A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘movies

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the dusty spiral of galaxy M81, here.
  • Crooked Timber reacts positively to the Astra Taylor short film What Is Democracy?
  • D-Brief notes that, in the South Atlantic, one humpback whale population has grown from 440 individuals to 25 thousand, nearly completing its recovery from whaling-era lows.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at The Iguanas, first band of Iggy Pop.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at consideration in South Korea at building an aircraft carrier.
  • Todd Schoepflin at the Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the division of labour within his family.
  • Far Outliers looks at 17th century clashes between England and Barbary Pirates.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how antibiotics are getting everywhere, contaminating food chains worldwide.
  • Victor Mair at Language Log looks at the evidence not only for an ancient Greek presence in Central Asia, but for these Greeks’ contact with China.
  • Dan Nexon at Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the attempt by Trump to get Ukraine to spy on his enemies was driven by what Russia and Hungary alleged about corruption in Ukraine.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the transnational criminal network of the Hernandez brothers in Honduras, a source of a refugee diaspora.
  • Marginal Revolution shares an argument suggesting that marriage is useful for, among other things, encouraging integration between genders.
  • Sean Marshall looks at how the death of the Shoppers World in Brampton heralds a new urbanist push in that city.
  • At the NYR Daily, Helen Joyce talks of her therapeutic experiences with psychedelic drugs.
  • Drew Rowsome reviews the Toronto play The Particulars.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers if inflation came before, or after, the Big Bang.
  • John Scalzi at Whatever has a short discussion about Marvel films that concludes they are perfectly valid.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that central Ukraine has emerged as a political force in post-1914 Ukraine.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers the Indian pickle.

[CAT] Five #caturday links: names, declawing, outdoors, Washington D.C., Pet Sematery


  • D-Brief was the first news source I noted that explained a study demonstrating that, yes, cats did recognize their names.
  • Banning the declawing of cats on account of the inhumanity of that action makes perfect sense to me. CTV News reports.
  • CityLab is perfectly correct to note that, ferociously efficient predators they are, cats should no be let out into the wild.
  • This Washington Post report of a study seeking to track the location of cat populations in the wild in Washington D.C. is fascinating, and important.
  • Cinema Blend tells of the specialization, and sensitivity, of the eight different cats used to play the cat Church in the new movie Pet Sematery.
  • [NEWS] FIve LGBTQ links: Pride in Antarctica, Marvel, Edmonton, movies, HIV/AIDS

    • National Geographic let us know that, this year, Pride was celebrated around the world, even in Antarctica.
    • What was the gayest Marvel movie to date? I do think Thor: Ragnarok has a good claim, myself. Vulture ranks them.
    • Daily Xtra notes how queer rights–specifically, the rights of students–became a big political issue in Edmonton.
    • The stories of the first movies to come out in the 1980s dealing with the AIDS crisis do need to be told. The Guardian reports.
    • I entirely agree with the opinion of this Advocate writer that we need to think smartly about HIV/AIDS, especially in light of continuing technologies and new safer-sex techniques like PrEP.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    June 30, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    [NEWS] Five sci-fi links: Annihilation, Blade Runner, The Telling, Sandman, Deep Space Nine

    • If Annihilation is the start of a wave of interesting new sci-fi films, looking at the genre from new angles, this is good. I just hope distribution can be solved. Rolling Stone has it.
    • This essay on the role of memory in the Blade Runner series, as a marker of identity and more, is superb.
    • The Telling, last of Le Guin’s Hainish novels, is set for a movie release. io9 reports.
    • That Neil Gaiman has authorized DC Comics to release four comics set in the Sandman part of their universe is amazing. io9 reports.
    • This extended take on how Deep Space Nine revolutionized the Trek format, looking at the universe from new and very creative angles, says what needs to be said. This is the reason it is my favourite Trek series. io9 has it.

    [URBAN NOTE] Five notes about change: U of T, Wexford Plaza, Parkdale, Metro, French immersion

    • Universiy of Toronto contract staff have voted overwhelmingly for a strike mandate. CBC reports.
    • Wexford Plaza, an independent film centered around shopping guards at the Scarborough mall of the same name, has done well in Los Angeles and is set to open here in Toronto. blogTO reports.
    • NOW Toronto notes a protest by Parkdale residents for affordable housing at King and Dufferin, where a massive new development is expected to rise.
    • In response to the new $15 minimum wage, Metro is cutting service hours at some of its 23-hour grocery stores. blogTO reports.
    • I sincerely hope that staffing shortages will not lead the TDSB to cut French immersion from its list of programs. The Toronto Star reports.

    [PHOTO] Suicide Squad at work, Bay and Adelaide

    Suicide squad at work #toronto #financialdistrict #baystreet #suicidesquad #movies

    I did some Doors Open activities both today and yesterday, but my attention was caught by the scene this afternoon on Bay Street just south of its intersection with Adelaide. There, on one of the many streets being closed down for the filming of next year’s Suicide Squad film, a helicopter lay on the street, having crashed into a city bus. The movie’s Midway City is going to have a hard time of it, it seems.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    May 24, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    [LINK] “Angelina Jolie boycott brewing in Japan over war movie Unbroken”

    CBC carries the Associated Press report that some conservatives and historical revisonists in Japan are unhappy with an upcoming film’s depiction of the Japanese military. The film, it’s worth noting, is historically accurate.

    The movie [Unbroken] follows the real-life story of Louis Zamperini as told in a 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand. The book has not been translated into Japanese, but online trailers have provoked outrage. Zamperini, played by Jack O’Connell, survived in a raft for 47 days with two other crewmen after a plane crash, only to be caught by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

    Especially provocative is a passage in the book that refers to cannibalism among the troops. It is not clear how much of that will be in the movie, but that is too much for some.

    “But there was absolutely no cannibalism,” said Mutsuhiro Takeuchi, a nationalist-leaning educator and a priest in the traditional Shinto religion. “That is not our custom.”

    Takeuchi acknowledged Jolie is free to make whatever movie she wants, stressing that Shinto believes in forgive-and-forget.

    But he urged Jolie to study history, saying executed war criminals were charged with political crimes, not torture.

    “Even Japanese don’t know their own history so misunderstandings arise,” said Takeuchi, who heads his research organization, the Japan Culture Intelligence Association.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    December 17, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    [BLOG] Some Thursday links

    • Broadside’s Caitlin Kelly blogs about the joys of being a woman alone travelling and exploring.
    • Centauri Dreams talks about the importance of Interstellar as inspiration for future scientists.
    • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper looking at the circumstellar habitable zones of pre-main-sequence stars, often surprisingly large if we’re talking about red dwarfs.
    • The Dragon’s Tales notes Russia’s admission that it has a military mission in eastern Ukraine.
    • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis looks for evidence that Islam played much of a role in the recent Indonesian election.
    • Joe. My. God. notes that in the United Kingdom, people in civil partnerships can now convert those legal arrangements to marriages.
    • Marginal Revoltion wonders about the future of Japanese interest rates.
    • More Words, Deeper Hole’s James Nicoll points out that, if you’re interested in space science at all, you should read The Dragon’s Gaze.
    • Livejournaler pollotenchegg shares a cartogram mapping Ukrainian population change over the past decade.
    • The Russian Demographics Blog maps the outcome of the Ukrainian elections.
    • Bruce Sterling notes that Microsoft is now accepting payment in bitcoins.
    • Towleroad notes a sit-in at Seoul city hall by gay rights activists.
    • Transit Toronto notes that on King Street, to expedite streetcars people will soon be able to enter merely with proof of payment.

    [LINK] “Hollywood Bows to Chinese Censors, Courts Investors”

    Bloomberg’s Anousha Sakoui notes the increasing influence of China–more specifically, the Chinese market–on Hollywood. This potentially huge market, along with China’s increasing interest in soft power, is starting to have an impact.

    Hollywood film studios are courting Chinese investors to gain access to the world’s most populous nation, brushing aside concerns that their new partners will seek to censor the next generation of films and TV shows.

    In the latest sign of the growing mutual interest, Dalian Wanda Group Co. said yesterday it’s in talks to acquire a stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF), maker of “The Hunger Games” films. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) Chairman Jack Ma toured Hollywood in October seeking alliances, while Shanghai-based Fosun International Ltd. (656) invested in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8, which is making films for Sony Corp. (6758)

    Hollywood is seeking Chinese investors despite the country’s routine censorship of films and TV shows. Studios from Walt Disney Co. to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. have changed story lines, altered national identities and removed sex scenes to accommodate government oversight. Hollywood has even partnered with the Chinese government-owned companies on movies like “Kung Fu Panda 3,” from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA)

    “Every mainstream studio is keenly aware of not offending the Chinese market, because it’s become such an important revenue stream,” said Tom Nunan, a visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television.

    Wanda is interested in buying control of Lions Gate, though the studio, run from Santa Monica, California, is only willing to sell a minority stake, Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin said yesterday in an interview.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    December 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    [LINK] “How “Frozen” Took Over the World”

    Maria Konnikova’s blog post at The New Yorker taking a look at the reasons for the global popularity is, besides a fine look at a very good movie, an interesting examination of the underlying mechanics for popular pop culture.

    George Bizer, a psychologist at Union College, first became interested in the “Frozen” phenomenon when his seven-year-old daughter requested that they watch it. Normally, a parent shouldn’t be surprised when a young girl wants to watch a Disney-princess movie. But for Bizer’s daughter, the request was highly out of character. “My daughter is a princess-hating daughter,” he told me. “She has made us warn everybody in prior years that she didn’t want anything with princesses on it for her birthday. And if she got a princess, she would get angry. Really angry.” Why, then, would she want to go see a movie where not one but two princesses reigned? “ ‘It’s O.K., Daddy,’ she said. ‘These are strong princesses. I’m going to like it a lot,’ ” Bizer recalled. And she did.

    That was enough to pique Bizer’s curiosity, and when he started seeing “Frozen” fans cropping up around the college campus, he realized that there was a potentially more powerful force at work. Union students, after all, weren’t your typical Disney-loving fans. Together with his fellow Union psychologist Erika Wells, Bizer decided to test possible theories on every psychologist’s favorite population: college students. They organized an evening of “Frozen” fun—screening and movie-themed dinner—and called it “The Psychology of Frozen.” There, they listened to the students’ reactions and tried to gauge why they found the film so appealing.

    While responses were predictably varied, one theme seemed to resonate: everyone could identify with Elsa. She wasn’t your typical princess. She wasn’t your typical Disney character. Born with magical powers that she couldn’t quite control, she meant well but caused harm, both on a personal scale (hurting her sister, repeatedly) and a global one (cursing her kingdom, by mistake). She was flawed—actually flawed, in a way that resulted in real mistakes and real consequences. Everyone could interpret her in a unique way and find that the arc of her story applied directly to them. For some, it was about emotional repression; for others, about gender and identity; for others still, about broader social acceptance and depression. “The character identification is the driving force,” says Wells, whose own research focusses on perception and the visual appeal of film. “It’s why people tend to identify with that medium always—it allows them to be put in those roles and experiment through that.” She recalls the sheer diversity of the students who joined the discussion: a mixture, split evenly between genders, of representatives of the L.G.B.T. community, artists, scientists. “Here they were, all so different, and they were talking about how it represents them, not ideally but realistically,” she told me.

    Written by Randy McDonald

    June 30, 2014 at 8:12 pm