strong-chinned characters ended up being gay. The fact that it was no big deal was a nod to the fact that the world is changing, and the idea of having "gay" characters is no longer shocking or outrageous any more than casting Samuel L. Jackson in a film is shocking simply because he can say "Mother F*cker" like no other.

Kubo and the Two Strings though is different (and has more meaning) for me. From the trailers, it looks to be an homage to Japanese fairy tales, which are things that I grew up on (instead of the ones by Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm). Japanese folk tales are quite different from the ones read by westerners. For one, western fairy tales tend to be gruesome. Think of Cinderella's sisters lopping off parts of their feet to fit into a shoe, and you'll understand what I'm saying. The Japanese folk tales (on the other hand) usually have some kind of moral to them. Several feature a man saving some kind of spirit only to have them return as a beautiful woman who marries the man. The tragedy of course is that the man discovers this and in so doing, breaks the spell and experiences loss when the woman has to leave.
Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫) - is the main character of one of the oldest known Japanese folk tales, titled Taketori Monogatari (竹取物語). The story depicts the life of a young girl who was discovered as a baby inside a stalk of bamboo
Japanese folk tales also feature lots of talking animals. In Kubo and the Two Strings, the trailers hint that there's going to be at least one talking monkey and one talking beetle. Rarely, however, do Japanese fairy tales complete with happy endings, and I expect Kubo to be no different. Happy endings are more of a "western" tradition. In the Land of the Rising Sun, princesses can lead melancholy lives, animals can be heroes, and many stories end with a sad turn of events. I think that these kinds of stories are more realistic: in life we don't always get what we want. Furthermore, there is always a price to pay when it comes to happiness.

In Japan, both Buddhism and Shinto are very popular religions. The Japanese practice both in a kind of harmonious spirituality, and it reflects very much in their folk tales. Shinto has within its teachings a belief that all living things have a spirit, while Buddhism addresses the dead and the afterlife. So Japanese stories tend to be focused on mental gymnastics and a person's connection to the natural world and the drama of the supernatural. For what it's worth, Kubo and the Two Strings looks like it is awash in eye candy, and the battle scene (already in theaters as a featurette) of Kubo fighting a giant skeleton looks awesome. No matter how it ends, the movie promises to be a glorious artistic achievement--yet another win for Laika ensuring that there will be more to come from this little animation studio that could.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Book of Revelations totally dropped the ball on these seven more accurate signs of the end of the world.

The Book of Revelations is some scary shit...if you believe in that kind of stuff. You could make a ton of movies from its material, however none of them would make as much money as Passion of the Christ so what would be the point, right? But when I really start to think about the religious obsession with the end of the world, I think that Christianity (the religion I'm most familiar with) really dropped the ball on these seven signs that the end of the world is happening now.

1) Justin Bieber is threatening to make his instagram private if fans don't stop bullying his new girlfriend. I mean, he's a white male that's young and has low body fat. That's really all you need to send tween girls the world round into a frenzy, right? So stop it y'all. As M.C. Hammer once said, "Can't touch this." Bieber doesn't want you to touch "this," and he certainly wants you to lay off the new lady, Sofia Richie. I'm sure this won't stop any of you who are committed to seeing more Bieber penis shots.
2) Donald Trump. I don't really need to explain this one. Let's just say that this portrait of him is the most accurate I've seen on the internets.
3) Global Climate Change. Each new year since like 2006 has been the hottest year ever recorded. California is on fire, ground is sinking because too much water is being pumped out of the ground to water almond trees, the sea levels are rising, and there's green algae everywhere...even in the Olympic diving pool! A place in Iraq just this year shattered the all time record for high temperatures in the entire hemisphere. I suppose there's a certain irony to a place known for fossil fuel production suffering the effects of fossil fuel production, but you gotta think...#endtimesy'all
4) Jurassic World was the fourth biggest box office hit of all time. Even with the miracle exemption of dinosaurs in the modern world, it just pushed suspension of disbelief a little too much to have a character sprint away from a T-Rex wearing high heels. Wonder Woman battling in heels though is totally realistic.
5) J.K. Rowling sold four million copies of a script for a movie packaged as a book because it had the words "Harry Potter" on it. Seriously? Who the hell reads a script for entertainment? If I wasn't certain of it now, I can absolutely say that millennials have no taste in books.
6) There is so much Narcissism in the world that there are now a ton of sub-categories for it so that psychologists can identify it all. There's covert narcissism, grandiose narcissism, altruistic narcissism, moral narcissism, and collapsed narcissism just to name a few. The most damaging effect of narcissism is that it destroys empathy, no matter what form it takes. A world without empathy is gonna seem like the apocalypse even if it isn't.
7) Self-driving cars. How is this technology possible? It sounds like devil-magic...a sure sign of the apocalypse. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wherein I give a review with a few spoilers of Sausage Party. This is the raunchiest food flick you'll ever watch. Seriously.

I’ve had a strange relationship with wieners all my life. When I was just a kid, I remember my mom gave me one to eat off the barbecue, and the dog came up, grabbed it from me, and ate it. That made me upset, and yeah...I cried like a baby. Now in my adult-something, I see myself as a baby crying over the fact the dog ate my wiener. But it never occurred to me that one could imagine a world where wieners could see us as gods. All those horrible masticating teeth, peanut butter mourning the death of his wife (a broken jar of strawberry jam) and a douche that drains a juice box from a hole between its legs all manage to come to life in Seth Rogen's Sausage Party. It's gallows humor at its best.

Sausage Party is a work of cleverness, if not a very crude work of genius. Until seeing this movie, I had no idea how far you could actually go with running gags about sex. The obvious (of course) struck me: that being a wiener and a bun (as shown in the trailers). But the things they end up doing with bagels, tacos, and gum were pretty original. Not to mention the take on non-perishables. Meatloaf singing a song by Meatloaf was a nice touch.

I think the funniest scene in the movie (for me) aside from the end was when the potato got peeled (I love his accent). The food in the show had all created a religion around their gods (shoppers at the grocery store) and the sheer bliss the potato was feeling right before it got flayed was pure gallows humor. And the movie felt about the right length too. If it had gone on much longer, it would have started to grow stale. Ending it where it did seemed pretty perfect.

I think every adult owes it to themselves to go and see this movie. It's just too funny to pass up. Plus, you'll probably get a new appreciation for the food you consume.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I admire the fact that Olympic divers are ignoring the green pool and diving in it anyway.

I admire the fact that Olympic divers could ignore the green water in the diving pool and proceed with their events undaunted. I mean...just look at this pool...would you dive into that?
The picture on the left is from August 8th. The picture on the right is from August 9th. By the way, the Olympic officials have no idea why the pool changed color. Some are hypothesizing that it is an algae bloom. Ick. Maybe I just have an unhealthy obsession with cleanliness.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted that everything is true in the multiverse this weekend.

There are some days when I just want to be reminded of how small I am in the universe. This video that I've embedded in the below blog post does that perfectly. It's done by the same people that I made a blog about a few years ago talking about stars and their differing sizes. However, the thing I love about this video update is the pan at the end which goes on to show just how huge our universe actually is.

It's crazy to think that we are adrift in a cosmos that has no limits, and that all of it might actually be only a small part of a theorized multi-verse. As if on point, Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted that everything is true in the multiverse this weekend. With infinite possibilities, I suppose that nothing (no matter how far-fetched) should ever be taken off the table in a discussion as to what's possible. For you Harry Potter fanatics, that's good news. Somewhere out there is a Hogwarts. It's just not on our planet.