Saturday, November 25, 2017

Exit Through The Gift Shop — A Banksy Film



First, I want to make sure everyone knows who Banksy is. He's a well-known street artist who was popularized in the aught years and has become a household name when it comes to street art. Here's a popular example of his work... and I know you've all seen it before!



Well, Exit Through The Gift Shop is his documentary. Not about Banksy, but about an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker that followed street artists with his camera in the late 90s and early 00s, then gave Banksy the footage to create this amazing film. What was this eccentric man's name? Thierry Guetta (A.K.A. Mr. Brainwash).

Okay, if you know the street art world, then you probably know Mr. Brainwash. And that's cool, because he's pretty popular. I mean, he did create Madonna's 2009 greatest hits album cover, Celebration!



Anyway, my question after watching this film is this. Is Mr. Brainwash actually a True American Street Artist? Or, did Banksy create this story as his own, personal, well-orchestrated piece of art? No, really, hear me out. After watching the documentary, then searching online, a lot of people think that Banksy created this character as a way to play a giant prank on the art world.

To be honest, I don't know if this story is real or fake. But, I do like the idea that Banksy would go out of his way to create the artist Mr. Brainwash. I like the idea that he would ask Theirry to play along and start creating his own street art that replicates the style of all the artists he followed for years. I like the idea that he would have Thierry open up a gallery, not long after Banksy's first LA appearance, and make it as big and grandiose as art-worldly possible! And I love the idea that all of this was done under the ruse of Banksy himself.

But is it fake? I don't know. I mean, all Mr. Brainwash did was take images from pop culture, scan them in, then manipulate them. Best of all, he didn't even do it himself. He had a huge staff, some of which use to work for Banksy, that did most of the work for him. All Mr. Brainwash did was tell them what to change/add to the images.

For instance, he had a designer take a scan of Elvis and replace the guitar with a Fisher Price gun using PhotoShop. He didn't even do it himself. He just told someone to do it. Sure, it was his idea to do that, but, he wasn't the person who actually did it!



Anyway, I don't know if this film is a fake, or an amazing documentary of the advent of street art as we know it. But, either way, I do suggest watching it on Netflix while it's still available. It's definitely something fun to watch that'll give you a quick glimpse at the art world we live in. Even if art isn't something you particularly enjoy on a regular basis. Cheers!



Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jim Carrey Is One Serious Method Actor



First off, if you don't know what method acting is, it's the technique of acting in which an actor aspires to complete emotional identification with a part. How do they do this? They spend every waking minute becoming the character. A perfect example is Robert Dinero driving a cab on weekends in Manhattan prepping for the role of Tavis Bickle in the movie Taxi Driver. No joke. Here's his NYC Taxi Cab License.


As far as Jim Carrey is concerned, I guess he went one step further for the movie Man On The Moon by spending every waking minute during production living the life of Andy Kaufman, and his alter ego lounge singer character Tony Clifton.

How do I know this? Because I just watched an amazing documentary on Netflix called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. If you haven't heard of it, here's the trailer.



In this behind the scenes look at the production of Man On The Moon, you get to see how far Jim Carrey took this role. Terrorizing the entire production crew, and causing anxiety for the great director Milos FormanOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus.

To be honest, I never knew Jim Carrey was such a method actor. I've always admired his work. Particularly his comedic roles in Dumb & Dumber and Ace Ventura, and his more serious roles in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But, now that I've seen this wonderful documentary on this amazing artist's craft, I have to admit, I am now an even bigger fan of the great Jim Carrey.

And, if you haven't seen the movie Man On The Moon, do yourself a favor, watch that first, then watch the documentary. You'll thank me for it. Cheers!

Friday, August 25, 2017

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 7, Ep 6 – "Beyond The Wall"


Beyond The Wall

Holy Mother of Dragons! This episode was a game changer to say the least. Most of the action took place Beyond The Wall as the title would suggest, but before we get there let's recap what happened elsewhere and get that out of the way! OK... I guess some of the things that happened elsewhere weren't that terrible...

Winterfell

OK. Sansa! Arya! Listen up! Knock off this childish fighting and get on the same damn page! No, Sansa, don't talk to Littlefinger! Arya, stop threatening your sister with that dagger! Sansa, don't send Brienne away! Arya, keep your severed faces to yourself! What the hell is wrong with you two?! I just... I.... Ugh... I can't. Winterfell ladies and gentlemen.

"Sometimes fear makes them do unfortunate things. I'll go with anger."
-Arya

Dragonstone

Ah! Another great conversation between Dany and Tyrion. After speculating on how small or tall heroes should be, things get a bit serious. Tyrion has the right idea about planning for a successor to the thrown, but he pushes a bit too hard and too soon. Dany goes all mad queen for a moment and Tyrion can't seem to influence her lately no matter how hard he tries. 

Later, after receiving a well timed raven from the North, Dany jumps on Drogon and takes all three dragons to save the day. Again, after Tyrion advises her not to. I know he hasn't exactly had a great track record lately, but sooner or later you have to listen to your Hand right?

"You told me to do nothing before and I listened to you. I'm not doing nothing again."
-Dany

The North (Beyond The Wall)

The episode opens with a series of "walk and talks" between several members of Snow-ceans Eleven. I actually loved every minute of it. I could watch all of these different pairings over and over again. No undead killing action needed. 

Tormund helps Gendry by explaining to him the best ways to stay warm in the North. (Moving, Fighting, and Fornication.) They accomplish two out of three in this episode. The third one... we'll just wait and see. He then gets to speak with Jon one on one for a bit and they talk about the consequences of bending the knee. Or rather the consequences of not doing it. Tormund telling Jon that Mance Rayder was a great man, but let many die for his pride may have changed Jon's whole perspective on kneeling before Dany. It certainly looks that way by the end of the episode anyway.

"Smart people don't come up here looking for the dead."
-Tormund

Jon and Jorah are up next and they talk about each others' fathers and finally we see them talk about Longclaw! As predicted, Jon offers the sword to Jorah. As expected, Jorah refuses and Jon keeps the sword. The formerly disgraced knight also gives Jon some food for thought. "May it serve you well, and your children after you." I don't believe Jon had ever considered the prospect of children before. The question is, will he ever get to see that prospect realized? 

The Hound and Tormund was just perfect! Even though they don't share the same affection for Brienne of Tarth, I think they'll be best buds in no time. 

Jon gets a chance to chat with Beric. Two men who have cheated death discover that death is the real enemy and that they must fight it no matter what. 

"The enemy always wins. But we still need to fight him. That's all I know."
-Beric

Wait a minute? Undead bears? Nobody told me there would be undead bears?! Great. Here come the nightmares. In any event, this was still awesome. We lost a couple of red shirts right away that we cared absolutely nothing about, but then our favorite drunken priest Thoros takes one for the team. Well, more like taking one for the Hound. Thoros jumps in front of the now flaming bear (more nightmares) and is severely wounded. Not for nothing, but the Hound needs to take some of his own advice and stop "whingeing" around fire. You're fighting alongside two guys that use flaming swords! What did you expect?! 

Shortly after the attack the TV-MA Fellowship of the Ring stumble upon a rogue group of undead soldiers led by one White Walker. They seize the opportunity and find out that if you destroy a White, then the other wights (I know, they're spelled different. It's confusing.) that he created all die as well. Except for one. Probably because he was made by another White and just happened to be marching with this group? Or it could just be a convenient plot hole. Either way the group captures a wight and succeeds in their stupid plan. (I think I mentioned not being a fan of this plan last time. Nothing has changed.) The wight then calls for help much like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park and suddenly the group finds themselves in a pickle. 


Ladies and gentlemen, Gendry "The Jet" Baratheon! Jon somehow knows that Gendry is the fastest and sends him back to the wall to send a raven to Dany. He takes off just as the horde of undead soldiers chase the rest of Jon's gang to a standstill in the middle of a frozen lake. Here's where the timeline gets a bit hard to follow. Let's just say it's been a couple of days and accept that the show is not wasting time. I have complained about the streamlining before, but I'm over it. For now.

The Hound throws a few rocks at the undead because... they needed to realize the lake had froze again? I don't know. It gets crazy right after that as the two groups collide and battle it out. After the last of the red shirts falls (very sad) it looks like we may lose some more main characters. It gets intense and when all seems lost we finally get to see Ice vs Fire!

Dany and her dragons swoop in to save the day and begin to lay waste to the army of the undead! This starts to look like the battle of the Loot Train from episode four until the unthinkable happens. One of Dany's dragons, Viserion, is struck with an ice spear from the Night King. I don't think I've ever been this sad about a CGI character before. The group, minus Jon, (because somebody had to go and be a stupid hero) escape with the wight they captured. Viserion sinks into the lake and Jon soon follows. Then something strange happens...

Did Jon just die again? It's possible that he held his breath and somehow didn't get hypothermia, but he was under water for a long time. The army was already marching away. When he was originally brought back did that make him undead as well? Is this another instance that I should just accept and shut up about? Fine. For now.

Good old uncle Benjen does what he does best. Saves Starks from certain death in the knick of time. The reunion between Jon and his favorite uncle is short lived (puns) and Benjen is overcome by the undead as Jon rides for The Wall. An undead man on an undead horse watching his undead uncle get torn apart by the undead. What show are we watching again? Where's Rick and Carl? Sorry. I meant where's Rick and Cooooouuuuuurrrrrlllllll! (If you don't watch The Walking Dead then please ignore the previous joke.) 

Later, Jon wakes up on a boat headed back to Dragonstone. Dany is at his bedside and mourns the loss of one of her children. She vows to destroy the Night King and his army and Jon swears his allegiance to her. A touching scene. Maybe too touching. She's your aunt dude. No more touching. 

"Alright. Not Dany. How about my Queen?"
-Jon

As far as endings go, this episode had easily one of my favorites for this show. An army of...let's call them the zombie chain gang, pulls a very dead Viserion out of the lake. The Night King places his hand on the dragon's head and then Viserion opens his eye... which is now bright blue. Bye bye Wall.


"Holy son of a f#*%ing mother f#*%ing b#*ch mother f#*%er!" 
-Me, when Viserion opened his eye.

Thoughts and Theories

  • Gendry. The Brotherhood is never going to apologize for selling you to a Red Witch. Stop whingeing. 
  • Sansa! Arya! Same page! Now! 
  • Still worried about Littlefinger.
  • Where were the undead giants? Saving them for later?
  • Pour one out for Thoros of Myr. (He's got plenty left in that flask.) 
  • How were they going to freeze to death when Beric had a flaming sword the whole time?
  • Who uses the better warhammer? The Hound or Gendry?
  • Speaking of The Hound. He's heading to King's Landing with that wight. The Mountain is there. Get hype! 
  • The Wall is coming down this season! Last thing we'll see I would think. 
  • Ice Dragon! I know. You're right. It's very sad... Meh. Ice Dragon!

These episodes are getting longer and so are these recaps! Fear not. My love for my own voice is still strong. Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your own thoughts and theories in the comments. I'll leave you with this... The finale this week is titled "The Dragon and The Wolf." Dany and Jon? Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark in a flashback via Three Eyed Bran? Yes. Please. All of it. 

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."


Cheers.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 7, Ep 4 – "The Spoils of War"


The Spoils of War

Dragons, Dothraki, and Daggers oh my! This episode really delivered a mid-season punch! The Spoils of War really spoiled us fans in every way. Who cares if the timetables don't make much sense! Let's get started. 


The Loot Train

The Lannister army takes what remains of Highgarden as they begin to make their way back to King's Landing. Jaime oversees the train of grains, gold, and other provisions, and yet, he doesn't appear to be too happy about any of it. It seems that Lady Ollena's final words have stuck with him. Bronn (Welcome back! I love this guy.) notices that something is amiss and begins to pry as only he can. Some characters just seem to get better lines of dialogue in this show and he's near the top of that list. I would love to see Bronn and Tyrion reunite this season, but judging by the way this episode ended I don't know if that will happen. At this point who knows if either of them will make it to the end of the season... Wait. What am I saying?! Of course they will! Good old uncle George R. R. Martin wouldn't dare dispose of either of these beloved characters right? Right?! Look, all I'm saying is that if Bronn or Tyrion die we riot. Who's with me?


King's Landing

Cersei discusses future business with the Iron Banker and he seems willing to help her. As long as their debt is paid of course. I couldn't help but notice that during their conversation he mentions the Golden Company in Essos (A renowned group of sellswords) to which Cersei replies, "I too would like them to recover some things that belong to me." What "things" did she mean? I can't quite put my finger on that yet, but little bits like this tend to come back in a big way with this show. Curious to see if this little seed blooms later on. 

"Rest assured Your Grace. You can count on the Iron Bank's support... As soon as the gold arrives."
-Scrooge McMoneybags 

(OK. I haven't bothered to learn this character's name yet, but the actor plays Sherlock Holmes' brother, Mycroft, in the BBC show "Sherlock." Have you seen that show? It's amazing! It's a great modern retelling of... hmmm... maybe for another blog. One show at a time.)  


Winterfell

Bran continues to creep people out. Littlefinger presents him with the very dagger that was meant to cut his throat in the first season because... You know what? I have no idea. Littlefinger is one of the best players in this game no doubt, but this doesn't make much sense. That's like giving Harry Potter the wand that killed his parents. (Too soon?) Thankfully Meera walks in to interrupt this awkward scene, but not before Bran drops a knowledge bomb on Lord Baelish. In a nice callback to Littlefinger's monologue from season 3 Bran reminds him of his own words. "Chaos is a ladder." What else does this emotionless Three Eyed Raven know? Littlefinger wants to find out.

Meera doesn't want to leave Bran, but she has no problem reminding him of who died for him. (Pour one out for Hodor.) Bran "died in that cave" as she says and was reborn as the monotoned husk of a person we have come to love. Can you tell I'm a fan of this character? He's got some badass powers I'll give you that, but his people skills have taken a steep decline. Live long and prosper, Bran. 

Arya Stark of Winterfell comes home. She hasn't been there since the first season and it's a very different place nowadays. It has the same bumbling guards mind you, but it's different for the most part. Her reunion with Sansa in the crypts is bittersweet. Two sisters who were at odds with each other in the beginning have grown up (in very different ways) to respect one another. They stand in front of their father's tomb which, as they point out, looks nothing like him. While many who knew Ned's face are dead, Arya points out that they (the Stark children) are not. She does know her faces after all...

The two siblings meet up with Bran in the grove where he gives Arya the same dagger Littlefinger gave him earlier. What's the significance of this dagger? It's Valyrian steel as Arya points out, but beyond that I can't tell why it's being showcased in this episode. Bran does seem to give a certain look towards Arya as he gives the dagger to her. Almost as if he knows that she will need to use it for something, or for someone. 

Arya and Brienne! This is one of those scenes that we didn't know we were waiting for, but it felt like we should have been. Arya utilizes all of her skills from her many teachers (Syrio, Jaqen H'ghar, and even The Hound) and battles to a draw with Brienne. Perhaps she has found another sensei to help her complete her list.


Dragonstone

Jon shows Dany what lies underneath her castle. A huge cache of dragonglass...and some very plot convenient cave drawings of different groups of people coming together to defeat the White Walkers. As Jon rubs the fresh chalk off of his hands the two exit the cave to hear some bad news from Tyrion and Varys. (They look like two kids having to tell their mom about her favorite vase that they accidentally broke.) Dany accuses Tyrion of underestimating his family and has had enough with the "clever plans." She asks Jon for advice and he suggests that she not burn everything around her to the ground. She seems to like that sentiment...although she doesn't seem to listen to it. 

"Will you forgive me if I switch sides?"
-Davos Seaworth


The Loot Train II (Electric Boogaloo)

Spears and shields are not enough for a Dothraki army and Drogon! This is a battle I wasn't expecting so soon, but I was not at all disappointed. Dothraki warriors jumping off of horses mid stride, Lannister infantry turning into ash in an instant, Bronn finding a way to be sarcastic in the middle of a bloodbath? Yep. This battle had everything. We finally got to see what a dragon can do to an army in the open field. The Lannisters brought a knife to a nuke fight. We also got that giant crossbow payoff we weren't waiting for. OK. It winged Drogon and injured him, but I'm glad it wasn't  Cersei's solution to her dragon problem. Jaime takes advantage of the injury and makes a dash towards Dany with a spear in hand. Drogon notices and spews fire at Jaime who is saved at the last second by Bronn. The two sink to the bottom of the convenient pond in the middle of the battleground and it fades to black. 

"Dracarys."
-Dany

Thoughts and Theories

  • That dagger. We saw a picture of it in the first episode of this season in Old Town. How important is it?
  • Jon totally should have punched Theon. 
  • Was it hot in that dragonglass cave or is it just me? It would be a little wrong if those two got together wouldn't it? Probably just the show having fun with us. 
  • Ser Davos. (Another character at the top of the "best lines" list.) 
  • Littlefinger looks to be in between a rock and a hard place. I think he'll worm his way out, but I'm waiting to see how. 
  • Ha! Another Dickon joke. I love Bronn. Have I mentioned that?
  • Dragons and Dothraki horses... The fastest way to travel in Westeros. Who cares? It was awesome!
  • That's not going to be how Jaime goes out. Stop worrying. Although that golden armor is heavy and he's sinking fast... Nah. Bronn will pull him out. Jaime still owes him that castle after all.
  • A nice touch (and a little ironic) to have the Lannisters house song, "The Rains of Castamere,"play in a more somber tone when both Jaime and Tyrion watch the Lannister army get defeated so soundly.
     
  • More Dragons please! I need to watch that battle again. Right now!


As always, thank you for reading and feel free to leave your own thoughts and theories in the comments below. Can't wait to see what else this season has in store! 

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."


Cheers.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I Drink and I Know Things: Game of Thrones Sn 7, Ep 3 – "The Queen's Justice"

The Queen's Justice

OK. So this recap took a bit longer to post. I let down my millions of readers. (Rounded up to the nearest million.) There were a few technical difficulties and... You know what? I'll just let Tyrion explain it for me...

"A long and bloody tale. To be honest, I was drunk for most of it."

OK. My apologies. At least after reading this one you won't have to wait as long for the next installment right? Now then, let's move on...


Dragonstone

The bastard of Winterfell reunites with the dwarf of Casterly Rock. The show runners are not wasting any time with moving the plot along this season. A trip that would have taken Jon about four episodes a few seasons ago now only takes roughly thirty minutes. I'm not complaining about this sudden streamlining because it skips over what I'm sure would've been some epic "brooding at sea" scenes from Jon Snow. For getting to moments like this it works, but for others (which I'll get to later) not so much. 

Tyrion and Jon reconnecting was fun to see and I enjoyed the banter about how they came into their current positions and whose weddings were or were not consummated. We were also very heavily reminded of Jon's lineage when a dragon decided to pull a Maverick and buzz the tower right after Jon says that he's "not a Stark." He still knows nothing. 

The meeting between Dany and Jon was also something fans have been waiting on since the beginning of the story and it did not disappoint. I don't think it will take long for them to be on the same page, but it was realistic of them to not outright trust each other from the get go. I'm sure their relationship will be streamlined as well. Especially when/if Dany finds out that she's technically his aunt. Of course that might not be a good thing. Of Dany's twenty or so titles the one that stands out in this instance is that she is the "Last Targaryen." Not exactly true once all is revealed. How will she handle that? Loving Aunt or Mad Queen? Either way it was good to finally see "Ice and Fire together" as Melisandre eloquently put it. 

By the way, for someone who has three dragons, is it that hard to believe that the army of the dead and the white walkers are real? Also, Jon doesn't want Dany to know about his resurrection yet? I suppose you test the waters with zombies and ice giants first. Then go for the "I was dead, but now I'm not" story. 

In the end, thanks to Tyrion's diplomacy (which has been far better than his battle planning lately) Dany allows Jon to mine for dragonglass underneath the castle. A reasonable thing to ask for a northern fool. 

"This is Jon Snow. He's King in the North." 
-Davos Seaworth


King's Landing

Euron receives a hero's welcome at King's Landing where the people just love their tyrants apparently. Why does anybody even want to sit on the throne here? The Capitol of Westeros needs to be changed. Anyway, Cersei promises Euron all that his heart desires...when the war is won. If the war is won. 

Cersei gives Tyene Sand the "Long Farwell" just as Ellaria did to Cersei's daughter, Myrcella, at the end of season 5. This scene was sadistic. Full of vengeance. Malicious. Perfect. Cersei would scare the fava beans out of Hannibal Lecter in this scene. A brutal ending for the Sands. 

Feeling high with power, Cersei struts around like she owns the place. I suppose technically she does. Or does the Iron Bank? We are reminded that the crown (and the Lannisters in particular) are in debt to the bankers from Braavos. Wait a minute. Braavos? Who else do we know from Braavos? OK. You're right. I might just be wearing my tinfoil hat again. It's probably no one...


Old Town

Jorah is miraculously cured overnight it seems. After shaking hands with Sam (the first contact he's had with anyone in a while I imagine) he ventures off to be with his Khaleesi.  The Archmaester calls out Sam for going behind his back, but then "rewards" him with the task of cleaning up a pile of old scrolls. Scrolls infested with paper mites. Scrolls that may possess important information. Read on, Samwell.


Winterfell

Sansa has learned quite a bit over the years. The leadership role suites her very well as she oversees Winterfell. Littlefinger gives her some advice about seeing everything play out in her mind. Good advice, but I'm still waiting for the Littlefinger twist. Shortly after, Sansa is reunited with Bran, someone who actually can see everything play out in his mind. 

When did Bran Stark become the lovechild of Spock and Norman Bates? I guess it must be "difficult to explain" as he says. Is it though? "I met the three eyed raven and he taught me how to see all things. He died and bestowed his powers on me, making me the new three eyed raven." Is it that difficult Bran?! Is it?! 


Casterly Rock

Tyrion's Master Plan: Part Deux. It works like a charm! Until it doesn't. The Unsullied take the rock, but at the cost of their fleet at the hands of Euron Greyjoy. OK. This is where I have a slight problem with the streamlining. How did Euron sail his fleet there so fast? How did Jaime mobilize his forces to leave Casterly Rock and arrive at Highgarden right at that moment? Editing. That's how. I can let it slide. Again, it would've taken the majority of a season for the pieces to fall into place like this before. The real question here is... how did they know this attack was coming so fast? There has to be a traitor somewhere right? 


Highgarden

The Lannisters may not have the money anymore, but they know who does. The Tyrells of Highgarden have been the richest family in Westeros for some time now. The Tyrells are not known for their military prowess. The Tyrells get sacked. The battle is quick. Almost as quick as Lady Ollena's sharp tongue. I don't know if we have seen a better send off for a character in this show, but this one was well deserved. Diana Rigg played the hell out of this role and even as her character is on the verge of death, she still finds a way to win. The look on Jaime's face as she tells him how she killed Joffrey is a thing of beauty. The Queen of Thorns until the end.

"Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me."
-Ollena Tyrell



Thoughts and Theories

  • Melisandre has been wrong before, but never about prophecies of death. (The burning leeches from season 2. Or was that a spell? Whatever, you get the idea.) This does not look good for Varys. 
  • Speaking of Varys, is he a secret spy? How is it that the Lannisters are this far ahead of Dany. It might not be him, but something doesn't sit right with me. 
  • Who else wants to see Jaime vs Euron? 
  • Was Tyrion's "Walking Deadmen" line a shot at AMC? 
  • The preview for the next episode shows both Dany on a dragon and Arya arriving at Winterfell. Yes to both of those things!
  • No Hound? We need more Hound!
Thank you for reading and for your patience with this one! Looking forward to the next episode!

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things."



Cheers.