Links of the Day for 17 December 2007

Before we get to the links, I just want to mention a couple of things:

  1. I’ve added a widget to the sidebar on the right which will show you the last 5 links of the day I’ve posted. I’m not sure what this does yet other than create redundancy but it’s a start. Again, any tips for social bookmarking/link sharing are much appreciated.
  2. I’ve finally caught up with my backlog of posts from the past six weeks. I’ve dated them all from the day I started writing them not the day they were actually published. If you’re reading this on a feed you’ve probably already seen them pop up, but otherwise go back to Nov 7th and read forward and see if there’s anything you missed. I’ve some ideas for interesting original posts coming up this week so this deluge of link dumps will come to an end.

And now the links of the day:

Library Links of the Day for 17 December 2007

  • Striving to be “container neutral” as a Librarian by Laurie (Laurie the Librarian, 11/22/2007) via Librarian in Black – “Container Neutral is defined as choosing the best format for the information source based upon needs not upon a goal to collect resources in a particular format.”
  • A Treatise on the Black Market of Holds by Sarah Houghton-Jan (Librarian in Black 12/13/07) – interesting views on patrons being able hold books at expense of browsers. News to me is that some libraries charge for hold services! I’d be so broke if Minuteman Library Network or Boston Public Library did that. I guess it’s part of the free library ethic of New England.
  • Explore your inner librarian via Tame the Web – this is just a link of a link and I’ve not had a chance to explore it but it looks worth saving for later.

Movie Review: Children of Men

If I’ve seen a bleaker, more depressing film than Children of Men (2006) I can’t remember it. The basic concept of this film is that 20 years in the future, women are infertile and the world has gone to hell-in-a-handbasket (whether the infertility and the worldwide anarchy are cause and effect remains unclear). Only Britain remains stable, and then only barely so under the control of a police state. People from the rest of the world attempt to emigrate to Britain but are rounded up, tortured and killed by the ever-present military police.

At the center of this story is Theo (Clive Owen) a government bureaucrat who seems to lead a somewhat normal life in London surviving a terrorist attack and wondering about the sensationalized mourning of the death of the world’s youngest person, an 18-year old Brazilian. He escapes to smoke cannabis at the hidden country home of his friend Jasper who is kind of a cyber-hippie (and wonderfully portrayed by Michael Caine so much that I didn’t even recognize him). The scenes with Jasper are about the only cheerful thing in this movie.

Soon Theo is drawn into a plot by his ex-wife (Julianne Moore) to help a refugee girl from Africa named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey). Miraculously, Kee is pregnant and as the first woman to be pregnant in two decades she becomes something of a political football. Over the course of the film, Theo becomes protector for Kee and her baby as they try to find there way to safety amongst unspeakable violence. Much of the film from this point on consists of long, documentary-style takes of running gun battles where it is hard to tell who is fighting with whom or even what they hope to accomplish (and I assume this is deliberate by the filmmakers). At one point, blood even splatters on the camera lens.

This was a hard movie to watch, especially being a new parent of a tiny baby, but it is a thoughtful and well-made film. It even has some glimmers of hope that there may be a future for humanity even as the world goes to hell.

Movie Review: The Nightmare Before Christmas

I’ve been meaning to see Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) for about 15 years and finally saw it this weekend thanks to Netflix. Generally, I either love or hate Tim Burton films and this one is on the love side. It has a lot going for it. Visually it is stunning and I enjoy this style of animation. The story is clever and humorous and while there’s a “message” it doesn’t lay it on sickly sweet. At the same time it doesn’t veer to far the other direction into wicked mean-spiritedness. It’s also very short, but I think timed just right. So this is a good, fun film for any holiday occasion.