Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Reflections on Life, the Universe, and Everything Upon the Event of my 42nd Birthday

For several years I’ve been looking forward to the day when I will finally arrive at the age at which I will discover the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  I am speaking of course of my 42nd birthday.

I have also been predicting that when this day comes the answer will remain elusive or will prove to be more perplexing than the question. So, is the answer 42 as told in Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?  Let’s investigate.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Monsters, Death, and Authenticity: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Like most classic novels, there are depths to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its ideas that a humble review like this can't hope to plumb.  From its complicated framing structure to its deep themes about human nature, science, and religion, it's no wonder this book continues to fascinate readers 200 years after its initial publication.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Why Do People Like Horror?: The Philosophy of Horror by Noël Carroll

The Philosophy of Horror: Paradoxes of the Heart by Noël Carroll is a thorough, academic treatment of the major philosophical issues surrounding the horror genre.  It focuses on two "paradoxes of the heart": the paradox of fiction (why are people scared of things they know don't exist?) and the paradox of horror (why does anyone like horror at all, since being scared is usually a bad thing?).

Sunday, September 2, 2018

2001: An IMAX Odyssey

Last week I was lucky enough to see 2001: A Space Odyssey in IMAX for a limited engagement to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film.  2001 has been one of my favorite movies since I was a teenager, and in the last decade or so I've seen it on the big screen a couple times.  But seeing it in IMAX was a special treat.  (More technically minded film nerds will be sad to hear that I didn't see the full size 70MM IMAX, but the smaller digital IMAX format, which for a film neophyte such as myself is still pretty impressive).

Obviously the giant screen made for a great experience.  All of Kubrick's amazing shots look a bit more amazing on such a big screen, especially the uncanny beauty of all those outer space shots and the trip through the star gate.  Whatever they did to restore the film looked amazing.  You could see the texture on the actors' outfits in ways I had never noticed before.

I also noticed aspects of the soundtrack that I had never noticed at home or in previous big screen viewings, like new layers of creepiness in Gyorgi Ligeti's unsettling polyphonic compositions. The more famous songs like Johann Strauss's The Blue Danube and Richard Strauss's Thus Spoke Zarathustra also sounded great.

Seeing 2001 again also reminded me of everything I love about the film -- as well as why it's not everyone's cup of tea.