Margin Call (2011)

margin_call_ver8_xlgIt may be that Margin Call isn’t the best movie ever made (rest assured – it isn’t). It may well be that it isn’t even the best movie released in 2011 (see above). It may quite possibly be something that you present at master-class workshops during the lecture on “Do’s and don’ts of movie-making”. Nevertheless, it may well be one of the most interesting movies of 21st century. Considering what I’ve just said, you can’t see how this last statement could possibly be true? Well, it’s counter-intuitive, I’ll grant you that. If Margin Call does something well, than it does this – it presents you with one hell of a complex world and leaves you hanging in there. The thing is that this complex world isn’t extrapolated fiction, nor is it allegory, nor a metaphor, nor any kind of neat trick artists usually use. The world of Margin Call is a world we live in. It’s just that you probably never have been around those parts. It’s okay, people dwelling there don’t actually need you. What they do, affects you whether you care about it or not. On the surface Margin Call may seem just like another market—crash movie but careful and observant viewer can make it much more interesting. After all, outside the world of documentaries, one doesn’t often need a dictionary just to trot along a plot (sure, you can interpret this as a sign of bad writing, but that would be highly reductive). Sometimes, though, even a dictionary doesn’t help much.

bscap0001Anyway, few of my friends make a living doing high finance. Not quite sure if they did watch this or not, but if they did I imagine that their reaction, or amount of baffledness wouldn’t be quite the same. We don’t discuss these things when we meet for coffee or a beer. It isn’t just that after long hours of work you don’t want to be talking about it to anyone, it’s that there really wouldn’t be any point to that. I couldn’t understand them, just like they can’t understand me when I go into my academic-philosophy mode of communicating with people. Discourse is both the problem and a solution but that’s a story for some other time. There’s a key point here. However similar in their hermeticity these discourses are, in actuality they are immensely different. The discourse of high-finance affects this globality we live in. The discourse of high-philosophy affects no one but a lone individual. In that light, main point of Margin Call stops being something banal as “They knew it [market crash] would happen, They [evil as they are] let it happen”. Instead, it realizes itself as a question – how did we put so much power into hands of people we can’t understand?

bscap0000The key note of democracy (though democracy really isn’t an issue here) or any sort of government is the concept of legibility. Our president cannot speak Mandarin (unless you live in China that is), nor can Congress members debate policies in Zulu sign language. There can’t be that sort of a gap between those who rule and those that are ruled. When Margin Call presents us with people whose actions have lasting consequences to many things across the Globe, and we can’t make heads or tails of their reasoning (unless we’re experts), then we find ourselves in a difficult position. If it were just a movie, we could dismiss it as a bad writing and not think more about it. Since it stopped being a move from the moment lights flickered on, we can’t dismiss it at all. So, if you want to think (and Margin Call presents us with lot of possibilities to do just that) try cracking this one – what really happened in this move? In a related story – what is happening in the world of high-finance right now? Who is keeping a check on that? How do you know that keepers are telling you the truth? And finally – how many years of extensive study would it take you to find that on your own? You can learn the lingo, of course. In the meantime, world will keep turning and things will happen whether you understand them or not. We all felt the impact of the events of Margin Call. All that remains is connecting the threads and not letting it happen again. Sadly, for this to transpire, quite a lot of people should suddenly develop both skills and interest in the study of high-finance. Not gonna happen. Funny thing is, it isn’t even a sole subject one should take care of. World is an infinitely complex place and films such as this one make sure that we remember just that. It’s so easily forgotten. All these crazy ideologies that keep springing around us are quite good reminder of how easy is to let go. Crowd thinks much clearer but sadly, we can’t afford that.

Directed by J.C. Chandor
Produced by Joe Jenckes
Robert Ogden Barnum
Corey Moosa
Michael Benaroya
Neal Dodson
Zachary Quinto
Written by J.C. Chandor
Starring Kevin Spacey
Paul Bettany
Jeremy Irons
Zachary Quinto
Penn Badgley
Simon Baker
Mary McDonnell
Demi Moore
Stanley Tucci
Music by Nathan Larson
Cinematography Frank DeMarco
Edited by Pete Beaudreau
Before the Door Pictures
Washington Square Films
Untitled Entertainment
Sakonnet Capital Partners

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My week with Marilyn (2011)

my_week_with_marilyn_2011_5551_posterThere’s a not so funny line in this movie which stays with you afterwards. In some other occasion I don’t think I would have mentioned it at all. In this instance though, I find it much more interesting than it probably deserves. There’s so few points of interest in this movie that one starts to grasp for straws. Mind you, it really isn’t a straw but it’s so detached from the movie itself that it sure looks like one. You know the usual routine of biopics? The what happened afterwards part of the movie which usually brings some kind of closure for these characters that we just witnessed moving and breathing in a celluloid haze. My week with Marilyn has one of those too. In a rather inconspicuous lettering there’s a line that goes something like this: “Collin Clark became award-winning documentary filmmaker. He became internationally famous in the ‘90s after publishing his diary depicting a production of The Prince and the Showgirl.” I forgot the exact words but as you might have noticed by now, exact words don’t really matter. The spirit of the original is present in these as well.

vlcsnap-2014-06-25-22h34m50s44  What we have here is the ultimate rebuttal of a subtext that goes beneath this obvious crowd-pleasing infatuation with Marilyn Monroe (which is what this movie, ultimately, is all about). Throughout the film Adrian Hodges (scriptwriter) builds Collin’s character as an intelligent, yet a bit naïve boy who, more than anything in the world, wants to be a part of the moviemaking process. “Fuck the Marilyn; she’s just a star”, subtext goes, “real magic is film itself”. Collin will remain truthful to his youthful love, despite everything that has happened. He will cast aside cynicism of the experienced and will remain faithful to a romantic notion of films and their production. Funny how things sometimes coincide. My week with Marilyn came out same year as The Artist and Hugo, both of them heavily laden with romantic nostalgia of the same kind.

Anyhow, at some point the movie ends and so does the life of our Collin. We can only presume that his attitude remained the same. Presuming this we come to this conclusion. There was a guy who was in love with movies. He wanted badly to work on them, to create lasting moving images, to be a part of the process that gave birth to the most important media of the last century. He met with Marilyn Monroe sometime during the ‘50s. This came and went and he continued to make documentaries for most of his waking hours. His entire career is then summarized with this – your work doesn’t matter; to become internationally famous (this isn’t the same as wildly acclaimed) you have to meet a star (preferably a sex icon) and, at some point, write about that meeting. Fuck everything that you ever did. This is all that matters in life. There’s a nutshell of filmmaking right there dear Collin. Hope your grave is comfy enough so that you have plenty of room to turn in it. I know I would.

vlcsnap-2014-06-25-22h34m41s225Come to think of it, what the hell do I know? As far as I can tell from this movie, our Collin wasn’t the brightest chap in class. If I presume that Hodges’ adaptation of Collin’s diary is accurate (though I really don’t have any reason to assume something like that, considering everything that has been said), that all I can read from it is that My week with Marilyn is derived from the almost too idiotic notion to mention – “I spent one week with an American superstar and I was the only one who really understood her; everyone else, before or after, didn’t even come close to this profound understanding that I have magically acquired.”

I could go on and on because, basically, this movie pissed me but I think I ranted enough already. Few more tidbits are required though. Though I really like Michelle Williams as an actress (ever since Dawson’s Crack) she wasn’t the best woman for the job here. Oh, she mastered Marilyn’s body language, she studied the moves, did her homework and all that but – and this is very important for anyone who wants to “be” Marilyn Monroe – she lacked presence. You could see people turning their heads when she would make an entrance, but they turned them because it said so in the script, not because Williams made them do so. Apart from that, direction was average at best. One could picture Curtis’ style as something appropriate for small television dramas that Brits have always been very fond of. All in all, My week with Marilyn was a giant waste of time. Something like writing this blog, only vastly more expensive and ambitious.

Directed by Simon Curtis
Produced by David Parfitt
Harvey Weinstein
Screenplay by Adrian Hodges
Based on The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn
by Colin Clark
Starring Michelle Williams
Kenneth Branagh
Eddie Redmayne
Emma Watson
Judi Dench
Music by Conrad Pope
Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Ben Smithard
Edited by Adam Recht
The Weinstein Company
BBC Films
LipSync Productions
Trademark Films

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The Artist (2011)

artist_ver3God dammit, it seems that once again I’ll start with quotation marks. This time it’s James Berardinelli’s voice speaking: “Hazanavicius isn’t just making a silent movie, he is attempting to enter a time warp and craft something that would fool all but the most studious and scholarly into believing it could have been a lost film from a bygone era.” So says our James, and we laugh a little. Cracking a mad, demented laugh sprinkled with subtle hints of satanic rituals just because I intend to use this we pronoun from now on. We don’t consider ourselves even close to ‘studious’ or ‘scholarly’ yet we can spot the difference in an instant. It only requires some perception, some interest and  some knowledge of how did these silent-era movies actually looked like. This isn’t any sort of scholarly knowledge. It’s easily acquired. All one needs is to actually watch some of them. It shouldn’t be a problem, considering this thing we call Internet, but nevermind this now. We tend to rant. We would have to read some notes on production or even an interview or two to see if this discrepancy is intentional or if Hazanavicius is just one of the hipsters who really loves ‘cool stuff’ from the past without really understanding them. This is just too bothersome for us (remember what I sad about ‘studious’?). Still, we are inclined to go with first interpretation. There is evident knowledge of silent-era form, there is some knowledge of its “essence”, and obvious discrepancies in style, structure, themes, framing and acting we’ll explain as intentional. After all, Hollywood was always about illusion and making things better than they are. Hazanavicius’ The Artist is something like a boob job on your grandmother. You notice the boobs, but you notice the grandmother as well.

vlcsnap-2014-06-20-00h13m29s213Anyhow (I’ll drop this we act for now), I am still puzzled by the effect of The Artist. I can understand why it was awarded with Academy Award (though Scorsese’s Hugo,with which thismovie shares similar motifs, was much more to my liking), but I can’t understand how it managed to do so well with revenue. It seems that, despite all of my supposedly bravado know-how of the inner workings of media, I still manage to disregard sheer impact of marketing and thoughtfully constructed media-hype. Playing on nostalgia card is perfectly understandable, though existence of recipients attuned to this particular type of nostalgia is something of a mystery. Intertextual dialogue with silent-era was done before. If nothing else, Sunset Blvd. and Singing in the Rain come to mind.  Every so often, wave of nostalgia sweeps across a cultural landscape transforming all media in its wake. What is left is rarely more than cute manirism (in some way The Artist is as maniristic as they come) but sometimes it happens that it resonates well with crowds. If I had to guess, I would say that amongst the thousands who went to see The Artist, almost none had any particular connection with a world of silent movies. The Artist was “an event” movie. This is to say it managed to replicate what it was trying to replicate (despite everything that formalists like myself had to say about an actual success of replication). For a brief season, it managed to conjure the paradise lost. This innocent time of fairytales in screen-form. So remote now that it almost seems like it never existed at all.

vlcsnap-2014-06-20-00h13m39s45Part of me was weirded out seeing “silent movie” in high definition. Every “original” silent movie that I have seen, even when I saw them in theatres, was lacking in some aspect. Either it was restored poorly, or it was a bad copy, or it was something else. This grainy picture which bared marks of damages that piled up during past decades became something like a metaphor for life, universe and everything else. Seeing something that tried to emulate silent-era in crystal clear form wasn’t quite the same. It drew attention to its artificiality. Make-up wasn’t quite the same, camera work was too modern, editing as well, affectation and hyperbole were almost non-existent, narrative was “blasphemous”, and myriad of tiny little details kept reminding me that what I was seeing is something like a love letter. It was a letter written by an admirer, not by a fan, and part of me wasn’t satisfied. The other part of me wasn’t satisfied with general tone of The Artist (despite it being generally attuned to the dominant sentiment of American moviemaking). I couldn’t help but see cynicism in treatment of Jean Dujardin’s character (even on a metaphorical level). His transformation from silent-era romantic action-figure to Fred-and-Ginger-dancing-darling of the thirties strengthened up the underlying notion that it was always about entertainment and never about Art. I couldn’t force myself to applaud to that.

Recollecting my thoughts on The Artist it seems to me that once again Academy Award went to the movie that managed to create best illusion amongst contenders. There were far better movies produced that year, but none of them managed to create this artificial vibe that resonated almost too well with the essence of Hollywood. For the Industry, it was always about Industry and it’s no wonder that Industry rewarded the guy that felt nostalgic about that.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michel Hazanavicius
Produced by Thomas Langmann
Written by Michel Hazanavicius
Starring Jean Dujardin
Bérénice Bejo
Music by Ludovic Bource
Cinematography Guillaume Schiffman
Editing by Anne-Sophie Bion
Michel Hazanavicius
Studio La Petite Reine
ARP Sélection
Studio 37
La Class Americane
France 3 Cinema
U Film
Jouror Productions
JD Prod
Wild Bunch

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Red Riding Hood (2011)

RED-RIDING-HOOD-2011-MOVIE-POSTERRed Riding Hood can (and should) be characterized as a schizoid movie. There’s a definite split personality moment there, though whether you’ll spot it or not mainly depends on how well you’re acquainted with psychoanalytic readings of fairy tales. If you’re a teen or something close by, chances are you probably won’t. That’s okay – says Hardwicke – for you, we have a teen-werewolf drama in store. Mustn’t let the Twilight opportunity pass us by. I’m saying this mainly because Red Riding Hood is such an obvious patchwork of “mainstream” psychoanalytical themes, motifs and symbolisms. There’s an abundance of those so one has to conclude that it can’t be coincidental (or just some product of my deranged mind). Hardwicke did her readings diligently, like a good student she obviously is, or at least tries to be. What exactly did she read I can’t really tell (though I bet that quick Google search would provide me with an answer) nor is that of any particular importance. Whatever she might have read, she applied it consistently and without any sort of imagination. It reads like a textbook. That doesn’t necessarily makes it “bad” or out of place, it just makes it sort of redundant. (Un)fortunately, things are not as simple as that.

Red.Riding.Hood.2011.BrRip.720p.x264.YIFY.mkv_004155568If Hardwicke were to stop at psychoanalysis the movie would have been okay. It would still read as an overzealous school project (or ass-kissing to be more direct) but you can’t really stop people from being too-literal about what they do. But, Hardwicke tries to reach for more. She’s not satisfied with a nod of approval from her geeky friends, she wants to get into the cool club as well. For this goal she needed something more than tons of references to concepts too abstract for your average guy/girl, and she went for a teen drama/romance which, after a splash made by Twilight, guaranteed her a chance to be noticed. Thing is, mediocrity is hard to shake off (I speak from experience). It leaves a trail within everything you try to do. Teen part of the Red Riding Hood is just as unimaginative as her usage of psychoanalytic (de)construction. Irony is, that’s just what it’s supposed to be. If you’re trying to make a quick grab at momentarily open wallets that that bleed cash on any crap that has werewolves or vampires in it, the last thing you should do is draw attention to yourself by imaginative, “radical”, or any kind of daring filmmaking which could alienate your potential customers. Funny thing is that you can see her heart’s not into it. Well, that’s an optimistic interpretation. The other one would be that she doesn’t quite understand how genre construction works.

Red.Riding.Hood.2011.BrRip.720p.x264.YIFY.mkv_001624039After all of this has been said, I have to say one more thing. I actually quite liked this movie. Que? Well, think of it this way. Red Riding Hood is something like an old friend. You hear from him every now and then. Whenever you see him he still rants about same old stuff he used to rant about when you were kids. He’s not that intelligent, poor sod, but he gets by. Years pass and you meet him every so often. You start to notice some changes. He started to die his hair to attract younger chicks (which are not coming because he has no any money to speak of and that face just won’t hide his fifth decade of life), his stomach is somewhat flatter than it used to be, he has tons of this gadgets that he sees as an integral part of contemporary human condition, he still rants about same things he used to rant about but he changed his tune up to a degree (read some books in the meantime), he still bores the hell out of you but you still go and grab a beer with him. After all, he’s a mate.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio
Jennifer Davisson Killoran
Julie Yorn
Written by David Leslie Johnson
Starring Amanda Seyfried
Gary Oldman
Billy Burke
Shiloh Fernandez
Max Irons
Virginia Madsen
Lukas Haas
Julie Christie
Music by Brian Reitzell
Alex Heffes
Cinematography Mandy Walker
Editing by Nancy Richardson
Julia Wong
Studio Appian Way Productions



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Arthur Christmas (2011)

arthur_christmas_ver4Fuck it, I can’t help but be irritated by this cheesy bullshit they call a movie. Was it absolutely necessary that Arthur be no less than degenerate? Idiot-kid so obnoxious that no amount of bashing his head in could help. I guess it was. Can’t think of any other reason why someone would create some creature like that. The only positive thing that I can think of within this context is that, fortunately, small kids don’t remember much from their earliest media exposure. If they are able to remember, they should be just sane enough to shut the damn screen off when this thing appears. No one should endure such torture.

bscap0001In my flights of fancy I like to think of humanity as of something that actually exists in 21st century, as of something that begun on the ashes of thousands of dead writers, poets, inventors, scientists, movie makers, and lunatics of all kinds. When I think of the humanity in these terms, I find it incredulous that some people, heck – the entire industry of them – can conceive the notion of Christmas in such a boring, unimaginative way. The entire library of Santa/Christmas-porn is out there and one should think that Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith would feel the urge to create something exciting, something that doesn’t play it safe. Guess what? They didn’t. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather let my kid watch Lobo massacring Santa, than this sorry excuse for animation. By watching Lobo he would at least get a glimpse of what it means to be creative, or what it means to play with characters by the sheer power of imagination alone. By watching Arthur Christmas he would’ve learned nothing but how to put some pretty lights on dials and screens in a giant mission control room which flashes around so quickly that you can’t actually see all the fine detailing that went into a final product. I could, hell I should, bitch about the sorry state of the visuals themselves. Note the wooden features of figures, weird and kinda limited facial expressions, horrible lip syncing and constrained movement, note the conventional iconography (CEO Santa has a tie, crazy grandpa looks like any other crazy grandpa, dear old mother looks like something sprung out of Mother Goose, Arthur – sadly – look just mental) and note how you can’t note what exactly is there in the frame. It fucking moves and cuts and jumps around and tries to create an illusion of background or deep frame and somehow manages to make a perfect visual nonsense of it all. This is no Miyazaki, or anything like a creative movie, still – even industry used to have standards.

bscap0000Should I bitch about the “plot” next? I should. When I say “plot” I don’t mean just simple narration (or, god forbid, narrative) – these are executed well enough, conventional like everything else, but that was to be expected – no. What I mean by “plot” – here’s the guy that adores semiotics and phenomenology – is the way that “text” works within itself and the way it communicates with others. I’ll concede that much of what I find *wrong* isn’t something that a random kid (or a random grown up for that matter) would notice – it takes something like a weird mind or something like an experience to notice how the quest for happiness legitimizes the patriarchal/feudal structure which exploits the work of brainwashed, zombie-like creatures dosed and pacified with Ideology. Whatever, it’s not like a random kid writes this (or cares for it come to think of it), so I may as well comment the way I like. There’s this notion that kiddie movies should be spared the realities of life, main wisdom of this being – there will be time enough for that later on. Arthur Christmas embraces this notion and doesn’t even try to take some distance from it. The possibility of failure (of Arthur delivering the present in time) is, well, impossible. Which is all ok being the adventure plot for kids and all, but this notion then somehow ends up with a infantile, ridiculous protagonist (Santa i.e. Arthur) who believes anything is possible because – well, magic’s gonna save us all (few spaceships too). Put it differently – God watches (and cares) for every single one of us, and all our wishes will come true. Blah. Can it get cheesier than this? It would have been far more interesting (I guess even educational at some level) if Arthur actually failed with his mission and then have his family to give him support and explain to him that you can’t go around like blabbering idiot. At least not for long. Anyhow, I believe that kids are far more intelligent and perceptive than this movies gives them credit for. Arthur Christmas is a failure and no amount of fake Christmas spirit can fix that.


Directed by

Sarah Smith

Produced by

Steve Pegram

Written by

Peter Baynham
Sarah Smith

Story by

Sarah Smith (uncredited)


James McAvoy
Hugh Laurie
Bill Nighy
Jim Broadbent
Imelda Staunton
Ashley Jensen
Marc Wootton
Laura Linney
Eva Longoria
Ramona Marquez
Michael Palin

Music by

Harry Gregson-Williams


Jericca Cleland

Editing by

John Carnochan
James Cooper


Aardman Animations
Sony Pictures Animation

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Ironclad (2011)

If you hang around certain forums, especially ones that have gaming fanboys around, you might notice that there’s a great deal of excitement when something, whatever it might be, medieval comes out into the daylight. Whether it’s a movie, or another boring sequel of once excellent The Elder Scrolls series, whether it’s a mmorpg like Mount&Blade or something completely different (I won’t even mention D&D subgroup, that’s a whole different story). Reaction is almost always the same. Borderline histrionics. I’m convinced that lot of the noise comes from this notion of glamorous medieval lifestyle that includes hand-to-hand combat, loosely clothed wenches, general manliness and pieces of armor that can break your spine if you’re not careful. Rarely anything bothers to show this period from the perspective of a simple peasant, or a forced laborer. Everybody wants to be a knight I guess. When you think about it it makes perfect sense. That these teenage (I’m using that word so that its meaning encompasses even older group) bratz, whiney internet know-it-alls, prone to incoherent raging whenever something doesn’t come out as they planned, drool upon the notion of a manly hunk in shiny steel chopping heads off. Drooling is all that remains (apart from the possibility of virtual reenactment of wet dreams like these). Sad reality is that majority of these people, if some random time paradox hurled us all backwards into the era of King John, despite all of their modern day knowledge, wouldn’t survive that long. Or at all.Ironclad.2011.720p.BRrip.x264.YIFY[22-18-40]

Ironclad from Jonathan English runs along these lines. Being a masculine fantasy not unlike the Alamo or 300. Apart from that there’s really not much going on. Pull out the gore, pull out the tidbits of a plot that remained (someone actually bothered with the plot which just goes to show how disillusioned he was about what this movie actually is), pull out the elements of every siege movie you ever saw and there’ll be almost nothing left. Apart from your usual cannon fodder that passes these days for well-developed characters, or ridiculous attempt of in-depth analysis of the protagonist, or completely insane “love plot”, or predictable structure or even more predictable lines of dialogues. Ironclad looks like a Frankenstein monster, a patchwork sewn together from countless elements of other movies that someone thought of as cool or even necessary. Still, as it is medieval times we’re talking about the crowd went wild.Ironclad.2011.720p.BRrip.x264.YIFY[22-18-46]

Still, one shouldn’t overlook the tiny bit of insight (whether intentional or not I can’t say) that lays hidden beneath these images. The whole Magna Carta nonsense, as presented here, eerily resembles recent events around Libia and Middle East (with a nod to the destruction of social state as well). You’re a rich merchant/baron that is bothered by the king who has all these rules which you must abide? There’s a remedy to that. First, make a smearing PR campaign and present your opponent as a devil incarnated. After that, strip him of his sovereignty and when he musters some mercenaries to retake the throne call upon the foreign power and their military might. During all this, bitch about the human rights so that you get some sympathy from the common folk (from those that managed to avoid their head being smashed on the rubble), and there you have it. A perfect example of history lesson thaught with relatively small budget with a help of lurking idiots in armor chopping their limbs of. The concept of critique lies far above the reach of Jonathan English or his movie.    

Directed by

Jonathan English

Produced by

Rick Benattar
Jonathan English
Andrew J. Curtis

Screenplay by

Jonathan English
Erick Kastel
Stephen McDool

Story by

Jonathan English


James Purefoy
Brian Cox
Derek Jacobi
Kate Mara
Paul Giamatti
Vladimir Kulich

Music by

Lorne Balfe


David Eggby

Editing by

Peter Amundson


VIP Medienfonds 4
Rising Star
Silver Reel
Premiere Picture
The Wales Creative IP Fund
ContentFilm International
Perpetual Media Capital
Mythic International Entertainment

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The Adventures of Tintin (2011.)

Yeah, thing is, writing that ‘About’ part of the Blog took some time. More than I expected, actually. There has been a time when I could type up 300 words in a flash. Those were the good ol’ days filled with smoke, Tom Waits albums and some kind of liquor. Being a recent addition to the non-smoking clan (what? I haven’t lit a cigarette in a day) I find it difficult to concentrate on simple tasks like this. Typing up a sentence…well, coffee helps… the fact that it’s 1:31 AM doesn’t. Anyhow, The Adventures of Tintin. I should be able to say something fairly smart or perceptive about it though what precisely that would be I have no clue. ‘Twas something about the nature of representation (something about how Hergé’s Tintin more than anything else functioned as a generator of adventure-staples which have been used and re-used in Europe throughout the 20th century but where was I going with it, meh… I’ll remember it for some other occasion.), I’m sure that there was even some kind of rant included (as far as I can remember it was about how US, epitomized in Spielberg, had to reinvent Tintin for no reason whatsoever but to test the motion-capture technology and to appease the general audience. Funny thing is that this movie actually failed to generate enough income in US – which was expected, Tintin not being tights-wearing-do-gooder – but managed to do extremely well in Europe, in ‘the country’ where Tintin is the part of cultural legacy but high-tech shenanigans of US-cinema are usually sneered upon), and I could’ve sweared that there was something else, even more insignificant than the rest. I tend to forget things. Especially when much of the processor power has been used for battling the nicotine craving.


Joking aside, I think I can’t honestly say that The Adventures of Tintin has been a bad experience. During the years I’ve seen far worse usage of computer animation and non-sensical products too many to count. Even Spielberg himself, in the same year that he made this movie, managed to direct unwatchable crap like War horse, so as far as quality of experiences actually go, it has been an ok ride. Far from the best but far from the worst as well. I’m saying that as a Tintin-original fan, a guy that actually read the comics this thing was based upon, liked them immensely and managed to enjoy them over and over again. Hergé’s work is timeless. This movie won’t be. That kind of comparison doesn’t mean a thing in a long run though somehow I feel obligated to point that out. Weird how the mind works, huh? Focus man…. fuck the gas station 200 meters away that is opened 24/7 and sells cigarettes… think of the Terminator. Well, it’s as good an advice as any that I’ve heard in the last day.


I can only regret that Spielberg didn’t spend much time on capturing the spirit of Hergé’s Europe (though some would rightly say that the spirit of Hergé’s days isn’t really that nice a thing to be having around… concerning the rise of the conservative right-wing groups all over Europe one could almost see Hergé’s Europe returning in a way that will surprise some people). Instead he focused on big guns – the stuff that dreams (and adventures) are made off. Big ships, pirates, cannons, mass sword fights, sea storms and airplanes shooting on shipwrecked dudes. He focused on motion to a degree that one could say that Spielberg thought that the original Tintin was without dynamics of any sort. One has to applaud the fluidity of it all. Motion-capture or not, every single character feels lifelike and real, Hergé-real as someone already noticed. Though everything that I have said so far is more or less inconsequential. One should notice just this one thing, whether it was intentional or not I have no way of knowing. Have you noticed how the plot of The Adventures revolves around people who are so obsessed with their ancestors, babbling about legacies, bloodlines, curses and vengeances that span centuries? Have you noticed the state of the Haddock-estate (during the rein of The Usurper and the subsequent return of true blooded one)? The house was crumbling down as long as Captain Haddock was trying to lead a normal life, ignoring his “destiny”. As soon as he avenged his ancestor, peace and prosperity came back to the crumbling mansion. This kind of relation towards History and one’s own family characterized many Europeans during the 20th century, and there was a war or two, or a genocide or two, that was rationalized using the aforementioned model. It’s a prevalent thought even today and it seems that it’ll be around for quite some time. Now, one can expect to find something derivative like that in works of Hergé, finding it in Spielberg alarms me somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, I found many derivative things in Spielberg’s movies – I do find much of his aesthetics and poetics abhorring – so the alarm that I mentioned didn’t come out of not being prepared. It’s a different type of alarm. It’s the alarm you start to feel when you notice the return of neo-nazi political parties in Europe (think Greece, Hungary) at the same time remembering the success this silly little movie, which glorifies the Ancestors and Bloodlines, made in the Old Continent. If you manage to remember that the source material for this movie came from the works published from 1941. to 1944. alarm disappears and becomes more similar to fear. Or dread. Whichever euphemism you like the best.

Director: Steven Spielberg

Producer: Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy

Screenplay: Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish

Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Daniel Mays, Mackenzie Crook Toby Jones, Gad Elmaleh

Music: John Williams

Cinematography: Janusz Kamiński

Studio: Nickelodeon Movies, Amblin Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Wing Nut Films, Hemisphere Media


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