The House


1. "Scenes From an Overrated Career": Jonathan Rosenbaum's Gray Lady thinkemup on Ingmar Bergman. With responses from Jim Emerson, Zach Campbell, two threads (Rosenbaum disses Bergman in the NYT & Rosenbaum on Bergman) at the a_film_by discussion group, and you? Further: Emerson's most recent piece - "Bergman and Antonioni: Commercial moviemakers"

["The same qualities that made Mr. Bergman's films go down more easily than theirs—his fluid storytelling and deftness in handling actresses, comparable to the skills of a Hollywood professional like George Cukor—also make them feel less important today, because they have fewer secrets to impart. What we see is what we get, and what we hear, however well written or dramatic, are things we're likely to have heard elsewhere."]

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2. "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control": Michael Atkinson on contemporary cinema hack 'n' slash.

["I'd like to use The Bourne Ultimatum as a stick with which to beat modern American movies—which may not be completely fair to Paul Greengrass's movie, mildly mature and refreshingly nitty-gritty summer-actioner that it is. But there's something wrong on display here, something essentially amiss with the basic syntax of contemporary moviemaking as it has evolved in Hollywood—and, yes, I'm talking about camera style, which in this case (as in The Bourne Supremacy and countless other new films) suggests nothing so much as what a movie would look like if it were shot from inside of a high-speed clothes dryer."]

***

3. "Enter the dragon line and take a number..."

["A Hong Kong man paid $5,000 (U.S.) on Saturday for a car license plate that reads "BRUCELEE," after the late kung fu movie star. "When I studied in England, foreigners would only know two Chinese people. One is Bruce Lee. The other is Chairman Mao (Zedong)," the buyer, identified only by his surname, Wong, said on a Hong Kong cable television station."]

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4. "Isidore Isou, 1925 - 2007": Obituaries on the founder of Lettrism, gathered at GreenCine Daily.

["[In 1951, Guy Debord] met the lettrists in Cannes, where they had showed up to create a ruckus and make sure Isou's first film, Traité de bave et d'éternité [Treatise on Slime and Eternity], was screened. The film consisted of four hours of "discordant cinema," with its melodramatic images enhanced with scratches, shaky footage, blank frames, and a soundtrack that had no relation to the picture, consisting of monologues and "onomatopoeic" poetry (composed uniquely of sounds rather than words, onomatopoeic poetry being to lettrism what automatism was to surrealism, a kind of aesthetic matrix as well as quality label)."]

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5. "One Swayze Summer": Walter Chaw reviews seven Patrick Swayze movies on DVD. Wow, man. That's... something.

["Early on in the stupidest/smartest movie of 1984, a band of high-schoolers, having just witnessed a few planeloads of Cuban paratroopers land in their football field and machine gun their history teacher ("Education this!"), stock up for a stay in forest exile by cleaning out a gas-n-sip. Sleeping bags, canned goods, and the last thing off the shelf? That's right: a football. I spent the rest of Red Dawn trying to figure out if the football played some role in the eventual fighting prowess of our carbuncular guerrillas or if it was merely a big "fuck you" to the rest of the world that thinks "football" is soccer."]

***

Quote of the Day: W.H. Auden, from "A Letter to the Editors of "The Nation"" in Agee on Film

"I do not care for movies and I rarely see them; further, I am suspicious of criticism as the literary genre which, more than any other, recruits epigones, pedants without insight, intellectuals without love."

***

Clip of the Day: Strangely hypnotic time-lapse footage of a Reno balloon race


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"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.

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