rinue: (Default)
You don't really know a space until you try to repair it. Case in point, in my gradual process of filling nail holes in the woodwork with wood putty, I've discovered the section of woodwork to the right of my office door isn't nailed to the wall, just carefully leaned against it. It has nail holes in all the places you'd expect, but there are no nails in them. All the woodwork was installed at the same time, which was several years ago. Current (definitely wrong) theory: a clever chemistry trick.

poked hive

Apr. 30th, 2015 01:31 pm
rinue: (eyecon)
For well more than 7 years, Ciro and I have intended to move to Italy sometime about now. We figured that after he graduated college (two years from when we started saying this, when I finished grad school), it would take about 5 years to wrap up some Private Family Business for which I preferred to be near my parents and in a country where I natively spoke the language. (My Italian comprehension is ok, but not when you get into technical and legal vocabulary, and my confidence when it comes to speaking more than nouns is nonexistent.) We've been really public about this - not online, because who cares, but in real life with people who might have their own plans impacted.

As forecast, we wrapped up the critical stages of Private Family Business in November, almost exactly when we guessed we would, and no longer need to be in Boston. So Ciro mailed his citizenship paperwork to an Italian lawyer cousin and enrolled in classes to get a TEFL certification, which he got in late February. He spent March sending out job feelers and updating his resume. The news he got back was basically that he should be able to get a job quickly, particularly if he's willing to work outside of the major cities, but needs to apply in person, ideally before September (when the school year starts). He had a bunch of doctors' appointments in April and we have guests throughout May, so the earliest he could go over to Italy to do that is June.

Tickets have not been bought and it could be later than June. Once Ciro does get over there, maybe he will immediately find a job in a place he likes, or maybe he will spend two months with people saying "we can't tell you until August," or maybe he will look for four months and find nothing and come back here and we'll talk about whether he needs to get experience teaching someplace in the States, or whether there's good-paying work in someplace interesting in South America, or what. Even in the fastest-case scenario where he goes over in late June and finds work almost the second he lands, he'd still need to find us a place to live and get moved into that place, after which I'd need to quit my job in the States and pack and ship whatever of our stuff is worth packing and shipping.

Basically, I feel pretty safe in guessing there is close to no chance I'm gone from here before August, so if people have made plans to visit during the summer I've said the more the merrier. Anything September or later, I'm not commiting to, because I don't have enough information to guess what my situation will be by then. Could be here, could be elsewhere; could be working or not working; could be who knows. I've said to people: September onward, don't depend on me, but don't depend on not me.

On Tuesday, my sister was in town for all of 12 hours. I don't want to say we're not close, because that implies we dislike each other, but we're not in each other's confidence. We talk at holidays, and otherwise on the phone for an hour maybe once every three months, mostly about books or art projects. I don't even know the name of the guy she's been dating for two years, and never met the guy she moved to Peru with (whose name I only found out after they'd moved to Peru). For the record, I'm not the type of friend you generally call to gush about who you're dating; I'm the kind of friend you call to strategize a breakup and be reassured you're killer.

Anyway, she asked me how the Italy timeline is going (because as stated I've been public about this for the last 7 years, and Ciro's TEFL certificate-getting process was in effect while she was visiting at Christmas). I said what I've been saying to everyone consistently, which is that I'm not making solid commitments past September but won't really know specifics until Ciro does, and he doesn't and won't for another couple months at least. Somehow - I'm guessing - this shifted in Mom's brain to "Romie has clear and definite plans and they kick off in September." I'm guessing this because for the last two days I've had to deal with a series of panicked calls from my easily panicked uncle about how I'm moving in a month and didn't tell him (because if Mom told him I'm definitely moving soon that means next week) and total strangers coming up to me in town to gossip about where (don't know) and when (don't know).

So I'm pretty pissed off, because:

(1) This is exactly why I don't like to tell people anything about my life until it's absolutely concrete. [Note that I don't tend to mention when I've finished writing a thing, or even when I've had a thing accepted by a publisher: I tell you when the thing is on newsstands. This is even more true offline.] I do not like to have to countermessage the expectations of people whose imagination is almost inevitably melodramatic.

(2) In this case I've been clear and consistent for seven years. I was telling people in London in 2009 where I'd hopefully be in 2016. At the dinner table throughout the last six months, Ciro and I have discussed (in English) each transitional stage we've completed and our estimates for the next one. During all or at least most of these discussions, Mom has been sitting directly across from me. She adjusted her schedule around Ciro's TEFL classes.

I don't know whether the lesson here is to lock down more and become absolutely secretive because nobody believes facts when I disclose them and it gives me false confidence that I've been listened to, or whether I need to host a daily White House briefing (which I already thought I did) and make sure each of my talking points is repeated back to me.

I get that people like gossip, but goddamn. When I'm trying to get something done that's kind of delicate and scary and ambiguous, I don't need to be grilled about it and I don't need to comfort peripheral players. I can see why it would be cool to know what's up, but asking me is almost exactly equivalent to asking an unemployed person when they plan to have a job. It would be so great if a sick person told you when they plan to get well or a healthy person when they plan to get a cold next, because knowing would make it easier to figure out how much kleenex to have around.

Maybe it's not REL; maybe it's that Mom heard me practicing Italian for an hour because Ciro's in Arizona and I didn't have him to hang out with during that hour. Probably "non ho capito" means "please arrange to collect all of my posessions tomorrow, never to be seen again."
rinue: (inception train)
Ciro, as mentioned, is a few time zones over, and being on vacation has wisely chosen not to be tethered to a computer. Which has made social media a bit weird for me - uncomfortable family holiday weird. Ciro's circle of acquaintances skews more rightwing and reactive than mine does, despite the fact (or perhaps causing the fact) that he's more liberal than I am. I think this isn't due to a difference in philosophy (although maybe it is?) as much as simple exposure, because the same thing could be said of Val's circle of acquaintances; I grew up in actual Dallas and they grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, which means their neighbors they've known since they were little kids are a different group than mine.

Anyway, a few of Ciro's fringy folks have been trollish on his comment boards during this time he's not moderating them. I don't think they know he's gone; I think it's a coincidence, or perhaps that Ciro would normally be here removing stuff and so I wouldn't see it. (I already don't see a lot of it, because I already block stuff.) So I wind up having to think, hmmmm, is there a savvy court-intrigue way for me to signal to Ciro's and my mutual friends that yes we know this person is saying hurtful discriminatory things and we're sorry you had to witness that, without overstepping and being unfriendly to people who are not my friends but are Ciro's, in a way that would upset Ciro.

This would be much easier to handle with his actual family, because roles are more clearly defined.* And also because everyone immediately understands why you still talk to your offensive cousin and doesn't assume that means you agree with him, whereas that question is on the table if the offensive person is the father of the husband of a friend who lives in another state.

I'm lucky generally in that the political differences within even my extended family aren't broad. They are disagreements between left-leaning centrists, centrists, and right-leaning centrists, partly because both sides of my family are suspicious of any form of extremism. The best illustration I can think of is that a couple of years ago my Dad's elderly mother said some factually untrue things about Obama during a few of their weekly phone calls, and he told her she needed to stop watching Fox News, and so she stopped watching Fox News. That was the big drama. Somebody politely fact-checked someone, and then they said, oh okay, won't trust that source anymore.

That does not necessarily give me the tools to deal with overt Facism, or Insurrectionary Anarchists. The only thing I know how to use for that is Theater of the Absurd. (Plus fact checking. I'm too pedantic to not do fact checking.) Which involves acting contemptuous, although not necessarily of the things I actually hold in contempt; and while sarcasm is something I am perfectly willing to do to my friends and enemies, it's not something you do to other people's friends and enemies without permission. My other standard strategy is removing the other person's platform, either by directly silencing them or by creating a more desirable alternative that doesn't include them. Again, obviously, a bit tricky when the key relationship is with somebody not me.

It does not help the situation that "Your Racist Friend" has resultingly been stuck in my head all day, which is probably my least favorite They Might Be Giants song. (Good concept; uncharecteristically lazy execution.)

Anyway, it's been gross gross gross and even though I'm pretty sure I did my best in a bad situation it would feel better if a third party agreed. Because of course I can imagine all kinds of other ways of handling it or not handling it which would also not diminish the grossness but maybe would be preferred? There's not a yardstick for what's appropriate.

* It's also not something I've ever had to handle with his actual family. We all know without having to ask which of us are Republicans and which of us are Democrats, and that we would have a much better time talking about things like what music we're listening to or what weird thing was at the grocery store yesterday.


Apr. 24th, 2015 07:51 pm
rinue: (plunge)
I carried a large ceramic planter up three flights of stairs today, and boy are my arms tired.


Ciro is in Arizona, visiting his mom; he and his small blond traveling companion flew out this morning. I have a pale hope that I will manage to finally paint my office while he's gone; I have a bit of a track record for getting home projects done while he's elsewhere. Last trip, I reorganized the bookshelves, and the one before that I painted a mural the bathroom. The office is a much larger endeavor because it's still plaster and raw wood, so it's not "painting" - it's patching nail holes in the woodwork, then sanding rough spots down, then priming and painting everything including the ceiling, all of which requires disconnecting amble electrical cables and pulling awkward furniture away from the walls, then putting it back.

I can almost certainly not do this without being able to devote the whole of three days to it, which, what are the odds anybody will give me that kind of free time. However, I have been intermittently patching holes in the wood in approximately 10 minute increments for the last several days and have maybe an eighth of that part done. I also decided on a color; I've been trying to find a good French pastel blue/gray/green for years but they all looked sickly or childish in this room; the light's got too much gray in it. Since I don't want yellow, pink it is; you can't fight the light.

Burned my hand yesterday; it doesn't hurt anymore but I don't have full feeling along the side of my right index finger. There's a trend in cookware design right now (and for the last few years) that puts a decorative metal racing stripe through the handle of the pan or kettle; it's fairly endemic. My not-at-all-researched theory is that (1) it originates with KitchenAid and (2) is an effort to semiotically suggest a visible knife tang and therefore desirability. (Full tang knives are longer lasting and higher quality because they're a single piece of metal their full length, which means there isn't a possibility of a literal weak link where the knife could break when you apply cutting force. This quality is not magically transferred to a visibly bolted-on panhandle.)

It's the worst. It's worse than a metal handle, because with a metal handle, I use a damp rag or potholder or other means of hand protection. With these metal tang idiocies, I see black thermal rubber insulation, and it's not until my hand is around the thing and it shifts just so that searing aluminum reveals itself to my flesh.
rinue: (Yes Thanks)
I'm not a good housekeeper at the moment, a stance I took on principle. (That principle being: Triage.) However, in the spirit of spring cleaning, I have been vacuuming about 20 minutes a day, which means so far I have managed approximately 2/3 of the basement. It is easy to pick up where I left off, because you can see the line where I stopped vacuuming.
rinue: (Default)
Picked up a new lens yesterday, a Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX. I've had my eye on it for a while, but was skeptical because it's inexpensive (for a lens), around $200 new. One of those too good to be true deals where I mentally add "for $200" to every five-star review. Ciro and I finally made the trek over to New England Photo, the nearby one-room Nikon shop crammed with used cameras and odd bits of kit, because he's been asked to shoot a group portrait of Mom's choir and a 35 is the right lens for that. (Basically, it gives you some width, a little more than your naked eye, but is still flattering to most faces. It makes rooms seem more expansive than they are, but feels documentary.)* By coincidence, it was the proprietor's birthday. Also by coincidence, he's Armenian and was curious about Gandolfi's new organ symphony "Ascending Light," which we saw premiere last week. (It's excellent.)

Lens is sharp and fast (does well in low light), as promised. It's compact and seems rugged. The only downsides are (1) it's noisy when it shifts focus; you can hear and feel the metal moving against itself, and (2) it vignettes a little (goes black at the corners). That's hard to avoid once you start to get wide unless you're buying thousand-dollar lenses (it takes layers of extremely precise glass to go wide and keep the picture plane flat all the way to the corners, an optics problem that can be summarized as round peg square hole), but I'm hoping it will still work cinematographically - I haven't tested yet, but I suspect the crop that takes video widescreen instead of 4:3 will disappear those corners whether I want it to or not.

There is still snow piled on the ground, but I've hauled the raspberry plant out of the garage and back up to the balcony. It's supposed to be cold hardy to -30, so it's probably safe. Probably.

Dyed eggs, then gold glazed them so they look dragon. Listened to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack while so doing; seemed sufficently color-saturated.


* I use the Nikon D800 body, so my lens measurements are "true". The 35 lens on a digital body with a smaller sensor would give the range of about what a 50 does on my camera or a film camera.
rinue: (Default)
I've been in a three-month struggle with my insurance company (where "with" both means that they are my opponent and that they are battling alongside me) where a database typo has convinced their computer that back in July I had the exact same appointment twice, on the 23rd and 28th (you see immediately how easily a 3 turns into an 8 or vice versa), paid by the same exact check. Since then, other payments have been bouncing (but only from 2014; 2015 is of course a clean slate). Nobody seems to have the authority to remove the obviously wrong double entry. So I check in about every month, they try a new way of deleting it they're sure will work, and then we wait a month to see if that processes correctly. Which it doesn't.

The conversation each month takes about half an hour as I bring somebody up to speed, and I have a little log book with a bunch of dates, names, check numbers, times faxes were sent. Whoever I'm talking to normally makes one or two forays to explain why probably this is all reasonable, because surely that one typo couldn't be blocking these other payments, and I say "no" extremely firmly several times. Then we are all on the same page again and I am apologized to profusely.

Because of who I am, I am also (in my mind but not in my logbook) tracking the amount of time I spend on these calls to figure out my own hourly rate to reclaim this money, although this is obviously work I would do for nothing because it is my patriotic duty in a capitalist society to make sure billing is orderly.

It is probably the most high-adrenaline thing I do each month. I have to drink a lot of coffee afterward to calm down (where "calm down" means create an alternative fiction for why I'm tense). It reminds me of the Tuttle/Buttle mistake in Brazil, but only if in the end Michael Palin turns out to be controlled by HAL.


Feb. 28th, 2015 12:22 pm
rinue: (Default)
Have returned from New Mexico, where my only regret is that I did not drink all the horchata and eat all the green chile.

I partook of tamales and smooth French absinthe, and stood on or by many large rocks.
rinue: (Default)
Record amounts of snow on the ground with another blizzard on the way. I've gotten out of the house more than usual in the last week or two, but am nevertheless feeling stir crazy; it has to be empathy. Or just the skies being low and the ground several snowy feet higher than usual.

Went to the symphony on Tuesday; house only half full, if that, presumably because of weather. The conductor, as a last-minute replacement because of visa issues, was the young assistant; it was wonderful. It gave the whole concert an earnest, bashful warmth, both him and the orchestra trying to support each other and show how proud they were. Wonderful textures to the music, more focused on feeling than precision. Ciro has been going to physical therapy for his left shoulder, to strengthen the muscles he didn't know he hadn't been engaging at all for 15 years, which means his shoulder is currently boot-camp tired. He had trouble clapping. Turns out you need your shoulder for that.

The upcoming Tsarnaev trial has been in the news a lot in Boston; it's a strange thing to look at a 19-year-old and know that the very best he could hope for is a life in prison with no possibility of parole. It's a confusing sentence. It seems like by letting someone live, you're acknowledging that they could become a better person or contribute in some way you're not sure of yet - that future them might not be identical to present or near-past them. But by giving no possibility of parole, no matter what, you're saying it doesn't matter at all, and you hate them and want them to die in a hole no matter whether they turn their life around.

Mom talked about how people look for closure in trials now; she seems to think it wasn't always that way, at least in the past she remembers. I wonder if harsher sentencing is partially an outgrowth of the way we storify news now and want events to come to a conclusion.

The haunted card deck story I've been trying to sell forever because it's my favorite but nobody else agrees has finally sold to Farrago's Wainscot, and it could not have a better home. I hope the return of FW to print is a harbinger that the New Weird is coming back into fashion; contemporary fiction was knocked off its axis by 9/11, the banking collapse, and other "hide your head" cataclysms, and has been more than a little comfort-food dull for a while.

Meanwhile, I continue to be obsessed with Dragon Age. I have passionate feelings about both Alistair and Anders, although they are opposite ends of the spectrum of passionate feelings, in that Anders makes me shout a lot. Rarely have I been so angry and felt so personally betrayed by a fictional character. Terribly satisfying.
rinue: (Default)
Ciro and I tried to go see Inherent Vice today, but all the movie theaters were closed because it snowed yesterday. It turns out to be impossible to shine a light at a flat surface, even though you have covered parking and the streets are clear, if there are ice crystals sometime in the past; I think it's one of those D&D alchemical things.

I have this theory that Massachusetts' default state is "closed," and if anything is ever open, it is a sign that the stars have aligned in a staircase for baby Jesus.

Just try to get gasoline sometime. Anytime. I dare you.

My friend Chris Blacker grew up in Alaska, and I asked him once how everybody got through the winter, the literal and psychological darkness of 23-hour nights. He said to battle the heightened risk of suicide, there were parties every night - houses on the block would trade off, but there was always a party in walking distance and everybody was always invited, so that if you were lonely or stir-crazy, people and social distraction were available. Encouraged.

Jane Dempsey, my ex in-law (my outlaw) worked in Sweden for a while, and she said during the winter everyone at Ericsson was required to leave their desks at lunch and spend an hour outdoors in the limited sunlight; she and her coworkers often went for strolls together. When it got dark, everyone put electric candles in their windows so that strangers' journeys home would be cheerful instead of formlessly bleak.

Massachusetts doesn't go in for any of that. It is generally preferred that you stay in your house and not answer the phone, except during the summer, when you go to your other house, possibly in Maine.

Ciro and I watched Frank on Netflix. It made me laugh. I recommend it if you're the sort of person who likes Jon Ronson articles (which I do). Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance of "I want to marry a lighthouse keeper" is sublime. She's great throughout.
rinue: (eyecon)
I'm tired of seeing smug rich white Americans talk about how selfish it is to have children and how they shouldn't have to deal with your children because they're saving the planet by spending all their time and money on themselves. This shit will be easier to take if it's in a language I don't speak as well, in a country that offers actual social and economic support to struggling parents rather than lipservice and a shiny penny.

I want to be crystal fucking clear that I don't think there's an obligation to become a parent and I totally support anybody who chooses to be childless - or for that matter who didn't choose to be childless, who had childlessness thrust upon them. That doesn't make objectivism okay. Objectivism is never ok.

Where do these smug fools think they came from? Did they spring full grown from the head of Zeus?
rinue: (Default)
I'm doing relatively well, but am time crunched enough I don't have time to keep a good record of it.

Last Saturday, I led another film-related activity at the ICA Boston (and once again helped find films for their festival); turnout was decent and enthusiastic despite feet of snow on the ground. I've started pulling together a nonfiction book proposal on the subject; after 6 or 7 years of doing this stuff, it's become clear there's not anything out there for people who think they'd enjoy making short films in the same way they'd enjoy scrapbooking or playing the piano. People who don't ever want to be professionals - who simply want a way to craft something meaningful in the course of an afternoon. People who are not camera nerds. Basically all the starter filmmaking books, even for teenagers, figure you have or have access to loads of gear and are aiming to submit to festivals. They also assume, without saying so outright, that you're a dude and have always been told that people are dying to hear what you have to say and listen to your instructions. Anyway, there's a gap in the market.

I'm working on some short stories I feel good about. Several of which are mainstream literary; it's been a while since I've done something with no genre elements whatsoever, and it's a nice palate cleanser.

Ciro was diagnosed with ADD yesterday; his best friend Ed found out around Thanksgiving that she has it, and when Ciro learned more about the non-hyperactive version (which Ed has), he thought, hmmmmm. A battery of psych evaluations ensued. He'll meet with a medication specialist sometime next month, and after that, we imagine there might be an idyllic world in which he doesn't lose his car keys for months at a time, and can write something when it's not two hours before deadline. He's also finally (hopefully) getting his left shoulder taken care of; it's been messed up since he was 18, a sports injury that never healed. That's a longer process, though.

We celebrated mom's birthday by eating a lot of cake and gumbo, drinking a lot of coffee and cava, and playing Telestrations with new fine-tip pens. Living the high life.
rinue: (eyecon)
I've seen a lot of articles lately with titles like "Here's What Economists Get Wrong," and reading the articles as someone with a degree in economics — someone who is, at least by that definition, an economist — is a surreal experience. It's a bit like if you were a biochemist and ran into a trending essay about how what chemistry consistently misunderstands is that lead and gold are atomically different, with lots of comments on it like "Yes! God! Finally!"
rinue: (Default)
Sometimes I wonder whether fiction is worth it. I don't mean I question the worth of fiction; that's not in doubt. I mean I question the value of devoting my life to it. For instance, a good winter coat is potentially lifesaving, but I haven't decided to spend my meager free time making winter coats. But recently Ciro has talked about how much a taped-off-TV VHS of minor Disney film Pete's Dragon meant to him as a latchkey kid, and it's terribly sad to imagine it not being made.
rinue: (Default)
Yesterday, Ciro and I went to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in 3D Imax HFR, which was kind of an ordeal because basically nobody is projecting the movie in high frame rate. Which is literally the only thing I cared about: I didn't have any desire to see a Hobbit movie, since the series has been kind of a mess. What I wanted was to see an innovative technology used by someone who had experience with it (also known as Jackson et al, since this was their third go-around).

When I say it was kind of an ordeal, I mean we travelled an hour to a movie theater and sat through a half hour of commercials and previews, and then the film started and it was not in HFR as promised, and we got our money back and spent about two hours getting to another theater to watch the film properly, while also paying live-theater amounts of money for a ticket. Which means, fairly uniquely, that I saw the first 15 minutes of the film in 24-frames-per-second 3D and then within a couple hours saw that same 15 minutes in the more correct 48-frames-per-second 3D.

It's a totally different artwork. I don't mean that in terms of "it's more spectacular." In many ways, it is less spectacular. But when you see it in HFR, it's clear that's the native format and it's what drove all the decisions of the creative team. The movie makes sense in a way it absolutely did not at 24 frames per second.

Based on my experience, I sincerely believe that if you have not seen the movie projected in HFR, you have not seen the movie Peter Jackson made. Since I'm a moviemaker and this is the kind of thing movie people always say about movies and the theatrical experience and aspect ratios and screen brightness and whatever else, this seems like the kind of claim you should take with a grain of salt. But in this case, it isn't.

I hesitate to even call Five Armies a movie: it's something else, with a different visual language and different performance needs. It was like watching some combination of an opera, Shakespeare in the park, participating in a Civil War re-enactment, and riding Peter Pan's Flight at Disneyland. It was different enough from watching a movie that it was irritating the subtitles weren't supertitles, because when you watch something on stage, translations are at the top, not the bottom, and that's where my eye kept looking for them.

In 48 fps, Five Armies absolutely works. It succeeds. There are still some script problems, like anything at all to do with Tauriel, but most of the other things that "didn't work" fall away. They only don't work if you're seeing a cover band perform them.

I use "perform" deliberately, because performance was the biggest difference - that and editing rhythm. I wasn't watching the movie going "oh, how beautiful." I was watching performances by people in a space over time. As soon as that happened, almost every actor choice seemed motivated. The 15 minutes I saw not-HFR, everything seemed very hammy. Watching in HFR? No tonal problems at all, perfectly calibrated performances and pacing.

Maybe you're reading this and you're not an actor or director. You still have experience with what I'm talking about. You use a different voice to talk to somebody who is standing right next to you and to talk to somebody across the room. You might feel the same thing, and try to communicate the same thing, but you sound different and look different when you say/feel it. If you talked to somebody who was standing right next to you as though they were across the room, it would seem odd and fake, right?

Same basic principle applies to the difference between stage and film performances. Or, in film, if you know you're in a close up, you wouldn't try to indicate that you were saying hello by waving your hand; nobody can see your hand. Moving away from acting again, you wouldn't draw somebody a picture while you were having a phone conversation and then expect them to be able to see it and act mad that they couldn't. Right?

This difference of performance distance has an extreme impact in the case of The Hobbit. The actors, who are very competent, and the director, producer, and editor, are keying performances for HFR, where there is a sense that you are watching somebody who is standing across the room from you. This is a sense that is completely, completely different from the feeling of watching a 3D film.

In a 3D film, it's very rare to have the sense that "you are there." This has to do with a combination of motion blur, physics, and separation of the image into planes. Things in normal 3D feel in many respects less real - they don't seem to have weight. They seem like skins around air at best and like stacked paper cutouts at worst. You can see what's "in front," but you don't forget there's a screen and a wall behind that screen.

(Which is kind of strange. I think of the opening of Avatar, where a corridor is stretching away into the distance, but I still knew absolutely that the corridor was an illusion because there's a theater wall there. So I'm seeing "that's far away" and simultaneously seeing "that's right there." There are battling depth cues. That is not true of Five Armies, with rare, fleeing exceptions.)

Although I unreservedly believe HFR is vastly superior to other forms of 3D, I am not making the case here that HFR 3D is better than 2D film. Instead, I am saying it is its own unique medium, and trying to critique a film which is natively HFR 3D by watching a 2D or non-HFR 3D version is like trying to evaluate the experience of being at a live concert by watching a video of it. Except it's actually worse than that, because you're probably not aware of the degree to which you are not seeing the actual artwork in its original format.

All of the decisions which I watched in non-HFR 3D and wondered "what are they thinking?" - you see it in HFR, and it's clear what they're thinking. As a whole, the Gesamtkunstwerk (a term I use because it seems like a more accurate description of the thing than "movie") has verisimilitude, or a difference of suspension of disbelief compared to a film, the result of which is that the moments feel important, like a reflection of a true history. Not that what you're seeing is real, but that what you're seeing is trying to be faithful to something that was.

You're watching a meeting and in a film you'd think, "well, why not cut this long talky bit?" But in this format, you don't think that, because of course they're showing the meeting - the meeting is what historically happened. Of course some people are making bad jokes; in a stressful situation like this, somebody would wind up making a bad joke. Of course he's waiting and waiting before he shoots that arrow; it's tremendously obvious from the lay of the terrain that he'll have a better shot if he waits.

This feeling of truthfulness is absolutely crazy in a fantasy about a secondary world. But you could have told me I was watching The Alamo.

Your eye never wonders where to go; you can just look around, but also the architecture of the shot guides your attention. Your brain doesn't hurt from trying to reconcile the wrong-physics-ness of 24-fps 3D. Animals in particular are delightful when they appear onscreen, because it's not "there is a picture of a dog." No, there is that dog. It's not physically in the room with you, but it's clearly a dog, an actual dog, that you are watching maybe through a window.

The best analogy I can think of is subractive; if you've ever watched a colorized black and white film, you know none of the exposures make sense, even if you don't know that's the term you're looking for. You just know it looks fake in a way even highly-saturated techniclor film doesn't. Same thing here. I actually think it's an extreme disservice to the filmmakers that it's possible to see Five Armies in another format, including home video, even though I know that's what makes the economics of it possible.

If you have even a passing interest in seeing this film ever, I strongly suggest going to an HFR theater even though it's very expensive, or else just decide on not seeing it. I don't think it's necessary to see the earlier two in the trilogy (I didn't), but that particular recommendation you probably could take with a grain of salt because I've read the books and already know stuff like what the arkenstone is.
rinue: (Default)
I'm a passionate generalist and cross-connector, a barefoot futurist with a mad-science laugh.
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In a high school anatomy class, I dissected a shark and found a squid in its stomach. I dissected the squid and found a fish in its stomach. I dissected the fish and found yellow algae. In my opinion, the gallbladder is the prettiest organ.
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I keep my fingernails short and my toenails painted. I wear a lot of rings even though it makes it harder to play the piano.
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As a child, my areas of expertise included dinosaurs, Robin Hood, and fortification strategies throughout the ages.
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I'm delighted by objects which are not to scale. I love overly sentimental toasts. I am often factual but rarely literal. I like staircases better than rooms.
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