"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.
"If his life unspools in the arch, neat fashion of one of his movies then the director Wes Anderson, who'll turn 45 this spring, is halfway through. "You had these film-makers, John Huston, Luis Buñuel, who more or less died on their sets. And they seemed happy. Now I wouldn't want to die young on one of my sets. But if I was a 90-year-old director…?" Snugly suited in olive corduroy, speaking in London before the release of his new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson nods at the thought."
"After Normal": Pulitzer-prize winner Wesley Morris composes yet another beautiful essay at Grantland. This time Morris tackles Looking, Michael Sam, and the state of gay culture.
"We’re on the far side of that strain of self-destruction. But one wrinkle in 2014 is that there’s no handbook, no guiding principle of behavior. Kramer, the indefatigable activist, humanitarian, and holder of gays to the highest sociopolitical standards, married his longtime partner last July. Gays are often lumped in with women and blacks as another oppressed party. But blacks have a control for measuring what’s accepted as social progress: white people. There’s no reliably visible foil for gay people, in part because, for so long, they were visible only to themselves. Political strains of gay culture radicalized quickly against hatred and legal demoralization. I’ve never come across a black questionnaire that asks whether I’m political. But it’s a frequently asked question on the gay equivalents. The achievement of marriage equality differs from battles for suffrage or integration. The fight is for a right that someone like Patrick isn’t sure he even wants."
"The Horrible Things That Men Do To Women": Willa Paskin of Slate contends True Detective's dismal treatment of women is done to make a point.
"True Detective, let me concede upfront, does not come close to passing the Bechdel test. The show opens with the violated body of a dead woman crowned with antlers, and it has consistently objectified the naked bodies of the young women Marty has slept with—particularly during Sunday night’s extended, groaning, porny sequence with Beth. Michelle Monaghan, who plays Marty’s wife, Maggie, has done well with the material she’s been given, but before this week that consisted almost entirely of her being a (completely justified) nag. In the previous episode, Elizabeth Reaser showed up for a minute so she could deliver one line as Rust’s long-term girlfriend. The other women on the show have been mistresses, prostitutes, corpses, or some combination thereof, most of them barely memorable."
"The Playboy Interview: A Candid Conversation with Gawker's Nick Denton": Infamous entrepreneur and journalist Nick Denton tells all about his past, present and future in this interview with Jeff Bercovici of Playboy.
"Denton's third company started with Gizmodo, a gadget blog, then blossomed with the launch of Gawker, a nasty and funny blog about New York's cultural and financial elite as viewed by the resentful underclass.* A sensation from its launch, it spawned sister sites covering sports (Deadspin), women's issues (Jezebel) and other subjects. Operating outside the journalistic establishment and its constraints, Gawker Media writers were the first to break the scandals around Te'o, Ford and Favre. They also published the photo that forced "Craigslist congressman" Chris Lee to resign and got their hands on a prototype of the then top-secret iPhone 4—a scoop that drew considerable heat from law enforcement and a furious personal response from Steve Jobs."
"Film Preservation 2.0": Over at The Dissolve Matthew Dessem writes about the history (and the future) of film preservation. We may be in some trouble.
"As the death of film accelerates, the terms and stakes of the battle are changing rapidly, in ways that aren’t well understood outside the small community of archivists working directly in the field. Digital technology offers a chance for perfect, lossless preservation, but only at significant financial cost, and higher risk of catastrophe. Unless the unique challenges of digital preservation are met, we run the risk of a future in which a film from 1894 printed on card stock has a better chance of surviving than a digital film from 2014."
A photo of Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr, circa 1955. Provided by the Twitter account @HistoryInPics.
The recent #CancelColbert campaign on Twitter raises all kinds of issues about racism, but also about hashtag activism.
Owen Gleiberman's sacking as lead film critic of Entertainment Weekly — part of a ritual bloodletting of staffers at ...
Richard Roeper reflects on his long friendship and professional association with Roger Ebert.