Friday, January 22, 2010

Agh! This cold is terrible. I am speaking both of the weather here in Berlin (-10 degrees C? and expected to reach -14 degrees C or -16 degrees C this weekend?) and of my health.

Yesterday woke up with my nose absolutely stuffed; you know how you're fighting off a cold (the little scratchiness in your throat?) and you don't want to admit it's coming on. And then it hits. So right now, i'm totally knocked out.

But i have been thinking about the experience of seeing "Avatar". Brian Singleton and i went to see it at the Cinestar IMAX Theater in Potsdamer Platz, so we could see it in 3D; we went on Sunday, and (of course) it was a sold-out house. From the start, there was a feeling of excitement; as soon as we got the 3D glasses, we were thrilled. Instead of those cardboard wraparounds that they used to give out at 3D screenings, we received those plastic-frame glasses (which fit rather comfortably over our regular glasses).

It was a spectacular experience, certainly the most sophisticated use of 3D i've ever seen. Does that change my views on what i saw in 2009? No. But it points to other aspects of performance and art: the need for spectacle, the desire for novelty, the appetite for grandeur and glamour. Having a good time at "Avatar" isn't that different from liking a Robert Wilson production.

Of course, the news is dominated by the problems in Haiti. At this time, the most reliable agencies in terms of the ability to mobilize and the ability to actually provide essential services seem to be the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

George Robinson just posted his review of Andre Techine's "The Girl on the Train"; in this case, George starts from an interview which he did with Techine, and i think George is able to say some very piercing comments about the film (which is one i admire a great deal). George's website:

Joe Baltake has some funny comments on Meryl Streep; since Streep has tackled Anna Wintour ("The Devil Wears Prada") and Julia Child ("Julie & Julia"), isn't it about time Streep tackled Pauline Kael? Of course, when "Prime" came out, someone (was it Carrie Rickey? Was it Molly Haskell?) mentioned that the mimic-mad Streep seemed to have modelled the character of the mother-psychologist after Pauline Kael. But Joe also has a great post about Richard Quine, one of those underrated Hollywood directors from the 1950s. Joe's website:

Question: do i try to go out this afternoon, even if only to the supermarket? Hmmm....


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