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Men, Women & Children

A potentially interesting premise is handled so badly that what might have been a provocative drama quickly and irrevocably devolves into the technological equivalent of…

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The Boxtrolls

"The Boxtrolls" is a beautiful example of the potential in LAIKA's stop-motion approach, and the images onscreen are tactile and layered. But, as always, it's…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Thumbnails 12/3/2013

1.

"Why Disney's Marketing Plan Doesn't Do 'Frozen' Justice." For Variety, chief film critic Justin Chang writes about how Disney very purposefully misrepresented the hit film 'Frozen' as something other than a musical about two princesses, and the troubling mixed message that their success sends. 

"The billboards show the four human principals covered in a thick frost while giving pride of place to Olaf the snowman, weirdly implying that this comic-relief figure is in fact the protagonist. Faced with that misleading image, a literal whitewash of the film’s actual content, you couldn’t begin to guess what the story’s about, or even that it takes place once upon a time."

2.

"Little Ditty 'Bout Lackin' Diane: Hug a Skeptic Today." Following the revelation that reality show producer Elan Gale's much-discussed feud with an airplane passenger was probably a fabrication, NPR's Linda Holmes says it's a good idea not to get too wrapped up in stories we encounter on the Internet—especially if they're filled with "evidence" that we realize could easily have been faked.

"There were lots and lots of reasons to be skeptical of Gale's story from the beginning. The behavior of the flight attendants didn't make any sense, the fact that he would single-handedly get to decide whether she was arrested didn't make any sense, the part about sending her vodka bottles didn't make any sense, and it didn't particularly make any sense that if Gale was playing Manly Defender Of Flight Attendants And Other Working People, he would tweet a story that would so obviously, if it were true, get the flight attendants who participated in his on-board harassment in so much trouble...This is before we discuss the fact that he's a producer on The Bachelor, which may not make him a liar, but certainly makes him capable of concluding that the most entertaining and irresistible stories are the ones where women are emotional, infantile dummies who need a talking-to and perhaps could stand to be told not to limit their Thanksgiving feasts to the traditional dishes."

3.

"International Press Academy Does Not See 'Wolf of Wall Street,' Nominates it for Five Satellite Awards Anyway." By Kristopher Tapley, for HitFix. The story has been updated with protestations that a good number of people in the group did, in fact, see the movie, but Tapley isn't buying it. If you're curious, the IPA is an offshoot of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the folks who give out the Golden Globes.  

"Sources at the studio confirmed that they neither submitted nor screened "Wolf" for Satellite Award consideration. And specifically, Van Blaricom, I'm told, didn't see the film. So chalk its mentions up as what they are: a blatant attempt to get people like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio to show up at the March 9 ceremony."

4.

"DVD of the Week: 'Daisies.'" The New Yorker's Richard Brody says "director Vera Chytilová’s second feature, 'Daisies,' from 1966, is one of the great outpourings of cinematic invention in an age of over-all artistic liberation." Includes a video with Brody narrating.

"It stars two young women, Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová, as virtual twins whose surrealistically capricious exploits were as much of an audacious twitting of Soviet-dominated authority as Chytilová’s exuberant, freewheeling way of filming them. By pure coincidence, the movie was reissued in France last week; on that occasion, the critic Julien Gester interviewed Cerhová for Libération—only the second interview, she said, that she has ever given (the first was in 1965, during the shooting of the film). Cerhová was no actress at the time; she was a high-school student who had been spotted by a casting director during her performance at the Prague Spartakiade, “one of these mass gymnastics spectacles of the Communist regime.”


5.

"Farewell, André the Giant." For The Nation, D.D. Guttenplan remembers the late André Schiffrin, editor in chief of Pantheon Books, who published some of the most significant writers of the last half-century, including Noam Chomsky, Marguerite Duras, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michel Foucault, Edward Said, Julio Cortázar, Simone de Beauvoir, R.D. Laing, Gunnar Myrdal, Jean-Paul Sartre, Günter Grass, and Studs Terkel. Wonderful details in here about working for Schiffrin, and the culture of the publishing industry.

"André himself had considerable European panache—though as it is in black and white you’ll have to imagine the purple or brown knitted tie, either of which he was liable to wear with a yellow shirt. The scion of a great publishing family—his father Jacques founded Gallimard’s Bibliothèque de la Pléiade before fleeing France in 1941—André viewed publishing as a vocation rather than a business. Not that he was averse to making a profit—I was probably never more in his good graces than when, encouraged to root around in the Random House basement for books we might reprint for free, I came back with The WPA Guide to New York City. "

IMAGE OF THE DAY

"Photos of 32 Famous Actors and Their Stunt Doubles." From Flavorwire. 

VIDEO OF THE DAY

A sample of a new original score for "The Cabinet of Dr. Calgari," composed by John Califra. 

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