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du Garbandier

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  1. I forgot to mention a very striking oddity of Putney Swope: Putney's voice is done by Downey himself and dubbed in over the actor's own voice. It's a disorienting effect and I don't know why Downey did it that way. I enjoyed the commercial for Ethereal Cereal (language warning): I often have the same problem. I only found out about these because TCM is finally available in HD on DISH network and I was scouring the May TCM schedule for letterbox format films to DVR, as letterbox is quite beautiful in HD (Putney is letterboxed, Greaser's is not). I really wish there was some reliable resource highlighting upcoming interesting and classic film screenings on TCM and elsewhere on TV. (Looking at the TCM schedule again, how did I not notice the 1968 short Match Your Mood, in which "Westinghouse shows women how to improve their lives by decorating their refrigerators"??) If it's any consolation, the DVD seems to be out of print and used copies run over 100 bucks. I can't say I'll be clamoring for a re-release!
  2. Greaser's Palace is a surreal messiah film (both the film and the messiah are surreal) involving a zoot-suited song-and-dance man named Jesse who parachutes into the Old West and performs miracles, attracts disciples, incurs wrath, etc. "He's got the boogie on his fingers and the hubba-hubba in his soul." Whatever potential the film had in its conception is completely squandered in the execution (no pun intended). Except for the occasional funny line or conceit, this film is a miserable and tedious affair. As a messiah film, it lacks the wit and narrative of Life of Brian, The Ruling Class, etc.; as a movie it lacks just about everything that makes movies enjoyable. Often described as a satire, Greaser's Palace has about as much satirical force as the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I cannot recommend it in any respect. Even connoisseurs of the absurd will be bored. Whereas Downey Sr.'s other film shown on TCM this morning, Putney Swope, does quite well as a satire of the advertising world in which Downey was employed at the time. The opening board room scene is especially outrageous. The flouting of political correctness is vigorous and there are some moments of downright crudity. Worth seeing, at any rate.
  3. Surely the 3-D signals an enhanced commitment of fidelity to Lewis's vision.........right? (Commitment can be digitally enhanced, right?) ::boat::
  4. I see what you mean about "release," although I think you may be conflating two sense of "opening." I think I can see how you might say a film is like a flower opening up, but only in a very restricted sense referring to the physical display of a film being projected on a screen. But when I say "The Last Days of Disco 2 opens in June," I use "open" in the most common sense, meaning that the film "will be made publicly accessible." And in that most common sense, a film does not open like a flower, but more like a building whose doors are thrown open at the appointed hour for public admission. After all, this language was first applied to moviegoing directly from the world of drama (and art galleries too, I suppose), and obviously plays are very unlike cinema, materially speaking. I agree that it seems strange. I believe the real difficulty is with the noun "release" itself. Not that anyone cares, but I believe several linguistic phenomena are operating here. For one thing, we just don't have many handy, concise ways of describing what happens when, say, an album becomes publicly available. The term "releases" fills that void in a verbally economical way, strangeness aside. But in the case of cinema, the medium itself is in a curious situation: cinema has one foot in the world of performance, for which audiences gather and managers throw open the theater doors (so to speak) at specific times in a specific place, and the other foot in the world of mass mechanical reproduction. The film is "released" to the public when the reel becomes available just like a CD or book, but it also "opens" to the public like a play or exhibit. Hence our way of talking about cinema is caught between two very different sorts of metaphors. Anyway, sorry to any bored hipsters for the digression.
  5. But what about saying the movie "opens"? Isn't this new use of "releases" just a case of a heretofore transitive verb acquiring an intransitive sense? When we say that a movie "opens" in August no one wonders what exactly the film is opening because the distinction between the transitive and intransitive senses of "open" has become well-established and intuitive. Until now the verb "release" has had a strictly transitive sense. The intransitive usage may seem strange now, but perhaps in time it will be no stranger than films and art exhibits "opening" and "closing," books "launching," albums "dropping," etc. (Admittedly these latter two smack of barbarism and should be avoided by all civilized persons.)
  6. du Garbandier

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    Does Bruno qualify as mandacious? Mandacious to the core.
  7. du Garbandier

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    These sarcastic Movieguide awards are verbally imprecise to the point of comedy, which is evident by a simple inversion. Thus, I Love You, Beth Cooper wins for "Worst Corruption of Teenagers"--I wonder what will win for Best Corruption of Teenagers? The Invention of Truth wins for Worst Promotion of Mandacity [sic!]--what of the Best Promotion of Mendacity? I also look forward to the Best Idolatrous Political Paganism, the Best Slander Against the Protestant Reformation" (yes, The White Ribbon was only one of a veritable plethora of films sniping at that particular event), and the Best Dishonest Depiction of Free Markets. Yes, Movieguide is engaging in hyperbole. But hyperbole need not be sloppy.
  8. I saw this headline and the thought that it was Ingmar Bergman has had me chuckling for a good while now. The Swedish master's great secret regret, revealed at last.
  9. Yes, you're right. He really isn't making arguments so much as generally opining and lamenting. There's always a place for that, although in reviews it may be less than helpful, albeit inspiring. Agreed. No medium is neutral, as Neil Postman knew. But that doesn't mean that books and e-books are in opposition to one another. They could just be non-neutral in different ways. This is a point the contrarians need to really scrutinize. E2c has noted the similar look of the Kindle screen to paper. Both the Kindle and the traditional codex are logocentric. In terms of reading experiences, a much greater gap probably exists between codices and audiobooks than between codices and handheld e-books. Well, I concur about the need to reaffirm the goodness of physical creation in light of the many gnosticizing forces at play in our culture, but I'm still unconvinced that e-books are less physical than traditional codices--it's a matter of two marginally different sorts of physical presences. The issue of music is interesting because modern recording technologies permit the severance of music from the physical presence of instruments. Music is no longer dependent on the physical presence of musicians. (Incidentally Julian Johnson touches on these matters in his excellent Who Needs Classical Music?: Cultural Choice and Musical Value.) Similarly, I suppose one could accuse e-books of severing the written word from the spoken word and hence from the speaker's presence--but then so do normal codices. I say all this as a great lover of traditional books, living as I do with thousands of books sprawling all over the place. At any rate, thanks for your comments. You might consider raising these issues over at Text Patterns, a blog run by Alan Jacobs, a Christian who studies these matters very astutely.
  10. I came across this odd review some time ago:
  11. Charles Portis is the author of 5 novels--Norwood (1966), True Grit (1968), The Dog of the South (1979), Masters of Atlantis (1984) and Gringos (1991)--and a handful of stories. His unforgettable zany chronicles of itinerants and eccentrics, combined with his reclusiveness and long literary silences, has earned him a small but extremely devoted following. Ron Rosenbaum, one of Portis's biggest boosters, wrote in a January 1998 piece in Esquire that drew much attention to Portis: "...Portis has become the subject of a kind of secret society, a small but extremely elite (if I say so myself) group of admirers among other writers who consider him perhaps the least-known great writer alive in America. Perhaps the most original, indescribable sui generis talent over-looked by literary culture in America. A writer who--if there's any justice in literary history as opposed to literary celebrity will come to be regarded as the author of classics on the order of a twentieth-century Mark Twain..." Rosenbaum's piece is collected in his volume of essays, The Secret Parts of Fortune, and he has also written on Portis in the New York Observer. "Like Cormac Mccarthy, But Funny" is a splendid introduction to Portis by Ed Park in The Believer. All 5 of Charles Portis's novels have been reissued by Overlook Press. My favorite has to be The Dog of the South. True Grit is being adapted for film by the Coen brothers, and I hear that they are relying somewhat more on the book than the famous John Wayne version did (which won Wayne his only Oscar, incidentally). The narrator of The Dog of the South is copy editor Ray Midge, who is searching after his wife Norma and her ex-husband Guy Dupree, who ran away together with Ray's car and credit cards. Along the way Ray meets itinerant huckster Dr. Reo Symes: Ray has the following conversiation with the pious Mrs. Symes, mother of Reo: Mrs. Symes then inquires about Reo, and her friend Melba joins in: Charles Portis, comic genius.
  12. Let's say there are two typical readers of similar intellectual ability. One person reads this book on the Kindle, the other reads this in normal codex form. Who has had the more truly "incarnational" engagement with the Logos? In other words, I believe a person's disposition toward the world of the embodied, enfleshed Word is shaped much more by their preferences in reading or not reading certain texts (i.e. by their intellectual habits) than by the form which those experiences take. After all, the choice between a paper book and an e-book is a choice between two different forms, each of which facilitates different kinds of texts; it isn't a choice between a form and a non-form. The person reading an electronic page is just as physically engaged as any other reader. Is it really the case that e-readers are less incarnational than codices? If so, in what respect?
  13. Thanks for the info. The ManyBooks site looks extremely useful. In particular I like how well organized it seems to be. One detriment of Google Books is having to wade through their mass of material without much organization: compare Google's muddled list of Chesterton books with that of Manybooks. I wonder how many titles Google has in comparison. Google's books can only be downloaded as PDF or ePUB documents, and according to the Mobileread Wiki, the Kindle can handle PDFs but it "requires a manufacturer supplied conversion program." But if I can find most of what I'm interested in via the Manybooks/Gutenberg route, that wouldn't be a problem. Pevear and V. are in my judgment Chekhov's best translators, but they have only done his short novels and a single collection of the stories (Garnett translated some 200 of the stories). I've read several of P & V's other volumes, including a couple of Dostoevskys and their collection of Gogol, and they are superb. Compared to P & V, Garnett's translations are at times too wooden and dry, but they have their own merits. Not to mention their historical significance, as I believe it was through Garnett that Virginia Woolf, V. S. Pritchett, Henry Green and many others were first exposed to Chekhov's stories.
  14. I am thinking of saving up for one of these e-readers. Probably the Kindle but I am looking into the Nook as well. I don't plan on purchasing too many new books, nor do I desire some device that tries to do everything, and, consequently, does nothing. I don't want games or videos or chatting or music or cameras or anything else. Books--just give me books. Mainly I like the idea of reading the many free or almost-free older books available from Google books, Project Gutenberg, etc., even taking into account the textual problems with some of these versions. The idea of having the Summa Theologica at my fingertips, along with such treasures as Samuel Johnson's Rambler essays, various Chesterton works, and Constance Garnett's translations of Anton Chekhov seems wholly irresistible. I believe the one benefit of the Nook in this regard is the ease with which these Google Books are available directly through Barnes and Noble. With the Kindle I understand you have to exert a little more effort involving file conversion, or something. Nonetheless, at this point I am leaning toward the Kindle.
  15. Any person whose favorite movie is The Ruling Class is bound to be interesting.
  16. They'll probably make that story in 3D too.
  17. It's happening, people: In the same place it was, at the dinner table...except spectacular! And the prospect of 3D domination has the Saw people striking their usual note of moral reservation: They're taking the fun out of eye gouging. IS NOTHING SACRED? Hm. I see Peter beat me to this link by 5 minutes. And in the proper thread, no less. Harrumph.
  18. What IS it worth, I wonder?
  19. I haven't noticed much Renoir talk around here, though I haven't been around so very long. But to think someone here prefers American Beauty to any Renoir...it can only be a case of TOTAL MORAL DILAPIDATION.
  20. Classic bad films no matter the D. Hold your proverbial horses, Sir. Are you referring to the enjoyable-though-perhaps-not-as-enjoyable-from-the-perspective-of-sheer-viewing-pleasure-as-Grand-Illusion-though-certainly-not-without-merit-of-its-own-not-to-mention-its-importance-in-cinematic-history Jean Renoir classic?? In the same derisive breath as the odious American Beauty???
  21. If there is a chat with Wim Wenders I for one would be extremely interested. As a bargaining chip to make that happen I am willing to refrain from making the following puns on "Wim": whim, whimsy, whimsical, whim-wham, whimpled. ("Wimbledon" I want to hold on to.) If the person involved is Wim's little-known brother, Wim Freakin Wenders, however, I can make no such guarantees.
  22. Harvey 3D The Court Jester 3D On Golden Pond 3D
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