Link Dump #4


How desperate does Hollywood have to be to vandalize its own movies?. According to the usually reliable projectionist crowd over at, Deluxe sent out film prints of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that had the audio tracks deliberately fucked up as part of some monumentally misguided plan to catch pirates down the line by tracing the audio glitches in their pirated recordings. (The audio tracks of bootlegged movies are often of much higher quality than the video, since pirates have figured out how to tap directly into theatrical sound systems.) The mob at boingboing reports what seems like a high occurrence of anecdotes about screenings of the film where the soundtrack fell back to analog — or dropped out entirely. If this is true, it’s a massive “fuck you” to moviegoers, much worse than those annoying orange dots that serve the same supposed anti-piracy function. My local theaters have a hard enough time maintaining the integrity of picture and sound without the distributors making their lives even more difficult. Just unbelievable. (Via Movie City News.)

Continue reading

The Quiet Period

A little quiet ’round here lately — it’s a busy time of year leading up to the big NAB convention in Las Vegas, which I cover for Film & Video. Anyway, Grindhouse good (but dead in the water at U.S. theaters), The Reaping not good (but nicely photographed with good digital locusts), Shooter entertainingly absurd (with a comic-book style appreciation of cheap thrills and a fun but inconsequential macho/anti-authoritarian streak), Hot Fuzz intermittently hilarious (but too often as tedious as the turgid action movies it slavishly parodies).

I had intended to write, in honor of Grindhouse, a roundup of some of the Something Weird DVD double features I’ve enjoyed over the years. Maybe someday. For now, here’s a Jarvis Cocker video that dovetails nicely with the car ambush scene from Children of Men, which featured his Running the World over the end credits.


Doug Aitken: sleepwalkers (2007)


If you find yourself walking through midtown Manhattan after dark during the next month, I’d encourage you to take a detour into the sculpture garden behind the Museum of Modern Art (enter from 54th Street), where a number of short films made by Doug Aitken are being projected simultaneously onto various glass facades of the building from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night through February 12. (There’s also a projection on the front wall of the museum, on 53rd Street, and another on the wall of the nearby American Museum of Folk Art.) The project is known as Doug Aitken: sleepwalkers.

Continue reading


Via Mobius comes news that the downtown Manhattan Film Forum

is spending money on new, presumably more comfy, seats. This is great

news — even if your ass is smaller than mine — considering that Film

Forum commonly shows hard-to-see stuff on the scale of the forthcoming

six-hour-long The Best of Youth. It also reminds me that I need to get off my ass and see Notre Musique

this week.

Memo to movie theater employees: If you’re starting

clean-up work while movie-nerd types are still in their seats watching

the credits roll, kindly SHUT THE FUCK UP until they’re done. Thanks.

Notice a lot of recent press lately about how the FCC is cracking

down on “indecency” over broadcast television and radio? Read about how

enforcement has been spurred by record highs in complaints about said

“indecent” material from the heartland? Well, according to the FCC’s own estimate,

more than 99 percent of those complaints — which totalled nearly a

quarter of a million last year — have come from a single source: the

Parents Television Council. Mouthpieces for the group say it shouldn’t

matter that all the complaints come from the same place as long as they

highlight actual indecency on the airwaves, an argument that

conveniently neglects to take into account the fact that decisions on

the “indecency” of a given broadcast hinge in part on “contemporary community standards”.

If it’s only a tiny, tiny proportion of the “community” as a whole

that’s complaining about any given broadcast, what does that say about

the relative “decency” of that broadcast? What should rankle wannabe

moral guardians the most is the fact that ordinary Americans want to watch Married by America

and listen to Howard Stern; most of them probably didn’t mind a split

second of quality time with Janet Jackson’s boobie, and I have yet to

hear compelling evidence that a naked tit is somehow more damaging to

America’s precious youngsters than is a three-hour gridiron match-up

permeated by grunting aggression and punctuated by bone-cracking


Gift-giving note: those terrific “Director’s Series” DVDs

from Palm Pictures are now available in convenient boxed-set form,

with an extra disc featuring more recent material not included in the

original releases. (This latter development had me cursing under my

breath in the aisle at Best Buy until I checked out the contents of

that fourth disc and convinced myself that the only must-have is the

Spike Jonze video for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Y Control,” which is

already available as a bonus on that group’s swell concert DVD, Tell Me Which Rockers to Swallow.)

Also, Palm has announced release dates for the next four (!) discs in

the Directors Series, which I’m hoping will include a Mark Romanek

volume before such a thing becomes obsolete — the great video for

“Hurt” was released as a DVD double-pack in specially labeled copies of

Johnny Cash’s last Rick Rubin-produced album, “Little Trouble Girl” was

released on Sonic Youth’s Corporate Ghost DVD, and “Closer” is available on the new Dual Disc (one CD, one DVD) reissue of The Downward Spiral,

which also includes surround-sound versions of the album in its

entirety in both Dolby Digital and DVD-Audio formats.

Speaking of

Romanek, you can check out a superior two-minute version of his

iPod-themed commercial for U2’s “Vertigo” (wait, I mean his U2-themed

commercial for Apple’s iPod) by opening up iTunes and going to the main

U2 page.

Yes, new reviews are coming. I’m working on them. More