Friday, December 30, 2011
---Louis Godfrey's survey of Occupy Wall Street footage:
"the occupation of space is what is at the very heart of the Occupy movement, to use public areas – parks, plazas, university campuses – as the primary tool of redress, by asserting that they are commons. The concept of the commons is, according to Peter Linebaugh in The Magna Carta Manifesto, “The theory that vests property in the community and organizes labor for the common benefit” - an idea that dates back to 1215 at Runnymede and the limitations placed on the power of King John. The commons are more than just public spaces, but they are those liberties – trial by jury, Habeus corpus, etc. – that are essential to the individual use of those spaces with agency and purpose.
The antithesis of the commons is the commodity. Ever increasingly our public spaces are serviced and maintained by private entities, and open to general use in highly regulated increments requiring prior approval, and often for monetized purposes. Accordingly, officials now view public spaces as they do any asset that can be commodified, and deploy law enforcement to protect them accordingly. “The insanity of the commodity arises from its inherent contradiction or double bind: on the one hand it is useful, convenient, or commodious, on the other hand it is bought and sold for profit and gain,” Linebaugh writes. “Guile replaces plain dealing.”
---how to film a revolution
---the end credits of Being There
---Joel Bocko's Blog 11
---the precocious Maria Popova
---"Note what the president does not say: that indefinitely detaining an American suspected of terrorism would be unconstitutional or illegal."
---filmmaking power apps
anatomy of a scene in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
---“For the first time ever, it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders--every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.”
---trailer for Prometheus
---Catherine Grant's favorite film studies resources
---time to make a feature film with your cell phone
---the overture of Melancholia
---Andrew Dubber's "Music journalism is the new boring": "You’re a lazy, complacent, boring failure."
---"Many analysts – including the US military – predict that oil supply will fall short of demand in the next few years. This will lead to shortages and high prices, which will continue the economic slowdown, and high unemployment. Of course, this is on top of whatever financial crises are already waiting in the wings. We must get the transition to a renewable energy economy started in earnest, if we are to limit climate change impacts, and prepare for lower supplies of fossil fuels. The longer the 1% delays the transition, the harder it will be."
---Terry Gilliam's 10 tips for directors
---Keyframe's year in video
---Urban Outfitters: bookseller
Share or Die
---Spiegelman's 15 delightful internet films
---David Lynch in four movements
---lastly, the key to understanding Young Adult: Hello Kitty
Monday, December 26, 2011
1) Writing for The Daily Beast, Louise Roug points out that "The charisma of the Salander character is ultimately the reason for the extraordinary success of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its two sequels." But who is Lisbeth Salander? Why does her character, as played by Rooney Mara, eclipse Daniel Craig (journalist Blomkvist) so much in the new David Fincher version? Why does she effortlessly steal the movie? Fincher notes how Salander "oddly prizes herself in not coming to any conclusions," preferring the data cloud to any biased opinion, so I will, in the spirit of Salander's research techniques, limit myself to the evidence at hand. Some quotes:
2) According to her state dossier in Larsson's novel, she is described as: “introverted, socially inhibited, lacking in empathy, ego-fixated, psychopathic and asocial, and incapable of assimilating learning.”
3) Again, from the novel: “[Blomkvist] couldn’t figure out Lisbeth Salander. She was altogether odd.” As he notes later, "Salander was an information junkie with a delinquent child's take on morals and ethics."
4) One of Salander's Principles from the novel (in her words): "a bastard is always a bastard, and if I can hurt a bastard by digging up shit about him, then he deserves it."
5) According to Katie Roiphe, "One could argue that Larsson’s world of rapists, murderers, sadists, conspirators, and assorted sickos is not an entirely balanced portrayal of reality circa now, but there is something about Lisbeth Salander that rings true. In the extremes and luridness of her experience, she somehow embodies the modern woman’s most intimate contradictions, her more ordinary straddling of power and weakness, her irrational internal admixture of fierce warrior and abused waif.”
6) "Lisbeth Salander = Lizard Salamander?" ---Roger Ebert on Twitter
7) One can imagine other actresses who tried out for the role, such as Scarlett Johansson.
claims that "What Fincher captures is the inner sense of a pair of minds—Lisbeth Salander, the genius punk survivalist hacker, and Mikael Blomkvist, the intrepid investigative journalist—that run faster than others. The relentless pace of the movie, its mercurial combination of amazingly precise and crystallized shots, is like the inside view of a souped-up biomorphic CPU."
9) “Horrible things happen to her. And she wanders home. And she sits there. She lights a cigarette, and she fumes. And you don’t know what’s going on in her head. The next time you see her, she’s got a Taser and a 30-pound chrome dildo, and she’s got a plan,” says David Fincher. “You don’t need her to say, ‘This is not right what’s happened to me, and I have to make it right.’ You see her at the hardware store, buying tape and zip ties and black ink.”
10) Monika Bartyzel writes: "Fincher’s Lisbeth is not Larsson’s. She is sexualized, softened, romanticized, and less empowered. Whether he intended this or not, it’s what countless critics see in the film; they don’t mind it – in fact most like it – but they’ve recognized it and have written about it.
Yet the entire point is that Lisbeth doesn’t seem real to the regular Joe or Jane walking down the street. Even those closest to her don’t truly understand her. She’s got the double-whammy of an autistic mind and a hellish life with experiences we can’t begin to fathom. We’re not supposed to understand her, or lust after her. As A. O. Scott noted in his review: “We see all of Ms. Mara and quite a bit less of Mr. Craig, whose naked torso is by now an eyeful of old news. This disparity is perfectly conventional – the exploitation of female nudity is an axiom of modern cinema – but it also represents a failure of nerve and a betrayal of the sexual egalitarianism Lisbeth Salander argues for and represents.”
Sunday, December 18, 2011
---"nondisruptive" cell use
---What doomsday movies mean:
"We know our bubble is about to burst, that our artificial prosperity is corrupt and unsustainable. And even if somehow, somehow, the greedheads change their ways and the temperature of the Earth doesn’t rise and the polar ice caps don’t melt and oil remains plentiful enough to drive back and forth from our houses in the suburbs, we’ll still be haunted, like Curtis in Take Shelter, by the thought that something bad is about to go down. And we’ll seek out doomsday movies to see how it all plays out. The end of the world has barely begun."
---when the NYPD targets the media
---Sense of Flying
---Peter Mountford once sold furniture to celebrities:
"Personally, I wanted everything in the store. I wanted the objects and I wanted the people. I wanted to eat them all up, gnaw on their bones. At first, I didn’t care about it all, thought it a lot of silliness, but soon enough I was fantasizing, actively, daily, about owning those gorgeous Italian wine glasses, they were $50 each, and about the house where I’d put my immense and uncomfortable sofa. I imagined the parties on my private beach, shaded by the French marquee that no one else in L.A. owned. Or, no one except Bridget Fonda.
While driving home to the apartment I shared with two roommates in Silverlake, I’d pick out the famous guests that would come to my beachfront house, pictured myself drinking a martini in the setting sun as the sea breeze rippled through my white suit. These things had never seemed relevant before. Now, I felt mortified by my sensible late ’90s Volvo, my cheap cellphone. Somewhere nearby, someone was sharing a platter of immaculate sushi with Sarah Michelle Gellar, who’s a year younger than me and prettier in person, while I was consuming starchy blocks of Trader Joe’s faux-sushi. What I needed, evidently, was a Maserati, a beachfront house in Malibu. What I needed was a better pair of sunglasses, and a life appropriate to those glasses. Until then, I was not alive, I was auditioning for life.
Updike wrote, “Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face,” but after living in L.A. for a while, the proper reply became obvious: With a mask like that, who needs a face?"
---Seaman had his Twitter account suspended due to what?
---the worst movie posters of 2011
---"This used to be funny, but now it’s really just terrifying. We’re dealing with legislation that will completely change the face of the internet and free speech for years to come."
---"Film the Police"
---Magic and Light, Chapter 2
---"Maybe a hundred years down the line, nobody will look back at climate change as the most important issue of the early 21st century, because the damage will have been done, and the idea that it might have been prevented will seem absurd. Maybe the idea that Mali and Burkina Faso were once inhabited countries rather than empty deserts will seem queer, and the immiseration of huge numbers of stateless refugees thronging against the borders of the rich northern countries will be taken for granted. The absence of the polar ice cap and the submersion of Venice will have been normalised; nobody will think of these as live issues, no one will spend their time reproaching their forefathers, there'll be no moral dimension at all. We will have wrecked the planet, but our great-grandchildren won't care much, because they'll have been born into a planet already wrecked."
---ninja attack nuptials
---"Americans can be arrested on home soil and taken to Guantánamo Bay under a provision inserted into the bill that funds the US military," but "it is never easy to veto a defense authorization bill"
---trailers for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Divide, Jack the Giant Killer, We Are Legion, and The Dictator
---Tiso's "You and Mark Aren't Friends"
---Lastly, "In a world where the society of the swarm is beginning to devour the society of the spectacle, celebrities have nothing to offer a people’s movement that does not begin with the abnegation of their celebrity."
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
"I was born in 1964; I grew up watching Captain Kangaroo, moon landings, zillions of TV ads, the Banana Splits, M*A*S*H, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I was born with words in my mouth—`Band-Aid,' `Q-tip,' `Xerox'—object-names as fixed and eternal in my logosphere as `taxicab' and `toothbrush.' The world is a home littered with pop-culture products and their emblems. I also came of age swamped by parodies that stood for originals yet mysterious to me—I knew Monkees before Beatles, Belmondo before Bogart, and “remember” the movie Summer of '42 from a Mad magazine satire, though I've still never seen the film itself. I'm not alone in having been born backward into an incoherent realm of texts, products, and images, the commercial and cultural environment with which we've both supplemented and blotted out our natural world. I can no more claim it as “mine” than the sidewalks and forests of the world, yet I do dwell in it, and for me to stand a chance as either artist or citizen, I'd probably better be permitted to name it.Consider Walker Percy's The Moviegoer:
`Other people, so I have read, treasure memorable moments in their lives: the time one climbed the Parthenon at sunrise, the summer night one met a lonely girl in Central Park and achieved with her a sweet and natural relationship, as they say in books. I too once met a girl in Central Park, but it is not much to remember. What I remember is the time John Wayne killed three men with a carbine as he was falling to the dusty street in Stagecoach, and the time the kitten found Orson Welles in the doorway in The Third Man.'
Thursday, December 8, 2011
"The content restrictions are unexplored territory. At the height of Windows's market dominance, Microsoft had no role in determining what software would and wouldn't run on its machines, much less whether the content inside that software was to be allowed to see the light of screen. Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mark Fiore found his iPhone app rejected because it contained `content that ridicules public figures.' Fiore was well-known enough that the rejection raised eyebrows, and Apple later reversed its decision. But the fact that apps must routinely face approval masks how extraordinary the situation is: tech companies are in the business of approving, one by one, the text, images, and sounds that we are permitted to find and experience on our most common portals to the networked world. Why would we possibly want this to be how the world of ideas works, and why would we think that merely having competing tech companies—each of which is empowered to censor—solves the problem?This is especially troubling as governments have come to realize that this framework makes their own censorship vastly easier: what used to be a Sisyphean struggle to stanch the distribution of books, tracts, and then websites is becoming a few takedown notices to a handful of digital gatekeepers. Suddenly, objectionable content can be made to disappear by pressuring a technology company in the middle. When Exodus International—`[m]obilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality'—released an app that, among other things, inveighed against homosexuality, opponents not only rated it poorly (one-star reviews were running two-to-one against five-star reviews) but also petitioned Apple to remove the app. Apple did."
---Roberts' "The Brutal Logic of Climate Change":
Sunday, December 4, 2011
3) The first time I watched The Future on Blu-ray, I fell asleep about 30 minutes into it, in part because the narrative appears to stop dead as Sophie (July) stares at a table leg, some hose, and other seemingly random objects in her ultra hipster Urban Outfitters vintage Los Angeles apartment, and in part because I was tired from a hard day's work. Still, I was intrigued enough by the randomness of the film's aesthetics to watch it again with my significant other, and this time I enjoyed it.
5) So how does July's serendipitous creativity work? The Future is in part about its creative technique. As Richard Brody notes about the film: "an exemplary work of modern cinema is defined by its reflection of the way in which it was made." After Sophie and Jason commit to taking care of a cat Paw-Paw that has been kept at a clinic due to its illness (renal failure), they learn that they have about a month before they can take the cat home. After that, the cat could die within six months, or within a few years if it bonds with them. This commitment suddenly (and humorously) forces the couple to rethink their whole lives. Now in their thirties, they discuss how they will soon turn forty, and then they might as well be fifty, and after that there's nothing but "loose change," as Jason puts it. So, they decide to quit their LA McJobs and remain open to everything as they attempt to reinvent themselves. Jason arbitrarily joins an environmentalist organization "Tree to Tree" where he tries to sell trees door to door. Sophie decides to create a different dance each day for thirty days, film herself performing each dance with her webcam, then show the dances on the Internet.