Archive for the film Category

Solitude & Participation, the muses of creativity

Posted in art, film, literature, music, news, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science, tech, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2011 by Trip Jennings

This is a good refresher on creativity and how to stoke it. I found myself agreeing that the seemingly contradictory combo of solitude and participation are key to stirring up creativity. I do the participation thing. Reporting. Interacting online. Reading books, magazines, newspapers, blogs. The challenge in my world is finding time for solitude. Thanks to Kelly Brewer for posting it on Facebook.

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Creativity is a nebulous, murky topic that fascinates me endlessly — how does it work? What habits to creative people do that makes them so successful at creativity?

I’ve reflected on my own creative habits, but decided I’d look at the habits that others consider important to their creativity. I picked a handful of creatives, almost at random — there are so many that picking the best would be impossible, so I just picked some that I admire, who came to mind when I thought of the word “creative”.

This was going to be a list of their creative habits … but in reviewing their lists, and my own habits, I found one that stood out. And it stands out if you review the habits and quotes from great creative people in history.



Computers: Detecting heart disease and recognizing faces, they also gauge how you like a movie

Posted in film, philosophy, pop culture, science, tech, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2011 by Trip Jennings

The New York Times gives us an update on computerized video-cameras and what they’re doing across a wide swath of society.

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Daniel J. McDuff, a graduate student, stood in front of a mirror at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. After 20 seconds or so, a figure — 65, the number of times his heart was beating per minute — appeared at the mirror’s bottom. Behind the two-way mirror was a Web camera, which fed images of Mr. McDuff to a computer whose software could track the blood flow in his face.

The software separates the video images into three channels — for the basic colors red, green and blue. Changes to the colors and to movements made by tiny contractions and expansions in blood vessels in the face are, of course, not apparent to the human eye, but the computer can see them.

“Your heart-rate signal is in your face,” said Ming-zher Poh, an M.I.T. graduate student. Other vital signs, including breathing rate, blood-oxygen level and blood pressure, should leave similar color and movement clues.


PBS plans homage to Jeff Bridges, Big Lebowski, Coen Brothers

Posted in film, pop culture, tech, Uncategorized on December 6, 2010 by Trip Jennings

PBS has scheduled Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides, a 1 1/2-hour movie airing Jan. 12, 2011. The Big Lebowski is one of my favorite films, so needless to say I want to see this. The film, more than other Coen Brothers’ films in my opinion, made an ethical statement about one’s orientation toward others and toward the universe, a term I use as a stand-in for whatever deity, or deities, you might believe in. In my eyes, the film was a layered, intelligent and, well, spiritual movie. On that last count I wasn’t the only one who saw a spiritual theme. Religion columnist Cathleen Falsani felt so strongly that she wrote The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers. course this film is about the actor who made Jeff Lebowski a pop cultural icon: Jeff Bridges, a man whom Pauline Kael described as “the most natural and least self-conscious screen actor that has ever lived.”

Three small indie films, America and feeling alive

Posted in art, film, music, news, pop culture on August 23, 2010 by Trip Jennings

If you’re like me you don’t darken the doors of a cineplex much these days, choosing to watch the latest movies via DVD player or digital streaming.  Also like me you might prefer films that are, in the words of marketing experts, more niche than mainstream. Translation: films that consider 100,000 viewings a considerable feat.

It is to those films — or at least a few examples — that I turn today.

Let me start out by saying this post is not so much about my refined tastes as a lover of film as much about a few movies I want to recommend. Because I want as many people to watch these films as possible I feel I need to come clean about about my film preferences. They are commodious, ranking me somewhere between an everyman and an art-house aficionado. Fellini’s 8 1/2 and Bergman’s The Seventh Seal are two of my all-time favorites.  I also love Real Genius, not exactly Val Kilmer’s finest work. So while I am a cineaste — yes I JUST used that word — I’m all about movies of varying types of artistic quality, insight and technical prowess. In other words, give me Iron Man, Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead over artistic jewels that try too hard. Give me Dodgeball, Zoolander and The Anchorman — hell, CaddyshackBack to School or The Hangover— over The Last Emperor or Howard’s End. (O.K., yes, I loved City of God and In the Bedroom, and I’m still a bit embittered 15 years after the fact that Forrest Gump beat out Pulp Fiction for the Best Picture Oscar. But I’ve watched The Bourne Ultimatum like 20 times and still secretly love it when Jason Bourne jumps through that window from the roof of a nearby building.)

Point is, I am not a film snob.

So when I say you need to watch the movies I’m about to recommend it’s not coming from some esoteric appreciation for style or technical creativity. It’s about the storytelling, and how these stories made me feel, which is sad, quiet but also strangely wiser and connected to the world around me. In other words, alive. Continue reading