Friday, 06 January 2012

Prove your love, you've got to prove your love... As those of you on Facebook already know, I'm in a situation similar to the Great Library Entanglement of October 2007. Point being, a number of you have written asking why I haven't been blogging more frequently, and the short answer is that I haven't really had a computer for the past two months. I've got a laptop that can't open documents and was birthday gifted a Kindle which, also, can't open documents (much less display the visuals I need to do my work on, you know, visual rhetoric). So I'm going to take the patented Goldstein route of utter classnesses and ask for some help. If the university un-pays me as planned, I won't be able to afford a new computer for at least another few months. So if you'd like to see me back blogging sooner — that is, if you value what I write and want to read more of it — chip in and help my legs find some feet to stand on. I'm already headless, after all. Here's a donation button, if you'd like to pitch in, just send it to scotterickaufman (at) gmail (dot) com: *Especially if you're a fan of any of these posts, which are labor- and resource-intensive to write. I just need the tools of my trade, basically: Films: Batman Begins (classic horror) - Christopher Nolan Blow-Up (I) - Michelangelo Antonioni Blow-Up (II)- Michelangelo Antonioni The Dark Knight (I) - Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight (II) - Christopher Nolan Fight Club - David Fincher Ghost World - Terry Zwigof Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind - Hayao Miyazaki Superman - Richard Donner Superman Returns - Bryan Singer 30 Days of Night - David Slade Television Shows: Avatar: The Last Airbender - "The Ember Island Players" Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "Hush" Doctor Who - "Time of Angels" Doctor Who - "The Eleventh Hour" Mad Men - "The Grown-Ups" Mad Men - "Shut the Door. Have a seat." Mad Men (I) - "The Rejected" Mad Men (II) - "The Rejected" Mad Men (I) - "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" Mad Men (II) - "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" Mad Men (I) - "The Suitcase" Mad Men (II) - "The Suitcase" The Walking Dead - "Days Gone Bye" Comics: American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang Blankets - Craig Thompson Fun Home - Alison Bechdel Ghost World - Daniel Clowes Kick-Ass (I) - Mark Millar Kick-Ass (II) - Mark Millar Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth - Warren Ellis 30 Days of Night - Steve Niles The Walking Dead (word-specific panels) The Walking Dead (picture-specific panels) - Robert Kirkman Watchmen (panel construction) (I) - Alan Moore Watchmen (panel construction) (II) - Alan Moore Watchmen (responsible film criticism) - Anthony Lane Watchmen (unfilmable film filmed) - Zak Snyder vs. Alan Moore Watchmen (students as murderers) - Alan Moore Watchmen (Dr. Manhattan as a figure of the reader) - Alan Moore
On Leverage ("The Van Gogh Job") (This be yet another one of them posts.) Before analyzing a sequence from the "Van Gogh Job" episode of Leverage, I need to discuss a little something about color and continuity. First, you may be familiar with Vincent Van Gogh, but if not, all you need to know is the man loved his yellows: If you're thinking those yellows are a little brown, you're not wrong. But that's the fault of history and chemistry, not intent, so imagine those yellows are as vibrant as they were the day he painted them. This is important. So too is another of his paintings with which you're probably familiar: What's significant here is the contrast between the once-vibrant yellows and the rich swirls of blue that these lights fail to illuminate. The stars and moon exist independently of the night sky, which has always struck me as a visualization of a menacing thought: things can hide in the presence of all this light. Light can not only fail to illuminate, it can be swept up and away by raging torrents of darkness. (Which invariably contain monsters, because darkness light can't penetrate always contains monsters.) That I'm going on about Van Gogh in a post about the "Van Gogh Job" should be fairly self-evident, but it's not just that the director of this episode/author-of-the-challenge-to-write-this-post, John Rogers, employs a palette similar to that of his subject. More significant is how he employs it, which is both 1) often to the same end and 2) create continuity between his parallel narratives. In the modern narrative, Charlie Lawson (Danny Glover) sits in a hospital bed recounting the events of the World War II narrative to Parker (Beth Riesgraf): Note the color of her hospital gown. (And her hair, for that matter.) In the flashback, Riesgraf plays Lawson's love interest, Dorothy Ross: That would be her doing her best "Starry Night" impersonation. I'm normally reluctant to put too much stock in the analysis of color—such analyses usually end up sounding like impressionistic pseudo-psychoanalytic shtick—but in the frame above you don't even have to know what the episode's about to realize that this isn't a case in which a bright color's emerging from a deep dark as a visual representation of hope. Instead, Rogers captures an image of a bright color about to be overwhelmed by a pervasive and pernicious darkness. (Which, again, most likely contains monsters.) All of which is a belabored way of making a simple point: the color yellow is doing double-duty in this episode: 1) creating narrative continuity between the two historical periods and 2) suggesting a connection between the earlier narrative and its content (the loneliness and isolation evident in the stolen Van Gogh). One last note about continuity, in particular, the decision to use the Leverage team in both narratives: it may seem like a strange decision, one designed to cause confusion, but it actually makes perfect sense. After all, in the modern narrative, Lawson's narrating his experience to Parker, the result of...

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