Monday, April 26, 2004
Kill Bill 2

Kill Bill: Volume 2

Mommy Kills Daddy

Tarantino finishes his therapy session by showing Uma what it means to be a natural woman. And, this time, it’s a Western!

Monday, April 19, 2004
Hellboy

Hellboy

Nurture Crushes Nature

The Letter of Hellboy to the Galatians.

Monday, April 12, 2004
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Forget, Memory

The Whys of the Oubliette Film

Recent popular films on memory loss raise the question of whether it’s something to fear—or enjoy.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
The screenplay of Bob Hope's Road to Utopia, edited

First Drafts

Expectations and the Screenwriter

‘First Draft’ can mean many things, some of which are not just matters of preference.

Monday, April 05, 2004
Die Hard

Die Hard

What’s in a Name?

The thieves aren’t the bad guys. The media is. Or are they? Let’s name names.

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

Thursday, April 29, 2004

God, Send a Realistic Tech Flick

A take on the science and apparent propaganda of Godsend.In movies, anyone who dares to use a newfangled technology to ‘play God’ almost always opens the ‘gates of hell.’ Bad things emerge: Computers take on evil personalities, wars get started, secret matrixes are developed.” The logic of the article is dubious—how much of your opinions on science are taken from movies?—and the pro-cloning bias of the author is blatant, but the questions raised are interesting. Compare also the themes of Gattaca—Is Hollywood really being conservative in the arena of bioethics, of all places? Isn’t raising questions about the unintended consequences of a technology a traditional prerogative of fiction—particularly science fiction? How far can you question before you achieve mere propaganda? (Kristin Philipkoski, Wired News, 29 April 2004)

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

When There’s No More Room in Hell

Thanks also to The Other Joey for this link from Flak Magazine on Dawn of the Dead and other recent zombie flicks: “At their most primal, zombie movies are war movies, stories of us versus them. The zombies of both 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead bring war-torn chaos to the fragile world as we know it.” An interesting reflection on who gets to be “us.” (Tony Nigro, “When There’s No More Room in Hell: Zombies and Post-Sept. 11 Horror,” Flak Magazine, April 2004).

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Tarantino on The Passion

While we’re on the topic of Tarantino, it’s interesting to note his extremely positive reaction to The Passion of the Christ in this recent interview in LA Weekly. One suspects our cinematic idiot savant may have missed the point of Gibson’s movie, but it certainly makes Steve Beard’s analogy of The Passion as a Sunday School flannelgraph for the Kill Bill generation more plausible.

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Mortality and Mercy in Los Angeles

An interpretive review of Pulp Fiction from Michael Healy at PopMatters. “The fact that discussions about hamburgers are treated no more or less seriously than arguments about marital improprieties or divine intervention sets this film apart. Both the banal and the momentous ‘matter’ here.” Thanks to The Other Joey for the link.

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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Movie Physics

A site all geeks can be proud of: It’s Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics. There are reviews. And look: it’s The Worst Physics Movie Ever Made: The Core (2003). One might argue that they took it too seriously; most critics emphasized the film’s self-awareness of its own preposterousness, but then that’s most of the fun of being a geek. And they do have a category for movies that obviously are not intended to be taken seriously as science, like Spider-Man. Which reminds me—don’t miss their Matrix reviews (“there’s more romance in a chemistry set than between Trinity and Neo”), which, after an amusing attempt to take them seriously, consign the movies to scientific irrelevance.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Serious Writers and the Silver Screen

Sad but probably true. “Yesterday’s fiction writers have become today’s screenwriters. In an earlier time, a thoughtful, introspective type with a passion for storytelling and a head bubbling with ideas would have been a natural short story writer. But many artists have abandoned the genre in favor of screenplays. Aspiring writers once wanted to become James Joyce or William Faulkner. Surely now they want to become Charlie Kaufman or Joe Eszterhas.” (Kelly Jane Torrance, AFF Brainwash, April 2004). Markets aside, the word can still communicate more, or deeper, than the picture, as those who have read, rather than just watched, The Lord of the Rings can attest. And of course there’s still Sturgeon’s Law to make us feel better. Come to think of it, I dare anybody to fully capture a classic Sturgeon story on film.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Dogville

Here’s a provoking take on Lars von Trier’s 2003 film as a meditation on Matthew 11.20–24. “I submit that Dogville makes more sense and is meatier when seen as a religious film rather than a political one, the unfortunately crude and literal closing credits notwithstanding. But as a religious work of art, Dogville is a rare breed today—unapologetically moralistic, and displaying and justifying the most unpopular Christian doctrine of all—Hell.” (Victor Morton, 24fps Magazine)

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

James Bowman of the American Spectator has an interpretive review of the latest Kaufman film, suggesting that “All the science of this film’s science fiction is really there just to allow Joel and Clementine this moment of insight which, had we sufficient moral imagination, we all might share without any help from Dr. Mierzwiak and his black arts. . . . Here, in short, is a sort of playing God that is not just OK but is morality’s highest achievement..” (JamesBowman.net).

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

He says this like it’s a bad thing

Here’s criticism’s trade secret: you can find meaning in anything if you look hard enough. Contemplate a work of art and patterns inevitably emerge, echoes, resonances, allusions which can be brought out and amplified through exegesis, the interpretive conceit by which a critic simultaneously deconstructs and rebuilds, unveils and augments another writer’s metaphors, another writer’s vision. Part attention to detail, part science, part Vulcan mind meld, exegesis allows a critic to enter and extend the context of a work of art . . .” (Dale Peck, Maisonneuve, March 2004). He’s talking books, but we probably resemble this remark. Hopefully we are more amusing than the narcissistic (duh) baby boomer who is the foil for this pleasantly misanthropic attack.

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Monday, April 12, 2004

It’s not a documentary?

Here’s a short interview with Brian Dannelly, co-writer and director of the upcoming film Saved! He notes that the “most disappointing thing has been the attacks from Christians who haven’t seen the film.” Seems to be going around this season, doesn’t it? Attention human race: To look more intelligent, avoid pontificating on things of which you have no knowledge. Personally, I was surprised to see it was fictional. When we saw the trailer, my recovering-Pentecostal friends thought it was a documentary. You mean they just made some of it up? (e-church.com)

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