Happy Thanksgiving Eve

I showed up in L.A. last night. Like Charles Bronson in Once Upon a Time in the West, my arrival was announced first with the lonely, plaintive wail of a harmonica, and then, a rental car shuttle van exited frame left revealing me, standing curbside at LAX, my cowboy hat tipped 15 degrees south, leaning on my rollaway.
The teaser trailer for Shyamalan's next movie, Lady in the Water. I thought at some point that this was billed as a Splash remake, but that seems unlikely. Cinematography by everyone's favorite punch-drunk DP, Christopher Doyle.
I saw Antonioni's The Passenger at the New York Film Festival a month or so ago. As is my custom these days, I avoided reading anything about the movie beforehand, not even plot synposes, let alone any critic's reviews. Even without any reference points to bias my thinking, that last shot of the movie is recognizable as an instant classic, a recapitulation of the entire movie in one long, unbroken shot. I am curious now as to how it was done. The more of Nicholson's early work I see, the more I think he's earned every on-screen Lakers courtside cameo.
Last week while I was over at James and Angela's for dinner, Angela and I sat through a season 2 Laguna Beach marathon. What I've read is true: Laguna Beach out O.C's The O.C., which at any rate took only three seasons to jump the shark. What caught my eye was the way Laguna Beach is shot and edited: like a narrative. Though it's shot on video, it's shot in 24p on the legendary Panasonic AJ-SDX900 (with an occasional helping hand from the AG-DVX100A), and while video still doesn't look like film, this is about as close as it gets. The multi-camera setups, gamma curves, 24p, and the editing all convince you at times that the show is scripted. The AJ-SDX900 has an MSRP of $25,000, and that might just be cheap.
Speaking of the beach, it's 80 degrees here in Manhattan...Beach. I am thankful already.
An insightful article by James Surowiecki in this week's New Yorker about the differing lengths of the average work week in Europe and America. Because Americans work more, they spend more of their income on services like child care (nannies), housecleaning, and dining out. Europeans have shorter work weeks and more leisure, but this has stunted the growth of their service industry. Send us your poor, your huddled, your French maids, your Swedish au pairs.
From that same issue of The New Yorker, which I read on the plane flight over to L.A., an excerpt from a book review by Louis Menand (one of my favorite New Yorker columnists):