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Everything posted by Russ

  1. Russ

    The Gift

    This film, folks, is riding on a cresting wave shaped like 93% freshness. I believe I may take Leah and Ruby to see it tonight, unless somebody wants to persuade me it would be A Bad Idea. Or Derelict Parenting.
  2. On Blu-Ray in less than a month! I expected to be waiting until the Christmas season!
  3. Russ

    The Public Cinema

    The Princess of France is really, really great.
  4. Russ

    Selma (2014)

    Yeah, me too. It's like there's a tendency to make this film Mississippi Burning all over again. White folks aren't really the focus of the movie, so let's stop giving them and their portrayal veto power.
  5. Russ


    To shoot that scene, I heard that they--in true The Limey fashion--just repurposed Michael Douglas's 23 year-old reaction shots from the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct. Now he's aroused by technology!
  6. I think the so-called "family show," where you'd commonly find parents and kids watching together, is a casualty of modern television programing, which has grown more and more niche-marketed. My eleven year-old watches ONCE UPON A TIME, but I can't vouch for quality. My teens like a show called SWITCHED AT BIRTH that runs on ABC Family (and Netflix) but neither of those shows seems to want adults to watch them. On your redirect question: I'd recommend GILMORE GIRLS as one of the last true parents and teens shows. It's all on Netflix, and focuses on mother-daughter dynamics among three generations against the backdrop of an eccentric New England town. The show has a really prominent moral backbone which is easy to see despite a lot of irreverence for where you might typically see those kinds of stirrings originating. Grandma and grandpa (Kelly Bishop and the late Edward Hermann) are bluebloods whose precocious daughter (Lauren Graham) got pregnant at sixteen and moved out on her own with her own daughter. The show goes on a bit too long, but the emotional beats are really fantastic. Destructive behaviors-- adultery, teen sex, lying and the like-- are treated with seriousness. We bought the complete set for my oldest daughter when she turned fifteen.
  7. --which is interesting to me because each one is actually a twisting or an inversion of the Passion narrative. Yes, I caught those, too, but don't forget the first, big one: Jaqen H'ghar, or the person wearing his face. Jaqen pronounces a just punishment on Arya for serving her own revenge bloodlust rather than the divine will, and after declaring that the unjust death she caused must be bought with life--you just know he's going to do this--he takes the death on himself. Or herself. Still not sure, but it had the same Christian-imagery riff, and with a little less contortion that the other events.
  8. I consider myself the Pauline Kael of picture books aimed at preliterate children, and BEEKLE is weak sauce. Weak. Sauce. Of course, it's a Jason Reitman project dot dot dot.
  9. You figure Walden looked around for a dystopia dance partner and this was the last unattached wallflower. Coincidentally, I just read today that the Population Bomb dude is still alive and kicking and hasn't recanted--in fact, he was quoted to the effect that people shouldn't be allowed to have unlimited kids any more than they should be allowed to spread their garbage around.
  10. Catherine Breillat is ready to make her Hollywood debut.
  11. I'm glad Weiner finally admitted to this. I know I'm not the only one with an Israeli Tourism Board-shaped vacuum in his life which only narrative closure could fill.
  12. Right. Exactly. And what an interesting arc it is. I keep seeing reference to Miller consulting Joseph Campbell's works between MAD MAX and THE ROAD WARRIOR, and I guess I need to brush up on my Campbell. Max is a unique hero in that he's more of a Zelig-- a guy who just happens to fall into situations where he's suddenly cast as a major player. I need to watch THUNDERDOME again (it's been nearly 30 years), but it's fascinating how different the character is from how I imagined he was. Max is not the Han Solo type, which I'd characterize as selfish until he realizes there's something bigger than himself and a quest for money. Recall that he only agrees to/insists on driving the tanker after he's wrecked and left for dead, only to be retrieved by Scrooloose and brought back to the refinery camp, and his offer to drive the tanker could be seen as self-preservation as much as anything. How else is he going to get away from Humungus and his clan? It's not as if the refinery people recognized Max as the leader they never had, either--we realize at the end that they always just saw him as a means to an end. They tapped Scrooloose (the dude who was going to take a young, pretty woman and flee until her conscience got the better of her) as their leader, not Max. So it's not as if in THE ROAD WARRIOR he has to turn away from society, like Ethan Edwards, or that he simply rejects it for solitude. Dude wasn't even asked! It's fascinating that FURY ROAD is essentially just a remake of THE ROAD WARRIOR, but with the plot set in motion at a different remove. Again the focus is on a tanker used to hide something other than what we're expecting. Max is involuntarily in the passenger seat this time, and never in the driver's seat. The throughline is really compelling to me.
  13. Nick, why would you want that to be the case? Peggy Olson is awesome-- a person who is able to be great at what she does without making others feel miserable about themselves. There's that great, brief bit where Peggy has to assert herself to stay on the Chevalier account, and she plays the power game without turning into an asshole. Now that she's Wonder-Twinning with Stan, the guy who's there to keep her from forgetting that there's more to life than work, she's even more likely to harness her Draper-level talent without succumbing to Draper-level destructive behavior. Plus, she makes honest ads. The Hilltop ad is a piece of garbage-- a soulless husk in singsong verse. I don't want that stink on her.
  14. Of course Don didn't write the jingle. He just browbeat whichever midlevel McCann employee was tasked to work on it with him. Probably Peggy. So, she probably was involved, after all. Mike, I get it. One more Don pitch would have been great for old time's sake, but I think it's superfluous. Would it have made the eventual ad any less crass or cynical a co-opting of hippie culture if we'd gotten to see his pitch? Sure, it would have been great to see Jim Hobart genuflect minutes after threatening him physically for bailing, but it would have just told us what we already know-- he's a dude who's great at his job and bad at everything else, and that skill will get him as many second chances as he needs or wants. His great yoga insight is recognizing that he's a guy who can touch, however briefly, deep human longing and transform it into something finite and consumable, and imposing that creative impulse is worth living for, all self-created heartbreak notwithstanding. He's just changing the conversation again.
  15. If Max knew the tanker was a decoy, why would he shake his head bemusedly when he sees sand run out of the tanker valve?
  16. My reaction and Ali's right after the credits rolled on Sunday was that last week's episode made a much, much better finale. We've had at least a half-dozen occasions over the show's run where we had a visceral or tentative negative reaction to an episode soften by the time morning rolled around and the characters' behavior turned out to be true or consistent after further reflection. That was largely the case for us here. I have to credit Weiner for commitment to his artistic vision; I like the show's meanderings, but nevertheless always feel like the show's draggiest, most pointless moments are those occurring in Cali with the Anna Draper clan, but Weiner just kept giving them to me, whether I wanted them or not.
  17. I just rewatched it in anticipation of the new movie. They kept Max in the dark that the tanker was just a ruse to let the others flee to safety. In fairness, though, he was accompanied on the decoy tanker by many of the community's best and brightest, who presumably knew that their job was to hold out as long as they could before succumbing.
  18. This is really, really great. In part because lawyers and clerks need to turn off the tunnel vision and get some high culture, and they're most likely to do so when one of their own tells them to do it and leads the way. Plus, it encourages multidisciplinary perspective, which hasn't been tried much with law outside of Posner's Law and Literature bent. I hope he's not violating copyright.
  19. Russ

    On the Way to School

    Wow, this sounds great. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Can't wait to find it and see it with my kids.
  20. FWIW, I also thought the suicide attempt and aftermath were compelling elements which didn't take me out of the intensity of the film, and both seemed entirely consistent with the established character. I have some plausibility issues as to whether the whole bonus-or-job election could ever go down like that in a contemporary first world liberal democracy, though those doubts aren't big enough to make me any less gobsmacked by the wallops the bros deliver in this joint.
  21. I have absolutely no doubt that BOYHOOD will win Best Picture, and I'm also about as sure as I can be that it isn't very good.
  22. The only thing cooler than a new Sufjan Stevens album is hearing from Diane! Happy New Year, Diane!
  23. Hmph. I think I paid around $100 for it when we bought it for my oldest daughter for her fifteenth birthday in '12. This past summer she rewatched it with her sister, who was approaching fifteen. I think we got our money's worth.
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