Saturday, March 25, 2023

Style Icon Steve Spielberg


J. Crew's Preppy, Leisurely Uniform


New Yorker - "J. Crew and the Paradoxes of Prep"
By Hua Hsu

Quentin Tarantino's Cinema Speculation


Published November 1, 2022.

"The long-awaited first work of nonfiction from the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: a deliriously entertaining, wickedly intelligent cinema book as unique and creative as anything by Quentin Tarantino.

In addition to being among the most celebrated of contemporary filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino is possibly the most joyously infectious movie lover alive. For years he has touted in interviews his eventual turn to writing books about films. Now, with Cinema Speculation, the time has come, and the results are everything his passionate fans—and all movie lovers—could have hoped for. Organized around key American films from the 1970s, all of which he first saw as a young moviegoer at the time, this book is as intellectually rigorous and insightful as it is rollicking and entertaining. At once film criticism, film theory, a feat of reporting, and wonderful personal history, it is all written in the singular voice recognizable immediately as QT’s and with the rare perspective about cinema possible only from one of the greatest practitioners of the artform ever. "

Movies as chapters in the book:
Bullitt (1968)
Dirty Harry (1971)
Deliverance (1972)
The Getaway (1972)
The Outfit (1973)
Sisters (1973)
Daisy Miller (1974)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Rolling Tunder (1977)
Paradise Alley (1978)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Hardcore (1979)
The Funhouse (1981)

Tavern Style Pizza


Eater - "Chicago Tavern-Style Pizza is Sweeping America"

"But why is Chicago thin-style trending right now?

Thin Chicago tavern-style can be seen as a foil to the thick heavy Detroit style square pizzas that have dominated over the last decade. People are ready for a lighter form of cheese and carbs; the pizza pendulum has swung the other way.

“I think it’s lighter to eat,” says Greg Baxtrom who recently started serving the thin pies at his restaurant and bakery Patti Ann’s in Prospect Heights, New York. “Nothing against doughier deep dish—they have their place. It’s just super heavy and super filling, and they don’t make great leftovers,” says Baxtrom, who grew up in a small town just outside of Chicago.

Another potential reason why Chicago tavern-style is trending is that it’s relatively easier to produce and execute culinarily compared to say a classic Neapolitan-style pizza, which requires building and maintaining a fire inside an expensive, large, often-imported oven.

What is more, tavern-style pizzas do not require stretching out the dough to order—they can be pre-stretched and simply topped and baked to order in an electric or gas-powered oven. “You can make it ahead of time, which always means I can ensure the consistency better," says Baxtrom. “It’s consistently being able to provide a good product.”"

New York Times - "Kenji López-Alt Spent 5 Months Studying Chicago Thin-Crust Pizza. Here’s What He Learned."
Axios - "This year's pizza trends: Fewer pineapples, more pickles"

Pokemon Reimagined as Traditional Japanese Artifacts


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Favorite Movies of 2022


Honorable Mentions:
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Avatar: The Way of the Water
You People


Ben Affleck on Air


The Hollywood Reporter - "Ben Affleck on ‘Air,’ New CEO Gig and Those Memes: “I Am Who I Am”"

"It’s been 25 years since Ben Affleck became the youngest person to win the Oscar for best original screenplay at age 25 for Good Will Hunting, which he wrote with Matt Damon; 16 years since he directed his critically acclaimed first feature, Gone Baby Gone; and a decade since he won best picture for Argo, a film Affleck directed, starred in and produced. His four features as a director — all thrillers and dramas instead of the kind of franchise films that drive the modern box office — have made nearly $450 million worldwide.

It’s an enviable filmmaking résumé, and one that pretty much nobody brings up when you say the name Ben Affleck. But while the world has been scrutinizing his marriage, his mood and his coffee order, Affleck has been quietly building a new production company, Artists Equity, with Damon, founded on the premise of profit-sharing among not only directors, producers and actors but also crewmembers such as cinematographers, editors and costume designers.


Their company’s first movie and Affleck’s latest as a director, is Air, the story of how Michael Jordan’s family and a group of executives at Nike revolutionized the business with one historic sneaker deal. Air, which Amazon will premiere at the South by Southwest film festival March 18 before releasing it wide theatrically April 5, stars Viola Davis as Jordan’s mother; Damon, Chris Tucker and Jason Bateman as execs at Nike; and Affleck as Nike co-founder and former CEO Phil Knight. Making Air was “an unbelievable experience that me and my husband and even my hair and makeup team still talk about to this day,” says Davis, whose husband, actor and producer Julius Tennon, plays Jordan’s father in the film. “Ben’s an auteur and so unbelievably kind and respectful. It was one of our top experiences of being treated the way we felt we deserved to be treated.”" 

World of Reel - "‘Air’ Screens to Positive Reviews at SXSW Film Festival"

"“Air” had been finished since last November and that Affleck was so high on the film that he pushed for Amazon to release the film in theaters in December and give it a last-minute Oscar push, sensing a weak Best Picture field. Amazon vetoed that, as the studio was planning a robust theatrical release given its high commercial hopes for Air — hopes that it didn’t want to see dashed by the December release of box office juggernaut Avatar: The Way of Water, which would surely have eaten it alive."

AIR (Feb. 2023)

Quentin Tarantino's 10th and Final Film—The Movie Critic


The Hollywood Reporter - "Quentin Tarantino’s Final Film Is Coming as Filmmaker Readies ‘The Movie Critic’ (Exclusive)"


Created by Josh Appelbaum & Bryan Oh
Starring Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra, Stanley Tucci, Lesley Manville

Building the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art


New York Times - "The Lucas Museum Finds Your Lack of Faith Disturbing"

"Despite the name on the door and the pedigree, it will not be a museum devoted to Lucas’s film career. (If you want to see R2-D2, you can always head over to the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.) While the Lucas Museum will display some Star Wars-related pieces and other parts of the Lucasfilm archive, it has broader aspirations.

It is, as its name suggests, a museum devoted to art that tells stories — a rather imprecise label that includes a mix of works by artists ranging from Norman Rockwell to Robert Crumb (when was the last time you saw those two names in the same sentence?) along with pieces by Frida Kahlo, Maxfield Parrish, Jacob Lawrence, Judy Baca and many, many others.

The 300,000-square-foot Lucas Museum stands out even in a wave of cultural construction that has churned ahead in Los Angeles: the $650 million David Geffen Galleries at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, set to open next year; the 24-year reconstruction of the Hammer Museum that will be completed later this month; and the Academy Museum, which opened in 2021.

“It’s a very significant addition to the cultural scene of not just California but to the West Coast,” said Michael Govan, the head of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA. “You can start to feel the impact that such a huge gift is going to have. That’s the big deal. Since it’s not public money — whatever George wants to do he can do. It’s a beautiful thing and you can see it.”"

The Fight to Fix/Save Penn Station


New Yorker - "The Fight Over Penn Station and Madison Square Garden"

"Pennsylvania Station, in west midtown, is the busiest railroad station in the Western Hemisphere. It is also a shabby, haunted labyrinth. I was there recently with Vishaan Chakrabarti, an architect and city planner who has been involved for decades in efforts, most of them futile, to improve the station. We entered from Seventh Avenue, going down a narrow escalator with so little headroom that I flinched and ducked. On our left, a man was wrestling a baby carriage up a staircase, bumping step by step toward the street.

“It’s the architecture that tells you where to go in a train station,” Chakrabarti said. In Penn, the architecture generally tells you to go away. The area where we had entered resembles a dingy subterranean shopping mall, dominated by fast-food joints—Dunkin’ Donuts, Jamba Juice, Krispy Kreme. Three railroads and six busy subway lines converge in Penn Station, but from where we were it was hard to find your way to any of them. “Down here, the signage has always been a huge issue,” Chakrabarti said. His tone was equal parts earnest concern and professorial detachment; he was a professor at Columbia for seven years, worked as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s director of city planning for Manhattan, runs a global architecture studio, and lives with his family about a mile from Penn Station, through which they are often obliged to travel. Chakrabarti is fifty-six, tall, with a well-trimmed white chin-strap beard.

Farther down, toward the platforms, there were more issues: cramped passages with no signs, wires spilling from missing ceiling panels. People slept on the floor, propped against columns, surrounded by their battered possessions. It was midday, off peak, so even the New Jersey Transit concourse known as “the pit” was not especially crowded. Later, passengers would cram into the tight, airless pink-and-beige space to watch for a track assignment, which would signal a stampede for a single escalator. “I’m always worried about safety here,” Chakrabarti said. “Very low ceilings and very congested space is a very bad idea.” In 2017, a Friday-night crowd panicked by rumors of gunshots left sixteen people injured. A few weeks later, a broken sewer line poured fetid water into a busy concourse.

How did it come to this? The original Penn Station building, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece, was knocked down in the early nineteen-sixties, after its owners struck a deal with a developer. The extensive rail operations below it were left underground. “They basically built this manhole cover and sealed up the station,” Chakrabarti said. We were in a dreary waiting room near Eighth Avenue. Above, on the manhole cover, rose Madison Square Garden, a twenty-thousand-seat arena. The arena opened in 1968, along with a bland new office block known as Two Penn. During the construction, hundreds of massive support pillars were driven down through the station, clogging the walkways and platforms, turning the whole place into a basement."

R.I.P. Masatoshi Ito, who expanded 7-Eleven to Japan


NPR - "Masatoshi Ito, who brought 7-Eleven convenience stores to Japan, has died"
BBC - "Masatoshi Ito, billionaire who made 7-Eleven a global giant, dies at 98"

"He died last Friday from old age, operator Seven & i Holdings said in a statement.

"We would like to express our sincere gratitude to him for his kindness during his lifetime," the firm said.

There are more than 83,000 7-Eleven stores around the world, with a quarter of them located in Japan."

Saturday, March 11, 2023

No Hard Feelings

June 23, 2023
Written by John Phillips, Gene Stupnitsky
Directed by Gene Stupnitsky
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti, Natalie Morales, Scott MacArthur, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Why everyone should play poker


Axios - "Why everyone should play poker"

Build a Frog Pond


The Atlantic - "You Should Build a Frog Pond"

@unknowndazza The Full Frod Story! It’s been a crazy journey from 0 to 60k people of Frodrick! Appreciate your ideas and support☺️ #Frodrick #startedfromthebottomnowwehere #FrodHouse ♬ Enemy feat. J.I.D. (from the series Arcane League of Legends) - Imagine Dragons

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom


Medium - "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: An Oral History"

Ke Huy Quan (Actor who played Short "Shorty" Round): “It was very different making movies back then versus making movies today. We shot a lot of the movie in London and they built these amazing sets. It wasn’t blue screen. Everything was built. Everything was fantastical, so for a kid to be a part of that was amazing. It was like a playground. The only thing I didn’t like as a kid was I was required to do a minimum of 3 hours of schoolwork everyday and there was a tutor on set. But every day I was so looking forward to going on the set and seeing how they make the movie. So, it was just fantastic. It was like play time. It was fun all the way.”

Indiana Jones 5 (Dec. 2022)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (Jun. 2021)
Steven Soderbergh on Raiders of the Lost Ark (Oct. 2014)

South Africa's Gold Mining Underworld


New Yorker - "The Dystopian Underworld of South Africa’s Illegal Gold Mines"
By Kimon de Greef

Nigeria's Presidential Election


New York Times - "After 8 Lost Years, a Wide-Open Election in the Giant of Africa"

"Sorting out that mess is just one of the mammoth tasks the election winner will face. G.D.P. per capita has plummeted during Mr. Buhari’s tenure. Oil production fell last year to its lowest point in over three decades. The army is deployed all over the country, fighting Islamist militants, secessionists, kidnappers and communal clashes.

But the potential of Africa’s biggest democracy is perhaps greater than the challenges. Nigerians speak proudly of their country’s natural riches: As well as oil, it has profuse supplies of gas and solid minerals, as well as greater agricultural potential than almost any other African country because of its vast, fertile lands and abundant water.

And that is to say nothing of its human capital. The country’s unofficial motto, “Naija no dey carry last” — pidgin English for “Nigerians never come last” — speaks to their drive and creativity, on display in the booming tech sector, the Nollywood film industry and the global musical phenomenon that is Afrobeats.

Recently, however, the young people who drive that innovation have been leaving in droves, or are making plans to."

The NBA's Basketball Africa League (BAL)


The Guardian - " ‘The NBA has come to us’: inside basketball’s $1bn play for Africa"

Tetris Movie

March 31, 2013 on Apple TV+
Written by Noah Pink
Directed by Jon S. Baird
Starring Taron Egerton (Kingsman, Rocketman), Toby Jones