1. "Hollywood Takes on the Left": A Weekly Standard article from earlier this month. Stephen F. Hayes visits the set of An American Carol and roundtables with the cast and crew. RELATED: The Washington Times (from July) on the "Friends of Abe," which is mentioned in the Standard piece. The trailer for An American Carol is here.
["And Kelsey Grammer plays General George S. Patton, Malone's guide to American history and the mouthpiece of the film's writers. I chatted with Grammer on the set at Warner Brothers studios. "I'm glad some of the bigger guys jumped in--Dennis Hopper, Jon Voight, James Woods." Grammer has been out as a conservative for several years and has publicly mused about running for office. His name comes up periodically when California Republicans are brainstorming about candidates to take on Barbara Boxer or Dianne Feinstein for their Senate seats. It's not hard to see why. He is passionate about the issues that matter most to conservatives and extraordinarily articulate. "The accepted way to speak about America is in the voice that disrespects it. And the voice that's unacceptable is the one that loves America," he says, wearing the uniform of an Army general and sipping from a bottle of pomegranate juice. "How did we get here?" Over the course of two hours, we are joined by several others working on the movie and talk about everything from taxes--"the rich in this country are being criminalized"--to Iraq. "Petraeus has to couch every bit of optimism in some convoluted formulation to avoid the promised rush of disrespect," Grammer says. Eventually, the conversation turns from policy to punditry. Grammer, who is friends with Ann Coulter, says he quoted her once to some of the young people who work for him. "'Ann Coulter,'" he says, recalling their horror and assuming their voice. "'She's the antichrist.' And I said: 'What the f-- do you know about the antichrist? You don't even believe in Christ.'""]
2. "Production Lines": At Sit Down Man, You're a Bloody Tragedy, Owen Hatherley ruminates on the Eurostar/Somers Town team-up.
["Before Somers Town, there was the industrial film unit British Transport Films, whose excellence suggests that a film made entirely to promote the buying of train tickets can be as interesting, if not more, than someone's untrammelled creative vision. Somers Town tries to have it both ways. It certainly doesn't announce itself as A Eurostar Film or anything so vulgar. Nonetheless, it's all pretty obvious. The new terminal is contantly mentioned, and the final scenes in Paris - in glorious technicolour! - lay it on very thick. As an argument for travel, it works very well, and is a rare statement against anti-East European racism (about a third of the film is in Polish), and for a British cosmopolitanism. It's funny, sweet and very slight, and by far the most irritating thing about it is the appalling David Gray/Mike and the Mechanics-esque soundtrack, all soulful heartwarming crooning over the over-signposted 'epiphanies'. Oh for a British film that doesn't aspire to warming the sodding cockles."]
3. Busy publishing day at pigs and battleships, all by Ryan Wu: "A Cornered Animal" (on John McCain's VP pick); "Hitting the Big Shot" (on Barack Obama's DNC acceptance speech); and "Palin and the Tire Gauge" (more on Sarah Palin).
["This sort of Animal House as political campaign is probably the only aspect of McCain's operation that's close in spirit to McCain's appealing 2000 run (there's a wonderful essay by David Foster Wallace in Consider the Lobster that captures the freewheeling, insurgent vibe of the Straight Talk Express; read it and weep at what's become of Mr. Maverick). And this impulsiveness speaks to McCain himself, a man of many virtues but whose disqualifying personal flaw is that he makes decisions on the fly, often as a gut reaction to a provocation. The choice of Sarah Palin, it seems, is another product of McCain's impulsive, reactive decision-making and the thinking of a campaign that's effective in staying afloat primarily by being good at feeding the news media. McCain surely punk'd Obama for a news cycle or two, and he'll succeed in generating some excitement leading up to next week. But for what?"]
4. "No End in Sight on YouTube": Via The Chutry Experiment and Todd Holmes, news that Charles Ferguson's documentary will be available in its entirety on YouTube from September 1st through November 5th.
["One of the more devastating documentaries about the Bush administration was Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight, which provided a scathing analysis of the Washington insiders who planned the war in Iraq, diagnosing an unbelievable amount of incompetence and hubris in a war that was sold as a "cakewalk.""]
5. The latest Famous First from Ferdy on Films: THX-1138 by Roderick Heath.
["It's easy to call THX 1138 an adult film, and the Star Wars films juvenile, but they're built from the same nuts and bolts of parable. Star Wars was bent on being accessible and thrilling, where THX 1138 is allusive and mysterious. If THX 1138 is ragged in places, it's also one of the best science fiction films of its time. Its influence is undeniable. Scifi dystopias arrived by the bushel in its wake, but the likes of Soylent Green (1971), Logan's Run (1974), and Rollerball (1975) lacked its rigor of style and mise-en-scène, and I doubt Mad Max (1979), Blade Runner (1981), or The Matrix (1999) would have happened without its example. Lucas occasionally talks about returning to experimental projects like this. I doubt he will. And it's a shame."]
"We are the echo of the future."
Quote of the Day: W.S. Merwin
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): Ms. Palin, it seems, is a VPilf.
Clip of the Day: George and Laura hit it off...
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