Muse by Craig Ranapia


Cheese-Eating Surrender Documentarians! (and RIP, Frank Whitten, you D.O.B.)

Once upon a time, film geeks could get their festive eye-strain and chronic sleep-deprivation out of the way in a couple of weeks. Now, it might be slightly over the top to say there's a themed festival for everything but pretty damn close. 

The 2011 French Film Festival is winding down in Wellywood, heading to Auckland and kicks off in Christchurch later this month. Those of you who like your reel life with a dash of the real, the Documentary Edge Festival opens in Auckland today with screenings of The People vs. George Lucas (GUILTY!) and Oliver Stone's road trip South of the Border

The odds of seeing either - or pretty much anything else on the typically quirky and diverse program - on general release, or commercial FTA television are pretty much non-existent.  So haul arse.

I'm not going to be able to cover much of either - a combo of having three grand of dental work in the very near future, still getting the hang of bleging for comps and getting on mailing lists, and general incompetence -- but please feel free to post your picks, pans and rants in comments.  And if you're really got something to say, and can do it without boring me, never say never to a guest post.


I only met Frank Whitten once  -- and was shocked to hear he died after a typically private battle with cancer over the weekend.  But it quickly became obvious that there was some acting involved in his six wonderfully squalid years as Ted West, the manipulative, porn-loving eternally inappropriate patriarch of Outrageous Fortune.

He also obviously sucked at being an attention whoring luvvie, because I was mildly shocked on reading his biography at NZ On Air to see the range, and quality, of his work.  One definition of a character actor is someone whose face you're always glad to see, even if you can't quite put a name to it.  If that's true, Whitten was one of the best and Matt Nippert's 2007 Listener profile is a better tribute to the man than anything I've got to say.


Jazz historian Ted Gioia marks SF/fantast master Fritz Lieber's centenntial by explaining how he was writing 'magical realism' before it was trendy. (h/t IO9's Annalee Newitz)

Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma? Alex Clark mourns "the lost art of editing" in a long Guardian piece - and avoids the "get off my lawn" tone this kind of piece often lapses into.

You think you've had a shitty day at work?  Take comfort from Wilfird Sheed's merciless comedy of bad workplace manners, Office Politics. Jonathan Yardley's appreciation is a nice teaser, and I promise it's an inexplicably out of print gem worth running to ground.

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