Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
8:04. Subject says goodbye to older son leaving for school.
8:05. Subject turns on laptop and sits on sofa in pajamas.
8:23. Subject lets cat out.
9:07. Subject lets cat in.
9:08-9:15. Really fast typing.
9:15-9:17. Subject makes toast.
9:17-9:30. Subject eats toast while rereading article in local paper about rural UFO cult.
9:30. Subject puts extra pair of socks on over extant pair of socks."
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Ibetolis of the esteemed Film for the Soul has once again kindly allowed me to submit an essay for his Counting Down the Zeroes celebration, this time for the year 2002. I chose Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), in part because I am a major Children of Men (2006) fan, and in part because I enjoyed analyzing Cuaron's thoughtful Godardian depiction of stoned teenagers on a road trip in Mexico. Here's the link.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
New evidence! Here's a quote from The Boston Phoenix's interview with Ed Helms:
"The chicken is the great McGuffin of "The Hangover." It's never explained. But, you know the only reason it's there is because . . . I mean there is no rational explanation for it. Although Todd will tell you, Todd Philips, the director, when I called him on the chicken I was like `What's the deal with the chicken?' He says that we stole the chicken to feed the tiger."
Helms goes on to theorize that the chicken is a "symbol of chaos," with possible "Bunuel-esque" overtones.
The chicken's brooding, smoldering presence in the hotel suite made what might have been an ordinary bawdy comedy into something transcendent. A less capable actor, a cowardly actor, might have tried too hard, might have been unable to resist hitting the audience over its collective head with a hammer. But that beautiful, cocksure chicken trusted the material, and it trusted its chicken instincts. It trusted us, too — trusted us to get the joke without having it explained to us, without diagrams and maps. There was no talk of motivation, no origin myth, no script-by-numbers ribbon tying, everything grounded in context and meticulous backstory. Life isn't like that. Life is chaos, the thrill of the unknown, the beauty of mystery and what comes next. Sometimes we don't need a reason or a signpost. Sometimes, life just is.
And so it was with that magnificent chicken, with its perfectly timed squawks and walk-throughs.
That chicken was present. That chicken was elemental, man. That chicken belonged."
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
---For The New Republic, David Thomson reviews the new book Kazan on Directing. It's fun to read Kazan's notes as he developed Marlon Brando's role as Stanley in his production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire:"One of the important things about Stanley is that Blanche would wreck his home.... He's got the things the way he wants them around there, and he does not want them upset by a phony, corrupt, sick, destructive woman. This makes Stanley right! Are we going into the age of Stanley?... Stanley is exactly like you in some ways [Kazan means himself]. He is supremely indifferent to everything except his own pleasure and comfort. He is marvelously selfish, a miracle of sensuous self-centredness."
* Glittering generalities -- the opposite of name calling;
* Card stacking -- the selective use of facts and half-truths;
* Bandwagon -- appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd;
* Plain folks -- an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are "of the people";
* Transfer -- carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept; and
* Testimonials -- involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.
These techniques, first listed in the 1930s, paint an uncanny portrait of what you can see and hear any night on the O'Reilly Factor."
"[Kael] elevated American movie reviews to film criticism by bringing ideas about the medium and the society that produces them into the discourse. Due to her ability to see quality in (what she called) ‘trash’ movies, she realigned the approach and respect for low-budget / independent / B-movies. For example, traditionally big-city newspapers had a daily-columnist reviewer and a rookie stringer reviewer. Before Kael, the daily reviewer would tackle pieces on the mammoth epics and message pictures while the stringer would write about the movies playing at the drive-ins. By 1975 the stringer would be assigned the no-brainer epic and the daily columnist would attempt to find the merits in the latest slasher movie.
If it hadn’t been for Kael, there would be no cultural space nor interest for a blog such as this one."
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
In The Girlfriend Experience, we can analyze Chelsea (Sasha Grey) as a self-conscious commercial product in a world full of people obliged to sell themselves one way or another, but I was also intrigued by the Johns in the movie. One guy trembles as he impotently places his arms around her. Several guys mostly complain about the state of the economy as she looks on. Another man wears a diaper. In one scene, she confesses to being tortured by another guy with a Q-tip. For much of the movie, we watch men degrade themselves and her for the chance to spend $2000 an hour for a mock "girlfriend." That may be Soderbergh's point--how much men are willing to pay for a simulated girlfriend experience instead of gaining a real one. And of course, Soderbergh also knows that men may want to see a movie about the same experience, thereby making a simulation about a simulation. Thus, The Girlfriend Experience ironically enacts a version of a transaction even as it analyzes it.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
And in The Hangover, Stu deals with a tiger in much the same fashion:
Not to mention Dude, Where's My Car (2000) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) as mentioned in Adam's Rosenberg's post on The Mtv Blog.