reviews

The Hunger Games

Seriously.  This blew my mind.

I am in the post-movie brain blend, and pretty damn tired.  Still.

Reality-TV’s gladiatorial self-commodification.  The spinning of the life narrative.  Manipulation of human drama. Remote warfare.  Hope as a means of control.

I’m pretty impressed that this snuck through as a blockbuster and got widespread, mass distribution.

I think that this film makes its own meta comment on going and enjoying it as a movie as being part of the machine that it is illuminating.

(In fact, I only saw it because of a last minute whim, any preview or media coverage that I had seen had really not made me interested, if anything I had decided that I was anti-the hoopla).

The conondrum of how inspiring content or ideas can break through and use the machinations of soma-entertainment.

I’m pretty gob-smacked.

 

 

Advertisements

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Some movies are on another level; I leap forward and clutch the footrest-pouf with my knees and elbows, shaking in the tense ecstasy of wise human insanity.  This is one of those.  I won’t review it with words.  Just see it.

Here’s the trailer (or in Australian English, preview).  But maybe you want to go in with an open mind, as I did.

 

Lady Love and Girl Hate

A certain awesome facebook friend shared this article on letting go of girl hate, and I love it.  Talking about the way jealousy between ladies is encouraged, so that there could only be one cool/talented/intelligent female, rather than stacks of them.  Also included is some self-analysis on how this works as a female being jealous of other ladies.

I am feeling this idea.  Actively fostering fellow-lady encouragement and not thinking there can only be one female hip hopper/dancer/intellectual/musician/poet/critic/producer is a good thing for me.

Also, sometimes when I teach I find showing sexualised content of women weird.  On the one hand I am really interested in the debates and dissecting gender performance of framing of bodies (for example in Bollywood sequences, or music videos).  On the other I almost feel like showing these images AGAIN is a part of the problem.  Opening up the discussion about how normalised they are and making them ‘strange’ again is an antidote. 

I guess I’m also aware that young adults are moving in/into sexual fields and so might be shy.  And I have my own shy side.  And also discussion’s healthy. 

I think there’s also something about, even if the discussion is critical, it is still images of women’s bodies that is being discussed, trawled over, used as argument. 

The final thing on this (well, surely it could never be final as gender relentlessly does my head in!) is Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. 

It’s a book by Inga Muscio, and includes a Womanifesto.  It changed my life in that stay-up-all-night-and read-it-in-one-hit-kind-of-way.  I feel like I have shifted a little from where I was when I read it, but nevertheless retain details from the book in my life.  Things like just taking the agency to move if you ever feel unsafe on a train or bus or in a car or walking down the street: you don’t have to think about it, second guess yourself, you just move.  She has a refrain that that’s ‘self love’.  Similarly with just walking out of movies that have violence against women, including sexualised violence.  It almost seems coy with the increasing “pornification” of so much media content.  However.  I have just taken the agency to do those things and it is fantastic.  I just don’t watch NCIS or whatever with mutilated prositutes.  I don’t need it in my head, it’s not helping me or society to watch it.

Of course, the rejoinder to that is that not engaging with the ‘problemmatic’ material isn’t helping either.  which is fair enough.  I still choose not to, as a general rule, however.

Which doesn’t mean that I am pro-censorship or anti-sexual content.

It does mean I have a choice.

 

Danny Trejo: Champion

Some of the film-making was a little clunky, but I felt the man through the screen.  Reminded me of all of the people I know who do good stuff with kids and people, and how that’s important.

Danny said in the film:

“There’s basically two kinds of people in this world, those who want to make a difference, and those who want to take up space”.

Basically the only time I agree with a categorising statement like that.

He also said:

“Everything good that’s happened in my life has been a direct result of helping somebody else”.

Tim Rogers, M.I.A and Born Freeeeee

I really enjoyed Tim Rogers’ performance on the Marngrook Footy Show tonight.  I found it to be a really sweet piece of song-story telling, really well crafted.  First time I’ve connected with him, so it’s always good to open up to new experiences.

It’s also good to see a footy show with indigenous presence; any program with indigenous presence.  Yet it still is just so weird to live in this massively lopsided world where half of the population is ‘the norm’, where men’s sports, men musicians, etc, etc, are the norm.  It gets fatiguing, bewildering, and then I re-snap back to incredulous fury about it.

Which is why snapping back into M.I.A on Later with Jools Holland was liberating, especially her track Born Free.  Female presence, female anger.  Female thought: no that I mean this in a limiting way.  

Again I enjoy the Jools Holland show for that simple, powerful idea of musical dialogue, of these different styles, ages, atmospheres of music right beside each other; in the round.  Why Eric Clapton got that level of praise I don’t know.  He looks to the past for the future, M.I.A is definitely associated with the new (even as she had the fantastic The Specials play with her).  

It is so weird to see Eric Clapton watching Louis Armstrong footage, then doing that same song.  It did seem strange, the whole thing of Eric doing a cover of this song that is from a specific tradition.  I know that even the debate around different cultures using something like the blues (let alone other forms) is so old, yet here was Eric (and, it must be said, older white males) doing this chugging-old blues.  For me, he wasn’t a mind-blowing guitarist (or vocalist). There’s so much room to do something exciting with a cover like that.  

Without perhaps even being conscious of it, Eric named only male guitarists as his inspiration, and said there’s some many “young guys”.  And I re-snapped back to how weird and lop-sided this freaking world is.  Where (a little) less than half the population is the ‘norm’.  

And I felt M.I.A again, with her tight, focused female drummer and fellow female vocalist and synth player, singing in a new, caterwauling assemblage: Born Free. Fuck yeah.

 

 

Tim Minchin and The Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

He is idea-spilling, heart-rubbing and quick, self-deprecating and in the sound.  The show was an excellent achievement.  Lyrics had me grinning, peace-sign stabbing in a weird ‘yes!’, thank God someone is saying this.  Singing it, orchestrated, with great musicians and a great fairness of thought.  Human in that honest putting-it-all-on the stage kind of way which actually wasn’t indulgent or neurotic.  And his look is just him after a while.  It is the commentary when ‘consuming news’ that would make life sane: so having it in one musical, funny package is a relief washing through.  A really fantastic height: I imagine it would feel great to reach the point of being able to do a show like this.  He balanced his atheist, intelligent perspective with a respect for belief that resulted in this overriding human quality.  By contrast, for example, Baba Brinkman’s show seemed like an example of clever rhetoric in musical/theatre form that is to win an argument, whereas Tim sang in defence of ‘sitting on the fence’.  

I’m really glad he exists and that he did this.  And that all the people that helped him did it also.