...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

May 07, 2010

rip! A remix Manifesto - 6

You can watch the entire film here. If is also streaming on Netflix.

This film takes its message to heart.  It was made as the first open source documentary because its message is that open source is the future of creativity, even for music and film. The project and film were created by Brett Gaylor, who uses Girl Talk and Disney (and a little Napster) to try to make the point that copyright and intellectual property rights in the 20th century went awry. Gaylor formats the film around the four principles of the remixers manifesto. 
1. Culture always builds on the past
2. The past always tries to control the future.
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies, you must limit the control of the past.

By setting it up this way he then goes on to talk about how we need a different view of the past and laws that will allow us to be more free, rather than the current laws which constrain creativity. Two of his strongest examples are Lawerence Lessig and Brazil. Lessig is a lawyer who argues for the value of open source technolgy and the founder of the Creative Commons. Brazil is a contemporary example of a country that has moved away from copyright law and works as an example of the creativity that is available to those in poverty when ideas are free floating for anyone's use. Musician and former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil has been influential in trying to make Brazil more open source when it comes to music.

While at times the film seems to get distracted or go off track, for the most part this is a very well made film. It is bound to start up interesting conversations about what we think of intellectual property and how best to use it for the betterment of society and the world.

April 29, 2010

The Examined Life - 6

A series of conversations with famous philosophers about the themes of their work. At times a little slow, but some good quotes about how to start the journey toward a more examined life, which Plato states is the only life worth living.

Departures - 7

A great film about a musician who relocates back home and gets a job getting corpses ready for cremation. This Japanese film shows the stigma attached to dead bodies, but the main character is able to teach those around him about the value of life and death. More on this film soon, it begs to be written about extensively.

April 02, 2010


Recently I have found Amazon's MP3 store to be a great and inexpensive way to get new music. Last month, I got the new Vampire Weekend and Dave Matthews Band on one day discounts (less than three dollars), as well as Yeasayer's Odd Blood. I really enjoy them and recommend them. More recently, I downloaded four new albums that I recommend in order of awesomeness and life transformation to good, but not great, they are:
Midlake - The Courage of Others
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Broken Bells
She & Him - Volume 2

March 21, 2010

The Dark Knight - 7

Christopher Nolan's resurrection of the Batman in Batman Begins (here and here) and The Dark Knight have made it my favorite comic book adaptation to film...EVER. The complexity of the Joker (played amazingly by Heath Ledger) and the way the film breaks new ground in a genre that seems played out makes me believe again in the power of storytelling. Stop reading this and go watch it!

Where is Home?

Published here and here.

3 thoughtful films

A Serious Education in Comment. Where I review: An Education, A Serious Man, and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.

This is (not) a Love Story: An Incredulity to Love in Popular Culture

An article in Comment. Rather proud of this one and the many connections I make between a variety of cultural artifacts.

Star Trek - 7

My review of Star Trek this summer in Comment

Alice in Wonderland 3D - 4

Fun and playful adventure story. Great sets, costumes. Bland plot. Made me look up the original books and author on Wikipedia.

The Damned United - 7

Great performance by Michael Sheen as 70's era British soccer coach Clough. A character study of the best kind.

April 16, 2009

Film schooled

Comment has published my article on The Class and Happy-Go-Lucky.

Sunshine Cleaning

My review has been posted by The Curator.

Viewing Trailers

Read the Comment article here.

February 10, 2009

Changeling and Standard Operating Procedure

Most of my film writing now appears in Comment.

Here is my latest article on Errol Morris' Standard Operating Procedure and Eastwood's Changeling.

July 08, 2008

WALL-E - 7

My review has been posted by Comment.

July 03, 2008

The Happening - 2

I wanted to give M. Night Shyamalan an other shot to prove his film-making greatness like the films Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village...but he has not delivered. In fact, this film is worse than Lady in the Water which I didn't like all that much, but can see some merit to. This is his first R rated film, which I assume is a marketing ploy by the studio. It makes the film worse by showing gratuitous violence. The film attempts to be a story about nature taking its revenge on humanity for its ill treatment. The main story is actually about a troubled marriage. Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) and Alma (Zooey Deschanel) are drifting apart and this scare and their care for a friends daughter shows them that they really do love each other. While the pieces were in place for a great film: good director, good actor and actress, the film is a flop and a total waste of time and money.