Blockbuster and Weinsteins in cahoots

USA Today reports that Blockbuster signs deal to be exclusive renter for Weinsteins. The agreement gives Blockbuster a four‐year exclusive on rentals of films by the Weinsteins. (Thereby giving Blockbuster a leg up on Netflix.)

“Their concentration of stores and online footprint is too appealing not to be part of,” said Harvey Weinstein.

Like Blockbuster wouldn’t carry their films without an exclusive contract. I’m a happy Netflix customer, and now I’m even less inclined to consider using Blockbuster. From the consumer point of view, this is a very negative business model, and I hope it blows up in their faces.

Hiding and Seeking

Hiding and Seeking is a deeply moving independent documentary about one man’s attempt to help his adult sons gain respect for the “other”. Menachem Daum travels to Jerusalem to visit his sons and their families, and to talk about xenophobia, racism, and religious intolerance. It’s eye‐opening. Eventually he, his wife, and the sons travel to Poland to see where the Holocaust‐survivor parents/grandparents lived. Be sure to watch the interview with the filmmakers in the DVD extras.

Spleen! Oh goody.

Go read Annie Proulx’s Blood on the red carpet:

Roughly 6,000 film industry voters, most in the Los Angeles area, many living cloistered lives behind wrought‐iron gates or in deluxe rest‐homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city, decide which films are good.

Ten yucky things about Zathura.

Doc Smartypants, Larry, and I saw Juman...er, Zathura last night. There were some definite good things about it: We saw it for free. The astronaut was cute. The special effects were great. I want to live in a house like that in the worst way. But in the end I found it a disappointing movie.

  1. Scary parts that aren’t scary: the entrance of the astronaut, for instance.
  2. Really obnoxious kids: flip, bratty, dim.
  3. Gratuitous teenage girl: totally irrelevant to the plot, even more of a cardboard stereotype than the boys.
  4. Tim Robbins wasted: what a dud role. (But I did like it when he finally blew up at the boys. See #2.)
  5. Why does the astronaut wear a space suit if you can breathe in space?
  6. Spoiler: It was totally lame who the astronaut turns out to be.
  7. Spoiler: The special effects just after you find out who the astronaut is were lame, lame, lame.
  8. Preachy, moralistic, predictable.
  9. The sound was too loud.
  10. There was an asshole sitting behind me who talked all the way through.

Sci‐Fi Movie Canon

John Scalzi over at Whatever has a book out, The Rough Guide to Sci‐Fi Movies, which includes a canon of 50 science fiction films. He posts several times about the book (the link is to the first post), and in one he mentions the meme of taking the list and bolding the films you’ve seen. And so herewith (the list cries out for annotation and comments, but I just don’t have the time right now):

  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!
  • Akira
  • Alien
  • Aliens
  • Alphaville
  • Back to the Future

  • Blade Runner
  • Brazil

  • Bride of Frankenstein

  • Brother From Another Planet

  • A Clockwork Orange

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

  • Contact
  • The Damned
  • Destination Moon
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still
  • Delicatessen
  • Escape From New York

  • ET: The Extraterrestrial
  • Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
  • The Fly (1985 version)
  • Forbidden Planet
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Gojira/Godzilla

  • The Incredibles
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)

  • Jurassic Park

  • Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior

  • The Matrix

  • Metropolis
  • On the Beach

  • Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
  • Robocop
  • Sleeper
  • Solaris (1972 version)

  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Stepford Wives
  • Superman
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • The Thing From Another World
  • Things to Come
  • Tron

  • 12 Monkeys

  • 28 Days Later

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • La Voyage Dans la Lune
  • War of the Worlds (1953 version)