Amoeblog

Coming Down in a Puff of Smoke: Up in the Air (2009)

Posted by Charles Reece, December 13, 2009 11:51pm | Post a Comment
"Hey, little girl, don't you know he's the devil / He's everything that I ain't / Hiding intentions of evil, / Under the smile of a saint. / All he's good for is getting in trouble, / And shiftin' his share of the blame. / And some people swear he's my double: / And some even say we're the same./ But the silver-tongued devil's got nothing to lose, / I'll only live 'til I die. / We take our own chances and pay our own dues, / The silver tongued devil and I." -- Kris Kristofferson
 
up in the air poster

Unlike my blogging confrère, I somewhat ashamedly enjoyed Juno, but primarily for the comically pathetic character played by Jason Bateman. He's an artistic dreamer compromised by the bourgeois constraints of making an upper-middle class living. He's also the only basically decent adult male protagonist in director Jason Reitman's three-film oeuvre (perhaps due to being written by Diablo Cody, rather than the director). That is, Bateman's character still has some idea -- no matter how illusory -- of making music for something other than its exchange value. If his new film, Up in the Air, and first film, Thank You for Smoking, both of which he wrote, are any indication, Reitman's more interested in the bourgeois male who serves as the beguiling, devilish proponent of Capital. In the earlier film, Aaron Eckhart (who's always been the artier house parallel to George Clooney) plays the chief propagandist for Big Tobacco with absolute zeal, completely committed to the libertarian ideal of capitalism as being best when it's amoral -- let the consumer qua homo economicus make up his own mind. That such corporations pay big bucks to the rhetorical charms of such men puts the big lie to this idealization. Eckhart's character never goes beyond being a fascinating evil in the film, which keeps the audience at a distance from him, making it clear one should put identification on hold. It's for that reason that the attempted dramatic turns fall flat, even though the movie ain't half bad. This time around, Reitman places the capitalist devil in a romantic comedy, using the most seductive of contemporary stars, Clooney.

cary grant eva saint marie north by northwest   bright sided

While Clooney gets compared to Cary Grant a lot (and for good reason), one thing he's never had is a role as good as the ones HitchcockHawks and their writers used to supply -- at least, until now. Ryan Bingham is Clooney's Roger O. Thornhill, a complete narcissistic asshole with whom, nonetheless, you can't help but identify due to his charisma and tragic disposition. Whereas Hitchcock and writer Ernest Lehman provide some phony absolution for the adman Thornhill at the end of North by Northwest, Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner remain true to the letter(s) of their character (which might as well be 'R.O.T.,' with the 'O' standing "for nothing"). Ryan is a hatchetman for corporate downsizing, who uses his silver tongue to do what corporate bosses are too cowardly to do directly. In the manner exhaustively detailed in Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided, he uses the depraved double-speak of the positive thinking movement to make employees (supposedly) feel good about being canned -- as if it's a chance for a new beginning, rather than being cast off alone into the void. He's also a part-time self-help guru for management, who's devised a nihilist philosophy that justifies his own inability to connect with humanity except through a miserable way of making a living:

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December 10, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, December 11, 2009 11:56pm | Post a Comment
Transylmania movie ticket stub

Die Cut Gallery Volume 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 11, 2009 03:30pm | Post a Comment
moby dick records company sleeve20th century disco sleeve

Here's another round of company sleeves for you all; there's a few rarities here. The Friday the 13th and the Panorama Disco sleeves are both pretty hard to find, while the Def Jam & Epic sleeves are classics that you see every day.

def jam records 12" company sleevepanorama disco sleeveepic disco single company sleeve
grt disco company sleeveprestige records disco sleeverso disco 12" company sleeveavi giant single company sleevede-lite records disco sleeve
epic records cotton club 12" sleevetted records company sleevewarner brothers uk 12" company sleeve
prelude records company sleevemirage records atlantic company sleeve

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 12:11:09

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2009 07:07am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five: 12:11:09
Souls of Mischief
1) Souls of Mischief Montezuma's Revenge (Clear Label Records)

2) FELT FELT 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers)

3) Wu-Tang Meet the Indie Culture, Vol. 2: Enter The Dubstep... (Ihiphop Distribution)

4) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)

5) Aesop Fables Living The Dream While Awake  (Weed Tracker Music)

Shout out to Inti at Amoeba Music Berkeley for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart which finds a local hip-hop crew on top, Oakland's Souls of Mischief and their first new studio album in a decade, the Prince Paul produced Montezuma's Revenge on Clear Label Records. The new album also includes production input from Domino (responsible for their amazing debut 93 Til Infinity). The four emcees, A-Plus, Phesto, Opio and Tajai, are in top notch form here. And, not surprisingly, these diehard Hieroglyphics members, who dropped their debut sixteen long years ago when they were still teenagers, have matured quite a bit, all the while keeping that Hiero/Souls flavor that made them so endearing in the Rosie Perez, Feltfirst place. It sounds like veteran yet ever-envelope pushing producer Prince Paul got the best of out of the crew, as witnessed on standout songs such as "Home Game," "Postal," "Proper Aim," and "Dead Man Walking." Also, Prince Paul can be credited with creating a cohesive album (complete with skits, of course) that deserves listening to in its entirety -- the way albums used to be.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Little Osaka, the Westside's J-Town

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 10, 2009 11:09pm | Post a Comment
Little Osaka - Sawtelle Boulevard

Hayama - Little Osaka

This Los Angeles neighborhood blog entry is about Little Osaka. To vote for another neighborhood(s) to be covered here on the blog, click here. To vote for a Los Angeles County community(ies) to be covered, vote here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


Map of the West Side - Los Angeles
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Westside

Japanese-Americans
have long been integral to the fabric of Los Angeles. J-Towns have sprung up around the Southland in Gardena, Torrance, Boyle Heights, Pasadena, San Pedro, Terminal Island, Compton, Long Beach, Monterey Park and Sawtelle. As far as I know, only two have acquired nicknames that reflect their Japanese-ness, Little Tokyo and Little Ōsaka. The former is a well known spot downtown.

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