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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Number 23, God Grew Tired of Us 

The Number 23:

During the screening of The Number 23, something I haven’t seen in ten years or more happened. The film caught and the frame melted. Instinctively I checked my watch. Relief: It was only an hour and 17 minutes in, so this was just a coincidence. No elaborate marketing ploy was underway, and the sinister properties of 23 hadn’t reached out from the celluloid to send us grave omens.

Not that I was scared. I don’t think anyone at the screening was. The fixation of Walter Sparrow’s (Jim Carrey) paranoia plays more like a game for the audience than a genuinely chilling conspiracy of numbers. Hunting and pecking. Searching out the film’s corners for more easter eggs. Imagine, if you will, attempting to submerge yourself in a film’s atmosphere while constantly outside of it, looking for what amounts to a series of sight gags.

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God Grew Tired of Us:

Danielle, a friend of mine, once worked with four of the lost boys of Sudan in AmeriCorps. Her reaction to them was much the same as my own to God Grew Tired of Us. For people who have experienced such unbelievable horror and atrocity—new to no continent on earth, but revisited with too much frequency in Sudan—they are almost universally kind, even sweet. They, perhaps more than anyone else on earth, have reason to be murderous, hateful, or just bitter. Instead, in Danielle’s words, they are “sincerely kind, open, warm people.” That they can recover from such horrible trauma is worthy of comment. That they carry no hate in their hearts is heroic.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Factory Girl, Four Eyed Monsters 

Factory Girl:

If you’re wondering what the phrase “famous for being famous” means, Edie Sedgwick is the definition. She’s a beautiful and charismastic art student from California, but we never see more than fleeting glimpses of her work, even as she works among the most famous artists of her time. It’s her attitude and charisma that rockets her to the top. That’s because in Andy Warhol’s crowd, posture and artifice – the creation and maintenance of the “scene” – are more important than the art itself. But that’s one man’s opinion.

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Four Eyed Monsters:

Arin, the shy videographer, describes his idea of the four eyed monster. “They have four eyes, they have two mouths, they have eight limbs that wrap around themselves in narcissistic self-adoration. It’s disgusting. And I can’t help but envy them.” He tells us this to a montage of happy couples in love, so we get the idea. He’s an outsider looking in, and can’t help but see a couple as a single unit, both fascinating and repellant. And he wants to be a part of one.

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