The House


1. Nick Davis chimes in with an early look at Quantum of Solace.

["To be honest, I did put up a small fight: not a Bond-grade mêlée, just an M-kvetching-in-the-PM's-office sort of tantrum, because much that can go wrong in a Bond picture does start to go wrong, albeit temporarily, at the outset of Quantum of Solace. The explosion into action is a bit bludgeony and baldly Bourne-derived, in the form of a high-speed seaside car chase between 007's Aston Martin and some Eurotrash mongoose's Alfa Romeo. In relation to the Bourne franchise, and to Supremacy in particular, Quantum never stops attempting quite literal and therefore unbecoming imitations, like a petulant younger brother trying too hard to fill the older sibling's shoes, sometimes to the extent of renouncing its own father; in look, rhythm, plot structure, and transplanted technical crew, Quantum owes more on balance to the Greengrass-Gilroy films than to the quite impressive Casino Royale. Furthermore, the compulsory opening song by Jack White and Alicia Keys, titled "Another Way to Die," is both a limp and a strenuous exercise in harsh, failed Cool, leaving one wondering just how bad the laid-down Amy Winehouse track and the rumored Leona Lewis record turned out to be. Worst, Forster comes close to making a hash of the second major skirmish, which begins as Bond climbs, leaps, tumbles, and scrambles after a would-be assassin, in a too-close and second-best approximation of Royale's gorgeous and gravity-free opening chase. It certainly doesn't help that Forster keeps cross-cutting to the requisite local color of a famous Sienese horse race, which sunk me into cranky memories of those sporadic, flappy-bird inserts amid the big Monster's Ball sex scene. Chase scenes are the sex scenes in a movie like this (and sex scenes are sort of the chase scenes), and had Forster stayed this easily and emptily distractable, we'd have gotten quickly into a lame and permanent fix."]

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2. "John McCain—The Agony of a Gadfly": By Rich Lowry for National Review Online.

["The listing McCain campaign has descended into a bout of pre-criminations that is delightful fodder for political reporters. Who can deny that some cretinous McCain aide calling Sarah Palin "a diva" makes good copy? John McCain still has a chance to win, so it'd be more sensible to delay the "who lost 2008?" debate until after Nov. 4. But since it's already in full flower, let's consider a chief culprit in the campaign's current low state—the candidate."]

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3. Two Malick essays at Moving Image Source by Michael Atkinson ("The Shadow Army") and Bilge Ebiri ("English Speakers")

["It's an almost prophetic statement, in this sense: if Badlands is the terse jewel that teasingly dances around its themes, where characters almost never say what they really mean, then the films in between have worked their way toward The New World, its bold and brightly plumed opposite, the sprawling epic that brings us the characters' deepest, most intimate thoughts. Malick's later characters don't seem to share Holly's sense of propriety. Often painfully earnest and florid, their voiceovers sometimes express thoughts deemed too corny for most viewers to handle. A sampling:"]

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4. "Spheres of Resonance": A soothing photo post from The Art of Memory.

["there is an ancient indian folk story about the bird called musikar or dipak-lotus which had a beak of seven apertures. through each of these openings the bird was supposed to have been able to blow a different note, and at different seasons of the year it combined these notes into harmony to produce ragas with an "ethos" particular to the hour of the day and season of the year."]

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5. "Delightful Water Universe": Mike Everleth of Bad Lit calls attention to the new film by Beaver Trilogy director Trent Harris.

["Trent Harris, the genius behind one of the greatest films of all time—The Beaver Trilogy—is back with a new underground feature film: Delightful Water Universe. Details can be found on the film's official site, including the trailer, but I'm also embedding that below. This is Harris' fourth feature film, if you count The Beaver Trilogy as a "feature." (Beaver is actually a collection of three short films intended to be viewed in one sitting.) The official plot synopsis describes Delightful Water Universe thusly:"]

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Quote of the Day: Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802)

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

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Image of the Day (click to enlarge): World's First Movie Review (Hattip: Mike Peterson)

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Clip of the Day: Wassup 2008. True.

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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. Suggestions for links are also welcome. Please send to keithuhlich@gmail.com.

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