space to believe

welcome, weirdos

Missing Roger

These days, whenever I walk into the theater - even if I look alone - I’ve actually brought a friend with me. There are some movies that may interest me, but will not interest my friends or family. I’ve never minded going to the movies alone. So I hop in the car, drive down the hilly, curvy Gerber Road and make a right onto the more bustling Hendersonville.  I don’t stop until I see the brightly lit sign that displays the day’s available screenings. I may buy an overpriced bag of popcorn and a wallet-busting bottle of water, just to feel a little better about the junk food. I make my way down to Theater 1 or 5 or 8 or 13, whichever theater is showing, say, Philomena.

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Reflecting off my eyeglasses, particles and waves of light, fired through a digital projector and onto a silver screen that stands tall, bravely nostalgic of the days of analog and cigarette burns. If I’m honest, I would tell you this is when I like to put my feet up on the empty chair in front of me, my silent prayers hoping a stranger will not come to fill it.


When the film is over, I exit the theater and the only memory of me are ass prints in the seat, the fossilized bits of crushed popcorn or, perhaps, discarded wrappers of Goobers or Raisinets (I’m a terrible polluter of movie theaters, I will admit it), covered in my fingerprints that all the oceans of Neptune could never wash away. Yet as I walk towards my car in the parking lot, processing my thoughts of the picture, I can’t help but wonder what Ebert would have thought.

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After I walked out of the year’s best film, 12 Years a Slave, I thought how proud Roger Ebert would have been of Steve McQueen’s film. I watched Alfonso Cuaron’s visually masterful Gravity, and I know - I just know! - that Ebert would have been floored by the magic tricks and what a celebration of the medium it is, which he loved so dearly.

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As I process these films and these experiences, I wonder what Roger would have thought, wonder where he would surprise. I did not know Roger Ebert personally. I only knew his words. I miss his words. And every time I read a critic in the virtual playground who substitutes snark for criticism, shallow stand up acts for thoughtful conversation, I miss Ebert that much more. There are many critics that are carrying his torch in the best possible way. But I did not grow up reading them. And so I do not wonder what they thought of Upstream Color in the same way I wonder what Ebert - an authority figure in the cinematic realm since I was a child - would have made of it. Ebert tended to love the films of Spike Lee. Would he have liked Old Boy? Ebert adored the films of Martin Scorsese. I wish I could read his review of The Wolf of Wall Street. Which shots, which performances, which ideas of which movies this year would have tickled Roger the most?

 

In Robert Redford’s tale of innocence lost, Quiz Show, Ralph Fiennes wonders what Kant would make of his moral conundrum. I often wonder what Roger would have made of some cinematic works. Ebert tended to love the films of Spike Lee. Would he have liked Old Boy? Ebert adored the films of Martin Scorsese. I wish I could read his review of The Wolf of Wall Street. Which shots, which performances, which ideas of which movies this year would have tickled Roger the most?


I may walk into the darkened theater alone. But the ghost of a man I never knew always seems to be with me. And this is not at all a haunting experience. It’s a cinematic blanket, comfort food for thought. It may sound silly, but there are few activities I love as much as going to the movies. And what we bring with us into that theater is just as important as what we leave with. I bring Roger Ebert into every film I see. It cannot be helped. And if I leave a theater, and my smile is that much more grand, at least a small portion of the gracious beaming owes a debt of gratitude to a ghost. In there, in that smile— that’s Roger.

 

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spacetobelieve:

Gravity is the movie experience of the year and my opinion of the film has only deepened since watching it Friday night. Any nitpicks I have are - in the long run - kind of meaningless. This is a stellar cinematic experience. It is, as they say, why we go to the movies.  
The cinematography is gorgeous but it’s also a a series of hat tricks that, upon reflection, leave me increasingly dazzled, wondering, “How’d they do that?”. What DP Emmanuel Lubezki was able to pull off here is nothing short of astonishing and I’m not sure how anyone will top what he and Alfonso Cuaron (who rockets up to my top pick for the Best Director Oscar) accomplished here. It’s an amazing feat.
There is an elegance to the chaos of Gravity that is really admirable because it’s the fascinating qualities of outer space — with the glowing, awe-inspiring shots of Earth and the artful spectacle of exploding debris floating and spinning ad infinitum, that also makes it so damn frightening; it’s all a chilling beauty, a wonder well beyond our control as inherently terrestrial figures stuck, or glued, to our seats. And what makes those shots of Earth so moving is our realization that the planet is, ultimately, our safe harbor amongst a dark, unfeeling space.
The transformative metaphors of rebirth and spiritual evolution are obvious but they resonate, marrying well with the highly intense survival narrative. I love what a humanistic film this is; so many movies weigh us down with our flaws as humans (and we need some of those films), but it was nice that Gravity manages to lift us up. It makes us feel good to be part of this universe, and yet be safe at home while adventurers like Bullock’s Ryan Stone brave an abyss of which we’ve only begun to dip our toes. Yet I love this film because it celebrates not only Earth and our communion with it, but also our ingenuity, our innate desire to survive and - very separate from that - the need to live, truly live, in a lifetime that will test you and weigh down on you, whether your feet are firmly planted on the ground or floating in space, hundreds of miles above our atmosphere.
Ryan doesn’t master space, but she is at least able to master herself, help complete herself in a way that truly makes her life’s journey, whatever the outcome, a worthwhile trip.

spacetobelieve:

Gravity is the movie experience of the year and my opinion of the film has only deepened since watching it Friday night. Any nitpicks I have are - in the long run - kind of meaningless. This is a stellar cinematic experience. It is, as they say, why we go to the movies.  

The cinematography is gorgeous but it’s also a a series of hat tricks that, upon reflection, leave me increasingly dazzled, wondering, “How’d they do that?”. What DP Emmanuel Lubezki was able to pull off here is nothing short of astonishing and I’m not sure how anyone will top what he and Alfonso Cuaron (who rockets up to my top pick for the Best Director Oscar) accomplished here. It’s an amazing feat.

There is an elegance to the chaos of Gravity that is really admirable because it’s the fascinating qualities of outer space — with the glowing, awe-inspiring shots of Earth and the artful spectacle of exploding debris floating and spinning ad infinitum, that also makes it so damn frightening; it’s all a chilling beauty, a wonder well beyond our control as inherently terrestrial figures stuck, or glued, to our seats. And what makes those shots of Earth so moving is our realization that the planet is, ultimately, our safe harbor amongst a dark, unfeeling space.

The transformative metaphors of rebirth and spiritual evolution are obvious but they resonate, marrying well with the highly intense survival narrative. I love what a humanistic film this is; so many movies weigh us down with our flaws as humans (and we need some of those films), but it was nice that Gravity manages to lift us up. It makes us feel good to be part of this universe, and yet be safe at home while adventurers like Bullock’s Ryan Stone brave an abyss of which we’ve only begun to dip our toes. Yet I love this film because it celebrates not only Earth and our communion with it, but also our ingenuity, our innate desire to survive and - very separate from that - the need to live, truly live, in a lifetime that will test you and weigh down on you, whether your feet are firmly planted on the ground or floating in space, hundreds of miles above our atmosphere.

Ryan doesn’t master space, but she is at least able to master herself, help complete herself in a way that truly makes her life’s journey, whatever the outcome, a worthwhile trip.

Gravity is the movie experience of the year and my opinion of the film has only deepened since watching it Friday night. Any nitpicks I have are - in the long run - kind of meaningless. This is a stellar cinematic experience. It is, as they say, why we go to the movies.  
The cinematography is gorgeous but it’s also a a series of hat tricks that, upon reflection, leave me increasingly dazzled, wondering, “How’d they do that?”. What DP Emmanuel Lubezki was able to pull off here is nothing short of astonishing and I’m not sure how anyone will top what he and Alfonso Cuaron (who rockets up to my top pick for the Best Director Oscar) accomplished here. It’s an amazing feat.
There is an elegance to the chaos of Gravity that is really admirable because it’s the fascinating qualities of outer space — with the glowing, awe-inspiring shots of Earth and the artful spectacle of exploding debris floating and spinning ad infinitum, that also makes it so damn frightening; it’s all a chilling beauty, a wonder well beyond our control as inherently terrestrial figures stuck, or glued, to our seats. And what makes those shots of Earth so moving is our realization that the planet is, ultimately, our safe harbor amongst a dark, unfeeling space.
The transformative metaphors of rebirth and spiritual evolution are obvious but they resonate, marrying well with the highly intense survival narrative. I love what a humanistic film this is; so many movies weigh us down with our flaws as humans (and we need some of those films), but it was nice that Gravity manages to lift us up. It makes us feel good to be part of this universe, and yet be safe at home while adventurers like Bullock’s Ryan Stone brave an abyss of which we’ve only begun to dip our toes. Yet I love this film because it celebrates not only Earth and our communion with it, but also our ingenuity, our innate desire to survive and - very separate from that - the need to live, truly live, in a lifetime that will test you and weigh down on you, whether your feet are firmly planted on the ground or floating in space, hundreds of miles above our atmosphere.
Ryan doesn’t master space, but she is at least able to master herself, help complete herself in a way that truly makes her life’s journey, whatever the outcome, a worthwhile trip.

Gravity is the movie experience of the year and my opinion of the film has only deepened since watching it Friday night. Any nitpicks I have are - in the long run - kind of meaningless. This is a stellar cinematic experience. It is, as they say, why we go to the movies.  

The cinematography is gorgeous but it’s also a a series of hat tricks that, upon reflection, leave me increasingly dazzled, wondering, “How’d they do that?”. What DP Emmanuel Lubezki was able to pull off here is nothing short of astonishing and I’m not sure how anyone will top what he and Alfonso Cuaron (who rockets up to my top pick for the Best Director Oscar) accomplished here. It’s an amazing feat.

There is an elegance to the chaos of Gravity that is really admirable because it’s the fascinating qualities of outer space — with the glowing, awe-inspiring shots of Earth and the artful spectacle of exploding debris floating and spinning ad infinitum, that also makes it so damn frightening; it’s all a chilling beauty, a wonder well beyond our control as inherently terrestrial figures stuck, or glued, to our seats. And what makes those shots of Earth so moving is our realization that the planet is, ultimately, our safe harbor amongst a dark, unfeeling space.

The transformative metaphors of rebirth and spiritual evolution are obvious but they resonate, marrying well with the highly intense survival narrative. I love what a humanistic film this is; so many movies weigh us down with our flaws as humans (and we need some of those films), but it was nice that Gravity manages to lift us up. It makes us feel good to be part of this universe, and yet be safe at home while adventurers like Bullock’s Ryan Stone brave an abyss of which we’ve only begun to dip our toes. Yet I love this film because it celebrates not only Earth and our communion with it, but also our ingenuity, our innate desire to survive and - very separate from that - the need to live, truly live, in a lifetime that will test you and weigh down on you, whether your feet are firmly planted on the ground or floating in space, hundreds of miles above our atmosphere.

Ryan doesn’t master space, but she is at least able to master herself, help complete herself in a way that truly makes her life’s journey, whatever the outcome, a worthwhile trip.

Made this last year to celebrate MLK. Thought it would be a good time to break it out again.

Did a quick mockup of a still from the movie. Look forward to seeing this one again.

Did a quick mockup of a still from the movie. Look forward to seeing this one again.

Examining the Affleck-Batman Hysteria

Last night, Twitter blew up with news that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman. For weeks rumors were flying around as to who would don the mask. They want an older Batman. Josh Brolin’s name was bandied about. They offered Christian Bale 60 million to reprise the role. I certainly believe that one.

The Christopher Nolan Batman films are considered, in most circles, to be gold standard in terms of what a serious semi-realistic take on the Batman comics should look like. Some, however, like HitFix’s Kristopher Tapley, began to feel suffocated by Nolan’s take, accusing the filmmaker of holding the character hostage. I couldn’t disagree more (I’m more aligned with Paul Thomas Anderson’s take on Nolan’s trilogy), but I digress.

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TO DO LIST

This is just a brief self-reminder on some blogs/papers/videos I want to write for the site.

1. Affleck-Batman

2. Film Criticism/Social Media

3. Evolution/Film

4. Evolution/Film Videos

5. Tarantino Genre

6. Tarantino Genre Videos

space to believe

so much space to believe 
funny when you’re small 
the moon follows the car 
there’s no one but you see 
hey the moon is chasing me 

- DMB