Friday, January 29, 2016

Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971) **

Almost HAS to be watched as a satire/black comedy, but aside from some cutesy character names ("Surcher" for the detective, "Tiger" for the football coach) it is played as a straight murder mystery/sex romp so it doesn't always work as entertainment. However as a time capsule of 1971 Hollywood it is a hoot and essential viewing.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Twelve Monkeys (1995) ***

Well put together sci-fi time travel flick stylishly directed by Terry Gilliam.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Economist's View: 'Paul Krugman, Bernie Sanders, and Medicare for All'

We do have to pay for the research, but the way we are now doing it is incredibly backward. It is like paying the firefighters when they show up at the burning house with our family inside. Of course we would pay them millions to save our family (if we had the money), but it is nutty to design a system that puts us in this situation.

Friday, January 15, 2016

How the Brain Perceives Color Could Help Explain Consciousness - The Atlantic

The human brain insists it has consciousness, with all the phenomenological mystery, because it constructs information to that effect. The brain is captive to the information it contains. It knows nothing else. This is why a delusional person can say with such confidence, “I’m a kangaroo rat. I know it’s true because, well, it’s true.” The consciousness we describe is non-physical, confusing, irreducible, and unexplainable, because that packet of information in the brain is incoherent. It’s a quick sketch.

What’s it a sketch of? The brain processes information. It focuses its processing resources on this or that chunk of data. That’s the complex, mechanistic act of a massive computer. The brain also describes this act to itself. That description, shaped by millions of years of evolution, weird and quirky and stripped of details, depicts a “me” and a state of subjective consciousness.

This is why we can’t explain how the brain produces consciousness. It’s like explaining how white light gets purified of all colors. The answer is, it doesn’t. Let me be as clear as possible: Consciousness doesn’t happen. It’s a mistaken construct.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Anomalisa Interview: Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson Speak

You never let David Thewlis’ Michael Stone off the hook for some really unhealthy behavior. He’s a fascinating trainwreck of a character. Were you ever tempted to make him more more instantly relatable or, dare I say, likable?

Kaufman: I would never be involved in any production that would try to make any character more likable. This goes back to the thing I said just previous to this. It’s the wrong thing to do. It’s thinking about the eventual audience and not the work that you’re doing. Not being true. We had zero conversations about making anyone likable. I think some people are more likable than other people in this movie. You say this is damning of Michael and I feel that’s your interpretation of it. I’m not saying you’re wrong. In fact, I’m saying you’re right. That’s your interpretation of it. That’s not the only interpretation of it. That’s an interpretation of it. I try, and Duke tries, to have things be layered enough that what you bring to it as a viewer is supported. Your interpretation is going to be supported. This movie doesn’t come to any conclusions about anything. It puts Michael through a weekend. From his point of view, you get to see that weekend.

Kroenke, the 'victim'? That's the story he's telling in LA : Sports

Q: You’ve developed real estate for something like 40 years; what made the site so attractive?

Kroenke: I’ve done this countless times, literally hundreds of deals. You just look for certain things. For example, (at) Hollywood Park, there’s a Target store and development right next door. Starbucks is there. These are people we’re very familiar with. We do developments with them. For me it’s starting to click.

Wow, the man is a freaking GENIUS!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones exults in Rams relocation : Sports

Even as the Rams are leaving St. Louis, McNair said he thinks the city should try to lure another NFL team.

“I think they should keep trying,” McNair said. “Hopefully they can improve their situation and attract someone. I think the market is still there, but the stadium proposal just didn’t meet the standards that the Rams felt they could live with.”

And that standard was they wanted a new stadium for free. Again.

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie - obituary - Telegraph

David Bowie, who has died of cancer a few days after turning 69, was a rock musician of rare originality and talent; he was also, variously, a producer, painter, film actor, art critic, the progenitor of bisexual chic, a family man and an astute multi-millionaire.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Most Violent Year (2014) **

It's very well made, with fine performances from the well-cast ensemble but I never really cared about the story or characters and it felt a little tedious at times.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) **

Silly, preposterous and nonsensical reboot of Thunderdome this time in 3-D with some impressive CGI. Almost merits 3 stars due to a terrific Tom Hardy, superb photography and crisp editing. Well directed by eclectic George Miller with minimal closeups.

Monday, January 04, 2016

2015 In Review: Movies

**** Mistress America
*** A Very Murray Christmas
*** Ex Machina
*** Inside Out
*** Shaun The Sheep Movie
*** Trainwreck
** Crimson Peak
** Fifty Shades Of Grey
** Irrational Man
** Jupiter Ascending
** Spectre
** Star Wars: The Force Awakens
** Survivor
* Insidious: Chapter 3
* Maggie
* Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation

2015 In Review: Music

**** Corner Laughers, The - Matilda Effect
**** Crocodiles - Boys
**** Decemberists, The - Florasongs
**** Menace Beach - Ratworld
**** Rose McDowall - Cut With the Cake Knife
**** Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - The High Country
**** Talk In Tongues - Alone with a Friend
**** Twerps, The - Range Anxiety
**** Veruca Salt - ghost notes
*** Albert Hammond Jr. - Momentary Masters
*** All Dogs - Kicking Every Day
*** Belle and Sebastian - girls in peacetime want to dance
*** Colleen Green - i want to grow up
*** Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit
*** Dengue Fever - The Deepest Lake
*** Electric Light Orchestra - Alone In The Universe
*** Flyying Colours - ROYGBIV
*** Metric - pagans in vegas
*** Pure Bathing Culture - Pray For Rain
*** Regular Einstein - Chimp Haven
*** Richard Thompson - Still
*** Sleater-Kinney - no cities to love
*** Summer Fiction - himalaya
*** Surfer Blood - 1000 palms
*** Swervedriver - i wasn't born to lose you
*** Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
** Beach House - Depression Cherry
** Chills, The - Silver Bullets
** Decemberists, The - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
** Enya - Dark Sky Island
** Everything Everything - Get To Heaven
** Florence and The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
** Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
** Mew - +-
** Mikal Cronin - MCIII
** No Joy - More Faithful
** Orange Peels, The - Begin the Begone
** pinkshinyultrablast - everything else matters
** Potty Mouth - potty mouth
** Wilco - Star Wars
* Joe Jackson - Fast Forward
* Kathryn Calder - Kathryn Calder
* Squeeze - Cradle To The Grave
* the smoking trees - tst
* They Might Be Giants - Glean
* Torres - Sprinter

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Mistress America (2015) ****

Delightful screwball-chamber comedy mashup. Greta Gerwig seems to have picked up some influences from a few of her other films and Baumbach directs with his usual economy and subtlety.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) **

Disappointing reboot of the original with two dull leads and a way too similar plot. The best thing about it is some superb CGI animation, particularly the Maz character.