03/19 Movies

They Shall Not Grow Old — Really not sure what to do with this one. It has a natural home in a museum, and the colorization and foley work was effective, if supremely hackey. Also, what gives w/ the amateurish picture in picture stuff at the open. I happened to see a clip from Return of the King at a museum the other day and it reminded me what an artless director Peter Jackson is. All that said, I learned a good bit about life in the trenches, and I think that was the point.

Blue Ruin — Closing out the Crime Tragedy trio, Blue Ruin. I’d been meaning to watch it for years, and it wasn’t really what I expected. I prefer Green Room, which was more cohesive, but this was good.

Widows — Cynical and stupid, which I should have known. I do not understand the Hollywood love affair with Gillian Flynn, but she is a terrible writer of dialog and overly reliant on preposterous second act reveals. Total garbage, not sure why it is regarded as well as it is.

Triple Frontier — On two flights to Barcelona this kicked off a trio of American Crime Tragedies. Recently I’d been a bit down on Netflix original content, but in the hands of a talented director it turns out not to be a factor. There are a few Hollywood convention notes here (beautiful accountant, guy who counts everything, disappointing dad), but Triple Frontier transcends those and makes you feel the weight of their haul grow with each passing scene. I love a good logistics story, and that is what we’ve got here.

Us — Not quite as strong as Get Out, but it lingers with you longer. Nothing more to say to those who haven’t seen it.

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley — Alex Gibney has found his place on television, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. I don’t see all of his movies, but he is so trapped in the conventions and hacky techniques of bad documentary that his subjects have to work to escape. And this is frustrating because he has access to interesting stories. All of the 3D and Edison stuff here is a distraction, but the film does manage to credibly tell the story of Theranos, which is all any of us actually wanted. And, as a bonus, we get to see Errol Moriss reveal himself as the hack he always has been.

Hereditary — I’d held off on watching this for quite a while. Pretty good, pretty creepy. Enjoyably ridiculous.

Captain Marvel Pretty fine. Brie Larson was good, but the plot was forgettable. Nice to see Lee Pace though?

Generation Wealth — As insightful and interesting as any of this films subjects, which is to say not at all.

Graphic Means — Really effective as a process film, but few of the interviews get much deeper than reflecting on the tedium and complexity of legacy methods of graphic production. That said, I wish there were more films that so simply spent time explaining how things work(ed). It is a gift to pull back curtains and share a private view of how some part of the world works.

High Flying Bird — Pretty great. A Small scale, but personal and engaging. This is the kind of movie that digital distribution seems well suited for. I don’t think we need the Hollywood knock-offs like Bright as much as a places to tell stories like this that don’t have a great home in the theatrical model. I love the look and feel as well. The iPhone form factor creates so much freedom of movement and HFB takes advantage of it. The result is shots I realized I’d never quite seen before. I watched the first half on my phone and the second on my TV. The look transferred very differently on both and felt a bit more natural on the phone.

CDB | Why Michigan is the center of the ‘pickleverse’

In Michigan, the pickle industry started growing before World War I. In 1907, the Detroit Free Press reported that Detroit pickle processors were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to pickle farmers, who were growing 5,000 acres of pickles at the time. (Today that number is closer to 35,000.)

Crain’s Detroit Business

Tech Dirt | Enough MEPs Say They Mistakenly Voted For Articles 11 & 13 That The Vote Should Have Flipped; EU Parliament Says Too Bad

Earlier today we wrote about the terrible vote by the EU Parliament to approve the Copyright Directive including the dangerous Articles 11 and 13. As we noted in the original post, the key vote was whether to allow amendments that could have deleted those two articles. That vote failed by just five votes, 317 to 312. Unfortunately, soon after the vote was finalized, a few of the MEPs who voted against the plan for amendments — Peter Lundgren and Kristina Winberg — said they voted incorrectly and meant to vote for the amendments in order to get rid of Articles 11 and 13. Apparently, someone changed the vote order which threw them off:

What happened was that in the middle of a sitting meeting, it was decided to make an adjustment in the order of voting in itself. This did not appear in a clear way where the President was also somewhat confused.

Indeed, soon after that some others admitted to voting incorrectly, believing they were voting for something else.

TechDirt

Millennials

A trait I have casually observed: So called millennials are the first generation to self identify as such. Meaning it does not seem unusual for a young person today to say ‘as a millennial, I like to travel’. In point of fact, young people from many previous generations also liked to travel, and when doing so did see a need to attribute that characteristic to their generational cohort.

Some young people seem proud of being millennials. While this is may have been true of previous generations, I recall more skepticism around the idea amongst my own late Gen X peers. We did not immediately cede the authority to categorize to the institutions wishing to do so. A very Gen X response.

Perhaps the young would benefit from a more crtitical eye towards the compartmentalizations the elder world wishes to push upon them. But perhaps not seeing the reason to so so is what makes them millennials.

David Simon | “But I’m not a lawyer. I’m an agent.”

“We want to package you,” he offers.

“Package me?”

“Yeah, we’ll take a package on this project and you get your ten-percent commission back.  Like with Homicide?

Hanh? “Jake, what the fuck are you talking about.”

Homicide was packaged and we’ll do the same thing with The Wire.

“Jake, slow down, what the hell does ‘packaged’ mean?”

And for the first time, Jacobs explains it to me: In order that my agents — the folks who held an absolute fiduciary responsibility to negotiate in good faith on my behalf and on behalf of my book — could be players in the creation of the TV project from that book, in order that they could own a chunk of the project itself and profit by millions of dollars from the work I had asked them to sell, they were willing to return my 7.5 percent commission and the commissions of any other talent they represented, packaging all of us together in a happy bundle for the network. Yes, incredibly, to avoid the most overt and untenable conflict-of-interest, they were willing to heroically give back to me a few thousand dollars in exchange for millions of dollars in points on a piece of NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street which ran for seven years.

Oh.

“Jake, no one told me. No one said anything to me. Ever.”

There was a quiet on the phone.  Until I asked a second question: “What other talent did you package with me?”

“Barry Levinson.”

At which point, there was no more quiet.

David Simon

Seattle Times | Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system

The FAA, citing lack of funding and resources, has over the years delegated increasing authority to Boeing to take on more of the work of certifying the safety of its own airplanes.

Early on in certification of the 737 MAX, the FAA safety engineering team divided up the technical assessments that would be delegated to Boeing versus those they considered more critical and would be retained within the FAA.

But several FAA technical experts said in interviews that as certification proceeded, managers prodded them to speed the process. Development of the MAX was lagging nine months behind the rival Airbus A320neo. Time was of the essence for Boeing.
A former FAA safety engineer who was directly involved in certifying the MAX said that halfway through the certification process, “we were asked by management to re-evaluate what would be delegated. Management thought we had retained too much at the FAA.”

“There was constant pressure to re-evaluate our initial decisions,” the former engineer said. “And even after we had reassessed it … there was continued discussion by management about delegating even more items down to the Boeing Company.”

Seattle Times