Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich

Happiness Is a Warm Portal

On being a tour through the history of philosophy.

Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich

Who’s a Puppet?

Celebrity stalkers are only being honest.

By Dan Hobart ::: (1) Comments
Monday, March 22, 2004
Punch Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love

Popeye the Novelty Toilet Accessory Man

Share the pain as Adam Sandler—er, Barry Egan—tries to figure out what it is to be a man.

Monday, March 15, 2004
The Sopranos

The Sopranos

Bada-Being and Nothingness

Murderous Melodrama or Morality Play? A Metaphilm online exclusive.

By Al Gini ::: (0) Comments
Sunday, March 07, 2004
The screenplay of Rocky (1976)

Is Grammer and Foremat Important?

Style, Substance, and Screenwriting

If you look illiterate, does your screenplay suffer? Or, why you need to have rules before you can break them.

Monday, March 01, 2004
The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ

The Irony and the Ecstasy

If faith is the evidence of things unseen, then what’s a movie? Or, why the Pope said what he allegedly did.

By metaphilm ::: (0) Comments

Other Recent Long Stuff

Up
Sympathy for the Devil
Watchmen
The Maltese Falcon
Neo’s Passport
The Dark Knight
A Copy of a Copy of a Copy
The Dreamers
The Dreamers
Reading Inland Empire

Books to Phlog

Understanding Jaques EllulUnderstanding Jacques Ellul, by Greenman, Schuchardt, and Toly, will be of special interest to Metaphilm readers as Jacques Ellul understood cinema as one of the chief tools of propaganda used by the state to distract the masses from that which matters.

Metaphlog

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Elvish Is Studied Here

These days, the pilgrimage of choice for the true Tolkien fan is . . . Milwaukee. No, really. Marquette University has the definitive manuscript collection, and it’s surprisingly accessible to the average fan. “Fans and academics alike come here because they want to know how Tolkien did it—and maybe, if they dig deep enough, find an intimate connection to a world that has long lived in their imagination.” (Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar 2004, registration required)

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Monday, March 29, 2004

Life of Brian

James Lileks has gotten his hands on the new DVD of Monty Python’s Life of Brian and offers a good discussion of its felicities and foibles. “Is it blasphemous? Well, no. It’s about human fallibility, and the way it infects—at the first possible opportunity—any search for transcendence. Not an original idea, and not a profound one either, but it’s done with grim brio and comic skill.

Given the news that the Pythons are also re-releasing Life of Brian to theaters to counter The Passion of the Christ (to which the Fark editors attach the hilarious label Jesus Chainsaw Massacre), it’s worth reconsidering this comedy classic—which I love. Though this is not his point, Lileks makes a good case that Brian is another instance of true believers (in nihilism, in this case) promoting their dogma through art. The Pythons are thus unintentionally ironic in using their movie to attempt to undermine that of another faith. Just remember that the last joke is on you.

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Friday, March 26, 2004

Ancanar Footage to Premiere at Ringbearer’s Day

In eager expectation of the upcoming Ringbearer’s Day, we suggest you take a peek at the official Ancanar site to get to know more about this story.  At Ringbearer’s Day, New Yorkers will be the first American audience to see footage from this exciting new Tolkien-inspired film.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Perfect! It’s actually my ... third choice ... but it’s wonderful

If you’ve ever wanted to be in someone else’s body for fifteen minutes, well, we can’t help you.  However, Being Charlie Kaufman can give you a peek inside of—“It’s MY HEAD, Schwartz. It’s MY head!”—one of today’s best screenwriters.

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Thursday, March 18, 2004

The Dark Materials debate

Wow. Absolutely fascinating interview with atheist author Philip Pullman and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on faith, fiction, and film. Williams: “I think film is deeply metaphorical and I think that actually, the last thing film does, is to represent what’s there. To me, it’s about the creation of a particular visual sequence—highly patterned, highly stylised. Some directors, of course, are much more overt about that than others. It’s animated icons rather than representation. Things don’t happen like that.” Wide-ranging talk including why many overtly religious films do not work. (London Telegraph, 17 Mar 2004)

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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Shock and Awe, or Plot and Acting?

A discussion of spectacle in the arts, from Lord of the Rings and The Lion King to Cats and Cirque du Soleil. The effects are impressive. Is that enough? “The urge to be amazed and overwhelmed is as old as theater itself. Extravagant spectacle entertainments thrived in early imperial Rome, 16th century Bali, 19th century America—almost anywhere that a crowd could be gathered and held captive by a good showman. But suspicion of bedazzlement also has a long tradition.” (Steven Winn, “When movies and plays set out to shock and awe, minor details like, oh, plot and acting can be left in the dust,” San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Mar 2004)

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Monday, March 15, 2004

Is The Sopranos a Chick Show?

Since we’re on the subject: “‘Sex and the City was about gay men; The Sopranos is about straight women,’ says Regina Barreca, a professor of English and feminist theory at the University of Connecticut and editor of a collection of essays called A Sit Down with the Sopranos.” (Salon, premium or day-pass required)

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Monday, March 08, 2004

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth

In the wake of the success of the Lord of the Rings movies, British geek Sandy Starr reflects on what this might mean for the wider culture. “But enjoyable though it is, even an incorrigible geek such as myself has to confess that the mainstreaming of geekdom is far from a healthy phenomenon.” (Spiked). Interesting and unsatisfying. Escapism is not the end-all of science fiction and fantasy. And even if it were, one might refer her to the comments of Tolkien and Pratchett that it all depends on what you’re trying to escape from. Almost it sounds like she’s got an introvert version of Stockholm syndrome or has internalized the values of an extrovert-driven culture.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Movie Alphabet Game

In the spirit of The Branding Alphabet, it’s The Movie Alphabet Game!  Or, additional evidence for the total psychic victory of consumer culture (and cinema as its highest commodity).  Note too the legal disclaimer at the bottom, revealing just how seriously (and reverently) movie images are perceived.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Today, a Movie Beauty’s Got to Look Beastly

Apparently we’re not the only ones asking the question about beautiful actresses in uglified roles. New York journalist Lauren Sandler has a well-done piece in the 2 March 2004 Los Angeles Times that addresses it, too: “Today, the smart/beautiful split means that to get in the door, an actress needs to look perfect, but to claim the throne, she needs to play smart. And increasingly in Hollywood, that means rendering herself unbeautiful.” (registration required)

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The Constant Traveler
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