With a dark tone and score, August, the movie, has little in common with August, the month. But the reason for the doom and gloom is twofold. For one, it's 2001 in New York City, a month before the attack that forever changes the city's landscape. And second, flashy dot-com millionaire — on paper — Tom Sterling (a brooding Josh Hartnett, channeling Tom Cruise) has just weeks before his Silicon Alley start-up, Landshark, runs out of cash. Its biggest client is going bankrupt, and a corporate raider (David Bowie) is hungry to take control.
In keeping with the era, it's deliberately unclear what Landshark actually does — Tom's father (Rip Torn) wonders aloud why venture capitalists have given Landshark millions when the employees just seem to play computer solitaire and eat Oreos at their Ikea desks all day.
Big Dreams Little Tokyo
DVD (Echo Bridge Home Entertainment, $14.99); NR; July 22
Writer-director Dave Boyle plays Boyd, a suit-wearing, Japanese-speaking American and self-proclaimed businessman who peddles — and pedals via a tandem bike — his book and translation services in an unnamed city's Japan Town. His roommate, a Japanese-American whose average stature denies him his dream job of sumo wrestler, is a reluctant assistant in this sweetly quirky comedy about sticking to your career aspirations regardless of the perceptions and prejudices of others.
Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000
Subtitle: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World By Pete Blackshaw (Doubleday, $21.95, out Tuesday)
When he started PlanetFeedback.com in 1999, Blackshaw likened himself to the Switzerland of consumer feedback, neutrally gathering consumer opinions to produce scorecards for companies. Though the company he founded is now part of Nielsen Online, Blackshaw remains convinced companies can't afford to ignore consumer-generated media such as blogs, video-sharing sites and social networks. His new book emphasizes the importance of a company's credibility, driven by trust and transparency, in the Internet age.
"Everyone is waxing poetic about viral marketing and one-trick-pony gimmicks," Blackshaw said. "But if you're really credible, you're going to get favorable conversation and buzz. If you lack credibility, you're going to be outed by a highly skeptical and networked consumer."
And that outing leaves a lasting mark, he points out.
"I've worked with a lot of clients who have been severely damaged by very hostile commentary that has almost taken up permanent residency in search results and Wikipedia and other places."
C-SPAN2 Book TV
10 p.m. ET Saturday, 6 p.m., 9 p.m. Sunday: Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System by Raj Patel (Melville House, $19.95). Public Radio's Evan Kleiman talks to Patel. His book says more people are starving and more are overweight than at any time in history.
4 p.m. ET July 20: Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed? And Other Unsolved Economic Mysteries by Jared Bernstein (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, $26.95). Economist argues monetary policies benefit the rich and powerful, and puzzle the rest of us, much to our detriment.
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