| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
Just have to mention what leaden bores Love Actually & Big Fish are
Got through the former because Susan was into it, and there were some sweet moments, if you're awake for them.
OK, some other film notes:
32 Short Films About Glenn Gould got us into him for a couple days, I copped The Goldberg Variations from the library. Neat slice of a genius's life.
I'd never seen Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, only Smiley's People (which for some unholy reason isn't available on disc right now). It's about on par with the latter, the best stuff of its kind. Perfect for Sir Guinness, of course.
Spoorlos -- the original Vanishing -- was perfectly awful. I stayed with it mostly to confirm that it wasn't going to redeem itself, and I wasn't disappointed.
Finally saw Man on the Moon, which was very good. Probably would be more resonant if the country wasn't mired in reactionary lunkheadedness, I think.
Also caught up with Empire of the Sun, which I held my breath and plunged into because I'd just read the book finally too. The book is very good, especially on the psychology of living in a detention camp: very bleak and spooky. Essential for Ballard fans of course. The movie was among the most watchable of Spielberg's for me: though less dark than the book, he didn't pull punches like I figured he might. No one has really gotten the Ballard tone on screen yet though.
The Black Hand is a pretty nifty and surprisingly sharp portrayal of a few stalwarts' fight against the Italian mob in NYC in the early 20th century. Gene Kelly is quite good, and the script realistic.
Tokyo Story took a while to sink in, and I think Ozu may be a bit too formal and old school for me now (though it was nowhere near as static as I expected), but the maturity and humanity of his world view is unparalleled. Floating Weeds is just out on Criterion and includes an earlier version of the story Ozu did decades earlier.
I actually sat through a movie starring James Cagney & Doris Day! Love Me or Leave Me is from '55, and both of them are at their best. Day could act back then, and Cagney's scenery chewing is on a tight leash. It's the supposedly true story of 20s singing star Ruth Etting extracting herself over the years from the gangster who made her famous.
The Channel 4 production The Miles Davis Story is well worth seeing if you're a fan, not shying away from his sometimes violent misogyny and control-freak nature as well as documenting his remarkable genius at putting bands together to create the music he wanted to hear. After(?) Armstrong, the most important musician of the century; but perhaps even more inportantly, his ferocious creativity and Teo Macero's pre-hiphop cut-up technique were astoundingly challenging and revolutionary. Even that 10-second blast at the beginning of "Sun City" is so "on" it still gives me the shivers.
I was surprised by The Last of Shiela too. Much better than I expected. Like The Big Sleep, I don't really care if the mystery has any loose ends (though I doubt it -- it was obviously a labor of love for writers Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim, who staged similar mystery games with friends), it's just fun to watch the actors and hear the spot-on satire of Hollywood. James's Coburn and Mason have a great time.
Chuck Workman's The Source is as good an intro to the Beats as will ever be assembled.
Lastly, Almodovar's Talk to Her and Kaneto Shindo's Onibaba are each unique & well worth your time. Both tackle the mystery of sex in allusive and idiosyncratic ways.
Both films deal with damnation, death, and resurrection. Neither offers any hope for salvation through human virtue. In this sense, The Passion of the Christ is as much a horror movie as Dawn of the Dead. Why are films about gory resurrection so popular right now? The answer may lie in both the age-old relationship between resurrection mythology and birth trauma, and in the more modern, but no more new apocalyptic anxiety that's been growing since 9-11.
The more frightened we become, the more we express our fear through political paranoia, scapegoating, and collective violence. For a time, this serves the interests of the powerful, as they use our anxiety to justify militarism abroad and the elimination of civil liberties at home. In doing so, they feed the beast within, encouraging our feelings of hatred and vanity, until that beast grows so large and vicious that it begins to exert its influence over its former masters. At that point, when personal passions transform into public psychosis, our suicidal descent into fascism becomes irreversible.
Sounds like Gibson's little devotional gorefest is more nihilistic than Fight Club -- and with no sense of humor -- or redemption -- at all.
Fortunately, I think increasing numbers of people here and abroad are taking a step back from this abyss.
Fear is more than just the mind-killer, in this context.
Here's hoping the new Tortoise does more for me than Standards; Jeff Chang props it up, though he's a little too hep for me, wordwise
In fact, It's All Around You sounds less like post-millennial Soft Machine than the kind of world parties that form the new underground of the over-30 hip-hop-gen set?Marley Marl '86 bass thump, Art Ensemble '69 funk, Japanese dub, Brazilian samba, Afrodisco, British broken beatronix. Tortoise may be the only band that can match the everything-mashup steez, sonic skills, conceptual ambition, and breakbeat heat of the Roots.
In case you haven't heard or figured it out yet...
If you take SSRI anti-depressants you might want to read this
Of the five SSRIs reviewed - fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram, and venlafaxine, only fluoxetine (Prozac) offers more benefits than risks in children. Unpublished studies of venlafaxine, for example, suggested the drug increased suicide-related events such as suicidal thoughts or attempts by 14 times compared with placebo.
Back from the dead (or at least hibernation) to mention the delightful news that Richard Kelly's excellent Donnie Darko is being re-released in a new Director's Cut with 21 minutes not seen in the original, including footage that isn't even included in the deleted scenes on the DVD
It's premiering in Seattle in May, and follow-up wide release to depend on the reaction there.
Great to see a fine film that got lost in the shuffle get a second chance.
Ain't It Cool posted this entry last fall that whets the appetite for Kelly's next feature Knowing, which he'll get to start next year, the fickle and mad gods of Hollywood allowing...
If you're reading this tonight, TCM has a great (though disparate) quartet of movies on starting at 11PM PT: Godard's Le Petit Soldat, classic suspense thriller The Day of the Jackal, William Wyler's classis 1936 drama Dodsworth and Kansas City Confidential, a very good noir indeed.
If you're reading this later, check these out on your own
The invention of the quartz clock in the '30s proved 18th century astronomers right: the earth's spin was slowing down. Now atomic clocks say since 1999 it's been speeding up (scroll down to Bruce Sterling's column).
The total opposition in the styles of Parfrey and Metzger would make it hard to believe initially that they are in the same line of work. Apart from the cigarette readily to hand, Metzger might be mistaken for a suit-on-the-make, and has indeed been a privateer on the corporate high seas for more than a decade, cutting deals and shivering cyber-timbers in the wild woolly web world of the 1990s. Parfrey is far more the traditional bohemian publisher, with roots in postpunk, sex, drugs, body piercing, tattoos, and G.G. Allin. His 1987 book Apocalypse Culture became the bible of social deviants and rebels-without-a-clue in the terminal Reagan times of serial killers, Satanic conspiracy, Iran-Contra, and Michael Jackson as the Antichrist. If Metzger resembles the counterculture's own Agent Smith, Parfrey is its veteran Jedi in black shirt and pants who wears weary resignation like a battle scar. "I keep thinking you can get to the bottom of human behavior, that it can never get any more sordid or pathetic," Parfrey says, "but I'm always wrong."
The bond between the two men is that they publish material major publishing houses would not touch without a hazmat suit. Their product plumbs the depths of the difficult, decadent, and disturbing, and neither is afraid to confront that old Nietzschean abyss, or present ideas so far out in left field that they might encounter aliens on the return trip. The cultural possibilities in this first decade of the 21st century have been made infinitely diverse by huge leaps in communications technology, and both men are pushing these possibilities to the limit. They create their share of shock, surprise, and consternation, which is no easy task in a world that attempts to encompass everything from pop mannequin Ryan Seacrest to young gay men establishing their queer identity by deliberately becoming HIV-positive. An added plus is that both Parfrey and Metzger have based themselves in Los Angeles, helping to negate the jibes of "less culture than yogurt."
The music industry says it repeatedly, with passion and conviction: downloading hurts sales.
That statement is at the heart of the war on file sharing, both of music and movies, and underpins lawsuits against thousands of music fans, as well as legislation approved last week by a House Judiciary subcommittee that would create federal penalties for using what is known as peer-to-peer technology to download copyrighted works. It is also part of the reason that the Justice Department introduced an intellectual-property task force last week that plans to step up criminal prosecutions of copyright infringers.
But what if the industry is wrong, and file sharing is not hurting record sales?
It might seem counterintuitive, but that is the conclusion reached by two economists who released a draft last week of the first study that makes a rigorous economic comparison of directly observed activity on file-sharing networks and music buying.
"Downloads have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero, despite rather precise estimates," write its authors, Felix Oberholzer-Gee of the Harvard Business School and Koleman S. Strumpf of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.