Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Optimistic dOOdle

"An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity." 

"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable."

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror."

"Optimist: Person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness." 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

15 Eyed Devil dOOdle

“The eye sees a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination awake.”

“The eyes have one language everywhere”

“For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be”

“The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TOP 10 MOVIE PICKS of 2014

Ever since my first visits to the movie theater with my father as a very young child, I've been a movie lover.  Some of my earliest memories are of movies like E.T. and The Neverending Story on the big screen.  Thirty years later, watching motion pictures is still one of my favorite pass times.  As an annual tradition now, I share my own Top 10 Movies from releases of the previous year.  With cinema in a new golden age, this is no short task as I find myself moving around names of at least 20-30 movies to pick my ten favorites.  This year was no exception so we need to get the general suggestions and rotten eggs out of the way before we move on to the Top 10.

Of course being the fan boy I am, I've got plenty of love for the super-hero flicks despite them not making my list.  My favorite on-screen comics this year included Guardians of the Galaxy (the sleeper hit of the year stealing the overall box-office crown) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (the ultimate fusion of the silver screen X-verse which corrected Fox's continuity with the original trilogy.)  I was left scratching my head at The Amazing Spiderman 2 which was re-cut so many times there were scenes in the trailers which didn't even make the film itself.  I saw the long-awaited Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in the theater on my birthday and it certainly didn't disappoint- if you like the first one, check out the sequel for a juicy helping of the same.  Edge of Tomorrow, adapted from the manga novel All You Need is Kill was in my mind the blockbuster of the summer despite not putting up the numbers to show it.  Overall I have to say Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the most solid of the comic world's releases this year where they did something really special by making an espionage movie which played more like a Bond flick than a comic adaptation.

The biopic is another staple genre of the movie industry.  At this point, its really hard to justify one making my own personal list since I feel this is an much overplayed go-to for Hollywood the past 10 years.  However, for some poignant acting and socially-relevant stories, I'd highly recommend Selma, Cesar Chavez, The Imitation Game, Unbroken and The Theory of Everything.  Many of these will be highlighted for their acting during the awards ceremonies.  One could also lump Darren Aronofsky's Noah into this category as well.  Stylized to the director's eye, I found it visually stunning while others called for his head.

Each year I tend to mention a takeaway or two from one of my favorite veins in the film world, Southern Gothic.  This year, an independent film called Blue Ruin garnered much critical acclaim.  This vigilante story plays like a western but is set in the southeast and features some razor-sharp acting and a great script.  Also, Joe (based on the novel by the same name) is an abrasive coming-of-age story of redemption led by a grizzled Nicolas Cage and a wonderful supporting cast of found actors.  This independent film's cast included Gary Poulter, a local vagrant who died on the streets of Austin just months after the filming.

The world of cinema lost many great actors this year.  For a dynamic last performance, check out James Gandolfini in The Drop which is a fusion of a gangster and a heist movie with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.  As Philip Seymour Hoffman's last roles are played out, don't buy the hype of A Most Wanted Man or whatever computer-generated doppelganger is in store for the last Hunger Games movie.  Instead check out God's Pocket where he helps lead a great ensemble cast in a much over-looked movie.  It's a solid drama with a five star script.

Other suggestions from 2014 worth a sit-down include Filth, Enemy, Starred Up, Words and Pictures, The Rover, Fury, Autómata, The Homesman, Miss Meadows, St. Vincent, Life After Beth, Chef and Whiplash.  Never heard of them?  Just click on the name of any of the movies I've mentioned to read all about it at every cinephile's playground, IMDB.  Now on to the countdown...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top 10 COMMENTS of 2014

Art is capable of drawing a broad range of response from its audience.  It is the audience who truly defines art with their reaction.  Whether it be humor, adoration, inspiration or disgust, the end result of art is emotion in its purest reactionary form.  Each year I share the Top 10 Comments shared on my blog by readers and art patrons who visit.  Here are some of the words of wisdom from last year...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Zee Devil dOOdle

"Don't you know there ain't no devil? There's only God when He's drunk."

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell”

“If the devil does not exist, and man has therefore created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness”

"The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

"Disarm them with Humor."
-Stephane Charbonnier, slain Cartoon Editor of Charlie Hebdo (2012)

Laughter is a powerful medicine.  Laughter is contagious.  Laughter is also a dangerous weapon in today's world where the pen is (and perhaps always has been) mightier than the sword.  Art can serve as an instrument of humor in the right hands.  French magazine Charlie Hebdo has for years utilized their staff's talent for satire through printed cartoons.  These commentaries have caused world-wide debate with brush strokes taken at the religions and politics both of Eastern and Western denomination.  

After dealing with their office being firebombed a few years back, the magazine has now suffered a much more insurmountable tragedy.  Much of their staff were murdered in a blaze of bullets this week by terrorists during an assault on their home in Paris.  In the ultimate act of censorship, zealots took the lives of artists and staffers who illustrated their takes on religious extremism through the publication.  Their deaths serve as both the ultimate irony and exemplification of the power of art.

Today I stand in solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo, the people of Paris, and artists all over the world who express their view through their art and words. Je Suis Charlie.  Let your losses not be in vain but a catalyst for the change needed for a sensible and tolerable world.  My illustration in response to this tragedy depicts the Prophet Muhammad.  This in itself is frowned upon by the same doctrines which the terrorists who attacked the magazine with guns claim to defend.  However I wanted to go a step further in creating something (maybe) as offensive as today's act of terrorism.  To stretch to these lengths, I've illustrated a hand using a pen to desecrate the image of Muhammad with a childish and baseless attack.  I find it childish and baseless also to murder journalists and cartoonists in the name of your God. Guns and pens can do good or do irreparable harm in the right hands.  I don't see the hand in my illustration as my own but rather that of the invisible enemy religious extremists see in the Western world.  It all seems so silly... but nobody is laughing when lives are lost.