Editor | Peter Bowen
Salon chats with Thirst's Park Chan-wook
Posted July 31, 2009
Thirst opens in select theaters today, and many people are picking it out of the line up of vampire films as the one with the deepest bite. At Salon, Andrew O'Hehir said, "I think "Thirst" is a brilliant and gruesome work of cinematic invention as well as a passionate and painful human love story." Even better is the insightful interview with Park. At one point, O'Hehir pushed him on the limits of calling Thrist a vampire film. Park responds:
It would be grossly inadequate to call Brokeback Mountain a western. Even if you add another word and say it's a gay western, it still wouldn't adequately describe the film.
Apple launches A Serious Man
Posted July 30, 2009
For those of you waiting for your next Coen Brothers fix, Apple offers a taste of their next film A Serious Man. The film returns the film brothers to their roots, growing up Jewish in a small Midwestern suburb. In the film, Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a physics professor, learns his wife (Sari Lennick) is leaving him for Sy Abelman (Fred Melamed), of all people, his son is about to be bar-mitzvahed, that is if he doesn't get too stoned, and his crazy brother Arthur (Richard Kind) is sleeping on the sofa, and possibly about to be arrested. It is 1969 and these are the good times. Check out the trailer.
LACMA Stops Showing Movies
Posted July 29, 2009
The Los Angeles County Art Museum has decided to shut down their film department after four decades of providing alternative and retrospective programming for the center of film making industry. Variety reports that the decision came after accounting showed that the film program “has lost $1 million over the past 10 years.” Already a number of writers and columnists have spoken up, asking the museum to reconsider this decision. Tom Christie in his LA Weekly piece “LACMA to Shutter Film Program, Rethink” and Cari Beauchamp at LA Observed have weighed in on the loss. Beauchamp bemoans,
There are those who will say other venues will "pick up the slack," but they are wrong. While we are blessed in Los Angeles with having the Academy, the Cinematheque and now the Billy Wilder theater at the Hammer, LACMA is unique - where else could you see "The Manchurian Candidate" with Angela Landsbury and John Frankenheimer, the 6 hour Russian version of "War and Peace" or "Good Night and Good Luck" introduced by George Clooney?
9 Pieces to Go
Posted July 28, 2009
Animation World News provided one piece of a 9-piece puzzle on their site. As they point out:
One ripped up image fragment will be revealed to each of the 9 partner sites for readers to find and piece together. The pieced-together image will have a code which activates the decoder on www.9experiment.com.
A Pony Shoe for 9
Posted July 24, 2009
FN on wwd.com announced today a special shoe created by Pony for the film 9. The post highlights:
The shoe was created to reflect the “stitchpunks,” using burlap and other makeshift materials. It also features a zipper, mismatched eyelets and neon-green stitching and accents.
You can see more and learn how to get them on the Pony site.
A Hunger for Thirst at Comic-Con
Posted July 23, 2009
Trying to bring a method to the madness that is Comic-Con can be difficult, even for the superheroes who roam the halls of the convention spot. But Keli of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s website Street’s blog Keli’s Picks has identified one common theme––vampires. As she highlights, if one was so inclined, he or she could spend their whole Comic-Con experience lurching from vampire event to vampire event. For Beth Accomando at KPBS, the vampire event she’s most eager for is Park Chan-wook’s panel on Thirst: ‘As a fan of Asian Extreme Cinema I was thrilled to discover that South Korea's Park Chan-Wook will be making his first Comic-Con appearance…” And Stephen Johnson at G4TV notes “Thirst is about a priest who becomes a vampire, and that adds up to "awesome."” MoviesOnline sums up the excitement of the film and Park Chan-wook’s appearance quite simply: “Park Chan Wook is a genius. Nothing more needs to be said about him.”
UGO unlocks the Digicode of 9
Posted July 22, 2009
Just in time for comicon, Jordan Hoffman at UGO Movie Blog elicits his colleague Chris Plante (from the UGO Games Blog) to help him unlock 9’s “DigiCode.” For those of you who have seen the curious maze-like boxes on the 9 posters and elsewhere, the two blogsters show you how to make them talk. But first you need a iphone or other smart phone thingee.
View the video:
Wired.com: When machines go bad
Posted July 22, 2009
Shane Acker’s upcoming sci-fi saga 9 imagines a world where machines have turned on their makers. Of recent, films like the Matrix and Terminator join in this dystopic fantasy that machines will someday turn on their makers. Priya Ganapat in "Robo-Ethicists Want to Revamp Asimov's 3 Laws," published in Wired.com, reports on a real life “robo-ethicist” who is promoting a new robotic psychology, one that updates the “Three Laws of Robotics” proposed by Issac Asimov in his story "Runaround.” According to Asimov:
A robot may not injure a human being or allow one to come to harm; a robot must obey orders given by human beings; and a robot must protect its own existence. Each of the laws takes precedence over the ones following it, so that under Asimov’s rules, a robot cannot be ordered to kill a human, and it must obey orders even if that would result in its own destruction.
But now Chien Hsun Chen, in a paper published in the International Journal of Social Robotics, argues, according to Wired.com, that “as robots have become more sophisticated and more integrated into human lives, Asimov’s laws are just too simplistic.” If this all sounds like geek mumbo jumbo, Wired.com cites several real world incidents where robots killed, or almost killed, their masters. Ganapat leads off with this note: “Two years ago, a military robot used in the South African army killed nine soldiers after a malfunction.” Later he mentions that “earlier this year, a Swedish factory was fined after a malfunctioning robot almost killed a factory worker who was attempting to repair the machine generally used to lift heavy rocks.” What is the solution?
Accordingly, robo-ethicists want to develop a set of guidelines that could outline how to punish a robot, decide who regulates them and even create a ”legal machine language” that could help police the next generation of intelligent automated devices
Sin Nombre--The New Western?
Posted July 21, 2009
Xan Brooks in The Guardian wrote a recent post, “In the hands of the devil,” that suggests “The western, it transpires, has not died out. It has simply changed shape, colour and compass point.” He points to two recent films to make his point: Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River and Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre. Interestingly both films are about the unlawful crossing of borders: Frozen River about smuggling immigrants into New York via the Canadian border and Sin Nombre about the journey of Latin Americans into the United States. Of course, both directors readily acknowlege their debt to the Western. In fact, we ran a 5inFocus on Sin Nombre’s filmmakers love of that genre. But the Brooks' essay also highlights how these films are different than their Hollywood ancestors.
Hunt and Fukunaga's tales play out in a tangled, messy present, spotlighting a modern strain of frontier lawlessness and implicitly debunking the notion of America as a promised land of unbridled opportunity. They do not simply breathe new life into the genre. They may also have reclaimed it for a fresh generation of American pioneers.
Posted July 20, 2009
As the 40th anniversary of Wookstock nears—not to mention Ang Lee’s new film Taking Woodstock––more and more places are celebrated that groovy time that was. New York’s Laurence Miller Gallery has added to the excitement by mounting a gallery show of the photographs of Burk Uzzle, a photojournalist who captured the lives of the people who went. It’s worth checking out the many black and white and color images that the gallery has online for viewing. And now to add intimacy to insight, the couple robed in mud-stained quilts that embodied for many the love of that week have resurfaced 40 years later as a couple still very much in love. As reported in the Daily News:
Forty years later, the couple in the photo - Nick and Bobbi Ercoline, both 60 - remain together. They married two summers after the fabled weekend, and they still live less than an hour's drive from the original concert site of Bethel, N.Y., and within spitting distance of where they both grew up.