Thursday, September 30, 2010

Intolerable Cruelty (2003)***
Splendid take on the Cary Grant battle of the sexes comedies of the 30's and 40's with a handful of genuine laugh out loud moments. Goes on a bit too long, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is Aaron Sorkin's 'The Social Network' the Scathing Portrait of Mark Zuckerberg That Facebook Fears? -- New York Magazine:
"“I don’t want my fidelity to be to the truth; I want it to be to storytelling,” Sorkin says, blithely tossing potential critics a couple of hundred rounds of free ammo. “I feel like, had I met Mark, I would have felt a certain obligation to make the character sound like Mark, walk like Mark, all of those things. And frankly, I probably would have had an affection for him that I wouldn’t have wanted to betray.”"

Who's the real asshole here? To my mind it's Sorkin. Look, if you are going to use real people and real events in your "storytelling", then you need to stick to the facts. They are using Facebook to sell their movie which they admit is fiction. I would think Facebook has a legitimate legal case here. Sorkin could have easily changed the names of everybody and his precious "storytelling" would be just as shitty. Supremely over-rated, egotistical, smug, dismissive hack.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Netflix CEO hopes U.S. won't notice:
"THR: Are you concerned that American Netflix subscribers will look north and ask for the same discount Canadians get at $7.99?

Hastings: How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It's something we'll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed."

Hastings is catching some heat for the above comment but it is an undeniable fact. Most Americans couldn't pick Canada out on a map let alone care what happens there. Maybe he shouldn't have used the words "self-absorbed" but it is accurate. And besides, as Hastings points out later in the interview, Canadian subscribers are only getting the streaming option. Americans also get the DVD by mail option so there is a reason why there is a price difference.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top economic adviser to leave White House - Yahoo! News:
"In a statement, Summers said he will miss working with the president and the economic team but looks forward to returning to Harvard to teach and write about the economic fundamentals of job creation."

Balls. The man has balls the size of musk melons. This is the kind of job I want: you can be absolutely wrong about your chosen field, a complete failure, and walk away with your reputation and earning ability intact. Has there EVER been a disgraced economist? We have double digit unemployment on his watch and he's going to teach/write about job creation?

Why stay until December 31? Leave now please. No, really, you've done WAY too much already. Asshole.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)**
More typical Robert Altman film, about "the show business" of America. It's got good ideas, good actors, some fine scenes, just not very entertaining overall. Apparently the final cut was not Altman's so we don't know what might have been.
The Talk of the Town (1942)**
Preposterous, sort of love triangle, that tries half-heartedly to be a screwball comedy.
The Man Who Never Was (1956)**
Strange film, oddly directed with a stiff Clifton Webb trying to deceive the Germans about the British invasion plans. Gloria Grahame steals the picture despite wearing distractingly oily makeup throughout.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bernie Bytes: Cardinals making changes:
"Of course NY shortstop Derek Jeter faked getting hit by a pitch in Wednesday night's Yankees @ Rays game. And why wouldn't he? It's Jeters job to get on base so naturally he'll try to sell it to the umpire. What, you don't think there's been low-level conniving and acting jobs during MLB baseball games for as long as MLB has been in existence? This is no different than a diving outfielder pretending that he made a catch when, in fact, the ball skimmed the ground before he gloved it. Or a catcher taking a close ball and sliding his glove back to the edge of the strike zone to "frame" a pitch for the ump in hopes of convincing him that the pitch was a strike. At no time has there been a middle infielder who has slapped a late tag on a runner and told the umpire, 'No, the man was safe. You called him out but I was late with the tag, so you need to change that call.' Baseball players look for an edge. They've alwas been actors."

Wrong, Bernie. What Jeter did was WRONG and you need to say it. There is a big difference between not correcting an ump's call and deliberately trying to deceive the ump. Stan Musial played an entire career without doing that and he was one of the top 5 players of all time. It's something called integrity and sportsmanship. Something you, Bernie, wouldn't know a fucking thing about.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's a Gift (1934)****
The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)****
I guess "historical reenactment" is the best way to describe this amazing film of late 19th century Italian peasant life in one small enclave in Lombardy shared by 4 families. Nothing much happens except...real life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ace In The Hole (1951)**
A cynical film about a cynical protagonist about whom it is very difficult to care. Some nice one liners though.
Quintet (1979)**
About as bleak and misanthropic as a film can be. Well made but tough to watch vision of the future of humanity in an ice covered, barren world bereft of hope. Definitely not a Hollywood type movie and a very atypical film from Robert Altman.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

News Desk: State Secrets : The New Yorker:
"An eleven-judge panel sided, 6-5, with lawyers working for Obama’s Justice Department, which essentially claimed that protecting state secrets is more important than protecting human rights. Amazingly, the Justice Department argued successfully that the entire subject of “extraordinary rendition”—dispatching torture suspects to other countries to be interrogated harshly—was so sensitive that it had to be hidden from the American public, to the point of barring its victims from seeking redress in court. The court accepted this logic even though Hollywood has already released a high-profile movie about the subject—“Rendition,” starring Reese Witherspoon—and countless articles have been published about the controversial practice. Particularly troubling, the government was not merely intent on hiding sensitive facts in the case—such as agents’ names, or liaison countries’ identities—but, rather, on placing a legal shroud over the entire C.I.A. program."

Wow. This is a watershed case. This ruling is far more damaging to the idea of America than some idiot preacher burning Qur'ans. Let's see: the government can read your emails, all internet activity, all cellphone activity, place GPS tracking devices on your cars, have you taken from your home and tortured in Egypt, have you killed, pretty soon they will also decide not to pay you any retirement benefits that you have been contributing towards all your working life. Gee it's great to be an American!
The American (2010)****
My kind of movie. Italian medieval hilltop towns, beautiful actresses (Violante Placido looking remarkably like Sophia Loren), spare dialog, meticulously composed scenes, minimal score, almost no exposition. Lots to chew on in this picture.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Von Ryan's Express (1965)****
Thrilling WWII actioner with a strong cast and even stronger script. Some directorial lapses, and could have been a bit shorter, but made up for with a beautifully shot and executed last 15 minutes. Well made picture.