Chan-Wook Park’s Oldboy

Posted in Cinema on April 21, 2009 by dvcmann

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oldboy-hammer-fight-corridor-scene1

Park’s Oldboy is a brilliant and creative piece of fimmaking.  It is visually stunning with its use of color, exposure, and composition that is punctuated by a haunting score and fantastic acting performances.  Which brings me to this:

It is important to view Oldboy in the original Korean audio with appropriate subtitles.  This goes without saying when discussing other foreign greats like Rififi, La Femme Nikita or Pan’s Labyrinth; however, for some reason, Asian fims seem to get dubbed (We can probably thank matinee kung fu film tradition for that.) and DVD’s may come preset that way as the default version.  It comes across as cartoony.    The dubbed version of Oldboy is like watching Mann’s brilliant work in Manhunter with voice-over done by the cast of  iCarly.

oldboy

Oldboy’s subject matter and graphic intensity make the film difficult for some.  It won the Grande Prix award at Cannes, although it surprisingly didn’t make a recent list of the top 25 most contoversial films.  The plot unfolds and refolds like a paper figure; one moment a swan, the next a tiger, with a climax that rivals Seven or Sixth Sense.  It has all the kinetic energy of a great martial arts movie and unleashes it with heavily stylized violence like the single shot corridor fight sequence, but just like in physics, it has the ability to contain that potential force with the power of stillness as you hear the sound of the wind or footsteps crunching in the snow.  It is that pause that emotes, let’s it sink in.

Lastly, this film reaches for places that American movies hardly do anymore.  Forget the test screenings and number crunchers, the ones that are killing John Hillcoat’s iteration of The Road as we speak; no, Park went for it – all in – like a fucking Korean Kowboy, and that’s why the movie resonates so cleanly.

Oldboy, like all true art, must be visited often, and we get a chance to do that with the joy of new discovery and perspective.  Oldboy can’t be taken in at one time any more than Blood Meridian or Mozart, and that continuing relationship is the secret the Mona Lisa smiles about.  The one you feel when she looks at you.

If You’re Reading This, You are the Resistance

Posted in Cinema on March 12, 2009 by dvcmann

SkyNet sees…

New Palahniuk Book Due Out In May

Posted in Read This on January 9, 2009 by dvcmann

This place is starting to look like a Palahniuk fanboy site.

Amazon has the pre-order up already.

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Half-assed Chicken Marsala

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2009 by dvcmann

4-6 chicken breasts

1/4 C flower

1 beaten egg

3 stalks celery chopped

a bunch of chopped mushrooms

handful of chopped nuts, pecans, walnuts etc

1/4 – 1/2 c chicken or beef broth

1/4 – 1/2 c marsala or red wine

You smash the chicken like no one’s looking.  Saute the celery, ‘shrooms and nuts in a couple of Tbls of olive oil until tender.  You decide at the last minute to add some fresh minced garlic and set things aside just like when you procrastinate.

Get the chicken messy in the egg and flower, mixing in some pepper and garlic.  You brown that dirty bird in some buttah until it smells real good.

Throw the colorful stuff back into the mix and pour in the broth.  That wine wants in there too.  Reduce it down – you be the dom, it be the sub.  Make it beg.

When are you going to salt and pepper to taste?  When you get around to getting your act together.  That’s when.

Shred some carrot on top too.  Make it look pretty.  Pretty stuff is entirely more fun to eat.  You’ve always thought so.

Diary by Charles Palahniuk

Posted in Read This on January 9, 2009 by dvcmann

palahniuk_diary-cover“…an artists job is to make order out of chaos.  You collect details, look for a pattern, and organize.  You make sense out of senseless facts.  You puzzle together bits of everything.  You shuffle and reorganize.  Collage.  Montage.  Assemble.”

“…an artist’s job is to pay attention, collect, organize, archive, preserve, then write a report.  Document.  Make your presentation.  The job of an artist is just not to forget.”  ~ Diary, CP

Part Johnathan Livingston Seagul, part The Shining, Diary is set in the blue-blood confines of an island community similar to Nantucket or Martha’s Vinyard. Diary explores the origins of creativity and the nature of genius.  Is art merely a self portrait of the artist?  Is art a mirror that shows us only ourselves as we filter everything through our experience and perception?

William Blake’s famous quote  “If the doors of perception were cleansed man would see things as they truly are – infinite.” definitely applies in Chuckie’s World.  He asks us what else might be going on if  that muck that is our beliefs, prejudices, superstitions and hang-ups were to be wiped away.  Even if it were all suddenly stripped from us, what would we be willing to believe?  Randian objectivism being put through the wringer.

Meanwhile C reminds us that “what you don’t understand you can make mean anything.” and of the propensity for self delusion and denial.  What are you willing to see, even when the ghastliness of it is too much?  In this case, the main character’s love for her own child is diabolically used to obfuscate; a human shield used as a perception filter to hide the horror of her predicament.

Yungian archetypes are touched on and Palahniuk examines the generational disconnect seen in many of his works.  Much of it will be familiar to anyone having read any two of his books.  He tinges things with the supernatural as he did in Rant with the seemingly mystical ability to reincarnate and and retain knowledge.  He builds tension with a race for one woman to discover the truth in time…

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See also:  camera obscura, Plato’s Cave, epistemology, Carl Yungs shadow work

The Warm Up

Posted in Strength & Conditioning on December 10, 2008 by dvcmann

Mike and Sage Burgener on the olympic weightlifting warm up:

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Greg Amundson’s Crossfit warm up:

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The Official CrossFit Warm Up cut’n’pasted straight from their website:

The “official” CrossFit Warm-up is in the April 2003 CrossFit Journal.

3 rounds of 10-15 reps of
Samson Stretch (do the Samson Stretch once each round for 15-30 seconds)
Overhead Squat with broomstick
Sit-up
Back-extension
Pull-up
Dip
Note that for a workout that’s dip or pullup-centric, you might want to do something else in the warmup.

The Deadlift

Posted in Strength & Conditioning on December 8, 2008 by dvcmann

According to Greg Glassman

and Mark Rippetoe