erik lundegaard

Lancelot Links posts

Wednesday March 02, 2011

Lancelot Links

Jodie Foster opening the 36th Cesars

Posted at 05:40 AM on Mar 02, 2011 in category Lancelot Links
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Tuesday February 22, 2011

Lancelot Links

No one knows where the ladder goes
You're going to lose what you love the most
You're not alone in anything
You're not unique in dying

Posted at 06:21 AM on Feb 22, 2011 in category Lancelot Links
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Tuesday February 15, 2011

Lancelot Links

For this reader, the great achievement of Slawenski’s biography is its evocation of the horror of Salinger’s wartime experience. Despite Salinger’s reticence, Sla­wenski admirably retraces his movements and recreates the savage battles, the grueling marches and frozen bivouacs of Salinger’s war. It’s hard to think of an American writer who had more combat experience. He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. Slawenski reports that of the 3,080 members of Salinger’s regiment who landed with him on June 6, 1944, only 1,130 survived three weeks later. Then, when the 12th Infantry Regiment tried to take the swampy, labyrinthine Hürtgen Forest, in what proved to be a huge military blunder, the statistics were even more horrific. After reinforcement, “of the original 3,080 regimental soldiers who went into Hürtgen, only 563 were left.” Salinger escaped the deadly quagmire of Hürtgen just in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, and shortly thereafter, in 1945, participated in the liberation of Dachau. “You could live a lifetime,” he later told his daughter, “and never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose.”

Posted at 06:52 AM on Feb 15, 2011 in category Lancelot Links
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Tuesday February 08, 2011

Lancelot Links

  • WTF? Rob Neyer is signing off from ESPN.com? What happened? 
  • Oh, he's going here. I wonder if there's any story behind the move? Besides a guy wanting to switch jobs after 15 years.
  • I guess this is the story. I'm not a fan of the in-your-face Snickers ads but ... I'll follow him. Why stop now?
  • Did you know? The MLB Network is counting down the 20 greatest games of the last 50 years, and it turns out I was at no. 15. It's the fifth and final game of the 1995 ALDS, M's vs. Yankees, but people in the Pac NW just call it Game 5. (We don't have many Game 5s.) Patricia and I watched MLB's show last night. Fun revisiting—I have respect for David Cone for showing up, and wow does Lou Piniella look great—but so bittersweet. The M's won the battle but lost the war. Bigtime.
  • But buck up, M's fans! Inside the Book has discovered something that Chone Figgins does better than anyone in baseball.
  • Wow. Bill O'Reilly is dumber than we think. And remember: he's the smart one on FOX-News.
  • Richard Brody has some interesting snippets from an interview Philip Roth gave to a German newspaper two years ago. But doesn't Brody mean Roth made comic hay of Jewish anger and paraonia in the first of the Zuckerman trilogy, “The Ghost Writer,” rather than the third, “The Anatomy Lesson”? “Ten Questions for Nathan Zuckerman,” and all that. Resurrecting Anne Frank, and all that. Just talking about it makes me want to read it again. I haven't read any new Roth in years, and it'll take more than Brody's passing recommendation to get me to try “Nemesis.” Anyone else read it?
  • Man, I just loved this takedown of memoirs, or at least three out of four memoirs, by Neil Genzlinger (Gunslinger?) in the Jan. 30th New York Times book review section. The one he liked? Johanna Adorjan's “An Exclusive Love.” One of the three he didn't? Allen Shawn's “Twin,” which received a positive write-up in The New Yorker. For a second I wondered if ol' Genzlinger was being too hard on his charges ... until I remembered: “Shawn,” as in William's son, and The New Yorker, where William once reigned. I'd link to the NYer review but it's subscriber only. Odd thing to keep from the masses, isn't it? “Books Briefly Noted”? Yeah, that'll get 'em to subscribe.
  • “Why the Arab World is Seething” seems like an Onion infographic, but this one from The New York Times is helpful.
  • On the new “Roger Ebert Presents...” show, correspondent Jeff Greenfield takes down, in very humorous fashion, one of the worst tropes of political movies: the insulting speech that wins everyone over
  • Meanwhile, Ebert co-hosts Ignatiy Vish­ne­vet­sky and Christy Lemire go over the smaller Oscar noms they're pleased with, including John Hawkes for “Winter's Bone.” Couldn't agree more.
  • Glad to see them disagreeing with each other, too, as with “The Green Hornet.” She views it as a Hollywood genre film (thumbs down), which it is, and he views it as a Michael Gondry film (thumbs up), which it also is. I'm mostly with her, but the movie is still messing with the heads of its audience, even if the audience doesn't know it.
  • Does this mean I have to like Paul Haggis now? Nah.
  • Never has one critic (A.O. Scott) devoted so much space (two big NY Times pages) to a subject I care so deeply about (foreign films), and told me so little.
  • The Brothers Coen talk here about the surprising box office success of “True Grit.” “When we finished, we put it out there and thought, 'This might cross over,'” Ethan says. “For us, that meant doing the kind of business that 'No Country for Old Men' did. What's happening now, this did not seem to be in the realm of possibility.”
  • Finally, the best headline I've read about the AOL-HuffPo thing comes from Kim Voynar over at Movie City News: Arianna $300 Million, Writers 0. I say this as a reformed HuffPost poster. (“Hi, my name is Erik. It's been more than two years since my last Huff post.”) They got me when MSNBC stuff was drying up and kept me because I had something to “say” about the 2008 election. Eventually I realized I was part of the problem. Now I never even go to the site. If there's a writer you care about, you shouldn't either.

 

No. 15 for the MLB Network. No. 1 in the Pac NW.

Posted at 06:26 AM on Feb 08, 2011 in category Lancelot Links
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Thursday February 03, 2011

Lancelot Links

Hold onto your seats; it's going to be a bumpy Lancelot Links.

  • To start. The Star-Tribune's Colin Covert recently asked me, vis a vis my review of “Vincere,” what responsibility the critic has in parsing fact from fiction in historical dramas. I shrugged, adding, “Historical context should get more play if the filmmakers fudge history in a way that makes the film less interesting.” To wit: “The King's Speech,” which Christopher Hitchens' reminds us, gets its facts wrong in its drive toward the obvious and comfortable conclusion. In reality Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) was a Nazi sympathizer while George VI (Colin Firth), our sympathetic, tongue-tied hero, was an appeaser who wanted to stick with Neville Chamberlain even after Sept. 1, 1939, and whose first choice as successor was another appeaser, Lord Halifax. “And so the film drifts on,” Hitchens writes, “with ever more Vaseline being applied to the lens.”
  • Then our old friend Michael Cieply gets into the act. He writes of the attempts by other filmmakers, not to mention Hitchens, to take down frontrunner “The King's Speech.” The Weinsteins, he adds, are ready to fight back:

And it is lost on few here that a primary competitor, “The Social Network,” has also faced questions about the veracity of its portrayal of the Facebook entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, so any showdown between that film and “The King’s Speech” over matters of fact and fiction might end in a draw.“

  • To which Richard Brody of The New Yorker parses the difference between the two movies:

      “The King’s Speech” is an anesthetic movie, “The Social Network” an invigorating one—and their scripts’ departures from the historical record serve utterly divergent purposes. The tale of royal triumph through a commoner’s efforts expurgates the story in order to render its characters more sympathetic, whereas the depiction of Mark Zuckerberg as a lonely and friendless genius (when, in fact, he has long been in a relationship with one woman) serves the opposite purpose: to render him more ambiguous, to challenge the audience to overcome antipathy for a character twice damned, by reasonable women, as an “asshole.”

  • To which Tom Shone, former critic for The London Sunday Times, objects on grounds that indie films like to wallow in misery as much as Hollywood films like to revel in happy, stupid endings:

It is the reigning aesthetic consensus of the day. In Darren Aronofsky and David Fincher we have a pair of twin dark princes for whom life is misery and pain and unpleasantness not just every now and again, but all the time. Black Swan is virtually a primer on developing-your-own-dark-side, in much the same spirit that teenagers take up smoking to annoy their parents, but presented as if this represents the loftiest of artistic aims.

He thinks I’m complaining about pleasantness, and about viewers who enjoy “The King’s Speech”; not at all. ... “The King’s Speech” is pap, but I have no argument with the people who enjoy it. I’m not against the film’s existence or the audience’s pleasure, I’m against giving it awards for any supposed artistic merit. Because, as it turns out, my point of view regarding character in art is one that has some precedent. It is, in fact, the core of what we call Western art: inducing the audience to overcome feelings of repugnance or derision (i.e., prejudices or settled moral values) and enter into sympathy with people who, despite (or even because of) their virtues, make themselves into monsters (in tragedy) or asses (in comedy)
  • Updates as they come. In the meantime here's a nice Sundance rundown from MSN's James Rocchi, who chronicles the hits (”Martha Marcy May Marlene“) and misses (”Son of No One“). But it's his list of superlative documentaries that most intrigues me. From Morgan Spurlock on product placement (”The Greatest Story Ever Sold“), to the daily newspaper in the internet age (”Page One: A Year in the Life of the New York Times“), to personal injury lawsuits (”Hot Coffee“) to the man inside a muppet (”Being Elmo“), I kept thinking, ”I'm there, I'm there, I'm there, I'm there.“
  • I haven't read Daniel Zalewski's profile of Guillermo del Toro in The New Yorker yet, but his video on del Toro's monsters, particularly the ”pale man“ from ”Pan's Labyrinth,“ is way, way cool.
  • Are you reading Alex Pareene over at Salon.com? Here he is on media coverage of events in Egypt: ”It goes against the nature of the medium to suggest that we just watch and analyze the events of a faraway nation and examine America's role only in a historical sense.“
  • My friend Jerry Grillo takes a break from Facebook (for non-Tom Shone reasons) and makes a list of what he's missed. Answer: Not much.
  • Finally, we have a new Superman: Henry Cavill. Here he is talking about his role on ”The Tudors." Yeah, he's a Brit. Like Batman (Christian Bale), the new Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield), Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), the young Beast (Nicholas Hault), and the old and young Professor Xes (Patrick Stewart/James McAvoy). But the U.S. still has Ghost Rider! Plus Iron Man, of course (Robert Downey, Jr.). Who also plays Sherlock Holmes. Is that our tit or our tat? Either way, it feels like a trade deficit.

After yonks, Cavill wangles the bleedin' superbloke. Brilliant.

Posted at 06:56 AM on Feb 03, 2011 in category Lancelot Links
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