Movies

Finished reading Capitalism 3.0, missed speakers, drank dark beer

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I finished reading Capitalism 3.0 a couple of days ago, and it was quite good. I promised a review, so that will be coming shortly. I also noticed that Joseph Stiglitz (ex-Chief Economist for the World Bank) wrote a new book as a follow-up to Globalization and its Discontents which is titled, Making Globalization Work, probably a nice follow-up to Capitalism 3.0.

Today after work I headed to NYU to hear Jimmy Wales give a talk on Wikipedia, but was dismayed to discover that the auditorium was packed and I couldn’t get in.

Then, I noticed that Ralph Nader was at the IFC Theater on 6th Avenue presenting the new documentary made about him called “An Unreasonable Man,” and I was about to go to the 4:55pm showing of that, but tickets sold out for that! Man, what bad luck!

At the end of the day, I ended up meeting Max for drinks at McSorley’s, so that’s not so bad. We talked a bit about Richard Dawkin’s book “The God Delusion,” and whether it’s a good thing that there is a zealous atheist roaming the streets of intellectual-dom.

“The Good Shepherd”: A Good Film Concept, but Lacks a Pulse

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

I have to agree with Peter Travers’ review of The Good Shephard. The movie is not a complete failure: it’s beautifully made, and beautifully acted. Unfortunately, it is just not well-written.

We go through three hours of meeting character after character, in different time periods, sometimes the same character appears twice with different names (due to double-agentry), and at the end of it all you feel that the only character who got a bit of development was the leading one, Matt Damon’s, who hardly spoke a word throughout the movie.

I tried hard to like this movie, I really did. But I think it’s a crime to employ this much acting and cinematography talent, and end up with a movie that says little else about life inside the CIA but the spy cliche, “trust no one.” The movie is full of visually memorable scenes, but absolutely no memorable dialogue.

The movie should have been more focused, had less characters, and covered less ground. DeNiro: either you make a seven hour epic, or you make a Hollywood two hour film. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, I’m afraid.

My Facebook Profile, and Everyone Else’s

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

-”You need to change your Facebook profile.”
-”Why?”
-”My friends all think it’s weird.”
-”Why?”
-”Because you mention things like ‘corporate power’ on it.”
-”So?”
-”The Facebook is supposed to be fun, you’re supposed to not take it seriously.”

So here, let me propose my new Facebook profile so it can be more amenable to social pressures. I’ve decided that the Facebook has become just as insane as real life, and, unfortunately, just as predictable.

Here is my Facebook profile for the alternate reality in which I care about making Facebook friends:

Relationship: Married to someone of my own sex even though I’m obviously straight. Hah hah, I’m so ironic.

Political Views: Moderate, even though I’m obviously liberal or conservative, but I don’t want to offend anyone. It’s not cool to talk about politics!

Interests: in truth, none whatsoever, so let me just write cute unfunny stuff here, like “Drinking with roomie,” or “duh, The Facebook.”

Favorite Music: A mish-mash of hip-hop, indy rock, and classic rock, because then you’ll know my musical palate isn’t vulgar.

Favorite Movies: here’s my chance to wow everyone with how cultured I am, so I’ll have at least one Coen Brothers movie here, and one or both of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Waking Life.

Favorite Books: I don’t read on my own, because that’s not being social. So here are my choices: (1) my textbooks, because that’s ironic, and dodges the issue; (2) Catcher in the Rye or 1984, because I read that in high school and maybe no one will notice; or, (3) obviously bad books I’ve never read and no one will think I have, like “Treason” by Ann Coulter.

Favorite Quote: Something my roommate said while drunk. Isn’t it funny? Isn’t it? No, really, it’s funny… you had to be there. Or, if I take myself a bit more seriously that I can at least allow a quote, make sure it’s something about postmodernism or from a modern poem that makes minimal sense.

Now that you guys see I am capable of writing a Facebook profile exactly like all the others, perhaps you’ll stop asking me to. In the meanwhile, to make you all more comfortable being apathetic, I’ve censored political content from my interests. I’ve also deleted references to a comedian you’ve never heard of from my quotes section. If you’re lucky, I’ll promptly replace them with Jon Stewart quotes. (Politics is cool, apparently, only if it’s on TV.)

Fog of War: A Truly Thoughtful Movie

Friday, November 11th, 2005

I only just tonight got to watch Fog of War, a documentary which interviews Robert S. McNamara and draws from his past experiences lessons about the nature of foreign policy and wars.

One of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking movies I’ve seen about a person who advised presidents who had the power to wipe out entire countries with a single military order, and who years later realized that nuclear warfare and human fallibility can only mean something horrible for this society of ours.

You must see this movie; after you do, you’ll also see why I’m not so quick to buy the line about the necessity of Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

8 1/2 becomes one of my favorites

Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

Call it cliche, but the “greatest film about film ever made,” 8 1/2, has become one of my favorite movies. It really is an unbelievably directed movie, and despite the language barrier (wearing thinner every day!), I was really able to connect with the characters. More amazing is that this is the first film to be self-referential to such a high degree, a style that, I think, has been copied ever since (i.e. Adaptation, which I also liked). But I really loved the scenes from Guido’s childhood and how magical they felt with such simple cinematography. There were no special effects or anything, but some sequences (especially the opening one) had such an uncanny dream-like feel. Anyway, it’s really a great film.

A Patriot Act

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

I watched Mark Crispin Miller’s “A Patriot Act” on DVD last night, per my Dad’s recommendation. Check out its website if you like.

Absolutely tremendous show. It basically paints the Republicans in the White House for what they are: religious zealots trying to merge the church and state. Even though this was performed before the election, watching it now, after, Bush has won, made me a bit depressed. I should be storming Washington right now.

Unfahrenheit 9/11?

Friday, July 2nd, 2004

So, Christopher Hitchens has written this response to Fahrenheit 9/11. I just finished reading it.

(Silly side note: I bookmarked this link before I saw the movie, so I that I could read it afterwards. I really didn’t understand the title at all, until Olivia informed me that it’s meant to be pronounced “Unfair – enheit 9/11.” I felt silly, but I guess it comes from the fact that I pronounce it FAR-EN-HEIT, rather than FAIR-E-HEIT. Apparently, I’m not so insane, since my pronounciation is Dictionary.com’s recomendation, as well. They recomend pronouncing the “a” like “father” or “pat.” Not that this means anything in particular, I just think an editor could have come up with a better title!)

So, for the most part, Hitchens’ article does present some of the problems with Mike’s film. We all know (all of us who have seen it) that it was a bit dramatized, a bit over the top, and a bit of propaganda. It was meant to be an emotional rollercoaster: to get us angry and sad, riled up for election time. In this sense, the film was effective. But I can see why you might find it unfair. Mike shows us every clip he can find of how the Iraq war is horrible, of how Bush is a horrible president, etc. without ever throwing in clips that speak to the opposite conclusion. I guess the problem with Mike’s film is that it is not “balanced.” It is simply not the way I would have set out to direct a similar documentary. But, in all honesty, Hitchens’ article is similarly flawed…

Project Outsourced on Lou Dobbs

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Came across a website called Project Outsourced the other day. A group of documentary filmmakers are attempting to cover outsourcing from every angle. Interesting clip on the front page relating to Lou Dobbs, although almost everyone in that clip (including an NYU Economics professor) is so unbelievably wrong about Lou Dobbs that it hurts me to hear supposedly intelligently people speaking such garbage…