The slow season

Manhola Dargis responds to fellow Times columnnist Dan Kois:

The Hangover Part II, which I find boring, raked in $137.4 million over the five-day Memorial Day weekend. It’s the kind of boring that makes money, partly because it’s the boring that many people like, want to like, insist on liking or are just used to, and partly because it’s the sort of aggressively packaged boring you can’t escape, having opened on an estimated 17 percent of American screens. Filled with gags and characters recycled from the first Hangover, the sequel is grindingly repetitive and features scene after similar scene of characters staring at one another stupidly, flailing about wildly and asking what happened. This is the boring that Andy Warhol, who liked boring, found, well, boring.

Out of joint

Laura Sydell posts about indie filmmaker Ellen Seidler’s fight to protect her And Then Came Lola, a “lesbian romantic comedy,” from pirate sites. The e-mail response that Seidler received from Sven Olaf Kamphius, who’s associated with Pirate Bay, is appallingly childish.

Kamphuis’s e-mail comes out strongly against any kind of copyright protection. He dismissed Seidler’s references to United States copyright law by saying: “ … the laws of that retarded ex-colony cannot be enforced here, thank god;).”

I have my own issues with the current overly protectionist copyright laws of this country, but they don’t extend to ripping off an entrepreneur who’s made a movie on her own dime. Sydell says that Seidler has decided to get out of the movie business. When the arrogance of the Pirate Bay crew means that creative innovation is stifled, something is wrong.

There isn’t a lot that I can do to solve this problem, but at least I can buy a copy of Seidler’s movie.

It’s magic

Robbins Barstow, Wethersfield, Connecticut’s prototype of the vlogger, has passed away. His 1956 Disneyland Dream, a home movie documentary of the family trip to Disneyland (by way of a 3M Scotch Tape contest), with narration added in 1995 (and more than a few corny jokes), is available through the Internet Archive. Disneyland Dream is one of the few amateur works named to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

Mr. Barstow’s survivors include the original cast of Disneyland Dream: his wife, the former Margaret Vanderbeek, whom he married in 1942; his sons, David and Dan; and his daughter, now known as Cedar.

Who killed Sean Regan?

A host of others, smiling killers and gruesome butlers, stalk through the dark,rainy landscape of the film like wraiths. The Big Sleep [1946] is something other than a detective story, with the drive toward rationality that designation is supposed to represent. It is a carnival of criminality, its underworld supernumeraries crowing the film not so much as picturesque character bits, but as tiny, finely-drawn portrayals of deceit and self-interest in a tapestry of meanness.

—Kevin Hagopian, Film Noir Reader 4, p. 42

The reality train has left the station

Via Ira and Leta, possibly the strangest Barbie collectible to be offered: Barbie as Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) attacked by crows in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Dressed in a re-creation of the stylish green skirt-suit worn by the film’s ill-fated heroine in an iconic scene… Barbie® Doll celebrates the 45th anniversary of the acclaimed film. From the doll’s classic ensemble to the perfectly painted expression to the accompanying black birds, every aspect captures the film’s infamous appeal…. Doll cannot stand alone as shown. For the adult collector.

Although it must also be admitted that the two different Hello Kitty Barbies on offer come close, if only for their universe-mixing Spock-meets-Skywalker jumbledness.

First past the post

So the reblogging game is to name your favorite films by these indie auteurs of the 30 years or so: the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino. adds Stanley Kubrick, P.T. Anderson, and Errol Morris to the list. All well and good, but a few of of these guys worked only one seam, and if this is to be a revealing personality test we need some directors with a wider range of material. Offhand, I can think of Woody Allen, Robert Altman, and Steven Soderbergh. So here’s my list:

  • Coens: Blood Simple
  • W. Anderson: Bottle Rocket
  • Ashby: none (Harold and Maude is for adolescents)
  • Smith: Dogma edges out Clerks
  • Tarantino: Reservoir Dogs, also by a slight margin
  • Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • P.T. Anderson: Magnolia
  • Morris: Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control
  • Allen: Hannah and Her Sisters
  • Altman: Nashville
  • Soderbergh: sex, lies, and videotape

Two tickets at will call for Pinth-Garnell, Leonard

Via 11D: Joe Queenan parses awful, or why The Hottie and the Nottie is not in the same class of wretched as Heaven’s Gate.

…that is the reason I became a critic in the first place; criticism seemed to be a way to channel my unwholesome fascination with train wrecks and fires into a socially acceptable framework. The truth is, every time I go to the pictures, I get goose bumps all over, anticipating that this, after all these years, could be the worst movie ever made.

Sadly, it never is.