Saturday, April 26, 2008

I haven't put anything up for awhile, so here's some art stuff I've been doing- except the top one, that's a little older-from school.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I woke up to it this morning. Apparantly, it was a 5.4, centered underneath Mt. Carmel - they could feel it all the way up in Milwaukee. Pretty cool. Did any of you guys feel the ground tremble?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A Review: Stop-Loss

One of the first logos that play at the beginning of Stop-Loss is that of MTV Films. The name of that studio has always made me wish that they would start a publishing house called Music Television Films Books. There’s a kind of schizophrenia associated with MTV, a sense of societal importance mixed with a shameless appetite for lowest common denominator appeal. This movie operates similarly – if you aren’t watching carefully, its shallowness may distract you from its depth.

Stop-Loss follows the story of Brandon King, a Sergeant in the Army who has just come home from a tour of duty in Iraq. On his last day, he is told that he has been “stop-lossed,” and redeployed back to Iraq. Incredulously, he asks if he will have to keep returning for eleven more years. When his superior responds that it won’t come to that, he points out that the entire war was only supposed to last six months. Unfortunately, this is as political as the movie is willing to get, and much of the remaining screen time devolves into a mindless action film.

Rather than go back to war, Brandon goes AWOL. He is forced to drive across the country, living in crummy motels while the authorities track him down. The movie seems afraid of appearing introspective for even a second, and gets distracted with unnecessary scenes, such as when Brandon tracks down a gang of thugs that stole his car’s radio (and are apparently trying to sell it in an alley less than a block away) and beats them up. There is subtext to be found here, a statement on the difficulty of removing oneself from the violence of the soldier mindset, but the scene feels more like an interference play; some crowd-pleasing action to distract the audience from the boring intelligent story that’s going on in the background.

But don’t get me wrong, the story is intelligent. The movie does not compromise in its ending; it presents a character with no good options ahead of him, and the decision that he makes is sad, but necessary. The final scene plays out slowly and wordlessly, leaving the viewer to work out how to feel about it. This is a powerful movie, and one that will hopefully remind the public, already tired of hearing about the Iraq war, of the massive human cost.