skip to main content

All Posts, page 2

  1. Casino Royale — How Action Reveals Character
    youtube.com

    Lessons from the Screeplay:

    An action scene, just like any other scene, should help expose a character’s true self. But in the case of “Casino Royale,” the opening action sequence needed to do even more than that. It needed to introduce the world to a whole new James Bond.

    So today, I want to dissect the film’s freerunning chase sequence to see how it uses action to develop the characters, to examine how it forces the protagonist to make choices which reveal his key characteristics, and to demonstrate how its underlying structure brings Bond’s deepest flaw to the surface.

    Casino Royale is the best.

  2. Ford v Ferrari

    Watched 10 February 2020

    Silly me, I thought this was going to be a film about famous automotive designer Carroll Shelby designing and building a car from scratch. Nope, at some point Matt Damon just pulls a tarp and there it is — the car got designed and assembled off-screen and just needs some tweaks under the hood. The design differences that give Ford an edge over Ferrari are never quite explored except for “ours is faster” and “Italians are arrogant.” I guess dramatizing the design process doesn’t quite fit into the standard cookie-cutter biopic formula.

  3. Little Women

    Watched 7 February 2020

    This story has a point to make and the film certainly gets to it. The nonlinear editing wasn’t hard to keep up with, but it feels like an attempt at injecting more nuance and challenge into a script that didn’t have much of either. There are several effective emotional moments, but as a whole it just didn’t reach me on a very profound level. It might simply not be for me, or I might have ruined it by watching Uncut Gems right before.

    Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh were brilliant. I know Emma Watson is like that in real life too, but on camera her acting always looks a bit over the top. And I can’t say I cared for Laura Dern’s performance as the saint-level impossibly emotionally stable mother. And boy was casting Bob Odenkirk a mistake — I couldn’t control my laughter when he showed up, and all attempts at seriousness just failed whenever he was on screen.

    Despite all the faults I saw in it, I still very much enjoyed my time with the film. It’s refreshing to see a drama where everyone is just so nice every now and then.

  4. Uncut Gems

    Watched 7 February 2020

    The world feels a little different after watching Uncut Gems, and I don’t know that I can pay a bigger compliment to a work of art.

  5. The Good Place, Season 4

    Watched 13 October 2019 – 7 February 2020

    A perfect conclusion to the most wholesome show I’ve ever seen. Life sure is a wave.

  6. Frustration grows in China as face masks compromise facial recognition
    qz.com

    Ah, the irony. Anne Quito:

    Face masks are mandatory in at least two provinces in China, including the city of Wuhan. In an effort to contain the coronavirus strain that has caused nearly 500 deaths, the government is insisting that millions of residents wear protective face covering when they go out in public.

    As millions don masks across the country, the Chinese are discovering an unexpected consequence to covering their faces. It turns out that face masks trip up facial recognition-based functions, a technology necessary for many routine transactions in China. Suddenly, certain mobile phones, condominium doors, and bank accounts won’t unlock with a glance.

    And beyond quotidian transactions, the technology is a linchpin in the Chinese government’s scheme to police its 1.4 billion citizens.

  7. The Raccoon King of Garbage Mountain
    frankchimero.com

    Frank Chimero writes about the design process for the header navigation on his personal site:

    You’d imagine that a seasoned and soured designer would side-step all of these complications whenever they could. And indeed, most do. Visit many designers’ websites and you will see two links in the navigation: Work and Info. Bully for them. I am, on the other hand, an unsympathetic and frustrated creative. I have a sprawling empire of conflicted uselessness locked into the coordinates of www dot frankchimero dot com. Welcome to my personal website, my empire of shit.

    Oh how I understand Frank’s plight.

  8. Wuhan: The Truth About “Dramatic Action”
    chinamediaproject.org

    Da Shiji (达史纪) reports on the the Chinese government’s handling of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, and the current situation in Wuhan:

    Politics first. Stability preservation first. In such an environment, science can only sit by and watch. The scientific results could not be clearer, and the authorities likely had a decent grasp of the real situation. But nevertheless they could not speak the truth, and they spared no effort in keeping the outbreak under wraps. Front-line doctors who spoke up about the outbreak were taken in for questioning. Eight Wuhan citizens who dared to post about the outbreak online were summoned by the police and singled out in public announcements through official media in order to terrify the public and force people to remain quiet.

    The focus of restrictions was to prevent the truth of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus from getting out.

  9. Shopping Sucks Now
    vice.com

    Casey Johnston tries to come to terms with a problem that I, too, suffer from — if you’re trying to buy the right thing, there’s no longer any limit to the amount of work you can put into research:

    For a long time, our problem was there were not enough things to choose from. Then with big box stores, followed by the internet, there were too many things to choose from. Now there are still too many things to choose from, but also a seemingly infinite number of ways to choose, or seemingly infinite steps to figuring out how to choose. The longer I spend trying to choose, the higher the premium becomes on choosing correctly, which means I go on not choosing something I need pretty badly, coping with the lack of it or an awful hacked-together solution (in the case of gloves, it’s “trying to pull my sleeves over my hands but they are too short for this”) for way, way too long, and sometimes forever.

    The degree to which you feel this problem definitely depends on your income, or at least, being in the privileged position of not having to make do with the only thing you can afford. But for people with even a limited ability to make an investment purchase, if it’s worth it, there’s even more pressure to get it right. Knowing you wasted a big chunk of money on a cheaper, worse thing that falls apart when you could have spent a little more money on a thing that is good and lasts feels like failure. You’ve then wasted your money, wasted your time, you’ve contributed to global warming, and now you have to start the entire thing over again and hope you don’t somehow end up making the exact same mistake.

  10. Black Mirror: Smithereens

    Watched 16 January 2020

    The most boring Black Mirror episode yet. Did you know people look at their phones a lot?

  11. Fleabag, Season 2

    Watched 8–9 January 2020

    How can this show be both the funniest and saddest thing I’ve seen in a long time? How can it be so potent, accomplishing so much with just a few short episodes? Now that I’ve tasted the emotional high of Fleabag, I’m afraid I might never again allow a show to waste my time with padded out writing. I absolutely loved the first season, but I had to put myself back together after this one.