["Her independence has deep roots. When she was 9, she and her mother moved from the Lower East Side to Putney, Vt., and eventually to London, where, at 15, she remained on her own to study acting for two years before coming back to get her high school equivalency diploma and enroll at Purchase College. "My mom was a '70s mom," she said of her mother's willingness to let her stay in London. "She paved a road that no one had yet walked. To get the hippie out of certain characters is probably the most difficult thing for me. I was not a hippie by choice but by birth." Ms. Leo, 47, has long lived in Ulster County, near Woodstock, N.Y., with her son by the actor John Heard, and now on her own. She's a familiar presence at Woodstock's indie-oriented film festival, and is part of the loose network of artists, performing and otherwise, who have gravitated there. She explains her résumé by saying, "I do the work that's in front of me.""]
["At one point in Michael Ondaatje's book of interviews with Walter Murch, the venerable film editor reflects on how effective cutting keeps audiences grounded as one shot, often imperceptibly, becomes another. The trick is to determine where the viewer's attention is trained in a particular shot and to cut to a shot that contains a focal point in the same area of the frame. But there is at least one major exception to this rule: the fight scene. "You actually want an element of disorientation—that's what makes it exciting," Murch says of his approach to splicing together a fight. "So you put the focus of interest somewhere else, jarringly, and you cut at unexpected moments. You make a tossed salad of it, you abuse the audience's attention." ... The fight scene as it usually turns up in today's action spectacles—smeared, destabilized, fixated on chaos at the expense of clarity and precision—reflects the changing syntax, the all-around acceleration, of movies in general and Hollywood blockbusters in particular. The current vogue for chopped-up fights also raises the question: Are these hyperedited brawls any more successful than their more straightforward predecessors?"]
["Fanny, in the end, made the Siren take a look at how much emphasis she places on direction. On that score, you have to flunk the movie. Logan guided three very good performances and one so-so one, but in other respects it's badly directed, end of story. But the Siren can't lie and say she disliked Fanny, when in fact she enjoyed it very much. The delicate theme of romance down the years, children as the thread that binds us together, the beautiful south of France, the intensely lovable characters and most of all Jack Cardiff created a movie that the Siren was powerless to resist completely, Logan or no Logan. It is out in a new widescreen DVD that supposedly looks quite good, so check it out and tell me whether you, too, had to throw your reservations off the pier."]
["B.O.M.B 'Over Here'": This song's just no bullshit. Under three-minutes, these really tight drums, and justB.O.M.B--"Baltimore On My Back"--rapping straight-forward stuff that's spare and direct and descriptive and nothing more or less. There's a good mix of influences here as well. Like so many smart thugs, he owes a great deal to 'Pac, but there's some golden-age New York influence in his delivery and the beat--especially those Primo-ish drums--but it's aware and internalizes more recent rap trends. The all-keyboard aspect of the beat, the purposefully simple and immediate lyrics, and the filling it all-out with ad-libs, show a relatively traditionalist rapper that didn't turn the radio off in 1998."]
5. John Kenneth Muir delves deep into The X-Files: I Want To Believe.
["Belief isn't easy to come by these days. But - despite most reviews - I still believe in The X-Files. Perhaps the biggest problem with this new film (sub-titled I Want to Believe) arises not from the stars (or the production itself), but from ourselves, and—specifically—our expectations. Based on the savage reviews proliferating on the web and in print, audiences and critics apparently desired a Wrath of Khan, when what they actually get is...The Search for Spock. In other words, X-Files: I Want to Believe is a more intimate, cerebral adventure than it is a "big event" summer movie. There are virtually no optical special effects in this movie. I could detect no (or very little) CGI. There are few action sequences. There is little violence of any kind, actually (I don't believe a single gun is fired...). Mulder and Scully never even carry fire-arms, as far as I can detect. And there are no explosions whatsoever. All the fireworks, rather...are purely human; emotional. Accordingly, the climax is one that relies on the specific nuances of human interaction and relationships, not fights, chases, or gun-fire. The film's success hinges on such old--fashioned elements as atmosphere and mood. A wintry, oppressive location—West Virginia—is practically a supporting character here, and the build-up of real suspense is generated through effective use of solid film techniques such as cross-cutting. This is good work, beautifully photographed; it's merely out-of-step with the kind of movies being offered in our cineplexes today. Honestly, I Want to Believe's greatest failing has nothing to do with what it is; but rather what it is not; what people apparently "wanted" to believe about the form it would take."]
Quote of the Day: Samuel Butler
"All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income."
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): Agents of CHAOS!!!!! Everywhere I look... (Hattip: Jonathan Pacheco)
Clip of the Day: "You're a Bush! Act like one!": The trailer for Oliver Stone's W.
_____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged. Suggestions for links are also welcome. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.