Over at BrooklynVegan, Klaus Kinski expressed how he felt some concern ahead of the new release from one of the pioneers of electronic dance music, Underworld. He ended up realizing, “[T]hey still deliver records with as much energy and intensity as ever as evidenced by their newest release Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future. When artists I love are in the grips of old age, I am always prepared to be disappointed by their latter day releases. I don’t know why I do this… But once again they delivered an item of vintage Underworld sound.”
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Pryor Stroud: French goth-electro artist Kangding Ray weaves sonic tapestries out of encrypted shadow-codes—little pockets of dead and actively dying light—that remain defiantly opaque to interpretation yet still seem to telegraph a range of lurid secrets. In “Brume”, Ray augments an industrial rock throb with synth washes that seem to wander blindly out of the track’s pitch-black corners, creating a sense of subterranean space that seems to get smaller and smaller as the seconds tick by. Some steam-engine machine grinds away in the background; stray electrical wires seems to convulse across the track’s bed, shooting sparks storms and inspiring an omnipresent sense of fear. “Brume”, in sum, sounds like it is set in a horror-movie basement lab where unnameable surgical implements, strange chemicals, and sealed-off freezers line the walls. [7/10]
About two thirds of the way into Hardcore Henry, Jimmy, one of the main characters in the film, performs the movie’s only musical number, crooning that Sinatra staple “Got You Under My Skin” for both the titular character Henry and to “you”, the audience of the film.
Obviously, the film creates an odd relationship between the audience and the film’s protagonist, Henry, by aping the first person perspective of a first-person-shooter video game. That perspective in video games is in part intended to create the illusion of the player occupying a game world almost directly, since that player is seeing seemingly through the eyes of the character that they are playing.
William Cameron Menzies (1896-1957), was one of the great influential production designers in cinema; indeed, the term “production design” was coined for his work on Gone with the Wind (1939). Yet, he was less prepossessing as a director because of failings common to art directors turned directors: he tended to use actors as design elements rather than encourage performances from them, and he tended to pay more attention to “the look” than the story and pace. Even so, he directed two remarkable if imperfect examples of ‘50s Cold War paranoia: Invaders from Mars (1953) and the earlier The Whip Hand (1951), which is now on demand from Warner Archive.
A blandly pretty, young Elliott Reid plays Matt Corbin, a reporter who goes fishing near a small town and smacks his head against a boulder. Late in the movie, he’ll smack the other side of his head against a branch and start bleeding all over again from a fresh wound. What a clumsy fellow! When he goes for help, he finds himself a prisoner of taciturn, falsely friendly, or just openly hostile locals who have taken over the town since all the lake fish died from a mysterious virus. What’s going on? It has something to do with the lodge across the lake, and Matt smilingly blusters his way into trouble while romancing a nervous local sweetheart (Carla Balenda).
High scores, achievements, leveling up. The system runs on points, measures us in points, validates us in points.
This week, we go back to an episode from when the Moving Pixels podcast considered the value of points. What points matter to us? Why do we want them? Why do they matter so much to us?