Mobile Suit Victory Gundam

gundam-victory

fpastar020TO START

In 1979, Yoshiyuki Tomino inadvertently kicked off an entire subgenre of mecha anime with Mobile Suit Gundam (or 0079 as it’s sometimes referred to), deemphasizing the seemingly integral aspects of unrealism and ‘logistics that simply work because it’s a cartoon’ wanton disregard for physics and gravitas in favor of a more hard science fiction approach to mechanical warfare and dealing with living or fighting in outer space.  For the next decade, anime producers and directors would mimic and explore the things he introduced with that landmark show, creating works varying from Ryosuke Takahashi’s Armored Trooper Votoms to Sh­ōji Kawamori’s famed Macross franchise.

Mobile Suit Gundam went on, more or less, to be the subject of twelve more series and numerous OVAs, specials, & films.  Tomino directed the next three sequel series, up to Victory Gundam in 1993, continuing to work within the Universal Century timeline he’d created with the 1979 series. After Victory Gundam’s broadcasting, UC timeline wouldn’t be wholly revisited again in series format, as future directors and creative teams would focus more on alternate scenarios and universes that happened to feature Gundam suits.  For anyone interested in a guide to the Gundam franchise, I’ve written an overview and guide available here. Read more of this post

La Noire de…

Sembène’s treatment of voice in La Noire de… is established at the film’s outset by coordinating Diouna’s question, “Will someone be waiting for me?”, with the back and forth movements of her searching head. This traditional rhythm of back and forth, question and answer, is expressed again in the film’s overall narrative structure: Diouna’s immediate experiences and troubled interior dialogue find answer in her memories. In this sense, La Noire de… is a film that—although markedly imbued with a rare primacy of the present—holds truth in its own prefigured past. Read more of this post

Stefan’s R&A: Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

Also known as "Evangelion, New Theatrical Edition: Break"

[Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this article has been split into two separate groups. The first half of the article is a traditionally written movie review for Evangelion 2.22 free of important spoilers that might ruin the experience for first-time viewers. The second half of the article is a in-depth comparative analysis between Evangelion 2.22 and the television show it was based upon: Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even a look as to how art can sometimes imitate life, and is targeted for those who have watched both the film and the original television show.] Read more of this post

23rd Psalm Branch by Brakhage


There something paradoxical about the relationship between film criticism and the medium it criticizes. It all starts with the opposing nature of language and images; in short, language is the tool with which we try to capture the essence of things we see and feel. Yet even if language refers to these things, it’s another matter entirely to say that it “captures” those feelings, those things, or the feelings behind those things. If you wanted to get academic, you might call it the difference between ontology and semiotics or, perhaps less obscurely, the difference between extension and intension. Read more of this post

Time of Eve: Social Consciousness and Machines

The concept of artificial intelligence is certainly an intriguing one.  A veritable library of science fiction films, comics, and novels have been released concerning it, dwelling on themes as wide-ranging as the philosophy of mind, the moral implications of robotic servitude, sexuality, and numerous others—often in some combination.  Time of Eve, a six episode OVA released over the course of 2008 and 2009, follows in the footsteps of those that have come before, so it probably won’t come as much surprise to see Asimov’s three laws of robotics playing a key role in its thematic undertones.  And, perhaps not unlike many other works focusing on artificial intelligence, Time of Eve’s main concern isn’t even artificial intelligence.  It uses that focus as a mirror in order to analyze what it means to be human, using multiple layers of allegory and a keen pace of storytelling to do so. Read more of this post

Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone

Evangelion 1.0

KlockWorx & Khara; Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki; based on the original GIANAX series.

Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this is both a review of the film and a comparative essay of the film and the television series it was based upon. The two have been separated into a spoiler-free review and an in-depth look into the two different incarnations of the story. This lets the people who want to avoid spoilers from reading any, which I hate as well simply because spoilers tend to confuse me when mentioned outside of the context of the film.

Review
The film kicks off by throwing the audience into the thick of a bizarre, sci-fi battle. Giant alien monsters, called Angels, attack a city called Tokyo-3 (we’re not entirely sure yet what happened to the first two Tokyo cities), and giant synthetic humanoid units called Evangelion are deployed by an organization called NERV to combat them. Shinji, a timid 14-year-old boy, is called upon by his father for the first time in years to assist in combat against the Angels.

Read more of this post

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser

A shirtless man is fondling a brass puzzle box whose idea of “No means no” involves spewing out flesh-piercing chains. The attic room he occupied fils with dangling hooks and spinning pillars adorned with flesh. The man, who we will soon learn goes by the name Frank Cotton, is reduced to a few gallons of blood soaking the woodwork, his face strewn about the room in chunks. Another man steps out of the dark. He is dressed in leather that stylishly draws attention to his various abdominal wounds. He is almost a silhoutte, but the light drifting down over the back of his hairless, ghost white flesh exposes a grid carved into his head, with a pin hammered into his skull at each intersecting line. He places the chunks of Frank’s mutilated face back together, in a jigsaw, and caresses the surface of the box. In a flash, all the chains and gore are gone, leaving the room as barren as if nobody was ever there.

Read more of this post