Archive for November, 2009

Moving (from one place to another)

November 30, 2009

Shot this at the airport in Detroit on Saturday night.

Stop-motion monuments

November 30, 2009

In today’s edition of the Daily Cardinal: my review of Wes Anderson’s latest 140+ mph ace, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Expect this film to figure centrally into my “Best Nine of Ohnine” list (whenever I actually get around to assembling said list).

Oh, and for clarity’s sake: the caption beneath the photo attached to my review implies that the animation in Fantastic Mr. Fox is computer-generated; this, of course, is not the case. I’ll take 86.5% of the blame for the mix-up. I probably should’ve made it clearer in the review that I thought a big reason why watching Fox is such a fulfilling experience is precisely because it’s not the product of an unfathomable complex of logarithms and endless double-clicking. When traces of the film’s physical reality (the sequence of material events that had to have occurred in a very specific order in order for the rest of the film to be what it is) manifest themselves in the texture/grain of the image, that is to say, at the heart of the film’s existence as a visual object: that’s pretty cool, no?

There’s more than one way to bare the device. The difference between the effect that Godard achieves by pointing the camera back at itself in the well-known verse from La chinoise and the effect of watching the stop-motion of Mr. Fox is substantial, I think. But, comme on dit, what do I know.


Views of a Princetonian backyard

November 26, 2009

For the most part, holidays repulse me; Thanksgiving, however, I can tolerate. Thus, my gift to y’all: yet another slightly self-indulgent video, this one filmed from the breakfast room of my parents’ quaint little abode here in the Prince’s Town. Suffice it to say, this year I’m thankful for visual austerity and economy of expression. Look for my Fantastic Mr. Fox review in the Cardinal early next week (hint hint: the film is something of a must-see).

You can’t go home again; you can go home again

November 25, 2009

Likely won’t have much to say over these next few days of lounging about and tuning out. May have some images to show ya though, like this (shot her on the ride home from Philly Int’l):

Heads-up re: TCM, 11/23

November 23, 2009

At 4:45PM this afternoon TCM will show Nicholas Ray’s A Woman’s Secret (1949), a film I’ve never seen and won’t be able to catch due to a couple of prior obligations; however, if you find yourself near a TV with cable, you could definitely do worse than to check this one out. According to imdb, A Woman’s Secret was the production during which Ray met the actress who’d become his second wife, Gloria Grahame (who happens to be, as my devoted reader[s] ought to know by now, a CineMadison favorite). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: TCM’s presentation of these second-tier Rays is invaluable. After all, the great thing about Ray’s oeuvre is that the second-tier’s a lot like the first: ruddy, combustible, disheveled, volatile, etc.

“Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.”

November 23, 2009

Beth Mueller’s dissent from the Badger Herald Ed Board’s astonishingly sensible pro-pot-legalization editorial in today’s edition of the BH suggests two things, though I could be wrong on both: 1. Mueller has never smoked weed, and 2. she’s unfamiliar with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s final proposition in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (alright, not so important in this case).

Use of marijuana impairs the mind so as to prevent a person from rational thought. This harm is most significant. Use of this drug, like any other illegal drug, seeks only pleasure over the higher, transcendent goals of humanity, which are all products of reasoned thought.

[…] There’s nothing wrong with simple relaxation, which would be a motivation for many to use marijuana. But even the pursuit of rest shouldn’t settle into mere escapism or artificial warping of the mind to intellectually skip town. Imagine what a society we’d have if relaxation entailed a more honest release from the burden of work to be more aware, not less, of the beauty of people, the world, and even new ideas.

[…] True, drunkenness similarly harms a person by blocking the ability to think rationally. […] Alcohol, however, remains justifiably legal because it can be used to an extent that does not impair reason.

Mueller has a very, very peculiar understanding of the effect that marijuana has on the mind. Intellectuals smoking pot: never happens, right? And what’s with this fetish for “reasoned” and “rational” thought? Also, the notion that alcohol can be consumed in moderation whereas marijuana cannot is particularly bizarre.

But yeah, I recommend reading both pieces in their entirety; some pretty ferkakt logic at work in the dissent, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 11/23

November 23, 2009

A remarkably convincing front:

From Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be (1942).

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 11/20: Take 2

November 20, 2009


From Sergei Eisenstein’s The General Line/The Old and the New (1929).

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 11/20

November 20, 2009

The uncomfortable situations that result from one’s being too close to a difficult woman:

From Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind (1956).

Links to links to links to links

November 19, 2009

Because aggregating links to interesting stuff is a better use of one’s time than fulfilling one’s obligations, whatever those might be (in my case, writing and eating and breathing and, every once in a while, sleeping):

Alexander Sokurov’s latest, The Sun (2005), is finally getting its first run on American screens at NY’s Film Forum (the best cinema on Earth, for all my Madisonian readers). Unsurprisingly the film is receiving a whole lot of critical love: J. Hoberman digs it, as does Manohla Dargis, as does Daniel Kasman. I’m unsure whether I’ll be able to swing by the Forum to catch a showing while I’m temporarily back on the right coast next week, so hopefully the film’ll make its way to Madison at some point in the however distant future. If you’re fiending to see some Sokurov, Four Star Video Heaven has a pretty damn respectable collection of his films, including Moloch (1999), which is the first film in Sokurov’s “Men of Power” series (of which The Sun is a part).

Jack Craver’s debut for the Isthmus advances a “j’accuse” that anybody with a sense of both humor and history will surely smile upon reading: Mayor Dave as monarch.

I’m an armchair-philosopher’s armchair-philosopher, but I’m nevertheless fascinated by the recent online writings of contemporary thinker Graham Harman, who here gives a necessarily terse explanation of the two types of objects that he thinks are: real objects and sensual objects. (For good measure, here’s Michael Austin’s lucid explication of Harman’s theory of vicarious causation and Levi Bryant’s own take on what really happens between objects.) Harman’s book Guerrilla Metaphysics, in which he advances the über-intriguing, quasi-aesthetic concept of allure, is on my “note to self: read these soon” list. It seems inevitable that film and literary studies will have to confront Harman’s ideas (as well as Bryant’s, once his book The Democracy of Objects is published).

Do yourself a favor and read all four parts (one, two, three and four) of Robert Polito’s ode to Manny Farber over at the Auteurs’ Notebook. Sticky, sticky stuff.

I hereby decree that sneaker pimp Sonny Vaccaro is allowed to be all “I told y’all so” regarding the NBA’s newest phenom (and starting point guard of your Milwaukee Bucks), Brandon Jennings. Jennings’s now-legendary 55 point performance, which I had the pleasure of watching as it happened, was probably the most thrilling thing I’ve seen these past couple weeks… granted, that isn’t saying much.