Archive for December, 2005

The Hills Have Eyes

This is twisty, so follow me. If the first director pays homage to the horror films of the 70s as Rob Zombie did in “The Devil’s Rejects”, then if a second filmmaker remakes a 70s horror film and uses similar techniques as the first, such as Alexandre Aja’s “The Hills Have Eyes,” are they both paying homage to the original or is the second director copying the first?

Sure, Aja is no chump with his eye-catching film “Haute Tension” (High Tension) wooing horror and thriller fans both in his native France and here. However, it’s a question that is larger than him and larger than film. It’s about the nature of art and creativity and building on what has been done before or simply copying it.

Art is sometimes evolutionary and sometimes revolutionary. In either case, it is a reaction to what has come before. Movies like Scream and its spawn are reaction to the way the 80s turned the gritty realistic horror films of the 70s into ludicrous money grabs. So, now we are seeing a return to that grittiness and rawness in films such as the two mentioned above and “Wolf Creek.”

My original question still stands though, even my original assertion is in doubt. Are these films homages or simply copycats with no originality? Where does a film like Saw and Saw II play into this?

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Great Firefox Plugin

I found this fantastic new plugin that allows me to post a blog entry from right within Firefox. This has been a bit of a holy grail for me as I have tried BlogJet, w.bloggar, Post2Blog and ecto in an effort to encourage myself to post more. None of them have worked very well, but I think this could be just what I need.

Check it out: http://performancing.com/firefox

Sadness, Again

Once again, our school goes through the deaths of its students. I’m not going to go into details as I did the last time, but two more of our students have died in a plane crash.

It’s a devastating thing to happen anytime, but here among the holidays, as many of us enjoy the company of families, there are at least two families very close to me going through hell. I simply cannot imagine the depth of grief suffered by those left behind. I hope I never have to experience the death of my children. It’s simply not something that should happen.

I was speaking to a student today who is a fairly religious person. As many students do, he is getting older and beginning to question all that he thought was certain just months before. We talked about how God could let something like this happen. His girlfriend offered platitudes, “God does everything for a reason.” His response was “There’s no reason a 17–year-old kid needs to die.”

I’m not terribly interested in the religious value of the debate, but I am interested in this idea of how events like this make us question our most central and core beliefs. It sometimes makes them stronger, sometimes it shatters them. It will be a signpost for everyone close to the situation, a moment in time that no one forgets.

The Kite Runner

I am 30 pages from finishing Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. It has caused me to cry about 5 times now. The book is amazingly powerful on many levels.

I find myself drawn to the story of the two boys which is the spine of the novel. There are other subplots, but their friendship which is ripped asunder absolutely floors me.

I’ll post a longer review after a bit of contemplation, but for now know that this book is one of the best I have ever read.

*caveat* There is a melodramatic plot event toward the end of the novel, but it can be overlooked.