Sunday, August 18, 2013

Month in Review: July 2013

Screened movies in July (links to Letterboxd reviews):

Melanie Griffith in SOMETHING WILD
7/4 Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese)
7/5 Red Line 7000 (Howard Hawks)
7/5 The Lie (Joshua Leonard)
7/5 The Island President (Jon Shenk)
7/6 The Moon's Our Home (William A. Seiter)
7/6 Saturday Night Fever (Jon Badham)
7/6 Alexander the Last (Joe Swanberg)
7/12 Who Killed the Electric Car? (Chris Paine)
7/13 Revenge of the Electric Car (Chris Paine)
7/13 Something Wild (Jonathan Demme)
7/13 Mama (Andrés Muschietti)
7/14 Working Girl (Mike Nichols)
7/19 The Americanization of Emily (Arthur Hiller)
7/20 The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash)
7/24 RSO [Registered Sex Offender] (Bob Byington)
7/26 Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
7/27 Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro)
Several months ago, it seemed like all the good film writers over at The AV Club were dropping one by one. I had wondered if these were merely casualties of the industry, that even a place like The AV Club was feeling the squeeze and had to cut down their writing staff. Turns out that all these valuable writers were reconvening in a new location online, The Dissolve. Upon hearing this news, I was anxiously counting the days until their site went live and when it finally did July 10, it did not disappoint. It's just about everything I want in a website, with current reviews, special features on all kinds of topics, and most importantly smart writing from critics I have a lot of respect for.

Browsing my library's DVD shelves, I rediscovered James Burke's TV series Connections. When I was in middle or high school, I used to catch episodes of the second incarnation of the show, called Connections 2, on TLC. The show, subtitled an Alternative View of Change, explores the curious threads that bind scientific innovation through the course of history. For example, one episode traces how the creation of the stirrup to ride horses in battle eventually led to the development of telecommunication. Burke eschews the dryness of textbook history and the show displays a visual, verbal, and storytelling panache that turns it into a sort of exciting detective story than a tour through a museum. Wonderfully, all of the series--of which there were three total--are available for free on YouTube.