Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Focussed Autobiography of a Comedic Craftsman (rated 5 stars)

by Steve Martin

Steve Martin is a funny man, but he takes his comedy quite seriously. In his thoughtful and intellectual autobiography, Born Standing Up he tells his story in the context of being a stand up comedian. Stripping out all but the relevant details, it’s a fascinating look at the formation of a performer who carefully honed an act and persona that seems silly, but is actually a clever deconstruction of the traditional world of stand up comedy. It’s personal and discreet as well as being entertaining and ultimately it’s touching as we get a bit of a glimpse of the man in the white suit with a arrow through his head.

A Sad and Beautiful Character Study (rated 4 stars)

by Philippe Claudel

With a powerful (but subtle) performance by Kristin Scott Thomas at the core of the French film, I’ve Loved You So Long we watch a woman who tries to restart her life after 15 years in prison. The details are revealed slowly and carefully in Philippe Claudel’s directorial debut. Most of the film is built around the relationship between the sister who was estranged from the family (Thomas) and her sister who was then raised as an only child. The film moves through situations that don’t seem related and introduce characters in a natural way that paints a complex picture of family, choices that we make and forgiveness.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Balanced Look at The Past of Future of Sharing and Copyright (rated 5 stars)

by Lawrence Lessig

Laurence Lessig has a keen legal mind and while he’s firmly in favour of sensible copyright and sharing, in Remix he presents that case in a comprehensive and fair way while clearly taking into account all the participants in the creative ecosystem. It’s not “everything should be free” or “everything should be locked down”, but somewhere in the middle. In a reasonable and entertaining way, he sets out a compromise position that should enable everyone to build on the past and be fairly compensated for creative works that they create.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Classic 70s Thriller (rated 4 stars)

by John Schlesinger

Dustin Hoffman is great as a grad student caught up in a world of intrigue that he hadn’t suspected. John Schlesinger’s taut, paranoid thriller Marathon Man, is filled with twists and great acting as the film adds more information and draws the hero into the story. Taking time to establish the characters before filling in plot details creates a more compelling world that draws you in. It’s great to see an intelligent thriller that balances action, character and plot perfectly.