Monday, September 20, 2004
Blade Runner

Blade Runner

Paranoid Androids?

Science fiction or conspiracy theory? Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

By Dan Hobart ::: (1) Comments
Thursday, September 16, 2004
The Passion of the Christ

Gibson’s Sublime Passion

In Defense of the Violence

Why do we watch tragedies and horror movies? Philosopher Bill Irwin suggests that our answer can help explain why Gibson made The Passion of the Christ the way he did. It’s a matter of aesthetics, and there’s a distinction to be made between the beautiful and the sublime. A Metaphilm online exclusive.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

Angst: Teen vs. Gastrointestinal

A re-view from a new viewer. Perhaps a Prozac nation should pay attention.

By Ned Vizzini ::: (12) Comments

Other Recent Long Stuff

A Serious Man
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

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, September 30, 2004

Lebowski and C3PO

It looks like the Best of the Web column at OpinionJournal has taken to film interpretation, with some very funny (and textually supported) riffs recently on The Big Lebowski and Star Wars as applied to the U.S. presidential candidates. They opened with “Let the Wookiee Win,” a reading of Star Wars that identifies the neurotic droid with the Democrat and the inarticulate droid with the Republican. Still more amusing was the Tuesday column. James Taranto, the editor, has had a running joke on Kerry’s Vietnam focus, which he taps in his Lebowski comparison: “Lady, I got buddies who died face down in the muck so that you and I could enjoy this family restaurant!Wednesday’s column includes a response from the real-life Dude who inspired The Big Lebowski—apparently he’s a promoter for the upcoming Kerry biopic (on his service in Vietnam, surprisingly enough), in theaters tomorrow. Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up. Welcome to the film interpretation business, Mr. Taranto. Fun, isn’t it?

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Shaun of the Dead

The case can be made that many of us are walking zombies. We wake up, do some yawning and stretching, brush our teeth, go to work, eat dinner, watch TV . . . all to wake up, lather, rinse and repeat the next day.” A nice review and reminder. (Melisa Ruggieri, Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Fruitful, Consuming Paranoia: A Sci-Fi Master’s Madness

Speaking of Blade Runner, in a spectacular feat of serendipity, Sam Munson has a book review in the New York Observer on the latest biography of Philip K. Dick. “The progression from Blade Runner through Total Recall to Paycheck has all the hallmarks of one of his stories—black irony, psychological degradation, and the implication of a vast conspiracy organized to deceive and persecute one man. The young Dick would have written it as a dark comedy, the older as a bizarre Christian fable. Dick’s journey from neurotic bohemian to full-blown religious psychotic is as fascinating a tale as anything he ever wrote. . . . Mr. Carrère . . . has seized on the fact that Dick’s books resulted, almost uniformly, from progressively more serious derangements of his psyche.” If you’re interested, please buy the book here. And here I thought our interpreter was making it all up this time. Sorry for doubting you, Dan.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Movies as political puppets

There’s a good piece in the Christian Science Monitor about the upcoming crop of overtly political films for the fall election season. “Past political movies have tended to be broader in aim. Bulworth, for example, is a satire about politics in general rather than a specific person. Or they focused on past events (All the President’s Men, for instance) or on issues that are evergreens. By contrast, this year’s crop of movies act as the movie equivalent of political cartoons, aimed to make a political point even as they entertain.” The record of South Park bodes well for Team America: World Police, but the rest of these sound a bit dubious.

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Sunday, September 05, 2004

Monday Night at Morton’s

I just was introduced to Ben Stein’s “Monday Night at Morton’s” column on E! Online. Pity it is after he finished its run. A nice snip from the last column: “Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.” Very moving and, surprisingly enough, humble. His penultimate column is also worth a look.

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Hero and Propaganda

Jeff at the Beautiful Atrocities blog calls to our attention his discussion of Zhang Yimou’s Hero, suggesting that it may not be promoting pacifism but passivism. As for me, I’m off to see Zatoichi this weekend instead. 

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