Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Esteemed Critic's Multiple Sentence Reviews

Scarlett Johansson is Star Child.

Another day, another lie lived, am I not right, my gentle readers? The Critic has been very busy as of late, working on his manifesto, which will, I assure you all, take the entire literary world by storm. But it seems I must pay the bills by eviscerating the work of my fellow "artists." So it goes. Let us begin by looking at Under the Skin, a film released in 2013 that somehow flew under my radar.

Under the Skin
The premise is that Scarlett Johansson plays an alien succubus sent to Scotland to seduce men while driving around in a white rape van. She picks up these pale emaciated cretins (seriously, is haggis all they eat in Scotland? These are some skinny dudes) and takes them back to a bizarre dungeon-like building, where they slowly pursue her naked, sinking with every step into an oil-like substance that robs them of their skins. This is some B-movie stuff, but it is treated like high-art; you watch as Johansson's alien starts to develop empathy and curiosity about her human form. She eventually helps one of her abductees escape, leading to her own flight and abandonment of the whole nefarious operation. She is then, more or less, swallowed by the world, a world that sees her only as either a vulnerable woman or a featureless freak. The conclusion is heartbreaking and wondrous; the Critic really felt for the alien succubus, which is rare, for the Critic rarely feels anything these days but scorn and disdain. Highly recommended. Two and a half stars (my highest rating yet!).

The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti
The first fifty or so pages of Thomas Ligotti's work of philosophical nihilism is captivating. He introduces us to some fascinating concepts of obscure pessimistic philosophers such as Phillip Mainlander, a German who reversed Schopenhauer's Will to Live into the Will to Die, and who insisted that God destroyed himself to create the universe, and that every living thing desires death because of this primordial being. But then Ligotti gets into the meat of his argument--he is an antinatalist, who believes that human beings should remove themselves as a species by not breeding--stating that consciousness is unnatural and unbearable, and life itself is full of so much suffering that it would be better to have never existed at all. Human beings cope, he claims, by filling their lives with meaningless distractions and lies. Ligotti may be right--humanity may be nothing more than a race of puppets unaware of their strings, yet it is impossible to agree with his central thesis, that life is full of unbearable suffering. Death is scary, of course, but the mere prospect of it is not enough to make me wish that I had never been born. Plus, the Critic finds many activities to enjoy in life, and although they may be ultimately meaningless, he wishes to perform them nonetheless. The problem with nihilism, of course, is that it is completely useless for dealing with life. Two stars.

Workaholics
Here we go, this is my usual fare. A show about degenerates for degenerates. Accurately chronicles the dissolution of society by focusing on the most useless generation of people ever created, the Millennials. One star.

Bastion
A beautifully rendered ARPG, with excellent narration and decent fighting mechanics. Probably on sale somewhere, since it's three years old.  

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