Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Like" My New Haircut!

Good news, facebook fans!  We can once again post decapitation videos!  Facebook has reversed its policy against users posting video decapitations, instituted last May.  That is, so long as users who post beheadings to facebook include a proper amount of condemnation of the practice of beheading people.  This is not to be confused with condemnation of the practice of posting beheading videos to facebook; let's not get these confused.

facebook says we also need to make sure we're posting our beheadings and such to an age-appropriate audience, responsibly. I assume this means having no under-aged friends?  Is "the internet" an age-appropriate audience?  Judging by some of the things I manage to find, I'd say the internet is a pretty worldly bunch.

You also need to have warnings, and I don't know if spoiler tags count.

What I do know is you can't just post a beheading video and be like, "haha no need to lose your head over it" or make some other lame pun.  Comments should say, "Disgusting!" or "I am appalled!" or something similar so people know you object to actually watching the video murders you post to facebook. Or maybe you object to the murders themselves, and you feel it's your civic duty to speak out about human rights issues in a forum usually reserved for Grumpy Cat and funny pictures of that Dokes guy from Dexter ("Supplies, motherfucker!"...LOL that gets me every time).

My suggestion:  Make sure your follow-up to the video comment has plenty of righteous indignation. Like,  "I'm so disgusted that you would post this, self." or "I really didn't need to see this, me!"  That'll give it the air of seriousness such issues deserve, and let the censors at facebook know you're serious about beheadings.

By the way, I hear you get more hits if you post a picture of the beheading in the original post, then link to the actual video in the "comments" section.

Don't ask me about the "like" button in these instances, I don't know if it counts for or against beheading.  Maybe you clarify by adding a "'Like' if you hate trivialized violence!"

facebook says they figured out the morality of it all during the Boston Marathon bombing, or at least that's what their representative told Gizmodo.  Apparently, there was video of a man whose legs were blown off.  And what type of news service would facebook be if they denied you video of a guy with his legs blown off?  Why, they'd be no news service at all, I reckon.  Without up-to-the-minute coverage of beheading and dismemberment to attract real, useful advertisers, they'd probably have to resort to selling ad space hocking pay-to-play games about farming and gambling.  People would have to look to other sources to form their opinions on graphic depictions of murder and acts of terrorism.

It begs the question:  If not for facebook, how many victims of the Boston bombing would have been left wandering the streets, yearning for some other way to communicate their terror? Twitter would have been my suggestion, but imagine having to express all that shell-shock, arterial spray, abject misery and confusion in 140 characters or just doesn't work out, does it?  Unless your fingers are blown off.  Then, I'd guess 140 characters (or 3, maybe?) would be fine.

We should, as responsible citizens of the blogosphere/cube, always be on the lookout for dismemberment and beheading news to post to facebook, especially with Halloween right around the corner.  Make sure your phone understands gestures if there's any chance you yourself are about to be dismembered: You may only have seconds before you pass out, and you don't want to spend those last moments helplessly hammering your bloody stumps into a touch screen.  Remember, there's an entire internet that needs to know.

It really makes you think:  What if just one sword-wielding nutbag had seen just how many "likes" an anti-beheading video of a beheading was getting? Could that have stayed his hand?  I have a hard time believing a tweet could make the difference, but when you add the embedded video and open-concept facebook floor plan...

Oh, and no nekid boobies during the beheadings.  I mean, c'mon folks: That would be offensive.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jim's Movie Reviews: Rush

Rush is the latest film from director Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen).  It tells the (true) story of the intense rivalry between Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), two Formula 1 drivers with extreme personalities whose on- and off-track battles were the stuff of sports legend in the 1970's. In a sport where a significant percentage of drivers is killed, on average, every season, the two figures rise to dominate the track, each fueling the other's desire to win, regardless of risk and personal cost.

The Good:  The personalities on display here are extreme, almost to the point of caricature, but neither the script nor the direction can be faulted for it.  To put it simply, the film does a good job of conveying the truth:  To take up this sport required a certain fearlessness not present in your average person.  To win, one must have been more than a little insane.  The dialogue conveys this, including some word-for-word quotes from interviews and other recorded footage, as if to let the audience know that the personalities on display here are extreme, but aren't "amped up" for cinema.  The subjects needed to be that way, or it wouldn't have been their story being told decades later.  Hunt did show up for interviews with multiple models on his arm. He did speak as if the world was his playground. He did take chances on the track that resulted in both wins and critical injuries. Lauda did walk onto one of the most storied racing teams of his time, blackmailing them for a spot by first building a faster car and then demonstrating that he could beat their best driver in it.  It's one of those situations where narrative truth could have taken a back seat, and personalities could have been toned down to make it seem more real or believable to audiences.  That, and events could have been re-arranged or edited for a more pleasing arc...but it wouldn't have been the truth.

Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle gives us some of the best work of his career. The 70's muted Kodachrome color palette was perfect, especially where integrating stock racing footage was necessary to tell the story.  The camera work both on- and off-track was thrilling, and edited to perfection.  I gotta say, this is a contender for "Best Editing", with cuts paced to build intensity during race sequences, and communicating to-the-point personalities outside the track very, very well.

I don't know who to credit with this, but this film needs to win several awards for sound, especially the way the foley work was integrated with the music.  Although there were some missteps and hokey-ness off the track when it came to chosen songs for montages, on the race track was perfection:  Engine noise overwhelms, then gives way to announcers, whose voices in turn echo seemingly right on beat with the music, and it all blends to a seamless whole.  I was thrilled with the race sequences in general, and due in no small part to the craftsmanship evident in what I was hearing.

The bad:  The film may cause feelings of inadequacy, especially among middle-aged males.

Oh, and some of the CG wasn't absolutely perfect.

The verdict:  Probably the best racing film I've ever seen...but that doesn't say much, as, let's face it: Most racing films are stupid.  If you like action and drama, go see it.  9 out of 10.