I’m late in noting this, as it was released several weeks ago, but:
Not perfect, but a remarkable film.
*A and I saw it at Shaw Theaters Lido here in Singapore.
Embedded above and on YouTube here: the trailer.
More from Grantland here.
If, like me, you enjoy post-apocalyptic thrillers, you should most certainly watch it.
Here’s a look back at some of my favorites from last year.
My pick: “Modern Vampires of the City,” by Vampire Weekend.
Here’s “Obvious Bicycle“:
And “Diane Young“:
Of the books I read last year, two stand out, not least because they were written by pals.
First: Matt Gross’s “The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World.”
This may not come as a surprise, since I’ve written about Matt’s work before.
The New York Times called the book “a joyful meditation on the spontaneity and unpredictability of the traveling life,” and said:
Gross ruminates on the loneliness of the road, the evanescent friendships that occasionally blossom into something deeper, the pleasures of wandering through cities without a map. Now settled in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters, he leaves little doubt that all his years of near-constant travel have only whetted his appetite for more. “The world,” he writes, has become “a massively expanding network of tiny points where anything at all could happen, and within each point another infinite web of possibilities.”
Worth checking out.
And second: “The Accidental Playground: Brooklyn Waterfront Narratives of the Undesigned and Unplanned,” by Dan Campo.
The Times included the book in a piece called “Suggested Reading for de Blasio,” and wrote:
Daniel Campo, a former New York City planner, considers the serendipitous development of Williamsburg and concludes: “In contrast to urban space produced through conventional planning and design, the accidental playground that evolved on the North Brooklyn waterfront generated vitality through immediate and largely unmeditated action. The waterfront was there for the claiming, and people went out and did just that without asking for permission, holding meetings or making plans.”
Indeed, it’s worth a read.
I haven’t yet seen many of the year’s most talked-about films, but I liked “Gravity” and “This is the End.” 2013 films I still intend to watch: “12 Years a Slave,” “The Act of Killing,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “Computer Chess.”
And finally, here are some in-depth stories, blog posts, reviews, and other pieces of writing I liked this year:
- Typhoon Haiyan: How a Catastrophe Unfolded — Te-Ping Chen, James Areddy, and James Hookway in the Wall Street Journal
- Buzzkill: Washington State discovers that it’s not so easy to create a legal marijuana economy — Patrick Radden Keefe in The New Yorker
- Auto Correct: Has the self-driving car at last arrived? — Burkhard Bilger in The New Yorker
- Hot Grease: The Wild West of used-cooking-oil theft — John Colapinto in The New Yorker
- Land and Blood: The origins of the Second World War in Asia — Pankaj Mishra in The New Yorker
- This company is betting millions that you’ll use cartoon bears instead of English — Gwynn Guilford at Quartz
- The blog is dead, long live the blog — Jason Kottke at Nieman Journalism Lab
- The problem with online freelance journalism — Felix Salmon/Reuters
- Pad Thai is the most misunderstood noodle — Pitchaya Sudbanthad at The Morning News
Update: Bill Clinton is said to have visited the set, but apparently did not film a scene. So scratch the bit about that portion being edited out.
Just briefly, here are eight tweets I recently wrote containing a few observations about “The Hangover Part II,” which I saw last night. The film, as you may know, is set in Thailand. Start from the bottom…
8. The Ebert review is worth checking out, as is this Atlantic run-down of the critical response so far: http://is.gd/5JXsa5
7. Final two thoughts (for now) on “Hangover 2.” Yes, it’s raunchy. But anyone who’s familiar with the first film shouldn’t be surprised.
6. Lebua hotel features prominently. Chiang Mai is also referenced. Overall, a fun if silly jaunt. But there were plenty of laughs.
5. Unlike many films set on Bangkok, this one gets beyond the street level, with plenty of shots of the river, the skyline, etc.
4. While some may not appreciate the way Thailand is portrayed, nothing is beyond the pale.
3. All the crazy stuff is there: drugs, foreign gangsters, a drug-dealing monkey, you name it.
2. Various scenes with nudity are pixillated, and Bill Clinton scene was cut entirely.
1. Saw “The Hangover 2″ here in Bangkok tonight. A few thoughts: The version showing here appears edited…
(Image via Wikipedia.)
Some links that have caught my eye of late:
- In Lawmaker’s Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol [NYTimes.com] — About S.C. Rep. Joe Wilson's "you lie" outburst.
- "What is aim of Thailand's 'red shirts' movement?" [Reuters] — Q&A-style analysis from Reuters.
- "List of inventors killed by their own inventions" [Wikipedia] — "This is a list of inventors whose deaths were in some manner caused by or related to a product, process, procedure, or other innovation that they invented or designed."
- The right kind of college rankings [James Fallows] — James Fallows on the Washington Monthly‘s new list of top universities.
- Federer's Footwork: Artful and Efficient [NYTimes.com] — An interactive feature from the NYT.
- "Five concrete steps to improving the news" [Newsless.org] — More on journalism and context at the always-excellent Newsless.org.
- "1984, a fine year for movies" [Kottke.org] — a "list of the most popular movies from 1984." Some real gems here.
- "Smells of New York City" [Interactive feature from NYTimes.com] — "New York secretes its fullest range of smells in the summer; disgusting or enticing, delicate or overpowering, they are liberated by the heat. So one sweltering weekend, I set out to navigate the city by nose…"
Thai 101 has an amusing collection of (mostly) literal Thai translations of 2008 Oscar-winning films:
Thai titles for western films are sometimes corny, sometimes spoilery, and always entertaining. Especially when you translate them back into English. They have a style of their own. Most typically, a subtitle is added to give local viewers a better idea of the content.
Here are a few that I like:
เดอะ รีดเดอร์ ในอ้อมกอดรักไม่ลืมเลือน
“The Reader: in the embrace of unforgotten love”
The Dark Knight
“Batman: knight of the night time”
“Little robot whose heart saves the world”
indieWIRE has a list of the International Documentary Association’s 25 best documentaries.
I’ve seen many of these films, but am glad to have this list on hand for future reference.
Do you have any personal faves that aren’t represented on this list? Please share in the comments. And yes, I’m aware that the wonderful “Trekkies” (sample YouTube clip — best part comes at 1:18) isn’t in this top 25. For shame.
For sale in the UK: Vintage mobile phones. What more is there to say? Simply awesome.
*How come no one told me there’s a sequel in the works?