Thursday, February 13, 2014

The World That I See: Reads and Listens #3


This past weekend, I finally made it to the theaters and saw Gravity on a giant IMAX screen. Thanks, Oscar nominations! This was also a rare occasion where I was okay with paying for 3D. It was my first (and only) time since Avatar, and it was an even better theatrical experience. I ended up with a headache but had a great time with the very intense movie. Even so, there are only a small group of releases that shine in the 3D format. It’s mostly just a cash grab designed to make even more money for blockbusters like The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Sadly, I don’t expect this trend to change anytime soon.

This week, I was thrilled to discover The Cinephiliacs podcast, which includes conversations with critics and other members of the film world about their background and a particular movie. I listened to this intriguing discussion with the New York Times’ A.O. Scott, who’s one of my favorite critics. They covered a wide range of topics and delved into Robert Altman’s The Player. I can’t wait to check out more episodes from this intelligent podcast.

Speaking of podcasts, Bill Thompson has been doing a long series reviewing podcasts from all over the movie world for Bill's Movie Emporium. His simple rating system of “subscribe/unsubscribe” works because he backs up his reactions with plenty of evidence. Bill likes a certain type of podcast that isn’t just focused on new movies and offers more in-depth film analysis. His latest post about Wrong Opinions about Movies delves into whether there is a right way to analyze a movie. I’m with Bill on this topic; calling an opinion wrong because it disagrees with your take does not jibe with my feelings about movies.


Jessica at The Velvet Café always brings a unique perspective to her writing, and her piece about Frances Ha is no exception. She lives in Sweden and has a particular affinity for New York City that drew her to this movie. I’m right with Jessica on enjoying this film, especially the fine work from Greta Gerwig. You should be reading Jessica's work regularly because the reviews rarely go down the standard path.

Greta Gerwig also made news this week as the star of the spin-off of How I Met Your Mother. If the pilot is picked up, she will produce, write, and play the lead in How I Met Your Dad on CBS. Part of me was sad by this news since it means her film career may take a back seat. Even so, it’s a really interesting move from a young artist who should create a lot more fans if this show becomes a hit. I’m just hoping they drop the laugh track. This post from NPR’s Monkey See blog by Linda Holmes provides more details.

The Walking Dead just started the second half of its fourth season, and writers have speculated on ways to re-energize the flailing show. I suggest killing a bunch of characters (including Rick) and looking at what caused the apocalypse. John Larue at The Droid You’re Looking For has a more entertaining view this week. My fellow St. Louis blogger uses the screenplay format to deliver a fun look at ways to enhance the series.


Tomorrow is also Valentine’s Day, which brings out the usual posts about romantic films all over the Internet. The Dissolve has joined the fun by having their writers describe the first movie that they bonded on with their significant other. I’m unsure about our first movie together, but the one that sticks with me is seeing Once with my wife back in 2006. We’d been dating for a few years and went on a whim to see an early preview. It goes without saying that it was a great experience, and Glen and Marketa played a few songs in the theater after the screening. It’s still one of my favorite nights at the movies.

Have you read or listened to anything remarkable that you’d like to spotlight?

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind words, sometimes I get the feeling that most people don't like, or pay attention to, the podcats reviews, but I enjoy writing them up.

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    1. The podcast reviews are great; I try to read all of them. I don't have the time to check out a lot of the podcasts, but it's still a good guide.

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  2. Nice post. I love hearing other people give some love to Frances Ha. It's a movie that JUST missed my Top 10 of 2013 but it was firmly in my Top 20. Really good film.

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    1. I didn't do an official Top 10, but Frances Ha was among my favorites for sure. Greta Gerwig is perfect for the lead and is definitely a rising star.

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  3. Thank you so much for your kind words! I felt a little silly with my take on that film and thought people would laugh at my foolishness. I'm glad you could connect with it!

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    1. No problem, Jessica! There are so many reviews out there, so I'm always looking for a different take.

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  4. Thanks for these links, Dan! I'm glad to find someone doing podcast reviews - great job on those, Bill! There are so many and I barely have time to listen/evaluate the ones I already know about, so it's great to have someone else to use as a guide.

    Once is a great movie to have as "your" movie with your significant other. I guess mine and Jon's would be Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. We weren't dating yet when we saw it, but he had just moved out to LA and we'd both been anticipating the film a lot (mostly egging each other on via online conversations), so we went to the first midnight screening at the Arclight in Hollywood. We both loved it, and seeing it at midnight with an enthusiastic audience was fantastic. I think the writing was on the wall for our future already at that point. :)

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    1. Nice story, Jandy. I saw Scott Pilgrim on DVD, and I regret not checking it out in the theater with an excited crowd. The funny thing about Once is that we knew so little about it. It was a weeknight, and we hadn't even planned to stay for the short performance afterwards. Once the movie ended, it was stunning to look and see Glen and Marketa standing 30 feet from us. Crazy.

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