Sunday, September 09, 2007

so many blogs so little time

Entertainment News
Washington Post reviewed SHOOT EM UP: "It's just gunfights strung together, without a whisper of coherence or meaning." And? So?

3:10 To Yuma
This was one of my favorite westerns when I was a kid. It sounds like the new one is pretty much the same, only not in black and white, and with an inflated budget. Still… it is a western.

I Got This Link from James Wolcott’s Blog
Apparently, this Jeffrey Wells has a weekly column somewhere. James Mangold is the director of 3:10 TO YUMA. This is from Wells’ e-mail to Mangold.

“Jim, I'm just gonna be upfront with you, pardner, and tell ya right straight I can't get on the 3:10 to Yuma train and ride shotgun this time. … I am on my knees, Mr. Mangold, saying thank you, thank you and thank you again for persuading Vinessa Shaw to do her first flat-out, boob-baring nude scene. I was in heaven as Crowe drew her on his notepad. Please tell me there's somebody on the Yuma team who can slip me some stills of the shooting that day... please. I'm serious. I know you think like I do in this respect, so please ... as one good hombre to another ... you don't have to be the guy who passes along the stills. Just tell the still photographer or the editor or whomever caught her as she posed. I'm not a sleazebag either -- I don't pass along stills to the Mr. Skin crowd or my friends. This would be just for my, myself & I. At the very least it would be great to grab some frame captures from the film itself. Or some unused footage of Shaw and Crowe doing whatever. Out-takes, perhaps…. Since I'm mixed on your film it would be best for you and yours if I waited to say anything until just before it opens. I don't want to hurt anyone or anything.”

In other words, if I read between the lines correctly, if Mr. Mangold sends him nude photographs of an actress, Mr. Wells might give the movie a good review.

For some reason, I’m reminded of Richard Boone’s line in HOMBRE (another Elmore Leonard story!): "Mister, you've got some mighty hard bark on you coming down here like this."

Entertainment News
Cate Blanchett plays young Bob Dylan in the new Todd Haynes movie, a Dylan biopic, I’M NOT THERE. And yes, if you watch the clip on YouTube, that is David Cross playing Allen Ginsberg. So: this is DON’T LOOK BACK, with re-enactors? Still… it is a western. Oh, the movie also features Heath Ledger and Richard Gere as Dylan. Oh, it’s that kind of movie.

iPhone Prices Drop
The first buyers out of the gate now feel betrayed, because they paid two hundred bucks more than what buyers are going to pay now. But isn’t the cachet of being the first person on the block to own one worth the extra price? It doesn’t matter to me, of course. I’ll wait until iPhones show up at Goodwill. Five bucks seems a reasonable price to me. You?

MORE Entertainment News!
Vanessa Hudgens, star of the Disney hit HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, was revealed to be the subject of a nude photograph. It’s on the Internet! Her representative said, in a statement: "It is a personal matter and it is unfortunate that this has become public." Disney, apparently, has forgiven her.

And…
NYT: “IT’S payday for Janine Hawkins. Not in the real world, where she is a student at Nipissing University in Ontario, but in the online world of Second Life…. Ms. Hawkins, who in Second Life takes on the persona of Iris Ophelia, a beauty with flowing hair and flawless skin, keeps a list of things she wants to buy: the latest outfits from the virtual fashion mecca Last Call, a new hairstyle from a Japanese designer, slouchy boots. When she receives her monthly salary in Linden dollars, the currency of Second Life, she spends up to four hours shopping, clicking and buying. After a year and a half, she owns 31,540 items.”

What was it Karl Marx said about the fetishization of commodities? I don’t remember either. And I don't think he even DREAMED of virutal commodities.

And…
NYT: “Across the country, shiny new history museums are pushing up like poppies on a battlefield, while the war horses struggle to scrape off their mold. Gone are shelves of crusty artifacts, yellowed text panels stuffed with dates and names and the ‘excitement’ of a stale soda cracker behind glass that some historical figure may have sampled. In their place are Hollywood-produced movies, evocative oral histories and special-effect extravaganzas so spectacular that visitors could be forgiven for thinking they had actually lived through that historical moment.”

There are so many creepy things about this paragraph, it’s hard to list them all. But I’ll give it a try.

Take the phrase, “shiny new history museums are pushing up like poppies on a battlefield,” please. This phrase is unfortunate in several ways. First of all, it’s inappropriately chirpy. Second, it doesn’t make any sense. Museums aren’t grown from seeds. Nor are poppies especially shiny. And what, exactly, is this battlefield?

Then there’s the rest of that sentence, “while the war horses struggle to scrape off their mold.” How do war horses scrape off mold? Since when does mold grow on war horses anyway? And what are war horses doing on a battlefield with shiny new history museum/poppies? If I were a war horse on a battlefield, if shiny new history museums starting pushing up, I’d gallop back to the stables, pronto.

Full disclosure, I LIKE musty museums with stuff under glass. I especially enjoy “yellowed text panels.” If there is a bit of mildew on the edges of the text panel, so much the better. And, anyway, what does this reporter have to replace the war horses with? “…Hollywood-produced movies, evocative oral histories and special-effect extravaganzas so spectacular that visitors could be forgiven for thinking they had actually lived through that historical moment.”

Again, this is awfully chirpy isn’t it? I mean, if you’re going to take amphetamines before going to a museum, I can see how looking at actual artifacts from the period might make you a little jumpy. But still, wouldn’t an amusement park be a little more suited for the aesthetic experience described here? Isn't the New York Times rewarding attention deficit disorder?

Speaking personally, I don’t know if I’d care for a “special-effect extravaganzas so spectacular that” I might be “forgiven” for mistaking the virtual experience for the historical. When I go to a museum to learn about a battle, I don’t want to be shot. Do you? Well then, you’re part of the problem.

Weirdness
One of the oddest things to me, as we wind down the bizarre spectacle that has been the Bush administration, is how the most significant protests against its policies have come not from liberals but from conservative ranks.

There was John Ashcroft, recovering from surgery, as Gonzales et al rushed to his side in the hospital to get him to sign off on some White House-sanctioned diminishing of liberty of another. I admit that I always viewed Ashcroft as a bit of a hidebound ideological fool, but his bestirring of himself to deny the White House whatever it was they were demanding, well – it kind of moved me. That John Ashcroft, of all people, has a line he will not cross (whatever that is), it gave me hope.

Jack Goldsmith’s new book is called THE TERROR PRESIDENCY. He was something or other in the Office of Legal Counsel, which was often asked to sign off on White House legal tactics, which tactics Goldsmith found increasingly more difficult to accept. He wound up rejecting several questionable findings (can’t tell you what they were – national security, you know), and then resigning to make sure that his findings were enforced. The logic here being that if his findings were overturned, in the wake of his resigning, it would look bad for the administration. He told the New York Times: “I’m not a civil libertarian, and what I did wasn’t driven by concerns about civil liberties per se. It was a disagreement about means, not ends, driven by a desire to make sure that the administration’s counterterrorism policies had a firm legal foundation.”

Museum of the Future
An audioanimatronic Ashcroft rises from his hospital bed to rebuke Gonzales et al in a stirring speech (voiced by Russell Crowe? I’m spitballing), redacted for public consumption. I love museums! I love history! Let’s have more of it. Preferably yellowed, musty, dusty, and mildewed. This new history just gives me a headache.

In More Other News…
President Bush hopes to make money on the lecture circuit when he leaves office. “Replenish the ol’ coffers” is how he put it to Robert Draper, in his new profile of the Bush Presidency.

There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. But, I must ask, is this what George Washington did?

3 Comments:

Blogger Merle Kessler said...

Wow. Great. I admire your web skills.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

That Post "review" shows exactly why fewer and fewer people bother to listen to film critics anymore

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Disneyland now qualifies to get grants as a museum!

-D.E.

12:17 PM  

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