Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Adele: Rolling in the Deep

I couldn't help but feature the music video for Rolling in the Deep.

The visuals confused me the first time I saw it. I'm not confused any more.
To go with a song of heartbreak and the desire for revenge, we are given a stunning compilation of images, visual translations of the kind of sorrow which can only be felt in abstraction and are therefore abstract. And those abstractions are all beautiful in their raw intensity.

There is so much I could analyze and infer from this video - from the separation of her and the drummer, the motions of her hands - but I'll let you do that on your own today.

Monday, June 6, 2011

30 Days of Night, Dark Days, and Return to Barrow, by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith

Remember this?

Yeah. Sadly, so do I.

Once upon an age ago I saw the film 30 Days of Night. Released in 2007 and directed by David Slade, it was first and foremost a bloodbath set in the month-long darkness of, you guessed it, Barrow, Alaska. At least writer Steve Niles was one of the screenplay artists. In spite of this fact, the film adaption falls very short from the comic which, I confess, surprised me.

Let me note before moving on that the only thing which was up to snuff for the film adaption was the level of gore. This movie - and these comics - are not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. They are gruesome, brutal, and exactly with the kind of mindlessness which comes under attack for influencing and encouraging violence in society. The movie is the closest I have ever come to those genres of films dedicated to violence and graphic visuals for the sake of both, and hopefully it will stay that way. Luckily the comic world is, though not at first glance, slightly more complex.

The first thing I must praise is the artwork. The film adaption of vampires, rather like Buffy vampires, have distorted faces, but in a less "vampire" way and more "alien" way:

See what I mean? I understand the choice of distorting the eyes - it could even be said to make sense. The vampires in the comic are visually distorted in much more disturbing ways - like in the mouth area - but the truth of the matter is that all the characters in the comic series are distorted. The style is cacophonous, noisy, it could even be said to be sloppy. It took some getting used to, to say the least. But an indistinct style is, perhaps, better for something so gory: what would otherwise be shown in glistening visceral detail is translated to the obscure and abstract the majority of the time.

What shocked me most, other than how much I warmed up to this erratic visual style, was the appearance of plot! [Gasp! Real plot?! No!] It nearly took the addition of the second volume, Dark Days to appear fully, but it indeed exists! There is one especially plot-inducing character in the first volume, I will concede, but I'd rather not spoil it. He's pretty fabulous, for a gory, grey-skinned bloodsucker.

Back to the wasteland of sequels, Dark Days shocked me immensely in that I believe it was better than its predecessor. Its premise was predictable, but overall I think it is a decent addition to the body of vampire literature the world has to offer. Likewise, volume three, Return to Barrow, while deceptively rerun-ish at the outset turns out to have a lovely little twist at the end. I highly recommend them, despite their horrid gore.

Also, fun fact: there was also a movie made of Dark Days. I am actually disappointed to find that Steve Niles is once again a participant in the production of the screenplay, because based on the trailer, this piece of cinema was dredged up from lesser origins. Having just read the comic it professes to be based on, I don't typically take it to be a good sign when I can, while watching, say the word "wrong" repeatedly in response to what the characters are saying. However, I reserve full judgment until the day I master my gag reflex enough to actually watch it.

If you're curious, here are some links for the films and the books alike. Happy hunting!

30 Days of Night (Comic)
30 Days of Night (Film)
Dark Days (Comic)
Dark Days (Film)
Return to Barrow (Comic)

Also, a Wiki page which details the various extensions of the original trilogy!