April 25, 2014

The World That I See: Reads and Listens #13

This week was the start of Ebertfest, and I’m already feeling jealous about my fellow bloggers and critics that are enjoying their time in Champaign. Spike Lee and Oliver Stone are making appearances this weekend, and I’m sure that Wednesday’s Life Itself screening was something to see. I’m only three hours away, so this festival remains high on my list. The question is whether it will keep going long enough for me to make the trip. I have a feeling it’s not going anywhere for a while. Along with the True/False Film Fest in Columbia, there are two remarkable nearby events that keep growing in popularity every year.

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

Alexander Huls always has something interesting to say, and his piece “How Hollywood Killed Death” for the New York Times Magazine makes a convincing case. Citing examples from Star Trek into Darkness, Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World, he describes the lack of impact from the likely deaths of major characters. They’re telling examples of the interest that may be missing from many blockbusters.

Great minds joined forces on The Matineecast this week when one of my favorite bloggers was Ryan McNeil’s guest for the latest episode of his fine podcast. Alex Withrow does excellent work at And So It Begins… and is pursuing a career as a filmmaker. They discuss both parts of Nymphomaniac and cover other films that would follow it naturally.

James Blake Ewing at Cinema Sights has been tackling The Wire and writing about the series in three-episode increments. He’s nearly finished and just completed his second post about the final season. It’s been refreshing to read a fresh take from a new viewer, and it’s inspired me to revisit it soon. James’ writing on TV and films is intelligent and often takes a different perspective from the normal approach.

Another exciting recent event was the TCM Classic Film Festival, and it’s been fun to live vicariously through others who attended it. One example comes from Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, a site that I’ve discovered fairly recently. On her third day, Laura watched remarkable films like Stagecoach and Touch of Evil plus the musical Meet Me in St. Louis. That’s quite an amazing day for movies. She’s also a fan of the Disney theme parks, so I’ve found plenty to like with Laura’s blog.

Speaking of Touch of Evil and the TCM festival, Jandy Hardesty also checked it out and wrote about the experience for her blog The Frame. She doesn’t write as many reviews now (I understand with both of us having young daughters), so it’s great to get her perspective on this experience. I was lucky enough to see Touch of Evil on the big screen after it was revised based on Welles’ notes. It probably wasn’t the same as seeing it with such an admiring classic film crowd, however.

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


  1. I didn't know there is an "Ebertfest", I see on the website the festival was founded in 1999.

    Other posts...I know you've already mentioned him, I enjoyed Alex Withrow's Top 15 director/actor collaborations.
    Also, afistfuloffilms wrote a piece: What is overrated?

    1. Thanks for the mention Chris. I appreciate it. I too loved Alex's post!

      I also didn't know there was an Ebertfest. One day I'll attend one of these movie festivals. Bucket List for sure!

    2. Yeah. The Ebertfest was originally called the Overlooked Film Festival and was started by Ebert to highlight films that he loved that deserved more attention. It's become quite a big deal, but I still haven't made it there so far.

  2. Thank you so much for the lovely mention, Dan, it's greatly appreciated! I'm delighted to know you've been enjoying my blog and hope you will continue to enjoy future visits.

    I'm looking forward to checking out your blog further!

    Best wishes,

    1. No problem, Laura! I'm jealous that you had the chance to check out the TCM fest. It sounds like an amazing time!

  3. I'm really excited to see Life Itself. I've heard nothing but great things about it. And thanks so much for the link and the kind words. I really appreciate it, Dan!

    1. Alex, I also can't wait to check it out. I loved the book and learned so many things about his early life.