Archive | November, 2011

Colony (2009)

15 Nov

“No bees. No honey. No work. No money.”

Over time I have become interested in many things that have been related to bees in one way or another, from sustainable agriculture to the societal structure of bees themselves. I started hearing about Colony Collapse Disorder, or the mass disappearance/death of entire hives of bees, in college. Many of my tree-hugging friends, bless their hearts, lamented the mysterious and currently-unexplained loss of bees as they tried to usher bees out of their classrooms, offices and kitchens without harming them.

Colony is a documentary that explores the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder on the many people who rely on bees for their own survival. From the beekeepers themselves to the farmers whose crops depend almost solely on honeybee pollination, many individuals are affected directly and immediately on Colony Collapse. Others, like you and I, will be affected more gradually and long-term, but there is no doubt that human survival depends on bees in a subtle and almost invisible way.

A fascinating element of this documentary are the parallels we can draw between the bee colony and those at work in agriculture and beekeeping. Bees work for the benefit of the hive during their entire life, with no focus on the individual. Bees that do not work toward the greater good are expelled from the hive. The Seppi family works much like the bee hive, focusing not on the success or happiness of the individual, but for the greater good of the family. Tensions rise as the Seppi family’s bees start to disappear and almond farmers who buy bee hives from the Seppis begin to financially take advantage of the family’s kind and religiously-influenced goodwill.

This documentary is not only a showcase of interesting individuals whose lives are affected by bees, but it is also a great way to learn about how we are all affected by Colony Collapse Disorder. It enlightens its audience to the possible causes of the phenomenon, and ways we can help stop it by demanding sustainable and safe agricultural practices.

Buy it on Amazon

American Horror Story (2011)

4 Nov

I’m going to start writing on this again. Spoooooky! Scary!

For how much I write about horror and thriller movies, you would think that I love those genres even more than I actually do. It obviously seems to inspire me to write an awful lot. I am never the person at the movie theater nagging my neighbors for the answers to such questions as, “who is that?”, “what is he doing?”, “wait, so she has been sleeping with her fiance’s twin brother this whole time?!” But horror and thriller movies often push me to ask some questions, even long after the credits have rolled. In any case, hopefully this will kick-start me back into writing again, along with the long, cold winter months ahead.

American Horror Story is a new series on FX, meaning that I watch it on Hulu as I do not have cable. It is my belief that the internet should not be held to the stringent censorship laws of cable television, and I wish that it made this series even more grotesque, profane and horrifying. We still get TV-MA, though. Yeah, buddy.

The image at the top of this entry was what caught my interest in the show. Freaky BDSM shit and a half-naked redhead in some kind of tiny red room? I’m there! I’m already feeling a Lynchian vibe coming out of that. (Speaking of, please note that David Lynch has a new album out for your creepy soundscape pleasures- Crazy Clown Time). The opening credits reminisce of a Nine Inch Nails electro-industrial grinding of gears and pulsing of machinery, while a stockpile of unsettling old-timey photos and blurry camera shots of dusty mason jars full of body parts go in and out of focus on the screen. I am a sucker for opening and closing credit sequences (think Breaking Bad or The Sopranos), and this is one that gets me in the right head-space for the story that is about to unfold.

American Horror Story could not have come out at a better time, that is to say, Halloween. It follows the lives of the Harmon family who recently moved into a house with an unsavory past of homicides, suicides, arson and more. Each episode showcases a previous grotesque experience that has befallen its previous occupants (or trespassers), but mostly focuses on the lives of Vivien, Ben, and Violet Harmon; their maid, and a few unsavory and creepy neighbors (including Jessica Lange) who seem to know a little bit more about what is going on than the Harmons (but then again, perhaps not)?

I have to say that my expectations were low, and perhaps it is because of this that I have not been disappointed. I am not saying to get your hopes up if you are craving anything akin to the spectrum of Lynch classics, but I guarantee you that you will at least feel the touch of a Lynch fan-boy trying to reach out to a broader audience. American Horror Story¬† adds its own bizarre and unsettling events and characters we have come to know in Lynch’s work to a town that is similarly quaint and storybook on the surface, much like those in Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, and so forth.

American Horror Story is a little easier to swallow than Lynch’s work for most people, but still offers an array of unsettling characters whose sanity and motives are constantly questioned. These twisted personas are the dark underbelly of a candy-coated society, but the deeper we go into the rabbit hole we discover that no one is as saccharine as we might think, including ourselves.

At this point I would give the show an A-, and I hope that things do not go downhill as the show progresses. With Lynch meets Rosemary’s Baby meets Nip/Tuck, only time will tell.