Digital Prospector: Bogosian's back. Wes Anderson collected. MOHAI's minutes.
The ubiquitous Go Pro, that indestructible little HD camera you can strap to a bike helmet, affix to a windshield or duct tape to anything that skates, flies, runs or flips, is one of the most versatile cinematic inventions of the last decade. The Go Pro is the go-to favorite for extreme sports enthusiasts, but moviemakers are also getting into the act. In this nonstop short film — a quasi-Bondian action sequence set to Bad Elbow’s “Bad Motherfucker” — a secret agent outguns and outruns a phalanx of skinny-tied Russians. The entire 4-minute set piece is shot from the agent’s point-of-view. It’s bloody and pointless, but a kick to watch. And there's a surprise ending.
Wander through the many rooms of the rebooted Museum of History and Industry and you’ll be immersed in the Emerald City’s quirky and vital history. But the museum’s video offerings often wind up like the old Kalakala ferry — forgotten and adrift. Take the online series, “MOHAI Minutes.” Hosted by Helen Divjak and Peder Nelson, and shot by a perpetually shaky camera, the 44 installments guide us through the sprightly back story of Eddie Bauer, the origins of King Street Station, history of Garfield High School, etc. Black-and-white photos from MOHAI's archive provide some sparse but welcome cover footage, but mostly we are stuck watching Helen and Peder struggle with a tiny budget, a hurried production schedule and a terminal case of Affected Detachment. It’s unclear who the audience is for this series. School children will learn very little, older audiences will be bored and hipsters will only tune in for the shoegazing pop band on the soundtrack.
The other night I lay awake wondering whatever happened to Eric Bogosian? I do this often. (The previous night's question was whatever happened to that boy band Menudo — and were they really named after a soup made from tripe? But I digress.) Bogosian came to mind because I keep meaning to re-watch his seminal performance film Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll. I keep putting it off because I don’t want to be disappointed. But, lo and behold, a clip of Bogosian’s new one-man theater show, “100 (Monologues),” popped up on the New York Time’s online “In Performance” series, and I was smitten with this talented actor and playwright all over again. In the snippet below, Bogosian plays one of those guys who hops on the subway and demands “a few minutes of your time”, before launching into a down-and-out soliloquy. Bogosian’s loquacious intellect and character-creating chops are still intact. And his ability to deliver a punchline without the slightest wink to the audience is a giddy thrill. “I could be holding a knife up to your throat right now," says his subway character. "I don’t want to be doing that.”
Book trailers are often afterthoughts tucked into a publisher’s marketing portfolio. Take the trailer for Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”: Tom Skerritt, Garth Stein and Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings have cameos, but the spot is by all other criteria a rush job. This isn’t the case with the trailer for critic Matt Zoller Seitz’s in-depth fanboy souvenir, The Wes Anderson Collection, which appears to be an expensive and affectionate review of the filmmaker’s entire oeuvre (from Bottle Rocket to Moonrise Kingdom). The trailer uses retro animation (think Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox) and a droll narrative economy (think all of Anderson’s films), to provide a glimpse into a book that Zoller Seitz hopes Wes Anderson cultists will lap up. For those of us who’ve grown weary of Anderson’s hermetically sealed toy box worlds of misfits and oddballs, Zoller Seitz’s hagiographic collector’s item will probably leave us as cold. (Video on next page.)
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Lead image from the short film "Now This Is How You Use a Go Pro."