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Game of Throne podcast: Season 2, Episode 4 — “Garden of Bones”

[ 1 ] March 11, 2015 |



Latest AV Club column: On Birdman and long takes in contemporary cinema

[ 8 ] March 9, 2015 |


I neglected to post a link to this last week, but I thought some of you might still be interested in an article on the Internet even if it is almost one whole week old. Sample:

This is where the inherent tension in the contemporary long take comes from: The director forgoes conventional editing to telegraph intended meaning, instead employing a technique that urges the audience to consider the subject of the shot to be increasingly meaningful.

The long take also allows directors to use the standard magician’s ruse of having “nothing up his sleeve,” because the absence of cuts appears to indicate that there is neither time nor opportunity to insert special effects in a shot. Obviously this isn’t true — everyone unfortunately remembers Cloverfield — but the suggestion persists that a long take can’t be manipulated because some things can’t be faked in real-time.

Which is why it’s interesting that the opening shot of Birdman — before the ASL has even been established — consists of Riggan (Michael Keaton) performing the oldest trick in the magician’s handbook: levitation.

Game of Thrones podcast: Season 2, Episode 3 — “What Is Dead May Never Die”

[ 6 ] March 5, 2015 |


Works Attewell discusses (warning all these posts contain spoilers for all five books):

Game of Thrones podcast: Season 2, Episode 2 — “The Night Lands”

[ 3 ] March 4, 2015 |

Works Attewell discusses (warning all these posts contain spoilers for all five books):

  • Tyrion II (Janos Slynt), Tyrion VI (the peace terms and news from the North)
  • Theon II (meeting Asha)
  • Jon III (learning about Craster’s sons)
  • Arya II (protecting Gendry from the Goldcloaks, meeting Jaqen H’ghar)



[ 72 ] February 27, 2015 |

SEK needed to go to an ENT because his right ear is on the fritz. So he went to VERY YOUNG ENT’s office in Prairieville, Louisiana, which may or may not have any bearing on what follows.

VERY YOUNG ENT: (looking at — but not reading — SEK’s medical file) This is a really thick file you have here.

SEK: I do what I can.

VERY YOUNG ENT: (putting down file) So what seems to the be the problem, man?

SEK: My right ear is on strike.

VERY YOUNG ENT: (puts otoscope in SEK’s ear) Whoa, dude, how do you hear anything out of this?

SEK: I don’t at the moment.

VERY YOUNG ENT: I mean, what about ever?

SEK: What about ever what?

VERY YOUNG ENT: What about how do you ever hear anything out of it? It’s like your ear canal is upside down, man.

SEK: It’s not ideal.

VERY YOUNG ENT: And what’s up with your eardrum?

SEK: (looking longingly as his unread medical history) There’s a —

VERY YOUNG ENT: Giant hole in it, man. How’d that happen? I mean —

SEK: Tubes. Many sets of —

VERY YOUNG ENT: You don’t need to tell me. That’s giant — like, giant. How are we even having this conversation?

SEK: (resisting to the urge to say, “What conversation?”) With effort.

VERY YOUNG ENT: No doubt, man, no doubt. So it’s not infected, it’s just —

SEK: Weird?

VERY YOUNG ENT: Very weird. Let me look something up. (leaves)

And that’s where SEK’s story ends, at least for the moment, because SEK is still in the room where the VERY YOUNG ENT left him. After about 30 minutes SEK got so bored sitting in the room that he took out his laptop and wrote this.

SEK isn’t sure whether the VERY YOUNG ENT is coming back, or even if the VERY YOUNG ENT’s offices are even open anymore.

The rest of the story is available at Facebook because sorry, that’s just where people “live-blog” stuff now.

Game of Thrones podcast: Season 2, Episode 1 — “The North Remembers”

[ 5 ] February 25, 2015 |

We have now arrived at Season 2 of the Game of Thrones podcast and — if you can believe it — we’re now recording them in real time. No longer will be ignorant of what happened later in Season 4, as we’ve now seen all this episodes.

Now our ignorance will be limited to what’s going to happen in Season 5, but still! Progress!

Works Attewell discusses (warning all these posts contain spoilers for all five books):

  • Sansa I (deconstructing knighthood and Sansa the survivor)
  • Tyrion I (Tyrion and the Small Council, Tyrion and Cersei)
  • Bran I and II (Bran’s wolf dreams and the Northern political story)
  • Dany I (Dany in the desert, the prophet narrative)
  • Jon I, II, III (the Great Ranging from the Wall to Craster’s Keep)
  • Prologue (Doomed Maester Cressen)
  • Davos I (the Burning of the Gods, Stannis’ letter)

And the Oscar went to…

[ 97 ] February 23, 2015 |

I awake to find that many people are complaining that the unconventional Boyhood — which I loved — lost to another “system” film, Birdman, which I also loved.

But in all seriouness — what the fuck?

A darkly comic film by a Mexican director who elevated what in lesser hands would’ve been pure gimmick into art is just typical Hollywood system fare?

Even though Boyhood should have won based on its extreme audaciousness, in any other year, every who’s complaining this morning would have been overjoyed to see Birdman rewarded for its merely mundane audaciousness.

I love to complain as much as the next guy, but no one was robbed this year — at least not in the “Best Picture” category.

The 10 worst “Best Picture” Oscar winners are…

[ 347 ] February 22, 2015 |

…and the envelope says!

Game of Thrones podcast: Season 1, Episode 10 — “Fire and Blood”

[ 2 ] February 19, 2015 |

Two podcasts in two days? Aren’t you lucky?

Here are the links Steven discusses in this podcast:

  • Bran VII (Bran’s dream and the Kings of Winter)
  • Sansa VI (the final deconstruction, Joffrey the childish psychopath, what if she pushed him)
  • Catelyn XI (the King in the North)
  • Tyrion IX (the Lannister position after the Battle of the Camps, Tyrion made acting Hand)
  • Dany IX (the case against Mirri Maz Dur, waking the dragon, the prophecy)
  • Jon IX (Jon’s choice, Mormont’s critique of fantasy)
  • Dany X (the music of dragons)

Game of Thrones podcast: Season 1, Episode 9 — “Baelor”

[ 13 ] February 18, 2015 |

Attewell and I are back with a Game of Thrones podcast. We’re going to finish up the first season this week and ram right through the second in anticipation of the beginning of the new season in April.

Here are links to the posts Steven discusses in the podcast, and as usual, be forewarned — they contain spoilers for all five books:

  • Eddard XV (noir existentialism, why Varys’ offer is bad, and what he’s up to, the death of Richard of York)
  • Catelyn IX (Walder Frey is full of it, Machiavellian theory on keeping faith with bad actors)
  • Jon VIII (what the sword represents, Aemon’s political theory, and more)
  • Dany VIII (the power of taboo)
  • Tyrion VIII (The Battle of the Green Fork and why Roose Bolton threw it)
  • Catelyn X (The Battle of the Whispering Woods and its political consequences)
  • Arya V (Arya encounters poverty, the power of rumor, the execution of Ned Stark)

“There are no homosexuals doin’ homosexual things in my junk pile”

[ 17 ] February 12, 2015 |

This report on conditions on the ground in Alabama now that gay marriage is legal is not to be missed.

In which SEK is, for once, rendered speechless

[ 54 ] February 10, 2015 |

SEK was — as you well know — once a respected academic who hobnobbed with the people at the very top of his discipline. So he is accustomed to meeting people whose work he has invested days and months of his life into. But none of them were on the television and apparently that makes a big difference, as SEK learned at the Dallas Comic Con this weekend.

SEK was wandering around in a futile attempt to keep up with one of the Con’s organizers, Devin Pike, when he “accidentally” ended up in the “backstage” area where the talent hangs out when they’re not signing or taking photographs. And before you ask — if you give SEK media credentials he will “accidentally” end up a lot of places he’s probably not supposed to be. That is the nature of SEK and even if he didn’t do it deliberately the universe would oblige. Or possibly insist. 

So SEK was “backstage” and he walks smack into the preternaturally charming John Barrowman. 

SEK: (audibly gasps) …!

BARROWMAN: (reading SEK’s name tag) And you are…media!

SEK: (trying to remember what words are and if they mean) …!

BARROWMAN: And where do you media, Scott?

SEK: The Onion.

BARROWMAN: I love The Onion! You should hire me, I’m hilarious!

SEK: (losing his words again) …!

BARROWMAN: Great to meet you, Scott, gotta go!

And then he danced out of SEK’s life forever. SEK takes comfort in the fact that, at least, he got two words out in the face of Captain Jack’s relentless charm offensive. In SEK’s defense he did fare better here than the first time he met Gay Talese. That was an unmitigated disaster.

Also, for those of you who amused by such things — here was how to find SEK at the Con. He is nothing if not consistent.

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