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Ever since director Steven Soderbergh gave up shooting his movies on film they have not been as good. He now shoots digitally on a camera called the Red. I do not know for sure that we can blame his change in shooting format for the cold uniformity that his movies now seem to possess. It is just my opinion, but his best work remains in 35mm: “Out of Sight” (1998) and “The Limey” (1999).
Soderbergh’s new film, “Side Effects” is not bad, compared to his recent output. In many respects it is a neat little thriller about a psychiatrist, played by Jude Law, who is in a heap of trouble over medication that he gave to his patient, played by Rooney Mara.
Here is the problem. A movie like “Side Effects” can have what is called a “second read.” Here is the way it works…or should work. On second viewing an audience member will have superior knowledge due to the fact that he, or she, now knows how things are going to turn out. A twisty thriller, in which all may not be what it first appears, requires that scenes be played so that they will work for a first time viewer as well as a second time viewer. The latter will have superior knowledge of the film. In other words the director cannot cheat. Some good examples of “second read” movies include “The Usual Suspects” (1995), “The Sixth Sense” (1999) and “Fight Club” (1999). While I will not give away any of the twists in “Side Effects,” I should point out that there are moments which will not hold up in a second viewing. The problem usually occurs when we see a character who is putting on a act, that will not be revealed until later, alone. Since the character is all by his or her self, he or she can let down their guard. If the character does not let down their guard then this may be fine for a first time viewing but will not hold up in a second viewing. In other words why continue the act if no one is around?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 31,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals
I will be teaching sociology 101 at CUNY Queens College from 1/2 – 1/23/13 W1-LEC (11324). This will be a lively, fun and informative course that uses all kinds of movies – feature films, documentaries and shorts – to illustrate sociological concepts. Plus you will bang out three credits in only three weeks!
Some of the films to be analyzed:
Saturday Night Fever
Dog Day Afternoon
Harry & Tonto
51 Birch Street
The Kids Grow Up
DOC NYC comes to IFC (Independent Film Center) and the SVA (School of Visual Arts) Theatre from November 8-11. It will be the third year for this exciting documentary film festival.
DOC NYC will present 115 films and festival events. Filmmaker appearances include Michael Moore, Jonathan Demme, Alan Berliner, Ken Burns, Alex Gibney, Barbara Kopple and Rory Kennedy. Other guests include Pete Seeger, Jared Leto, Andy Summers, Jared Leto, Rufus Wainwright and Ice-T.
In my film festival experience bad documentaries are few and far between. While they certainly do exist, there seems to be a consistently higher level of quality in the documentary world than in the world of narrative feature films, at least as far as film festivals are concerned. Since a film festival consists of untested commodities (in other words, we do not usually know, in advance, what is good) there is a greater chance of seeing quality work by sticking with the documentaries. Therefore, in the case of DOC NYC, a film festival composed entirely of documentaries, I submit that it is hard to go wrong.
Three of the most interesting documentaries that I was able to preview, although very different, have in common the theme of obsession. These three films are “Persistence of Vision,” “Radioman,” and “Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: the Tomi Ungerer Story.” Read the rest of this entry
On Tuesday, June 12, actors Richard Gere and Oscar winner, Louis Gossette, Jr. will participate in a post screening discussion of their hit 1982 film “An Officer and a Gentleman.” The screening is being presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Academy Arts and Sciences. It will take place at the Academy Theatre at Lighthouse International, 111 East 59th Street, at 7:00. Read the rest of this entry
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
My appearance on The Checkerboard Kids program.
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.
A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2010. That’s about 29 full 747s.
In 2010, there were 72 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 119 posts. There were 110 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 97mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was November 15th with 160 views. The most popular post that day was “Brilliant Love” at 2010 Tribeca Film Festival .
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mail.yahoo.com, blackboard.newschool.edu, emsworth.wordpress.com, and technology.timesonline.co.uk.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for brilliant love, brilliantlove, clint eastwood, mike nichols, and basquiat.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
In a Lonely Place July 2009
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) August 2010
Jean Michel-Basquait: The Radiant Child July 2010
Atom Egoyan’s new film “Chloe” is a tale of sexual obsession, a sort of thinking person’s “Fatal Attraction” with Julianne Moore in the Michael Douglas role…well sort of. While “Fatal Attraction” (1987) dealt with a married man’s consequences for his infidelity “Chloe” takes a different slant. The story deals with a woman’s investigation into her husband’s private life after she finds a picture of him with one of his female students. The event occurs after the husband returns home late from a business trip claiming to have missed his plane. Read the rest of this entry
The best reason to see “The Exploding Girl” is Zoe Kazan. She anchors this latest entry in the genre known as “mumblecore,” a term for low budget films that focus on the daily life and speech patterns of “twenty-somethings.” Other examples of “mumblecore” include the work Andrew Bujalski, “Funny Ha, Ha” (2002) and “Beeswax” (2009). My problem with “Mumblecore” is that it tends to be short on story and long on character idiosyncrasies – halting speech patterns, daily life details, etc. Read the rest of this entry