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Transcendence

"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.

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Heaven Is for Real

Faith-based film tries reaching past its audience, but falls back on preaching to its own choir way too much.

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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 8/27/2013

1.

"R. Crumb Illustrates the Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick." 'Nuff said. Via Boing-Boing. See also: Open Culture, and the source, The Complete Crumb Comics.

"In Weirdo #17, Crumb illustrated an 8-page story called "The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick," based on a 1978 undelivered speech Dick wrote called "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" and from passages in an out-of-print book called Philip K. Dick: The Last TestamentCrumb's story focuses on Dick's bizarre hallucinatory experience of March 1974, in which Dick went back in time to the era of the apostolic Christians. Dick spent the rest of his life trying to figure out what these visions meant."

2.

"Hugh Laurie's Los Angeles." By Hugh Laurie, for London's Telegraph.

"If you don’t force the pace, it won’t force you; which suits some people very well and suits me, as a spectator, down to the ground. A city where the citizens live secret lives – where they aren’t having their rougher edges rubbed smooth by constant high-street frottage – encourages an amazing breadth of eccentricity. For every hair-gelled slickster in a BMW trying to get on, fit in, match up, there is a dishevelled, flip-flopped Lebowski, walking his monitor lizard at three in the morning. For every blonde, high-bottomed starlet sucking ginger root on her way to yoga, there’s a crazed Madame Arcati wearing curtains and offering to read your dog’s feet, at four in the morning."

3.

"15 Things You Absolutely Must Know About Social Media Or Your Face Will Melt Off and Get Eaten by Goats." By The Bloggess. A classic of sorts.

"Every year a ton of places come out with their 'best blogs of the year' list and you have to be there.  Here’s the trick: Get on one of those lists and you will get on all of those lists.  Why?  No one knows. But it’s very nice to be able to talk about over dinner when your grandmother asks how your 'globbing' is going and asks when you plan on getting a real job.  Aside from this, those lists are very encouraging but don’t actually do much.  This year I’ve been on Time, Forbes and People and none of them have given me as much blog traffic as I’ve gotten from being on the sidebar of a blog that gets updated once a year. True story."

4.

"Names and Faces: The Portraits of Julia Margaret Cameron." By Anthony Lane of The New Yorker.

"Her father, James Pattle, was in the Indian Civil Service; her mother, Adeline de l’Étang, was French and famously beautiful. That blessing lingered, and spread down the generations, gracing all but one of the Pattles’ seven daughters. (The sixth, Virginia, once had to sneak out of a shop in Oxford Street, in London, by the side entrance, so large was the throng that had gathered outside just to gaze upon her.) Needless to say, the exception was Julia, who, denied the chance to revel in loveliness, embarked upon a mission to create it. 'I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me,' she wrote in a fragment of memoir. "

5.

That Cylie Myrus girl rubbed up against something at the Music Video VMA Awards and what have you; why, these young folks today, with their jalopies and their rumble seats! Anyway, Sean O'Neal of AV Club covered the event with his customary seriousness: "World Stunned by Girl in Underwear at MTV Video Music Awards." "Cyrus also sang a song about partying and doing whatever she wants, irrespective of approval," he opined. At The New York Times, John Caramanica unsurprisingly gave it the Times treatment, declaring, "this was a banner year for clumsy white appropriation of black culture." New York Magazine's Jody Rosen agreed, calling it "MIley's Minstrel Show."  A sexologist offered her two cents. At ThinkProgress, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote about the tradition of "shocking" performances at the VMA's by female stars. And as is so often the case, The Onion had the last word

 

IMAGE OF THE DAY

 From "'Breaking Bad' Confessions: An Autopsy in 22 Screenshots." By Sam Adams of CriticWire.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

"Mercedes Kills Young Hitler in Viral Video." As Paula Bernstein points out at IndieWire, this "was a film student thesis at the Film Academy in Ludwigsburg, Germany [and] contains the disclaimer, 'This spot is a film school’s submission. There exists no current or past affiliation to Mercedes-Benz or to Daimler AG.'" A YouTube commenter calls the fake ad "as sick as Adolf himself." 

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