Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How To Be Gracious - Esquire:
"You simply must attend. Stand when someone enters the room, especially if you are lowly and he is the boss, and even if the reverse is true. Look them in the eye. Ask yourself: Does anybody need an introduction? If so, before you say one word about business, introduce them to others with pleasure in your voice. If you can't muster enthusiasm for the people you happen upon in life, then you cannot be gracious. Remember, true graciousness demands that you have time for others."

via kottke

Monday, April 29, 2013

'I Thought I Was Bulletproof': William Friedkin Looks Back on the '70s - NYTimes.com:
"'Certainly I regret that it wasn’t a critical or a commercial success. The zeitgeist was changing. It came out a week after "Star Wars,” and “Star Wars” really changed the way people think about, What is a movie? Right to this day, and beyond. All these films about the Avengers and the Transformers, video games and comic books, that’s what, for the most part, Hollywood cinema has become. That just automatically opened the floodgates to people wanting pure entertainment that could be seen by people of all ages, basically. Would my film have worked if there was no “Star Wars”? I don’t know. But without “Star Wars,” I think American film would be different today.'"
Sir Ben Kingsley: 'Without a mask, I haven't got a clue' - Telegraph:
“'I have a dear friend, Tony Palmer, who made a documentary on the life of Richard Burton,' he says in his precise, measured tones. 'It featured some interviews, in many of which he was a little the worse for wear. But the spine of the documentary was a mosaic of his performances. Put them together, pull back, and there’s Burton. I think, when I leave the planet and the equivalent of Tony tries to construct something similar, then fragments of my roles, those bits, would form a composite portrait of me. Without a mask I haven’t got a clue. Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth.'”
North West Frontier (1959)**
A miscast, though quite lovely, Lauren Bacall sticks out like a sore thumb in this overlong train actioner set in British ruled India.
The Cable Guy (1996)**
Jim Carrey tries hard but the story and script go off the rails eventually. Poorly directed by Ben Stiller.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Undernews: America's copyright laws kills music:
"Among countless other undesirable things, this means that American record companies that aren’t interested in reissuing old records can stop anyone else from doing so, and can also stop libraries from making those same records readily accessible to scholars who want to use them for noncommercial purposes. Even worse, it means that American libraries cannot legally copy records made before 1972 to digital formats for the purpose of preservation—not unless those records have already deteriorated to the point where they may soon become unplayable."
Moneyball (2011)**
A lot of Brad Pitt, and I mean a LOT, in an overlong sports flick which makes darn sure you "get" its point. It's a lot of first world problems so it's hard to care too much.
Life of Pi (2012)***
When it's at sea, it is riveting and compelling, but all good sea survival tales have to have an ending...and a beginning. A difficult book to adapt to a film and Ang Lee opts for the literal approach which makes for a good film but not a great one.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Loud Family - Scott Miller:
"I wish it weren't true, but as much as it pains me to write these words, Scott passed away on April 15, 2013. He was a wonderful, loyal friend as well as a brilliant musician, and I will miss him for the rest of my life."

We all will, Sue.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)*
Technically impressive with seamless old school special effects, but unless you enjoy watching a group of human beings who seem to do nothing but drink and pass out while living in a pile of garbage, skip it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

One of a Kind Is Now None of a Kind | Vanity Fair:
"Winters drew out of quieter resources, which made his comic gift a fragile thing, not something that could be rushed and goaded, and there were be long gaps in his public appearances, periods when he seemed to hibernate into himself. But unlike so many comics who suffered from drink and depression, Winters didn't acquire a bitter edge as a performer, he maintained his wonderment."

He could be wildly uneven, but when he was on, he could make you laugh so hard it was painful. Always an interesting performer.
The Hunter (2011)***
No nonsense, straightforward hunter/hunted tale well played, well written, showcasing a part of the world rarely seen in film, Tasmania.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lover (2005)**
Korean "romance" flick has appealing leads, some nice twists but never becomes believable.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Lady Eve (1941)***
One of the better Preston Sturges screwball comedies has some nifty repartee and a fistful of great supporting character actors. Manages to slip in some fairly racy material but you have to pay close attention.
The Damaging Links Between Food, Fuel and Finance: A Growing Threat to Food Security - naked capitalism:
"As the graph shows, co-movement is nearly complete. Co-movement suggests that supply and demand fundamentals in oil and broader commodities markets, which are indeed independent of one another, no longer determine price. UNCTAD attributes this to 'herding behavior' among financial investors still flush with speculative capital in search of quick returns.

"UNCTAD’s conclusions: 'Because of these distortions, commodity prices in financialized markets do not provide correct signals about the relative scarcity of commodities. This impairs the allocation of resources and has negative effects on the real economy. To restore the proper functioning of commodity markets, swift political action is required on a global scale.'”

Fat chance of that happening.

via @theharryshearer

Monday, April 08, 2013

Elvis Costello - Tramp the dirt down - YouTube
"When England was the whore of the world, Margaret was her madam. And the future looked as bright and as clear as the black tarmacadam."

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Nobody Else But You (2011)**
Interesting but forgettable French mystery flick. Showcases a part of France we seldom see in films, the eastern Swiss border area in Winter.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Tempest (2010)**
Helen Mirren is superb and compelling as Prospera, the usually male lead in Shakespeare's last play but the direction is confused or at best bland and could have used a more stylized approach as in Prospero's Books. Come to think of it this would have been better as a remake of that with the bonus that Mirren would speak all the lines.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Breathless (1960)**
Influential French flick which broke new ground in camera movement, editing and style. Really depends on whether you like Jean-Paul Belmondo or not.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)**
A prequel to the excellent groundbreaking TV series with a terrific lead performance by Sheryl Lee but none of the humor, wit or style typical of the films of David Lynch. Disappointing.
Lincoln (2012)***
Proof that a great screenplay and superlative performances can overcome directorial failings. A little too dark at times (referring to the lighting) but overall an intelligent and often inspiring look at a few weeks in the life of our 16th president. Spielberg just can't trust his script and actors and has to frame each "important" scene with the equivalent of neon signs and flashing arrows to make sure we get it. Annoying.