Goodbye Lenin!


One of the main criticisms I’m hearing about The Internship is that it’s all one big advertisement for Google with little else of substance. This isn’t surprising, but it is very disappointing. When you have a movie with such prominent brand-integration it should go beyond the idea of product placement. The Internship shouldn’t be set at Google because they worked a deal with that company, whether financially beneficial to either side or not.  The Internship ought to be set at Google only because its story couldn’t be about or set at any another company than Google any more than The Social Network could have changed the name of Facebook in its script or a Steve Jobs biopic could rename the company he started. Of course, those two examples are true stories. But either would still be stronger for their relevance to the era and to what their stories are ultimately about even if they weren’t based on real events. It helps that Facebook is more than a brand now. And so is Apple. And so is Google. The fact that people groan when they see Peter Parker use Bing, an obvious product placement, rather than the more widely accepted Google search engine proves that we don’t think of the company the same way we think of Reese’s Pieces or whatever random car manufacturer is willing to spend the money for a close-up. I haven’t seen The Internship yet, so I can’t speak to how much the story is dependent on that […]



The main difference between Exit Through the Gift Shop and This Ain’t California is that the latter’s main character has been revealed to be a fiction. Other distinctions are that it’s about skateboarding rather than street art, that it’s set in 1980s East Germany instead of 2000s L.A. and that it has an energy and spirit that’s far more captivating than Banksy’s Oscar-nominated documentary. Otherwise they share a quality where the “realness” of the story is totally inconsequential given that, true or false, it’s still the same movie and says the same things and makes us feel the same way about its subject matter. I have to admit right away that I “fell for” the whole thing. That’s what happens when you avoid reading about a movie before you see it, I guess. All I knew was that it won a special award at Berlin last year and that it was a documentary about German skate culture. And I fell for it, too, meaning I fell in love with it. I found it to be electrifying, which can’t be ignored now that I know a lot of it is “fake.” Of course, fake isn’t a good word for the film, because co-writer/director Marten Persiel hasn’t necessarily pretended that every person in the film existed or that all the Super-8mm footage is as old as it seems.


International Cinema

This week, Landon uses a trip to the bar to watch the World Cup as a catalyst for discussing nationality (and a lack of it) in films throughout the last 60 years – culminating in a look of the broad, international flavor (and financing) of modern films.



Magic, ravens, forbidden love, an evil flour mill, and a retarded Baldwin brother! (There aren’t actually any Baldwins in this film).

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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