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Thumbnails 6/5/14


"Talk to the animals": The Dissolve's Keith Phipps analyzes science fiction films from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s that offer "a vision of the universe without humanity at its center."

“Thanks to the relative ease of suggesting giant animal attacks via miniatures and rear projection—however awkwardly—the 1950s and ’60s saw invasions from grasshoppers (‘Beginning Of The End’), giant gila monsters (‘The Giant Gila Monster’), crab monsters (‘Attack Of The Crab Monsters’), and other such films, many of which made their way to ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000.’ That dubious tradition persisted in the 1970s via films like ‘Night Of The Lepus’ (which set loose giant rabbits in Arizona) and ‘The Giant Spider Invasion’ (which made rural Wisconsin the site of, well, read the title again). The lattermost boasted the tagline ‘There has never been a film like this before.’ In fact, there had been many, and more followed. Yet a handful of science-fiction films took a different approach to human/animal relations, exploring what it might be like to fulfill the Dolittle-ian dream of talking to the animals—be it in the here and now, a post-apocalyptic future, or on the cusp of some tremendous planet-wide transformation. Perhaps there were stories to tell other than those in which mutated creatures trampled major cities.”


"History of Film: The Best Movies of the 1960s": At Movie Mezzanine, writer Sam Fragoso compiles a series of top ten lists from various writers ranking the best films of the 1960s. 

“For those who are new to this series, History of Film is designed to examine each decade of cinema, ten films at a time (see our results from the 00s, 90s, 80s and 70s). In an attempt to present a multiplicity of voices, we’ve reached out to a plethora of people in the film industry. Thankfully, a whole host of gifted and esteemed individuals responded rather enthusiastically, happy to contemplate the cineamatic greatness that was the 1960s for a moment. So what follows is a collection of ballots from Movie Mezzanine staff and friends — from filmmakers to film critics to festival programmers to a publicist (yes, even a publicist). Of course, the most integral part of this process is you, the reader. Throughout the month of June we’ll be accepting ballots from anyone and everyone interested in submitting their top ten list in the comment section. Come the end of the month we’ll tally the ballots up and highlight the ten most popular films from the 1960s (as voted on by all of us). Those ten films will then each individually be written about by a writer on our staff.”


"It's Been A Rough Year For Cable News Networks": At The Huffington Post, David Bauder reveals the strikingly low ratings earned this year by several top cable networks.

“During some perilous times for the cable news networks, CNN is relieved to find there's still some resonance to the 1960s. The first of a series of look-backs at the decade that CNN is planning to air, this one focused on television, reached 1.39 million viewers Thursday, the Nielsen company said. That more than doubled the 493,000 viewers the network has been averaging in the 9 p.m. weeknight time slot this year. CNN repeated the show immediately at 10 p.m., and that also more than doubled the time slot's average. CNN repeated the show four times over the weekend. The good vibes didn't last, however. On Friday, CNN had 182,000 viewers at 10 p.m. for a profile on Seth MacFarlane and a sports show, the network's smallest audience for the time slot since 2000. Except for a brief flurry of interest with the story of the missing Malaysian airlines, it has been a rough year for the cable networks.”


"Take Vulture's Tom Cruise Hair Quiz and Guess What Movie Each Do Is From": A self-explanatory, rather hair-raising amusement posted by Adam K. Raymond.

"Over three decades in film, Tom Cruise's face hasn't changed that much. His hair is a different story. Short hair, long hair, crew cut, flowing locks — Cruise likes to jump back and forth between the two extremes. In his latest film, ‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ he opts for a variation of the unremarkable short and simple look that he so often trots out for regular guy characters. But so many of the roles he has played have hair so distinct that the movies they come from can be identified on that point alone. At least that's the challenge presented in the quiz below. Can you guess the movie each one is from?"


"Wilde's World of Journalism": Stefano Evangelista of TLS discusses the new definitive two-volume edition of Oscar Wilde's journalism edited by John Stokes and Mark W. Turner.

“Since the days of Robbie Ross, no one has attempted to put together a complete, authoritative edition of Wilde’s journalism. Now, John Stokes and Mark W. Turner have done so in two thick, heavily annotated volumes that are a landmark in Wilde studies and in the study of late Victorian journalism more broadly. Stokes and Turner revise and update Ross’s edition by going back to the original newspapers and magazines for which Wilde wrote, reconsidering the attribution of every unsigned piece included by Ross and adding new ones omitted by him. We now have 168 items of Wilde’s journalism, including thirty for which the editors were reluctant, perhaps erring on the side of caution, to make a definitive claim for Wilde’s authorship. In a very readable introduction, Stokes and Turner help the reader navigate the complex world of Victorian journalism; in their annotations, they provide detailed contextual information for each review, cross-referencing it with Wilde’s better-known works.”

Image of the Day

Prepare to laugh out loud when you skim through Matthew Perpetua's collection of "43 Out-Of-Context Comic Panels That Prove All Superheroes Have Dirty Minds" on BuzzFeed

Video of the Day

The Blank on Blank animated series from PBS Digital Studios presents a heartbreaking excerpt from an interview with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman conducted by Simon Critchley in December 2012.

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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