Prints > Posters

Let’s talk prints, again. But before we do that, let’s get one thing straight: I consider prints and posters to be two different terms. Posters are what you see in malls and movie theaters. Prints are what you see in galleries and in my room. So if I come off as a self-pretentious douche-bag (if I don’t appear so already) for saying one over the other, I have my reasons. With that out of the way, let’s talk about my recent print acquisitions.

After much deliberation, I finally pulled the trigger on Ken Taylor’s piece on Breaking Bad. And believe it or not, I lost some sleep over it–$220 is too much to shell for any unemployed college student. And no, I didn’t go running to “bank” mom. I ended up selling a few of my things, such as an N64 that was confined in the attic…and a copy of Pokemon Snap and Mario Kart that I’ll never get to play again–practically sold my childhood to some dude in Rhode Island. But let’s not forget what I bought in return:

It’s a beaut, ain’t it? I’ve been eyeing this print for awhile now, and considering that I missed both drops of the print a few weeks ago, I certainly wasn’t going to pass on it. This will be the final print of my Breaking Bad series, as I think 6 is enough–for now. And what a perfect print to end the collection with. Taylor did an absolute masterful job portraying the somber and serious tone of the show; with the ominous green colors and the decrepit faces of the cast of characters, this is Breaking Bad.

In spite of spending more than I ever imagined on a print, it’ll be a great investment in the long-run when we look back at how television was never the same after Breaking Bad.

Shortly after buying the Taylor print, I became a little trigger-happy and bought Mark Englert’s You Are My Lucky Star. Dammit, Max!

I’ll be honest, I bought this on a total whim after reading the hype for it on the ExpressoBeans forums. However, the print itself looks beautiful. The combination of the black border and night sky is majestic, yet simple. And yes, that’s Ridley Scott’s Alien. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with the print yet but I’m sure it deserves a spot on my wall.

Well that does it for my print acquisitions and for the sake of my wallet, I hope it’s the last one for awhile. The last time I was this invested in collecting was during my adolescent Yu-Gi-Oh days.

mL 

Compliance With The Dragon Tattoo

 

I dare you to watch Compliance–a movie that made me so uncomfortable that it forced me to take ephemeral breaks. Directed by Craig Zobel, Compliance is about a young female employee (Becky) falling victim to the strip search prank call scam. The prank caller, referring to himself as officer Daniels, accuses Becky of theft and what follows next is the most agonizing and frustrating 90 minutes of your life.

There is so much stupidity in this movie. I mean, does it really take 5 grown-adults to realize that this is all a hoax? Granted, the dramatic irony in the film is in full-swing from the get-go but doesn’t it get to a point when the sadistic requests, well, become sadistic? Hell, a remote strip-search in and of itself is illegal. And this also questions how much authority law enforcement actually has. Considering that the prank was driven by the sole illusion of a supposed police officer, it made everything seem justifiable: “Inspect her butthole, you say? Aye aye, Cap’n!” But to be fair–really fair–men are pigs.

In all seriousness, though, this was an uncomfortable movie to watch. Not in a squinted-eyes-shaking-my-head kind of way but in a no-way-they-really-went-there kind of way. Just when you thought the film hit its moral boundaries, it decides to expand its territory 100 miles; and what results are scenes of sizzling french fries and fellatio–the classiest combination one could ask for.

Is Compliance as extreme as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? I guess…but each had its own reasons for being so fucked up. Dragon Tattoo’s plot was more than just the rape and sexual abuse, it had its own core story. But with Compliance, the plot was driven by the strip search and immoralities–which I guess made it a much more painful movie-going experience.

*Side-note: Please tell me those “come” references in the movie weren’t intentional

mL

Post Nolan Era

It’s officially now a post-Nolan/TDKR era, and it’s hard to fathom that even after this Summer’s definitive film, there are other highly anticipated movies still making their rounds. So for about the next 400 words or so, forget about “Bruce-Nolan” or anything about Batman, and educate yourself on the movies I’m excited for.

Total Recall 

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A remake of Arnie’s original 1990 science-fiction action film. I’ll admit I know nothing about the story, or the film, for that matter. I never had the chance to watch the original, which may or may not hurt my geek cred. But considering that I’ve never seen the original Star Wars, it’s most likely non-existent now. From the two trailers I’ve seen, there are certainly compelling scenes that interest me. However, I’m absolutely gushing over the cyberpunk-esque environment; Deus Ex, anyone? As for Colin Farrell, whom I’ve surprisingly never had a problem with, has always been convincing as a lead role. But it’s definitely a huge downgrade in terms of the unrelenting body fat to lean muscle mass ratio from Mr. Terminator; one does not simply replace Arnold. But hey, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale? I’m sold.

The Bourne Legacy 

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As an avid Bourne fan who unconventionally started the series from Ultimatum to Identity, and then proceeded to re-watch it again in the appropriate order, Bourne has always been a household series. Even after several viewings, I still get chills from this scene. And now with The Bourne Legacy, and Jeremy Renner as our new Solid Snake, Sam Fischer, James Bond, Jason Bourne, I’m inundated in a wealth of excitement. However to be clear, Jeremy Renner is not the new Jason Bourne. Renner plays a character named Aaron Cross, although not Jason Bourne, the two share a similar background and finesse. As for Renner himself, he’s proven that he can tackle ambitious roles, from The Town to Iron Man’s Captain America’s Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, I have all faith in the man. But I’ll admittedly miss Damon.

Taken 2

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Liam “Badass” Neeson. Need I say more? Taken indomitably epitomized the magnitude of how much audaciousness an actor could portray in a 90 minute movie. If one thing is clear, thy shall not kidnap Neeson’s daughter, professionally nor personally. With Taken 2, it’s more of its predecessor but with more Neeson. A lot more. And hey, if this become’s a canon to some sort of Ra’s al ghul spin-off, I’m all on board for that. No, I’m kidding. Only someone like George Lucas would do such an abominable thing. But then again, Liam Neeson would make it infinitely better, no?

It appears that I missed Skyfall and some other hype-wagon film, but after Quantum Solace, I only have this to say:

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

-mL

Rise

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Spoilers Ahoy! 

It’s hard not to like The Dark Knight Rises. It is by no means a horrible movie, nor is it appropriate to say that it’s flawless. But considering the impeccable pedigree of Christopher Nolan, you can always rely on the renown director to deliver a satisfying experience. He hits on several previous aspects from throughout the trilogy; from the League of Shadows to Harvey Dent’s “legacy”, much of the film highlights and personifies these aspects to conclude the epic story of Batman.

Nolan drafted the best cast you could ask for. It’s obviously expected that he’d cast the same recurring roles, but the new additions he added were excellent. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is one that really stole the show. She’s sexy, sly, and subtly caring. All of which comprises the ideal Catwoman. ImageThroughout the film, she’s portrayed as a dubious and rebellious thief, but we see a significant character development. During Batman’s first confrontation with Bane, her face was full of regret and shame, as she was the one who led Batman to his “expected” death. By the time she’s caught by Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character, John Blake, she’s hopeless and dejected of what’s happened. It’s apparent that the relationship between Batman and Catwoman is one that can be seen as two professionals cooperating to do their jobs, but in reality, the actual chemistry between Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne is one that can be seen as a Mr. and Mrs. Smith kind of deal.

As for Levitt, his role as Office/Detective Blake was one that constantly gave rays of hope to not only the children of Gotham, but also to Bruce Wayne himself. Blake was one who could not only relate to Wayne’s childhood as an orphan but he carried a similar mentality and motive to that of the billionaire vigilante.

ImageWith the eventual reveal as Blake being “Robin”, you could see why Wayne bestowed the cave to Blake. We’re not sure if whether he’ll take the throne as Gotham’s next guardian, but Wayne selected a perfect candidate to take on the ambitious role.

And now, let’s talk about Bruce Wayne. This was the biggest character arc for Wayne out of the trilogy, and it’s one of the several things I liked about the film. Previously, we never saw such a crucial development from a character. He was always a flamboyant and affluent figure, with a lot of things appealing in his favor. But it was different in TDKR. Very different. It took what we all knew about comic books and super heroes and fully bashed it to the ground. Instead of Batman predictably accomplishing the typical struggles, Nolan retracted every bit of that sense of monotony and illustrated a situation that we were absolutely not familiar with – Batman being gruesomely castigated by Bane. It was a situation in which I was desperately asking myself What’s going on?! Wait, this isn’t supposed to be happening! The confrontation led to one of the most historic events in comic books,Bane snapping every possible bone in Batman’s spine. Batman’s destined rise was one that essentially amplified many of the conflicts initiated by Bane and inevitably spelled the steroid-juiced villain’s demise.

The development encompassing Wanye from The Dark Knight to TDKR is indicative of what Batman is fundamentally about. His identity as the Dark Knight to this point has become an obligation to Gotham, and although is willpower is potent, the life that he lives has become too convoluted and extracted. It was clear what Batman wanted from start, but haunted by the events in The Dark Knight, he’s lost the elemental motive of being a defender for the city. In reality, his role as Gotham’s vigilante has become overdue. He put the suit on for one last time and after that, he’s  ready to retire and live a life of his own.

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You only adopted the dark… I was born there… The shadows betray you… because they belong to me.

Aside from the exemplary aspects of what Nolan did with the movie, aesthetically and technically, there were some flaws. Let’s start with Bane. Sadly, I wasn’t aware that he dropped that beautiful piece of rhetoric above, due the sole fact that, well, his dialogue was incomprehensible. For most of it, I had to rely on context dialogue, but even that made me things a bit jumbled. As for the actual performance of Bane, Tom Hardy produced a fitting outlaw that was menacing and stout.  Even if his voice was drowned by a respirator, it certainly contributed to his looming figure as the main villain. Or was he? By the end of the film, he was portrayed as this soft kitten, and I even felt sympathetic for him. On top of that, his death by Catwoman was extremely unconvincing and ambiguous. As the main villain for about 95% of the film, he deserved a better death. I also found Talia al Ghul’s role as a villain fairly weak. Being the “twist of the hour”, and introduced near the end of the film, she could have been fleshed out slightly better.

Nolan’s known for his ambiguous and open-ended endings, so it was no surprise that the last seconds of the film were open for  interpretation. We’re not sure if whether Batman is dead or not, but we are given the fact that the auto-pilot on the Bat was functional, so it’s highly possible that he escaped the explosion. But again, his death is up in the air. If you ask me what I think, he’s alive.

It could be said that it’s not about the ending, it’s about the journey, especially with Bane. However, much of what I didn’t like about the film were the villain arcs and some technical issues, but the latter is easy to shrug off. There were also some critical pacing issues, but it seemingly improved as the acts progressed. Alternately, the issues that I had with the film were minor and should be taken with little regard. The Dark Knight Rises was easily  an amazing conclusion to the trilogy, and certainly an exceptional film in and of itself. I could continue my thoughts for another 1000 words, which I might save for a future post, but what I’ve laid out today should decisively be enough to fully convince my thoughts of the film.

My thoughts are with the victims of the Colorado shooting. It was a senseless tragedy that most thought was an extension of the film experience. It was absolutely heinous and disgusting.

Batman himself put it best: 

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-mL