The Dork Report for March 7, 2006

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

Steven Soderbergh’s Bubble

BubbleAs 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.

Kelly Macdonald and Bill Nighy bond over extreme poverty in The Girl in the Café

Richard Curtis and David Yates’ The Girl in the Café, a BBC movie aired in the US on HBO, was incredibly cute, and my heartstrings were indeed pulled, but I couldn’t shake the sense the love story was mere dressing for the real purpose of the film: explicating the issue of extreme poverty to help warm the public up for Live 8. Of course, I feel heartless for criticizing this aspect of it.

Plus, the age difference between Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald was so vast that — forget about their characters’ conflict over whether to battle or defer to stubborn politicians — it’s an issue unto itself. But if possible to overlook that, it’s a perfectly charming and lovely movie.

Reykjavik should hereby pass an ordinance decreeing its name shall heretoforth be spoken only in Macdonald’s Scottish accent.

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Eight Below

Eight BelowMore dogs! Fewer people! In fact, how about no people at all? Then this two-plus hour slog could be transformed into a nice hour of lovely nature photography and cute fluffy pups fighting adversity.

I hope Disney makes it clear this is a PG film not for the really little ones, for there’s a scene in there that scared the bejeezus out of a room full of seasoned adults. But it is often too cute; most notably in the scene where the dogs suddenly begin “talking” to each other. And the lovable canines remain plump and well-groomed despite starving in the tundra for 3 months.

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