Human reviewers have mostly been apologetic when measuring Fargo the TV show against Fargo the movie, because how can you compare a film to a series? An apple to an orange? And apple to… ten apples? But the machines, who do not apologize, have it settled: According to Metacritic, Fargo the series (Rating: 87% – 38 reviews) is better than the Coen brothers' movie (Rating: 85% – 24 reviews). We are meant to understand that these numbers don't really say what they seem to say, but could you really explain how? To an alien?
Nestled midway on "Fear of a Black Planet," Public Enemy's 1990 platinum album—and one of the greatest musical releases of all time—comes "Burn Hollywood Burn." (Halfway between "911 Is A Joke" and "Fight the Power"! I mean!)
The track is notable not just for rhyming "burn" TERM and "perm" (important correction!) but for the collaboration with Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane—the only guest stars on the album. "Butlers and maids," slaves and hoes" is how Kane describes available Hollywood roles for black people.
Here we are in the future, 24 years later! How did the fellas take last night's best picture win for 12 Years A Slave, in [...]
A terrific update to this interview: After publication, director Slava Tsukerman clarified that, in Liquid Sky 2, the brilliant Anne Carlisle will return in the role of Margaret.
Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. Unlike contemporary low-budget cinema, which prizes an aesthetic of apathy, Liquid Sky makes its efforts visible. Judgmental fashion reporters cackle straight into the camera. Catwalk scenes take place [...]
Have you ever wondered why The Cure is used to soundtrack so many romantic comedies? Have you ever stopped to think about what that implies, that this British deep-goth turned pop-rock band hits a particular sweet spot, like the meet-cute, for this dying movie genre? A few months ago, I went to go see About Time, a middling romcom by the same writer and director of Love Actually, and when I heard "Friday I’m in Love," something in me snapped.
I couldn’t enjoy the montage. It was Rachel McAdams and a surprisingly alluring ginger man (Domhnall Gleeson) running around, changing from chic outfit to chic outfit, falling [...]
— Keith Uhlich (@keithuhlich) January 10, 2014
"If I were the surviving soldier, I'd come for you!" -Letter to Time Out New York critic Keith Uhlich
First, the crazy people threatened critics.
Then the crazy people took to the comment threads:
"What an asshole review. The body count on the afghan side? It sounds like if you had to pick between shooting the guy that wants to harm you or hugging him, you would choose to harm him. These men choose to let the unarmed goat herders, regardless of how hostile they appeared, to go free. [...]
The bulk of this year’s action and sci-fi films did clever violence better than in previous years but generally failed to develop minority characters. I mean the frequently derided popcorn fare such as Fast & Furious 6, as opposed to the hallowed and equally problematic Chilean Sea Bass fare of films such as Captain Phillips: The Wrath of Khat. A great deal of my fascination with the former subset stems from a desire to see smart, setting-specific violence that draws upon the elements of cinema as much as it does its surroundings. More often than not, this is something beyond the bullet and therefore historically unspecific to the white male [...]
"The way information is doled out in this film is fucking masterful, an absolute clinic in implication and inference—none of the key events that drive the story forward and fuck with the main character occur onscreen—and the math of plotting is absolutely airtight." —You almost certainly will not guess, but once you see what it is you will either think, "Oh, right, that is completely correct" or "I need to see this movie," and both of those thoughts will also be completely correct.
"It opened April 14, 1989, and that weekend, it made $5.2 million. It wasn't enough to come anywhere close to what Major League pulled down in its second week ($9.1 million), but it was enough to come in one slot ahead of the opening weekend of the Tony Danza comedy She's Out Of Control ($4.6 million)." —Say Anything is 25 years old, as are all the unfulfilled hopes and aspirations of your youth, including but not limited to the dream you had of making a difference in the lives of people other than your friends and [...]
"We checked all the Hollywood crap at the door." —Mark Wahlberg, speaking about the making of Lone Survivor, in USA Today, December 22, 2013.
Even though it just opened on Christmas, Lone Survivor has made more money in the U.S. than Oscar-nominated thriller Captain Phillips, which opened back in October—and also stars Navy SEALs. Lone Survivor also beat big 2013 movies like The Hangover 3, Pacific Rim, Oblivion, and Elysium.
Lone Survivor has already made half as much in the U.S. as 1998's Saving Private Ryan, the epic war film to which critics—and its marketing material—favorably compare it. It's already beaten the war film it [...]
If the trailers in theaters now are any sorts of indicator, 2014 isn’t going to do much for Hollywood's endless race problem. The newsflash here is that while we’ll be watching Indian and Middle Eastern characters on screen, it will be 2015 (2016? 2017? 2064?) before they’re actually, like, people, in addition to just being "diverse."
I’m thinking of three forthcoming films in particular that seem to play dangerously into the trope of white male leads possessing “ethnic” boy sidekicks: Million Dollar Arm, about a (white) agent’s search for an Indian baseball player; Bad Words, about a (white) 40-year-old spelling bee champ with a nonwhite frenemy, and Wes Anderson’s [...]
If real Manic Pixie Dream Girls existed outside movies and pop culture critiques, eventually, in the course of the male ego stroking to which they owe their being, they’d wind up producing some sons and heirs. Being nubile, impulsive, and brimming with consent is essential to the Manic Pixie dream, so Manic Pixie pregnancy has got to be inevitable. It’s all right. A vital element of male self-obsession has always been the belief that their DNA must abound on the Earth forever and ever. Who better to make this a reality than dream girls already conjured out of male self-obsession?
In maternal form, the trope of the Manic Pixie Dream [...]
An abridged version of this article first appeared in the October 1984 issue of The Atlantic Monthly as the cover story "The Politics of the Next Dimension: Do Ghosts Have Civil Rights?" It is republished here, in its entirety, for the first time.
For anyone with insomnia in the New York metro area, the ads have become ubiquitous: three middle-aged men dressed in cornflower blue lab coats, holding mysterious technical equipment, and offering the owners of haunted houses (or haunted anything, really) their unique ghost capture and removal services.
I first saw one after falling asleep to the dulcet drawl of Charles Rose on "CBS News Nightwatch." [...]
In the few weeks before the auditions there was a bubbling sense of excitement which reminded me of the beginning of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. A huge film enterprise, thus far closed to mere mortals, was to let two chosen people not only appear in the film but also perhaps take on lead roles.
I was working at my receptionist job at a local community center in Edinburgh the morning it was announced that Disney and Lucasfilm were holding open auditions for a ‘Major Hollywood Movie.’
"I’m too old, dammit," said Victoria, of the cafe volunteers, "and also they want beautiful, so that [...]
Noah is getting the strangest good reviews. "I’m not sure who exactly this often grimly rapturous movie was made for, but I find myself surprisingly glad that it was made," wrote Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair. A.O. Scott went with: "Mr. Aronofsky’s earnest, uneven, intermittently powerful film, is both a psychological case study and a parable of hubris and humility. At its best, it shares some its namesake’s ferocious conviction, and not a little of his madness."
These are all incredibly charitable. This is not a good movie. I wanted to bite off my fingers. From the opening sequence, which explains the silly state of the world and [...]
"The true subversion of The Lego Movie is its subversion of mindless anticapitalist showbiz liberals."
"Because the film is a period piece, The Godfather actually presents a fascinating record of what 1940s-era New York City locations still existed in the early-1970s. Sadly, many of them are now gone. What still remains? Let’s take a closer look."
So there's a movie that's like having a child and watching it grow up, but without actually having to have the child, and the watching it grow up part takes less than three hours? Sounds pretty perfect to me.
"When we were in pre-production we started thinking about how we were going to create future L.A., and was I was excited by the idea of collaging two cities together and so we ended up going to Shanghai and using very specific, curated areas of Shanghai with very specific curated areas of Los Angeles and I think… it was this idea that we were trying to make this very warm, tactile world, with the materials and fabrics and the woods, and create this world that felt like this utopic world that everything's nice and everything's comfortable and even in this world where you're getting everything you need and having [...]
Jason Segel is going to play David Foster Wallace in some biopic that stems from David Lipsky's road trip biography. (A movie that will be shown on the Sundance channel once in 2016.) Some people are upset! How will we all move on?
Hard to imagine Jason Segel playing someone quite as brilliant as DFW.
— Matthew Gilbert (@MatthewGilbert) December 12, 2013
Jason Segel is playing David Foster Wallace in an upcoming biopic. Seriously? Was Franco not available?
— Charlie Kaufman Bio (@dalexanderchild) December 12, 2013
Look on the bright side: Segel is better than Franco.
— Jason Diamond (@imjasondiamond) December 12, 2013[...]