Ever since Samuel L. Jackson cropped up in an eye patch in Iron Man’s post-credits, Marvel films have had their eye firmly planted on the future. Setting up incoming installments has been a precarious process, resulting in such face-palmingly clunky sequences as the infamous “Thor in a Bath Tub” scene and the entirety of Iron Man 2. When not preoccupied with teasing the oncoming comic strata or hogtying in easter eggs for uber-nerds to dissect and debate, Marvel has admittedly done fine work developing their roster of heroes, taking careful stock in ensuring that its non-comic reading audience has at the bare minimum a working sense of what drives these supers to strap into spandex and save the world. With Captain America: Civil War, a direct sequel to the events of Captain America: Winter Solider that employs nearly the entirety of The Avengers, those characters turn to the rear view to take stock of what has been lost along the way. Read More
Camera Obscura: (Latin: “dark chamber”) is an optical device that led to photography and the photographic camera. The following films penetrate the modern psyche through an all too clear lens–its iterations, ethos, phobias, catharsis, and moreover, crisis. With stunning clarity, these masters peered into a void and showed us the contemporaneous man in all of its conflicting form before our eyes.
Every time I read or watch narrative subject matter about modern life, I’m reminded, like others, of our former observers’ clarity. Yes, they had unstoppable imaginations lit on fire, but as fantasy bleeds into reality it’s the warnings that leave a knot. We know they’re there, but our modes of modern catharsis are only synthetic and soon we won’t know what’s real and what’s not. John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) doesn’t know, violently waking supine in a water-filled bathtub as a dingy ceiling light undulates above. More so, he awakens with no memory to an Art Deco nightmare where, in the words of “The Strangers”, “All times and no times are blended together.” Read More