Sunday, January 09, 2011


The Social Network: Film about the development of Facebook, seen through the subsequent lawsuits between the various parties involved. It both a) reminded me a lot of Oxford (the complicated Darwinian patterns of alliances and fallings-out between the overly intelligent and the overprivileged) and b) helped me understand the appeal of Facebook more (it's all about giving people the university experience, by which they mean dating, embarrassment, parties and social one-upmanship). A lot more fascinating than a film about a website ought to be-- but then the website itself is more fascinating than it ought to be too, so that's appropriate.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: A postmodern masterpiece, and early example of proto-dieselpunk. Lucas and Spielberg go beyond simply pastiching 1930s adventure serials to creating some kind of perfect distilled essence of the 1930s adventure serial, tapping into the technololgical and social fantasies of that generation (producing a Spruce Goose and Nazi delta-wing plane which actually work, and playfully referencing the decade's obsessions with Egypt and Nepal) while knowingly referencing the films and novels of the era. Also, for a film focused on the Ark of the Covenant, manages surprisingly well to steer clear of religious issues; Judaism and Sunday School both get only passing mentions, Islam none at all (although at least one of the hero characters is implied to be a Muslim). For a film that's thirty years old, too, the effects still stand up well, supporting my hypothesis that a well-done physical effect lasts better than CGI. Next week, The Temple of Doom.

Movie count for 2011: 2