Thursday, January 25, 2007

Grand illusions and small discoveries.

Okay, why did it take me so long to finally watch this movie?

I love Philip K. Dick.

I really like Richard Linklater and totally dug the rotoscoping technique used in Waking Life.

So why did it take me so long to get around to watching A Scanner Darkly?

I guess part of it can be attributed to the fact that I'm just not as motivated to see films in the theater as I used to be. I've grown so used to "on-demand" viewing, and the ease of watching DVDs (and now I've noticed the same is growing true of television via the networks posting their shows online for those of us that missed the original airing) and relying on home media centers to satisfy our entertainment needs.

This makes sense both time-wise and fiscally, especially as movie tickets grow ever more expensive and our workdays stretch to include both hours spent in the office and periodic check-ins via email and the web from home or in transit or on vacation or ... you get the idea. But the art of film, and the way we experience doesn't necessarily need to make sense.

Films, good films at least, should be experienced in the theater. The large screen should obscure your peripheral vision and draw you into the vortex formed by the huge projected illusion in front of you. And this goes doubly for something as visually arresting a A Scanner Darkly, with its unique mimicry of life achieved through ever shifting form and color holding only the most tenuous of connection to the traditional animation we have grown so used to.

Waking Life was a joy to see on the large screen, and Linklater's choice of animation style fit perfectly with the stream of consciousness dreamscape it was meant to convey. In A Scanner Darkly the same technique is employed, only this time form and shape is more cohesive and less surreal, with the overall effect being an amazing simulacrum of life achieved through less than realistic rendering. It is this stunning effect on the small screen that makes me realize how much I missed by giving the movie a pass when it was in theaters.

So there's that. Visually it's a knock-out. But what about the story? Here is the twist; the movie is visually amazing and I wish I has seen it on the big screen for that reason alone, but the actual narrative is better suited to the small screen. It's an exciting tale, filled with twists and turns no one sees coming, but it's also a claustrophobic tale. The cast is small and the characters overlap, and their paranoid world is one best considered within cloistered environs and, honestly, that effect is much harder to achieve when the junkie scratching invisible bugs out of his hair is thirty feet tall.

I'm not going to go any further into the story since I don't know who has seen the movie yet and who hasn't, but I will say that, even for a futuristic tale, it seems borne on the shoulders of the author's own original experience. It feels like a personal tale and, in the end, it is a tale of hope.

So I'm sad I missed A Scanner Darkly during its original run, but had I seen it then I might not have watched it again when it was released on DVD, and then I would have missed some of the film's deeper and more subtle pleasures.


MTV reads donewaiting, doesn't get our jokes.

Just another reason I love being associated with donewaiting. It is also a nice example of the MSM trying to act as if their ear is to the ground only to end up with their foot in their mouth.


Here come the jesters 1, 2, 3 ...

I am just taking the following verbatim from JB's email, because there is no way I can say it any better. Actually, the only thing I changed was in the title, since she had two too many periods forming the ellipses. And the only reason I'm pointing that out is to remove the "two men to do a woman's job" bit below. Because it's true, and that hurts.


Thursday, January 25th
9 PM-2 AM
Liar's Club
1665 W. Fullerton

DJ's June Cleavage
Rudy Tuesday

Because Amber Waves is out of town,
and we all know that
it takes two men to do a woman's job.

Please join us as we spin rock, punk, soul,
and other things we deem appropriate.

It’s all part of your rock and roll fantasy.
Or something like that.

So there you go.

Also, DO NOT FORGET, I am at The Continental this Saturday and your attendance is MANDATORY! I have LOTS of stuff to give away, and I'd love to give it away to you. Gapers Block's new music blog Transmission wrote up the evening here, and they cover a lot of the possible prizes you could go home with that evening. They don't mention it, but there will also be free tickets to the Chicagoist CTRL-ALT-ROCK v2.0 on February 8. Get there early as we'll be arranging the giveaways between 11 and 12 or so.

So keep Saturday open and I'll see you at Liar's tonight!

Aw heck, hold on, here's one for the ladies. Hey Keanu, what're you looking at?

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