Thursday, June 17, 2010

Notable film and media links for June 17, 2010

---teevee ads on their way to your grocery store

---the many faces of Megan Fox

---the interruption society

---online music moves to the cloud:

"The broadcast and on-demand models are governed by different rules, but they share one important feature: neither depends on downloading files or finding storage space on a personal computer. Lurking behind these models are two enormous companies that will likely change the landscape of online audio in a matter of months: Google and Apple. Google will soon offer a streaming music service for its Android phone that, like all of these services, uses the increasingly vital concept of the cloud—your music is all on a server, which you can access from any computer or smart phone, with little trouble and no wires. Apple, whose iTunes store is the biggest music retailer in America, bought the online streaming service Lala last year and then promptly shut it down. This suggests that there may soon be an iTunes.com, a Web-based streaming system that will leave behind the model of buying discrete tracks. In music’s new model, fees are charged not necessarily so that you can physically possess a file but so that you can have that song whenever you want it."

---Sofia Coppola's trailer for Somewhere

---7 salutes to the Odessa Steps sequence

---time to live in the endless city

---Pogo's Toy Story remix

---Bellamy and Howard consider the contemporary relevance of Sunset Boulevard (one of my favorites) and All About Eve:

EH: "Director/co-writer Billy Wilder is striking a delicate balance here. Sunset Boulevard is a lament for a lost era, for those forgotten stars who failed to make the transition to sound, whose careers faltered when faced with the new economies and aesthetics of sound filmmaking. There's something poignant even about the mere appearance of Buster Keaton, looking somehow wasted and gaunt, a premonition of the meditation on mortality and performance that he'd later deliver in the Samuel Beckett-written Film. There's no doubt that Wilder feels genuine regret for the talents lost or forgotten during the transitional period from silents to talkies. At the same time, the film doesn't idealize the past, doesn't suggest that everything was better before sound came in and ruined it all; surely that would be hypocritical and silly coming from a director who started out as a writer and always knew the value of good dialogue. Instead, the film suggests that commerce always ruled, that the silent era represented not some golden age of artistic creativity but simply a different form of commerce, catering to different tastes and serving up different forms of spectacle. In the film, DeMille (gamely playing himself) rejects Norma and her ludicrous vanity project script not because he's dedicated to his own noble artistic vision, but because he's learned how to tailor his commercial products to new temperaments, while Norma is still serving up old-school kitsch. She hasn't learned how to make modern trash."

---I can't wait to see Collapse

---Holly Golightly, modern woman?

---reconsidering Touch of Evil

---the essential privacy of writing:

"The Schuyler collection is only one in what has become a flood of posthumous publications, encompassing work by Elizabeth Bishop, Henry Roth, Ralph Ellison, and Vladimir Nabokov. I am not against the publication of this material, at least in some form. What I fear is that many readers are coming to believe that a writer who holds something back from publication is somehow acting unnaturally. Nobody understands the extent to which, even for the widely acclaimed author with ready access to publication, the process of writing can sometimes necessitate a rejection or at least an avoidance of one’s own readers. That silence is a part of writing—that the work of this day or this week or even this year might for good reason be withheld—is becoming harder and harder to comprehend. There have always of course been posthumous publications. And there have always been controversies as to whether or not publication was in line with the author’s wishes. But the idea that somebody might choose not to publish—or might choose to publish in a small circulation magazine rather than a large circulation one—can look downright bizarre in the age of the blog and the tweet. The space between the writer and the reader is evaporating."

---Slant writers fondly remember St. Elmo's Fire

---existential Avatar Days

---film criticism past, present, and future

---the advantages of forgetting

---Tarantino and Clooney boogie

---the art of manliness, which I find poignant now that men are no longer needed

---the Madonna/Gaga comparison

---Dylan and Seuss together at last

---lastly, the science of vampires:

"Many natural changes after death were judged to be evidence that the late lamented had turned into a bloodsucker. Like hair, fingernails don't actually continue to grow after death, but as fingers decompose, the skin shrinks, making the nails look abnormally long and clawlike. You begin to look as if you're turning into a predatory animal. Dead skin, after sloughing off its top layer, can look flushed and alive as if with fresh blood. Damp soil's chemicals can produce in the skin a waxy secretion, sometimes brownish or even white, from fat and protein—adipocere, "grave wax." In one eyewitness account from the 18th century, a vampire is even found—further proof of his vile nature—to have a certain region of his anatomy in a posthumous state of excitement. The genitals often inflate during the process of decomposition.

And what about the blood reported around the mouths of resurrected corpses? That too has a natural explanation. Without the heart as a pump to keep it circulating, blood follows the path of least resistance. Many bodies were buried face down, resulting in blood pooling in the face and leaving it looking flushed. Sometimes blood also gets lifted mouthward by gases from decomposition. Vampire stories recognize that death is messy."

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