Thursday, July 30, 2009

Notable film and media links (July 30, 2009)

---Chris Anderson doesn't use the words "media" or "journalism" anymore in this interview with Salon.

---Boing Boing's video interview with digital photo collage artist Cassandra C. Jones.

---Recent trailers: Dark Country (wannabe noir/horror film?), A Serious Man (an academic variation on Burn After Reading? The Coen brothers seem to have much contempt for their characters). Meanwhile, Baader Meinhof Complex intrigues.

---Remembering Tim Burton in his prime: Scott Tobias considers Beetlejuice.

---Dennis Cozzalio interviews Stephanie Zacharek, Salon's senior film critic:

SZ: "Charlie [Zacharek's film critic husband Charles Taylor] and I share a sensibility. We often tend to like the same things, even though we often don’t like them for the same reasons. That’s one thing that has sometimes been kind of difficult during the course of our relationship and our professional lives. You always hear, `Oh, they always like the same things. Their 10-best lists are always identical.' And often I feel it’s a kind of sexist way of reacting, like saying I can’t think for myself, I take my cues from him—that always seems to be the subtext, and don’t even get me started on that. But we do disagree. For example, recently we went to the screening of Public Enemies, and because there were so many people there we couldn’t sit together. I pretty much liked the movie, aside from some misgivings. Afterward I went out to the lobby and I find Charlie, and he’s kind of fuming and he says, `Somebody needs to kick Michael Mann’s ass!' `So you didn’t like it?' And he starts explaining to me why he didn’t like it. `The camera’s all shaky, and I’m so sick of the shaky camera thing--' `I know, I’m sick of it too.' But it’s interesting—if I’m sitting with him, I can tell whether or not he’s with something. So the fact that we were sitting apart was interesting, because I really didn’t know until afterward. But at this point we’ve known each other so long, disagreements on movies are like anything else—you just talk it out: `I think you’re full of shit,' or whatever. But the deal-breaker question is an interesting one. I do have a friend who had a girlfriend at one point, and we were out for drinks and talking, and he said, `I showed her The Lady Eve and she didn’t like it.' And I just looked at him said, `Are you sure about this girl?' (Laughs)"

---From Sociological Images, a fascinating video with Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Christina Applegate, Jane Krakowski, and Mary Louise-Parker discussing what it's like to be a woman getting older in Hollywood.

---David Cairns interviews Gerald Peary, critic and director of For the Love of Movies: the Story of American Film Criticism:

GP: "One of the many ways that the film changed form over the years is that eight years ago, film criticism still seemed a viable profession. Even then, obviously I want more people to read criticism and take it seriously, so that’s always been an objective, but I had no idea then that everybody in America was going to lose their job; by now, there are over fifty critics who are “made redundant” as you say over here — we say “fired” in the States. So the movie has an urgency that it didn’t have when it was conceived. I guess dramatically that helps the film. Or melodramatically. But it’s not a happy melodrama, because I’d rather critics were employed and doing well."

---postmodern gesture of the day: Sally Forth quotes Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

---Jonah Weiner of Slate speculates as to why music magazines are dying.

---For The New York Times, Mike Hale explains the contemporary importance of Cary Grant:

"[Grant's] in-on-the-joke sincerity, his not-quite-throwaway lines, the bits of physical business — the dancing way in which he kicks a door in Holiday or his graceful glide across the terrace as the gendarmes approach at the beginning of To Catch a Thief — serve less to glorify him than to flatter the intelligence of the women who can’t do without him.

That might be the best reason to watch Grant today. Kael noted in 1975, during his lifetime, that it was impossible to imagine Grant in the macho action and crime films that were beginning to dominate Hollywood. It’s equally impossible to imagine him in the soggy, misogynistic, stealth-macho geekfests that pass for romantic comedy now. Watching him is to be reminded of a time when intelligence, grace and self-containment were their own rewards. The 21st century, so far, hasn’t deserved him."

---For Commentary, Stephen Hunter looks at the history behind Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde.

---Thanks to Metafilter, a "whole freaking bunch of classic rock performance videos."

---Lastly, Movie City Indie shows how the British promote mumblecore.

4 comments:

Flickhead said...

Many thanks for tipping me off to the Chris Anderson interview. I really have to apply myself and invent a time machine, because I'm so hopelessly out of the loop. His words make me realize I really have no connection anymore. I don't even own a cell phone. His hard, defensive attitude comes from a culture void of humility, but big on the suggestions within posed imagery. They tweak and twitter and give me the creeps.

How did they do that time/dimension transportation thing in La Jetee? Maybe I can try doing that...

FilmDr said...

My pleasure, Ray. I don't own a cell phone, tweet, or Facebook either, but I do find the massive shifts in media (or something--I thought about calling the post "Notable Film and [ ] Links") very interesting. Gawker made fun of Anderson's combative tone in the interview, but I still think his Free book makes compelling points. Also, for all of Chris' talk of moving beyond the old media, many of the best links that I find still come from newspapers and magazines. That's what's fun about the changeover--the drama of the older media hanging on, and yet being forced to adapt.

One thing I disagree with--when Chris says "The vast majority of people online write for free. We've tried paying some of our bloggers and they thought it was insulting. They're not doing it for the money, they're doing it for attention and reputation, or just for fun." I wouldn't be insulted.

Flickhead said...

I've known many writers. Not one would be insulted by cash. Chris is obviously making up stories. Transparent ones at that.

FilmDr said...

He's being provocative, but he's right about the difficulty of setting up a new business model on the internet these days, and the murkiness of defining how the news works, and how it filters down to us. That basic uncertainty about the media, perhaps best exemplified by watching CNN and other major networks trying to catch up with Twitter right after the Iranian election, makes the topic so much fun. The media(?) keeps morphing the more you try to study how it works.