March 20, 2014

The World That I See: Reads and Listens #8

Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel

Back in January, I chose five movie resolutions for 2014 that didn’t seem hard to reach. Thus far, I’ve been rolling along with all but one of them. Choosing to see at least 40 movies released this year felt like child’s play. I’ve already seen more than that from 2013, and my schedule was nuts. Unfortunately, my count is only at three in this category. Cold Comes the Night, Mitt, and Veronica Mars are the only tallies for 2014. Thankfully, my interest will increase with releases in theaters like Grand Budapest Hotel, Noah, and Transcendence in the upcoming month. The challenge will be getting out and seeing them.

Here are some interesting blogs and podcasts that are definitely worth your time:

Stevee Taylor does excellent writing at the Cinematic Paradox in New Zealand, and her piece about feminism and women in the film industry may be her best work. What separates this post from gloom and doom about underrepresentation is Stevee’s call to action. She recognizes that the problem is serious but wants to do something about it. A key phrase is “Be the change you want to see.” Well said, Stevee.

I’m constantly saying that I need to watch more short films, yet they still escape most of my attention. Richard Brody at The Front Row asks “Does the Cinema Need Short Films?”. The obvious answer is yes, and Brody reveals strong examples for excellent week in the shorter form. He also shows that even the most accomplished filmmakers don’t always have an easy route to transition to feature-length projects.

My brother Dave gets introspective at Erasing Clouds and talks about the challenges for him to write about music. The issues are familiar given my hurdles to watching and analyzing films each week. It’s an engaging read that says a lot about our current landscape.

The Wild Bunch, directed by Sam Peckinpah

I haven’t been able to guest much lately, but I try to listen to the LAMBcast regularly. Last month’s discussion of The Wild Bunch was one of the podcast’s best. Host Jay Cluitt and four knowledgeable guests explored that classic Sam Peckinpah western and reminded me about its greatness. It’s been too long since I’ve watched that daring film, and this fun show has driven me to seek it out again.

I’ve recently started following the work of Sheila O’Malley, who writes for Rogerebert.com and her own blog The Sheila Variations. On St. Patrick’s Day, she posted a very entertaining story about a memorable night in Donnybrook that was filled with lots of joy. It made me smile as much as any piece this week.

Another writer that I’ve been following for a long time is Alyssa Rosenberg, who’s just started a new pop culture blog for the Washington Post. Act Four is already digging into intriguing topics during its first week. This introduction from Alyssa lays out her hopes for the blog and sets the stage perfectly. This paragraph is the mission statement for Act Four:

The highest respect we can show culture we love–or that we really, truly hate–is to take it and its ideas seriously. That’s how we determine what we value and what we’re afraid of, what we’ll tolerate from some characters but not from others, and what sorts of ideas are hot and which are marginal, or even untouchable. At a moment of what seems like wild bounty in film, television, books and music, it’s a call for pop culture to everything it’s capable of doing to help us understand the world and ourselves.

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

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the shout-out Dan! I was very happy with the Wild Bunch Show too, regardless of my horrendous intro.

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    1. No problem, Jay. It took me a minute to realize that was you doing the accent in the intro. I thought maybe the MOTM winner was doing it. The podcast turned out well. The Wild Bunch is no Timecop, but it's still very good.

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    2. Nothing will ever be Timecop. I think that may be a good thing though. I'm still hung up about that bloody wall. Why is it there? WHY IS THERE BLOOD ON IT?

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    3. Maybe their 1994 didn't have the same level of cleaning products? Or it's really red paint and a cruel joke from the evil Agent Walker.

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  2. I love short films, and that article is a treat, with several shorts I had not heard of before. Thanks for sharing!
    Jay Cluitt's intro in Wild Bunch podcast is the funniest thing I've heard all week :)

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    1. No problem, Chris! I still need to check out a bunch of them. That intro from Jay was great.

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