Solo: A Star Wars Story
An engaging but unnecessary bit of backstory for one of blockbuster cinema's most beloved characters.
"Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement and Nerds": The Daily Beast's Arthur Chu pens a great piece on how socially awkward men are force-fed the fantasy that they will eventually win the heart of a woman "out of their league."
“One of the major plot points of ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ is Lewis putting on a Darth Vader mask, pretending to be his jock nemesis Stan, and then having sex with Stan’s girlfriend. Initially shocked when she finds out his true identity, she’s so taken by his sexual prowess—‘All jocks think about is sports. All nerds think about is sex.’—that the two of them become an item. Classic nerd fantasy, right? Immensely attractive to the young male audience who saw it. And a stock trope, the ‘bed trick,’ that many of the nerds watching probably knew dates back to the legend of King Arthur. It’s also, you know, rape.”
"Top Gear's offensive stereotyping has gone too far, says Steve Coogan": At The Guardian, the acclaimed actor and Oscar-nominated screenwriter criticizes the ethnic stereotypes marring BBC's TV series.
“The BBC’s initial mealy-mouthed apology was pitiful. It cited the more benign rivalry that exists between European nations (ah, those arrogant French, over-organised Germans), and in doing so neatly sidestepped one hugely important fact – ethnicity. All the examples it uses to legitimise this hateful rubbish are relatively prosperous countries full of white people. How about if the Lads had described Africans as lazy, feckless etc? Or Pakistanis? What's more, this was all spouted by the presenters on one of the BBC's most successful programmes, with ratings that could only fail to impress Simon Cowell (very fast lap time). Forget the World Service; overseas, ‘Top Gear’ is more frequently the public face of the BBC.”
"Why You Still Can't See That 'Porgy and Bess' Movie Starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge": In Indiewire, critic Sergio Alejandro Mims discusses the current fate of the long unseen 1959 classic featuring the first onscreen appearance of Maya Angelou.
“With the exception of a special screening every few years, somewhere in the world, such as in New York at the Ziegfield Theater back in 2007, in Seattle around 2008 (a reportedly a rare 70MM print from Europe), and in Switzerland a few years ago, the last time the film was actually seen by the public at large was when the ABC Network showed it as a Sunday Night Movie, during the late 60’s. It was also broadcast in the early 70’s on a local TV station KTLA in Los Angeles, which had access to the Goldwyn film library for a brief while. And that’s about it. No, the film has never been shown on TV since then, and for anyone who claims that they’ve seen it on Turner Classic Movies or some other cable channel, your mind is playing tricks on you (I called TCM to check, and they confirmed that they have never broadcast the film).”
"Robert De Niro: Me & My Gay Dad": Out Magazine's Jerry Portwood interviews the legendary actor about his father, who is the subject of an upcoming HBO documentary, "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr."
“It was my responsibility to make a documentary about him. I was always planning on doing it, but never did. Then Jane Rosenthal, my partner at Tribeca [Enterprises], said, ‘We should start doing that now.’ It was not intended to be on HBO. It was just something I wanted to do. I had footage from a guy who used to follow my father around in the ’70s. We started with that. I bought it from him and gave the footage to Thelma Schoonmaker, who was Marty Scorsese’s editor. I asked her what she could do with it, and she assembled it and put it together — it was falling apart. Then we started the documentary [with director Perri Peltz], really working, using pieces that would make sense. My original idea was to do it for the kids, about my father — whatever it would be. I didn’t know how long it would be. The thing with HBO is, I felt they would be objective about certain things. I said, ‘Let’s see what we come up with.’”
"Chilling Effect": Slate's Dahlia Lithwick argues that the attacks on University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock "are bad for academia and all of us."
“Because his constitutional principles don’t necessarily dovetail with set policy outcomes, he also filed an amicus brief on the side of the religious business owners in the ‘Hobby Lobby’case now pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. Perhaps more controversially, he authored a letter on behalf of a group of religious liberty scholars to clarify the scope of SB 1062, a much-publicized Arizona law that would have given individuals and businesses broader latitude to opt out of state anti-discrimination laws if they opposed gay rights on religious grounds. As he explained at the start of that letter, many (unspecified) signatories supported same-sex marriage, and many urged Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill, which she ultimately did. The point of the letter, as indicated upfront, was not to support the bill but to correct misperceptions about what the proposed bill did and did not do. In Laycock’s view, the Arizona bill did not say the religious objectors win, but rather afforded them new defenses that would be settled by courts who would still have to determine that religious objections overcome a ‘compelling government interest.’”
Writer/director Stephen Cone's excellent indie drama, "Black Box," opens today at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center. Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips awarded the film three-and-a-half stars. See also: Roger Ebert's three-star review of Cone's previous film, "The Wise Kids."
A tribute to the late Margot Kidder.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...