Monday, February 18, 2019

"War and Peace": 7-hour restored Russian film of Tolstoy novel opens at Lincoln Center



Joshua Barone describes (in the New York Times) the re-opening Feb. 15 at the Lincoln Center Film Society in New York, of Sergei Bondarchuk’s 1966 7-hour adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace




I recall seeing the 1956 VistaVision Di Laurentis version from Paramount directed by King Vidor, with Henry Fonda. Mell Ferrer, and Audrey Hepburn.




The novel and films correlate Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and retreat with the personal lives (love triangles and aborted births) of an aristocratic Russian family;  it is in some ways a kind of Russian “Gone with the Wind”, a period of history that arguable led to the development of Marxism.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

"The JFK Assassination: What Really Happened": Animated short runs through the conspiracy theories


The JFK Assassination: What Really Happened?” on the Infographics Show.


This block-animated 7 minute short makes three interesting points.  Trump has talked about the assassination and conspiracy theories. The Dallas police did not take good written notes in interviewing Oswald, as they normally would.  There was an “umbrella man” on a sunny day, who might have been there for a steganographic signal.  And J. Edgar Hoover behaved suspiciously.

I had not realized Oswald was from Belarus (then part of the Soviet Union). The film asks why Ruby didn't just shoot him in the leg.

A separate group in 1979, after I had moved to Texas, found a conspiracy to be likely, even though the Warren commission did not.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"Pro-vaccine vs. anti-vaccine": film within a film, of a debate


I’ll count this as a film within a film. Dr. Mike Varvhavski annotates another video debate “Pro-Vaccine v. Anti-Vaccine”.




This is an episode of “Dr. Mike”, a young and handsome physician.

Mike points out that children with autoimmune disorders or known reactions are not encouraged to take vaccines.  They are protected by the herd immunity from other children who are vaccinated. This is a subtlety of argument often overlooked.

A woman on Facebook once asked her friends how to protect her unvaccinated daughter from measles in an area with an outbreak (Washington state). But I don’t know if the child might have had a specific immune disorder.

Another Facebook friend used material from the National Vaccine Information Center that appears to be government, but is a separate and apparently biased non-profit, to justify exclusion from vaccines.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

"The Mexican": a mob border comedy from 2001 may not seem as funny now



Gore Verbinski’s 2001 classic for Dreamworks SKG, “The Mexican”, probably has a most politically incorrect title given today’s polarization over immigration and accusations of race bating.


Brad Pitt plays Jerry Welbach, who is challenged by his mob bosses to go into Mexico and retrieve an ancient gun called “The Mexican” and bring it back.  His girl friend Samantha (Julia Roberts) objects by Jerry wants to stay alive.


The scenery of the movie works as a palindrome, where a particular traffic signal in the early part of the film returns.

The gun indeed has a curse.

Picture: My trip, May 2018, actually a park in Harlingen, Texas near the border 

Monday, February 11, 2019

"Room Closet": indeed a metaphor for coming out




Room Closet”, From Entity Productions, is set in a micro-bedroom, very simple.


Rafael (Diego Der Vidts, the more assertive of an 18-ish male pair, is ready to “come out” but Dan (Joseph Keefe), his “best friend”, still wants the anchor of a girl friend first. But he gets a text that she is indisposed.





It’s a familiar situation from my young adulthood, an idea that would work in the 70s.
 

There was no director given in the credits.  Certainly a very simple short film to set up.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

"The 'Learn to Code' Meme Controversy" with Joe Rogan and Tim Pool




OK, I’ll count “The ‘Learn to Code’ Meme Controversy” where comedian Joe Rogan interviews indie journalist Tim Pool in Los Angeles, as a “short film”, at least on a Sunday night.


Pool talks about the way some people who tweeted “learn to code” at some laid-off journalists from Buzz-Feed and other places, and how Twitter suspended them for “harassment”.

The “learn to code” meme is a distant reflection of Maoism, probably with inversion.  Back during the 1960s cultural revolution in China, intellectuals were made to take their turn becoming peasants, actually on the urging of activists, not just Mao himself. It’s like my applying for a job as proletarian letter carrier (or cab driver – now we have Uber) after my “career ending layoff” at the end of 2001 after 9/11.  Call it the “Learn to work meme”.

Then Pool gets into a discussion on how middle-range journalists blew it on the Covington boys scandal.
  
He talks about the Silicon Valley left wing bias, but actually it spreads to payment processors who are freaked out by the sudden rise of the alt-right after Trump’s election, and sensitivity to their possible complicity with the Russians. And “The Church of Jack Dorsey” seems to favor intersectional faith.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

"Iteration 1": Your eternal life might consist of repeated cycles trying to leave an escape room



Jesse Lupini’s “Iteration 1”, from Dust films (12 min). 

A young woman wakes up in a white room with a bed.  She has sixty seconds to escape before dropping dead and starting a reincarnation cycle with copies of her previous selves to help.


The cycles are called “iterations” and are numbered.  The time speeds up in the film, as she gets through twenty of them.

There are balloons, a tree that repairs itself, and drywall.  She isn’t alone.  Maybe she is supposed to be the mother of a new civilization.
  
This concept bears a distant relationship to my screenplay “Epiphany”.