My upbringing affects my perspective on Hitchcock's films. He was likely the only film director my parents would name in a conversation about cinema. When they talked about films, they recounted plot more than anything else, and sometimes an actor could be named; but that would be the extent of crediting cast and crew. Michael … Continue reading #137 Notorious. Dir., Alfred Hitchcock
A survey of academic writing on the business of culture will show that authors seldomly restrain themselves from making predictions or giving recommendations to the hypothetical economic actor. This offering of future-oriented arguments to an audience should not be surprising. The disciplines of economics, business, management studies and public policy teach people to theorize market … Continue reading Making culture rational … with power
The shooting of Black Narcissus at Pinewood Studios, London, England is partly what makes the film so beautiful. For the audience to believe that St. Faith, the new school and hospital for a small Indian village, is situated high up in the Himalayas, giant matte paintings created an illusion that green valleys were thousands of … Continue reading #93 Black Narcissus. Dirs., Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Your movie turned out the be a flop? "Nobody knows anything". You mistakenly believed consumers wanted to see a movie set in the 1920s? "Nobody knows anything". You thought your casting decisions were going to be loved by all? "Nobody knows anything". "Nobody knows anything"–this was the opening line of Adventures in the Screen Trade, … Continue reading Hollywood’s mantra: “Nobody knows anything”
Kwaidan is comprised of four Japanese ghost stories, each inspired by one of the stories in Lafcadio Hearn's 1904 anthology, Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. At the time of filming, Kobayashi's Kwaidan was the most expensive Japanese film ever produced. Its high cost of production is up on the screen. As the film … Continue reading #90 Kwaidan. Dir., Masaki Kobayashi
Blair Fix writes about some of my research. The subject is not directly related to cinema, but readers might be interested nonetheless.
Over the last year, I’ve watched with horror and amusement as health agencies around the world flip-flopped their advice on how to deal with COVID.
My horror comes from knowing this flip-flopping breeds mistrust in science. But I am (morbidly) amused because I know that uncertainty is a basic part of real research. For the public, ‘science’ tends to mean authoritative knowledge. But for researchers, ‘science’ is an iterative process, filled with wrong turns, new evidence, and revised ideas.
With COVID flip-flops in mind, I thought I’d tell you a story about science in progress. It’s a story about how we should understand the stock market.
Three stories about the stock market
Here are three stories about how the stock market works.
The first story says that the stock market reflects the productivity of the underlying economy. When stocks go up, the thinking goes, everyone should celebrate because the tide…
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An expanding DVD market and digital streaming made the Criterion Collection edition of Life of Brian superfluous. I purchased the CC copy of Life of Brian before a cheaper copy was available; and, even if there was one somewhere out there, I could not imagine how, as I held a sixty dollar DVD in my … Continue reading #61 Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Dir., Terry Jones
A DVD copy of Sanjuro was gifted to me. If I had purchased a hard copy myself, I definitely would never have skipped buying Yojimbo, the first in the pair of films about Sanjuro, the ronin who names himself “30 years old”. Sanjuro is a film for the those--investors and samurai fans alike--who wanted more … Continue reading #53 Sanjuro. Dir., Akira Kurosawa
Missed Part 1? Read it here. Part 1 introduced Scorsese’s argument in his Harper’s essay, which was about much more than Fellini. The first part also explained how we can connect Scorsese’s essay to the drive in the Hollywood film business for major film distributors to differentially accumulate, i.e., beat a benchmark that is relevant … Continue reading Why Scorsese is right about corporate power, Part 2
Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings is a telling example of Hollywood rationalizing its so-called inability to widen the boundaries of its creativity. In this case, the boundaries concern Hollywood’s tendency to reserve roles for its biggest stars, even when a big star appears unfit for the role in question. Much of the pre-release journalism … Continue reading When Hollywood gets repetitive: casting