Russell Webner

All original images © Russell Webner 2010 all rights RESERVED

Transformers 2 Sucks

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Well, I was intrigued enough to see Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen last night.  I didn’t enter the theatre excited, just intrigued.  Like the first Transformers, I expected Revenge of the Fallen to be an orgy of special effects, dialogue like chewing gravel, and a suffocating amount of slow motion shots of Shia Lebeouf screaming like he’s strapped to a chair trying to avoid somebody force-feeding him a tasty sausage.  After two and a half hours, the movie delivered exactly as I had expected it to.

It was a horrible piece of garbage, it couldn’t even be considered a film.  The plot was as non-linear as the nonsensensical geographical hop-scotching that led the characters on a tour of Egypt in about 3 minutes.  The acting was as pleasant as diahrrea.  Any scene not involving giant robots was doomed from the start.  The format I watched the movie in was extended so the screen was much wider than usual.  Thus, in a scene where the Shia Lebeouf’s character is talking to his father in the living room, the imax shot makes it look like some epic vaccuum cleaner commercial with a sprawling interior that is just way too epic. Actually, I’d say the robots were better actors than the humans.  And they looked so much cooler!
Michael Bay will go down as the Ronald McDonald’s of cinema.  He churns out sensationalist trash that follows no narrative, has no themes, no messages, nothing of any quality except special effects that are done by some geeks in a room somewhere.  His movies dont even follow the rules of the universe.  Optimus Prime is dead!  No he isnt, you just have to find the Matrix of Leadership — I’m not even making that name up.  Yet, like a big mac, Transformers is tremendously popular despite its lack of nutritional value.  I heard that it made 80 million dollars in its opening night.  On facebook, my main feed is sprinkled with status updates like: “I’d go see transformers 4 more times!”  Michael Bay has stumbled upon the perfect Hollywood formula: take all the artistic value out of movies and instead inject it with computer generated opiates and acting that, while painful, is easy to grasp.  Plus, if the viewer deems it necessary they can just disregard the dialogue all together to concentrate on their milk duds or lust over Megan Fox.  It’s ok, the next action sequence will be in 17.4 seconds anyways; and the one after that is in 48 seconds.

A sampling of scenes in Transfomers where I said to myself “Why am I watching this?  Are they serious?  Is the American population really this stupid?”

1) A small transformer robot humping Megan Fox’s leg.  (I’d actually say she’s the best actor in the movie.  Especially because of her first scene sprawled on a motorcycle, ready to take it from every 15 year old male hiding their boners in the audience.)

2) Robot testicles.  Yep, there’s one big robot that has too huge iron balls.  When Michael Bay was watching shots of this scene during its production, I wonder what he thought was added to the movie by the gratuitous shot of two clinking robot balls.  Oh, and I hate to spoil the movie for you, but those balls belonged to a robot that was ripping apart one of the Great Pyramids in Egypt to find a tool that could be used to destroy our Sun. (A blatant disregard for Egyptian antiquities in this movie, too.  Archaelogists are having fucking heart attacks)

3) I didn’t actually see this, but in the beginning of the movie the kitchen of Even Steven’s house is turned into a bunch of evil transformers.  As my friend Pat said after the movie: “Did you see the one that had a gun as a dick?”

4) When Shia Lebouef goes to college, which lasts for a grand total of 10 minutes of screen time, Bay felt it necessary to cram as many college stereotypes into those few minutes as possible.  The mother manages to find a ‘bake sale’ where she buys pot brownies.  First of all, I’m a college student and have yet to find one of those bake sales (if anyone hears of one, let me know).  Secondly, the mother goes ape-shit after she eats the brownies — embarassingly grabbing frisbees from some co-eds on the quad, then seductively telling the father: “Professor, I’d do anything for an A.”  Sheesh, everyone knows it would take a lot longer than 10 minutes for pot brownies to settle in and get you high.  Duh.

5) Apparently, now it’s ok to model characters after complete racial stereotypes as long as they’re robots.  If you see the twin-bots you’ll know what I mean.

6)  Michael Bay has created a new ‘shot.’  The Michael Bay shot will now forever be known as:  the camera, travelling in a semi-circular motion, constantly swivels around the subject of the shot….for the entire shot.  In a scene when Even Stevens and Megan Fox are saying goodbye before he goes to college, the camera travels in circles around them for the whole of 3 or 4 minutes.  Literally, by the time the scene was over and the moved onto the next scene’s stationary shot, I was motion-sick.  But Bay is onto something here, by giving viewers a minor thrill ride through this technique, they are less likely to concentrate on the horrible, horrible dialogue.

Enough hating for me, though.  And I could go on all day.  Really, I’ve just skimmed the surface.  (Shia Lebeouf goes to heaven, ROBOT heaven! Fo Real)  But Transformers 2 is going to make bank, serious bank.  Not only in America, even.  I bet people are gobbling this up in Europe and the Middle East.   In China, bootleg copies have probably been selling like hotcakes on the street for weeks.  While Transformers is undoubtedly a horrible film, it demonstrates a higher cultural phenomenon that will be known, before long, as the definitive American aesthetic.  Like Big Macs, or the Jonas Brothers, or network television, American culture has evolved to produce entertainment in the most efficient, malnourishing way possible.   Instead of investing in the quality or our cultural exports, we maximize profit first, short-term entertainment value next, and finally we throw in whatever necessary artistic elements as a last priority.  Is this really what our country, our world even, has come to?  Is human culture destined to be harnessed and whored out to the benefit of capitalism?  Ask enough people walking out of Transformers 2, and they will tell you yes.  But hey, the special effects were pretty good.  And Megan Fox is super hot, and so is the other banging chick who ends up being a robot with a tail coming out of her butt.

Filed under: Movies

Gerhard Richter

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/video/2009/mar/11/gerhard-richter-portraits

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It’s been a long time since I’ve made a new post, however for a painter like Gerhard Richter, it’s worth it to come out of my summer hibernation — or to head to the pool an hour later after typing this.
In an age where realism is confined mostly to art classes and kept definitively out of contemporary ‘fine’ art, Gerhard Richter seizes on the quality/quantity push-pull of photographs by copying them through painting. Why? Because photographs are unique to our modern age, where technology enables us to instantly create perfect visual recreations of our loved ones, beautiful landscapes, gawked-at strangers, or anything else. I would guess that Gerhard Richter would say this process is too easy. Through his paintings of photographs, Richter attempts to seize the distinctly modern (and I would say negative) manner of the photograph as an object to be cherished and disseminated, rather than a mere image: as opposed to mediums that are more personal and subjectively accurate.  I think much of the charm of Richter’s work is that no matter the individuals in his paintings of photographs, you have seen one that looks just like it (just paste on faces of your grandparents, aunt or brother).
The visual phenomenon of the new millenium are Richter’s preferred subject matter. Whether probing the psychological implications of photographs or the development of visual and technological techniques — see pictured image — , Gerhard Richter takes a very important place in the modern art world because instead of dealing with nebulous subjects of ethereal or conceptual nature, his works confront the advancements of our new age and their effect on everyone of us.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Some New Shit

Holla Ballas, sorry it’s been so long since a new update. Since my adoring fans have been clammering for some new fodder, here it is yo:

These first two are just some stuff I did around Vassar:

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And these are all works from my painting class throughout the last semester:

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Sorry about the bad quality of some of those last ones, in painting class we sometimes paint on the more-economical but less photogenic shellacked paper. Peace!

Filed under: Artwork

South Park does it again

It’s really pretty scary how much this sounds like it could be a real kanye song.  and I like kanye.

Filed under: Music

Scenes from Vassar

These are gouaches I’ve done in the past couple weeks at Vassar.  I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the library, in my opinion the most beautiful building on campus.

Filed under: Artwork

New Albany

Here are some paintings I did over spring break, while I was spending time in my hometown.

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The CMH one is about 1/2 way done. The rest are gouaches with one acrylic painting and I did them mainly at night in the dark.

Filed under: Artwork

Gouaches

Here are a couple gouaches I’ve done recently. The second to last one is from Folly Beach, SC and the last from Shem Creek near Charleston, SC.

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Filed under: Artwork

Pictures of Cities

Here are a collection of pictures I’ve taken over the past year. Representing different cities I’ve visited. I like the pictures, too. and the cities. ok?dsc03264dsc04537
St. Louis, MO                Columbus, OH
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New Albany, OH          Bucyrus, OH
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San Francisco, CA       Reno, NV
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Boston, MA                    Washington, DC

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Newburgh, NY              Cairo, Egypt

Filed under: Artwork

BIG TRUCKS

Here are three paintings I made at the end of last year. I guess I made them in response to the crisis facing the automakers, but in reality I just like painting trucks. BIG trucks.
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Filed under: Artwork

Fernando Gutierrez – “Huanchaco”

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This is a painter I stumbled across on the Internet. I really like his over-the-top style, although it can get a little bit too sensational. It’s also interesting how his work ties cultures together. Oh, and his bright colors are awesome too.

His following of the Superchaco character is really fascinating.  Like a painted sitcom almost.

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Flickr Photos

Filed under: Other Artists