Thank You for Smoking

Thank You For Smoking movie poster


A wicked con­tem­po­rary satire, dis­tant cousin to Lord of War, if a lit­tle less urgent. The level of pub­lic anx­i­ety over Big Tobacco isn’t ter­ri­bly high at the moment, but the larger theme of cor­po­rate and gov­ern­men­tal spin is a timely one. Also like Lord of War, it kicks off with insane energy: one of the best open­ing title sequences I’ve ever seen, fol­lowed by flurry of pop-up info­graph­ics, freeze-frames, and ironic sub­ti­tles. Too bad that after the first half hour or so, it set­tles down into fairly straight­for­ward fam­ily melodrama.

And now that’s what I call e-cards.

The Dork Report for March 8, 2006

The Dork Report for March 7, 2006

Por­tions of today’s Dork Report were brought to you by the let­ter A for Andrea.


Bubble movie poster


As a look into the lives of fac­tory work­ers in an eco­nom­i­cally depressed town turns into a noir (as Steven Soder­bergh him­self notes on the com­men­tary track), I caught a whiff of class anthro­pol­ogy. That said, I under­stand Soderbergh’s point that crit­ics’ charges of exploita­tion are con­de­scend­ing; the non-actors are intel­li­gent human beings who wholly knew what they were get­ting into.

With this project, Soder­bergh is tack­ling sev­eral unknowns at once: high-definition video, the fea­si­bil­ity of simul­ta­ne­ous release, and the sto­ry­telling device of draw­ing on the real-life expe­ri­ences of non-actors. How does one tell if an exper­i­ment is a suc­cess when there are so many variables?

Daily Dork Report for March 2, 2006

  • Wow, dude from Domi­nos is straight-up hard-core Catholic, baby. Watch your tail, Chick-fil-a.
  • Steam­punk Trans­form­ers, with art by… Ted McK­eever?! Isn’t that sort of like hir­ing David Lynch to direct G.I. Joe?
  • Mickey is now a one-button mouse.
  • My difficult-to-pronounce boy from Philly is cer­tainly a big-spender.
  • This is simul­ta­ne­ously fas­ci­nat­ing and enrag­ing. I sym­pa­thize with par­ents who don’t have time to keep up with pop­u­lar cul­ture and need an unbi­ased infor­ma­tion source to judge for them­selves whether or not a movie is appro­pri­ate for their kids, but I don’t think this is it. Who are these peo­ple? Who appointed them? I’m wor­ried they are indi­rectly cen­sor­ing films, under the guise of inform­ing par­ents. It’s about the chil­dren, you understand.
  • Let’s see, what did we get out of Apple’s lat­est extravaganza: 
    • iPod Hi-Fi: No doubt a fun toy for flush audiofiles, but kinda use­less for a New York City apartment-dweller like myself.
    • Mac Mini: Take out the video card, add a remote con­trol, and it costs $100 more? Although to be totally hon­est, I must admit I don’t really under­stand what a video card does. While the whole con­cept of a Mac media cen­ter thingie on my TV sounds really neat, the price hike com­pletely soured it for me.
    • Leather iPod Case: insanely over­priced cow-flesh sleeve with no access to the face. In other words, it’s designed specif­i­cally to scratch your iPod. I just have to join in the cho­rus here: What were they think­ing?
  • Thank good­ness that dur­ing the phe­nom­e­nal cat­a­stro­phe that was Kat­rina, Bush was watch­ing a lot of tele­vi­sion and ask­ing a lot of good ques­tions.
  • Absolute Sand­man. Darn. Guess I wasted my time and money track­ing down those first-edition hard­cov­ers on eBay…

Por­tions of today’s block­buster Dork Report were brought to you by Andrea & Dave.