Welcome to The Morning Read.
It's already Thursday? Really? Jesus, these weeks just slip away sometimes. I haven't made it to Amoeba yet this week, but I'm looking forward to making a trip down there this weekend. A lot of interesting stuff came out. For TV collectors, there's "Dexter: The Complete Third Season," "Sons Of Anarchy: Season One," "The Simpsons: Season 12" (which I can't wait to pick up), and "The Adventures Of Tintin, Vol. 1 - 10." That's actually two different box sets of animated episodes based on the comic series that is currently being turned into feature films by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. I keep hearing how no one in America has ever heard of Tintin, but I read the comics in "Boy's Life" growing up, and HBO had the animated show on the air for years and years, so I'm not sure I buy the idea that "no one knows what that is."
As far as film goes, it's a mixed bag of stuff this week. I'd say the highest profile title is "Hannah Montana: The Movie," not really something I'm rushing out to pick up. I'm more intersted in some of the catalog titles hitting BluRay, like "The Last Starfighter," "Kagemusha" and Tati's "Play Time" (both from Criterion), or "Go," which I revisited for the first time since I saw it theatrically. Recent releases hitting BluRay include James Toback's "Tyson" and the remake of "The Last House On The Left," both of which are okay but not great. Then there are the small oddities, like "Icons Of Sci-Fi: The Toho Collection," "Pete's Dragon," "The Five Deadly Venoms," or the '80s T&A movies "The Hardbodies Collection" and "Spring Break." There are also two recent indie titles, both worth your time, called "Julia" and "Surveillance," rounding out a very eclectic group of titles.
Oh, look, it's me on "Attack Of The Show":
[more after the jump]
Yep, that's all 400 pounds of my head, on TV for all to see. I think the appearance went well overall, and more and more, I'm excited about what effect "District 9" and its success could have on the industry as a whole. The idea that the unknown lead and the first-time director weren't a detriment is sort of revolutionary in a town where everything has to be pre-marketed, pre-sold, or pre-digested. Sad, but true.
Hey, good news! Everyone on my Christmas list is now officially taken care of and squared away. Hey, bad news! They're all getting this.
Here's a story I find mind-boggling. Seriously. My mind is boggled even as we speak. This Hal Turner struck me as a giant piece of shit when I first read about him, but at least if someone is offering up their genuine opinion, I can respect that they are doing the wrong thing for a sincere reason. When I read that the person is actually just baiting extremists, and being paid for it, and still pumping this sort of toxic hate into our culture, it makes me loathe that person and the FBI in equal measure. Dirty pool, guys, and what a vile toad to have to climb into bed with to accomplish your shitty goals. It also raises some questions that seem well worth asking.
I love this story about how a father of a daughter who has been diagnosed with autism took her to see "Ponyo," only to realize that the film played as a story about autism. I don't think that was Miyazaki's attempt, but the feeling of recognizing a personal human truth while watching a film... that's one of the reasons I'm addicted to movies. There's no feeling quite like it, and in this particular case, his explanation strikes me as both accurate and deeply moving. Great stuff.
I'm not really the biggest Michael Moore fan in the world. I think Michael Moore probably holds that title. But I did like some of his early work, particularly "TV Nation" and "The Awful Truth," shows that I felt served as an interesting and occasionally vital precursor to "The Daily Show," where I think Moore's particular talents were best utilized. I just saw the trailer for his latest film, "Capitalism: A Love Story," which he claims is a goodbye to documentaries for him:
If that's true, then he may go out on a high note. He's got a great subject this time, and if he's done his legwork, he'll have a hell of a story to present. I just hope he balances the biting humor and the genuine information this time in a way that doesn't come across as pure polemic.
Congratulations, Christopher Hart. I don't ever need to take your opinion on a film seriously again. In an article for The Daily Mail, Hart has decided to rail about how Lars Von Trier's "Anti-Christ" was classified with an 18 certificate in the UK, and how this is the end of civilization as we know it. He makes sure to point out that he hasn't seen the film and never will, and then writes the following:
"The world of 'Antichrist,' by contrast, is blatantly amoral, without any sense of justice or retribution whatever. Its mingling of sex and violence, the cheapest and nastiest trick in the book, is usually one which the BBFC pounces on in a straight horror film. But here they are blinded by their own cultural snobbery, swallowing the lie that 'Antichrist' is Art."
Well, how do you know, you dumb ponce? You gigantic tit? You unspeakable wanker? How would you know, since you haven't seen it and never will, as you put it? I have seen "Anti-Christ," and I'll go on the record and say that you have no idea what you're talking about, and your infantile tantrum regarding the freedom for other adults to watch and discuss a challenging work of art marks you as the enemy. You're an enemy to anyone who works outside the norm. You're an enemy to anyone who would dare challenge the conventional. And you're an enemy to art in general if you start making sweeping declarations about what should or shouldn't be "allowed." Art is not always about making you feel comfortable, and nor should it be. Anyone who thinks that banning films is justified just because they don't agree with your world view? That guy is the enemy by definition. I've never read Christopher Hart before, and trust me... I'll never make the mistake of reading him again.
Want a list to chew on? How about Rick Moody's list of the five best movies about drugs? Moody is the author of "The Ice Storm" and other works, and a heck of a good writer overall.
So does it make me crazy if I think this actually looks sort of interesting?
That's an unused version of the trailer that Bloody-Disgusting put up. Interesting stuff. I hated Zombie's first "Halloween," but that's because I thought he over-explained Michael and then did a perfunctory rush job on telling the actual story. With this sequel, he's actually got room to do something no film has done since the first one: make Michael scary. This time, Rob's playing up the legend, the notion of a dead man walking, and there are some really creepy images I've seen from this film now. I also like the suggestion I'm getting from some of the photos and clips that Laurie has snapped this time around, and that maybe she's got a little Michael in her, too. That's a new idea, and I like it. It certainly can't be worse than the first one, right?
"Inglourious Basterds" finally opens tomorrow, and I'm going to a midnight show with my buddy Scott. We've seen every Tarantino-directed film in the theater together since "Reservoir Dogs," where we were very nearly the only people in the place. I'm excited to see it a second time, and more than that, to get into the conversations that will no doubt erupt once everyone's seen it. I was sort of impressed by Karina Longworth's piece today on the way her reaction to the film has evolved since Cannes, and I would offer her this response: when Eli Roth saw the film in San Diego, the first time since Cannes, he was shocked by how different it felt to him. I think taking a second look was important since obviously Quentin and Sally Menke kept working, and you can do some pretty radical things to the way a movie works in editing. I can only hope Jonathan Rosenbaum, a smart and interesting writer, eventually finds it in himself to revisit the film, but it sounds like his mind's made up and it was more of a full-system recoil than a simple dislike of this or that element of the movie. I wonder if Rosenbaum's read this exchange between Ebert and Quentin, which I found really illuminates the aspect of the film (its alternate history) that seems to chap Rosenbaum's ass the most.
My kids are growing up in a science-fiction movie. And I love it!
This looks sort of awesome, doesn't it?
Although if you're not a "Venture Bros." fan, I imagine you have no idea what the hell any of that meant, and you're more than likely annoyed with me at this point.
For you, I offer this:
Everyone gets that. Because that shit is true.
Xeni Jardin, BoingBoing's ubermistress, put up a few more goodies for fans of "The Mighty Boosh," wrapping up a superb week of coverage of the English comedy cult phenomenon. There's this video, which features exclusive footage of their Roxy gig:
And then there's this early look at a book they're publishing:
And finally, Dave Eggers just published a gorgeous, amazing excerpt from his upcoming adaptation of "Where The Wild Things Are," which is less of an adaptation and more of a side interpretation, featuing material which didn't make it into the film and digressions and all sorts of stuff. Eggers discusses what it is, exactly, here, and then you can read the full excerpt online here.
Is it Oct. 16th yet?
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