"The Wes Anderson Collection" continues with a video essay on "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," probably Anderson's most widely disliked feature, and MZS's personal favorite.
"Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era" is a remarkable collection of reviews and essays from critic Peter Rainer. This essay on film noir and neo-noir is excerpted from the book.
Lesson for the day: How to have fun while wasting time... Marie writes: welcome to DRAW A STICK MAN, a delightful Flash-based site prompting viewers to draw a simple stick figure which then comes to life! Ie: the program animates it. You're given instructions about what to draw and when, which your dude uses to interact with objects onscreen. Thanks go to club member Sandy Kahn who heard about it from her pal Lauren, in Portland Oregon.Note: here's a screen-cap of what I drew; I've named him Pumpkin Head.
Marie writes: Gone fishing...aka: in the past 48 hrs, Movable Type was down so I couldn't work, my friend Siri came over with belated birthday presents, and I built a custom mesh screen for my kitchen window in advance of expected hot weather. So this week's Newsletter is a bit lighter than usual.
Spending almost two hours with the relentlessly drunk character is not a pleasant thing at all, and it is also not easy to watch the man who chooses to abandon himself to his own hell. He is almost near at the bottom. All he can do is moving further to the final destination he has been reaching for. He still has some fancy about getting out of his torment, but it only reminds him that he has already crossed the line. He screams out of frustration near the end of the movie, "It's not possible -- not in this world!"
John Huston's "Under the Volcano"(1984) poignantly looks at one of the bleakest states of mind. This is a sad portrayal of a man struggling with his addiction and the agonizing contradiction resulting from it. As one character in the movie says, no one can live without love, but he cannot accept it even if he has desperately yearned for.
The movie is mainly about one unfortunate day of the former British consul Geoffrey Firmin (Albert Finney) who has been stuck in Cuernavaca, Mexico. According to him, he resigned his post for himself, but that may be not true considering his present state. He is a drunkard going through the final stages of alcoholism where the drinking is necessary for getting "sober." He says he can deal with his addiction ("Surely you appreciate the fine balance I must strike between, uh, the shake of too little and, uh, the abyss of too much"), but his abstinence is just the brief moment of looking at his glass. His body soon craves for alcohol, he frantically searches for the bottle, and, after satisfying the need, he passes out.
HOLLYWOOD -- There's joy in Middle-earth tonight. "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" led the 76th annual Academy Awards with a record-tying 11 Oscars, including best picture and director. Vanquishing all opposition like the forces of Sauron, it won every category for which it was was nominated.
Q. Re: the gambling movie "Owning Mahoney," you said, "At least Seymour Hoffman was playing interesting games--unlike video poker and slots, like Bill Bennett." Although Bill Bennett lost over $8 million and no doubt was a fool who I have lost a great deal of respect for, your statement could not be more incorrect. Although 99.9% or more gamblers will lose money over the long term, I and many others like me have been playing video poker for many years, and some games (which pay over 100% return) can be played for profit IF one is willing to memorize and learn the proper cards to hold based on the overall payout that the machine offers for various hands. I personally have played almost 10 million hands at video poker and have never had a losing year gambling. Video poker as far as I am concerned is by far the most "interesting" game and can be the most profitable. You need only ask other professional gamblers about this to verify it. (Larry M., Las Vegas, NV)
CANNES, France -- Spike Lee's "Summer Of Sam" has the right title. It isn't a film about David Berkowitz, the serial killer who named himself Son of Sam - but about the summer of 1977, when his bloody string of murders coincided with a heat wave and skirmishes in the ongoing American cultural war.
I'm analyzing Jack Nicholson's career for him. He's frowning behind a cloud of cigarette smoke and trying to look interested. We're sitting in a room at the Excelsior Hotel at the Venice Film Festival, the day after the premiere of "The Crossing Guard," his new movie which was directed by his pal Sean Penn. Nicholson plays a man who wants to kill the drunk driver who ran over his little girl. The irony is, he's a drunk, too. It's a very serious picture.
Jim Thompson has been dead for 15 years now, and he never got much notice when he was alive, but all of his books are in print again--with covers showing the broads with low necklines, the desperate guys with their cigarettes and three-day beards, and always in the foreground the bottle of booze.