That’s one way of putting it (round-up edition)

Nathan Rabin on Father’s Day:

[Ivan] Reitman without Bill Murray is like Superman at a Kryptonite convention: His powers are useless and the results (My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Evolution, Legal Eagles) often dire.

The AV Club on the Netflix price hikes:

It’s sort of like the movie Sophie’s Choice, which you won’t be able to watch if you pick the streaming-only plan.

Keith Phipps on Larry Crowne:

To be any flimsier, Larry Crowne would have to be projected on Kleenex.

John Scalzi on the continually changing (or not) face of the Internet:

Knowing that Angelfire and Lycos still exist in some form is like hearing that somewhere out there Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow are still putting on new “episodes” of Friends for anniversary parties and bar mitzvahs.

Roger Ebert on Transformers: Dark of the Moon:

I have a quaint notion that one of the purposes of editing is to make it clear why one shot follows another, or why several shots occur in the order that they do.

Jessa Crispin on X-Men: First Class:

Me: “Why are there only white people in this movie?”
Friend: “The white people are metaphors for black people.”

Wednesday various

  • The slow (but perhaps inevitable) death of Borders:

    In 2001, Borders would go on to partner with, allowing the online book retailer to handle their internet sales for them, if you can believe it. There’s a photo of Jeff Bezos and then-Borders president and CEO Greg Josefowicz shaking hands to celebrate the partnership. Josefowicz has weatherman hair and a broad smile, and he’s beaming past the camera with the cocksure giddiness of a guy who thinks he just got rid of all his problems because he sold his dumb old cow for a handful of really cool magic beans. But when you pull your eyes away from Josefowicz’s superheroic chin, you notice that Jeff Bezos is smiling directly into the camera with keen shark eyes. His smile is more relaxed, a little more candid than Josefowicz’s photo-op-ready grin. It’s the face of someone who’s thinking, I finally got you, you son of a bitch. [via]

  • The slow (and ongoing) death of Wikipedia:

    After years at the top result on practically every Google search, Wikipedia has lost its urgency. Kids who were in 8th grade in 2004 have gone through their entire high school and college careers consulting (i.e. plagiarizing) Wikipedia; to them, Wikipedia is a dull black box—editing it seems just a bit more possible than making revisions to Pride and Prejudice. [via]

  • Apes From the Future, Holding a Mirror to Today:

    But it has to be said that the movie science fiction of the original Apes era, with its now laughably primitive effects, in some ways benefited from its technical crudeness: the spectacle rarely got in the way of the ideas, and when the ideas are engaging, as they are in the first “Planet of the Apes” and “Escape,” the simple effects function like sketches, indications of some greater, not fully realized, narrative and intellectual architecture.

  • The Playboy Club as female empowerment? O RLY?

    Perhaps the good news is that we’ve now reached the point where it’s considered smart marketing to push a feminist spin on your show about Playboy Bunnies. Perhaps we’ve reached the point, in fact, where you have to try to fit your show into a “we have smart and strong women characters” mold. (Earlier in the tour, we had a panelist argue that Entourage had some of the strongest female characters on television, which raised eyebrows similarly.) Perhaps it’s good news that strength, like sex, presumably sells. Just don’t look for it here.

  • And finally, a little late linking this, but: Remembering legendary Cleveland rock critic Jane Scott [via]

Tuesday links

  • I’m with xkcd on this: fuck cancer.
  • The Prescription to Save Ailing Superheroes. I can’t say I agree with everything here, but it’s an interesting article, particularly the argument against having Thor and Captain America both do double-duty by setting their characters up for The Avengers.

    That said, I enjoyed both of them just fine as summer entertainment, and while I enjoyed X-Men: First Class no small amount either, I think it’s ultimately the least successful film of the three. (I haven’t seen Green Lantern.) Matthew Vaughn’s “auteur vision” seems cribbed from a few other places (like Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie, and like Mad Men), and there’s some pretty iffy racial and gender issues at work in the film as well. But maybe that just underlines Pappademas’ main argument: at least the movie has some distinctive stamp to it, however flawed. [via]

  • NY motorcyclist dies on ride protesting helmet law [via]
  • Soap operas moving online. This will bear further watching. The news, not the shows. (God no.) [via]
  • And finally, Who owns the copyright on a photo taken by a monkey? [via]

Wednesday various

  • I’m not really sure why you’d want bots to pretend to be you on social network sites, and the confused grammar of the fine print doesn’t really make things clearer [via]:

    The bot does not born with a fictitious identity, but will be added to the real identity of the user to modify it at his convenience. Thus, this bot can be seen as a virtual prothesis [sic] added to an user’s account. With the aim to help him to forge a digital identity of what he would really like to be and by trying to build a greater social reputation for the user. Moreover, this bot can be perceived as a threat by defrauding even more the reality of who is really who on social networks and by showing the poverty of our social interactions on these so-called social networks.

  • The Eternal Shame of Your First Online Handle. I dunno, I’m still using mine on a regular basis. (Though it predates my capping by a couple of years.) [via]
  • Guess the film by the final image. I got less than half. Slightly spoilery, for some films more than others. Of course, I can’t tell you which films without ruining the whole thing. [via]
  • A wonderfully detailed analysis of set design and spatial awareness in The Shining. He concludes, I think rightly, that a lot (if not all) of these “errors” were intentional, meant to disorient and unnerve viewers who would, maybe only subconsciously, pick up on the impossibility of the architecture. It gets to the heart of something I’ve discussed with enthusiasm before: using lies in fiction to tell the truth, creating a more believable world by adding less real elements. [via]
  • And finally, a virtual supermarket in a subway station. [via]

Monday various