I’m not sure how many people besides Joel/Boo/Me are watching and loving Battlestar Galactica, but if you aren’t you should be. I just found this picture of the cast posing as Da Vinci’s Last Supper, as if the show didn’t have enough religious overtones….
Last week I watched Mike Judge’s newish movie Idiocracy
Private Joe Bowers [played by Luke Wilson] , the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future.
During his sleep, stupid people bred rampantly, and smart people had few if any children (not at all a far fetched vision of the present, much less the future). By the time he wakes up, his once average IQ is by far the highest in the world.
Like Judge’s Office Space, Idiocracy is funny, easy to enjoy, and offers some real social commentary; nothing unexpected or subtle, but good commentary nonetheless. It’s not as funny as Office Space, but it comes close to making up for it in novelty of concept.
One of the recurring jokes of the movie, is that many of the services in the future are, as it were, very full service. Starbucks’ number one seller seems to be a hand job, and they offer something called a “full body latte.”
The notion that our society’s breeding habits are reversing the direction of evolution is pretty scary, but at least we are already seeing some of the upside.
Go see it. Scorsese’s best movie in the last ten years, maybe rivaling Goodfellas.
Stylized violence and an amazing story with a sickening twist.
The acting couldn’t have been better, by anyone. Mark Wahlberg stole the show for me. Damon turned in a great performance, as did DiCaprio, Sheen and Baldwin.
The soundtrack is perfect, as expected f/m Scorsese.
Go see the movie.
Slate has an article entitled “Does YouTube Really Have Legal Problems?” that question’s the conventional wisdom that YouTube will be nothing but a legal quagmire for Google.
It discusses about how YouTube may have protection under the “Online Copyright Liability Limitation Act, which became Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (§512 of the Copyright Code).” While Napster and Grokster were shown to be intentionally encouraging copyright violation, YouTube may only need to remove content when asked to do so by the copyright holder (something it has already shown a willingness to do).
The real saving grace may be that the copyright holders (i.e. hollywood studios) have reason to like this system more than massive, shut the whole thing down lawsuits:
What’s really interesting is that the content industry actually likes §512 more than anyone will admit. The notice-and-takedown system gives content owners the twin advantages of exposure and control. When stuff is on YouTube, the owners have an option. They can leave it posted there, if they want people to see it, and build buzz. But they can also snap their fingers and bring it all down. And for someone who is juggling her desire for publicity against her need for control, that’s ultimately a nice arrangement.
In order to silence evil conspiracy theorists Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, sued the government for release of the surveilance video that would once and for all prove that a big, giant, jumbo jet did in fact hit the pentagon. The BBC NEWS Piece on it doesn’t discuss the images much, focusing more on the political, judicial, and emotional impact of the release. Nevertheless if you watch the video you can see very clearly and without a shadow of a doubt that …. something did in fact hit the pentagon. And caused a big explosion.
Was it a jumbo jet? I wouldn’t say it’s impossible.
Is there anything in the video that is recognisable as a jumbo jet? No.
Does the UFO seem to be too small and/or too fast to be captured by the video? Yes.
Does that sound like a big jumbo jet? Not really.
I can’t wait to see what the blogosphere and/or media do with this.
Woody Allen’s Match Point and Crimes and Misdemeanors
It’s no coincidence that my slow but steady decline into nihilism — now nearly complete — has paralleled my increasing love for the films of Woody Allen. Allen’s most recent film, Match Point has been called one of his top 5 of all time (by Roger Ebert) and “his most satisfying film in more than a decade” by the New York Times. It’s also probably his only movie that could accurately be described as a thriller (trailer: here). It has a mostly British cast, though co-stars Scarlett Johansson (Scarjo), who turns in a good performance for once. The movie is terrific, though rehearses the same themes of many of his movies, most notably his existential masterpiece, 1989’s Crimes and Misdemeanors. Essentially, both deal with the question of life as “harsh and empty of values and pitiless” or life endowed with a “moral structure, with real meaning, and forgiveness, and some kind of higher power”. You can probably guess which side Allen comes down on in both films (it’s the first one).
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The movie Snakes on a Plane didn’t have to wait until its August 2006 release date to become an Internet sensation (get your t-shirts here!)– and justifiably so. Yes, the movie’s premise is as preposterous as the title suggests. Here’s the synopsis:
On board a flight over the Pacific Ocean, an assassin, bent on killing a passenger who’s a witness in protective custody, let loose a crate full of deadly snakes!
Probably most hilarious though is the insistence of Samuel L. Jackson, the movie’s star actor, in keeping the movie’s idiotic title. When studio executives last year proposed changing the title to the colorless Pacific Air Flight 121, Jackson refused to go along: “Weâ€™re totally changing that back. Thatâ€™s the only reason I took the job: I read the title.” I can’t tell from the context whether he likes Snakes on a Plane because he also thinks it’s hilarious or because he seriously thinks it’s a good title.
Either way, today, the expression “snakes on a plane” has taken on its own meaning, suggesting ‘a simple existential observation that has the same meaning as ‘Whaddya gonna do?’ or ‘Shit Happens.’” For example:
Guy 1: (irate) Dude, you just ran into the back of my SUV!
Guy 2: (calm) Snakes on a plane man. Snakes on a plane.
Here’s my Top 1 for Funniest/Creepiest Tom Cruise video out there.
Mess be featurin’ Tom Cruise getting squirted in the face by a TV prankster with a water gun. It’s actually quite interesting to see how he reacts — after an initial human reaction, he becomes eerily cool and collected, treating the prankster like a child. I think a lot of it has to do with all that Scientology that he’s immersed himself in — all the self-mind control and what have you, but that’s a post for another day…
It ain’t no LOTR or Harry Potter movies, but purty good I’d wager. It gets much better toward the end.
At first, you realize that the acting and dialogue between the little British kids is really bad, but then you realize it’s a Disney movie and that not every director is obsessive as Peter Jackson. It’s been some time since I read the Chronicles, but my guess is that dialogue of the last 3/4 of the flick is taken more directly from the text and therefore is much better.
The CGI Aslan is really awesome, but maybe a little dispropotionate head to body ratio. Then again, I’ve never seen a male lion standing up close to me.
The battle scene is really good and the Christian imagery is palpable–same as the books.
All said, I give it 3.5 Snowflakes.
I can see Al Pacino outside my class window. He’s working on his next movie, 88 minutes. He plays a college proffesor who teaches in my building. I can’t believe he’s 65. He looks younger than me.
This would be the trailer. Big ups to my boy Kevin for sending me this. Have you ever been fooled by a really wicked trailer into thinking that a movie would be sweet (ex. Broken Flowers)?
There are really only a few names involved in movies today that guarantee my ass will be in the seat opening weekend: Wes Anderson, Will Ferrell (OK, not anymore — he’s too prolific these days), Jim Jarmusch, Woody Allen, Bill Murray, the Coen brothers (I’ve yet to be disappointed). Two of these are involved in Broken Flowers, directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Bill Murray. It comes out this weekend (somewhere). You can watch the trailer here.
The New York Times has a great article on Jarmusch that calls him the “last of the indies”.
Yesterday morning I finished Paul Auster’s The Red Notebook: True Stories. A fairly well-known and successful author, Auster is known for his intricate, absorbing, mysterious, and in the end quite befuddling writing style. This tiny little book, though, is about the mysteries of everyday experience. It mostly just contains very short anecdotes from Auster’s life that involve coincidences (example: some lady’s cat is sick and needs an operation, but it will cost like $286 which she doesn’t have; later that day her car gets hit from behind, and the insurance company’s gonna pay her exactly $286). Not too exciting stuff, but really shows Auster’s skill with the written word. So all day yesterday I was thinking about coincidences and the various ones I’ve run into in my day. Fast forward to around 11:00. L. and I return from lovely dinner of Nepalese food and some time on the terrace looking at ducks. We put in a DVD of The Stone Reader, a documentary about the search for an author who only wrote one book (quite well-received) and then basically disappeared. The filmmaker, Mark Moskowitz, had read a New York Times book review of The Stones of Summer as a young adult, had bought the book, but was never able to get through it. Years later, he picked it up and read it, loved it, and wanted to read some other works by the author, Dow Mossman. Problem was, he hadn’t written again, and nobody’s ever heard of him. I was meant to see this film at last year’s Wisconsin Film Festival (I had tickets in hand) but got a last-minute call from the PIRGs that I could come interview in Chicago over the weekend for a job (this would inaugurate the terrible chapter in my life of working for the PIRGs on New Voters Project, but that’s another story). My current class on documentary history reminded me of this film and I quickly went to the library to check it out.
There’s Read the rest of this entry »
Christopher Nolan is used to directing movies with strong plots carrying low-budgets, like Momento and Insomnia. Christian Bale acts for the challenge, which is why he regularly turns down blockbuster rolls in favor of playing characters with a psychological twist like Patrick Batemen in American Psycho. Still, when Warner Brothers threw $180 million at Nolan to direct Bale and a long list of stars in Batman 5 I was worried that the Hollywood Bug that ruinned Batman 3 and 4 would bite a third time. But NO, Nolan uses his creative license and batboots to squash the batshit out of the Bug. His goals were to make the story and characters, including Batman, believable. So, Nolan shows us Bruce Wayne’s motivations and pyschological development, allowing Batemen room to strut his stuff. We watch: a young Bruce admire his family and then feel guilty for their death; a young-adult Bruce questioning right and wrong living on the streets in Asia and then learning from ninjas how to instill fear in those that feed on the fearfuL; and a adult Bruce facing his fear of bats and his parents’ murderer. Then there’s still well over an hour to develop Batman into a badass who saves Gotham city from wide-spread drug-induced madness. Great stuff! Oh yeah, and Katie Holmes is hot and the batmobile is sweet.
That’s right, I’m championing Richard Linklater’s uber-romantic film about love and missed chances. Some friends have warned me that studying film in-depth in film studies classes will take away from my enjoyment of the medium. Perhaps understanding how film auteurs provoke emotional responses in their audiences will make me more-or-less immune to their strategies. I have to admit, during the second films of my Hong Kong cinema 4-hour screenings, I do find myself checking my watch more frequently, hoping the end is near. Nonetheless, I am heartened that every so often a movie comes along that renews my faith in filmmaking as either an artistic or communicative (or both) endeavor. Recently, such films have included Don’t Look Now, The Player, Kill Bill, Vol. 1, and admittedly low-brow features such as Anchorman, Napoleon Dynamite, and the wonderful Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Earlier this week, I viewed Before Sunset, adding another to my growing yet unorganized Best Films list.
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According to Yahoo movies, The Simpson’s movie is finaly in preproduction
“They are working on hammering out a script, but there’s no title or production date or release date,” studio spokeswoman Antonia Coffman told E! Online Wednesday. “We always wanted the show to end first but it just keeps going. Now they’ve worked out a team to simultaneously do [both the film and show].”…This fall will see The Simpsons embark on season 17. Fox and show producers foresee the cartoon cast fulfilling its current contract, which runs through a 19th season.
I haven’t really watched the simpsons for the last year or so, and for the first time since I was a little kid, I wouldn’t be disapointed if they took it off the air. At this point I’d be happier if, instead of cranking out a new show every week, they would come out with a good movie every 2 to 5 years.
About as exciting as a new Wes Anderson movie for me is an addition to Woody Allen’s filmography. Sure his films have declined in quality since the string of perfect films in the 70s (recently Small Time Crooks and Anything Else have been excellent), but I can’t help but be excited about my comic (dramedic?) god’s Melinda and Melinda starring another member of my personal comedy trinity, Will Ferrell (David Letterman is the other, but has only starred in Cabin Boy as Earl Hofert). It looks awesome. You can find out here. A.O. Scott has reviewed it here but I refuse to read it ’til I’ve seen it.
I know it’s been out for a while, but I finally got around to seeing what will by all accounts be the Best Picture of 2004 come next Monday: Million Dollar Baby. This movie seems to be the most critically polarizing movie in years, so I’m wondering what you guys thought about it if you’ve seen it. I honestly don’t know. Now I can stop avoiding all those reviews that spoil the ending.