Calling Coyotes by Cross-Country Communication in all Counties

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Kurdish Jews in Israel

Kesher Talk has links. I, being part-Sephardic, appear to be related to the Kurds. I will take this opportunity to remind the reader of the link to the Kurdish National Congress of North America. Their website has information on the historical and present-day oppression of the Kurds, and the organization is active in lobbying for North American support of the Kurdish people.
Gregg Easterbrook takes on David Edelstein:

Somebody's Head Was Swimming All Right: A critic for the New York Times swooned that "movies as we knew them changed" because of "The Matrix" and declared that its "inspirations" could "make your head swim." Matrix inspirations included, supposedly, "video games, Hong Kong sword-fighting ghost epics, Japanese anime, William Gibson cyberpunk, Philip K. Dick dystopian science fiction, druggy Alice-in-Wonderland surrealism, the bio-mechanical designs of the artists H. R. Giger and Geoff Barlow, David Cronenberg's visions of cybernetically enhanced flesh and Terminator-like battles of man vs. runaway machine (with a nod to the writer Harlan Ellison and the father of robotics, Hans Moravec), the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism, which in this case overlaps with Jean Baudrillard's postmodern book Simulacra and Simulation (which makes a cameo in "The Matrix"), messianic Christianity and even Zen Buddhism. (Also) a philosophy essential to many Eastern martial arts, that the material world is secondary."

The review further declared, "A science-fiction screenwriter I know said he'd been stewing over his own simulated-universe project for years when "The Matrix" came out. 'What I didn't think of,' he said sadly, 'was the martial-arts angle.' And that's the crux of it." So - Gnosticism, Jean Baudrillard and H.R. Giger, but what was missing was fist fights! Talk about a great breakthrough by The Matrix's producers. Coming soon to a theater near you: Catharism, Andre Malraux and Lo Spagna, plus naked women!

A mere one week after penning the above love poem to the "Matrix" series, the same critic wrote on Slate that Matrix Revisited[sic] was "messy and flat-footed ... ugly, bloated, repetitive ... the disposable feel of a video game ... fake." The same critic complained that "Matrix Reloaded" was bad because it's a bunch of pretentious mumbo-jumbo tied together with obviously staged kung-fu fights: exactly what the same critic had praised as inspirational just one week before.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Lt. Smash is a Douglas Adams fan!

"...and many [people] were unhappy, even the ones with digital watches."
-Opening of Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Today's Critics Don't Boost Movies, They Down Them

I saw The Road To Perdition last night. It was one of the best films I've seen in a while. I believe tat it should have won an Academy Award if The Pianist hadn't also been made in the same year. That it won only one Emmie and was not nominated for Best Picture is a sign that Hollywood is becoming increasingly phobic of films that mean things, give the award to Chicago, an entertaining comedy of little real meaning, in short, the only films David Edelstein of Slate likes, except for films like the Pianist. From reading his review of The Core, you get the distinct feeling he thought it was a better film than The Road To Perdition.

One can't help but wonder why Edelstein is so obsessively negative about films like About Schmidt, The Road to Perdition, The Matrix Reloaded, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels; (Caveat: the second half of these aren't high-concept films, but I liked them.) even when it is obvious that they are trying to make something other than a formulaic crowd-pleaser, and almost almost half of the films Edelstein reviews are pure commercial crap, even (or especially, if you want to be cynical) many he liked. (I'm thinkling the whole Austin Powers series, The Core, The Italian Job, etc.) Therefore, I bring you the Thre Rules of David Edlestein's Movie Criticism:

1. If you think the film is good but flawed, remember, a flawed good film is a bad film.

2. If the film is bad, relentlesly attempt to find good things about it.

3. Corollary to #2: If the film is good but you think the creator is a "showbiz whore" for making and promoting high-concept films, or "pickling in their own self-importance" for making a film that is merely decent when you expect them to build the Sistine Chapel, relentlessly use any real or imagined bad points to justify panning it as a horrible film. And remember, the public cares intensely what you thought of acting plot, etc. on a deeply subjective, biased basis. So if you the think the acting is bad because of your own preconceptions of what the acting should have been, the pubic must know that the film is bad because you think the acting is bad.

Coming soon: An "Edelstein-ing" of the Road To Perdition review, and an important announcement.