For the smart people at Criterion, summers of late usually mean Godard, and today fills in some gaps in the Jean-Luc oeuvre with the simultaneous release of Made In U.S.A., and 2 Or 3 Things I Know About Her. Like my personal Godardian favorite, La Chinoise (also made in ‘67), 2 Or 3 Things is another (I know, some of you are sighing, yet another) Critique of Consumer Culture. But, unlike Chinoise, where Godard seems to waver between scorn and sympathy for the revolutionaries and their urge to rip things up and start from scratch, 2 Or 3 seems to make no bones about the absolute futility of such exercises to begin with. Consumer culture, in short, is inescapable. That being said, the film is a treat to behold, with typically gorgeous cinematography from Raoul Coutard (for his famous “swirling espresso,” see below). Whether you appreciate mid-era Godard or not (and Romanian new wave aside), the days of directors pairing “film” with “consumerist critique,” seems very far away to me now. The days of even talking about it seem farther.
Jon Rawlinson, producer, cameraman and editor based in Vancouver, Canada, shot this beautiful piece of video at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan. Jon says:
The main tank called the “Kuroshio Sea” holds 7,500-cubic meters (1,981,290 gallons) of water and features the world’s second largest acrylic glass panel, measuring 8.2 meters by 22.5 meters with a thickness of 60 centimeters. Whale sharks and manta rays are kept amongst many other fish species in the main tank.
Japanese fangirl interviews Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Tokyomango says:
A popular variety TV show called Sanma no Karakuri TV had a contest where 10,000 Japanese Harry Potter fans competed for a chance to fly to the UK, visit the set of the HP movies, and interview Ron and Harry. The winner was a high school girl named Kana Matsuda. Here’s a hilarious clip of her interviewing Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley. Watch it! It has subtitles. I’m personally a bigger fan of Ron than Harry, but if you want to watch the video of her interviewing Daniel Radcliffe, it’s here.
Quirky French film director Michel Gondry was taking commissions for $20 portraits but apparently the response was so great that he has put a temporary hold on taking new orders. As soon as I read this on Gothamist, I immediately went to his website, made my order and emailed him the above photo. That was in April and last Friday our portrait arrived. We love it! Best $20 I have ever spent!
(I think from the way he drew me, he could tell I was stoned, what do you think?)
Michel Gondry’s Flickr archive of his $20 portraits:
Definitely looks promising! Opens in New York and Los Angeles Thursday, August 14.
The history of the electric guitar as seen from the point of view of three significant musicians: Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge and the White Stripes’ Jack White. It tells the personal stories, of three generations of electric guitar virtuosos. It reveals how each developed his unique sound and style of playing his favorite instrument. Concentrating on the artists musical rebellion, traveling with him to influential locations and provoking rare discussion as to how and why he writes and plays.It Might Get Loud
While I was never a fan of Anthony Minghella, or his limp entry in the Ripley sweepstakes (for some truly great Ripley action see this, or definitely this, then, if you’re curious about Patricia Highsmith, maybe read this), I’m a huge fan of both Beckett, and the always entertaining Alan Rickman (not that Beckett, too, can’t entertain). The 4-disc Beckett On Film ranges, in my mind, all over the place in quality, but I think the set’s standout is definitely the Minghella-helmed version of Play, starring the melancholy Snape himself. Let’s see…Rickman’s in an urn between the also-urned Kristen Scott Thomas and Juliet Stevenson, and, well…just push “play!” (You’ll need to push it twice, though: Play II follows below.)
What with the acclaimed release of Brad Gooch’s long-in-the-works biography, and Criterion’s recent reissuing of John Huston’s WIse Blood, I’m guessing Flannery O’Connor‘s receiving more NPR airplay this summer than the latest Moby offering.
Last week, I spent some time with the Criterion disc, and let me tell you, despite the usual “mentat intensity” from Dourif, Wise Blood has NOT aged well. So, when you’re hankering for some Southern-fried gothic but don’t have the time—or patience—for a full-length feature, you might wanna check out Black Hearts Bleed Red, Jeri Cain Rossi’s 1992 film adaption of O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.” It’s satisfyingly austere, lacks Wise Blood’s grating soundtrack, and hey, who’s that misfit with a rifle? Why, it’s Joe Coleman!
Jeri Cain Rossi’s Black Hearts Bleed Red
“It’s almost like if Scorsese directed Hee Haw.” Richard Metzger interviews Julien Nitzberg, director of the amazing new documentary film, “The Wild Whites of West Virginia.” Shot over the course of eighteen months, the film follows the often comical, sometimes tragic antics of the hell-raising hillbilly White family of Boone County, WV. Surely the state’s most notorious clan since the days of the Hatfields and the McCoys, the Whites engage in a mind-blowing array of anti-social and criminal activities with barely concealed glee. Produced by “Jackass” maestros Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine through their Dickhouse production company and MTV Films, “The Wild Whites of West Virginia” takes no prisoners and it doesn’t tell you what to think about the Whites. Local law enforcement hate them, but for the most part—barring a several day armed seige one younger White puts them through—but tend to want to stay out of their insane shenanigans. When one of the Whites gives birth and then snorts up ground painkillers in her hospital room while her infant sleeps nearby, the camera was there, okay? It’s intimate! Unlike anything you are likely to see unless you live in Boone County, WV. An incredible documentary. Highly recommended.