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    March 27, 2013

    i have to say that, against my better instinct, i tend to shy away from wes anderson and roman coppola’s aesthetic. not for any holier-than-thou reasons but rather because it seems most often a compendium of post-it note ideas that reach the screen unfiltered, which i’m sure is their charm, but have yet, for me, to amount to much affecting storytelling. but that is precisely why i like this prada commercial series they just launched to promote a new perfume. perfectly aping the cinematic world of theaptFAVE jacques demy, they succeed in making the quirky work for them, for me and anyone for whom snippets of strangeness work better than long-winded ones.

    February 6, 2013

    if only fabien baron had wanted to tell a story. if only alexander skarsgård had another gaze than blue steel. if only suvi koponen had been given something to do. if only there was meaning to be found in these nine minutes and fifty-five seconds. if only there was a begining, middle and end, even if not necessarily in that order. if only there was something a normal human being could, if not recognize, at least aspire to. if only the chapter headings indicated something, anything. if only all this sublime beauty hadn’t been wasted, this might have been a truly great film…

    July 29, 2010


    part one

    bucking the draw of delving into sleep post calisthenics,
    divad q. nead hastily surfaces in hogye with the bends
    and depressurizes to christopher nolan’s “inception”,
    a haute couture jaunt into the subconscious of dreams.

    down from a run in the foothills in a humid summer rain, fighting
    sleep, i ventured deep into the love motel district of old bisan to catch
    chris nolan’s first original screenplay since “following”, which I recalled
    struck me as wonderfully paranoid and thickly thieving b&w british.
    packed bag with gun, sandwiches, and three asahi premium cans,
    i rose eight floors into the old kinex 10 gone corporate, stuck sardine
    in the lift with florally tinctured local girls, some holding the wrists of
    their friendos. i was late for the meet, but ju-lee had the spots sorted
    and we hunkered into a couple’s seat [double-wide], reclining opposite
    elbows, digging the corn. it was then that she sighed and said, “why not
    the imax, daw-ling?”, to which i replied, “have you the legs for seoul, doll?”

    neither of us could have waited the 40 ride into the limbo of yongsan-gu,
    and therefore we took the local cine-paltry with its cheap sound & digital
    projection. there’s just no arguing with a perfect friday night film for two.
    ju-lee cracks her first can and jostles for elbow room. fast-forward through a
    bevy of discussions regarding the architecture of dreams, a palaver on
    mazes between page and leo, and i’m left wondering just how good this
    flick is going to get on my first viewing. my billfold jumps up from my back
    pocket and says, “you’re in for two views, nead, better get comfy.” i slap at
    my leather baby and it retreats. ju-lee pulls out her trusty red penlight
    and begins to jot notes, which then turn into birds. i nod off. i’m three rows
    away from her, front and center. on the screen “the seventh seal”, yet the
    role of antonius block is strangely played by my mother. ju-lee reaches three
    rows with her long octopus arms and pulls me back into my seat. i wake.
    my beer is full, my socks are wet, shoes dry. a lapping tide brushes my
    feet and i look to her for a towel. on screen cotillard rages stuck in limbo.

    leo and jgl are telling us something about keeping our minds fit for dreams.
    i’m recalling how the foothills earlier that night reeked of charcoal, broken
    stems. not caring much for this film as foreplay, but its doing a damn
    good job of keeping me thinking. ju-lee, her hair now red like joanie, turns to
    me and says, “well, yes, i am going to have you write a thesis.” my beer is
    always full. the caramel of our popcorn tastes like a circus, everything’s gone
    gray in the theater. we watch the limbo of leo and mal crumble under time,
    or whatever “time” is supposed to be in this film. i think i need a math break,
    a bathroom too, perhaps. fight scenes with jgl in zero g lead me to believe
    that i’m not actually watching anything connected to itself, just thinking a lot.

    standing in the darkness to my left, ju-lee hands me a torch, we walk through
    a green exit sign and into my apartment. she points to the wall where i see
    a vintage poster for fellini’s “8 1/2″. “it’s not the film you thought it was,” she says
    in perfect provençal. “when did you learn french?” i ask, but we’re back in our
    seats, the film is definitely coming to an end. a van hits the water, everyone is
    asleep in the theater and on the screen. i have faint doubts that any of this
    is happening, but ju-lee puts her hand on my leg and squeezes. “that felt
    real enough,” i say under my breath. lights up, the crowd moves to the one
    exit that doesn’t lead to my apartment. ju-lee takes my hand, her hair back
    to black. we step into the central park fountain outside the exit. i wake to the
    rain, pants off, having never left my room. my mobile phone quietly vibrating.

    from bed i see the clock reading 10. i’ve dreamed my way through the show. i sit up.
    “inception” served me itself in a dream of itself. ju-lee on the line, she says, “i waited
    for you through the previews then walked from the theater. did you sleep through my
    calls, divad?” it felt real enough. on my bureau, two tickets for wednesday’s imax,
    she laughs over the phone, and we make plans to meet later for dancing, drinks.

    part two

    reeling from his dreamed-through peyote vision of
    the film, divad q. nead finally digests christopher
    nolan’s “inception”, favoring the waking life angles,
    taking stock of techniques, and most certainly staying
    awake for the film itself. the dream deferred until now.

    off a 40 ride into seoul’s deep reaches, to a cinema bolstered
    by pink [read: red] light windows and whores, i ventured high
    into row m, seat 7 for an imax showing quick on the heels
    of my local teatro fever dream of “inception”. sans ju-lee, her
    dream self detained by sleep in hogye, my eyes accompanied
    me along with an ipad of naysayish prose from a.o. scott & david
    denby. it’s enough to say that the web’s spoil-heavy reviews
    trump the need for taking this long-player into the evening, but
    as a steward of taste, i dropped the extra twelve on the big john
    imax and sat for a second go at nolan’s as of yet opus operandi.

    zimmer begins with enfolding brass, inquisitive minds will discover
    the brilliance of this thematic defilade upon digging for edith piaf’s
    presence throughout the film, including muse cotillard gone alex
    forrest. brought before wanatabe, dicaprio’s opening lines define
    the film without any of the following wizardry. he asks us for, “a leap of
    faith”. the audience & george michael gotta have it. to re.view this
    film without a dvd screener for pause/replay is akin to humping a
    typewriter into saving your novel in triplicate. it can’t be done. yet
    as a dutiful scribe, i want to fondly convey the absolute attention
    this film deserves from levels neither you nor i have yet to ascribe.
    in cocteau’s “orpheus”, for example, the director trusts that his
    audience will think actively, noting themes, a radio’s music, par
    exemple, working it out on their feet. “inception” is a rubix.

    nolan has been challenging the line of storytelling since “memento”,
    a film, if you remember, that required countless viewings, and took
    weeks to digest. thick, richly drawn stories with reflexive arcs
    move audiences to thought, and not just that rot-gut emotion that
    i recall my mother so dearly loved in “bridges of madison county”,
    but that ugly brother part of art appreciation called “participatory
    aesthetics”. “inception” got rough on my pals for all the right
    reasons, and this is by no means a defense. what schlump wants
    to defend art that makes bucks in the first? if you’re the chad-type
    who’s tip-toing along the western lines of film canon, taking your
    “i see dead people” to new levels every time someone flips you
    the bird, or you’re the kind putting down a foster wallace novel
    to check “ask metafilter” for a new pithy thread or clever commentary,
    then this killer blockbuster is going to sweep kick you into a morita
    healing session from which you’ll never slap hands/rub/recover.

    you, swarthy digestif drinker, you’re going to sit through “inception”,
    step from the theater after halting your applause, and think, “did
    i really just love that for the wrong reasons”, as i duplicitously did.
    you, cuing bill evans on the ipod ride home, will consider nolan’s many
    homages in the film, strung together throughout his plot, and executed
    with minimal adherence to an sort of guileless smiling, you’ll applaud.
    detractors, those in the back row checking their sms whilst leo sat with
    cillian trying to disguise his third level dream hostage taking, they will
    hem/haw over their spoons of taboule that the film relied too heavily on
    cgi, or get balls deep with npr pundits who said it lacks a hero or warmth.
    i will sit through your sugar tears. what you’re looking for isn’t a codice,
    nor is it a lexicon of “i love yous”. “inception” hauls us to that oft forgotten
    altar of elbow greased audience work. want a quickie, go catch salt’s jolie.

    trudging through podcast reviews, the very essence of all the net’s metayawns,
    i couldn’t help but genuflect in quiet protest, washing the feet of my beloved
    sense of taste, when i heard how so many letdowns were associated with
    nolan’s apparent lack of interest in making his love interest suffer to their
    liking. now if i recall, depp and cotillard did nothing more in “public
    enemies” and got the high five of green tomatoes for their on screen yowsa.
    as a third generation nead i am no longer looking, post wong kar-wai 90s
    films, for any sort of complicated, intertwined romances beyond my don
    draper heartstring penny opera. i doubled down on “inception” for the pure
    challenge of taking my multiflorus interests in architecture, psychology,
    and chemical abuse to a convergent level. i’m actually enjoying my own
    dreams more now that i know how much wrought-iron awesome can be
    culled, fictionally, of course, from the pure nature of my subconscious
    manifestations. “inception” takes the silver on the pedestal for “best
    attempt to get us thinking”. you’re not going to get a baseline backhand
    like this from any director until malick or lynch come back from their
    coffee bean cherry hunt to kick the dust in our faces. the sad thing about
    watching this twice, friends, is that i can’t go a 3rd time for the costumes.

    see “inception” for your bookstore strolls through the taschen/phaidon
    tomes. see it for the martha nussbaum book you put down in tears. sit
    through the cold, gut punching wow for the reasons you dare not share
    with your kids, your colleagues, or your subway brethren. it’s not enough
    anymore to just say you like/dislike, those words bear no affectation.
    dear critic cabal, you’re going to have to serve me a blue plate of considered
    commentary for me to take back my ticket fee for this film. show me the secret room
    where camus played bridge, and rub my corduroy shoulders for a while. divad wants
    you to dig “inception” so that the books on your shelves don’t burn themselves
    in a bradbury of 451s. this man is tired of your journaleasy underwhelmathons.


    March 10, 2010

    last-mcqueenit surely is impossible to tear apart the knowledge of his willfully early departure with his last collection but it must and has been said that lee alexander mcqueen’s was a talent beyond all others in today’s spread thin fashion world. there are plenty of old school and new school-inspired designers working today but few with the understanding of tailoring and quality that this man had. he could wield a pair of scissors in a way that karl or tom only wish they could, still. this ultimate runway (one can only unfortunately imagine how it might have been staged) will be the apt swan song to a life surrendered to unabashed inspiration, something we could all learn from.

    lacoste-stack-horizontali remember being a child and being held hostage by a rapist in his suburban light-less basement. assuredly, no laughing matter, but the fact that i was wearing a pale pink lacoste polo shirt, at a time when i was admittedly confused by my sexuality choices, did make the ordeal a wee bit more comfortable. sadly, this story of triumph over adversity did not make it into the new lacoste: the elements of style monogram just outed. well, i can handle a little more sadness, but not much…

    March 3, 2010

    lucianocarvari8i surely am not one to dissuade or even discourage the use of nudity in order to sell anything but i wonder about the effectiveness of such transparent tactics to sell these shoes. again, happy to be looking at over-designed tits but somebody should perhaps pay attention to the design of the shoes which currently look like payless.