Saturday, May 15, 2004
cryptogon speculates on the suspicions around the Berg beheading, and links between it and the al Ghraib atrocities and black magic rituals
All I'll say is that anyone who thinks this is just about "a few bad apples" in the Army is under a spell.
1:20 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Despite the reactionary clamor & questionable polls...
As the Supremes counter the anti-gay marriage stands of both candidates and OK the Mass. law, the
mainstreaming MainStreeting of same-sex culture seems a fait accompli
Unlike Provincetown and Guerneville, though, Wilton Manors [FL] is not a resort town. Nor does it does conform to clichés about what the United States' third-gayest city would be like. Its homes are modest, built mostly in the 1960's and of no particular architectural interest. There are no chic restaurants, no gym. End of an era...
Indeed, as a gay magnet, Wilton Manors has returned to its Middle American roots. While the debate over same-sex marriage may rage in places like Provincetown, which is to begin issuing marriage licenses on May 17, the concerns here seem more typically provincial.
"Gay marriage is not a lightning-rod issue here," said Gary Resnick, one of three openly gay men on the five-member City Commission. "For the most part when people call the City Council they're calling about local issues ? noise, road work, things like that."
Wilton Manors is to urban revitalization what "Will and Grace" was to prime-time television ? proof that people may be more accepting of gays than polls suggest. The gay and straight worlds have integrated without much incident here. A Kiwanis Club cookout draws a mix of straight and gay people, as does the annual canoe race. Straight families take in the city's annual Stonewall Festival, a gay pride event. Young gay couples befriend their straight retiree neighbors.
Ross Carson, a 39-year-old anesthesiologist who moved here two years ago with his partner, said he had been impressed by the balance.
Gayness, Dr. Carson said, is "a nonissue here, and that's what I like about it."
1:03 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
I've been leafing through a library copy of VideoHound's World Cinema : The Adventurer's Guide to Movie Watching and it's a fun reference, not comprehensive of course -- probably couldn't lift it if it was -- but a good way to check out what's been happening around the world.
TCM is featuring a piece on the new VideoHound's Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films from the Psychedelic Era, which I'm sure is a hoot, though it's by a different author.
I also found reference at TCM to an early film by Kinji Fukasaku, Rage: If You Were Young, which I see Netflix carries. He's apparently known more for his yakuza flicks, it's all new to me. But I'm watching more Asian fare lately, with mixed but interesting results, so I'll check it out.
It certainly took long enough, but the late Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku finally broke through to bona fide Western cult status at the tender age of 70 with his powerhouse dystopian classic, Battle Royale, perhaps the most widely-seen feature film never released in any home video form in America. Fans looking through his earlier work for glimmers of the same material will find plenty to mine in If You Were Young: Rage (1970), a youth-oriented melodrama bemoaning the status of a Japanese society which favors bureaucracy and the almighty yen over the natural resources of its young people.
The recent reappraisal and discovery favoring Fukasaku's astonishing yakuza films might hit a stumbling block here, as Fukasaku embarks on something closer to a neorealist drama gone haywire. Five youths come to Tokyo looking for work, with most of the focus kept on Kikuo (Tetsuo Ishidate) and Asao (Gin Maeda), both determined laborers left flailing after job opportunities dry up. The group pools money to buy a dump truck, nicknamed "Independence No. 1," as a means of becoming contractors for hire; however, the world proves less than hospitable to their hopes and dreams.
12:26 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Thursday, May 13, 2004
"basically the movies are commercials for the DVD's"
DVD revenues outdo theatre receipts, resuscitate series about to be chopped (e.g., 24, and for awhile Family Guy), and provide the industry at least a temporary hedge against losses due to "piracy"
The old Hollywood model of needing to recoup three times the production cost at the box office to make a profit is long gone. But many are asking: What is the new model?
The answer to that may lie with a little-known movie called "Office Space" (1999). The satire by Mike Judge, co-creator of the animated television series "King of the Hill," cost 20th Century Fox about $10 million to make, and took in just $10 million at the box office. But on DVD the movie has become a hit, with the studio so far selling 2.5 million units, well over $40 million worth.
There are other examples of surprising windfalls. The Lion's Gate comedy "Van Wilder" was renamed "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" and has unexpectedly become a hit on DVD, where it sits alphabetically next to other National Lampoon movies.
A moderate hit like the DreamWorks comedy "Old School" starring Will Ferrell took in $73 million at the box office, but made an astounding $143.5 million on DVD.
1:45 AM - [Link] - Comments ()