Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
JH: Viewers are being hardwired differently. In film, it's harder and harder to use wide shots now. And the bigger the budget, the more closeups there are and the faster they change. It's a whole different approach. What's going to happen is there will be the two extremes: the franchise films that are now getting onto brands like Barbie, and Battleship and Ronald McDonald; then there are these incredible, very low-budget digital films. But that middle area, they just can't sustain and make it work in the current model. Maybe the model will change and hopefully readjust.
CM: Well, I don't know what of our culture is going to survive, or if we survive. If you look at the Greek plays, they're really good. And there's just a handful of them. Well, how good would they be if there were 2,500 of them? But that's the future looking back at us. Anything you can think of, there's going to be millions of them. Just the sheer number of things will devalue them. I don't care whether it's art, literature, poetry or drama, whatever. The sheer volume of it will wash it out. I mean, if you had thousands of Greek plays to read, would they be that good? I don't think so.
---Sociological Images notes the De-gaying of A Single Man.
---Star Trek bloopers.
---Facebook as alibi and one way to apprehend a criminal.
---A. O. Scott considers the last decade of movies:"Perhaps the easiest and most satisfying way to make sense of the unruly cinematic abundance of the past 10 years is to sift through it for masters and masterpieces, kicking the tires to see what has been built to last. Whatever else was going on, a handful of great filmmakers made a handful of great films, just as in other decades. Steven Spielberg, freed in the ’90s by the successes of “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” from the burden of importance, made a series of bracingly imaginative entertainments — “Minority Report,” “Catch Me if You Can,” “War of the Worlds,” “Munich” and “The Terminal” in addition to “A.I.” — that were both nimble and deeply resonant. Clint Eastwood, in his 70s, entered the most prolific and diverse phase of his career as a director, breathing new life into long-established Hollywood genres, including the boxing picture (“Million Dollar Baby”), the crime thriller (“Mystic River”) and the combat epic (“Letters From Iwo Jima”). Martin Scorsese collected his overdue Academy Award for “The Departed”; Joel and Ethan Coen won their first Best Picture Oscar, for “No Country for Old Men,” in the midst of popping out a film a year. Gus Van Sant, Robert Altman, P. T. Anderson, Spike Jonze, Spike Lee, Steven Soderbergh, Todd Haynes. The canon of American cinema, since the early ’60s a catalog of acknowledged auteurs, expanded significantly in the new century."
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"It’s probably difficult or impossible for somebody who hasn’t been following the peak oil story for the past several years to understand the depth of the “Holy crap” feeling that many of us are experiencing right now. A large part of that feeling comes simply from the fact that, as I’ve mentioned here before, lots of things appear to be playing out according to the long-forecasted “plan,” including, most prominently, the expected development in which oil-and-energy issues have moved to the forefront of public discourse. Of course that has nothing, or at least not much, to do with the question of whether peak oil is actually “real” — a word that raises the need to distinguish between peak oil, the geological phenomenon, and peak oil, the theory that ties oil’s fortunes to the very survival of growth-based economies and industrial-technological civilization. In our ever-intensifying age of 24/7 digital linkage and global conversation, it’s impossible to ferret out how much of what we’re collectively thinking and feeling comes from reality itself, as in, the reality outside the media web, and how much is simply a self-reinforcing feedback loop.What’s incontrovertible is that we’re right now living through the giddiest age of apocalyptic cultural ferment that any of us have ever experienced. I think it’s safe to say that it tops the ones that accompanied the turn of the 20th century, and the advent of World Wars I and II, and the Depression era, and the social and cultural upheavals and meltdowns of the sixties and seventies, and the turn of the 21st century. It even tops 9/11, although in fact it incorporates the 9/11 feeling of an imminent breakdown in everything. Maybe the only thing that equals it is the nuclear terror of the Cold War era. Because now, as then, the fear isn’t just of a national or international breakdown or some such thing (although obviously that one is currently in play, too) but of a show-stopping calamity that would write “The End” on the last page of the book that is the human race, or at least on the book that is civilization as we have known for at least a century or two (since the full implementation of the Adam Smithian economic growth model and the rise of technocratic industrialism). The ecological term “die-off” has gained currency. The word “collapse” is on everybody’s minds and lips."
"Then he got into bed. There wasn't an ounce of pretense about any of this, I swear. He was curious to get a look at that old apartment, and felt like telling me about it. He was tired, so he got into bed. When you meet Harrelson, you get a momentary glimpse of what a strange and exhausting job it must be to be famous. The job involves meeting an endless ocean of people you don't know and most likely will never see again. The obvious solution would be to retreat behind a well-rehearsed performance of your persona, to recycle a handful of gestures and mannerisms.Harrelson, on the other hand, seems like a guy totally determined not to let the artificiality of these interactions impinge on his sense of who he is. Perversely, the fact that he is frank and thoughtful, and known to hold unorthodox political opinions he doesn't keep to himself, has only augmented his fame. You can't throw an empty Chardonnay bottle out your car window in west L.A. without hitting a Hollywood liberal, but Harrelson is something much rarer: a vegan, raw-foodist, antiwar, anti-capitalist, pro-marijuana, eco-funky, genuine radical who happens to be a beloved character actor with a good-ol'-boy demeanor."
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
2) He steadfastly refuses hero worship: "To put Hitchcock either up or down isn't the point; the point is sticking to the material as it is, rather than drooling over behind-the-camera feats of engineering."
3) He has scant interest in narrative, either of plot-driven or symbolic/sociopolitical kinds, and is more taken with spatial dynamics than happy endings or movie martyrdoms.
4) He has a nonchalant way of rolling out a convoluted 20th century landscape in which Godard meets Dick Tracy, Anthony Mann carries more weight than John Ford, and the scummy cesspools of Don Siegel beckon like an old Esther Williams water ballet. Indeed, Farber had a special knack for creating a mental space where everything exists in the same eternal present tense, the 1932 "Scarface" and the 1970 acid gangster trip "Performance," Boris Karloff and Mick Jagger sounding like long-lost brothers-in-arms waving to each other across the Warner Bros. lot."