CineMathematics or CinemaThematics. Your choice

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Stop It America, You're Pissing Me Off

I am not a big fan of Nirvana. It's a generational thing. This post has nothing do with Nirvana. I hope to talk about Nirvana at some point in the future. I just didn't want to look for a picture concerning what I'm talking about now.

I don't consider myself old or particularly out of touch with popular culture, but I don't know Miley Cyrus. I heard about a concert movie, and she presented a song from Enchanted at the Oscars. And apparently she's worth $1 BILLION. Why should I care? Why can't I go anywhere on the web without something about Miley Cyrus and Annie Liebowitz? I refuse to read it on principle because I know it's about a 15 year old girl who was photographed topless. There is no nudity, unless the censors suddenly don't like people's backs. I understand that people see this girl as the latest embodiment of innocence, but putting her on a pedestal and forcing the girl to apologize for something that even hints at sex is just stupid. Let's just remember another former alumna from the Disney factory: Britney Spears.

I don't want to talk about this anymore. Stop caring about this, America. It's not worth your time, and it's not worth the web space. This is really pissing me off. I need something to feel better.

That hits the spot.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why Is This Sundae Monday Different From All Other Nights?

If you know me, then you know I never hide my religion. Jews have a certain knack for humor, but if you had a Jewish mother, you would laugh too. Passover is the time of year that makes me happy to be a Jew, in no small part because the food and family provide great comfort. You can keep your Christmas. I'll just have some matzah ball soup. And so it is that I yet again revel in the wonders of Jewish humor.

A basic primer for all the Goyim out there:

This is just plain funny:


Everyone who celebrates Passover ends up with more matzah than they can stomach (there's only so much matzah pizza a man can eat). Here are some suggestions for what to do with your leftovers:

On a completely separate note, I will not be posting for at least another two weeks. Having six exams and a paper will do that to you. I look forward to seeing you again if I survive.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Stand Up For a True Artist

I'm sure you've heard about the petition to get Uwe Boll to stop making movies. I have never seen an Uwe Boll film, nor do I plan to unless forced (or given a choice between Bloodrayne and, say, Failure to Launch). But who are you to shut this man up unless he has truly offended you? Isn't he this generation's Ed Wood? Don't we need that? If you have seen one of his films, and find it worse than a mediocre and insulting film like Fever Pitch (no true Red Sox fan can like that movie), then sure, ask for your money back. But the amount of signatures on that petition (206864 as of this writing) is far too many for people who have found themselves legitimately offended by the works of this man. I would be willing to bet that there are significant numbers of signers who have never seen a film by Boll but just like making fun of bad movies. To those people, I must ask: Why?

Has Uwe Boll made a movie that has truly scarred you? What about his films do you object so highly to? If it's the videogame thing, then you should start up a petition for Andrzej Bartkowiak as well (was Doom any better?). Did he tarnish the reputation of good actors too much? Can you think of any other actor besides Ben Kingsley that once had a reputation to be tarnished? If we're going that route, then Jon Avnet deserves a petition for what he has done to Al Pacino in 88 Minutes. There is nothing truly horrible that Boll has done that hasn't been done by another director.

What I find most impressive is that he keeps getting hired. After all, his films are bombs, so the laws of economics should do what this petition is doing without anybody needing to express their hatred of him. He succeeds by working outside the studio system and making movies on his terms. If there were a tightly adherent cult that praised his movies to the stars, he might be seen as an auteur of sorts. As is, he is decried so far and wide that people (myself included) will never see his movies to see what the big deal is. In fact, if I could easily obtain a film of his, I might watch it simply to spite this petition. And maybe then I would realize why this petition is there. Oh the circular logic is amazing.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Sundae Monday Goes Hardcore (Punk)

As I'm sure you all know, the political world exploded this weekend because Barack Obama started preparing for Passover in Pennsylvania (my mother always preferred horseradish sauce to the more traditional radishes for the bitter herbs). Normally I don't venture into the world of politics, and today is no exception, no matter how much I was tempted by this video of Obama talking about Hillary's gun past. He can't even keep a straight face. I was nearly on the floor. But this week revolves around my discovery of BlankTV, apparently a one-stop source for alternative music. This ranges from Iggy and the Stooges to Black Flag, Fugazi, Yo La Tengo, Wolfmother, and any number of other alternative of punk bands. If you're at all interested in alternative music, you should check it out. And now some videos!

Let's start with the Ramones:

The Kooks:


Street Dogs:

Gang Green:

and finally The Only Band That Mattered:

Keep in mind this is only a fraction of what I found that I know of. There is so much to explore that I could literally spend hours discovering new bands. As I said, if you like alternative music, then this is the place for you.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Which Wajda?

I find myself in a bit of an awkward situation. My flight back to Boston is in sight (May 15), and I plan on spending my last week consuming an unreasonable amount of films in London's rep houses consuming films I doubt I'll be able to see back home (at least for a while). The BFI Southbank Cinema is spending the month of May focusing on Andrzej Wajda, of whom I have seen no films. In fact, the only reason I even know his name is because of the Criterion boxset. Though I plan on watching as much as possible, I do have a budget. BFI has a day when they are showing all three of the films in the boxset back-to-back-to-back. Should I spend my time and money on that, or should I go for more obscure titles from the retrospective? It seems unlikely that I will get a chance to see the more obscure titles for years, but should I give up the chance of seeing the three war films on the big screen knowing that I can relatively easily see them on DVD? I'm constantly told that films like these are meant for the cinema, but I can I give up what may be my only chance to see the more obscure films? I really don't know what to do. Please help.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Sundae Monday Primer

This week's collection of videos was inspired by last week's episode of South Park, an altogether disappointing affair, considering it was a satire on the WGA strike. The highlight of the episode was the spoofing of some internet phenomena, which led me to realize how out of the loop I have been on some things. I will readily admit that there were some things here I hadn't seen before the episode, so I figure that someone reading this might be in the same boat.

First, Samwell's "What What (In the Butt)":

And its reinterpretation, featuring one Leopold Stotch:

Next, "Chocolate Rain":

Tron Guy:

"Numa Numa" Guy:

Star Wars Kid:

Sneezing Panda:

Dramatic Chipmunk:

Chris Crocker:

Laughing Baby (Seriously, how did this get 44 million views?):

Afro Ninja:

And now you can watch them all kill each other:

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Feel the Paine

There's nothing quite as enjoyable as being forced to watch a good movie for a class. Even while focusing on the cinematography in The Third Man this evening, I couldn't help but truly discover Bernard Lee. You may know him as Sergeant Paine, or perhaps as M in the James Bond films. Watching him this time around was a revelation. Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) doesn't have the one-liners he almost certainly would if the film were more modern. Instead, that job goes to Lee. He is so casual delivering lines like "sounds anti-British" that you don't even get the joke for a minute. His presence also serves the film's greater themes, as he is the only character to be genuinely amusing. His death is the saddest moment in the film. Lee would have been 100 in January, so consider this a late tribute. I was unable to find any scenes online that highlighted Lee, so below you will find The Third Man in its entirety. Amazing thing that internet.

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