Late Sunday/Early Monday Edition! On Tuesday! Murder Spree in DC, Indie Film Tax Fraud, "Spring Breakers," Screening Notes from "Blade Runner," Multitasking, and Sarah Palin
This is a much delayed edition of "In the News." In penance and to ask your forgiveness I've included pieces of journalism covering what my research consultants have assured me is all that Americans truly want to read about: violence and girls in bikinis.
In March 2010, five people were killed and eight wounded in the DC neighborhood of Washington Highlands—over a fake diamond bracelet. In a surprisingly strong story for the Washingtonian, whose articles typically direct readers towards some recently opened fine dining locale or a new establishment in which to accrue a hefty bar tab, Kevin Charles Redmon captures not only the horrific violence on trial, but the participants in these murders, their victims, the neighborhood they all called home, and most importantly the street culture that keeps most witnesses from testifying in court. If you have some time, I highly recommend giving Redmon's piece a read.
This is a story that keeps on giving: the AP's Jill Lawless (love that she's covering a crime story) reported a few days ago that a group in Britain created a fake indie film, wonderfully titled A Landscape of Lies (which they also alleged won "an award" from some American festival), in order to claim money on work that never happened on a project that never existed by exploiting "a government program that allows filmmakers to claim back up to 25 percent of their expenditure as tax relief." The "budget" for this "film" was reported as 19 million British pounds, so 25% isn't a small chunk of change. And don't worry, Lawless did not miss the (albeit weak) parallel to Argo. In an attempt to evade prosecution a real film was hastily put together, ironically earning a Silver Ace award at the 2012 Las Vegas Film Festival. Silver Ace or no, the five "producers" were arrested and convicted of tax fraud. And no one was rescued from a hostage situation anywhere.
In an example of a filmmaker actually making a film, Harmony Korine's highly anticipated Spring Breakers is, according to /Film, every bit as good as we all hoped. Beyond the joy of tits and drugs and James Franco playing a rapper (did he get another degree that I don't know about?!), it sounds like Korine's film isn't lacking in brains either. (Tuesday update: Spring Breakers is current at 64/100 at Metacritic and 70% at the more forgiving Rotten Tomatoes, though it seems to have split critics—Manohla Dargis of the New York Times absolutely loves it, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone loves James Franco's performance [and that's about it], and others downright hate the film.) This booze-soaked, drug-addled, bikini-filled film and alleged "thought piece" is doing pretty well, outgrossing all of Harmony Korine's other films in its limited opening debut weekend according to IndieWire (I'm sure the promotional photographs have very little to do with this). The film opens wide this Friday.
And to continue this cinematic thread, you really have to read the early screening notes for Blade Runner, courtesy of GeekTyrant. My favorite? A.L.'s comment that "They have to put back more tits into the Zhora dressing room scene." I think A.L. would have been much happier watching Spring Breakers.
Not sure too many parents are going to be thrilled about this Forbes article that claims first-person shooter games make you a better multitasker. Now that smart-mouthed brat you're raising can claim Gears of War is not just a violent waste of time, but a tool helping him to prepare for the real world... of sitting in a cubicle being asked to do a bunch of things all at once.
And to close this much delayed Sunday/Monday/Tuesday "In the News" segment: Sarah Palin continuing to act just like Sarah Palin should, criticizing Obama for running a permanent campaign, drinking a Big Gulp to show she isn't going to be pushed around by city slicker hippies who hate sugar, and then holding the monstrous beverage above her head as though it were an award she earned by being a true, God-fearing American! I am glad that in this cruel, confusing world, I can always count on the Atlantic Wire for something worth reading.