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“a record of a place and an age”

By Asides, Cinema, NZ

The city of Christchurch has appeared in fea­ture films infre­quently. Philip Matthews uses those appear­ances as a way in to under­stand­ing the cur­rent – earthquake-devastated – state of the place:

How will we remem­ber these places that have gone or are going? Photos and museum records, memor­ies, ref­er­ences in lit­er­at­ure (Kate De Goldi on Radio NZ some weeks back, in an emo­tion­al dis­cus­sion of her city in fic­tion and poetry) and maybe in film too. What can cinema show us of the lost city?

[From second sight: Lost city: Christchurch on film]

Lovely writ­ing, and important.

“a girl in a convertible is worth five in the phone book.”

By Asides, Business, Current Events

In these days when cap­it­al­ism seems like the cause of all our prob­lems rather than the solu­tion to them, it is more than edu­ca­tion­al to read the latest let­ter to Berkshire Hathaway share­hold­ers from Warren Buffett, an old school cap­it­al­ist who believes that money should be made by adding value – for cus­tom­ers, share­hold­ers, staff and soci­ety at large.

As always, Buffett’s let­ter is full of quot­able por­tions but I was par­tic­u­larly taken by this seg­ment on the Berkshire Hathaway rail­road BNSF:

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“philistines, foes of art, craven bottom-liners, vulgarians” ... and us

By Asides, Cinema

A dis­pir­it­ing por­trait of the cur­rent com­mer­cial cinema from Mark Harris in GQ:

Such an unre­lent­ing focus on the sell rather than the goods may be why so many of the dis­pir­it­ingly awful movies that stu­di­os throw at us look as if they were planned from the poster back­ward rather than from the good idea for­ward. Marketers revere the idea of brands, because a brand means that some­body, some­where, once bought the thing they’re now try­ing to sell.

[From The Day the Movies Died: Movies + TV: GQ]

This is sadly a must-read for any­one who still enjoys going to the pic­tures but is won­der­ing why they still bother.

Interestingly, this is the third GQ art­icle I have linked to here in the last 12 months (Shatner and Shandling) and yet I still main­tain my sub­scrip­tion to Esquire and haven’t actu­ally bought a GQ in nearly 15 years. I may need to reas­sess that.

“At the Movies”

By Asides, Audio, Cinema

Lynn Freeman’s Arts on Sunday show returned from the Summer break yes­ter­day but film cor­res­pond­ent Simon Morris was giv­en an extra week off (some­thing to with Matinée Idle I suspect).

Because of that, I was asked to fill in and spent a pleas­ant half an hour chat­ting with Lynn about what’s been hap­pen­ing over the last couple of months (plus at the end anoth­er little ride on my anti-film; pro-digital hobbyhorse):


The Devil’s Double [Updated]

By Asides, Cinema

After the abject dis­aster that was the Nicolas Cage vehicle Next, I am sur­prised to report that Once Were Warriors dir­ect­or Lee Tamahori has made anoth­er film. And even more sur­prised to report that it looks quite interesting.

The Devil’s Double is based on the auto­bi­o­graph­ic­al nov­el by Latif Yahia who spent a great deal of the 80s and 90s as the offi­cial fiday or body double for Saddam Hussein’s psy­cho­path­ic son Uday.

The film stars Dominic Cooper and Ludovine Sagnier and launches at Sundance shortly.

UPDATE (25 Jan 2011): Filmbrain has seen the film as part of the preper­a­tion for the Berlin Film Festival and tweeted his ver­dict here:

Filmbrain (Andrew G) (@Filmbrain)
25/01/11 5:35 AM
Wait…some people at Sundance actu­ally liked THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE? #awful #wor­seth­anaw­ful