Thursday, September 30, 2021

#International Podcast Day 2021

It is #InternationalPodcastDay and I would like to share my favorite podcasts (share yours with the hashtag). These are all easily searchable:

Breaking Points w/ Krystal & Sagar (my go-to political report)

Huberman Lab (essential & accessible neuroscience for a healthy brain & body - changed my life)

Weird Studies (high level discussion of the esoteric works/movements of art & culture - sends me chasing down all kinds of leads)

Creative Codex (a great exploration of artists & creativity)

Joe Rogan Experience (love him or hate him, he has an extraordinary range of people across the discursive spectrum engaging through in-depth conversations)

Your Undivided Attention (associated with the documentary Social Dilemma and The Center for Humane Technology - Tristan Harris examines contemporary concerns regarding social media and the breakdown of civil discourse)

The Evolution of Horror (providing a thematic series on horror in film)

Very Bad Wizards (wide ranging intellectual explorations)

The Magic Lantern (a great conversational exploration of films)

Love That Album (in depth exploration of great albums)

Philosophize This! (I wish Mr. West had been my philosophy professor)

Projections (Mary Wild's and Sarah Kathyrn Cleaver's psychoanalytical journey through film)

The Projection Booth (Mike White's long running and crazily productive, in-depth examination of the far reaches of the cinematic universe, with an incredible group of supporting thinkers and guests with connections to the particular film. I really can't summarize how amazing this podcast is ...)

See Hear (A journey through musical expression and exploration in film)

The Final Girls (British podcast producing multi-episode examinations of current films right when I get interested in them... it is uncanny. Latest examples Cam and Censor.)

Historiansplaining (Challenges the common assumptions of historical knowledge and provide a good corrective to misinformation - especially for those that think they know history)

On Being - (provides me with a wide range of thinkers & activists exploring the spiritual side of life)

On the Media - (essential breakdown of the issues and problems associated with the chattering class in mainstream media)

Film Comment Podcast - (high level discussions with a range of experts and interviews with the filmmakers)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Cloud Atlas (Germany/USA/Hong Kong/Singapore: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, 2012)

 Cloud Atlas (Germany/USA/Hong Kong/Singapore: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, 2012: 172 mins)

Cloud Atlas and Bound." Sound on Sight #337 (October 28, 2012)

Darghis, Manohla and A.O. Scott. "Film is Dead? Long Live Movies: How Digital is Changing the Nature of Movies." The New York Times (September 9, 2012)

Ebert, Roger. "Castles in the Sky." Chicago-Sun Times (October 24, 2012)

Guo, Ting. "Cloud Atlas." Journal of Religion & Film 17.2 (October 2013)

Hemon, Aluksander. "Beyond the Matrix: The Wachowskis travel to even more mind-bending realms." The New Yorker (September 10, 2012)

Kane, Brad. "Cloud Atlas One Year Later: Why 2012’s Biggest Flop is Also its Biggest Triumph." Tor (October 23, 2013) 

Kunkel, Benjamin. "Dystopia and the End of Politics." Dissent (Fall 2008)

Like Stories of Old. "The Philosophy of Cloud Atlas: How Beauty Will Save the World." (Posted on Youtube: February 14, 2018) ["The philosophy of Cloud Atlas through the lens of Fyodor DostoevskyJose Saramago, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn."]

McGrath, Charles. Bending Time, Bending Minds: Cloud Atlas, as Rendered by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis The New York Times (October 9, 2012)

Rosilio, Tommy. "Cloud Atlas: Cinematic Liberation from Conformity and Oppression." Film Cred (June 17, 2021) 

Scott, A.O. "Souls Tangled Up in Time." The New York Times (October 25, 2012)

Sheu, C.J. "Cloud Atlas: When the Film Is Better Than the Book." Critics at Large (July 10, 2018)

Sicinski, Michael. "Star Maps: Wachowski/Tykwer/Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas." Cinema-Scope (2012)

Monday, September 13, 2021

Michael Benton: Social media is superficial, only if we let it be

Social media is superficial, only if we let it be.

There was a small time when the ability to communicate with people across vast spaces was a revolutionary thing. We were excited by the ability to engage with others in a way we never dreamed was possible. It was a moment when it seemed the world was going to tip over, perhaps most vividly for me during the 1999 Seattle WTO Protests when we saw the power of the intersectional alliances that had never seemed possible happening in American streets and a burgeoning IndyMedia movement bringing people across the globe together in a way we have only recently begun to see happen again (the young people demanding change in the BLM, Sunrise, LGBTQ, etc... movements). Then 9/11 hit and suddenly our (privileged/limited) world order collapsed in reactionary fear. If only we had instead joined a sympathetic rest-of-the-world in solidarity instead of reactionary, warlike, ignorant fear toward 'others'. Afterward our culture, especially the mediasphere and our built environments, began to collapse into a state of corporate control and political paranoia. I think of that earlier time with nostalgia - both for the dream (it obviously was a fantasy if it collapsed so easily) of what could have been and the sense of immense loss. The world was literally lined up in support of America at that moment and we could have made it a moment of coming together to heal/commune/organize. Our worlds became privatized, locked down, and information began to be controlled again... literally became the "internet of things" instead of what we hoped would be a burgeoning forum of ideas and creativity. At the same time this dominant flow of controlled information became a part of our lives in a way that we never experienced before. When we woke up, for some never waking up, until we went to asleep, and for others never being able to sleep soundly - even if we are not active participants in that mediasphere (because those around us are and none of us are complete hermits).

I don't know what my point is...... just thinking because I am conscious.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

8 1/2 (Italy/France: Federico Fellini, 1963)

 8 1/2 (Italy/France: Federico Fellini, 1963: 138 mins)

“Even if I set out to make a film about a fillet of sole, it would be about me.”
--Federico Fellini

Criterion Collection: 8 1/2 [DVD page/resources]

Affron, Charles, ed. 8 1/2. Rutgers University, 1987.

Ballin, Dima, David Kleiler and J.P. Ouillette. "Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963)." The Rear Window (April 2018) 

Brubaker, Philip. "Death is a Beautiful Woman: All That Jazz, 8 1/2, and a Different Kind of Femme Fatale." Fandor (January 9, 2018)

Gilliam, Terry. "Dreams: 8 1/2." (Transcript from BBC2: November 27, 1995)

Hanson, Matt. "Federico Fellini's Phenomenal Films." The Smart Set (July 1, 2021)

Juliano, Sam. "That Painless Truth: Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2.″ Wonders in the Dark (November 20, 2010)

Kezich, Tullio. "8 1/2: When 'He' Became 'I'." Current (December 3, 2001)

Knapp, Chris. "Growing Up Together: Love Through the Eyes of Fellini." The Paris Review (March 11, 2014)

LoBrutto, Vincent. "The Personal Film: 8 1/2." Becoming Film Literate: The Art and Craft of Motion Pictures. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005: 129-135. [BCTC Library: PN1994 L595 2005]

Malcolm, Derek. "Federico Fellini: 8 1/2." The Guardian (April 22, 1999)

Manacas, George. "Federico Fellini: Images and Archetypes." Out of Balance (no date)

Maraini, Tony. "Chatting about Other Things: An Interview with Federico Fellini." Bright Lights Film Journal (November 11, 1999)

Sesonske, Alexander. "8 1/2: A Film with Itself as Its Subject." Current (December 3, 2001)

Shanahan, Antonio. "Great Directors: Fedeco Fellini." Senses of Cinema (July 19, 2002)

"Sight & Sound Poll 2012: ." Current (October 5, 2012)

Smalley, G. "8 1/2 (1963)." 366 Weird Movies (August 1, 2012)

"Everyone lives in his own fantasy world, but most people don't understand that. No one perceives the real world. Each person simply calls his private, personal fantasies the Truth. The difference is that I know I live in a fantasy world. I prefer it that way and resent anything that disturbs my vision." (Fellini in I, Fellini, ed. by Charlotte Chandler, 1995 source link)

Thursday, September 2, 2021

ENG 281: Fall 2021 - List of Films Available for Extra Credit Responses and Deadlines

[Dates are the last day I will accept a response for credit. Send them as a word file attachment.]

My Octopus Teacher (Craig Foster, et al: 2020)  9/16/21

Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond, 2021) 9/20/21

Candyman (Nia DeCosta, 2021) 9/21/21

Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015) 9/22/21

The Matrix (Lily and Lana Wachowski, 1999) 9/23/21

Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016) 9/24/21

Baby Driver (Edgar Wright, 2017) 9/28/21

In the Earth (Ben Wheatley, 2021) 9/29/21

Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater, 1995) 9/30/21

Carrie (Brian DePalma, 1976) 9/31/21

Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King, 2021) 10/1/21

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974) 10/2/21

Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014) 10/3/21

Selma (Ava DuVernay, 2015) 10/4/21

Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999) 10/5/21

Body Double (Brian De Palma, 1984) 10/6/21

Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006) 10/7/21

The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017) 10/8/21

The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) 10/9/21

The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015) 10/10/21

Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, 2018) 10/11/21

Tesla (Michael Almereyda, 2020) 10/12/21

The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006) 10/13/21

Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, 2011) 10/14/21

Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July, 2006) 10/15/21

Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, 2006) 10/16/21

Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001) 10/17/21 

Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler, 2013) 10/18/21

Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971) 10/19/21

Breathless (Jean Luc-Godard, 1960) 10/20/21

Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) 10/21/21

Hero (Zhang Yimou, 2002) 10/22/21

The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018) 10/23/21

Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) 10/24/21

Boys Don't Cry (Kimberly Pierce, 1999) 10/25/21

Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughan, 2004) 10/26/21

Titane [Julia Ducournau, 2021] [Releasing 10/1, but not sure when the Cannes Film Festival top award winner will show up in the Bluegrass, so due by 10/27/21] 

Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997) 10/28

The Last Duel [Ridley Scott, 2021] [Releasing 10/15, due by 10/29]

20th Century Women (Mike Mills, 2016) 10/30/21

Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer, 1998) 10/31/21

The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994) 11/1/21

Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg, 1967) 11/2/21

Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000) 11/3/21

Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 10/22, response due by 11/8)

The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 10/22, due by 11/9]

Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 10/29; due by 11/15]

The Harder They Fall (Jeymes Samuel, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 11/3, on Netflix now, due by 11/17]

The Beta Test (Jim Cummings and P.J. McCabe, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 11/5, due by 11/19]

The Eternals (Chloe Zhao, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 11/4; due by 11/20]

House of Gucci (Ridley Scott, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 11/24, due by 12/3]

The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) [Releasing in theaters 1/17 and available on 12/1 on Netflix, this will be the last option and it must be submitted by 12/4]

Students doing 5 extra credit responses for final requirement:

Addison Peavely 5 (My Octopus Teacher; Seaspiracy; In the Earth; Judas and the Black Messiah; Censor) [A]

Alexander Giagios 4 (The Matrix; Birdman; Shawshank Redemption; Dune)

Benjamin Miller 5 (Midsommar; Parasite; Sound of Metal; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Promising Young Woman)

Brandon Ford 5 (Shawshank Redemption; Cool Hand Luke; The Harder They Fall; Da 5 Bloods; Seaspiracy) [A]

Emily Caldwell 5 (Pan's Labyrinth; Donnie Darko; Brokeback Mountain; American Mary; Power of the Dog) [A]

Eric Hayes 5 (My Octopus Teacher; Candyman; Censor; Dune; The Eternals) [A]

Graceyn Earlywine

Isaac Cothern 4 (Ex Machina; Birdman; Hero; House of Gucci)

Jacob Skaggs 2 (Promising Young Woman; American Mary)

James Parrish 5 (Midsommar; Parasite; Eternals; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Nomadland) [A]

Justin Moya 5 (My Octopus Teacher; Candyman; Baby Driver; Parasite; American Mary)

Kaylee Childers 1 (Little Miss Sunshine)

Kristen Fuchs 5 (My Octopus Teacher; Arrival; Little Miss Sunshine; House of Gucci; Power of the Dog) [A]

Madison Weiss 5 (My Octopus Teacher; Dune; Sound of Metal; Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Nomadland) [A]

Mika Pasqual 5 (My Octopus Teacher; Arrival; Texas Chainsaw Massacre; The Florida Project; Little Miss Sunshine) [A]

Tiffany Madden

Timothy Skidmore 5 (Embrace of the Serpent; Even the Rain; Dune; The Harder They Fall; The Power of the Dog) [A]

Weston Lamb 5 (Tesla; Shawshank Redemption; Gladiator; Dune; The Eternals) [A]

Students doing the end-of-the-semester essay:

Brooklyn Wiggington - The Lightning Thief (C - no citations in essay)

Dayne Chrisco - writing on the influence of Wes Craven's Scream (1996) - (A)

Emily James: I will be taking a deeper look at the aspects of film such as the soundtrack, lighting, angles, and editing and how they help their audience feel an emotion towards the characters and how these elements portray the message that the director and writers want to convey. (Graded A)

Hannah Holbrook ( movies that center around characters with disabilities and how recently many people who are disabled are speaking out on how actors portray those kind of characters) (Approved)

Kris Traynor Why Martin Scorsese is wrong about superhero and comic book films not being cinema (Graded: A)

Matthew Carpenter: Fire Walk With Me [A]

Samuel McGhee (Comparing films watched in class (such as Get Out, BlacKkKlansman, and The Last Black Man in San Fransisco) to a film not listed, like Django Unchained, and see how the message of racism is depicted and how the film actively combats it - Graded A)