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Ping Pong Matrix

This is so much better than the last 2 Matrix movies.

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A quite well-reviewed novel called “The Bug” about “the postmodern Prometheus”:

Ethan’s sections of the novel are preceded, Hollywood-style, by the number of days that UI-1017 has been ”open” — it lives for 372 days in all — and his condition deteriorates as the Jester carries him further into the mystery of its birth, the ”deep down strangeness that made this machine seem to be operating in its own terms, alive.” As Ethan’s obsession with the bug grows and the company begins to crumble around his workstation, Berta is compelled by circumstances (and innate curiosity) to become his protector and shadow….

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The maturity warning from the NYT review: “Matrix” Reloaded” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for strong language and languorous, extended bouts of the slow-motion, meticulously staged violence that has fans trembling with excitement.

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DVD Luddites

NYT Magazine argues against DVD extra features.

What’s most damaging to ”E.T.” is the way Spielberg has tampered with the movements and facial expressions of the eponymous alien itself. A team of computer wizards has labored mightily to make E.T. cuter — an undertaking that, as even those of us who admire the picture would have to agree, has a distinct coals-to-Newcastle quality.

I wonder his feeling on Pixonics’s backward-compatible high definition DVDs: pHD.

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Least-watched great show

What is “The least-watched great show on TV”? Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And, before you chuckle too hard, note the amount of writing that went even into its title, which was designed to capture the three themes of the show — comedy, horror, and action — in just 3 words (plus the the).

As Slate says:

For five years, Buffy has been the least-watched great show on television, the most ridiculed by ignorati who think they’re literati. Like its peers (The West Wing, The Sopranos, ER), Buffy is better than movies because its writer is the most important guy on the set….

Like a comet, the most brilliant monster metaphor knocked the whole show onto a new course: Whedon and Noxon had Buffy lose her virginity on her 17th birthday, and the next morning her kindly boyfriend turned cold and cruel due to an ancient curse. Same thing happened last week, after Buffy’s kid sister Dawn’s first kiss. Nota bene, girls: Boys will be vampires. Buffy is reality programming….

After Willow Rosenberg, the witch, got an enchanted gal-pal, scandalizing viewers shocked by realistic lesbian characters, Whedon spoke out: “I’ve made a mistake by trying to shove this lifestyle — which is embraced by, maybe, at most, 10 percent of Americans — down people’s throats. So I’m going to take it back, and from now on, Willow will no longer be a Jew.” His is the first show truly to master the teen native tongue, sarcasm….

Noxon’s crew valiantly strives to fulfill Buffy’s ambition: “I realize every slayer comes with an expiration mark on the package, but I want mine to be a long time from now, like a Cheeto.”

And here is the NYT with some similar thoughts, more high falutin’ of course:

The central metaphor of adolescence as a supernatural battleground has had a rich yield for Mr. Whedon — who’s a kind of genius at imaginative re-creations of the teen psyche — and for his collaborators. The show finds ways of dramatizing every feeling that, in teenagers, threatens to become an explosion: alienation from the grown-up world and from one another, fear of not belonging, distrust of authority, and the panoply of emotions that accompany our first romantic impulses.

The NYT has this clever analysis of a paper from the Center for Strategic and International Studies titled (really) “Biological Warfare and the Buffy Paradigm”. An excerpt:

Buffy Paradigm: “[An] aspect of the Buffy Paradigm is a lack of any systematic net assessment of the overall nature of the threat. This has been equally true of the U.S. government, and its lack of any clear net assessment of the probable trends in the offensive and defensive capabilities of biotechnology.”

On the Show: “In the episode `Welcome to the Hellmouth,’ we meet Buffy, who believes she can ignore the dangers that lurk around her. She hopes that a recent move to the town of Sunnydale and a change of school will allow her to put her slaying days behind her.”

Finally, here is a book filled with essays by PhD lit-crit types deconstructing the series and a website of the same.

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Adaptation and riffs on reality

Two weeks ago, I complained to my friend Tom Clyde that his play “Eternity Is in Love with the Productions of Time” was inapproachable because of the lack of conventional story arcs.

Now, here is David Edelstein on the new movie Adaptation:

While Charlie righteously blathers to a sexily elegant film executive (Tilda Swinton) that he has no intention of turning Orlean’s book about flowers and Florida swamps into a movie with conventional conflicts and characters who have “arcs” and “grow and change,” Donald is busy getting laid (courtesy Maggie Gyllenhaal), flirting with Catherine Keener (on the set of Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich [1999], shooting concurrently), and penning a wildly commercial thriller about a deconstructionist serial-killer.

Here is an entertaining NYT piece about the mild-mannered New Yorker writer who found that the movie adaptation of her book suddenly featured her as a character: “stoned on orchid dust, rutting in a greenhouse with a toothless nut, chasing down a screenwriter with a loaded shotgun”. We all hope for this kind of quote in the NYT: “I’m not a gun-toting floozy,” Ms. Orlean said.

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Nice meditation by lead Times

Nice meditation by lead Times reviewer AO Scott on what’s special about the movies: “The movies offer visions of a better world even as they are symptoms of everything wrong with this one. As such, moviegoing is perhaps still, in spite of the competing claims of newer media, the exemplary modern cultural activity.”

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“Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the violence-filled game, a satire set in a Miami-like city in 1986, gives players an assignment: play one of the bad guys and kill the characters who stole your cocaine.” Last year’s version sold 8 M copies at $50 each. Note that the videogame business is bigger than the movie industry. Also, all the cool games are coming out for PS2, not for X-box. But, MSFT never gets things right with the first version.

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‘”Jackass the Movie” is like

“Jackass the Movie” is like a documentary version of “Fight Club,” shorn of social insight, intellectual pretension and cinematic interest.
It also offers a supremely literal-minded version of slapstick.’ I love Fight Club, but will have to skip Jackass.

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Star Wars producer Rick McCallumargues

Star Wars producer Rick McCallumargues that the ‘sky is falling’ because the Internet means the end of DVD sales which means the end of the movie business:

“My passion about digital technology and the digital pipeline is just a small little brush fire,” says McCallum. “This other thing is a tornado. The business will implode once you can download a movie, give it to your friends and not have a moral problem with doing it. Then we’re screwed. Literally, our very lives are at stake now. George and I are just praying that we can finish ‘Episode III’ in time, before it’s all over.”

I actually agree with him.

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