Friday, October 30, 2009

Notable film and media links--October 30, 2009

---Facebook is so passe, but at least it acknowledges the dead. Wal-Mart now offers a discount for the dead. Also, let's not forget the media death spiral and the death of the book review.

---Bill Murray, screen demigod:

"The threat of sudden emotional violence is always lurking within. In his early movies, such as Meatballs and Caddyshack, he made this his shtick — witness his famously manic “It just doesn’t matter!” speech from the former movie, or the bursts of gopher-hatred in the latter. In later work, such as Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, though the performances are more restrained the threat is still there, simmering behind the impassive glare. Think of how he gleefully destroys schoolboy Jason Schwartzman’s bicycle inRushmore, or how he humiliates Robert De Niro’s tremulous cop in the opening of Mad Dog and Glory with a genuinely terrifying stare and the viciously spat, “F*** off!”

---Film in Focus honors the achievement of Joe Bowman of Fin de Cinema as part of their Behind the Blog series.

---Stephen Asma attempts to figure out the significance of our love of monsters:

"Believers in human progress, from the Enlightenment to the present, think that monsters are disappearing. Rationality will pour its light into the dark corners and reveal the monsters to be merely chimeric. A familiar upshot of the liberal interpretation of monsters is to suggest that when we properly embrace difference, the monsters will vanish. According to this view, the monster concept is no longer useful in the modern world. If it hangs on, it does so like an appendix—useful once but hazardous now.

I disagree. The monster concept is still extremely useful, and it's a permanent player in the moral imagination because human vulnerability is permanent. The monster is a beneficial foe, helping us to virtually represent the obstacles that real life will surely send our way. As long as there are real enemies in the world, there will be useful dramatic versions of them in our heads."

---Which is more accurate--the view of Baghdad from up in a helicopter, or down in the streets?

---Dennis Cozzalio points out where the dirty hipsters are.

---David Cairns examines a remake of one of my favorite films- Sternberg's Der blaue Engel.

---Jason Bellamy and Ed Howard consider Trouble Every Day in time for Halloween.

---David Thomson vents about pod actors and the idea of a remake of The Third Man.

---I confess that I've been enjoying William Mann's new biography of Elizabeth Taylor, in part because of his emphasis on her skill at being a celebrity. As Laura Miller points out:

"As a pioneer for the Madonnas and Lindsay Lohans of today, women whose personal lives occupy more of the public imagination than does their creative work, Taylor comes across as remarkably sympathetic and uncomplicated. For all her temperament, narcissism and hedonism, she was never driven or insecure. She didn't seek applause as a balm for deeper wounds, like Judy Garland or Marilyn Monroe; her fame was forged by others rather than the object of her own ambition. She didn't much like making movies, though she'd occasionally pull out the stops when the project suited her whims. What she really wanted was to lounge around on yachts and in luxury hotels, chowing down on fried chicken with "lots of gravy" and waking up to a Tiffany's box on her pillow on a fairly regular basis. Acting, fame and a few of her marriages were little more than means to those ends."

---Sociological Images looks at the evolution of Disney princesses.

---The Fake AP Stylebook answers all of your style and usage questions.

---For those trying to figure out the internet, you can check it out its ten laws, decry its negative effect on the long-form narrative, consider how it spreads rumors, celebrate its 40th birthday, or imagine what it will be like in 5 years.

---Speaking of "Imagine," the upcoming John Lennon biopic looks intriguing, although I never cared much for "Hey Jude."

No comments: