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“a record of a place and an age”

By Asides, Cinema and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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):

[audio:http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/art/art-20110130–1306-Dan_Slevin_reviews_summer_movies-048.mp3]

The Devil’s Double [Updated]

By Asides and 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