Here’s a cool interactive guide to southern accents as voiced by actors in memorable parts: they’re quite varied.
Cairo (CNN) –
Angry protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and tore down the American flag, apparently in protest of a film thought to insult the Prophet Mohammed.
A volley of warning shots were fired as a large crowd gathered around the compound, said CNN producer Mohammed Fahmy, who was on the scene, though it is not clear who fired the shots.
Egyptian police and army personnel have since formed defensive lines around the facility in an effort to prevent the demonstrators from advancing farther, but not before the protesters affixed their standard atop the embassy.
The black flag, which hangs atop a ladder inside the compound, is adorned with white characters that read, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger,” an emblem often used in al Qaeda propaganda.
“We were surprised to see the big numbers show up including the soccer Ultra fans,” he said. “I just want to say, how would the Americans feel if films insulting leading Christian figures like the pope or historical figures like Abraham Lincoln were produced?”
He added that “the film portrays the prophet in a very ugly manner, eluding to topics like sex, which is not acceptable.”
Well, American Christians survived the provocative “artwork” Piss Christ without throwing a fit or burning flags — and the artist was paid with taxpayer money. Some other clown made a Madonna out of turds and called it art. Christianity survived.
The satirical “Book of Mormon” won numerous Tony awards and is a huge box office hit. The Godfather III was a libelous insult to the Catholic church. No one came uncorked.
And how did we respond to the Muslim primitives who attacked our embassy? With this:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
How about rejecting the actions of those who behave like animals when their feelings are hurt?
Why not explain that “sticks and stones…” isn’t a rallying cry to stone people?
From the LA Times movie review of “2016: Obama’s America”
..It is worth noting that documentaries don’t necessarily promise pure objectivity. Moore, the defining figure in crafting the modern-day political rant, never has. From his first relentless pursuit of General Motors Chief Executive Roger Smith in 1989’s “Roger & Me,” the in-your-face filmmaker has been blunt about his intentions. But Moore’s work and the genre itself come with an implicit understanding that whatever truths emerge, they were ultimately forged by the process, not set in stone beforehand.
Michael Moore, the hard core leftist, only discovered his message as made the film that could be alternately titled, “Get Bush!”?
Is that why he edited a video of Condi Rice to make it sound as if she were connecting Saddam Hussein to 9/11, an idea that much of the public still believes?
I met a guy at party last night who emigrated from Poland in 1986, when the Soviet Union still held sway. He lives in a neighborhood next to Wildwood Park, in Thousand Oaks, California.
(You can see some photographs I’ve taken there, here.)
I mentioned to my new Polish friend that some notable movies/TV shows had been filmed there, including Spartacus, Gunsmoke and Bonanza.
He lit up and told me that when living in Poland he watched Bonanza and started recalling the characters’ names. He also said the government allowed them to watch one American film a week, and it was always a western.
I suppose the westerns were regarded as harmless because they didn’t belie the Communist propaganda about America. That is, that we were destitute and lawless. It was much more preferable to show the USA of the 1880s than, say, “Beach Blanket Bingo.” The latter, bad as the movie was, would have shattered the notion that we were suffering (notwithstanding the acting of Frankie Avalon.)
This brought to mind Leonid Brezhnev’s 1973 visit to the US. He was a big fan of the TV series, “The Rifleman” and when he got to meet its star, Chuck Connors, he gave him a hearty bear hug.
I do wonder about the thinking of the Communists. Westerns didn’t betray their lies about America, but they just might have undermined the collectivist ideology of communism. After all, most westerns celebrated brave individual who stood up for what was right.
You may have seen this gimmick in movies or photos.
Open on: an aerial shot of a dollhouse-sized sports stadium. Cut to: toy trains and buses speed toward the soccer game. Close on: an itsy-bitsy marching band and teeny cheering fans fill the stadium in fast-motion, time-lapse photography. The mini-city featured in this animated sequence seems like an especially intricate and sophisticated architectural model.
Or is it?
That scene — from a 2011 ESPN commercial — was actually done with a photographic technique called tilt shift. It’s a special effect that alters focus and depth of field on life-sized, filmed objects to create the illusion that cityscapes or crowd shots, for example, are actually miniature synthetic models. Also called “miniature faking,” tilt shift is often shown in fast-motion, giving it a crude or jerky old fashioned feel.
Soon to be done to death. But here’s the funny part:
…director Chel White, at Bent Image Lab in Portland, Ore., to bring the technique in live action — developed with Clark, who worked there at the time — and to debut it in the 2006 Thom Yorke video, “Harrowdown Hill.” They called the look “Smallgantics,” and it quickly caught on.
Why? White has a theory. “The world is so complicated. We like miniatures because it makes us feel we have some kind of control, like we’re gods or giants.”
Much more likely: we humans crave novelty. When the novelty wears off, something else will replace it.
In John Huston’s “Fat City,” Susan Tyrrell gave one of the best performances as a drunk that I’ve ever seen. I never saw much more of her in the movies, but always remembered her performance.
Here’s the trailer for the film.
Yes, this is the Shakespearean version of The Big Lebowski in which The Dude becomes The Knave.
The Knave abides.
In sooth, then, faithful friend, this was a rug of value? Thou wouldst call it not a rug
among ordinary rugs, but a rug of purpose? A star in a firmament, in step with the fashion
alike to the Whitsun morris-dance? A worthy rug, a rug of consequence, sir?
It was of consequence, I should think; verily, it tied the room together, gather’d its
qualities as the sweet lovers’ spring grass doth the morning dew or the rough scythe the
first of autumn harvests. It sat between the four sides of the room, making substance of a
square, respecting each wall in equal harmony, in geometer’s cap; a great reckoning in a
little room. Verily, it transform’d the room from the space between four walls presented,
to the harbour of a man’s monarchy.
This one wasn’t filmed in Iran, for obvious reasons. But it’s an Iranian story of life in a stifling theocracy. As a first feature, it bodes well for director Maryam Keshavarz.
This evoked memories of “The Lives of Others,” which is high praise.
We saw this last night:
How does art survive in a time of oppression? During the Soviet rule artists who stay true to their vision are executed, sent to mental hospitals or Gulags.
Their plight inspires young Igor Savitsky. He pretends to buy state-approved art but instead daringly rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist’s works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Though a penniless artist himself, he cajoles the cash to pay for the art from the same authorities who are banning it. Savitsky amasses an eclectic mix of Russian Avant-Garde art. But his greatest discovery is an unknown school of artists who settle in Uzbekistan after the Russian revolution of 1917, encountering a unique Islamic culture, as exotic to them as Tahiti was for Gauguin. They develop a startlingly original style, fusing European modernism with centuries-old Eastern traditions.
The glimpses of the art made me want to see more. Great story, great paintings.
I’m an admirer of Ken Kesey’s novels. And at one time, I thought he was about the coolest guy out there.
So I read about a documentary about The Merry Prankster’s legendary cross country trip with keen interest. The filmmakers had lots of scratched and crummy home movies to work with.
“It didn’t help that they were doing drugs, in terms of getting the shots to last more than a few seconds,” says Ms. Ellwood, co-director of “Magic Trip” a documentary comprised of the footage, to be released Aug. 5.
Much of the footage was scratched from being run through projectors at Prankster-hosted parties. Once the film was restored—a project undertaken by UCLA with grants from Martin Scorsese’s foundation and the History Channel—the filmmakers combed through the footage in an attempt to sync the audio and 16 mm film. They hired a lip reader, who helped mark “sync points” with the audio, like a long sequence featuring driver Neal Cassady on a signature stream-of-consciousness riff.
So they stitched together a film from the messy bits.
A bigger challenge was trying to find an overarching theme for the disparate scenes. “It looks like a bunch of people having a lot of fun and getting messed up. How do you give that a deeper meaning?” Ms. Ellwood recalls thinking. Mr. Kesey answered that question, in a segment that the Pranksters shot at Yellowstone National Park. Viewing a sign that says “Beware of Bear,” Mr. Kesey said that this used to mean “be aware of the bear,” but now meant “be afraid of the bear.”
The directors realized that the entire journey could be viewed as a reaction to the fear that gripped the nation in 1964, following the assassination of President Kennedy and amid ongoing threat of nuclear war.
Huh? They dropped acid and had a rolling party because of JFK and the nuclear threat?
What’s it like to be young, musical and living in the Islamic police state of Iran?
Find out by watching No One Knows about Persian Cats, a wryly funny film that follows a pair of young singer-songwriters as they go about Teheran recruiting musicians for their band.
Western musicians affect the identity of being “underground.” The bands you meet in this movie actually are. The locations alone make this movie fascinating.
The one seasoned actor in the movie, which was shot on the sly in 17 days, plays Nader, the charming, chatty DVD-bootlegger and all-around fixer. In the clip linked here we see him take the duo out of town to hear another band. The surprise is when he steps to the mike.
The movie is available for Instant Play on Netflix and on DVD.
Also, from the film is this song by Rana Farhan.
UB Iwerks was Walt Disney’s oldest friend and creative partner, winner of two Academy Awards. He went on his own for a while and the cartoon below is from that period. You can find them on Cartoons That Time Forgot, a great DVD.
We showed them our two-year old granddaughter last night and they were the perfect tonic. Though old, they have a spark of wit and whimsy rarely found in newer cartoons.
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie” opens with a blast of hyperbole from an assembly of disembodied voices: “I think it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of Vidal Sassoon.” “He built something that rocked the world.” “He was one of the greatest if not the greatest hairdresser who ever lived.” One commentator even compares Mr. Sassoon, now a spry, fit 83, to Einstein and Muhammad Ali.
That’s from Stephen Holden’s NYT review of the hagiographic film about a hair dresser. Why does he merit such acclaim?
Mr. Sassoon’s invention, inspired by Bauhaus architecture, took years to develop. One of the first landmarks was the Nancy Kwan haircut in 1963. There soon followed the boyish five-point haircut that blurred class and sexual distinctions in the unisex era. Easy to maintain, it signaled liberation from the constraints of the past.
Please give me a moment to subdue my goose bumps.
I plan to skip the Sasson movie.
But I did see The Social Network, the much hyped biopic about Mark Zuckerberg, co-creator of Facebook. It’s up for best picture, which says a lot about the competition this year. (See Winter’s Bone — it’s a fine movie.)
If you know the basic outline of how Facebook came to be, something you could get from watching “60 Minutes”, there’s very little suspense in the movie.
Yep, the nerd can write code. Yep, he’s a jerk. Yep, he probably screwed a few people along the way. Yep, they sued him. Yep, yep, yep.
All of this is presented as if Facebook changed the world. (Norman Borlaug really did change the world but few know of him. As for the ‘net, Google has been a world changer.)
Suppose the business Zuckerberg created wasn’t a social networking website, but a new candy bar or a sports drink. Or a five point hair style. Would we be inclined to care?
The filmmakers’ skill at story construction, editing, tarting up the facts and rat-a-tat dialog can’t compensate for boring characters and the tale’s ultimate insignificance.
Even with Leslie Stahl’s fawning ickiness, “60 Minutes” told the story better and quicker.
Christopher Hitchens brings up some ugly history the highly praised film ignored.
The King’s Speech is an extremely well-made film with a seductive human interest plot, very prettily calculated to appeal to the smarter filmgoer and the latent Anglophile. But it perpetrates a gross falsification of history. One of the very few miscast actors—Timothy Spall as a woefully thin pastiche of Winston Churchill—is the exemplar of this bizarre rewriting. He is shown as a consistent friend of the stuttering prince and his loyal princess and as a man generally in favor of a statesmanlike solution to the crisis of the abdication.
In point of fact, Churchill was—for as long as he dared—a consistent friend of conceited, spoiled, Hitler-sympathizing Edward VIII. And he allowed his romantic attachment to this gargoyle to do great damage to the very dearly bought coalition of forces that was evolving to oppose Nazism and appeasement. Churchill probably has no more hagiographic chronicler than William Manchester, but if you look up the relevant pages of The Last Lion, you will find that the historian virtually gives up on his hero for an entire chapter.
By dint of swallowing his differences with some senior left and liberal politicians, Churchill had helped build a lobby, with strong grass-roots support, against Neville Chamberlain’s collusion with European fascism. The group had the resonant name of Arms and the Covenant. Yet, as the crisis deepened in 1936, Churchill diverted himself from this essential work—to the horror of his colleagues—in order to involve himself in keeping a pro-Nazi playboy on the throne. He threw away his political capital in handfuls by turning up at the House of Commons—almost certainly heavily intoxicated, according to Manchester—and making an incoherent speech in defense of “loyalty” to a man who did not understand the concept. In one speech—not cited by Manchester—he spluttered that Edward VIII would “shine in history as the bravest and best-loved of all sovereigns who have worn the island crown.” (You can see there how empty and bombastic Churchill’s style can sound when he’s barking up the wrong tree; never forget that he once described himself as the lone voice warning the British people against the twin menaces of Hitler and Gandhi!)
In the end, Edward VIII proved so stupid and so selfish and so vain that he was beyond salvage, so the moment passed. Or the worst of it did. He remained what is only lightly hinted in the film: a firm admirer of the Third Reich who took his honeymoon there with Mrs. Simpson and was photographed both receiving and giving the Hitler salute. Of his few friends and cronies, the majority were Blackshirt activists like the odious “Fruity” Metcalfe. (Royal biographer Philip Ziegler tried his best to clean up this squalid story a few years ago but eventually gave up.) During his sojourns on the European mainland after his abdication, the Duke of Windsor never ceased to maintain highly irresponsible contacts with Hitler and his puppets and seemed to be advertising his readiness to become a puppet or “regent” if the tide went the other way. This is why Churchill eventually had him removed from Europe and given the sinecure of a colonial governorship in the Bahamas, where he could be well-supervised.
All other considerations to one side, would the true story not have been fractionally more interesting for the audience? But it seems that we shall never reach a time when the Churchill cult is open for honest inspection. And so the film drifts on, with ever more Vaseline being applied to the lens. It is suggested that, once some political road bumps have been surmounted and some impediments in the new young monarch’s psyche have been likewise overcome, Britain is herself again, with Churchill and the king at Buckingham Palace and a speech of unity and resistance being readied for delivery.
I don’t give a hoot about the Oscars despite being a big film buff. But I this I found interesting from the LAT’s Patrick Goldstein:
Setting aside the more obscure, technical categories, when it comes to the best picture award along with the major nominations for acting, writing and directing, there are, ahem, zero people of color in the Oscar race this year.
There are so few significant African American characters in any of the 10 films nominated for best picture that comedian Aziz Ansari did a bit about it at the Producer’s Guild Awards on Saturday night, wondering why there couldn’t have been at least one black kid checking his Facebook account in “The Social Network,” adding that things were so white that in “127 Hours,” when James Franco’s hiker character cuts off his arm, it doesn’t even turn black.
The left is the most race-conscious group in America, aside from a few rabid racists living in dark corners.
Worth your time is this roundtable discussion by six directors on their craft.
You’re all here because your films have been incredibly successful. But I wonder if you actually learn more in failure. Are the more telling learning experiences from something that doesn’t work?
Ben Affleck: I feel like all filming for me, directing, is about failure. Every day I go home, “Oh, my God.”
Ethan Coen: Yeah, that’s terrible, isn’t it?
Darren Aronofsky: It’s the worst.
Coen: And you kick yourself all the way home — that stuff you could and should have done.
Aronofsky: I think it’s a myth that you [get] exactly what you have in mind. You’re in three dimensions with weather, atmosphere, technology that has limitations, time that has limitations. And you don’t want to control an actor to that extent because it’ll just suck the life out of ‘em. It’s a constant form of improv and you just sort of roll with it.
Tom Hooper: I think it’s an extraordinary thing when you watch your first assembly [of the roughly edited movie], the film always has become something slightly different from what you thought…
Aronofsky: The worst day of my life, every time.
Affleck: Way worst.
In what way?
Aronofsky: When you watch an assemblage, you just know you’re getting drunk that night. It’s just a miserable experience. Because you realize you have so much work [to do on it].
Lisa Cholodenko: And you have no idea if it’ll ever be there.
There really is no accounting for taste.
Wes Anderson is a filmmaker with a peculiar sense of humor evident in Rushmore, Darjeeling Limited and the Royal Tennebaums.
Those films are an acquired taste that I can understand many people never acquiring. But then he directed Fantastic Mr. Fox.
It was released in late 2009 in time for the Christmas season and flopped miserably, earning back half its budget.
It was very well reviewed, getting even positives from the toughies at the Village Voice and Salon. Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates reviews, reported a 93% approval from critics and 79% from audiences.
Yet it flopped. I have no idea. But we finally got around to watching it last night and were delighted. It is funny, gorgeous to look at and fresh. If you missed it, check it out.
Quin Hillyer on the double standard used to convict Scooter Libby.
“Could [I] have misspoken? Yes, I am male, I’m over 50. By definition, I can misspeak.”
- Ambassador Joe Wilson, in a July 18, 2004, interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“Given the incredible pace and scope of my work during that [relevant] period and the subsequent passage of time, I simply did not recall the sequence of events. … I had completely forgotten [who had suggested a key idea]. I had forgotten [who received a call from whom]. … I had answered all the questions truthfully, and to the best of my ability. Still, a little voice in my head was saying it felt like a setup. In retrospect, it was clear they weren’t seeking information, but simply confirming their already closed conclusions.”
- Former CIA case officer Valerie Plame Wilson, in her memoir “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.”
Memory can be unreliable, and misstatements can happen despite pure intentions. It’s only fair game to point this out.
So say Valerie Plame Wilson, former CIA case manager and Vanity Fair cover girl, and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, former ambassador to Gabon and extravagant self-promoter. Too bad the Wilsons, a power-mad federal prosecutor, an officious federal judge, a confused jury and a badly misled president wouldn’t apply those same common-sense considerations to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, wrongly convicted of perjury in the case stemming from State Department official Richard Armitage’s public identification of Mrs. Wilson as a CIA employee.
For the very first time since his conviction, Mr. Libby – former chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney – went on the record about his case.
As both Wilsons tried to explain away, each of them has been caught making significant false claims. Each claimed memory played tricks on them. The ambassador even justified one of his key falsehoods as “a little literary flair.” Yet neither Wilson was convicted of a felony. Mr. Libby was. He paid a quarter-million-dollar fine, served 400 hours of community service and had his law license taken away. All of this over a single dispute about whether his memory or that of TV journalist Tim Russert was correct, about a months-past conversation that had nothing to do with the actual leak of Mrs. Wilson’s name.
Never mind that Mr. Russert’s own memory had proved flagrantly untrustworthy in a previous instance. Never mind that equally famous journalist Bob Woodward testified that his own notes of a near-simultaneous conversation with Mr. Libby indicated that Mr. Woodward might have said to Mr. Libby what Mr. Libby remembered being told by Mr. Russert – in other words, that the conversations easily and innocently could have become conflated in Mr. Libby’s mind. And never mind that Mr. Libby was never shown to have a motive for lying about his conversation with Mr. Russert.
In our interviews, Mr. Libby explicitly and repeatedly asserted his innocence of knowingly misleading investigators. To this day, he says he thinks it was Russert who mentioned Mrs. Wilson’s name to him – but that either way, he remembers being surprised at hearing it from a journalist.
One of the reasons that movies today are so devoid of compelling characters and engrossing plots is that the folks who make them are, more often than not, too young and too isolated from humanity. That’s not to say that writers and directors in their 20s and 30s can’t be talented, but, as a rule, what they have are a passel of petty grievances (the studios, their agents, the deals, other people’s success, etc.); what they lack is wisdom. They simply haven’t lived long enough or suffered enough major losses — friends, parents, spouses, children — to have developed a grown-up’s philosophy.
Perhaps that also helps to explain why nearly all of them are liberals. When all that one hears all day long is left-wing claptrap — and especially when future employment demands acquiescence to the prevailing tenets — it’s easy to understand the half-baked inanities these wienies so arrogantly espouse. They speak of tolerance as if it’s something they copyrighted, but they despise everyone who isn’t in lockstep with them. Although they make their living with words, when it comes to debating the opposition, they rely on a mantra of “racist,” “fascist,” “bigot” and “homophobe.”
This isolation from large segments of the population, relying strictly on other members of the industry for one’s social and intellectual life, might also explain why even major stars subscribe to the blathering of someone like Barack Obama, who carries on very much like a movie star.
It occurred to me that even without make-up, stars don’t seem to age at the same rate as the rest of us. It’s not all thanks to Botox and plastic surgery, hairpieces and stomach stapling. When you’re a movie star, as rich as Midas, as pampered as Madame Pompadour, you are spared all the day-to-day travails that wear down the rest of us. Stars have drivers, managers, secretaries, gofers and nannies, to take care of all their needs — everything from picking up his dry cleaning to raising the kids.
A tragedy in a star’s life is getting a smaller trailer than the female lead. A hardship in that world is having to get up early in the morning so that some guy who had to wake up even earlier can chauffeur him to the studio, where someone else will dress him and apply his makeup, so that a third person can then guide him safely around the scenery and tell him how to say his lines.
Except that he may have less time for golf and vacations, it’s a lot like being the president. One main difference is that the star has to pay for his own bodyguards, while the rest of us have to pay for the president’s.
Living that sort of privileged life, even Methuselah, on his deathbed, wouldn’t have looked a day over 450.
Warren Beatty once said that at some point in his life, every man should experience being a motion picture star. His message was that such fortunate individuals never have to pursue women because women pursue them. He’s right, of course. The odd thing is that movie stars don’t have to look like young Mr. Beatty or Brad Pitt to be chick magnets. I have known a lot of actors, a great many of whom looked more like me than they did like George Clooney, but even they had to beat off women with a stick; although, truth be told, they generally left the stick in the closet or out in the tool shed.
It took me a long time to figure out the attraction. I finally decided that women spend a good deal of their time fantasizing and, so, when they are with a professional actor, it seems only natural to fantasize they are co-starring in a movie, even if it’s X-rated.
I suspect that an additional bonus is that any guilt they might otherwise have experienced over having sex with a perfect, or perhaps I should say, an imperfect stranger, is easily dispelled by the notion that it was only a movie after all, and that, like every ditsy actress who’s ever done a tacky nude scene, she, too, was merely doing it for her art!