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
What is more pleasurable: reading Martin Scorsese on cinema or reading reactions to Scorsese on cinema? The reactions compete for our pleasure because they reveal how easy it is for someone’s words to make us jump into a debate with two feet and eyes closed. In the March 2021 issue of Harper’s, Scorsese wrote an … Continue reading Why Scorsese is right about corporate power, Part 1
"Change your outlook ..." . This prescription is given to Badii by the Azeri taxidermist. Of the three passengers Badii picks up to solicit help in his plan for suicide, the taxidermist is the most vocal in his disagreement of Badii's intentions. In sharp contrast to the young soldier, whose nervousness from Badii's appeals made … Continue reading #45, Taste of Cherry. Dir., Abbas Kiarostami