Spree pundits opine on the local
Feb 27, 2012
03:42 AMRandom Rants
Mondays with Schobie: Hockey's D-day
I'm kind of Oscar'd out, so let's move on to some other things, shall we?
• Today is D-Day in the hockey world: NHL trade deadline day. For ice obsessives, it’s tantamount to a holiday. It’s the day when teams overreact, making rash decisions and mortgaging their future in the hopes of landing a playoff stud.
What’s especially interesting this year is that no one has any real idea of what the dreary Sabres will be up to. The playoffs are a longshot, but Darcy Regier has always been hesitant to unload his veterans. He waits too long, and the market dries up. That’s Darcy, and it probably always will be.
But today could be different. We may see some biggies—Gaustad, Roy, Hecht—on the move at last. If we don’t, it’ll be fun listening to the GM’s explanation.
In terms of where you want to be today, TSN is a great place to start. The Canadian ESPN—has been running daily “Tradecentre” updates, and always offers a special online tracker on D-day. There is also the increasingly nutty, rumor-mad Hockey Buzz site, Pro Hockey Talk, and, on Twitter, Pierre LeBrun, Bob McKenzie, and Darren Dreger. Their pages will be truly wild tomorrow, and I can’t wait to read the insanity.
And it’s also worth noting that the Sabres have released a free mobile app that’s pretty great, actually.
• There are very few quality print magazines covering film anymore, but thankfully, we still have Film Comment. The January-February issue—the one with the smoke-y Daniel Craig-Rooney Mara cover—included a review of Geoff Dyer’s Zona that downright filled me with enthusiasm. Subtitled “A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room,” it explores the enduring fascination its author has with what is said to be one of the most complex films ever made: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.
What Dyer, an acclaimed author and New York Times columnist (the Times introduced him as “the author of uncategorizable books variously related to D. H. Lawrence, jazz, photography, and India”), has done here is pretty special. He has found a way to explore the mysteries of film—in this case, one film in particular—in a way that is not just highly readable, but completely engrossing.
Dyer discussed Stalker in a 2009 Guardian piece that makes up part of Zona, and I’m going to let him summarize the plot: “In outline, it's one of the simplest films ever made: a guide, or Stalker, takes two people, Writer and Professor, into a forbidden area called the Zone, at the heart of which is the Room, where your deepest wish will come true. It is this simplicity that gives the film its fathomless resonance.”
In the same piece, he discusses the hold Tarkovsky’s film has on his psyche: “I've seen Stalker more times than any film except The Great Escape. I've seen it when the projectionist got the reels in the wrong order (I was the only person who noticed), I've seen it on my own in Paris and dubbed into Italian in Rome, I've seen it on acid (remember that sequence when the solid ground begins to ripple?) and I've seen it on telly—and it's never quite as I remember. Like the Zone, it's always changing. Like the Stalker, I feel quite at home in it, but whenever I see the film I try to imagine what it might be like, watching it for the first time when it seems so weird.”
That last line, in particular, has made me rent Stalker at long last; it’s waiting for me at home in a red Netflix envelope. How thrilling to see a great author take a close look at how a film can change our lives.
(Check out this apparently fan-made trailer for a suggestion of just what this film is. Note this wonderful comment on YouTube: “This movie was not easy to sit through but I'd probably have to say in retrospect its probably the best movie I've seen.”)
Incidentally, if you’re heading to New York City this March, Dyer will be making several appearances related to the book:
—Friday, March 9—7 p.m. at 192 Books, 192 Tenth Avenue.
—Saturday, March 10—5 p.m. at NYU’s “Tarkovsky Interruptus” event at the New School, Tishman Auditorium, 6 West 12th Street.
—Sunday, March 11—3 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, and 6 p.m. at a screening of Tarkovsky’s Mirror.
—Monday, March 12—7 p.m. at a School of Visual Arts event cosponsored by SVA’s MFA Photography, Video and Related Media department, MFA Critical Theory, and the Arts department, Beatrice Theater, 333 West 23rd Street.
This is a pretty major release for Woody-ites. His DVD and Blu-ray releases never include special features—that’s just not him. But Robert Weide’s doc is pretty much the greatest Woody special feature ever, more than three hours of interviews, clips, and insight. It's a must-own.