Notable film and media links--August 5, 2009
---The disturbing truth underlying Popeye.
---Jonathan Rosenbaum gets fed up with worrying about spoilers:
"The weird metaphysical implication of spoilers is that moviegoers and readers who fret about them want to regain their innocence, perhaps maybe even their infancy, and experience everything as if it were absolutely fresh. From this standpoint, we shouldn’t even know what films we’re going to see in advance, or who stars in them, or who directed them, or what they’re about, or perhaps even where they’re playing. Just so we can experience the bliss of being taken there by benevolent parents."
---The Film Doctor's instant trailer reactions: The Other Man (Liam Neeson searches for his wife instead of his daughter), The Open Road (looks uncommonly bad. Jeff Bridges (?!?!?)), GoodTimesKid (weirdly compelling), The Killing Room (bleh), Good Hair (intriguing), I Sell the Dead (overkill).
---For Interview, Jack Nicholson interviews January Jones of Mad Men:
"While Don wears the idea of his own character as an allegory for the fallacies and facades of mid-century America as easily (and well) as he does his suits, Betty negotiates it all like she’s being slowly submerged in a bath of scalding hot water, constantly trying to hold back the screams. Even in his worst moments, Don somehow manages to keep up the old movie-star vibe and look stylishly askew. But real life, like Betty, is more often strange and messy. Her alabaster skin, icy blue eyes, and set-and-sprayed blond hair betray a sort of inner conflict that’s quietly escalated into a kindemotional mushroom cloud. She has ideas—about how people should act and how life should be—that are clearly not her own, and yet she’s always judging, judging, judging. But the main difference between Don and Betty is that she really believes in it all—her perfect-looking family, her suburban life, the overarching values of the world in which she lives—and the way she slowly breaks down as she watches everything get pulled apart, degraded, and even destroyed is what hints at the existence of some sort of living, beating heart at the core of the show. And then, in the moments when Betty snaps, like at the end of the first season, when she shoots her neighbor’s homing pigeon or gives themixed-up 9-year-old son of the neighborhood divorcée a lock of her hair, or during thesecond season, when she accuses Don of having an affair and wanders around the house in a cocktail dress for two days, or when she’s told by a man at a riding club to whom she’s attracted that she looks sad and responds, `My people are Nordic.' . . . Well, those are the reasons to watch Mad Men."
---Jason Bellamy and Ed Howard's seventh impressive conversation, this time about Michael Mann.
---Tony Dayoub of Cinema Viewfinder will host a Brian De Palma Blog-A-Thon on September 7-16. De Palma's ouevre includes Carlito's Way, Casualties of War, Body Double, and The Untouchables.
---T.S. of Screen Savour takes on the films of Buster Keaton:
"Keaton — born Joseph Francis, he earned the nickname `Buster' performing as a young man with his vaudevillian family, known for being able to `take a buster' in the way he could fall — plays this expectations game in his comedy. In the best of Keaton's films, things rarely turn out the way we expect they will. It is not simply that he will fall, flee, or fly, but it is what awaits him at the end of that momentarily airborne journey. This works because Keaton's is also a comedy of space, of expertly constructing and implementing set-pieces down to the millimeter so that everything goes according to plan. That plan, of course, is for everything not to go according to plan for the character on screen. When Keaton jumps from one building to another, for example, there is a good chance that Keaton-the-character has drastically underestimated the distance and fails in a gloriously funny fashion; Keaton-the-director, who performed all of his stunts, knows exactly the degree to which he will fail and has it worked out perfectly. In an important way this is different from standard slapstick. David Thomson notes that most silent comedies `did little more than film the comedian's act,' which usually included some sort of slapstick or physical humor; but Keaton's films are elaborate works of art built with the camera in mind — in other words, films, not mere performances. Chaplin, who also made films and avoided simply performing an act, often fell as well, but in a way that tried to defy gravity. Keaton fell in a way that worked with gravity; his world is occupied with physical objects that have real weight and often real consequences."
---The importance of buying food.
---Andrew Sullivan celebrates Hypernova, Iranian indie-rock.
---The perils of fame: Trent Reznor explains why he had to get off of Twitter.
---Lastly, for The New York Times, Michael Pollan meditates on our curious culinary habits in relation to Julie & Julia:
"But here’s what I don’t get: How is it that we are so eager to watch other people browning beef cubes on screen but so much less eager to brown them ourselves? For the rise of Julia Child as a figure of cultural consequence — along with Alice Waters and Mario Batali and Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse and whoever is crowned the next Food Network star — has, paradoxically, coincided with the rise of fast food, home-meal replacements and the decline and fall of everyday home cooking."