Friday, August 31, 2007

I'm not going to miss this one

My So Called Life is back on DVD! (Talking Moviezzz)

Does he get to meet L.C.?

John Ashbery (on the Mt. Rushmore of incomprehensibility with Pynchon and Gaddis?) is the first poet laureate of MTVu. He's what the kids will listening to this year. (NY Times)

Screen crunch

Indie films are having trouble finding screens, even in NYC. (Village Voice)

With more companies than ever vying for art-house box-office dollars, from Hollywood's powerful specialty divisions (Fox's Searchlight, Warner's Independent Pictures, Paramount's Vantage, et al.) to new ventures entering the market every day (City Light Pictures, Peace Arch Releasing, Overture Films, et al.) to DIY releases seeking theatrical runs merely to promote future DVDs, there's an increasing array of options for filmgoers. But there's also more clutter (see: Arctic Tale, Cashback, Dedication, Descent, September Dawn) for good films to cut through.

So this is what..

...Bud Selig was worrying about instead of Barry Bonds. MLB enforces the dress code. (ESPN)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kiarostami

Interview with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami; some interesting tidbits about how cinema fits in to present day Iranian culture. (Subtitles to Cinema)

CBGB RIP

On the occasion of the death of founder Hilly Kristal, Mac McCaughan of Superchunk/Portastatic recalls the late NYC club. (Portastatic)

What's riding...

...on The Golden Compass. (NY Times)

From the East

Cronenberg's Eastern Promises is the real thing. (The Evening Class)

...allow me to say that Eastern Promises delivers all it promises. Mortensen, as Nikolai Luzhin, maneuvers a mesmerizing dance between suave veneer and ruthless interiority and his performance in the bathhouse scene—which will be the scene everyone will be talking about—is downright brave and committed. All the performances are solid, each textured with moral ambiguities, that both distance and engage the audience simultaneously.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blog a Thon

There's a Lee Marvin blog-a-thon going on at Movie Morlocks, the official blog of Turner Classic Movies. I haven't sampled nearly enough of Marvin to write anything interesting, but you can read my thoughts on his classic Point Blank here. That film, directed by John Boorman, has more style and personality than about 98% of the action films being made today. Marvin has one of the more interesting backstories (Film Comment article)of any star of his generation; his service in WW2 seems to have been the defining event of his life and colored his attitude towards violence.

Toronto

Greencine Daily provides links to a passel of blogs related to the upcoming Toronto Film Festival.

Red Hook's got soul

You may ask yourself, "What am I eating?" David Byrne has lunch. (David Byrne)

Back to the movies...

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A four star review of Joe Wright's Atonement, starring Keira Knightley and James ("Hardest Working Man in British Cinema") McAvoy. (The Guardian)

An interesting point...

What do folks in Kabul think of David Vitter and Larry Craig? (The Cunning Realist)

Annals of the Fomer World

A coming rift between the GOP and Evangelicals? (David Kuo)

There is a tectonic shift happening separating evangelicals from Republicans. It is massive but it is slow. The results may not be seen in 2008 (though I expect they will be seen) but they will in the decade to come.

Evangelicals are increasingly tired of the Republican party. And they feel used. I know this based on countless conversations, the lack of giving to republican congressional and presidential candidates, and the continued revelations of Republican hypocrisy

Where's George Cukor when you need him?

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Tarantino: Gwyneth Paltrow "not trampy enough" for his future projects. (Contact Music)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Everyone's happy...

...that Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd will open with an R rating, except in England where the film may be released with a "15" rating. I'm just happy Helena Bonham Carter has a good role. (Cinematical)

Re: Mad Men

A better take on Mad Men - one that allows for the difficulty of period drama. (Ross Douthat)

Part of what makes historical dramas so tough to pull off is that you're constantly walking a tightrope between the lure of this sort of thudding, look-back-in-irony condescension, and the instinct to generate sympathy through anachronism - for instance, by making sure that the hero of your epic Crusades movie talks an awful lot like a modern secular liberal

Another blogger...

...plunges into Bergman. (Chloe Veltman)

A few words about....(read this one)

...Owen Wilson. Great post. (House Next Door)

Keeping it in the family

I didn't like Zoe Cassavetes' Broken English as much as this critic; Parker Posey (as a Manhattanite who feels her time to find love is running out) is good and has more to do than usual. But she's also saddled with lines like "I hate the smell of my own desperation" and the men she meets feel very familiar. (A loony actor, a guy fresh off his own breakup)

and robbing a little, in the end, from Linklater's "Before Sunset."


That's true too, though without the music of Nina Simone. Drea de Matteo is a welcome surprise as Posey's married best friend. (IFC News)

So here's the the thing...

...I'm usually in favor of leaving people's private lives private, but come on.... (The Gist)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chris Eigeman

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This grab bag James Wolcott post mentions the actor Chris Eigeman, who made a splash in the talky Whit Stillman comedies Metropolitan and Barcelona and has bounced around since then. (He never really looked comfortable on Gilmore Girls) That reminded me that Eigeman plays a supporting role in Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming (1995), a film that contains a definitive anti-"mumblecore" scene.

The film chronicles the year after college of a group of friends, who are in such post-college stasis that they don't even move or get jobs. Aspiring writer Grover (Josh Hamilton) is missing his girlfriend Jane (Olivia d'Abo), who has gone to Prague on a fellowship. I won't give away the ending, but the climactic scene at the airport makes Grover aware of his own agency in a way that no character in Funny Ha Ha ever is. Kicking and Screaming is available in a Criterion DVD edition.

Liberals dance in streets

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns. (CNN)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Natalie in short

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Natalie Portman appears in Hotel Chevalier, a short film by Wes Anderson that will precede his The Darjeeling Limited (in which she also appears). (Cinema Blend)

Weekend notes

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  • I saw Andrew Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha on DVD, it's one of the best known works in the so-called "mumblecore" canon. These films are getting gobs of attention thanks to a mini-festival in NYC right now, and Bujalski has been highlighted in Esquire and elsewhere. Bujalksi also has an acting role in Joe Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs, just out.

    Whenever I get depressed about the cookie-cutter state of film, or of any other art form, I always remind myself that someone somewhere is working on a film, novel, band, or play right now that no one knows about which in a year or two will be regarded as revolutionary and mind-bending. Bujalski and the other Mumblers have that DIY spirit, but there's a problem. Last night I went to a party with a group of friends, many of whom are theater people, and had at least 4 conversations that were more interesting than any dialogue in Funny Ha Ha. (I'm including being asked what kind of beer I was drinking)

    Marnie (Kate Dollenmayer) has no job and seems too wrapped up in herself to deal with the fact that her crush Alex (Christian Rudder) is now available. That's essentially it; the film is a series of awkward encounters leading to nothing. The characters of Funny Ha Ha, don't (to use David Denby's phrase) "have an idea;" that is, there's no ambition, energy, or purpose to what they do. If this film is any indication of the way the early-20s crowd is living these days, I'm pretty depressed. Another acclaimed Mumblecore film, The Puffy Chair, is a bit more plot-driven but has other issues.

  • Is there a name for the kind of fiction Michael Ondaatje writes? His latest novel Divisadero begins in 1970s California. A family is torn apart by a daughter's involvement with a handyman. That daughter grows up to be a scholar researching a French writer, and the novel's last section takes the point of view of that writer during WWI. The book is richly detailed; Ondaatje knows what a farm in California looks like at sunrise and what one might eat in the French countryside of the early 20th century. But to call Divisadero episodic is an understatement - Ondaatje's point seems to be that while one can submerge oneself in art for a time it's impossible to outrun the past.
  • Saturday, August 25, 2007

    My cell ringtone is "Tom Courtenay"

    With all the music documentaries being made these days, it's surprising no one has ever thought Yo La Tengo would be a good subject. I'd love to see one of these shows, which sound like a great window into this gorgeously obscure band. (Matador Records)

    That's how we roll...

    "Spiritually and mentally, I would have no choice but to rise to the occasion and handle my business."


    --R. Kelly, interviewed on IFC, on what his reaction would be if Steven Spielberg offered him a film role.

    Diary of an aspiring actor

    "I've increasingly tried to get out of the way of the words," McKellen said. "Stop telling the audience what you feel. You have to feel it yourself, but you don't have to express it. That's what I'm constantly trying to do: fight against my own tendency" - here he boomed - "to Give Them a Show!" Before I took up my position at the side of the stage, I asked him what he told himself before going on. "'Let it happen,'" he said. "'Listen to the actors. It's because they've spoken that I speak.' I want to thrill them with Shakespeare, not with me." He looked up at me. "There is a difference," he said.


    --from a profile of Ian McKellen written by John Lahr. New Yorker 8.27.07

    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Left of left

    What's the netroots' dirty secret? Pragmatism. (The New Republic)

    Not Mad

    Here's a take on Mad Men I disagree with. Sacha Zimmerman seems not to have paid much attention to the plot at all or commented on the excellent depiction of the way the frustrated men at the ad agency compete with each other. Zimmerman seems to have been blinded by the very production design that supposedly sidetracks the show. If it were 2007, all the frustrated novelists at the ad agency would just start their own blogs. (The New Republic)

    Read them and don't weep

    Foreign-language films are doing well in Britain. (The Independent)

    Long takes....

    Having just seen Free Zone, which opens with Natalie Portman crying for nine minutes, this post about long takes & long shots caught my eye. (Zero for Conduct)

    Casual filmgoers rarely understand when the serious filmhead waxes rhapsodic about a long traveling shot – the assumption is that our awe is derived from noting the degree of difficulty and the production skill employed, two matters which most movie viewers correctly assume are beside the point of their viewing experience

    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    The "we've got the same birthday" club

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    Hi, Shannyn Sossamon. Come in, say hello to Gwen Stefani and Gore Vidal. Now that we're all here, how was your year?

    Too many cooks

    How Wikipedia's "neutral point of view" makes it useless. (The New Republic)

    It's not TV, it's...

    Showtime! Nikki Finke likes Californication. By the way, what's up with Weeds? Mary-Louise Parker's character now seems more concerned with her drug dealing career than with the health and safety of her children. (LA Weekly)

    Get serious

    Political and war-themed films dominate the lineup at the forthcoming Toronto International Film Festival. (NY Times)

    Given the signals preceding next month’s bellwether Toronto International Film Festival, party planners might want pick to up some black crepe to go with those red carpets in the movie awards season to come.

    A list of 20 gala presentations — announced Wednesday at a Toronto news conference introducing this year’s lineup of 349 films — showed a skew toward markedly somber topics among Hollywood’s offerings at the festival, which begins on Sept. 6.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    Worst of times...

    George Packer in the New Yorker. Even when Vietnam had America at its most divided, our leaders still talked to each other.

    Festival fun

    What is it like to be one of the people who selects what shows at the New York Film Festival? Find out. (The Reeler)

    Natalie on DVD- Free Zone

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    Free Zone (2005, d. Amos Gitai)

    Hana Laszlo won a Best Actress award at Cannes in 2005 for her performance in Free Zone as Hanna Ben Moshe, an Israeli taxi driver en route to Jordan to collect money owed her husband by a business partner known as "The American." Hanna's husband Moshe (Uri Klauzner) has been wounded in a rocket attack and Hanna must collect the debt and also drive a wealthy client named Mrs. Breitberg (Carmen Maura), whose son Julio (Aki Avni) is about to marry Rebecca (Natalie Portman).

    If you've seen the slowly paced recent work of Gus Van Sant, you'll have an idea of what sort of a film Free Zone is. There's an opening close-up of Portman crying that goes on for nine minutes; Rebecca has left Julio after he has confessed committing an atrocity during his military service. This scene of revelation is presented in flashback, and utilizes a technique I don't think I've ever seen before. Gitai fades out one scene and half-fades in the other; the effect is something like looking through glass and seeing both your reflection and what's on the other side. These shots occur a few times in Free Zone and since the scenes often contain important plot information the effect is more than a little distracting.

    Rebecca, having nothing else to do, is a passenger in Hanna's taxi on the trip to Jordan. When Hanna arrives at the pickup point she finds the American's wife Leila (Hiam Abbass) evasive about the money's location. All of this is secondary to the points Gitai wants to make, which I think are that a. Palestinians and Israelis aren't that different (Hanna and Leila change a tire together) and that b. one's idea of home can be quite a fluid concept. (Rebecca and the American both discuss their rootless feelings.)

    Free Zone feels like a "statement" about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as opposed to a story about characters and situations. Long takes and stylistic choices drain much of the dramatic blood from the film, though there is a strong, tense scene when Hanna and Rebecca cross from Israel to Jordan. Portman's performance is credible, but the role is too vague and underwritten to do much with. Free Zone alludes to a conflict that will no doubt continue to inspire artists, but it doesn't bring enough new to the table.

    Gwen Stefani....

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    ...doesn't want to tick off Malaysians. (This pic is actually from her show, Stefani acceded to demands to cover up during her Kuala Lumpur show) (BBC)

    Play this one backwards

    Continuing the Is-the-CD-over discussion, a friend who's roughly my age makes a case for the album:

    Midlake's recent album The Trials of Van Occupanther is a great nearly-seamless album, which I think shows that bands (and perhaps labels) still honor the concept, or at least tolerate it. I think Ryan Adams' latest is more a 'collection of songs' than some of his other albums, and They Might be Giants' new one is sort of inbetween - i don't think of it as much as an album but I do think of it as very much a They Might be Giants record. That probably makes no sense.

    Ben Folds tried a few years ago to switch to releasing EPs; his argument at the time was that he could release them more often than LPs. He did 3 decent EPs that year but I only knew one other person that had ever heard of them.

    Maybe its a generational thing, but I'm so much more likely to download a good full album or even EP than a good single track. I've even picked up a few CDs this year (easier than stripping DRM).


    If we're talking about "seamless" albums, I'll add Bewitched by Luna and Astral Weeks by Van Morrison.

    European Vacation

    Go to Spain, see Woody Allen. (Variety)

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    Dance Off!

    James Wolcott isn't too wild about the recent NYC performance of Mark Morris's Mozart Dances. I couldn't say, but Wolcott is on to something with his analysis of fawning Morrisphiles Joan Acocella:

    "How does Morris get his dancers to perform so unaffectedly? I don’t know the answer, and I almost don’t want to know—I want to believe they’re just that way—but here's something Morris told me when we talked last summer…" Never mind what Morris told her that tempestuous summer as his hair nestled on his head, it's embarrassing to have the dance critic of The New Yorker, a position of adult responsibility, fluttering her wrists like a moth and pulling a maidenly 'I don’t know and I almost don't want to know,' let it be magic and moonlight and leprechauns playing hide-and-seek in the mist—woodsman, spare my innocence.


    and Terry Teachout:

    If Mozart Dances is the masterpiece its admirers proclaim it is, why are the cartoon balloons over their heads blank when they try to explain why? They wave their arms around and scrunch their faces as if playing charades. Terry Teachout doesn't even try to explain; he just pulls the clouds down around his head and hums to himself. "As for Mozart Dances, I could go on and on about its myriad beauties...but I prefer not to [those myriad beauties will have to fend for themselves]. Mind you, I have no doubt that it is a masterpiece, just as I was sure that Morris' V was a masterpiece when I saw it for the first time in 2001, and if you pressed me I could easily come up with a lengthy and persuasive explanation of why this should be so [modesty, thy name is Terry]. It is, after all, my job to explain the ineffable, though plotless dances are peculiarly resistant to such explanations."


    I owe Teachout a thank you, since his theatrical recommendations from About Last Night proved spot-on on my recent NYC trip, but this really won't do. In the spirit of the critics mentioned here, let me just say that I think Wolcott has a point about how thin the veneer of objectivity is sometimes - but I'm not going to tell you what it is.

    A Master's thesis I'll never write....

    "The use of negative space in the costume design of Karyn Kusama's Aeon Flux."

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    Thoughts on Superbad...

    ...are here.

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    #@$^&*(((

    I wrote a longish and if I do say so pretty good post about Superbad earlier, but it vanished into the ether. Tomorrow I'll try to summarize the main points for your reading pleasure.....

    Smart men talking to each other

    Ron Rosenbaum thinks it's very, very important that Stanley Fish doesn't know his way around a Starbucks. (Slate)

    Michael Vick...

    ...is going to plead guilty. ESPN reports that Vick is expected to get 12-18 months in jail but could be sentenced to up to 5 years. The Falcons have the highest percentage of African-American season ticket holders of any team in the NFL and reportedly support for Vick in that community is strong. The team is unlikely to take any action until after the league has imposed its punishment.

    Jessica Biel to...

    ...take clothes off. (Cinematical)

    What the...

    Read about the great Merv Griffin-Hollywood Reporter-gay censorship scandal. (The Gist)

    A reason to watch Heroes

    Kristen Bell joins cast of Heroes. (Tv Guide)

    CD RIP?

    The Daily Dish has been talking about the demise of the CD as a way of disseminating music. That's true of course but although I recently bought an iPod and enjoy having my favorite tunes at hand 24/7, I still love the album as an art form and always hope to hear one of those rare seamlessly perfect albums every time I pop a CD in my player. The end of the "album" as we know it is something that I haven't seen much written about in all the death-of-music-business hoo-ha.

    Sunday, August 19, 2007

    Pie with that?

    The Inland Empire DVD is a worthy addition to your library. Check out a video (about 11 minutes) of David Lynch answering questions about the film & his process. (Filmmaker)

    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    Here's a question...

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    As critics, what's our responsibility to point out inaccuracies in a biopic as opposed to reviewing the movie "as is?" While writing a review of Talk to Me for Link Magazine, I did some searching for details on Petey Greene. Greene is the DJ/activist played by Don Cheadle. The movie has a distinct arc, with Greene disappearing into drink after blowing an appearance on the Tonight Show. It's strongly implied that Greene's career effectively ended after bombing in front of Carson, though he is shown working as a foul-mouthed stand up comic.

    Greene's Wikipedia page and some other articles contain the following facts:

  • Greene was a community activist before becoming a DJ

  • Greene's radio show was weekly, not daily

  • A couple of years before his death Greene quit drinking and was baptized

  • Greene continued to host his show in the 1980's (he died in 1984)

    There's not a word about Johnny Carson or comedy. It seems that the filmmakers did Greene a disservice by not mentioning that his life was considerably more complicated and selfless than Talk to Me suggests. I'll not ascribe motives but one of the screenwriters is the son of Dewey Hughes, the program director played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the film. Hughes' transformation from buttoned-down executive to bearded DJ is given equal weight with Greene's story in Talk to Me.
  • Thursday, August 16, 2007

    I Plunge Into Bergman: Autumn Sonata

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    This post begins a irregular and informal series called I Plunge Into Bergman (IPIB) in which I, after years of hearing about the great director Ingmar Bergman mainly through jokes in Woody Allen movies, sit down to watch a few of the best known films in Bergman's canon. I have seen some Bergman in my early years (Wild Strawberries, Scenes from a Marriage), but the circumstances weren't great: poor VHS copies checked out from a library and viewed on a small screen.

    So let's begin with one Bergman's later major works, Autumn Sonata (1978), viewed on the Criterion DVD edition.

    The plot (skip if you don't want to know!): Eva (Liv Ullmann) lives a quiet life with her gentle parson husband Viktor (Halvar Bjork), who in an opening direct-to-camera address informs us of his wife's insecurites and fears. Eva and Viktor care for Eva's younger sister Helena (Lena Nyman), whose body has been ravged by an unspecified disease. Eva and Viktor have invited Eva's mother Charlotte (Ingrid Bergman in her last film role) to stay; Eva has not seen her mother - a famous pianist - for several years. Eva and Viktor hve no children, their only son drowned just before his fourth birthday.

    The visit begins amicably enough, though Eva is clearly upset by her mother's non-reaction upon hearing Eva play a Chopin prelude. But after Charlotte is awakened by a nightmare, Eva confronts her mother in a long-session of soul baring. Eva feels Charlotte's emotional and physical distance during Eva's childhood made Eva the nervous, questioning woman she is today. During the course of the argument, it's revealed that Eva had an abortion after becoming pregnant as a girl. Viktor overhears this but never comments. As Lena falls out of bed and cries for her mother, we cut to after Charlotte's departure. Charlotte is obviously relieved to be away, as Eva writes her mother a letter offering forgiveness.

    The reaction: Autumn Sonata is a film of claustrophobia and at times unbearable emotional intensity. Ingrid Bergman and Ullmann are both impeccable, the only other actor onscreen long enough to make much of an impression is the vaguely genial Halvar Bjork. Since Bergman's death some critics have noted that his films have fallen somewhat out of favor or that the audience have "outgrown" him. I could certainly see Autumn Sonata being a divisive work, since the bulk of the film consists of a grown woman blaming her mother for all her problems.

    I must say that I think the way Bergman builds up to Eva's explosion is masterful. Charlotte hadn't planned on Lena being at the house, and her reaction stokes Eva's long-buried recriminations. The scene of the two women at the piano is driven by Ullmann's perfectly calibrated disappointment at Charlotte's failure to engage with Eva about the Chopin prelude. Charlotte instead shifts into lecture mode before playing the piece, and the shot of Ullman's sidelong gaze at Bergman suggests a woman gazing at a painting or marble frieze rather than a parent. More troubling is Lena's illness, highly metaphorical in nature. Eva blames her mother for Lena's condition, which began after Charlotte left an Easter vacation earlier than planned and Lena was alone with an older male friend of Charlotte's (what happened is never made clear).

    Autumn Sonata does end on a beat of reconciliation, with Eva's letter to her mother. Viktor is shown reading the letter, Bergman then cuts to a shot of Eva reading it aloud, then to Charlotte reading it with Eva in voice-over. I'd say we must conclude that Charlotte receives the letter, but of ocurse we'll never know what happens next. After I finished watching the DVD, I was glad to get outside and meet a friend for coffee, since the rawness of the relationships is almost as palpable as the emotional mustiness of Viktor and Eva's home. One of the things I'll try to look at in these posts is how the endings of the various films change in tone over time. But for a bit of relief, the next Bergman I'll be plunging into will be The Magic Flute.....

    Why can't I get...

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket...my money? Violent Femmes sue each other. (New York Post)

    Get to a game already!

    According to ESPN, this season marks the first time since the introduction of the "wild card" in major league baseball a dozen or so years ago that all divisions and the wild card races are within 5 games this late in the year.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007

    More Bergman stuff!

    Good, long article replying to J. Rosenbaum's op-ed piece on Bergman. Mr. Bordwell points out that Rosenbaum's issues with Bergman are a. the opinion of someone who knows a good deal more about cinema than most of his readers and b. Bergman and directors in many other countries were making similar stylistic choices at the same time for no apparent reason. (David Bordwell)

    "...awesome, or totally awesome? Discuss."

    Is this the blog of the next President? Obama online. (The New Republic)

    NYFF

    Here's the New York Film Festival lineup. Lots of good stuff from U.S. directors, with already well-publicized work from Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers. Who knew Brian DePalma had something coming out? Redacted is a drama of the Iraq War and the media covering it; it seems to have a no-name cast. (Film Threat)

    War Games is only #3?

    Top 20 movies about computer hacking and geeks. (LinuxHaxor.net)

    Those broken levees

    There's a piece at the Guardian about the arrival of the first "post-Katrina" fiction from James Lee Burke and others. Conversational Reading wonders if the idea of pegging subgenres of fiction to wars and disasters is a good one, but I'd say who wants to read a novel that isn't rooted with some specificity of place? That idea is especially important in crime fiction. Where would Burke, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, etc. be without their cities? The issue of how certain things are marketed as, say, "9/11 novels" is another conversation. (Link from The Daily Dish)

    Please God, let there be a live album...

    Terry Teachout rhapsodizes about seeing Fiona Apple and Nickel Creek in Central Park. (About Last Night)

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Sticking up for...

    ...John from Cincinnati. I'm still working my way through the last few episodes On Demand, but I can applaud David Milch's ambition while still realizing the show's limitations. (The American Scene)

    Piling on

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    Max Von Sydow (lately of Rush Hour 3) hears about his choice of roles from critics. (IFC)

    I am back....

    ...and after a bit of indecision I am blogging here again. Spread the word.

    My Kid Could Paint That

    Cinematical reports on a new documentary about a 5-year old girl whose artwork has been critically praised and sold for big bucks. There's quite a disagreement about both the quality of the paintings and how responsible the young artist is for her own work. After viewing great work like this on a recent trip to New York, I find it hard to belive that even the brightest child really knows what they're doing when creating a work of visual art. This doc looks like one to check out.