“this film is dedicated to the gallant people of afghanistan”

this is one of two quotes found at the end of rambo 3.  (the other is “i am like a bullet, filled with lead and made to kill”, which i think refers to rambo’s internalization of both his militaristic and zen-buddhist training, like how it’s not the solider that kills but rather the enemy appears and finds himself on the end of the sword without any conscious recognition or action by the solider, but rather something that happens automatically.)

i’m sure you’ve heard about all the new wikileaks on the afghanistan war.  browsing the so-called paper-of-record, i came across something that referred specifically back to the third rambo movie:

the taliban have used portable heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, a fact that has not been publicly disclosed by the military. this type of weapon helped the afghan mujahedeen defeat the soviet occupation in the 1980s.

rambo was recruited by col trautman specifically to ensure the successful delivery of these kinds of anti-aircraft weapons (stinger missiles) to the mujahedeen.  there were somewhere between 500 and 2000 of these missiles provided by the cia to the mujahedeen during the soviet invasion, but the cia only recovered about 300 or so after the war.  while there is some doubt that stinger missiles this old could still be functional, there is some evidence that some were reversed engineered to create even more effective stinger missiles.



Filed under Brian

glitchin’: i-frames or key-frames of a temporally compressed video are removed, causing frames from different video sequences to bleed together

in other words, computers do the (artistic) work for us.  here’s my favorite example:

1 Comment

Filed under Brian

the anarchist (in the usual beard)

some days, thankfully, i can forget that there ever where oscars.  other days, like yesterday, i end up watching part of the hurt locker.  and then i start wondering . . . have any good movies ever won best picture?  turns out we (or rather the academy) have only called them best picture for only the last 42 years.  from 44 to 68 is was known as best motion picture (as opposed, i guess, to ex-motion pictures); before that (41 to 43), outstanding motion picture; from 29/30 to 40, outstanding production; and from 27/28 to 29/29, outstanding picture.  so let’s forget about best picture awards, they’re all a waste (except maybe annie hall, silence of the lambs and rocky (even though rocky 4 is better)).  during the best motion picture period, we find some gems.  specifically, west side story, marty and, of course, all about eve.

but who cares about awards anyway?  they’re just marketing gimmicks.

back to the hurt locker.  in the beginning, perspectives change rapidly.  each of these perspective change (the long-shot of the bomb defusing squad, the close-up of the soldiers, the viewpoint peeking around the corner to view the action of the street, the long-shot of the rubble, etc) implies a camera filming the perspective.  but there are no cameras in the shots except for the camera mounted on the bomb-defusing robot.  so: cut to pov of the bomb-defusing robot.  at this point i realized how i would have loved this movie: if, instead of focusing on actual human soldiers, the film followed the view-point of robotic soldiers.  this, of course wouldn’t need to be limited to bomb-defusing robots but could also include remote piloted drones.  the best part is the camera used to record the footage would already be physically linked to the robot-soldiers.  the movie gets better.   it turns out the taliban, as a way of combating all these robot-soldiers, starts training terrorist monkeys.  which audio-visual recording devices attached to both the robot-soldiers and the monkey-terrorists, humans can now sit back and watch the televised battle.

this training of monkeys reminds me of this early silent film titled the anarchist and his dog.  in this classic, an anarchists makes a grenade to get back at some reactionary for thwarting his attempts to pick up this woman.  he throws the grenade near the target, but his dog ends up retrieving the grenade for him.  you can guess how the movie ends.


Filed under Brian

hearts on fire

the interesting thing about rocky 4 is that it takes place no-where.  or that’s one of the (many?) interesting things about rocky 4.

half of rocky 4 is training montages which inter-cut rocky and drago performing the exact same exercises.  the difference, of course, is that drago is using high-tech science equipment (computers, treadmills, red lasers) to train while rocky trains with farm equipment.  (what’s funny about this, is that at this time the united state was far superior, technological-wise.  and even more so now.  today, the scientifically enhanced athletes are not coming out of the (ex)soviet bloc, but out of the united states.)  but even given the different technologies/equipment used to train, drago and rocky remain largely the same: they are both training their bodies to destroy other bodies, but the training and destruction of other bodies leads to the breakdown of their own body.

if there is a difference between the two, it’s something like this: it takes a totalitarian apparatus to force drago to become this destroying body, but rambo has already internalized this kind of subjectivity on his own.

i really like the end credits and song

but it reminds me of the end credits to another movie . . .


Filed under Brian

What Up With That

So you may have noticed…I burned out a little. We were doing our month of foreign, watching Irma Vep and some Bunuel and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t end up writing about because I went a little crazy. It was probably just my period. A two week PMS fiasco. Anyway, I didn’t feel like blogging, or watching movies, or doing anything except watching episodic television and the game show “Minute to Win It.”

But, Scott made me get it together long enough to record this:


Just a picture of Scott so far. But we commissioned the artist to do me!

Go listen. I know you’ve been missing my take on movies.

I missed one of our triple features, too. We watched movies that had been banned in a country. Django, Team America: World Police, and Bad Taste. And it was great. We have another one coming up tomorrow that I’ll definitely be posting about.

For now, enjoy the podcast.


Filed under Whitney

notes on the young and the restless june 9 2010 (ace)

“i want to take a long vacation somewhere where they don’t have cell phones or the internet,” she says holding her new baby.

“does a place like that even exist?”

that’s a good question.  is there a splace — a position in space — inside of the young and the restless that is outside of the reach of cell phones and the internet?  is there a splace away from all those cameras?  a splace that allows the characters in the young and the restless to act in secret without revealing their actions to the viewing audience?  one of the things that makes soaps interesting is that there doesn’t seem to be any splaces like this.  there’s not any action, any scheming and side-plotting that doesn’t escape the gaze of the camera and the eyes of the viewer.  as long as you put in the time of watching every episode, there’s not an important aspect of any of the characters life you can’t view.  it’s like being god — except a suffering god, one who can only watch, cannot help, and can only suffer along with those suffering.

remember last post and the side-plot about using fetal stem-cells to save the life of a mother-to-be that would pose a risk for the babies-to-be?  well, it turns out that this other girl is surrogating the twins  and they seem to be headed towards a court battle pitting husband vs wife on the use of those fetal stem cells.  right now, the wife is in france in a clinical trial using adult stem cells to cure her cancer or whatever the disease she has (they’re never clear about what precisely the disease is), but the husband doesn’t trust adult stem cells and is now suing (who?  his wife?  the surrogate?) to bring her back to america and use the fetal stem cells from their future children, the twins being carried by the surrogate.  everyone one is pissed he’s going against his wife’s wishes, but it turns out the french clinical study using adult stem cells is no longer working which is why the husband is pushing forward with the law suit to save his wife’s life.  so everyone is re-evaulating their position and everybody must take sides.

“say goodbye to who you tried to be and hello to who you are.”

(are most of the commercials on daytime tv commercials for different perscription drugs?)


Filed under Brian

notes on the young and the restless, may 19 2010 (a.c.e.)

(since today’s movies are unwatchable, i’m watching soap operas instead)

but first, previously on the young and the restless:

the camera is hidden in a bag.  so the reality is hidden.

(by this i mean that the machinery used to capture reality —
reality that is not consciously altered by the presence of
a camera — is hidden hiding the reality of this reality tv)
so this blond girl (who is now being played by a different
actor) is staging public spectacles — nude animal testing
protests on television — as a way of gather footage for her
future reality show.  now she’s secretly video-taping her
parents as they deny her access to her inheritance.  all of
this goes viral.  her friends at the bar: “we watched it like
5 times and passed it along to all our friends.”  her reason
for this kind of guerilla reality show: “i dont want any suits
making the decisions; i’m making the decisions.”

side plot: “getting those stem cells may hurt the baby”
“if he gets the stem cells, he’ll get stronger.”
“what are the chances i’d get ovarian cancer at my age?”

in other words, she has cancer and her husband wants to
take stem cells from their soon to be baby to stop the
cancer, i guess.

back to hidden reality:
“i can capitalize on the public’s appetite for glamour”
“what’s the show about?”
“me.  or a character of me.  it’s aspirational entertainment.
(because she’s rich).  it’s all about controlling the message
— i have a social consciousness, including animal rights.  i’m
generating interest in me.”

her (rich(er)) parents aren’t buying it.  little do they know
that they are already being filmed.

what makes all of this so interesting is that the filming is
double — the fake filming of the hidden reality show and the
real filming of the tv show one life to live.

“there’s a reason famous people don’t want their children
photographed.”  but that reason is left unexplained.
“listen to how you’re talking about yourself . . . like you’re
a commodity.”  which is true, but if anyone is to blame, it’s
her parents who are so singularly focused on the creation and
circulation of capital (her dad’s business is a little unclear
— purposefully, since he doesn’t want cameras around to see
what precisely the business consists of).

Leave a comment

Filed under Brian