Jan 192013

This is one of the most amazing images I’ve seen in a long time. (From here.) It Galileo’s notes on his observation of the movement of Jupiter’s moons. They are scribbled on the back of an envelope! You can see the wax seal and the address on the two right hand panels.

 January 19, 2013  Scratch File
Jan 142013

Total Recall was not as bad as everyone said. It was pastiche, yes. But I had the impression that if it had told its own story (rather than retelling a previous one) it would have seemed more successful. What I mean is very literal: if someone dubbed it into another language using a different script, the same shots and edit would seem much better.

Looper is very good. A clearly and economically presented premise, that is elegantly developed to an unexpected(ly) satisfying conclusion.

Given how rare it is to see even decent science fiction movies, I feel giddy at seeing two that I enjoyed in the same week.

 January 14, 2013  Movie Logs Tagged with:
Jan 142013

What I liked about this movie is that it was not character driven. I couldn’t really tell you about any of these people, and that takes absolutely nothing away from it. This is a movie that uses plot and narration to explain a complicated and important sequence of events. It is history. And it is very well done. I would like to see more movies operate in this mode.

ps–Clooney, Soderbergh, Affleck, and to a lesser extent, Damon are beginning to look like a school of American political cinema.

 January 14, 2013  Movie Logs
Jan 032013

QuietI read this book and felt like most of it could have been an autobiography. In other words, nothing here was news. Yet, I’m glad I read it. It gave me the simple reassurance of hearing things you know coming from someone else. And some vocabulary too.

The author has a blog here. I haven’t checked it out really, and it seems to operate in a self-help, motivational speaker mode (a bit like the book actually), but maybe there’s something good there.

I’ve also embedded the author’s TED talk below. Generally, I find these talks pretty insufferable, and this one is true to the form, but again, I identify so strongly with what Cain is saying that I find it great. The talk is more-or-less a summary of the book. So if you are looking for the main ideas without the details or exemplary stories, then give it a listen.

 January 3, 2013  Book Logs
Jan 012013

So I’m not sure if the Christmas episode is the end of the season or not, but I’ve watched all of Arrow that is available for now. And I like it. It started off strong and has stayed interesting. But it has also become network television: a lot of posing and posturing.

I guess I don’t understand television very well. I’m always surprised when a show with a coherent narrative arc transforms into a series of episodes worried mostly about creating business and punting the ball forward. In this particular case, it feels like the show is surprised it’s a success and is scrambling to figure out what’s next.

Still, I’m rooting for this show. So here’s hoping they use the break to get back on track.

 January 1, 2013  TV Logs Tagged with: ,
Jan 012013

Two extraordinary movies and Daniel Day-Lewis is simply incredible in both of them: Lincoln and My Left Foot.

Watching the second (My Left Foot), it occurred to me that making a film with Daniel Day-Lewis must be like a kind of combat. He is so strong that he owns the film. Any director wishing to avoid be caught up and torn apart by his wake must be strong in turn.

I wonder if that’s why he generally works with established auteurs. The press talk about him being picky, but maybe a lot of directors are scared and smart and stay away. Probably not, but it’s fun to think so.

ps–How had I not seen My Left Foot before?

 January 1, 2013  Movie Logs