Category Archives: movies

Time Will Do the Rest

“Let the currents move beneath you. Powers will shift. Enemies can vanish. Do what you can do to stay alive. Time will do the rest.”

—Luke Evans’s character in Anna(2019), directed by Luc Besson, who is admittedly “problematic” (Outlaw Vern explains in his review), but I liked it and this line

A Hidden Life

This looks like Malick’s most-disciplined film in years. There’s still swooping shots and soaring strings, but also, it looks like, a stirring — and relevant — story.

The Lighthouse

I’ve joked about this subject before (see, e.g., here and here) and enjoy upbeat lighthouse-themed songs such as Diane Birch’s “Lighthouse,” but from the looks of this, being a lighthouse keeper is no joke.

The World Before Your Feet

In my Sunday 3.25.2012 New York Times Digest, there appeared an article called “Leaving His Footprints on the City.” It was my first introduction to Matt Green, who was attempting “to walk every street in every borough of New York City” including “parks, paths, cemeteries and occasional overlaps.”

I recall checking out Green’s blog briefly and then filing him and his quixotic project away in the back of my head somewhere under “other weirdos who are interested in walking as epistemology.”

Recently, though, I came across and watched the 2018 documentary about Green and his walking project: The World Before Your Feet.

Here’s the trailer:

If you’re interested in walking like I am, or in New York City, or simply in documentaries about people who march to the beat of their own drum (to borrow a phrase from Thoreau, one of history’s great walkers), I recommend it to you.

After watching it, I feel like it’s not a stretch to say that Green has an understanding of NYC that few, if any, other human beings have, or ever have had. What’s more, it is an understanding that you can have of your own city or town, provided you are able to walk it — though, as Green’s example suggests, to really walk a city isn’t easy.

Arctic

Saw it last night. Simple, almost hackneyed “man versus nature” story (which I’m a sucker for, and such stories are always also “man versus himself”), but done really well. Spare and unsparing. Easily my favorite new movie of 2019 so far.

Ricky Jay

Ricky Jay, who died last November, was one of my favorite people in the world, not so much because I was into his magic or his acting or his books — though there were things about all three of those things that I loved — but because he found such a great niche for himself. He was, of course, one of the best sleight-of-hand artists in the world, maybe among the best ever. But he was also a serious scholar outside of academe who wrote elegant, impressively-researched books and gave lectures. Oh yeah, and he also racked up nearly 40 acting credits, which is how most people know him. I admire this sort of range tremendously. Dude just seemed to have it figured out.

After his death, Mark Singer’s 1993 New Yorker profile of Jay re-circulated online. It’s great, and you should read it, but I also liked this bit from his friend David Mamet’s reminiscence:

He spent five or six hours a day practicing. He did it for 60 years. And, like all great preceptors, he was, primarily, a student. His study was the metaphysical idea of Magic, which found expression not only in performance, but in practice, commentary, design and contemplation. They were all, and equally to him, but expressions of an ideal.

The image of Jay this conjures, of him alone in a book-lined study, practicing his craft for hours, resonates with me as well. At heart I feel like Jay was an academic who happened to be a magician and an actor, suggesting to me that the lines between those things, between all things maybe, aren’t as clear cut as most people pretend they are.

Here, via Terry Teachout, is Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants from 1996.


Stanley Kubrick’s 12 “Basic Training” Rules

The documentary S Is for Stanley says Kubrick had these rules posted in every room of his house and that they exemplify his preoccupation with discipline and orderliness. I’m not sure I believe they were posted in every room, but surely the latter is true. Kubrick, one should note, had three daughters and worked from home.

Kubrick's 12 Basic Training Rules.JPG

Part of me wonders if these originate with him. They seem like something that would be posted on a WWII Navy ship. Anyone know of an earlier source?

Cf. Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life.