Friday, March 31, 2006

yes, billy joel

It'll break my dad's heart, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't find much nice to say about Billy Joel in this recent piece.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

a movie world before dvd and multiplexes

Peter Bogdanovich risks sounding like the grumpy old man who always complains how great things used to be back in his day, but his defense of the communal movie experience is hard to resist -- especially this paragraph...
Movies, when you used to see them on the big screen, had a mystery that they no longer have. For one thing, they were irretrievable: Once the first and second runs were past, most films were not easy to see again. They were much, much larger than life and therefore instantly mythic (screens and theaters were a lot bigger before the multiplex arrived). And they were inexorable; once a film had started, there was no pausing it or in any way stopping its relentless forward motion.

loving the imperfect: the cultish devotion to malick's the new world

"Not everyone adores The New World," J. Hoberman writes in The Village Voice, "but those cineastes who like it, really, really like it. The movie has not only admirers but partisans -- it can only be truly loved by attacking those too blind to see the truth."

And while Hoberman didn't love Terrence Malick's most recent film, he appreciates the passion the movie inspires in its fans. I feel the same way as Hoberman -- The New World is the first of Malick's film I was indifferent to, but movies that draw strong reactions (especially when they polarize people) are what make filmgoing worthwhile.

Hoberman's piece reminds that I wish I had seen The New World one more time before it left theaters -- I'm sorry I missed my chance.

Monday, March 13, 2006

the real reason crash won, part 894

James Bates does a commendable job going beyond the angry accusations to lay out a very calm, logical explanation for Crash's win at this year's Oscars: Lionsgate did a remarkable job marketing it to Oscar voters.

I'm not dismissing those who really loved it and the reasons why they really loved it, although I'm on record as hating the film. But what I appreciate is that Bates solely examines Crash's strategy for getting out the vote -- he avoids the rhetoric about the Academy being homophobic and simply focuses on crunching the numbers.

Much of the morning-after punditry and blog logic has centered on whether members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had trouble giving "Brokeback Mountain" a best picture nod because of its gay love theme.

Another theory: Like a cinematic John Edwards, "Brokeback" peaked too early and its Oscar buzz dissipated.

In fact, the key to the success of "Crash" was that the film itself — and the carefully orchestrated promotional campaign undertaken by its distributor, Lionsgate — appealed to the academy's largest voting bloc: actors. With 22% of the voting members, the acting contingent is nearly three times as big as the next-largest group, producers.

It was actors — specifically, those in Los Angeles — who were targeted to deliver votes. And judging by the upset, deliver they did.

It was very shrewd and, considering that Lionsgate also does terrific work advertising its Saw franchise, you have to give the whole company the respect it deserves.

a conservative or an ideologue?

Professor Jeffrey Hart makes an important distinction between these two terms in his piece on President Bush, arguing that our current administration behaves in ways that shame keepers of the conservative GOP flame.

These sorts of articles are important for people on the left -- it reminds us that not all Republicans act alike. Plus, they make us even more upset with our current White House residents -- if folks on the right are starting to turn on this guy, how the hell is he allowed to believe he has any "political capital"?

Friday, March 03, 2006

living in robert altman's los angeles

At long last, the man is finally getting his Oscar. I do my best to praise his representation of the city I love.