The Best Christmas Ever Experienced?
I think the best Christmas I ever experience was when I was seventeen. Yes, I’m almost positive that was it. Anyway, my aunt had come to our house to stay for Christmas. That was also the last night of my three nights performing in the church’s dinner theater, so I was just relieved to have all that stress off me. Winter vacation had just begun yesterday, and I had set-up the Christmas tree. Dad was making oven-baked Chex-mix from scratch. And oh, we were all enjoying such a cavalcade of holiday cinema! Kill Bill vol.1, Van Helsing; whatever came on TV. And as the evening winded down, we popped cookies into the oven and watched It’s a Wonderful Life in darkness, as is Christmas Eve tradition. And I remember, as my whole family sat around, Chex-mix in hand, laughing at the stupidity of Van Helsing, drunk on the spirit of the season (Budweiser), how happy and together I felt, how full and content. I felt a bliss that could only come from the people I love, and that if I could have only one Christmas, over and over again, it would be this one.
Link. What brings you to a dangerous place like this? [10/?]
Tetsuya Yamauchi’s The Magic Serpent (1966).
New Illustration: Space Sirens
The last remaining astronaut watched helplessly as his comrades left the ship one by one and were carried away. He told himself that he would not succumb the way his shipmates had; he knew he would struggle. But the creatures, if they could even be called that, somehow seemed to know him, and when his turn came and the singing of the cosmos reached a crescendo in his ears, his mind emptied of all but the desire to join them in the void. Gazing into the creature’s face, he mused on how tender, how gentle its embrace seemed to be, and even as his oxygen supply dwindled he did not resist.
BECAUSE I DIDN’T.
1) Concerned about Western portrayal of Chinese culture, even in a fantasy setting (because of our long history of cinematic laziness, exotification, vilification, appropriation, etc), I was excited to find that the film series was hugely well-received in China (there was a boycott called for that only had to do with producer Steven Spielberg’s withdrawal from artistic consultation on the Beijing Olympics, not the content of the movies themselves), and praised for its accuracy as much as its artistry:
Viewers [in China] have praised Hollywood’s ability to nail the cultural elements of the film so accurately, from the martial arts scenes to its depiction of family expectations and how the ancients were believed to pass into the afterlife. While the humor is distinctly American, the matching Chinese subtitles are sharp and witty.
"I was looking for flaws, but it was very authentic," Huang says. (x)
“It is the most successful animation movie in our cinema history,” said Li Jiqing, general manager at Wangfujing Cinema in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. “The box office has done as well as the ‘Matrix,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’” (x)
This doesn’t mean that there’s no criticism or conversation to be had, of course (e.g. while Jackie Chan, James Hong, and Lucy Liu headline as VA’s, many of the characters are still played by white Americans; I adore Jack Black as Po, but that doesn’t mean the casting is above criticizing). My knowledge of modern day Chinese cinema is limited, but I found the POV discussed on Chengdu Living to be very interesting— the films really stirred up a dialogue on Chinese culture in Chinese film, and what those phrases even mean.
2) The second and even more impressive sequel (no seriously I mean on every level— if you have not seen Kung Fu Panda 2 go watch it right now do it I cried even) was directed by Korean-born Jennifer Yuh. She was also head of story on the first film, and with the sequel accomplished the highest grossing film to be directed by a woman. Ever. (x) Not even mentioning highest-grossing directed by a woman of color. Fuck yeah.
I wish to god I’d seen it in theatres, but as she is also directing Kung Fu Panda 3, you’d better believe I’ll make it this time.
3) The third film, like the second, will be executively produced by Guillermo del Toro.
4) The third film will mark the first time that a major American animated feature has been co-produced with China, including dialogue with Chinese censors (ymmv). (x)
And this is all without mentioning the awesome qualities of the movies themselves. Seriously, if you (understandably) brushed these off as slapstick goofiness, I urge you to give them a chance— the sequel alone is the best animated movie I’ve seen in years, easily surpassing Pixar’s latest offerings.
also the sequel will make you cry
Divoratori di morti nelle fauci dell’inferno, Dahlem, Coburg, 31,6 x 24,2 cm.
Rod Serling’s intro for Conan the Barbarian (2011)