Monday, May 23, 2016

The Good Dinosaur (2015) *

Unsettling combination of photo-realistic background animation (they have NAILED oceans, rivers, all things aquatic by the way) and Flintstones-style dinosaurs (who have developed language, agriculture and animal husbandry) in a by-the-numbers story. Disappointing from Pixar.

Bowfinger (1999) **

Some laughs especially in the first half, but falters badly in the second. Disappointing for Steve Martin.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer | Aeon Essays

Misleading headlines notwithstanding, no one really has the slightest idea how the brain changes after we have learned to sing a song or recite a poem. But neither the song nor the poem has been ‘stored’ in it. The brain has simply changed in an orderly way that now allows us to sing the song or recite the poem under certain conditions. When called on to perform, neither the song nor the poem is in any sense ‘retrieved’ from anywhere in the brain, any more than my finger movements are ‘retrieved’ when I tap my finger on my desk. We simply sing or recite – no retrieval necessary.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dear "Skeptics," Bash Homeopathy and Bigfoot Less, Mammograms and War More - Scientific American Blog Network

Over the past half-century, physicians and hospitals have introduced increasingly sophisticated, expensive tests. They assure us that early detection of disease will lead to better health.
But tests often do more harm than good. For every woman whose life is extended because a mammogram detected a tumor, up to 33 receive unnecessary treatment, including biopsies, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. For men diagnosed with prostate cancer after a PSA test, the ratio is 47 to one. Similar data are emerging on colonoscopies and other tests.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Too Late (2016) ****

A masterpiece of film making from start to finish. A stern rebuke to the fast edit, quick cut, extreme closeup directing style. Terrific cast, imaginative direction, excellent neo-noir beautifully shot on real film. An instant classic.

[The film was completed in 2015 but not released in theaters until 2016.]

Interview: Dennis Hauck on Taking on “Too Late”

Was there a fair amount of running through the scenes beforehand or would you run a lot of takes?

It was usually about 10 takes per scene.
[Each scene being 20 minutes long!] We almost invariably ended up using the last take of the day, just because everyone was so dialed in and we knew the sun was going down, or the sun was coming up and just the whole crew knew, “Okay, this is our last chance to really knock it out of the park.” Three out of the five scenes were the last take of the day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

William Friedkin on Cannes Masterclass, ‘Disaster’ of ‘Sorcerer’ | Variety

Friedkin also reveals that at one point he had superstar Steve McQueen interested in the lead role, which eventually went to his “French Connection” star Roy Scheider. McQueen backed out of the project when Friedkin refused to give a producer credit to McQueen’s then-wife Ali MacGraw or shoot the film in the states, since he had already found beautiful locations around the world. “I was so stupid and so arrogant and so out of it that I did not realize at the time — which I do now — that a close-up of Steve McQueen is worth the most beautiful landscape in the world.”

Thursday, May 05, 2016

To Catch a Thief (1955) **

Eminently enjoyable, but not in Hitch's top tier. Cary, Grace and La Côte d'Azur are well worth watching regardless.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Daisy Miller (1974) ****

Terrific showcase for Cybill Shepherd and she delivers a standout performance in a well directed period piece. Cast, photography, costumes, production design, it's all there and all top notch.