Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Electoral predictions

Electoral College predictions compared to reality:

Markos Moulitas, DailyKos / Obama 390 McCain 148
Morton Kondracke, Fox News host / Obama 379 McCain 159
George Will, conservative columnist / Obama 378 McCain 160

Final Electoral College results / Obama 365 McCain 173
Larry Sabato / Obama 364 McCain 174
Alan Abramowitz, Emory University / Obama 361 McCain 177
Sandy Maisel, Colby College / Obama 353 McCain 185
Ed Rollins, Republican strategist / Obama 353 McCain 185
George Stephanopoulos, ABC News / Obama 353 McCain 185
Eleanor Clift, political writer / Obama 349 McCain 189
Mark Halperin, Time editor / Obama 349 McCain 189
Nate Silver, statistician / Obama 347 McCain 191
Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist / Obama 343 McCain 197
Matthew Dowd, former Bush strategist / Obama 338 McCain 200
Karl Rove, Bushie / Obama 338 McCain 200
Chris Matthews, MSNBC host / Obama 338 McCain 200
David Plotz, Slate editor / Obama 336 McCain 202
Tom Doherty, NY Republican consultant / Obama 331 McCain 207
Paul Begala, Democratic strategist / Obama 325 McCain 213
James Carville, Democratic strategist / Obama 330 McCain 208
Dan Gerstein, Dem media consultant / Obama 318 McCain 220
Arianna Huffington / Obama 318 McCain 220
Chris Cillizza, Washington Post / Obama 312 McCain 226
Charles Mahtesian, Politico editor / Obama 311 McCain 227
Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard / McCain 286 Obama 252 [?!]

Info source from

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008


> "I think what would really be terrible would be to watch a retrospective and see yourself age forty years over a period of forty-five minutes. That'd be traumatic. And maybe one day I'll be able to go back and look at those old films with a charitable eye. The hard part is not to add any ornaments or embellishments to your memory of them. But maybe that's asking the impossible."

>"What you're able to achieve on the screen has nothing to do with you. The only thing sometimes I think is that you pick up certain mannerisms from characters that you play and they become part of the way you present yourself. The only two things that ever stuck to me were, unfortunately, from Rocky Graziano. I never used to spit in the street and I was with Rocky for about nine weeks before the picture began filming, and I spit in the street. It sickens my wife. I never used to swear. I never used any kind of foul language. Now, it's not worth being in the same room with me. And it's funny, of all the attributes that could have stuck to me, that those were the two that stuck the strongest and the longest. But I don't take much of it seriously. I really don't."

>"The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is outgrossing my films."

> "Being on President Nixon’s enemies list was the highest single honor I’ve ever received. Who knows who’s listening to me now and what government list I’m on?"

>"I started my career giving a clinic in bad acting in the film ‘The Silver Chalice’ and now I’m playing a crusty old man who’s an animated automobile. That’s a creative arc for you, isn’t it?"

>“We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”

>"You say I'm an icon. I don't say it. My grandchild does not think I'm an icon."


Best films...1958

It is interesting how there are a bunch of 40th anniversaries telling us how great and influential 1968 was. But what about 1958? Surely a 50th anniversary is in order? No doubt the politics of 1968 were big news and still resonate today. But is it also because the films from 1968 seem to have a more modern feel to them than the films from 1958? I mean, who wants a preachy Stanley Kramer movie when you can have a Jean Luc Godard film? Who wants to see a bloated Hollywood picture when you can see something fresh and exciting like Bonnie & Clyde [which in '67 gave new life to Hollywood]?

Nonetheless, a selection from 1958, I think, stands up pretty well today:

Touch of Evil
Paths of Glory
Pather Panchali
The Seventh Seal
The Cranes are Flying
Big Deal on Madonna Street
Look Back in Anger
The Horse's Mouth
Left Handed Gun
Man of the West
Le Beau Serge
Mon Oncle

Here's a longer list.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fox Wilde

"I could see myself in a relationship with a girl -- Olivia Wilde is so sexy she makes me want to strangle a mountain ox with my bare hands. She's mesmerizing."
- Megan Fox

Friday, September 12, 2008


Tokyo! is a mixed bag. Three films by three filmmakers.
The first film; Interior Design by Michel Gondry is original, funny and unexpected. It starts as a film about a young Japanese couple who are staying with a friend while they look for an apartment. Then it takes an wild turn and focuses on the woman as she begins to feel inconsequential. By itself the film is worth a look

The second film is Merde by Leo Carax [who has done much better work] and it is just plain bad. It starts promising as a wicked looking character crawls out of a sewer onto a Tokyo street where he assaults people and eats money. Then it dives off into a very annoying trial after the guy kills of bunch of people. It is just bad.

The third film Shaking Tokyo by Joon Ho Bong is a rather inert short about a dull everyman whose life becomes shaken up when he makes eye contact with a young pizza delivery woman. Oh yeah, and an earthquake hits the area just to add a level of interest to the whole thing. It is a mediocre short that can't save the film after the second short.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Perusing YouTube I came upon the animated work of Piotr Kamler. He was an Eastern European animator [by way of Paris] whose work has nifty surreal elements.
If anyone has seen the work of Jan Svankmajer or the Brothers Quay you will see something similar.

Here is one of his shorts:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Man's Castle

Man's Castle is an excellent and rare 1933 film directed by Frank Borzage. It showed on Turner Classic Movies the other evening. Rare mainly because it's has a 66 minute running time, which doesn't fit our full length feature standard and therefore has yet to get released on DVD; although it was common in the era before television when moviegoers saw double and triple features on a regular basis.
Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young star as a down-on-their-luck couple dealing with their new found love during the depression era. It's funny and sharp-witted but also has a tough edge with Tracy playing a character who feels so frustrated at not being able to be the breadwinner he should be that he doesn't always treat Young with kindness. But, this being a Borzage picture, you know he will come around.
It has many nice touches including a scene with Tracy on stilts. The acting, which has a more natural feel than most films from the early 30's, is also very good. And it moves along quickly [but not rushed] from scene to scene

Here's a link to a couple clips.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Telluride Film Festival Trailers IV

Flash of Genius

The Rest is Silence [Romania]

Curious Case of Benjamin Button [They might only play a bit of this at the Fincher tribute]

Telluride Film Festival Trailers III

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love [Senegal-France]

Hunger [England]

Firaaq [India]

Tulpan [Kazakhstan]

Telluride Film Festival Trailers II

O'Horten [Norway]

Waltz with Bashir

I've Loved You do Long [France]

Revanche [Austria]

Telluride Film Festival Trailers

Gomorrah [Italy]

Flame & Citron [Denmark]

Happy Go Lucky [England / Mike Leigh]

The Good, The Bad, The Weird [Korea]

Telluride Film Festival

35 years of the Telluride Film Festival

This year's line up

Telluride Variety page
Dell Lounge
Daily Camera blog

Friday, August 01, 2008

Obama quote

It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.

Obama quote in context.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Best films...

Of the past 25 years?

Entertainment Weekly has just given a really lame list of 'new classics'.
I am not sure what criteria they used but there are a mere six [six!] foreign language films on the list. What the F*&%?
This is a mainstream list to be sure.

Here are the top ten:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)

Friday, June 13, 2008


It is terrifying to see, but it is the movement of shadows, only of shadows ... Suddenly something clicks, everything vanishes and a train appears on the screen. It speeds straight at you—watch out! It seems as though it will plunge into the darkness in which you sit, turning you into a ripped sack full of lacerated flesh and splintered bones, and crushing into dust and into broken fragments this hall and this building, so full of women, wine, music and vice.
- Maxim Gorky 1896

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Imagine a car that seats eleven passengers, turns on a dime, has excellent fuel efficiency, and cruises happily at 120 miles per hour.
Introducing the Dymaxion.

Oh yeah, it's 75 years old. [related article on Buckminster Fuller]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eno Art

"What do people want from Art? I don't know the full answer, but one thing I'm increasingly sure of is that they want life....It's a misunderstanding to think that the traces of human activity — brushstrokes, tuning drift, arrhythmia — are not part of the work. They are the fundamental texture of the work, the fine grain of it." - Brian Eno

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No Country for Little Caeser

From "No Country For Old Men" [2008] to "Little Caesar" [1931] via directors and cinematographers.

No Country for Old Men was shot by Roger Deakins
Roger Deakins shot Sid & Nancy
Sid & Nancy was directed by Alex Cox
Alex Cox directed Repo Man
Repo Man was shot by Robby Muller
Robby Muller shot They All Laughed
They All Laughed was directed by Peter Bogdanovitch
Peter Bogdanovitch directed The Last Picture Show
The Last Picture Show was shot by Robert Surtees
Robert Surtees shot Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo was directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Mervyn LeRoy directed Little Caesar

Friday, May 09, 2008

I'm Not There to Cocteau

From "I'm Not There" [2007] to "Beauty and The Beast" [1946] via directors and cinematographers.

I'm Not There was shot by Ed Lachman
Ed Lachman shot Tokyo-Ga
Tokyo-Ga was directed by Wim Wenders
Wim Wenders directed Wings of Desire
Wings of Desire was shot by Henri Alekan
Henri Alekan shot Beauty and The Beast
Beauty and The Beast was directed by Jean Cocteau

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Star Wars to Buster Keaton

From "Star Wars" [1977] to Buster Keaton [1920's] via directors and cinematographers.

Star Wars was shot by Gilbert Taylor
Gilbert Taylor shot Circle of Danger
Circle of Danger was directed by Jacques Tourneur
Jacques Tourneur directed Cat People
Cat People was shot by Nicholas Musuraca
Nicholas Musuraca shot Cracked Nuts
Cracked Nuts was directed by Edward Kline
Edward Kline co-directed a dozen Buster Keaton shorts including Cops.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Livermore's bulb has burned for nearly a million hours.
In 1901, when the tiny bulb was first screwed into place inside a so-called hose cart house, it cast its light on a simpler era.
Even now, in its old age, [they] will stack it against any New Age fluorescent, halogen or high-pressure sodium bulb out there.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pauline said...

I came across the phrase; 'Pauline Kael Bubble' the other day on a blog.
Knowing who Pauline Kael was I was interested by the phrase and guessed that it had something to do with a critic who is out of touch with real life - or some such thing.
Sure enough, the phrase originates from a quote attributed to Kael after the 1972 landslide that Richard Nixon won over George McGovern. She was reported to have said something like: "How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon!"
Only, she didn't say it just like that.
A little digging revealed very little at first [There are 8 links that come up in Google as of this post].
Then I found a blog comment referring to a 1972 New York Times article. It said this:

"'I live in a rather special world,' Miss Kael said, continuing: 'I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them.'"

Now, in context this makes sense. She lived in New York and frequently went to New York City - one of the more liberal cities in America.
But, ultimately, this Republican meme - as it is used - is without merit because she didn't actually say it the way they understand it.
Plus, she was not out of touch. She very well knew where she lived and what her friends and connections thought and politically expressed. The comment: "But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them" is the one that could be problematic since it could be construed as a bit condescending - but she very well could have been joking. So we'll give her that.


Look, someone was kind enough to put Kael's blurb reviews online.
I always get a laugh out of a line she wrote about Frank Capra's 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington':

No one else can balance the ups and downs of wistful sentiment and corny humor the way Capra can--but if anyone else should learn to, kill him.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Dick Cheney
Fly fishes
With naked women?!

Okay, why not keeping mining this field? Here are some of the headlines that grace the net today:

So, what kind of fish you catchin' with THAT bait - Dallas Morning News
Debate Surges: Cheney Sees Broad or Rod? - Wired News
Dick Cheney's X-rated sunglasses reflection? - Rocky Mountain News
What's Dick Cheney smiling about? - Tampa Bay's 10
Who’s rocking Dick’s boat? - First Post UK

Monday, April 07, 2008

Errors will happen...

I bought a used [Korean] DVD of a Hungarian film called The Red and The White by Miklós Jancsó . Or so I thought. But when I popped the DVD into the player I found the movie that was burned onto the disc was not the beautiful 2.35:1 widescreen black and white film from 1967 but instead a full-framed color French film called Le Rouge et le noir made in 1954 by Claude Autant-Lara.
So far as I can tell, via a Google search, no one has reported this issue and yet the DVD is for sale at; There are some copies available on Ebay as well although I am not sure the Ebay copies are the exact same.
Anyway, should you want to buy The Red and The White please note this Korean DVD error and instead buy it from Kino or elsewhere. It's a great movie.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Brooks & Tynan

Aroused by the film, he set out to find her. He recounts, in the article how he met his idol, a recluse in her seventies, in a tiny apartment [that few others would visit] in Rochester, New York. They drank, smoked and talked, and she declared she was in love with him. Years late his widow wrote a play about it, which is still performed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Worst movie ever...

To qualify as one of the worst films of all time, several strict requirements must be met.
1) A truly awful movie must have started out with some expectation of not being awful.
2) An authentically bad movie has to be famous; it can't simply be an obscure student film about a boy who eats live rodents to impress dead girls.
3) The film cannot be a deliberate attempt to make the worst movie ever, as this is cheating.
4) The film must feature real movie stars, not jocks, bozos, has-beens or fleetingly famous media fabrications like [Paris] Hilton.
5) The film must generate a negative buzz long before it reaches cinemas; like the Black Plague or the Mongol invasions.
a] It must be an impending disaster of which there has been abundant advance warning.
b] It cannot simply appear out of nowhere.
c] It must, upon release, answer the question: could it possibly be as bad as everyone says it is?
6) To qualify as one of the worst movies ever made, a motion picture must induce a sense of dread in those who have seen it, a fear that they may one day be forced to watch the film again - and again - and again.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Obama's Grandmother

Here are two guys who get what Obama meant when he mentioned his grandmother in the same breath as Jeremiah Wright.
Nice to hear a sane position.