May Gnon have a fortunate 2016 lined up for all you wretched sinners.
2015 has been intense, and deserves some considered retrospection here — but no way is it getting that now.
Feel free to stick succinct summaries of 2015 and short-term confident predictions / prophecies for 2016 here, if so inclined. You can be held to them later.
See everyone next year.
December 31, 2015admin
FILED UNDER :Review
TAGGED WITH :Time
Half way through, and there’s already more than enough for an enthusiastic recommendation. (The utterly despicable Her already left twitching in the dust.)
Will report back upon completion.
(This trailer is a cultural treasure for the quotes alone.)
England’s greatest artist, as portrayed by Mike Leigh:
Despite the depiction of Turner as a shambling, grunting, snorting orc — perhaps motivated by revolutionary class politics — the movie is not without its strengths. The cinematography is often breathtaking, with a purpose. Watch it just for the art that burns through the screen.
All the stuff everyone else is saying is right. The Lou Bloom character is a creation of sheer genius, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in the role is beyond superb. The movie edges right up to the boundaries of the horror genre, and is also savagely humorous. Nihilism can produce high art, when it’s done right.
Nightcrawler approaches the topical subject of the relationships between the media, business, and law enforcement in a way that eludes conventional pieties. It deserves NRx endorsement just for that. In its darkness are strung subtle threads of possibility, in the working out of abnormal but powerful imperatives — of a supremely cynical kind — comparable in their diagonal subversiveness to a re-animated Scottish Enlightenment on ketamine, with all progressive hope burnt out so radically it doesn’t even register as a question.
These impulses are avatars of what is coming out of the collapse — tough, consummately disillusioned, and exploratory things.
Horroristic practice: to seize the collapse of the world as the opportunity for an encounter with the Outside. Is this NRx? In all probability, no more than symbiotically. The occasion for tactical alignment, however, is considerable.
There are twin tracks into the gathering darkness, but horrorism is by far the more capable of feeding itself. (The chronic NRx call for ‘action’ is a symptom of malnourishment.)
The world war is Bitcoin versus Dugin. Everything else is just messing around (or, perhaps, tactics).
(Also via Singapore Airlines.)
Edge of Tomorrow is science fiction Groundhog Day, agreed. (It would make no sense to contest this, some scenes achieve near-perfect isomorphy.) Derivative, then, certainly — but this is a point of consistency. Duplication is, after all, the latent theme. Edge of Tomorrow works better because it has formalized the time-repeat plot-system in videogame terms. Death replaces sleep, as action drama replaces comedy, but the recurrence of time is captured more incisively by the Edge of Tomorrow maxim: “We should just re-set.” Further to be noted: Edge of Tomorrow actually has a story about the basis of its time anomaly — and not an especially risible one — while Groundhog Day doesn’t even pretend to.
We should just reset is not only videogame practice, but also the recommendation of quantum suicide, another practical Electrocene philosophy. The best fictional exploration of QS (of which I am aware) is Greg Egan’s Quarantine.
Videogame ideology and quantum suicide are praxial indiscernibles. In other words, their behavioral implications are equivalent. In both cases, the relation to self is made selective, within a set of virtual clones. Whenever developments — within one of multiple assumed timelines — goes ‘bad’ it should be deleted (culled). In that way, only the most highly-adaptive complex behavioral responses are preserved, shaping fate in the direction of success (as defined by the selective agency).
Recent discussions about Christianity and Paganism raise the question: what does it take for a system of belief to attain religious intensity among Westerners today? (Yes, this could be re-phrased in very different ways.) To cut right to the chase: Could statistical ontology become a religion (or the philosophy of a religion)? Quantum suicide terrorism anybody? This is a possibility I find hard to eliminate.
Edge of Tomorrow, therefore? A more significant movie than might be initially realized. (It’s monsters are also quite tasty.)
ADDED: Thoughts on Post-Rationalist religion.
Singapore Airlines is awesome to a preposterous degree — a fact that might feed into the recent outburst of reactionary curmudgeonry about mass air travel (which I need to track down). It was an opportunity to catch up on some movies I’d missed. The most notable of these was Snowpiercer (highly recommended).
It’s one of those movies you have to stick with — give up before you’re halfway through and you’ll have no idea what all the fuss was about, but make it to the end and you’ll know you’ve seen something memorable. The genre is becoming huge. It could probably be described uncontroversially as apocalyptic neoreactionary speculative drama. Gibson’s The Peripheral is self-consciously there. One obvious (and striking) movie comparison is Elysium. In its purest form, the genre goes to rightist places nothing else quite reaches.
It begins with a revolutionary-leftist frame, which is eventually broken on the wheel of irony (more or less occult). The more subterranean the ironization, the more comical the result. In this respect, Snowpiercer is more Animal Farm than Elysium — which is to say, a far more overtly reactionary work. “Order is the barrier that holds back the frozen death. … All things flow from the sacred engine.”
This documentary movie is superb. It has China, cyberpunk saturation, metaphysics, horror, humor, and the most extreme immersion in absolute sarcasm as a strategy of elusive dissidence ever realized in any medium. Every dimension of production is executed brilliantly, and the screenplay is a masterpiece (it’s a text I’d be almost ready to kill for right now). It’s probably not an easy cultural object to get hold of, but it’s seriously worth the effort.
The most prominent problems with Interstellar have already been capably discussed, so it’s not worth spending much time going back over them. The basic catastrophe scenario has more gaping holes than a Hawking cosmology, and is in fact so ludicrous that it quite neatly takes itself out of the way. The framing ideology is romantic superhumanism, which might even count as a positive for some (although not here). The musical score (by Hans Zimmer) was wildly overwrought. All-too-typically for Hollywood, high-pitched emotional extravagance was shamelessly indulged. Despite all of this, it was a great movie.
Interstellar‘s narrative architecture is composed of a deep cosmic space-frontier story, and an occult communication story, bolted together by a time loop. (Plug.) The involvement of Kip Thorne reinforced the seriousness of this framework. (Thorne’s explorations of cosmological warping are a marvel of advanced modernity.) Nolan is, in any case, a director who knows things — or at least suspects them, enough to stretch his audience. As a piece of contemporary myth-making on an epic scale, the achievement of Interstellar is formidable.