Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Bill Forsyth is awesome. Gregory’s Girl, Local Hero, and Comfort and Joy are three of the best movies ever.

  2. The last new movie I saw was the Hobbit and I disliked it.

    I have been watching a documentary on the history of cinema on Netflix and it is very good even if I think there is something odd about the deadpan delivery of the narrator.

      • The Story of Cinema: An Odssey. You can find it an Netflix Streaming. It is based on a 2004 book and clocks in at 15 hours. Think of it as a university Film 101: Intro to Global Cinema course. A very comprehensive view of world cinema from the days of Edison and Lumiere including coverage of the unknown and forgotten. There is a left-wing bent to the narration. Woody Allen gets described as the first truly Jewish-American filmmaker or the one to centrally focus on Jewishness. This is a mild example of the documentary’s leftism. The leftism is not bad but noticeable.

          • Heh, not really. The Irish narrator mainly talks about how even though Hollywood was founded by Eastern-European Jewish immigrants and many early directors were Jewish; Jewish themes and characters were largely kept on the sidelines. As an example, he uses a secondary character from The Shop Around the Corner. The Marx Brothers are brought up for their anti-authoritarian attitudes.

            Most of the knowledge is going to be second hand to anyone who took a Film Studies 101 course. I did learn stuff about French Impressionist filmmaking, early Avant-garde, and stuff about non-Western filmmaking in the pre-world era. The documentary highlights some classics from Japanese silent film and 1930s Chinese Cinema along with post-Colonial filmmaking from Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

  3. I took my daughter to see Lincoln last weekend. It was breathtaking. Daniel Day-Lewis simply was Lincoln, and there wasn’t a single performance, costume, or setting that broke the illusion that it was 1865. Sally Field, in particular, was brilliant as the strong, smart, but emotionally exhausted Mary Lincoln.

    It occurred to me afterward that Lincoln often spoke in parables, while gentle-natured brought not peace but a war, and was martyred for his good works.

  4. I hadn’t even heard of Promised Land until this post, but Local Hero is a perennial favorite.

    Back in our early days, when my wife wanted to underscore that something that needed doing was important, she’d add: “We have an injured rabbit!”

      • The Hobbit was very good. Well worth seeing.

        There is a new Tom Cruise movie coming out. Not the generic action flick he has out now but a new space thing. I swear half way through the trailer i was thinking he was doing a live action version of Wall E. then Morgan Freeman shows up in the trailer playing Morgan Freeman and there is some evil plot because every movie has to have an evil plot, war or apocalypse. but essentially tom cruise is doing a live action Wall E with some evil plot behind it all.

      • The chances that I would skip The Hobbit were functionally zero, and I did enjoy it. I have a criticism of the movie which I will reserve until next week by which time all those people who were going to see it will have seen it.

    • There’ve been a lot of adds on Promised Land running on TV. Hollywood doing its part to stifle our renewed energy exploration.

      I had intended to watch The Hobbit while I was down here, but it hasn’t panned out and I am sort of expecting it not to. I watched Flight a couple weeks ago. It reminded me of Leaving Las Vegas (with an action sequence) and not in a good way.

  5. Nothing new. But I made time for Nightmare Before Christmas the other day.

  6. Saw The Hobbit yesterday. Enjoyed it quite a bit, but if I had one criticism it’s that the I was ready for the fight/chase scene with the goblins to be over long before it was.

    • It’s no surprise that in a roughly 3-hour film, you’d feel at some point as though it was goblin your time.

      • God, three hours. It’s going to take longer to watch all the movies than to re-read the book; this has to be a bad sign.

        • I was vaguely reminded of the first Harry Potter movie.

          “Oh! That’s what the sorting hat would look like! Oh, that’s what the wand shoppe looks like! Oh, that’s what Quidditch looks like! Oh, that’s what chocolate frogs look like!”

          If you’ve read, or tried to read, the Silmarillion, you’ll be doing that. “Oh! That’s what Radagast looks like!”

          • I already had an idea of what places and objects from Harry Potter looked like. I wasn’t irate to find that they were slightly different in the movie, and over time the ideas I had have been replaced by what is on screen. I try not to go to movies after reading the books for that very reason. I make an exception for LotR, HP, and the Hobbit though, of course.

          • For the record, the Sorting Hat totally does not look like that.

      • I saw what you did there…

        Isn’t it sad that puns are rarely appreciated or even acknowledged?

    • My complaint was that the movie at times seemed to be a children’s story, and at times seemed to be a rather dark, adult story. It flipped back and forth between these rather quickly and repeatedly — the introduction, for instance, describing the loss of the Dwarven kingdom, was very dark, then there was a long, comical sequence of Bilbo meeting the dwarves and them singing a song poking fun at Bilbo for being so fussy, then they sang the dirge for their lost homeland again. It was jarring to suddenly be yanked out of a moment of serious drama and asked to laugh at a troll-fart joke. Radargast was comic relief in one second and a bad-ass wizard the next, and then poof! he was gone. It left this viewer saying “Huh?”

      You’re now going to protest, “But didn’t you read the book? The book is that way!” Yes, I did read the book (it was a great joy of my childhood), and of course it is sometimes light and childlike and playful, and sometimes dark and grownup and serious. But just because the book is that way, doesn’t mean the movie has to be. The movie contains a lot of violent content inappropriate for children, and the kid stuff isn’t well-calculated to entertain a grownup or even a teenage audience. The writers of the screenplay, and the editors, and the director, get to make a choice about what kind of movie they’re going to do. They cut stuff out of The Lord of the Rings (Tom Bombadil, the Scouring of the Shire) that didn’t fit in with the kind of story they were looking to tell, and it really did work out well. So why should the directors and writers and editors of The Hobbit feel hidebound to the book?

      With that said, it was a gorgeous movie, it did a nice job of explaining the antipathy between the Elves and the Dwarves, it pays loving homage to Tolkien’s tale, the casting is fantastic, it did a great job of portraying Thorin Oakenshield as a Bad Ass With Whom One Should Not Fish, and it did a nice job of both foreshadowing the future movies and leaving ties to the Lord of the Rings without interfering with its own story. A very good movie, although not as great an achievement as its grander and more ground-breaking predecessors.

      • I think the main thing with The Hobbit, is that Jackson got to do an adaptation with no limitations.

        That is to say, if he were redoing the Lord of the Rings today, Jackson would probably make each book a trilogy and have it be a 9 movie, 30 hour slog.

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