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Time Is Illmatic

An excellent documentary that focuses more on why the Illmatic album came to be than how successful it became. Prepare to be schooled in many…

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Men, Women & Children

A potentially interesting premise is handled so badly that what might have been a provocative drama quickly and irrevocably devolves into the technological equivalent of…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Thumbnails 4/16/14

1.

"Is It OK To Make Art?": Over at Aeon Magazine Rhys Southan writes about altruism, creativity, morality and art used as a mean of improving the world. 

"With less than a week to finish my screenplay for the last round of a big screenwriting competition, I stepped on a train with two members of a growing activism movement called Effective Altruism. Holly Morgan was the managing director for The Life You Can Save, an organisation that encourages privileged Westerners to help reduce global poverty. Sam Hilton had organised the London pub meet-up where I’d first heard about the movement (known as ‘EA’ for short; its members are EAs). The pair of them were heading to East Devon with a few others for a cottage retreat, where they were going to relax among sheep and alpacas, visit a ruined abbey, and get some altruism-related writing done. I decided to join them because I liked the idea of finishing my script (a very dark comedy) in the idyllic English countryside, and because I wanted to learn more about the EA goal of doing as much good as you possibly can with your life. We were already halfway there when my second reason for going threatened to undermine my first."

2.

"Vampire 3.0: How Jim Jarmusch Evolves the Bloodsuckers": At Movie Mezzanine Anna Tatarska writes about the evolution of vampires in the movies, from Twilight saga to Only Lovers Left Alive. Related: "Tracking the Eternal Appeal of Vampires on Film" by The Dissolve staff. 

"In Jarmusch’ latest film a whole army of stars decides to test-ride immortality. However, even though Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and John Hurt follow the vampiric custom and grow their hair, teeth and nails, rather than dipping their fangs in disoriented random victims’ necks they lounge on comfy velvet couches, listen to Bill Laswell’s vinyls and slowly sip hygienically obtained blood from crystal glasses, without spilling a drop… of course, there’s an exception to every rule. But without a doubt, the Jarmuschian vampire is light years ahead in terms of sophistication (and has a much higher IQ ) than any pseudo-vampire brood that the TV and commercial cinema hurled at the public throughout recent years."

3.

"For Holy Week, Philippines Censor Board Makes Sure Buses Show 'Wholesome' Movies": As the new managing editor of Filmmaker Magazine, Vadim Rizov reports a unique story developing in the Philippines. Related: Another piece by Rizov at Filmmaker Magazine entitled "History on Autopilot: Errol Morris' The Unknown Known".

"In the Philippines, Holy Week (the period between the last day of Lent and Easter Sunday) is a big deal, as you’d expect from the third largest Catholic country in the world. Part of Holy Week involves a mass exodus from capital Manila to smaller villages as residents go to be with their families, creating major logistical headaches on the traffic front."

4.

"Interview: Jack Robinson's Pen Pal Talks Baseball, Race, and No. 42": 67 years ago today Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the MLB. Throughout his lifetime the Hall of Fame player corresponded with a fan of his. Jon Terbrush at The Week spoke with the man who would ultimately become Robinson's friend for life.

"On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier when he appeared in his first pro game for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Halfway across the country, in the small city of Sheboygan, Wis., a little boy named Ronnie Rabinovitz watched Robinson's career take off and dreamed of one day meeting his hero.

When he was 7 years old, Rabinovitz got that chance, in a meeting that would spark a lifelong friendship carried on through letters, dinners, and baseball games, until Robinson's death in 1972.

With the DVD release this month of the documentary Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson, I spoke with Rabinovitz, 67, who sells packaging materials in Minneapolis, Minn., and regularly travels the country speaking about Robinson and baseball. Here's a slightly edited transcript."

5.

"Completed Movies That Still Haven't Been Released": Simon Brew at Den of Geek compiles a list of films that have yet to been distributed, either theatrically or DVD. 

"There are lots of films in cinema's past that were completed, but never saw the light of day. It happens an awful lot with low budget cinema of course too. But every now and then, a relatively high profile project also gets caught up in non-release hell."

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From Existential Comics, Germans play some good ol' fashioned monopoly.

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Read more about Hollywood surveillance and technology at The Center of Investigative Reporting.

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