Saturday, January 20, 2007

Still Not Smiling

My kindest benefactors on the web, over at Stop Smiling Magazine, have given me yet another forum to sing the praises of a stunning DVD, this time for When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Spike Lee's 4-hour documentary on the flooding of New Orleans and its nearly apocalyptic aftermath for so many residents of that city. Levees actually expands as a nearly 6-hour film on the DVD, and once you've gotten started, you really shouldn't stop; the exclusive 105 minutes of previously trimmed material is actually some of Lee's best, correcting for some of the main feature's tendency to muffle its critique of Mayor Ray Nagin. The whole work, whatever its flaws or self-imposed limitations, is prodigious, detailed, expansive, and important in a way that precious few films in 2006 were, and despite appearing on HBO, it's certainly making an active end-run for my Top Ten List.

Meanwhile, speaking of lists, and of earlier benefactors, my comrades over at Cinemarati, a terrific consortium of web-based critics to which I belonged from 2002-2005, has commenced their annual counting-down of the year's best movies. So far, we have gotten the party started with Nathaniel's eloquent summary of the virtues of Volver (which I'd imagined would place a little higher); at #19, Michael Dequina is dazzled by Dreamgirls; and at #18, my old college chum Lynn Lee directs our attention to A Scanner Darkly, a nervy midyear offering that deserved a better shot than the major, Car-prone and penguin-happy critics' groups afforded it. Cinemarati has a wide-ranging membership of amateur and professional critics with enormously different tastes, so expect an interesting list, and forage around the rest of the blog and the individual members' sites while you're at it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop Shilling
The recent Chicago Reader story about Stop Smiling magazine (see the item here titled "Why Is Daley Smiling?") says the publication has a circulation of 60,000, a figure I'm guessing the writer got from Stop Smiling's editors. The magazine's media kit, however, states that Stop Smiling has only 12,000 subscriptions. It claims newsstand sales of 45,000, but I suspect that number reflects how many magazines they ship to newsstands, not how many they sell. At Chicago magazine, for example, they work very hard to sell 20,000 issues off the newsstand each month. I'm just sayin'.

1:06 AM, January 25, 2008  

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