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Showing posts from July, 2010


Inception is a bit reminiscent of those three level chess games that enjoyed a brief vogue in the 1970's.   Inception's dream within a dream within a dream plotting is like a multi-layered chess.   I could never begin to comprehend triple-boarded version of the game.  It's to writer/director Christopher Nolan's considerable credit that Inception, in all it's mind-bending complexity, is made as comprehensible as it is.   It's even more impressive that, like a good allegory (which it's not, necessarily), each level of the story works independently on its own terms.  Somehow, through its labyrinthine 140 minutes, Inception sustains itself as that rarest of summer events:  the thought-provoking entertainment, available in a multiplex near you.  

Poor Leo DiCaprio finds himself in another ontological maze, again haunted by a lovely deceased wife.  Such was the case in Martin Scorcese's Shutter Island, with Dicaprio as the U.S. marshall investigating a disap…


"It's nice to be liked/But it's better by far to be paid," sang Liz Phair rather prophetically (or perhaps predictively) in "Shitloads of Money."   It's a sentiment with which many a struggling artist has probably grappled.   The dichotomy has got to be even stronger for budding filmmakers; there are still jackpots to be had.    We'd all like some of that Apatow money, now wouldn't we? 
The Duplass Brothers are two of the leading (if not most distinguished) figures in an American film genre that bears the unfortunate, but now widely recognized label, "Mumblecore."   It must have been thrilling when their first full-length feature, The Puffy Chair, was picked up by the Sundance Film Festival.   An audience award at SXSW followed.   However, the film's $198 thousand gross (on the upside, the film's reported budget was something shy of 16K) probably won't be sending lots of Duplass progeny off to fancy schools.  Nor will it bu…

Sweet Grass

Summertime, and the livin's easy.   And, of course, the movie theaters are positively glutted with quiet, meditative documentaries about things like sheep herding and our changing place in the natural world.   There's Sweet Grass...and...well...I guess that's just about it, really.

Sweet Grass does concern itself with a ritual that is not only passing but is, apparently, done gone.  Captions at the end of this lovely documentary tell us that sheep have been taken out to pasture on public lands, like the Absaroka-Beartooth mountains of Montana, where much of the action (or inaction) in Sweet Grass occurs, since the late 19th-century.   But the drives filmed in 2001-2003 were the last, though we are not told why the practice ended. 

A couple of additional statements about the context and history involved might have been useful.  There is an acknowledgement to the Allested family and their ranch, but nothing to tell us that theirs is a Norwegian-American family who have been…