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I spent all of last night on the phone and didn’t watch the Oscars. I
did flip it on briefly and saw Sean Penn prefacing his announcement of
the Best Actor award by defending Jude Law from Chris Rock’s barbs, but
that was it. A next-day recap and a fashion slideshow
is all I need. I was thinking last night that they should have a
scorecard up in the corner during the looooooong broadcast, just like
in football games. A list of those who’ve already won, for those who
join the show late. Then all I’d have to do is flip it on, check the
score, flip it back off.

iTunes Flirting

Very, very cute story. via Makeoutcity.

Those Repressed Brits

I’m betting this British commercial would never make it on American TV. Those Brits and their office porn. (via GapingVoid) Sort of not work safe. Ironically. Or appropriately, whichever.


Google has a new movie search engine … their come-on is a bit of a bait and switch, though–on Google’s main page there is the little teaser : “New! Get ready for the Oscars. Find showtimes for nominated films.” So
I clicked. I was actually hoping to see a page that would give you
showtimes ONLY for Oscar-nominated films, but no, it’s just a general
listing for all films. The “Nominated” part you have to figure out
yourself. Disappointing. But as a general showtimes service I guess
it’s okay. They also are starting to add reviews to the entries, so I
guess Google is trying to encroach on Rotten Tomatoes‘ market now too. But Google, you are no Rotten Tomato.


I have been spending a fair amount of time in Watertown lately (okay
really I just ride the bus through it on my way to BJFF in West Newton)
and it seems like a very cool little town. Very old neighborhoody-feel,
lots of corner shops, heavy Armenian presence, lots of diners, pizza
shops, middle-eastern food shops. But this is just my bus-eye view, as
I have yet to get off the bus before my destination. Some day. Until
then I will peruse this new Watertown blog.


The New York Times has taken a position on the Larry Summers “women aren’t good at science” controversy:

Last week’s release of the long-sought transcript of his remarks is
not likely to improve things much. Dr. Summers compared the shortage of
female scientists at the highest ranks of academia to, among other
things, the shortage of Jewish farmers, and white men in the National
Basketball Association. (Coming soon: Female Biologists Can’t Jump.)

Dr. Summers’s defenders say he is being tarred for the very
intellectual openness that places like Harvard are supposed to
encourage. Even in the best of circumstances, it’s questionable whether
the head of an institution that has a bad reputation when it comes to
promoting female scientists was the perfect person to free-associate on
why women have trouble getting tenure. However, the transcript provides
the best possible refutation of the charge of political correctness.
Whatever Dr. Summers was doing at the conference, it had nothing to do
with serious intellectual inquiry. “I don’t think anybody actually has
a clue” was one operative phrase. “I don’t remember who had told me”
was another. It was every woman’s nightmare of what a university
president thinks privately about equal opportunity.

We have
been informed many, many times in the past that Dr. Summers likes to
make waves, and who could blame him? It’s fun to toss out provocative
ideas and watch as everyone’s ears redden and all eyes turn to the
daring speaker who started the hubbub. But it’s an exercise better
restricted to radio talk show hosts than the heads of major academic
institutions. Harvard is supposed to be teaching its students not just
how to start a controversy, but also how to have an intelligent

Here We Go Again

Big Brotha

I visited a site I’d never been to before and it had the following ad on the side:

I was very creeped out. How does it know me? I clicked to find out.

How does the Amazon Honor System paybox know my name?

When you look at a Web page, the words and pictures you see actually
may come from several sources. Your browser software assembles the
pieces and displays them as a single page. On the Web site you were
visiting, most of the content you saw was transmitted from server
computers used by the site’s operator. The image made up of the paybox
and your name displayed within the paybox was different–we sent it to
you directly from This allowed us to recognize you by name
just like we do when you visit the Web site. Because’s servers transmitted the image containing a paybox and your
name within the paybox directly to your browser software, the site
owner never saw the paybox or your name and never received any
information about you.

Still, I think it’s a terrible
business strategy–scaring your customers. Not all would take the time
to click through and figure out how they know your name. Privacy is a
very sensitive issue on the Internet. If I wanted to donate money I
would certainly not give it to them now, after they freaked me out like

Boston Anti-Oscars

You may or may not know that there is a local Boston film-geek society that hands out its own awards each year at Oscar time. March 20 at the Brattle, the anti-Oscars will take place. Last year Philip Seymour Hoffman was their special guest and “First Hall of Fame Inductee.” Check out the nominations–I have a feeling Filmbrain will approve:



Bad Education

Goodbye Dragon Inn

Last Life in the Universe

Lucas Belvaux The Trilogy


The Return

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring


Infernal Affairs

Nosey Parker

The Rage in Placid Lake




Lucas Belvaux – The Trilogy

Jonathan Caouette – Tarnation

David Gordon Green – Undertow

Tsai Ming-Liang – Goodbye Dragon Inn

Guy Maddin – The Saddest Music in the World

Pen-Ek Ratanaruang – Last Life in the Universe

Andrei Zvyagintsev – The Return


Tadanobu Asano – Last Life in the Universe

Gael Garcia Bernal – Bad Education

Kevin Bacon – The Woodsman

Paul Giamatti – Sideways

Tony Leung – Infernal Affairs

Jamie Sives – Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself


Sinitta Boonyasak – Last Life in the Universe

Toni Collette – Japanese Story

Fatoumata Coulibaly – Moolaade

Anne Reid – The Mother

Isabella Rossellini – The Saddest Music in the World

Catalina Sandino Moreno – Maria Full of Grace

Imelda Staunton – Vera Drake


Phil Davis – Vera Drake

Alfred Molina – Coffee & Cigarettes

Peter Sarsgaard – Kinsey

Mark Wahlberg – I [Heart] Huckabees

Anthony Wong – Infernal Affairs


Cate Blanchett – Coffee & Cigarettes

Shirley Henderson – Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself

Virginia Madsen – Sideways

Rie Miyazawa – Twilight Samurai

Fenella Woolgar – Bright Young Things


Coffee & Cigarettes


Lucas Belvaux^

Herzog Funnies

“It’s appalling. No wonder American women are frustrated.”

–Lena Herzog, the “beautiful, formidable Siberian wife” of Werner Herzog, explaining that American mores have become so conservative under Bush that nature documentaries now only allow “one thrust” for animal mating scenes.