- This is pretty exciting: The screening of "The Cove" at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the mostly positive and/or startled and/or embarrassed Japanese reaction. This part, though, is sadly indicative: "Taiji’s mayor, Kazutaka Sangen, has advised fishermen to carve up whales and dolphins in indoor facilities so as not to provoke activists further, according to the newspaper Yomiuri." Nice. My review of "The Cove" here.
- The cover story in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine asks: "Is America ready for a movie about an obese Harlem girl raped and impregnated by her abusive father?" But it's the wrong question. The correct question is: "Is Lionsgate ready to distribute such a film?" OK, it's both questions. But America can't be ready for "Precious" if Lionsgate (of the "Saw" franchise) isn't willing to distribute it beyond NY, LA and your Seattles and Chicagos and Minneapolises. And I doubt they are. Unless, of course, Tyler Perry, whose films are also distributed by Lionsgate, and is an executive producer on "Precious," can strongarm them in some fashion.
- The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's film critic Colin Covert has a nice Q&A with Chris Rock about his doc "Bad Hair," which I now have to see. Rock remarks that "Bad Hair" is the funniest movie he's ever made, which initially sounds impressive until you consider the options. "Down to Earth"? "Head of State"? "I Think I Love My Wife"? Rock is frequently hilarious in his stand-up (less so in his most recent, "Kill the Messenger"), but for whatever reason that hilarity has never transferred to movies.
- Via Patrick Goldstein, who got it from Danielle Berrin's "Hollywood Jew" blog, here's a fascinating 2001 Index Magazine interview with Rachel Weisz and some pretty blunt talk about the Jewishness of Hollywood, as well as the sterile sexuality of Hollywood, as well as the sexiness of comedians. Quote from Weisz on the difficulty of Jewish women having success in Hollywood: "In some way acting is prostitution, and Hollywood Jews don't want their own women to participate. Also, there's an element of Portnoy's Complaint — they all fancy Aryan blondes."
- Francois Truffaut is my favorite director of the French New Wave, and Richard Brody, blogging on the New Yorker's site, acknowledges the 25th anniversary of Truffaut's death at age 52 with some choice quotes.
- Nathaniel over at Film Experience Blog gives us the history of who's presented the best picture Oscar. I hadn't really thought about this before. Best Actor gets the previous year's Best Actress, and vice-versa, and same ol' switcheroo for supporting awards, and directors tend to get directors, yes? The other categories get someone who will hopefully keep people watching. But for Best Pic? It's usually a big-name actor. Nathaniel's complaint? It's usually the same big-name actor—and rarely a big-name actress. He makes suggestions. His first one is so obvious only the Academy wouldn't have thought of it by now.
- I've always thought FOX-News was as close to a government-run news agency as the U.S. has had during my lifetime. James Fallows, who spent the last three years in China, says the same thing.
- We need smarter from the New Yorker. Most MSM columnists now agree that FOX News is a biased network, as does Louis Menand here, but it goes deeper, doesn't it? Via his Facebook account, Minnesota journalist Robb Mitchell quotes Jason Bartlett, a new media columnist (and not the shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays), thus: "Bias is not the issue for the controversy with FOX and media access, it is their continual intentional manipulation of facts for the sake of propoganda. To say what FOX does is okay because now MSNBC 'does it now too' misses the point of their intentional deception to the American public."
- I appreciated this piece from William Rhoden on how losing two games to the Angels exposes what nervous nellies Yankees fans really are.
- This past week, Tyler Kepner is writing about all the right things. First he gave us those dream quotes from Mike Scioscia before Game 6 of the ALCS on the ridiculousness of all the off-days in October. Then he followed it up in yesterday's paper with a piece about where all of those off-days lead: to a November World Series. Kepner ticks off what can't be done to prevent this in the future but the question looms: What can be done? I'd start by examining the smartness of Wednesday-night starts, which the networks and MLB feel draws higher ratings than, say, a Saturday-night start. Really? So why have World Series ratings dropped like a rock over the last 25 years while the Super Bowl recorded its greatest ratings just last year? Is MLB overstaying its welcome in October and November? Could a tighter schedule mean a tighter storyline? Do fair-weather fans not want to watch the game played in foul weather? COULD THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE HAVE NO MOTHERHUMPING CLUE WHAT THEY'RE DOING?!?! Not that I'm espousing any opinion one way or another, mind you. At least Kepner's asking the right questions and getting the right quotes from the right baesball people. Here's Scioscia again: "You can’t control the weather to a certain extent, but the earlier you can schedule these to get them in, the better chance you have of finishing this in weather that is, I think, conducive to the outstanding level of play that is going to be on any playoff baseball field." Exactamundo, Cunningham!