April 13, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier should probably have been subtitled something else. Maybe—

• A Study in Bomber Jackets
• While You Were Spying
or Ladies Do It Better

It is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo, which doesn’t make any sense since the Russos usually direct a) comedies on b) television. Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier has less than 20 minutes of screen time, total, probably; although the one-armed assassin really is the reason everyone who matters looks so serious. (The people in the movie who don’t matter look serious for a bunch of other reasons and cleave all policy decisions into dichotomies — order/chaos; freedom/security; Robert Redford/Samuel L. Jackson. Ignore their frowns.)

For the first time since Joss Whedon’s Avengers, MCU returns to the concern of itself, and to the spying agency (S.H.I.E.L.D.) that is its fulcrum. This sequel is a reckoning of sorts, nothing like the resoundingly dull perpetual motion machines Thor 2 or Iron Man 3. As such, its politics are of central importance while also being totally impotent, approaching silliness. So much chatter about old/new world orders (mind the dichotomy) from characters who obviously don’t have any attachment to each other.  Scarlett Johansson kind of cuts right through everything else. This is America! What would be the point of ruling? Natasha Romanoff’s success is the largest in the story. 

I think The Winter Soldier is the best film in the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe since The Avengers. It’s long but not slack, without quite achieving leanness; its moral simplicity is not staged simply. And it’s fun! Often visceral. In the field, Chris Evans’ Captain ping-pongs like a patriotic earthquake with a serious allergy to pan-national security apparati. His favorite weapon is a shield. The symbolism now tracks. Is this the death of technocratic neoconservatism? How weird is that? The post-credit tag introduces Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch and both of them seem neat. This is how we talk about movies now.

April 13, 2014
Into the morning

Imagine the snow. Keep imagining it. Let it cover everything else. Think of the silence.

There is wordlessness and dread and a very lot of cold in Snowpiercer, an opulently bleak odyssey from the South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, who has a particular flair for the extravagant destructural collapse of many moods in new forms. To wit, Snowpiercer is a dystopic thriller (the world has frozen over; its survivors live aboard a world-circling train; they live within, and agitate to live without, class striations) that is thoughtlessly Dickensian and also thoughtfully violent and also thankfully subtle and alive to non-white faces and also sometimes startlingly unsubtle about the narrative that hooks them all together.

You’ll notice that none of this is in proportion. Part of that is intentional: Snowpiercer's titular train travels best with everyone in their place. The film runs on this dislogic — the spiraling out of order, where the extremities of liberalism and fascism touch along the event horizon of human morality. The sharpest hooks come at the expense of sentimentality (and at the expense of the kind of stability usually afforded, halo-like, by the presence of a Decent White Protagonist).

Snowpiercer presses forward, unafraid to continue to lose pieces of itself. The spectacles shuffle themselves. When the rising lower class meets a crackdown, the lights go black and everyone’s weapons glint in the goggle-green night vision. A basket of boiled eggs for the New Year. A singalong about the divinity of perpetual motion. An assassin in a grey suit who chews through our sympathies like a maw.

The cast abounds. Not just Chris Evans as our leader and John Hurt as his mentor and Jamie Bell as their wide-eyed/cockney’d steward, but also Octavia Spencer and Tilda Swinton and Alison Pill and Song Kang-Ho. And it is quite a journey, from the cramped bedevilments of the train’s tail through aquariums and gardens and butcheries and an entire train car that churns out protein bars (they look like tar-colored jello) from a giant fanged vat that you’d do well not to look inside.

Evans gives a sensational performance — the inverse archetype of messianic certainty — whose vulnerability (whose absolute yawning rootlessness) is worthless to describe. See it. Let it surprise you, too.

But the film is as volatile as its train. Joon-ho has too much to do, stuffing his source material (a French graphic novel) into 125 minutes of endless length. A multi-dozen train. A multi-caste cast of actors from multiple castes (international; blockbuster; Swinton). 

Snowpiercer has all of this to show. It still starves you. Not everything sticks in its place — including a final-final act that finally produces the synthesis of The Matrix and J. Robert King that none of us asked for. The logic gets all ground together. (Where are the middle classes? I wondered. What did they say John Hurt’s name was, again? That kind of thing.) The suggestion is so not enough. There is so much more; every scene could have used another. One film could have become three. Imagine a miniseries.

April 10, 2014
An old Chinese curse

May all your dreams come true.

(Source: juliaccarpenter)

April 5, 2014
Richard Siken, "The Stag and the Quiver"

Richard Siken, "The Stag and the Quiver"

April 3, 2014
"Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does."

— Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad 

(Source: hellanne, via fiumanka)

April 2, 2014
"Kanye West and his ever-evolving children’s art project, Kim Kardashian, have welcomed a new member to their family — and it’s way bigger than their baby! It’s a custom-painted Hermès handbag featuring a surrealist nude portrait by George Condo (the same artist who did the covers for West’s 2010 album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’). This thing is so hideous it’s hilarious. You have to see it. You don’t. You shouldn’t. It’s your call."

How the hell do you fire Annie Barrett?

April 2, 2014
Tim Riggins Speaks of Waterfalls

By Nico Alvarado

You want to know what it was like?
It was like my whole life had a fever.
Whole acres of me were on fire.
The sun talked dirty in my ear all night.
I couldn’t drive past a wheatfield without doing it violence.
I couldn’t even look at a bridge.
I used to go out in the brush sometimes,
So far out there no one could hear me,
And just burn.
I felt all right then.
I couldn’t hurt anyone else.
I was just a pillar of fire.
It wasn’t the burning so much as the loneliness.
It wasn’t the loneliness so much as the fear of being alone.
Christ look at you pouring from the rocks.
You’re so cold you’re boiling over.
You’ve got stars in your hair.
I don’t want to be around you.
I don’t want to drink you in.
I want to walk into the heart of you
And never walk back out.

March 30, 2014

(Source: filmchrist, via mrgolightly)

6:40pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZMiPzx1BfgtUm
Filed under: jessica 
March 30, 2014


Those stray dogs in Sochi? They’re getting new lives in Washington, D.C.

March 27, 2014

I’m lucky to be here
With someone I like
Who maketh my spirit to shine.

(Source: Spotify)

March 26, 2014
"Communities like Tumblr empower ‘Teen Wolf’ fans to experience the death of Allison Argent as an entirely political moment. Not just who and how but also why and why her. A woman’s death in a cast of several tiers of attractive men reverberates especially. Rumors flourish of behind-the-scenes misogyny. The show’s fans double as scorekeepers and triple as torchbearers, carrying a flame if there isn’t one, or magnifying it if it isn’t bright enough, or redirecting it if it’s shining on the wrong corpse."

They’re Going To Kill Everyone You Love (On TV)

March 26, 2014

(Source: ruinedchildhood, via queerstiles)

March 23, 2014
"May my silences become more accurate."

— Theodore Roethke, Words for Young Writers

(Source: fables-of-the-reconstruction, via onehundreddollars)

March 23, 2014
A Definitive Ranking of Email Sign-Offs

  1. Thanks!
  2. Thanks,
  15. Best,

March 23, 2014

(Source: nnewgirl, via ymere)