Random Round-up

I haven’t had time to read widely for internet stuff this week, and most of my viewing has been restricted to films that I’m teaching. I have a stack of other movies to watch that I hope to get round to in the next couple of weeks, so maybe I’ll make time to blog about them. I’ll post about Chantal Akerman’s News From Home over the weekend, and maybe put together little articles on Winsor McCay, Steamboy, Jurassic Park, Cloverfield (my lucky third years have a week on monsters coming up…), Busby Berkeley… OK, that’s too much to commit to. I’d like to write about some more esoteric stuff at some point. I’m waiting for my Kihachiro Kawamoto DVDs to arrive from the US, so by Christmas you can read a post about Japanese puppets. I’ve delayed my puppet research for too long now.

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A couple more things have come to my attention. It’s Mickey Mouse’s birthday today. The Guardian has a lovely photo gallery tracing the development of the character through various incarnations. Sorry, Mickey – I completely forgot your birthday. Had I known, I would have put more effort into a tribute blog. Let’s hope AP at the Movies maintains his project on your good friend Donald over at his blog, and that this Saudi Arabian cleric doesn’t succeed in inciting your execution. The Bill Douglas Centre at the University of Exeter has a huge collection of Disney merchandise, safely catalogued as beautiful collectors’ items and sealed off from the whiff of kiddy-baiting, hard-sell tat that surrounds most merchandise before it acquires the dignity of age. I’m especially fond of this Mickey radio that can be viewed in the upper gallery of the Centre’s museum:

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So, happy birthday, Mickey. I’m sorry that today’s kids would rather watch airbrushed high-school musical teens than your classic cartoons, which are still delightful. I was always more enamoured of your great rivals at Warner Bros, but your legacy is well noted.

If you’re quick, you can catch a free mp3 download from Chris Morris’ great news satire On the Hour, preceding the long-delayed release of the complete series on CD. Personally, I preferred the remixed and re-edited version released by the BBC with all the Lee and Herring stuff cut out, but this will still be an excellent opportunity to hear the whole thing again, including the origins of Alan Partridge. Let’s hope it raises some money that can be channeled back into funding Morris’ planned film.

In case you needed a reminder that the internet could provide an inexhaustible opportunity for wasting time, marvel at one blogger’s commitment to matching every available photo of Christian Bale to its Kermit-based equivalent at the epic, slightly worrying Kermit Bale:

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I saved the best, proper articles for the end. Bob Rehak at Graphic Engine has a great post about holographic news correspondents on CNN, a phenomenon I’m hoping won’t catch on. It looks like the kind of gadget-and-graphics onanism parodied so ruthlessly by Chris Morris on The Day to Day in the early 90s (but then, most news looks like the fulfilment of those predictions to me now).

Matthew Flanagan has a superb, lucid summary of his work on slow cinema at 16:9, a Danish film journal that publishes one article in English in each issue. He argues persuasively that a surge in de-dramatised, long-take film-making represents an international affinity between artists reacting against the dominant trend for faster cutting and “intensified continuity” in mainstream cinema:

“An aesthetic of slow uncompresses time, distends it, renewing the ability of the shot to represent a sense of the phenemological real. Herein lies the marked tension between fast and slow: whereas speed perpetually risks gratuitous haste, fragmentation and distraction, reduction intensifies the spectator’s gaze, awareness and response.”

Plenty to think about there. Read it slowly.

I promise to post something more thoughtful myself later this week. Thanks to all readers of this blog – it’s been a pleasure to watch the site meter go up and up over the last couple of months, so I hope you’re finding something useful here.

3 thoughts on “Random Round-up

  1. Thanks for the plug and kind words!

    The Kermit Bale link was worth it for this comment: ‘I’m happy people have too much time on their hands, otherwise the internets would not be lulz filled.’ Never a truer word spoken.

    Looking forward to the post on News from Home

  2. Well, now that I know somebody’s expecting it, I’ll have no choice but to write the Akerman thing. It’ll be another “How to Watch…” post along the lines of the Tarr one. I have to give a lecture on female authorship, so it’ll be part of the study for that, I guess.

    Your article was great, a very clear distillation of your core ideas. It’s a shame they don’t have a comments function, because it would be really useful to get feedback – the Bazinian defence (as I think it should be called) might still arouse strong feelings, or maybe that antipathy has passed and people are ready for Andre again.

  3. Sometimes I really like the “Possibly related posts” that WordPress automatically adds to the bottom of my bloggings, but in this case the inclusion of the word “Random” seems to be the motivating force of their “selections”. It’s almost like a finger-wagging reminder that I wrote nothing cohesive or substantive, so I get given any old links (I’m sure they’re all wonderful blogs, but there doesn’t seem to be much connection to my own…).

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