Hidden Characters – Forgot About the 90s?

The 90s, its a nearly forgotten era. Being a tumultuous time for both media and streetwear. Many great artists and movements existed during this time that tried to challenge people’s collective way of thinking. Of course Nirvana and 2Pac will instantly come to mind. Much of the 90s philosophy ended through the death of various people who were spearheading the revolution that was grunge as well as gangsta rap. However the 90s was more than just a revolution in music, there was also countless new shows and cartoons that caught the eye of millions of people. There was also Anime, and even video games during this period which helped give the 90s its own unique zeitgeist. For video games there was the advent of 3D gaming environments, utilized by the likes of the Final Fantasy series and Metal Gear Solid franchise. As for Anime there were many well written shows that existed during this time, such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, as well as Pokemon. Streetwear in the 90s was also different as, it was occurring at a benign level. Being widely ignored by both fashion and major media outlets. 

2001 was more or less the end of many ideals that were persistent in the 90s. The 2000s was a very 80s nostalgic era. Many popular fashion and streetwear brands alike heavily referenced 80s pop culture, stealing it, commenting on it, even incorporating concepts and transforming them into contemporary logos or themes. However over the last few years as the bigger more senior streetwear brands have begun to show their age, some newer streetwear brands have begun to look towards the 90s for inspiration. For their second drop of 2014, Hidden Characters took on a bigger risk, looking back at a vastly ignored zeitgeist and took inspiration from its obscure elements.

WWF’s Mick Foley, Final Fantasy, and Attack on Titan all clock in as inspirations this time around. For those who didn’t grow up in the 90s, or just don’t remember, WWE was originally known as WWF for many years. The main focus of WWF (World Wrestling Federation) was mainly to promote more adult oriented wrestlers, giving the masses someone to love or hate. Whereas today’s WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is mainly focused on creating a spectacle that the whole family can love. Mick Foley is the specific subject that Hidden Characters chose to tap into. What characterized him was that he seemed to have multiple personality disorder. Foley seemed to always use fuck or its variations in his vocabulary, he drank lots of booze, acted liked a deranged stalker at times, as well as being a womanizer, among other things. Mankind was the psycho of Mick Foley’s personality, being a brute, often mumbling nonsense, as well as shoving his dirty sock down people’s throats, truly he was deranged. Foley was a staple throughout the 90s, what with all his drinking and all the tail he managed to scrounge up. In a nutshell hes the lovable creep from the corner of your street.

Final Fantasy may have been around in Japan since the late 80s, but it didn’t come to America til the 90s. What can be said about the series, more like what can’t be said about it? Every game was a new one even though our favorite characters never came back, you always had a new favorite character that kept you coming back to the series. The Final Fantasy franchise had a unique theme for every game, certain characters would find their way back into each installment, albeit with different designs and purposes. What probably made Final Fantasy so enjoyable in the 90s was being able to do summons. Basically You could unlock certain monsters, which were called elementals or Aeons. You could bring them to the battlefield and they’d kill your enemies, because you know, they were basically your slaves. Arguably the most popular summon was Ifrit, a goat looking humanoid fire Aeon. Hes a staple in the Final Fantasy series, usually being unlockable, though in the newer games it isn’t possible to unlock him. Which is a shame, because Ifrit is usually the villain nowadays.

Lastly, but certainly not least Hidden Characters again chose Anime as a motif. This time around they didn’t actually use an Anime from the 90s, instead they took cues from Attack on Titan, which is a newer Anime. Some might debate the merits of using a newer Anime as inspiration, as Attack on Titan products are sold at Hot Topic. However there really is a lot to elaborate on when talking about Attack on Titan. As a whole Anime is being mass produced, like food or clothing, and being sheparded to America. Though this may seem great, many of these newer shows lack depth, or creativity. Although once in while something breaks through the mundane and gets people excited again as well as thinking in new ways. Attack on Titan is something that invokes the spirit of 90s Anime, as it goes beyond the concept of friendship, a very overused theme. The series questions the existence of mankind, and what possible purpose do individuals serve in the grand scheme of life. Trigun questioned people’s resolve to live, as well as their nature. Evangelion in particular questioned people’s desire to be individuals, and what the ramifications of freewill could be. In ways Attack on Titan mirrors the drive of older Anime.

Hidden Characters’ second drop of 2014 consisted of three tees, as well as their first venture into pants. The brand has already shown to have a strong following, so rather then starting their second release off with a typical lookbook, they opted for a different route. Out of the kindness of Hidden Characters’ dark hearts, a select number of buyers from the first release of 2014 were given all three tees from the second drop as well as a plethora of freebies. Such as silkscreens and stickers. Apparently Hidden Characters wants its fans to know that selling your soul to them, comes with many great perks. Following this fans were shown a lookbook which gave off a sense of battle, pain, and of course blood. Much of this can be attributed as being a nod to the Mick Foley tee which was arguably the tee that had the most amount of silkscreen put into it. Though their IFRIT tee probably took more time to design, as it featured a fair amount of original artwork from the brand. While The Inner Demons tee was a great tee that showcased an overall theme for Hidden Characters. As for the Battle Dress Uniform pants, each pair of pants were apparently given an extra print featuring the buyers name on the tags of the pants.

Each product was given a meticulous amount of thought and execution put into it. The Mick Foley tee has prints all around the shirt. The front showing a classic Cactus Jack moment, as he strikes down his opponent with his barbed wire 2×4, 1991 is the year he debuted at WWF. The right sleeve print is another memorable moment, presumably from one of Foley’s many Hell in a Cell matches, all bloodied and battered. Yet he persists with his twisted smile. The left sleeve is a nod to Foley’s autobiographical book, Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. The back has the biggest print, with the most detail. Another Hell in the Cell match is shown, with Mankind dominating the ring. The various dates written are the most memorable matches of Mick Foley’s career. At the very bottom is a classic WWF inspired Hidden Characters logo, which looks very sleek and well rendered. What can be said about this shirt? Everything is so right. While Mickey Foley may not be associated with streetwear, he is an example of what streetwear’s principle convictions are. The IFRIT has some beautifully drawn art by  Hidden Characters, which is located on the back. Teased months before the drop, fans were given a peak on HC’s tumblr. So much detail is put into IFRIT’s clothing. Its trademark goat horns are displayed, while the position of its body suggests that its being summoned into battle, likely from some fire-y brimstone-y place. A nice nod to the FF series. Right below IFRIT, the text Hidden is written. While coming off as being the usual old english inspired gangsta text, it also has an added stylization which may be of Asian origin. Below the Hidden text, theres an added smaller Arabic text, which possibly says IFRIT. The back graphics are amazing, although the front graphic also pays a great tribute to Final Fantasy. Utilizing the logo from Final Fantasy VI as a base, for obvious reasons, while establishing their own name in lieu of the og FF moniker. What makes this small logo so nice is the fact that Hidden Characters made each logo a slightly different color, making the IFRIT tee an especially unique piece to own. Regardless of why you like it, the IFRIT tee is for anyone who loves Final Fantasy, the 90s, or in general great design work. The last tee to examine is The Inner Demons tee. Unlike the last two, this shirt isn’t really giving a shout out to anything specifically. It does flip a graphic from Attack on Titan. This could be for purely aesthetical purposes. Furthermore this tee may serve as a soapbox for what Hidden Characters wants to embody. A pocket is sewn on front, with their own label protruding from the side. A fairly simple red label that reads “Hidden.” On the right sleeve with an odd display of numbers, 1-9 are printed. In particular the 1 is engulfed in a circle. If you want to delve deeper, one could say that the numbers have significance, perhaps in biblical terms or numerology. 1 meaning individual, while 9 may signify completion. Or it may just be a nice pop driven print. The left sleeve is a bit more interesting as Hidden Characters’ mountain is displayed, presumably their base of operations. While below that Purgatory is written backwards, another possible hint of where they operate from. Finally on the back theres a diagram, repurposed from Attack on Titan. The illustration shows that killing a Titan requires their nape to be cut out. While the graphic is fairly simple, what it represents is somewhat chilling. Below, “The Inner Demons” can be read. This added text changes what the graphic means. The graphic may represent the evils of mankind, while the severed neck may symbolize that evil exists within humanity. Its all ambiguous, but nonetheless its a really clean tee to wear that reps Hidden Characters, while fostering some base ideals. Mainly death and Anime, while still encouraging fans to think beyond the scope of superficiality, concerning their own graphics. On a last note theres also Hidden Characters’ BDU pants, which are different from most pants you’ll find on the streetwear market. One difference being that they only came in two sizes, having an elastic waistband, ranging from waists 27″-34″ as well as having a sewn on ‘Hidden” patch. Doing the embroidery themselves, it came out rather nice, another little element that HC added were the buyer’s names to the tags, thereby giving the wearer a more unique product.

Trailing from their last drop of 2014 Hidden Characters has continued to showcase their penchant for making quality graphics and executing bold ideas that keep bringing people back who want more HC clothing. If you were lucky enough to cop from this drop, count yourself lucky. Their next apparel release, which will probably be dropping soon, won’t be any easier to buy. Whats ironic is that many people were likely skeptical of a brand that chose to tap the likes of WWF, Final Fantasy, and perhaps Attack on Titan. WWF, because its not a streetwear thing. Final Fantasy, because its for nerds. Attack on Titan, because its a Hot Topic brand. The potential criticisms may be endless. Despite this, Hidden Characters still sold out their stock on this second drop. Proving that they can indeed change the status quo in streetwear, and will eventually be future leaders in the industry. Stay tuned for the next drop, no one knows when its coming. Be patient, be swift, and stay hidden.

Mick Foley

IFRIT

The Inner Demons

Battle Dress Uniform pants

*SS14, second drop

*Sold Out

*Hidden Chracters Twitter and Tumblr.

* Google Hidden Characters Hypebeast to find their forum and stay updated.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Differing Puzzle Pieces that fit

When people think of Marvel movies, they most likely will think of the Avengers. Maybe Iron Man more specifically. Looking back at The Avengers from 2012, the story took place on a planetary level. However the heroes who saved the world seemed to have little in common, well from a glance. The Hulk is big and green, Cap is literally from a different era in time, Thor is from a different dimension, while Iron Man comes off as being very egotistical. Everyone was an outcast in their own right, mostly due to their great individual powers. However despite their different backgrounds the heroes found unity in the fact that they all wanted to save the Earth, as most of them live there, and have loved ones residing there. Moreover through their fighting and arguing, the Avengers realized that they actually share certain ideals and can even relate to one another on a more personal level.

However Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn, approaches the super hero collective in a different light. Not only do most of the team have differing reasons for living, they aren’t even the same species. And really thats one of the main driving ideas in Guardians of the Galaxy. Unity through collective rejection. As all of the characters meet through reaching their lowest points in life, specifically all being incarcerated in the same prison. The team is rallied by Peter Quill/Star-Lord, as he figures they’re all losers, and only coming together as a team can they be a greater force in the galaxy. Specifically something a force for good.

Looking at every character’s background gives us a better idea of what type of group the Guardians of the Galaxy are. 

Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Chris Pratt, was abduct as a young boy right after his mother died. Furthermore Quill didn’t know his father, the fact that he has no family is something that does weigh on Quill throughout the film. As evidenced by him carrying around a Walkman his mom gave him, while often listening to the mix tape she made him. Another curious element is that Quill kept a present his mom gave to him, but never opened it. Perhaps he still hasn’t come to terms with his final meeting with her, a meeting that was emotionally grueling for him. He was raised by the Ravagers, and became a great thief. While the Ravers obviously consider Quill part of their group, Quill doesn’t always identify himself as part of the Ravagers. Then theres Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana. Her family was killed, while she was captured by Thanos, and forced to become one of his assassin “daughters.” Like Quill, Gamora does not associate Thanos as being her father in any context, she does however consider Nebula a sister. Gamora is ultimately seeking to stop Thanos from attending a great power. Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, is probably the most peculiar of the group as he was a common raccoon, who was then experimented on be means of dissection and reassembly, until he was final modified with cybernetics and a genius intellect. Of course he has no family, and being that hes basically a one-off experiment he feels like hes a monster/joke.Though Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, does service as Rocket’s surrogate family. Goot is a humanoid plant, which can almost only say “I am Groot.” As a result we know nothing about Groot’s family or background, though The Collector insinuates that Goot’s people may have gone extinct. Groot unlike the rest of the group does not seem to be motivated by loss or tragedy. Instead he may be drawn to Rocket, as he recognizes  Rocket and himself as being the only ones of their kind. As such Groot is never far from Rocket, while Rocket some times belittles Groot, both do look out for each other’s well being. As evidenced near the climax of the film, with Groot nearly dying. Drax is the last member to show up onscreen. While having a similar story to Gamora’s, Drax lost his wife and child to Ronin’s armies. His sole desire is to kill Ronin, because of this he is filled with great anger.

Their primary antagonists are Ronan The Accuser, portrayed by Lee Pace, and Nebula, played by Karen Gillan. Ronan is a Kree who heavily believes in their traditions and seeks to give the orb to Thanos, so that the Xandarian people will be exterminated. Nebula initially helps Ronan because Thanos orders her to help him retrieve the orb. While Yondu, played by Michael Rooker, seems to be after Quill for stealing the orb before he and the other Ravagers could.

The film opens with Quill talking to his mom on her death bed, she gives him a present and wants him to open it, which he refuses. Moments later she dies and unable to bare the pain Quill runs off and is abducted by the Ravagers. 20 years passed and Quill goes to steal an orb from Ronan. Later as he tries to hock the orb, Quill finds himself in a fight with Gamora, Rocket and Groot. This lands them all in prison.

The Guardians of the Galaxy start out more as criminals in film, because of this they aren’t really a team until the latter of the film. Save for Gamora, who is initially the only one of the collective looking to do something noble. Specifically storing the orb, whichs holds an infinity stone, somewhere where no one will be able to use it for evil. While Quill is looking for a greater purpose in his life, which at first seemed to be becoming a well known and great thief. Rocket and Groot are mercenaries looking for a big pay day, so they can retire somewhere nice. Then of course theres Drax who simply wants revenge. Everyone’s differing desires, causes clashes amongst these criminals.

After the group escapes from prison, their plan is to meet with Gamora’s client, who will give them enough money to live out their lives comfortably. They meet up with The Collector, who reveals that the orb is an Infinity Stone. An object of great power that can destroy worlds, and do more. The Collector’s assistant grabs the stone, infusing her with great power, though she can’t contain it. As a result she explodes, and nearly destroys The Collector’s gargantuan home.

From here the mission changes. Gamora seeks to give the stone, to the Nova Corps on the Xandarian home world. However due to Drax’s strong desire to kill Ronan, he actually gives him their location. Causing the Guardians to flee. Ronan shows up with his army and takes the orb, while easily beating Drax. Quill, against Rocket’s wishes, saves Gamora by floating in space and giving her his mask to breath, and contacts Yondu. Quill is able to convince Yondu that together they can get the orb back and make a great profit together. Rocket, Groot, and Drax tag along.

Ronan discovers that the orb houses an Infinity Stone and places it on his hammer, which is able to stabilize the stone’s power. He also declares to Thanos that he will kill him, which causes Nebula to continue her alliance to Ronan out of her hate towards her adoptive father. With this last part, the theme of family should already be obvious to the audience. As all of the main and most of the supporting characters have particularly strong feelings of family, which ultimately does play a role in each character’s motives in the movie. All of the GotG members have lost their family, so they initially only rely on themselves for support. While Ronan desires to fulfill the wishes of his forefathers by killing the Xandarians.

Again things change, this time in everyone’s mentality. The Guardians of the Galaxy are symbolically born through Quill’s speech to the others. Gamora’s desire to strive for redemption, driven by her time killing for Thanos, inspires Quill. He decides that together this group of criminals (Gamora, Rocket, Groot, Drax, and himself) can do great things, specifically being a force for good. As he says they’re all “losers” and have have encountered great losses, but can overcome this if they unite with a singular purpose in mind. Quill contacts Rhomann Dey, played by John C. Reilly, who earlier had arrested the GotG except for Drax, and informs him that Ronan is coming with his forces to destroy Xandar. The Nova Corps is put on alert, and with help from the Ravagers are able to greatly slow down Ronan’s assault. 

The GotG are able to infiltrate Ronan’s ship. Nebula is subdued and later flees. Ronan is then confronted by the GotG, however they fail to neutralize him. As a result most, of the Nova Corps are killed and Ronan’s ship crashes on Xandar. At around the same time Groot encases himself and his team within his own body mass and suffers most of the impact from the fall, seemingly killing him. Ronan proceeds to bestow The Guardians of the Galaxy moniker to Quill and his friends, while in same breath taunting them for not being able to kill him. 

In an odd scene Quill challenges Ronan to a dance off. While it seems very out of place, its actually a distraction for Rocket to shoot Ronan with his makeshift weapon. This causes the hammer to break, thus freeing the Infinity Stone. Quill is able to grab the stone, however he doesn’t explode. During this time Quill confronts his mother in his mind, and comes to terms with her death. Zamora and the other Guardians grab Quill’s hand, and are able to control the power. Together they use the stone to kill Ronan. 

The aftermath results in the Guardians of the Galaxy being recognized as an official galactic force for good by the Nova Corp. Yondu is given a fake orb, while he realizes this he obviously has no ill feelings towards Quill. He then reveals that the Ravagers were supposed to transport Quill to his father, but decided not to as he was an “asshole.” They are also absolved of their crimes, and the Nova Corp feels confident that Quill will be able to keep the team united. As well as informing Quill that he is only half human, and maybe part Ancient. With the celebration over, Quill finally feels its time to open his gift that his mother had given him before she died. Its revealed to be another mix tape, and he proceeds to play it. A piece of Groot is revealed to have survived and is slowly growing back into its form. Afterwards the Guardians of the Galaxy proceed to venture off into space, presumable to their next mission.

Howard the Duck is teased in the after-credits scene, drinking a beverage with The Collector. This in particular is an example in how Disney handled The Guardians of the Galaxy. Simply put, discord and alienation can breed unity. Unlike The Avengers, The Guardians have little in common, each character is vastly different. The Avengers all come off as being heroic individuals, who while having slightly different ideas regarding defending the Earth, can come together in perfect unison and defend the Earth. At their very core, they are all the same the archetype, being heroes with typical heroic traits with certain variations to paint them as more unique individuals. Each of The Avenger’s stand alone movies, like Captain America, is of course able to delve deeper into each character. However all of the members of The Avengers, had much of their personalities watered down in The Avengers movie. Being in the presence of one another they did show some uneasiness, but nothing too volatile. Whereas The Guardians of the Galaxy were very aggressive to one another, because their personalities seemed much stronger. However this is necessary as the GotG were unknown and therefore the viewer needed to see them as individuals before being convinced that could really be a group of heroes. Being that these characters were all new giving them strong attitudes helps us better understand these characters as individuals.Quill is a selfish thief, Gamora is an assassin looking for redemption, Drax is killing seeking revenge, while Rocket and Groot are outcasts/mercenaries.The fact that they’re all different races further cements that these protagonists are indeed unique. Of course they can all put aside their differences and through unconventional means form a dynamic team.

James Gunn was able to help the audience understand these characters, by devoting a good amount of screen time to their origins, Though only Quill’s life is actually shown onscreen. The movie flows pretty well with a few hicips that make you wonder whats going on. Most of these are usually caused by Quill, at times he comes off as being too awkward. Likewise in a few shots Pratt’s acting doesn’t seem believable. so he sometimes seems like a flat actor. Though for the most part Quill is very comedic and brings some relief to tense moments, while still showing signs of being human. The group arguments between the Guardians is always fun to watch being that they are all trying to prove themselves to each other. Ronan makes a good villain and so at times he seems overqualified to be the main villain of the film. He also elaborates on who Thanos is and what he wants. setting things up, for possible The Avengers 3. The effects are without question well made and executed. Especially when Quill saves Gamora from dying in space. There are many great scenes in the movie. Though the opening scene with Quill and his mom is probably one of the best photographed in the film. So overall Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely worth a watch, at least two. You may not like it compared to other comic book films as the heroes aren’t typical, however you may find yourself empathizing with the Guardians of the Galaxy regardless about what you may initially feel about them.

The Hunt (2012) – De Facto Guilt

The Hunt is a 2012 Danish film by director Thomas Vinterberg. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, the movie’s protagonist. In many cases of child molestation, once the story is broken amongst the community its effects are nearly apparent. The accused is de facto guilty by the community. Whatever the accused says to exonerate themselves is perceived as a lie, as “children don’t lie.” Now in many cases of child molestation, the accused is usually proven guilty. The abuser is forever tainted with what they did and society promptly labels them as some sort of sub human creature. However in cases in which the accused is proven not guilty, things can sometimes become more complex. Most people accused of child molestation are proven guilty, so those that are proven not guilty are often viewed with contempt. So while being innocent of the crime brought against them and exonerated by the courts, they are guilty for simply being accused of the crime.

This idea of de facto guilt is what strongly drives The Hunt. Ultimately this is what makes the movie an intriguing subject to watch, as other movies have delved into the problems of identifying situations of child molestation and the difficulties of convicting offenders. Doubt (2008) is actually a good compliment to The Hunt as the differing subjects and style of shooting allows people to see both sides of the spectrum when dealing with a sensitive subject. When watching one movie, I feel its also a good idea to also watch the other film. In both flicks there are main characters who are trying to do the right thing, yet are constantly stonewalled or put through the ringer by their respective communities. In Doubt Sister Aloysius tries to expose Father Flynn’s misconduct with a child, however she is later stonewalled by the church and seen as being an enemy. Whereas in The Hunt Lucas tries to break through his town’s growing prejudice and disgust in him while trying to prove his innocence, despite answering the accusation against him.

In The Hunt the movie opens with Lucas, who is a  middle aged divorced man and living in a somewhat small Danish town. Hunting is ultimately what unites the men, and thus the families and people of the town. Its also the basis for the title as  Lucas is the hunted. He is a kindergarten assistant and all of the kids love him, as well as his coworkers. Together they act as a sort of safety net for the kids who live in a hostel family atmosphere. Klara, Annika Wedderkopp, is one of these children. Being the child of Theo, Lucas’ best friend, they share a bond that is slightly more special. The key difference being that Klara sometimes is taken to school by Lucas or comes to his house to walk his dog Fanny. Klara’s parents seem to bicker often, which in turn leads her to spend time with Lucas, so she can gain her a reprieve from the madness in her home.

While much of this is fairly harmless, certain elements brew together, which slowly culminate to shatter Lucas’ life and the relationships with the various people he has known for years. Klara’s closeness to Lucas is one element. She longs to seemingly have someone  in her life who can protect her from her parents fighting. Lucas apparently  fills this role, and as a result she develops the inkling of a childlike romance towards him. One day Klara’s brother and his friend show her porn, this is the first time she sees an erect penis. Later she gives Lucas a romantic-ish card, and slips it into his coat. That same day she kisses Lucas on the lips. Lucas then gives the card back to Klara. She expresses her hate for Lucas, which is childish, to Grethe. Being a child  Klara puts two things that she knows together into one sentence, one being that she knows Lucas, and the other being that penises can be erect. Feeling uneasy with what Klara said, Grethe takes action and tries to determine whether or not Klara has been molested by Lucas. She of course informs Klara’s mom, who is horrified. Eventually Klara meets with a specialist in order to figure out if she has been molested.

This is where things truly begin to build up against Lucas. At this point things are going pretty good in Lucas’ life. He has a girlfriend, his son has decided to live with him instead of his ex wife, and he has a great relationship with the various parents whose kids go to his school. Likewise the feeling of the town is that of kinship and laxness. However once Klara is to be questioned on her story, Lucas is promptly put on leave. This is without question the eye of the storm. At this point, if all goes well with Klara’s assessment, then the community can continue on with its peaceful existence. However the truth is rarely heard or understood when Klara is asked questions and she responds to the best of her ability. Going into his interview, the specialist already seems biased. Neither Grethe or the specialist seem to know what to do when assessing a possible case of child molestation. Instead of trying to fully explain what they are asking of Klara, such as what happened between her and Lucas. Why does she hate Lucas, what does the heart mean? Or even Did he hurt her or do anything to her which made her feel uncomfortable? Klara is far too young to really understand these questions and so she gives very vague responses. Regardless its enough for Grethe and the specialist to run with their imaginations. Sewing a story extremely lewd which seems to never have an ending. The aftermath of Klara’s “confirmed” molestation is swift and continues to build extremely damaging momentum, so much so that not even she is safe.

Of course Lucas’ suspension continues, and he is informed that the charges brought against him have merit. Grethe quickly informs the parents of Lucas’ supposed guilt, however she adds fire to the flame by saying there could be several cases of molestation. While the parents begin to observe their children for symptoms of  abuse, the story of Klara’s abuse is continually twisted and added to, thereby breeding various stories. As Lucas determines the accusations are based between him and Klara he tries in a vain attempt to plead with her parents that he is innocent. Theo is obviously still in shock and displays doubt as to who he should believe. However his wife undoubtedly reinforces Lucas’ guilt into his mind. The story continues to spread and grow in prominence, so much so that Lucas is even assaulted when he tries to buy groceries from the market, specifically by its employees. The town perpetuates the idea that Lucas is guilty, so much so that his girlfriend eventually doubts his innocence, this leads to their breakup. Grethe seems to possibly be responsible for the stories circulating about Lucas. One day he confronts her, while he begs her to tell him what the contents of the stories are she continually remains silent and retreats from his presence.

This is especially important, because the audience never actually hears any of these accusations that are being bought against Lucas, only the original story that is created by Grethe. This really brings a feeling of ostracization, as Lucas wants to know what people are saying about him, he wants to know how ugly this story has evolved. However both him and the viewer are not even allowed to know what is being said, which makes Lucas a very defenseless character. This puts Lucas and the audience in the same boat helping us empathize with him. Things grow more complicated once Lucas’ ex wife Kristin is told by someone, likely that he is a twisted child molester, this in turn is relayed to his son Marcus. Who comes to his aid, going to the town and staying with him. In a strong and emotional scene Marcus tries to confront Klara as to why she “accused” his dad of molesting her. It ends with him being beaten a bit. Eventually only one family, Bruun’s, decides to side with Lucas as they have known each other for years and truly believe he is not guilty. As Lucas and Marcus are staying with the family, they prepare for the case. This serves to bring a vestige of hope to Lucas’ seemingly hopeless situation. The next day Lucas is taken away by the police. While investigating the claims, an element added to the abuse stores was a basement. However the authorities find no basement and believe Lucas is indeed innocent, the charges are then dropped. Thus the story of supposed abuse is crushed as well as the constant persecution from the community, well not quite.

Apparently Lucas was only in the eye of the storm. Lucas’ life actually gets worse. De facto guilt has been invoked. The idea that Lucas has dodged justice is probably  coursing through the minds of the people. The town still hate him and his son. In probably the stronger climax, as there could arguably be two, a rock is thrown into Lucas’ house. This prompts Lucas and Marcus to investigate whats going on, only to discover a dead Fanny. Lucas proceeds to bury her, which also echoes the town’s tranquil nature or possibly innocence. Marcus is sent home, leaving Lucas to discover a solution to his dilemma to which there seems to be non. The months continue to pass, by this time its Christmas. Yet nothing has changed for Lucas. He decides to attend the special Christmas service, to which the second climax is introduced. Lucas sits towards the front, while Theo and his family sits near the back. Lucas can hear the other people talking about him, however hes more concerned with Theo. He occasionally looks back at Theo, and witnesses him exchanging words with his wife. In a fit of anger and sorrow Lucas confronts Theo telling him to look into his eyes to see he has no guilt in him, but Theo chooses to ignore him. In his frustration Lucas starts slapping Theo, this leads to Lucas’ ejection from the church.

Back home Theo put Klara to bed, and quietly laments to himself. A barely awake Klara mistakes her father as Lucas and expresses her sadness over the events of the film and how they are no longer close. Especially how Marcus hates her, and how she misses walking with Fanny. Then she basically confesses that she doesn’t know why people hate him, because he has not done anything to her. She expresses that what people say happened to her, did in fact not occur. In a way this is symbolic for Theo, who  is finally able  to recognize Lucas’ innocence. Its also reminiscent for how the lies started in the darkness and how the truth was eventually uncovered in the night as well. Theo drinks his figurative medicine and tells his wife what Klara said. Against her wishes he decides to go and take some food to Lucas. The two reconcile, and Theo wholeheartedly wants to clear Lucas of any wrongdoing.

A year passes and it seems that Lucas’ life has been fully restored. Marcus is living with his dad now, Lucas has reconciled with his girlfriend, and the community has embraced Lucas’ innocence bringing him back in sync with everyone. Hunting season has begun and Marcus is ready to accept his manhood. Lucas and Klara are back to being close family friends. All is well that ends well. Except that Lucas manages to dodge a bullet to his head by a total fluke. A startled and scared Lucas looks at his attacker unable to make out the person’s face against the sun. Too in shock to chase the gunman, Lucas is left to lament on the fact, that things have not come full circle and maybe never will.

The ending rings true. As most people accused of molestation will likely never be viewed as innocent by the communities they live in or places they work. It will forever hang over them, unless these people choose to leave the places they reside in and move some place where no one knows them. Now of course The Hunt is not trying to say that all people accused of molestation are innocent. However it can be viewed as the consequences for when the proper channels of identifying and reporting cases of abuse fail. Again going back to Grethe and the specialist, there are many possible things that could have been done in order to avoid the fallout of Lucas’ de facto guilt. That said the movie is a great drama. It portrays a man desperately trying to clear his name, as well as fighting an invisible enemy that resides in people’s minds. Specifically fear and assumptions. Constantly we see Lucas up against the wall of accusations and even in a corner silently receiving everyone’s hate. However Lucas trudges on, hoping to change everyone’s mind, which throughout the movie does not happen. The best angles that capture the mood are often the ones where Lucas or Klara are off center. These types of angles perfectly embody Lucas’ de facto guilt. As many people believe him to be guilt, so the town is focusing on him, yet they widely choose to avoid him or ignore his presence. The murder of Fanny is an especially chilling and enlightening scene,  as Fanny served as a link to Lucas’ and Klara’s close ties. One these ties die, they die hard. Fanny was also a very innocent canine. The Hunt is definitely worth a watch, and a rewatch.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – New, old, its all good

Remember the 90s when the X-Men  cartoons were all the rage? Entrenched into episodes which always seemed to have good plots and intriguing characters. Two such episodes were known as Days of Future Past 1 and 2. The episodes featured a brief glimpse into possible dystopian future where mutants were detained or hunted and killed. The viewers were also introduced to the future X-Men, what was left of them anyways. Bishop travels to the past to stop an assassination. While the assassination is stopped the future is still a dystopia.

There have been many great X-Men incarnations that were birthed outside of the comic world. In 2000 the world became acquainted with the X-Men film series, which had highs, and unfortunately lows. As the series fell into disarray, a “new” series came onto the scene. X-Men: First Class (2011) sought to initially create a new series. However something far more ambitious was spawned instead. The idea being to pair the new younger X-Men from First Class with the X-Men from the original film series. The old and new came together to formulate X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed by Bryan Singer. For starters it does deviate from both  the comic and animated series of the Days of Future Past story.

While many people may think that Days of Future Past tells one story, in reality it tells three. The main plot being that Wolverine is sent into the past to reunited the X-men in order to stop Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask, which in turn is thought to prevent certain events that will usher in the creation of the Sentinels. As this is occurring the future X-Men, from the original series, are hold up at a temple and as a result are forced into what likely their final battle for survival against a huge Sentinel force. Lastly the final subplot revolves around the past X-Men trying to stop Magneto from from killing the president of America.

Unlike the last few X-Men movies DOFP is able to balance itself nicely. There isn’t too much comedy distracting from the story, instead we get lots of references to elements from the X-men comic lore as well as references to the original X-Men film series and their rebooted counter parts. One such reference being that Magneto is Quicksilver’s father, which is executed in a subtly comic conversation between Magneto and Quicksilver. Another is Wolverine passing through a metal detector, in which Logan is surprised that the alarm has not went off being that he has bone claws. As he likely is accustomed to alarms going off, due to his Adamantium coated skeleton. Theres also a reference to Stryker having a kid, who later appears in X2.

As the story begins in the future we are shown a setting that beyond hopeless. Mutant extinction is a very tangible reality, oppression and genocide are fact. This is the world of future. The last mutants alive have banded together, with no real solution of a brighter future. Seeing every mutant’s power in action is visually appealing. Ice Man’s powers are a fond reminder of the og X-Men films. Although Blink’s powers are the most stunning to watch in action. With every portal she opens you may find yourself trying to keep up with the action. The sentinels are also an interesting antagonist, as they’re much more high tech then their original forefathers. With every X Man slain you can feel a bit of fear creeping into your body, thats how terrorizing the sentinels are versus the comics/cartoons. As a result theres a bit of a struggle, as you know the X-Men can’t stave off their robotic tormentors for very long. Despite this seemingly hopeless revelation, you still have to root for the X-Men going down with dignity. The situation is further dramatized when Logan is sent into the past, through Kitty’s powers.

In 1973 Wolverine awakens with his mission clearly laid out, uniting the X-Men and stopping Mystique from killing Trask. Much of the drama is played out in this part of the story. While Charles is still very angry at Magnus, and vice versa, they still miss their friendship and try to understand one another. The hatchet is buried, though not fully. While both mutants understand what will happen in the future, each one has a differing way they want to avert the distant atrocities to come. Things are further complicated with Mystique as she has not killed anyone in her life, but is dead set on Killing Trask. She still leans towards Magnus’ ideals, however Mystique ultimately must find where she stand philosophically. Magnus tries to kill her, which causes a big stir among the world and leads to the premature birth of the Sentinels, which are less hi-tech. This also detracts from Trask being the main antagonist. Trask himself is a bit odd, as he doesn’t seem to hate mutants, but rather sees them as a solution to humanity’s division. His master plan is basically to use mutants as a catalyst for fear, which would lead to world unity.

Nearing the end of the end of the film Charles is actually able to communicate to his future self, through using Logan’s mind as a proxy. He has an epiphany that Raven (Mystique) must be able to make her own choices in life, instead of himself or Magnus trying to guide her. Charles is able to set aside his romantic feelings for Raven in order to finish the mission. In an awe shocking scene Magnus seals off the White House by using a huge stadium as a makeshift barrier, as well as gaining control of the Sentinels. Charles manages to subdue Magnus and convinces Raven not to kill Trask. Thus saving the future. Charles then proceeds to let Raven and Magnus flee, through each takes a separate path. While Beast questions whether they should be let go, Charles is hopeful that they will all be united one day.

Back in the future the X-Men are being slaughtered by the Sentinels, as a huge convoy descends upon the temple where they make a final stand. Eventually all the mutants guarding the door are killed. The Sentinels begin breaking down the door, Magnus tries one last tactic to hold them off, Ice Man is killed tying to stop them. The end is finally here and the Sentinels prepare to deal a death blow to Charles, Magnus, Logan, and Kitty. Since the past was changed, the future begins to change as well.

In a now alternate future Logan awakens in the X Mansion with his memories intact. No one recalls the Sentinels or his mission to avert their original dystopian future. Although this raises more questions as some mutants who were dead in the og X-Men films are alive. Particularly Jean and Scott, something to note is that they don’t act like a couple. Logan proceeds to ask Charles in helping him recall events following 1973, Charles knowing why happily does so. What follows is a prelude to the next X-Men film. Overall the X-Men: Day of Future Past does everything it needs to be a successful film. While some people might fret over small congruity issues, the movie hits most marks. Particularly in uniting the X-Men reboot series and the original series. Fans on both sides of the spectrum will be very pleased. The dystopian future in particular is very intriguing, because you really feel the plight and hopelessness of the mutants. The story moves fairly quickly and able to keep the audience’s attention, but alternating between the Future and Past X-Men teams. Moreover we get to understand more about Charles, Magnus, and Mystique. specifically their strained relationships to one another. Likewise Logan feels a great pressure to be a teacher instead of just a soldier or weapon. Action, drama, and an engrossing story make up X-Men: Days of Future Past. Its definitely a movie you can more than once. If you don’t watch it in theaters, you should go and rent it, you won’t be disappointed.

Pain and Gain – So Much Pain

Pain and Gain was released in 2013, and was directed by Michael Bay. Unlike many of Bay’s previous Transformer movies the story is more down to Earth. Likewise you won’t find many explosions, or the vast destruction of buildings. Instead we’re given a film that has lots of style, with comedic acting, and a somewhat decent story to follow. Pain and Gain tells the story of the Sun Gym Gang, who were convicted of various crimes. The steepest of which was murder. However not everyone was convicted of murder, only two members, Daniel Lugo, the leader/mastermind, and his right hand man Adrian Doorbal were convicted for homicide and given the death sentence. Their associates were convicted of fraud as well as racketeering.

The movie stars Mark Whalberg (Danny Lugo), Anthony Mackie (Adrian Doorbal), and Dwayne Johnson (Paul Dyle). Its interesting to note that Paul Doyle is actually a composite character. While  these actors have acted in various action movies, they aren’t portrayed as action heroes. The movie is a dark comedy, and is rightfully labeled as such. While all of the characters are very menacing, they also come off as being very satirical. While all of the characters have great ambitions, they are also very dimwitted with delusions of grandeur.

Danny Lugo’s life revolves around fitness, specifically bodybuilding. While hes very built, he is also fairly poor. He has a strong drive to become wealthy and successful in the fitness industry. While he helps the Sun Gym become successful and signs many applicant, its apparent that he doesn’t have the intelligence or business savvy to become wealthy. Earlier in his life he tried to fraud old folks out of their money. Falling back on his old habits he tries implement a new, vastly more illegal scam. His long time friend Adrian Doorbal helps him throughout his scheme. Doorbal has similar ambitions of wealth, but his priority is fixing his erectile dysfunction, cause by his use of steroids. Then later his desire to provide for himself and his wife. Finally theres Paul Doyle who is a recently born again Christian ex convict. Doyle follows Lugo in an attempt to provide financial stability in his life. This in tun ultimately revives Doyle’s self destructive tendencies.

You can describe the movie easily, when considering what the movie is actually about. Big bodybuilders decide they want to be rich, they go out and rob rich people. Eventually their stupidity gets the better of them, and they wind up in jail for murder.

Michael Bay instead takes the viewer on visual journey, with some laughs to keep away the boredom. Pain and Gain is a great film to look at, the bright colors with contrasting dark undertones give you a feeling of fantasy. Really thats what the movie is, a fantasy. Every twist and turn you may wonder if these guys have ever heard of the term law, considering how much they break it. Of course they don’t even think about the law, because they feel they’re so invincible. So much so that the law must be beneath them. Much of the dialogue is spoken in voice overs, by the main characters. You get a sense of how little reality plays into each character’s motivation for either success or survival. The Sun Gym Gang are also very ambivalent to how bad their plan is. Lugo’s motivation for executing the plan comes from a motivational speaker, Johnny Wu who is likely a scam artist. As Wu is obviously all talk, and makes his money through hyping people up. Even when law enforcement has apprehended Lugo, he continues to believe he will go free.

Pain and Gain is controversial as it portrays the crimes of the Sun Gym Gang in a soft light, and greatly down plays what they did. This is further exacerbated by the constant ramblings of the dimwitted muscleheads, who help to subtract from the seriousness of their crimes. However it does prove a point. Being that these men are so out of touch with reality, that they seem to live in a fantasized world. However following the plot proves to be difficult at times, as certain scenes just seem to drag out too long. Likewise you’re not watching a good and balanced drama. The focus of the movie is definitely not the dialogue. The first half of the movie is definitely more engrossing than the second half. If you want to watch a movies with cool camera angles and that look visually appealing, you’d probably like this movie. If you wanna see a film with an enticing plot, you might not be interested in watching Pain and Gain.

Paint me Indigo

Indigo is a unique color which has come to dominate the world. Their biggest triumph being that indigo is the default color that every major denim maker uses for their selvedge jeans. As indigo’s popularity has grown over the centuries designers and artisans alike have expanded Indigo’s focus. From not just jeans, but to other clothing apparel. Such as jackets, shirts, belts, shoes, backpacks, and other such accessories. Many brands have treated Indigo as a new unexplored territory for clothing. To this end we will cover various offerings of indigo t shirts, as well as what make each brand’s own version of their indigo t-shirt unique.

Tender Co. (UK) $128

 

First off we have Tender Company’s Type 353 T-Shirt. Being a collective of artisans the brand tends to have more free form thinking in term of their designs. First off this shirt is constructed using interlocked jersey threads, providing added durability. The design of the shirt takes cues from vintage sportswear shirts, likely from the 1950s. Some standout designing is the shirt’s slightly wide neck design and flatlock seam construction. What makes the Type 353 truly unique is that Tender Co decided to hand dye their shirt with Woad instead of  using conventional Indigo dyes. Woad was the precursor to the use of Indigo blocks in Europe. The dye has to be extracted from many Woad planets, so much so that it isn’t made on a commercial level. Another aspect being that Woad typically yields a somewhat lighter shade of Indigo. Woad usually doesn’t dye evenly, which introduces another element to the garment dyed, being a more unique fade pattern. Based in England, the company fashions their clothing there with various artisans.

Merz B. Schwanen (Germany) $100

Based in Germany Merz B. Schawnen has taken it upon themselves to recreate vintage clothing from the first half of the 20th century. Many of their clothing is based on either work or basic military attire of their respective time periods.  This particular shirt, the 215, is based off a 1960s tee shirt design. What makes this shirt interesting is that it features under arm gussets, which gives the shirt the ability to better conform to your body. Furthermore the shirt is made using two threads instead of one. This makes the shirt more durable, as well as making it feeling a bit more heavy duty. The shirt was hand dyed using natural Indigo. Like Woad, natural Indigo is not produced on a commercial scale, but can nonetheless be made. Likewise the shirts will eventually develop a unique fade pattern. Indigo comes from a fern and is typically dried out then formed into a brick. Throw it into a hot vat, then you’re in business, the dying process is long. Merz makes their clothing in Germany with old school machines from the 1920s, giving their clothes a more authentic background.

Ludwig Van (LA) $36

Finally we have Ludwig Van of Los Angeles California. Their Caligula tee is made using ringspun 30-single threads, making their shirt very soft and strong. Adding another element the brand employed jersey slub instead of the run of the mill jersey cotton fabric. The weave of Caligula gives the shirt a mix of both soft with an added bit of feeling. As the shirt runs across your body it gives off a little sensation that may feel soothing. Likewise in the summer the shirts weave allows for a nice air current to give off  a sense of relaxation. A wider neck provokes a more laid back demeanor. The owner of the brand hand printed the text, adding a personal touch to the Caligula. Like the other shirts, the Caligula also went through an Indigo dying process, though the process is not stated. They possibly used a block of Indigo. Ludwig Van gave the shirt a wash in order to give their tee a vintage feel, as they often use vintage materials for their clothing. The shirt should develop a nice fade pattern, partially due to the jersey slub fabric. Many of their products have been made in LA.

So whether its through an artisan or streetwear brand, Indigo has certainly expanded its horizons. Each brand’s takes on the Indigo tee shirt, which is becoming a phenomenon, is wholly done with a particular thinking process you won’t find at your local mall. Needless to say, there are many options that people have when looking to buy an Indigo shirt. The dyes alone could be the deciding factor for a lover of Indigo, or the design of the shirt, or even the fabric that was used; that may ultimately convince a person that an Indigo tee shirt is worth buying, or even an essential garment for their own style.

*Some of these shirts may no longer be available for purchase, as these brands usually don’t re-release products

*Tender Company site.

*Merz B. Schawnen site.

*Ludwig Van site.

Vans Caballero – The Lux Treatment

Vans has had a bit of a hazy past. Having many different shoe models, some of their most memorable being made in the 80s. One of  those shoes being Vans breakdancing shoes, aka Vans Breakers. However there was another shoe, which ultimately didn’t gain fame in the 80s, but rather the early 90s. The Vans Half Cab was released back in 1992, and has easily become a Vans signature shoe. However what many don’t know is that the Half Cab’s origin actually began in the late 80s. With a shoe that has, for the most part been forgotten, the shoe in question being the Caballero (Full Cab or Style #39). Released in 1989, the shoe was Steve Caballero’s first signature shoe. It was a high top and had various references to Steve’s Asian background, particularly the croc embossed collar and sidepanels. More importantly the logo used was a dragon instead of the famous Mofo inspired logo on the Half Cab. The Caballero proved to be unpopular as the collar seemed too constrictive for skater’s movements.

A few years went by, after which time a trend of cutting down the Caballero into a midtop sneaker began to happen. Some skaters would then tape, apply stickers, or even sew the cut portion of the collars. Seeing this inspired Steve Caballero to do the same, after which he decided to propose a mid top version of the Caballero. The result was the loss of the croc panels, and the dragon logo which led to the birth of the colorful Half Cab in 1992. Ever since then the Caballero has remained dormant, the slumbering dragon seemingly doomed to never awaken again.

As 2008 rolled around the Great Recession was looming not to far off, but it was also the year that Vans decided to resurrect the Caballero to preemptively kick off its 20th anniversary. Unlike the Half Cab’s 20th anniversary releases, which saw only two major releases, namely by Supreme and HKIT. The Caballero was given four unique releases in Vans various divisions, having a Vault, California, Pro, and a General release. Arguably the best releases were the Vault and Pro release. Both releases were the epitome of premium footwear.

In particular the Caballero LX  is a prime example of pre-recession luxury shoes. Dropped in three colorways: black, tawny port, and  blk/charcoal. The black/charcoal model has a charcoal upper made of thick generous cuts of nubuck. While having black full grain leather panels and a collar. A peculiar fact about the Vault release is the padding on the tongue. Unlike the Pro version, the padding on LX caballero is 2x thicker. Instead of having the standard nylon laces, cotton laces are present. Another pair of, red,  laces are also included. The original style liner is forgone in favor of a modern nylon liner. White eyelets provide some needed contrast. The retro Vans label is on the heel adding a sense of unity. A removable footbed, with an all Caballero print, gives the shoe a more lux laid back feeling. Finally theres the red Caballero dragon logo. At first glance it looks like the og logo from 1989, however some of the branding has been removed, perhaps to better pay tribute to Steve’s original logo design. It would be almost impossible to find a shoe like this today. Due to the recession many shoe companies, and to a certain degree Vans included, have lower the quality of their shoes in order to keep profits in the green. Shoes post 2008 tend to use cheaper leathers and rubbers. Sadly the Caballero’s release in 2008-09 was strictly a limited engagement. Finding a pair, is difficult, if you stumble across a pair don’t hesitate to grab it. An irony of the Caballero LX is in the fact its a rare and very premium sneaker, but they usually don’t sell over their MSRP of $80. Perhaps due to the fact that many people are not familiar with the silhouette, despite this the Caballero LX could be worth twice its MSRP. If its deadstock, has the og box, and comes with both the laces. As big and bulk as it may appear, the Vans Caballero doesn’t feel very constricting, instead its fairly easy on the feet. Furthermore the color scheme makes it applicable to wear for various occasions. People who are looking for some true high quality shoes, lovers of the Vans Half Cab, or even people who appreciate classic skating design may be interesting in grabbing a pair for themselves.

Charcoal nubuck upper, with black full grain leather color blocking.

Red Caballero logo. White eyelets. Thick pieces of leather make up the Caballero LX’s anatomy.

Vans retro label.

Cotton laces. Red liner. The thickest piece of nubuck was used for the toe of the shoe.

Removable Caballero printed insoles.

*Rubbers by IFC. Very hard to find. Pre-recession premium shoe.