This is one of the best films of 2015.
"David Chase Offers Response to 'Tony Didn't Die' Article": RogerEbert.com Editor-In-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz writes for Vulture about the "Sopranos" creator's claims that he was misquoted in the controversial Vox piece, "Did Tony die at the end of 'The Sopranos'?", penned by Martha P. Nochimson, which is much more thoughtful and provocative than many of its critics have claimed.
“It's a compliment to ‘The Sopranos’ and its creator that the show's final episode aired seven summers ago and we're still arguing about the meaning of that cut-to-black ending in Holsten's diner. I don't think the Vox piece, or this piece, or any piece ends the discussion. And not to get all Death-of-the-Author on you, but I don't think Chase's statement ends it, either. And I say that without disappointment, even though I hate the chorus that keeps chanting ‘Tony died’ over and over as if it were a mantra. I wish this question didn't keep getting asked, because I think it's the wrong thing to ask about ‘The Sopranos.’ It may, in fact, be the last question anyone should ask about ‘The Sopranos.’ The fact that a great many people keep asking it is depressing.”
"How do writers find their voices?": The Guardian's Jennifer Hodgson reports that a "survey of Edinburgh books festival authors reveals that 'hearing a character' means different things over" the "course of a writing career."
“One particularly startling finding has been that many writers are unable to ‘see’ the faces of their protagonists. The main character often registers as a blank – or, in one case, pixelated like a censored photograph. It's also becoming clear that writers' engagement with their inner voice, and the role it plays within the literary-creative process, changes radically over the course of their careers. Early on in their writing life, there may be little to distinguish the inner voice of the author from the voice of the character. Writers describing the formative years of a career have spoken of character formation as a case of ‘throwing’ their voice, frequently tasking characters with voicing what they, the author, do not feel able to express. At this time, the inner voice tends to be experienced as integral, direct and personal; authors' engagement with the inner voice through writing may be inflected by a sense of distress or turmoil, and motivated by the need to negotiate their position in the world.”
"The 'Star Wars' George Lucas Doesn't Want You To See": The Atlantic's Rose Eveleth discusses the increasingly rare original version of Lucas' game-changing 1977 masterpiece, and the man who has set out to recreate it.
“In 1978, ‘Star Wars’ won seven Academy Awards. But if you want to watch that original version, the first of George Lucas’s soon to be seven-part saga, you’ll find it difficult. In fact, it’s actually impossible to buy an official copy of ‘Star Wars’ as it was first released. Lucas doesn’t want you to see that version. Instead, he wants you to watch the continuously updated special editions—movies with added CGI, changed sound effects, and whole new scenes. According to some fans, every element that prompted the Academy to recognize the original ‘Star Wars’ has been changed in these new versions. And some of those fans are now taking it upon themselves to recreate the original ‘Star Wars’ in a process they call 'despecializing.' They gather in online forums and share their work—painstakingly reassembling the movie from a handful of different versions of the film, from VHS to DVD to 35mm print scans using photography and animation software. One of the most well known despecializers goes by the name ‘Harmy,’ and he recently released a little behind-the-scenes look at the various sources he used for his despecialized edition.”
"20 Overlooked 60s Thrillers That Are Worth Your Time": A must-read list by Taste of Cinema's James Davidson, including such gems as 1965's "Bunny Lake Is Missing."
“Directed by Otto Preminger and shot in London, ‘Bunny Lake is Missing’ is another of the British psychological suspense thrillers that were popular at the time. In the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock and ‘Psycho,’ Preminger attempted to get audiences to agree not to divulge the ending, even making a trailer for the film in which he appeared to make his appeal to the audience.It was all a publicity stunt, of course, but ‘Bunny Lake is Missing’ is still a taut thriller with great acting and glorious black and white cinematography. Although the surprise ending seems somewhat cliche now, the film is still definitely worth a watch.”
"Hollywood's Big-Money YouTube Hit Factory": Felix Gillette of Bloomberg Businessweek explores the new profitable platform for teen entertainment.
“When Brian Robbins first told people he was going full time into the YouTube (GOOG) business, his colleagues in Hollywood were incredulous. ‘My agent, my lawyer, my dad—people thought I was crazy,’ he says. For decades, Robbins had worked in the traditional entertainment industry, first as a teenage actor starring in the ABC sitcom ‘Head of the Class,’ then as a producer of TV shows about teenagers, such as ‘Smallville’ and One Tree Hill, and finally as a director of feature films catering to teenagers, including ‘Good Burger,’ ‘Varsity Blues,’ and ‘Norbit,’ a comedy starring Eddie Murphy in multiple roles, among them an obese woman. It was steady and lucrative work, if not always the most prestigious. Watching the ways in which his two teenage sons consumed media, Robbins became convinced that the future of youth entertainment wasn’t in broadcast or cable TV but in short-form digital videos, particularly on YouTube. He thought big media companies had been slow to adapt, leaving a void that he could fill. And so, in 2012, the former teenage star set up a business to recruit, manage, and capitalize on the teenage stars of tomorrow.”
On his blog, Jim Romenesko shows how a "newspaper chain that's laying off copy editors misspelled its own name in a newsletter." So funny and yet so sad.
Iconic director David Lynch releases what is easily his best film in eight years in the form of an Ice Bucket Challenge video. It's worth watching simply to hear who he challenges at the end. It's priceless.
Matt Zoller Seitz reviews and reflects upon Jesse Eisenberg's New Yorker piece about film critics.
The greatest actor alive: Max Von Sydow; Conversations with ISIS fighters; There are Christian terrorists; Greg Berla...
An article about Spike Lee's Honorary Oscar at the 2015 AMPAS Governors Awards.