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Though the run-up to the holiday season (especially the month leading up to Christmas) usually means a slow up on festivals -- film or otherwise -- unless seasonally related, virtual fests are everywhere, especially on television.
Now EPIX, the premium entertainment service available on TV, video-on-demand, online and on consumer electronic devices, has created its own virtual film festival for fans of exotic locations, fast cars, beautiful women, crazy gadgets and vodka martinis, shaken, not stirred…
So the channel will present a James Bond film every night at 10pm ET from December 1 - 24, 2011, concluding with an all-day marathon of Bond movies on Christmas day. What a way to take a break from the holiday rush and escape with Agent 007 in films like Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies and many, many others.
That is for the love of a James Bond and the films that have drawn on his various incarnations from his earliest appearance in a 1954 BBC version to the incarnation as created by Pierce Brosnan.
EPIX is the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up of new Hollywood hits, classic feature films, documentaries and original concerts, comedy and sporting events on all platforms.
A joint venture between Viacom's Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lionsgate, EPIX has access to more than 15,000 motion pictures spanning the vast libraries of its partners and other studios, EPIX provides a powerful entertainment experience with more feature films on demand and online and more HD movies than any other service.
The only thing missing is a hot babe or a fast run in the Aston Martin -- or the equivalent Corgi toy replica.
All-day Christmas Marathon
For the complete schedule & information on the All-day Christmas Marathon or more info on EPIX, go to: www.EpixHD.com.
EPIX info can also be found on Twitter @EpixHD; and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/EpixHD
I have been torn all morning. The gauntlet was thrown down by famed director/producer Ridley Scott and documentarian Kevin Macdonald. So read the press release: "YouTube joins world famous filmmakers Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald in asking people around THE world to help them create the first user-generated feature-length documentary film shot on a single day - July 24, 2010.
Life in a Day is a historic global film experiment that enlists the global community to capture a moment of its varied life on Saturday, July 24, 2010, and to upload that footage to www.youtube.com/lifeinaday."
Do I dig out my video camera and record my day -- or parts of it -- exposing to all the world what I did and actually upload it?
I am still not sure that I am going to do something. There are still fewer than 12 hours left; I could do my part. But can I throw down a few moments of where I am today, what I am doing, and cogently put it out there on YouTube? Then the anxiety set in and I faced my dilemma.
It would require that I try to lend some coherence to who I am. Whew. I mean, between writing interviews, posting on my Facebook profile, responding to my e-mails or phone calls, I encounter and interact with dozens, if not hundreds, of people daily. Living in Manhattan is a very public act of contact with humanity.
Yet this notion, to document some aspect of my life for a day -- rather than talking to others about theirs -- stirs anxiety in me. It also prompts me to think about who I am in this self-obsessed society, and to understand how this desire, if not the obsessive need, for fame, to post glimpses of our lives for all the world to see, has become transformed into big business thanks to the reality television game and viral site like Youtube.It has given birth to the Heidi Montags and Kate Goselins of this world whose billowing presence in the mainstream media seems to run in contrast to what innate talents they may have or, so far, have shown they have.
But there are other kinds of self-driven media making that DRAW on the self but TRANSFORM it into something genuinely larger and, in doing so, offer something profound in the doing and the saying.Veteran director Ross McElwee started out making a documentary, Sherman's March, about some larger subject like the effects of General Sherman's devastating march throughout the South during the Civil War, and turns it into a modern personal statement about his life, loves and fear of nuclear destruction. That's a different kind of self-directed art-making.
I am working on an interview with the Neistat brothers, who have made an HBO series out of the bits and pieces of video-recorded detritus from their lives [it will be up momentarily]. They have crafted a whole television series by telling stories about their life in quirky ways. I am amazed at how they do it, but this thought of making something from my own life -- even from part of today -- has me momentarily paralyzed.
So if I were to be actually selected out of what I figure will be thousands of entries -- what then would I think of myself?
Would I too be transformed into someone who is worried about my larger media presence?
Will that make me driven by what happens to me on stage, or through a camera rather than during direct encounters with those around me?
I can see how that media-infused cause makes people think they don't have to sweat the small stuff as long as they are viewed by thousands or millions.According to the release, "Life in a Day is one of several efforts by YouTube to push the boundaries of music, art, and now film.
YouTube Symphony Orchestra and the recently announced YouTube Play partnership with the Guggenheim Museum are examples of the convergence of online video with traditional arts and Life in a Day takes this effort into the cinematic realm."
Okay, so maybe I don't do it this time. I missed the gauntlet thrown down before me. But what will be the implications of the film they will make out OF this raw material from many people's lives?
Hey, I think it's a cool idea with fascinating implications, like those photo books that document a day in the life of a different city. They give us a larger sense of the globe, of it being populated by people much like ourselves. But as we become more and more driven by our lives in the digital domain, what's next? Maybe, like Tron, will we just become more infused in the machine -- or will we transcend it...?
One of the greatest directors of all time, the 83-year-old Ken Russell, is enjoying a retrospective at the Lincoln Center Film Society, Russellmania, starting this coming weekend going on through July 5th. This is one filmmaker who pushed the envelope both creatively and professionally, and in many ways changed both the face of cinema, inspiring many of my generation both aesthetically and personally.
Not only will many of his best films be screened -- from rarely seen works such as The Devils (1971) and Savage Messiah (1972) -- but his Oscar-winning Women in Love (1969) and his extravagant version of The Who's Tommy (1975) are among the widely acclaimed films that will get a proper showing again.
More importantly, the eccentric British filmmaker will also make an extended appearance, spending six nights conversing with the audience about several of his most memorable and provocative films. And I will be there as much as I can.
On the opening night, Friday, July 30th, 2010, he discusses his experiences in making The Devils, his torturously graphic telling of an political persecution inspired by Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon (with Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave). Though Russell was in New York not long ago for his production of the play, Mindgame, it's been years since he came here for such a substantial time to really talk about his work publicly.
On Saturday, July 31, Russell will answer questions about his sexually ground-breaking version of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love. The film starred Glenda Jackson, Reed and Alan Bates, and is unforgettable for its nude wrestling scene, which showed male genitalia.
On Sunday August 1st, The Boy Friend will screen with Russell and one of its actors, Broadway vet Tommy Tune, in attendance. This is one of his many musically-inspired films, this time harkening back to the Jazz Age starring famous model Twiggy and Jackson. On Monday Aug. 2nd, the burly director will join the audience in discussing Mahler, one of his several biographical films inspired by the life of a classical composer. Another one of those fascinating cinematic re-imaginings, Lisztomania, will have Russell on hand this coming Wednesday, August 4th.
Finally, on Thursday August 5th, the Film Society will show his incredible visual fantasy version of the Who's landmark rock opera -- to be dissected by director and audience alike.
Wow, with this heat wave in New York City, the Starbucks coffeehouse chain has been a saving grace.
Now don't get me wrong. I have been A Starbucks skeptic and generally, not a fan of the corporatization of bohemian concepts. When this chain had a more bitter version of their basic coffee a few years back, I was not sold and rarely visited. And that's even considering their pricing back then. But ever since they became a free wifi center on July 1, 2010 -- prompted in part to their rivalry with MacDonalds -- they won me over.
Yes there is no huge virtue in the sameness of each location, but that consistency actually works in their favor when it comes to things like decent wifi signal connectivity, price and servings. Plus they generally have decent customer service. So when it comes to a place to be when the heat is overwhelming I will pick the surrounding Starbucks.
And I have met a lot of very attractive foriegn visitors when have gone to various locations as well.
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