Unleash TACSF!

Click - > !HERE! < - to Unleash The Alphabetic Content Selector Feature!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Who's Your Daddy?

In Taken, Liam Neeson gives you a former superspy who now faces very mundane issues. These are common, nevertheless quite warm and quite pressing questions like coming up with the right birthday present for her late adolescent daughter.

The superspy's family is split by the time we join in, Neeson's figure gets thoroughly embarrassed when the stepfather delivers his very robust and very alive gift to the girl. Now shame on you if you got the wrong idea.

The daughter shortly will approach his father with a request to let her leave the country for a while. Though Neeson is hesitant at first, - this is everyday average superspy functionality, a so called: "Factory Default" - he finally agrees. Her daughter shortly will be Taken - hence the title, I suspect scientifically - by remarkably bad Albanian people, but Neeson gets enough information from his daughter in those very crucial moments to start his own crusade for the beloved kidnapped.

Liam Neeson looks and feels highly credible in this acceptable spy flick, though it is more precise to regard the installment as an average action film with a lot of similar fights and a lot of similar facial expressions in it. Perplexedly, the spy characteristics of the film come from nowhere except Neeson's raw elegance and consorting charisma, if the movie would lack his presence, then the results surely would be remarkably shallow and utterly predictable. Though the case remains similar nevertheless, Taken at least tries to look for openings to make the narrative more interesting, and even manages to find some extra moments of bitterly sought novelty shocks along the way.

The main problem with Taken is - if this is a problem at all - that it satisfies happily with the uninventive action directions concerning flashy car chases and profound strikes to the face performed by skillful hands and bathroom sinks in rapid succession. Thank God it is not the same face all the time. One might seem to molest the depths of an amazingly deep ineptitude if to blame an action flick for delivering action.

The drawback of this style of narrative though is that you know you are free to steal a glance at your watch, - if you do have one, I never had - because Liam will kick all hostile butts and will have the woman in the end, too. OK, will have his daughter. From this point on, it is the redefinition of action is the least I would anticipate from such a classic recipe, but that, Taken does not deliver.

- Hey, it's SHANNON from LOST! You may want to reconsider saving her ass.

At the end of the day, this film behaves more predictably as it approaches its own focal points in the narrative, but this is - sadly - normal behavior from present day action flicks. Initially, Taken is a film of solid acting and sane conflicts - from a narrative point of view - between its characters, but quickly will unfold to Luc Besson style car chase action, once the central conflict is introduced. I wouldn't call it a bad movie, though. I would call it a movie which Liam Neeson skillfully saves from being bad.

If you enjoyed this here article, check out my comic: Planetseed
If you are to circulate magnificently pleasant vibrations: Buy me Beer
Read more!

Monday, December 1, 2008


In Beautiful Dirt They Pay

Order a Wish! from Amazon

Arkadi and Borislav Trugatsky wrote the novel Roadside Picnic in 1971, a fiction released to the public by the very next year. A work sewn of subtle inventiveness to confront quite substantial indications of an alien intelligence with the political-, and even spiritual considerations human society and individual must face with in spite of such an encounter. In Roadside Picnic, the aliens use Earth to get rid of certain stuff they prefer to keep elsewhere than their immediate surroundings, yet these packages have the trait of dramatically affecting the regions they land on. It is not sure nor it seems particularly important if these objects and apparitions are solely alien garbage-elements or items that were of effective use for their originators at some time - the fact of the matter is that all seem to manipulate the behavior of earthy reality itself in a certain vicinity. These vicinities are referred to as Zones. Each Artifact the aliens have left behind - creates such a Zone.

These regions necessarily get under political-, and finally, under military control, making them forbidden territories that are very hard to enter, but even more hard to leave from. Places known to, or at the very least: rumored to possess both the gravest of dangers and the most precious of treasures. As such, illegal trespassers are to emerge shortly, risking both their sanity and their lives either for loot, or for those more delicate findings the Zone is rumored to possess.

These scavenger individuals are called Stalkers. Scouts with knowledge about the Zone they are resident around. Science, of course, is massively interested in gaining relevant information about the Zones, being constantly baffled both by its findings and via the realization of its current incapacity to properly account the results and phenomenons it encounters.

Notice how this 1971 work of the Trugatsky brothers sketched out the fictional outlines of an eerie, yet evidently unconscious prediction of future real life events that occurred in 1986. Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, surrounding area: a region which is almost completely vacant, giving place to the two ghost cities of Prypiat and Chernobyl. The Zone that does exist in reality. The Zone that came to existence seven years after Andrei Tarkovski delivered his motion picture variant on the related textual fiction-originator by the Trugatsky siblings.

Tarkovski regards time as the most important tool a director has, pointing out that every single frame of a motion picture has an inherent time in it, a period the given frame or sequence of frames is worth showing for.

Time is both fond and abundant here, as it has a whole micro-world to showcase. The Zone is the place which houses the demons you create for yourself. Understands what you anticipate from it and acts accordingly.

You possess constant capacity to alter the way you perceive reality around you, and the Zone is the place that invites you to seek out the truth of this very notion. The Zone will serve your anticipations, punishing you if you feel deserved to be punished, or grant the most secretive wish of your soul if you sincerely feel you could get away with the inherent fruit or the inherent burden of that desire more deservedly.

- Aren't you afraid the bus will EXPLODE??
- I'm afraid it WON'T!

The roamers of the Stalker universe are usually either the most desperate or the most reckless individuals, yet, there is a very thin line separating these rigid, nevertheless playful categories. As the Stalker states: the Zone seems not to be too fond of "good" people, or "bad" people. It is more fond of "hopelessness".

What is hope? Hope is fragile conviction, but the promise of conviction and the promise of potentiality - waiting to have the chance of claiming a slice of reality to finally manifest in.

Once someone remains free of hopes that one's negative or positive preconceptions have strong enough of a validity/warranty to unravel unto consensus reality, - necessarily bestowing an influence on the fabric of things, - then the Zone is likely to be fond of that visitor.

Concepts are formed to give the inventor of the concept a more comfortable way to approach and perceive reality, yet, imposing the concept necessarily constrains reality and may prove to be a hindrance rather than benefit once the ultimate source of the perceived is scrutinized. By accepting- and worshiping certain beliefs, one methodically narrows oneself to observe reality with all kinds of boundaries mounted on the apparatus one commands. Believing is: expecting.

The Zone does not want to be expected.

The Zone demands that you throw your expectations and consorting hopes away, thus, similarly demanding that you exhibit the non-compromised capacity to be utterly surprised- and accept whatever events, apparitions or experiences the Zone chooses to cross you with. This is the place that demands you to RELEASE whatever you believed to be proper, and true. More strictly: it demands you to release yourself from yourself. Once you antagonize the Zone's demands, cheap kind of death is imminent - this is a quite faulty decision from the authors. It could have been more fun if the Zone would choose to release the ones freely if they prove to be incapable of releasing themselves. A life stained by the inner experience of not being able to throw away what is - probably falsely - believed to be the limit, is a much more miserable burden than the embrace of lazy, fat death is.

Stalker delivers you a Writer and a Professor, both having a profane crisis in their lives. Not the same crisis, though. It is like - they are having their respective crisis. They hope - heh! - that the Zone will yield them some answers on how to proceed with their earthy existences.

Stalker's dialog is packed with delicate spiritual material - sorry about that - to sink your grateful astral teeth into. The conceptualization of music: who, or what, and how recognizes the harmony of music, and why, and how does it induce pleasant vibes in you? What is the "you" that recognizes the pleasant vibe? Stalker states that Power and Hardness are companions of Death, while Weakness and Flexibility are the companions of Life. This observation recognizes Power and Hardness as unavoidable conclusions/possessions one could end up at/with, as one reaches Power and Hardness by determining what is beneficial and what is not for one, if one is to attain these traits. Thus one who is Hard and Powerful inevitably denied and/or threw elements of consensus away, thereby limiting oneself. Funnily enough, being Powerful and Hard are two limits right away, aren't they?

addendum: after completing this review, I discovered at the 15th of March, 2008 that Tarkovski was fond of Chinese wisdom by the Stalker days. The sacred Chinese text Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Pass 76 translates to this:

Man at his birth is supple and weak; at his death, firm and
strong. (So it is with) all things. Trees and plants, in their early
growth, are soft and brittle; at their death, dry and withered.

Thus it is that firmness and strength are the concomitants of
death; softness and weakness, the concomitants of life.

Hence he who (relies on) the strength of his forces does not
conquer; and a tree which is strong will fill the out-stretched arms,
(and thereby invites the feller.)

Therefore the place of what is firm and strong is below, and that
of what is soft and weak is above.

Tarkovski implemented the message pretty much on a word-by-word basis, so it is absolutely acceptable, yet the act certainly may inspire you to read the rest of the entries as well. Here is the link in case you are interested:

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Tarkovski could not ever be bothered to deliver a motion picture output shorter and smaller than monstrous length and proportions, Stalker, fortunately, is no exception. A highly welcomed circumstance, as you can not have too much of a good thing, do not believe the hype.

- GOD, what HAPPENED to you!
- Huh? I'm around, I'm around.

Tarkovski recognizes the beauty of mud and dirt, or, to approach this seemingly controversial statement differently: this director shows you dirt, territorial neglect in such a calm, sober way that it becomes a thorough documentary of a place that has a blatantly powerful atmosphere to it. Beauty becomes neglect, neglect becomes beauty. The only thing that is really happening is that the Zone's blatantly powerful atmosphere gets recognized- and precisely presented to you. Tarkovski moves in this environment with the pace quite similar and harmonious to the mere rhythm of the region itself, including the strait, demanding lifestyle characterizing the surrounding settlements visitors are coming from.

Who is the Stalker here?

Stalker delivers quality character development. The Writer, offered by Anatoli Solonitsyn and The Scientist played by Nikolai Grinko are both doing a solid job of voicing a cleverly doubtful, and, oftentimes profoundly cynical intellectual and emotional stance towards existence in general, though all three men - Stalker: Aleksandr Kaidanovsky - have their own, quite cautious conceptualizations of the events that are likely to unfold and are worth preparing for on the road leading to the Goal.

There IS a Goal, indeed. A Room. More precisely: The Room. This is the place which fulfills desires, once reached. The two men will challenge each other, will even challenge the Stalker, forcing each one of the adventurers to express-, and to defend their respective attitudes/approaches they "hope" to cope with- AND within the Zone.

The Scientist reveals means he might be able to eradicate the whole Zone by. The Stalker gets frightened of this development - he wants to get a hold of the nuclear bomb the Scientist carries, - sorry for spoiling your enjoyment by the way - yet the Writer decides to defend the Professor instead of helping the Stalker to acquire the bomb. Why does he commit this? This is a very interesting question, which yields an even more interesting answer.

He probably does this because he believes that each one of them is entitled to have their very own agendas and attitudes represented in the Zone. Even a radical plan. All plans, all agendas the Zone is ready to give a place to. None of them should attempt to destroy-, or to question the legitimacy of any other attitudes or approaches. Only the Zone should judge, no man should. The Stalker wants to get hold of the bomb, so the place which is more important to him than his life, should remain intact. He confesses quite convincingly how he keeps everything of personal, intrinsic value here, a train of thought upon which he gets accused of pretending to be a God, a decision maker of who shall die and who shall live on this hectic territory, that which for he cultivates sentiments sewn of deluded selfishness.

By resonating the will to take the bomb away, the Stalker indeed exhibits the arrogant conviction that HIS faithfulness and personal attachment to the Zone should automatically "overwrite" the Professor's similarly legit conception and consorting plan of destroying the place. Loving and worshiping the Zone passionately - as the Stalker does - is a legit stance, but wanting to destroy it, IS a legit stance, as well. Denying the "right", the "spiritual right" to represent an agenda: is unacceptable. Either way, no Zone visitor is in the position to rightfully claim ultimate, superior legitimacy for her/his point of view, and for her/his agenda. The Professor actually has the legitimacy to blow the place apart, as much as the Stalker has the legitimacy to worship the Zone. The Professor can't neglect or destroy the Stalker's spiritual right to worship the Zone, but the Stalker can't take the bomb away from the Professor, thereby negating the spiritual right of wanting to destroy the Zone, either.

Stalker is a deeply spiritual output which plays on extremely atmospheric, high frequency registers when sensory assault is concerned, and it is concerned quite intensely in this here hypnotic effort. There is no pause, and here is why: the whole movie is a morose, prolonged pause. A moment to take a thorough look at the reflections this special Zone projects on the protagonists and on their respective agendas, also a moment to let you think if you would consider yourself prepared enough to enter this vibrant, capricious territory.

If you enjoyed this here article, check out my comic: Planetseed
If you are to circulate magnificently pleasant vibrations: Buy me Beer
Read more!