Monday, March 31, 2014

Noah (2014) **

Like all of Darren Aronofsky's films, this one is about obsession and the lengths to which the obsessed will go to fulfill their perceived goal. Noah comes around eventually to see his error, but by that time the strident animals = innocence, humans = evil message along with the unrelenting dark and barren antediluvian existence drives home a very different feel. Some nicely put together montage scenes along with stellar CGI effects completely undermined by ubiquitous extreme closeups. Must we be able to count all the freckles on Emma Watson's face? You can count all the medium shots in this picture on one hand.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) **

Run of the mill bio-doc about backing vocalists in the rock era, many of whom were a part of the most known and revered music yet remain unknown outside the industry.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Voracious Worm Evolves to Eat Biotech Corn Engineered to Kill It - Wired Science

"First planted in 1996, Bt corn quickly became hugely popular among U.S. farmers. Within a few years, populations of rootworms and corn borers, another common corn pest, had plummeted across the midwest. Yields rose and farmers reduced their use of conventional insecticides that cause more ecological damage than the Bt toxin.

"By the turn of the millennium, however, scientists who study the evolution of insecticide resistance were warning of imminent problems. Any rootworm that could survive Bt exposures would have a wide-open field in which to reproduce; unless the crop was carefully managed, resistance would quickly emerge."

Yeah go ahead, put the food supply in the hands of corporations whose primary, and usually ONLY, motivation is raising their stock prices. What could possibly go wrong?

via boing boing

Monday, March 17, 2014

Valley of the Dolls (1967) **

Unintentionally hilarious melodrama concerning what happens when "good girls" turn "bad". Colorfully and slickly directed but the story and dialogue are awful. So awful it's a classic. Almost gave it 3 stars for the lovely Ms. Tate alone.

Reports of the Death of a National License-Plate Tracking Database Have Been Greatly Exaggerated - The Intercept

"The next day, however, the Post called off the alarm. The plan, the newspaper reported, had been canceled. Threat averted. Move along.

"But the Post had gotten it all wrong. DHS wasn’t planning to create a national license-plate tracking database — because several already exist, owned by different private companies, and extensively used by law enforcement agencies including DHS for years."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Brazil (1985) ****

At the time the film was made, it was a stunning, scathing fantasy-satire. As time goes on it has become a stunning, scathing documentary. Brilliant direction. Loaded with perfect supporting performances.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Despicable Me 2 (2013) **

Tykes will love it (and obviously did given the box office) and there are a few chuckles and some inventive animation for adults to enjoy.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda by Timothy Snyder | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

"Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails. The young leaders of the Maidan, some of them radical leftists, have risked their lives to oppose a regime that represented, at an extreme, the inequalities that we criticize at home. They have an experience of revolution that we do not. Part of that experience, unfortunately, is that Westerners are provincial, gullible, and reactionary."

Concise attempt at keeping the facts straight.