The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Immortality Becomes You

with one comment

Dear Kathryn ,

Thanks for getting us started on this conversation, and sorry to take so long to respond! I’ve been wanting to re-read the book’s ending to refresh my memory before I started writing about the spin taken in the film. I agree with you completely – this is the movie that ignites my “Team Bella” instincts, for sure. Just as with the novel, I was delighted to see the newborn Ms. Swan living into her powers. But at the same time, this was where I thought the movie fell short. Read the rest of this entry »

Team Bella

leave a comment »


Team Bella

Dear Natalie,

So here we are, at the end of all things! The final installment of the The Twilight Saga and the end of the journey that started this blog. I’d like to start, however, with the beginning of Breaking Dawn, Part II: those amazing opening credits! Were you as mesmerized as I was? That dreamy northwest landscape that has been as much a part of these movies as the characters we love – drenched in blood red only to be frosted out in icy perfection! The overlay of natural world to Bella’s internal organs both crystalizing in the ice that has represented vampirism from the start! The fonts’ shift from red, formal serif to white, sans serif! And oh the fabulous layers of suggested meaning: the natural world is the human world, both soaked in the blood of life. The implications that Bella is giving up everything that is beautiful and living and growing and lush and changing about human life for some frozen perfection – beautiful but dead. And yet the subtle counter-implication that this transition is somehow natural. The frost of winter before a new, more vibrant life breaks forth. Read the rest of this entry »

The Dark Knight Rises – Is anyone else kinda wishing he’d stayed down?

with 4 comments

Dear Kathryn,

While I actually saw TDKR on Tuesday night, I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write to you about it. I just did not enjoy it, and am puzzled by the overwhelmingly positive response it is getting from reviewers I generally respect and agree with. Am I missing something here? Help me understand! Over at the AV Club, Scott Tobias calls the movie a Rorschach Test, and I think that begins to capture my frustration. While debates pass back and forth over whether this is right wing propaganda or right wing propaganda undoing itself from within in some form of postmodern play, I’m left wondering if Nolan even knows the real answer. Not that authorial intent needs to drive our sense of meaning here, but my sense is that TDKR isn’t playing with political themes because it’s interested in the ambiguous dimensions of cultural zeitgeist; rather, it’s playing back and forth with these themes because these themes sell. I don’t want the film to pick a side (and my hunch is that with some distance, just as with the second, the side will end up looking much more like right-wing, uber-capitalist wet dreams than the inevitably failing moments of ambiguity currently allow it to do). Sure, Occupy appears here as both “unifying force” and “order-upending menace,” as Tobias notes. But the intrigue of a Rorschach Test lies in the fact that one’s response is immediate – I see what I see immediately. With TDKR, it’s 5 days later, and I still don’t know what the hell I saw besides a lot of explosions, a ridiculously moping millionaire, and a lot of Catwoman’s ass on a motorcycle. Read the rest of this entry »

The girl on fire

leave a comment »

This is a response to Natalie’s fabulous first post on The Hunger Games. Read her post first to catch up on the conversation.

Dear Natalie,

I am sorry it took me so long to respond to your excellent first post on this movie/series/phenomenon. It was not out of lack of interest. Nay, after finishing my dissertation last month and entering that blissful and often illusory state of Free Time, I read this entire series twice in ten days and have since seen the movie twice. The first time through the books (and I think we talked briefly after I had just finished them once), it took me until the very end to decide if I really liked them. I was clearly addicted, but the whole way through I kept thinking “does Suzanne Collins know what she is doing?” Does she, in fact, realize that she is writing a trilogy about the trauma of war and the devastation of violence and loss, or is she just playing around with dystopia? By the end of Mockingjay, I decided she did know what she was doing, but then I worried that it was all too subtle, that the final desolation of Katniss’ future would seem somehow like a happy ending instead of the refutation of that very idea, at least in the way we might have come to expect from The Absolute Bliss of (Vampiric) Eternal Love. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

April 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm

May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor

with one comment

Hi all,

I’m under the impression that this is an unpopular opinion, but I found this movie so much more moving than the book on which it was based. Throughout the entire trilogy, I found myself utterly unsympathetic to Katniss. I wanted to interpret this as my own Capital-esque inability to engage the suffering of trauma when it was on display before me. Despite buying the fact that this was Susanne Collins’ intention, though, the writing never quite let me feel it. The film, on the other hand, captures this theme perfectly, in my view. First of all (as my sister texted me right after she saw it) it’s a lot harder to watch children get killed than to read about it (at least when it’s not Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor sequence, or some other such writing of breath-stealing terror, that is).  And so, when Rue is killed, and we watch Katniss bury her in flowers and then just break down in agony…we actually see her psyche shatter.

What I loved about the movie (in contrast to the book) though, is that it reminds us consistently that this is not the first time Katniss’ psyche has shattered Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

April 15, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Sherlock Holmes

leave a comment »

Dear Kathryn,

Well, the very two things that stuck out to us so much in the first movie remained ever-present for me as I watched this sequel: the chemistry between the two male leads and the strangely intellectual dimension to Holmes’ physical skills. Whereas I think you described the first installation as a long trailer for the true act with Moriarty (and I whole heartedly agreed with your interpretation at the time), I can’t say I enjoyed this second one nearly as much as the first. There were a few moments – when Holmes met with Moriarty in his office, for example – when the tension between the two, and Jared Harris’ acting in particular, was quite stunning. But I felt like the whole movie ran like a series of vignettes that, while quite beautifully produced, nevertheless lacked much narrative coherence. I thought the genius of Moriarty would bring us a great story – he seemed mostly to bring more explosions.

So, on to these two ever-present ponderings: first, the male lead chemistry. I don’t quite know what to make of it! I couldn’t tell if I was frustrated that they Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

January 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm

This is the new James Bond

with 2 comments

Dear Natalie,

It is a bit bizarre to write this up on Christmas Eve, because I found the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo anything but restful, peaceful, or even that hopeful. Still, I can’t stop thinking about it, so that has to count for something. Let’s leave aside the question of whether or not this movie even needed to be made given the excellent Swedish trilogy that is already completed (really, was this just for lazy Americans who won’t read subtitles?), because something different was going on in this film and it started for me with the opening titles.

Did you feel like you had accidentally stumbled into a James Bond film when the titles started to roll? Read the rest of this entry »