Sunday Bookmarks (Super Double Digest) – April 2-17

 

  • Sidney Lumet: Urban Realist With a Humanist Streak
    “In the history of American movie realism, you might place Mr. Lumet between Elia Kazan and Martin Scorsese. To some extent, this is a matter of chronological happenstance: Kazan was born in 1909, Mr. Lumet in 1924 and Mr. Scorsese in 1942. Mr. Lumet’s career overlapped with both of theirs. Mr. Lumet and Mr. Scorsese in particular were professional contemporaries. They both seem to belong to, and to have defined, the 1970s — the era of “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Network” and also of “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver.” But the differences between those studies in urban dysfunction and modern existential woe are not just temperamental or stylistic. They are generational as well. The city in Mr. Scorsese’s early films is one from which hope has largely fled, and in which heroism and nihilism are for the most part indistinguishable. Johnny Boy, the character played by Robert De Niro in “Mean Streets,” represents an anarchic, disruptive criminality unconstrained by the codes and customs of organized crime. The vigilantism of Mr. De Niro’s Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver,” is, if anything, even more pathological: his idea of justice is paranoid, apocalyptic and bloody, and it may be the only justice the city has to offer.”
  • Time To Put Away Childish Things: Is 2011 The Year Grown-Ups Started Buying Movie Tickets Again?
    “And yet there have been some minor box-office success stories, and they’ve all been in within the confines of the kind of film that’s supposedly not being made any more—those mid-budget, adult-aimed movies. “The Adjustment Bureau,” a tricky grown-up concoction of sci-fi and romance, marketed mostly on the back of star Matt Damon, who outside of the ‘Bourne’ movies rarely toplines blockbusters on his own, is now closing on $100 million worldwide, nearly doubling its production budget. “The Lincoln Lawyer” turned out, against expectations, to be a solid, old-fashioned programmer, and has shown real box office legs, dropping less than any other film in the top 10 for two consecutive weeks, while “Limitless” is doing even better, bringing in close to $60 million in three weeks, on a budget of slightly over $25 million. ”
  • 10 Movies That Remind Us There’s Potential in the Spoof
    A run-down of ten great movies that prove spoofs don’t have to be bottom-of-the-barrel “entertainment” like the endless series of Epic Movies and Date Movies and Disaster Movies suggest. Seems the common thread is a deep love and appreciation for the thing being spoofed. I’d also include Black Dynamite, most other Mel Brooks movies, the Christopher guest mockumentaries, and the rest of Edgar Wright’s oeuvre.
  • Why are Christian movies so awful?
    “I won’t even pretend that “Soul Surfer” is the worst film I’ll see this month, since it lacks the overarching, high-concept horribleness of something like “Your Highness.” But it’s a trite, sentimental puddle of sub-Hollywood mush, with mediocre photography, weak special effects and an utterly formulaic script that somehow required seven (!) credited writers. Believe me, I have learned, over and over again, that ordinary moviegoers, a lot of the time, want to see a story that’s positive, predictable and not all that challenging, but even measured on that yardstick this one is pretty awful. Even Arends of Christianity Today, who is eager to praise the film but too principled to be dishonest, admits that the writers offer up “some not-quite satisfying resolutions about God’s plans in the face of tragedy.” Robb and Quaid are OK, after the fashion of TV-drama acting, but Helen Hunt is severely miscast as Bethany’s worrywart mom and Carrie Underwood is embarrassingly weak. ”
  • No Comment from James Rocchi
    “Commenting is supposed to be the vital lifeblood of the web, the straw that stirs the drink of conversation, the lively salon of ideas in the public sphere. But, really, it isn’t, any more than prison is an exciting social milieu full of new occasions. One time out of a hundred, a comment is interesting — a civil contribution, a brilliant counter-argument, a salient fact, a pertinent point. The other 99 times?”
  • What movies get wrong about childbirth
    “Of all the medical myths perpetrated by TV and film, giving birth ranks near the top. Take this scene from “Knocked Up” (parental guidance seriously suggested), in which the delivery of a child looks more like an exorcism. Those of us who have been through a delivery, either as a parent or as a doctor, know scenes like these (or these) are gross caricatures. The goal of childbirth isn’t to scream at the top of your lungs. Rather, it’s to focus that energy down on the pelvis to push the baby out, instead of wasting it contorting your body and castigating your partner. Despite this, a quick scan of maternal message boards shows there is no shortage of women with questions about whether all that screaming, cursing and writhing is normal.”
  • X-Men First Class – Superlative Faux Title Sequence (VIDEO)
    A well executed title sequence for the upcoming X-Men prequel (Link goes to fan-made Video)
  • Anita Sarkeesian on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl
    “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a term coined by Nathan Rabin to describe the female character whose written to help the usually white, and definitely straight male hero loosen up and enjoy life. Rabin writes, “That bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a supporting character used to further the storyline of the male hero. She really has no life of her own, she has no family or interests or much of job that we ever see. She is as the AVclub describes, “On hand to lift a gloomy male protagonist out of the doldrums, not to pursue her own happiness.” ”
  • Hot Docs 2011 Preview, Part 1
    “Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary film festival and it’s coming up on April 28th with a terrific lineup of close to 200 films. For 2011, Hot Docs has decided to expand and will be showing movies in new neighbourhoods, with venues like The Revue (Roncesvalles) and the Fox Theatre (The Beaches) in the mix. This year, programmers have booked us a profile of Toronto filmmaker Alan Zweig’s career, a spotlight on Italian works, and a set called B-Sides of overlooked and underappreciated docs. Got your picks sorted out yet? A bunch of us here got an early peek at some of the docs screening in this year’s festival, and we’ll be rounding up our best bets in the coming weeks. Here’s a look at some of the docs we’ve seen so far. ”
  • Just Write it, George
    “George R.R. Martin’s inability to finish his own Series which is now an HBO mini is explored in detail: “In the six years since, some of Martin’s fans have grown exceedingly restless. The same blogging culture that allows a fantasy writer like Neil Gaiman to foster a sense of intimacy with his readers can also expose an author to relentless scrutiny when they become discontented. Fans desperate to find out what happened to Martin characters like Tyrion Lannister—a smart, cynical dwarf born into one of the most powerful families in the Seven Kingdoms—found it irksome to check Martin’s Web site for updates about the series’ fifth book, “A Dance with Dragons,” and find instead postings about sports or politics. They began to complain in the comments section of Martin’s blog and on Westeros.org.”
  • 9 Breakthroughs in Cinematic Technology That Came and Went
    “At this year’s CinemaCon, the tech-centric director couldn’t shut up about 3D, faster frame rates and improved camera systems while everyone around him was salivating for a detail or two on his plans for the Avatar sequels. Forget that — there are shutter speeds to be discussed! We’re all about Peter Jackson hyping The Hobbit shooting 48 fps on RED digital 3D and legendary effects guru Douglas Trumbull heading back to directing with a tech-first approach, but at some point, isn’t the equipment standing in the way of great storytelling? We’ll give the benefit of the doubt to these three men, but whether any of their advancements are really “the future of movies,” won’t be known for a few years. Unfortunately, just because you’re brilliant and you say something is awesome…doesn’t mean it’s awesome. Here’s a look back at some of the other “game-changing” inventions that were supposed to change the way we watch movies, but never really picked up steam. ”

 
 

You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

 

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Mike Rot
Member

On James Rocchi and comments:

Obviously Rocchi’s statement is broad, probably said to incite comments. The quality of a conversation is different for different people, and the opportunity to be able to have these corners for people to discuss specific things without having to make it one big table conversation with diluted opinions, is something to be desired. Some people just want to have the superficial drive-by conversation, so be it.

The post should only be a jumping off point for discussion, and however organically the conversation goes, is the way it goes.

As for childbirth in the movies, the one thing they DO get right is the attitude, I seriously couldn’t say ANYTHING without being attacked verbally. And as for the experience of seeing your child for the first time, that too, at least for me, is not as idealized as it is in film… what they don’t depict is how exhausted you are, and how alien it is to be suddenly confronted with something that kind of looks like you. The emotion for me was more awe and confusion than handing out cigars merrily.

Jonathan Hardesty
Guest

While I like that X-Men: First Class fan opener, the music doesn’t quite sit right and it really drags because of it. It’s almost like they went completely opposite with their remix of the 90s cartoon theme and slowed it down by about 80%. Still, I like the feel of that opener and I hope something like it is used in the film itself.

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