“I disagree with Denby, but I don’t have a problem with his taste — it’s his attitude I take issue with. Yes, Hollywood makes bad movies now. Hollywood also made bad movies ten, twenty, and fifty years ago. In the 1940s and ’50s each studio had its own, pronounced house style; today we look back at “MGM musicals” or “Warner Brothers gangster pictures” — a whole host of corporate aesthetics, if not conglomerate ones.”
“To Denby, the absolute nadir of “conglomerate aesthetics” is last summer’s “The Avengers,” a triumph of “cynical marketing” that “degenerated into a digital slam, an endless battle of exacerbated pixels, most of the fighting set in the airless digital spaces of a digital city.” Denby is more than entitled to his negative opinion of “The Avengers,” but I find it interesting that as part of his argument about how far Hollywood has fallen he cites a quote from Andre Bazin about some of the greatest examples of “classical movie art” — including the 1939 John Ford film “Stagecoach.” “Stagecoach,” Denby writes, remains “fresh… very funny and sharply edged… bracingly decisive and swift.” He praises the way the film “is not so much a matter of a dominating individual as of an evolving group” and how Ford creates a “drama of space.”
“Once again, we can apply the same glass-half-full philosophy and turn this negative outlook into a positive one. It used to be that flops were flops; a few lucky ones might develop an underground following over the course of years and become a “cult hit.” Today, that process can take weeks or days, and fervid cultism can support movies and television shows that would have previously fallen into obscurity. Twenty years ago, “Breaking Bad“‘s ratings would have doomed it to cancellation. Now, they qualify it as a hit. The niche is the new mainstream.”
“Movies died when silent film vanished; they died when color replaced black and white; they died when television was invented; they died when blockbusters swamped the New Hollywood era; they died when VCRs became popular; they died when multiplexes pushed out single screen palaces; they died when digital became the industry standard.”
“Kechiche most successful feature to date, “The Secret of the Grain,” dealt with the vastly different terrain of immigration and class issues. With his latest project, the director’s approach echoes the textured personal elements of Olivier Assayas in his smaller projects, where implication carries more depth than dialogue. Though nobody states it outright, “Blue is the Warmest Color” elegantly tussles with the idea of reconciling desire with other factors involved in the cultivation of healthy companionship. In Adéle’s case, the story continues.”
“To his credit, writer Damon Lindelof has taken full responsibility for the sequence. He acknowledged on Twitter that it was gratuitious in a bad way, which takes a lot of courage. JJ Abrams then went on Conan and addressed the issue, and then dropped the most tone-deaf defense imaginable: he explained the movie originally had a scene where Benedict Cumberbatch showers, and then showed that clip. Twice. But here’s the thing: THEY CUT THAT OUT OF THE MOVIE. The argument being made isn’t that JJ Abrams is shooting naked scenes to get his rocks off, it’s that he’s including them in his movie for no good reason. It’s clear that Abrams looked at the shower scene and decided it didn’t need to be in the movie. Why didn’t he make that same decision for the underwear scene? The argument that some make online is that the underwear scene sells tickets - well, Star Trek Into Darkness did not appeal to women (according to exit surveys), who did not come see the movie in large numbers. Maybe selling a buff Benedict showering would have sold some tickets to women? Why is it okay to exploit Alice Eve’s sexuality to sell tickets, but Cumberbatch’s scene ends up on the cutting room floor? I actually thought that the ‘Cumberbatch had a deleted shower scene’ defense was a joke until I watched the clip. That’s how lame, pointless and kind of offensive this defense is.”
“Suffice it to say they’re both right and both wrong and that, thankfully, hardly anyone holds those positions in their purest form. Pop culture can be a tremendously liberating collective experience, and can also be a tool and an example of totalitarianism. What remains of aristocratic high culture in the art-house tradition really does embody some of the finest aesthetic values of the post-Renaissance West, but it can also be a masochistic and exclusionary ritual, like Odysseus tied to the mast and listening to the Sirens sing. What is boring? A lot of human life is boring, and we’ve all got to pick our poison. Most people, most of the time, prefer to be distracted from the boredom of everyday life with movies that labor to entertain them — and they may get understandably pissed off at those of us who claim that those things, too, are boring.”
“I agree with that too, and I think the mockery to which Scott has been subjected by bloggers like Tom Shone (an exceptionally entertaining writer who is almost always 100 percent wrong about everything) only serves to illustrate his point. But now we’ve reached a point where everyone in this dispute, me included, has been forced into positions they don’t actually hold. Dan Kois is not some boob defending every lame superhero movie, and Scott and Dargis are hardly nosebleed aesthetes immune to the charms of pop. This whole argument may stem from an ancient intra-critical disagreement that probably isn’t interesting (or shouldn’t be) to many regular people. On one hand we see critics whose theoretical roots go back to, say, Theodor W. Adorno and the unforgiving neo-Marxist philosophers of the Frankfurt School, who tended to view all aspects of popular culture as tentacles of a nefarious and monolithic machine. On the other we see the acolytes of Pauline Kael, who rejected all that for a passionate embrace of pop culture, albeit one that sometimes seems like the stalkerish love of a jilted ex-wife. (Late in her life, Kael famously said that she might not have defended trash culture so avidly had she known it would become the only culture.)”
“If there is one thing I think we can all agree on about princess Merida from the Pixar movie Brave it is that she could be a LOT hotter. Do something with that hair, girl, LOL. You are a princess, take it seriously. The good news is that DIsney is ushering her into their official pantheon of Disney Princesses (that is the good news for sure) and they’ve FINALLY made her hotter. Girl’s dress is NOT torn. Girl’s hair is TAKEN CARE OF. Girl’s boobs ARE bigger. She looks goooooood. Of course, some women are complaining that this makeover was unnecessary and have started an on-line petition to convince Disney to keep Merida the way she was in the movie. WOMEN BE SHOPPIN AND BY SHOPPIN I MEAN STARTIN’ PETITIONS! Ugh, women. Am I right? Is there anything worse than women?! Although I would like to give a big shout out to the people who spent years and years and years of their lives carefully illustrating Merida to be a very specific and unique and believable character, only to have her hair de-kinked and her dress de-torn and her boobs de-smalled in the blink of an eye by the Princess Committee or whoever is running things over there. I am sure it is hard to watch them do that to your work so maybe next time just make her so much hotter in the first place, right? Right. The real question, though, is of course WOULD YOU HIT IT? Let us know in the comments if you would hit it. (Via BoingBoing)”
n 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.
We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested.
“Everything has changed so much in fashion and beauty since the Nineties, when I was starting out. I remember going to the Stealing Beauty premiere, and I loved Dolce & Gabbana so I reached out to them to borrow a dress and they sent me one. I think I had my hair done. But I would go to things all the time where I did my own hair and makeup. Or, when I did Inventing the Abbotts with Joaquin Phoenix, we were dating at the time, and I threw on this red Prada dress with my weird vintage coat for the premiere [photo 16]. I remember Gwyneth [Paltrow] came to the premiere for Armageddon and danced with me at the after-party and she had no makeup on, this little slip dress and no bra, and maybe flip-flops. It was just a different time. There weren’t as many paparazzi, the red carpets weren’t what they are now—there’s a lot of scrutiny going on and the maintenance is intense! Think about seeing Julia Roberts on the red carpet in the late 80s and early 90s in a suit with no makeup on, and that was OK. I sort of miss those days a little bit.”