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Thumbnails 10/16/15


"Raiders of the Lost Web": The Atlantic's Adrienne LaFrance reminds us that we can't count on the web.

“Digital information itself has all kinds of advantages. It can be read by machines, sorted and analyzed in massive quantities, and disseminated instantaneously. ‘Except when it goes, it really goes,’ said Jason Scott, an archivist and historian for the Internet Archive. ‘It’s gone gone. A piece of paper can burn and you can still kind of get something from it. With a hard drive or a URL, when it’s gone, there is just zero recourse.’ There are exceptions. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has a trove of cached web pages going back to 1996. Scott and his colleagues are saving tens of petabytes of data, chasing an ideal that doubles as their motto: Universal Access to All Knowledge. The trove they’ve built is extraordinary, but it’s far from comprehensive. Today’s web is more dynamic than ever and therefore more at-risk than it sometimes seems. It is not just access to knowledge, but the knowledge itself that’s at stake. Thousands of years ago, the Library of Alexandra was, as the astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote, ‘the brain and heart of the ancient world.’ For seven centuries, it housed hundreds of thousands of scrolls; great works of philosophy, literature, technology, math, and medicine. It took as many centuries for most of its collections to be destroyed. The promise of the web is that Alexandria’s library might be resurrected for the modern world. But today’s great library is being destroyed even as it is being built. Until you lose something big on the Internet, something truly valuable, this paradox can be difficult to understand.”


"CIFF 2015 Preview: 'Anomalisa,' 'James White' and Six More": My preview of the Chicago International Film Festival highlights eight selections including Michael Moore's "Where to Invade Next."

“2015 has been full of lovely surprises. First M. Night Shyamalan satirized his own missteps to delightful effect in ‘The Visit.’ Then Johnny Depp reminded us of how exciting an actor he can be in ‘Black Mass.’ And now Michael Moore, the divisive provocateur who appeared to have left filmmaking after 2009’s ‘Capitalism: A Love Story,’ releases a top-secret picture, and it turns out to be not only one of the year’s funniest, but also one of the most joyous. In a style similar to his 2007 health care exposé, ‘Sicko,’ Moore embarks on a globe-hopping crusade to invade countries and steal their best ideas with the goal of implementing them in the U.S. What he ends up finding is the American dream being realized far outside our borders. We see an Italian couple enjoying eight weeks of paid vacation; students excelling sans homework in Finland; free government-funded women’s health clinics in Tunisia; and a French school cafeteria with more mouthwatering meals than most upscale American restaurants. There are many big laughs (a musical orientation video from a maximum security prison in Norway brings down the house), and yet the film is also tremendously sobering in its cumulative impact, illustrating with acute clarity how the corporate greed fueling our economy has resulted in an anti-humanist society of disastrous proportions. But Moore provides us with various illuminating examples of how things can change for the better when people refuse to have their voices silenced. The entire film is anchored by Moore’s unabashed sincerity and deadpan wit, and longtime fans will especially appreciate the moment when he thanks an interview subject for being ‘the first CEO to meet with me on the factory floor.’”


"Are Bond girls sexist?" Asks BBC's Clementine Ford.

“When Ursula Andress strode out of the water in 1962 wearing nothing but a white bikini and a hunting knife, she set the bar for every Bond girl set to follow in her footsteps. Andress was only 20 when she played a young woman fending for herself on an island after the death of her father. But despite her youth, the Swiss actress’s entrance into the world of Dr No has gone down in cinematic history. Let’s face it, as iconic images go it’s up there with the best of them. Dr No was the first of Ian Fleming’s books to be adapted for the screen, although it was the sixth in the literary series. It enjoyed enormous financial success, beginning a cinematic franchise that has lasted for over 50 years. But while much of Bond’s popularity can be attributed to (mostly) witty scriptwriting and the universal appeal of an old fashioned spy caper, it would be folly to overlook the contributions of the 77 women who’ve made up the ‘Bond girl cabinet’. And Andress began it all. Her turn as Honey Ryder was equal parts sexy, sassy and independent, which is undoubtedly what led to her great appeal. Indeed, it is the curious mix of self-sufficiency and vulnerability which distinguishes Bond girls from the vast majority of other female sidekicks/love interests that are speckled throughout movie history. As sexist as the Bond franchise is – and there can be no doubts that it is mired in retro chauvinism, with its double entendres and playboy protagonist – it has also always seemed more interested in women with bite. Refreshingly, Bond girls are just as likely to be villainesses as they are heroines and almost never one to turn their noses up at a good romp or a witty one-liner.”


"The Gonzo Vision of Quentin Tarantino": A much-discussed, controversial interview with the auteur conducted by Bret Easton Ellis for The New York Times

“Seated at a table by the pool behind the large and rambling home he bought in 1996 when he was making ‘Jackie Brown,’ Tarantino is in baggy jeans and a brown hoodie, and because he is the ultimate auteur movie geek — I’ve never met anyone with such an encyclopedic knowledge of film — we are soon talking about our mutual affection for the critic Pauline Kael. A huge influence on Tarantino, Kael championed a kind of high-low trash-art aesthetic that was inclusive of both old-school foreign auteurs (Max Ophüls and Satyajit Ray) and new mavericks (Sam Peckinpah and Brian De Palma), while disdaining the polite, better-behaved American cinema of that era; we agree that she was so much more vital and interesting in the 1970s than in the 1980s. ‘The movies just weren’t up to snuff — she was better than the movies,’’ says Tarantino, a believer that the latter decade was among the worst for American film. But, he adds, ‘’one of the weird things looking back at the ’70s reviews is that you can’t believe how mean she was to magnificent movies. She’s so rough on Don Siegel for making ‘Charley Varrick.’’ Now, you might not think ‘Charley Varrick’ is ‘magnificent’ (if you think about it at all) but Tarantino’s adolescent passion moves you closer to wondering: Did I miss something? Tarantino has been too busy working on his new opus, ‘The Hateful Eight,’ to watch many new movies in the last year, but he offers, along with more wine, snapshot opinions about a few of his filmmaker contemporaries. David Fincher? ‘Even when I don’t like his movies I walk around thinking about them for a week or so.’ Wes Anderson? ‘‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ is not really my thing, but I kind of loved it. The fact that I wasn’t a die-hard fan before made me even more happy that I could finally embrace him.’ Judd Apatow? ‘His audience is getting smaller and smaller but I think he’s getting better and better.’”


"You've heard of rape culture, but have you heard of pedophile culture?": An essential read from Alicen Grey at Feminist Current.

“Pedophilia may seem taboo and despised by the masses, but an honest appraisal of our culture at large reveals otherwise. I propose that pedophilia is actually rewarded and celebrated, and that our entire culture and understanding of sexuality is constructed around what seem to be pedophilic desires. I call this ‘pedophile culture.’ In pedophile culture, women are expected to maintain a near-impossible level of thinness, prepubescent in their almost-androgynous lack of curvature and body fat. Due to this pressure, eating disorders abound in young girls, and women in particular are targeted throughout their lives by a multi-billion dollar weight loss industry. In pedophile culture, the top Pornhub category is ‘Teen.’ ‘Barely legal’ ‘girls’ in schoolgirl outfits play out everything from ‘virgin manipulations,’ daddy-daughter incest fantasies, teacher-student make believe… you name it, there’s porn for it, and it’s been whacked-off to millions and millions and millions of times. It’s fair to wonder whether the only thing keeping some of these viewers from watching straight-up child porn is age of consent laws. Influenced by the porn industry, labiaplasty, a surgery that carves the labia minora down to porn-sized slivers, is rapidly gaining popularity. So are other procedures, like hymenoplasty. […] In pedophile culture, women are outright pressured to regularly shave or wax their nether regions and underarms. The cosmetics industry — again, targeted at women — peddles ‘anti-aging’ creams and lotions that will make our skin ‘baby soft!’”

Image of the Day

AnOther Mag's Ana Kinsella celebrates eight of "the chicest movie posters of all time." 

Video of the Day

"The Red Drum Getaway," a tribute to the cinema of Hitchcock and Kubrick, was directed by Adrien Dezalay, Emmanuelle Delabaere and Simon Philippe of Gump Studio and is, quite frankly, one of the most brilliant mash-up videos I've seen.

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the former Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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