Sunday, January 29, 2012
Hallmark's "A Smile as Big as the Moon": a teacher's passion gets his special education kids to Space Camp
Saturday, January 28, 2012
"Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance" airs simultaneously in many indie theaters today with Q&A by Internet, Twitter
Thursday, January 26, 2012
I did rent “Lord of the Flies” around 2004, and was left with the impression that Getty’s character was hardly much of a leader, just too young. As a substitute teacher, I ran into this novel a lot .
Wikipedia attribution link for map of Pygmy peoples in Africa.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"; the short "Ode to the Dawn of Man" shows baby play, literally
The cave had been sealed off accidentally by rock slides, and was discovered in 1994. The artwork appears to date back about 32000 years, and contains probably the earliest artwork and even musical instruments (including a pentatonic flute) ever found. The people used the caves only for ceremonial purposes. At one point, the explorers follow thumbprints back into the cave to follow the movements of a typical hunter. These were true “homo sapiens”, not Neanderthals, who lived in the area and who might have been able to interbreed.
The photography has very muted colors, necessary inside the cave (where access is so strictly controlled and not open to the public), but the technique continued outside, giving the French countryside a rather extraterrestrial look.
The film, produced by Creative Differences and the History Channel, has DVD distribution by IFC. It also showed at the Toronto Film Festival (2010).
The official site is here. The theatrical release was available in 3-D.
The DVD has an expansive 38-minute short “Ode to the Dawn of Man”, which demonstrates the rehearsals for the music of the film, composed by Ernst Reijseger. The music, with a chamber group including keyboards, chamber orchestra, and wordless chorus, tends to emphasize ground bass (in 2/4 time) with many variations. The composer’s wife often rehearses with the baby in her lap, and in a sense at the end of the film, the baby plays some notes on the piano, one at a time, while Mom plays an atonal, 12-tone theme (rather odd effect). That is an interesting concept in teaching a 1-year-old music.
Can babies learn to play instruments this young? Does anyone know?
Another interesting sidelight is the keyboard artist, youthful-looking Dutch artist Harmen Fraanje (link), who sometimes conducts, but usually plays both the upright piano (keys exposed) and tracker Wurlitzer organ, arranged in a perpendicular manner so he can play one with each hand simultaneously.
Wikipedia attribution link for Chauvet Cave picture. Other pictures, mine, from northern MN.
Update: Jan. 24
Oscar nominees for 2012 ceremony are here. There are nine nominees for Best Picture.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
This might be a place to mention another Strand film, "Frisk", from 1995, directed by Todd Verow, based on a novel by Dennis Cooper where the novel author apparently admits to horrific deeds or inclinations in a letter early in the film, which leads to a first-person rendition of the deeds in the film, which are quite graphic. A potential legal oddity.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Update: Dec, 8, 2015
There is a 52-minute documentary on this film by Azadeh Moussavi and Kouroush Ataee. Farhadi explains how he was inspired to make the film by an image of a man bathing his grandfather. Later the documentary traces the awards circuit for the film and the difficulty it can cause Farhadi when he returns to Iran. It also mentions that politics of the US trying to stop Iran from having nuclear weapons. The documentary was placed on a separate DVD, for the film "About Elly" (here, Dec. 4, 2015)/
Friday, January 20, 2012
"Space Tourists" (from Sundance library) shows civilians who will pay millions to pay to be trained as astronauts
"Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel" traces Corman's record career with B-movies, indie film, and actually some real art film; he is "an artist"
Thursday, January 19, 2012
But it concerns me that it took a film that is this important two years to get into the festival circuit and become available for watching even with paid rental. (See review Friday -- this is in Sundance library but I couldn't find in 2012 list.)
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
This sort of film was so effective when new (like “The Blair Witch Project”). Sequels tend to get stale, and you need to see it in a theater with other people to feel scared.
Picture: I know that is based on "V for Vendetta".
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Much of the film was shot on location in Sarajevo, which still looks ragged. Much of it is in winter, and there seems to be plenty of snow.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Maybe we should watch MGM’s 1954 frolic “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows": great entertainment, and a pre-history of what caused World War I (and everything since)
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Actually, cosmological physics (especially the Second Law of Thermodynamics) and mathematics would have a lot to say about the potential of immortality. One might be able to prove mathematically that only a finite number of souls could enjoy immortality, it seems to me. The concept of entropy would explain why reproduction (procreation) is necessary.
The Washington Post has a major story on Mormon social values (by Michelle Boorstein) Jan. 12, here. A larger percentage of Mormons than of the general population believe that being a successful parent is the most important thing one can do and believe that having a good marriage is mandatory. Note that the moral belief centers on the idea that a person is required to perform a pre-existing obligation (getting and staying married and raising children as an oblication), rather than follow through on a choice already made (having sexual intercourse that happens to result in children), the latter of which has become the "libertarian" idea of personal responsibility.
The Pew Research Center has a report Jan. 12, 2012, "Mormons in America: Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society", here.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Second picture: from a freshman physics lab notebook. Hardly trials for an anti-HIV drug.