The House


Birdman

1. "Birdman Takes an Early Lead in the 2014 Awards Season." Other films with big showings include Boydhood and Selma.

"The main stories we can divine from this year’s nominations are about Boyhood and Birdman. Richard Linklater’s three-hour, 12-year opus got nominated all over the place, proving that it has awards legs despite being released nearly six months ago. Meanwhile, Birdman shores up support as it heads into a crowded race filled with bigger, noisier films. That Emma Stone nomination could be a harbinger of things to come, while the nod for Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette confirms a sure thing. Believe it or not, Arquette is currently the presumptive front-runner to win the whole dang thing come Oscar time, and this nomination is the first definitive milestone on the road to victory."

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TAGS: 30 for 30, angela davis, assata shakur, birdman, boyhood, ferguson, independent spirit awards, jarvis cocker, life death and supermarkets, michael brown, noel murray, patricia arquette, pitch perfect, pulp, room 237, selma


Ferguson

1. "Streets of Ferguson smolder after grand jury decides not to indict officer." When a grand jury decided Monday not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, chaos filled the streets.

"This is what Ferguson looked like Tuesday morning. Shattered glass from looted stores covered the asphalt. Shell casings from unknown shooters littered the ground. And more than a dozen buildings, including stores owned by local residents, had been set ablaze. As protesters hurled bottles, batteries and rocks at police, officers in riot gear responded by shooting bean bags and tear gas. 'This ain't Iraq. This is the United States,' Demetric Whitlock yelled to a line of police officers on South Florissant Road, in front of the Ferguson Police Department. When a grand jury decided Monday not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the news triggered fresh confrontations between protesters and police in the tense Missouri city. While most of the demonstrators peacefully protested on the streets, some smashed the windows of a police cruiser and set another on fire."

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TAGS: 711, albert serra, beyoncé, bill cosby, bomb magazine, darren wilson, ferguson, foxcatcher, grantland, j. bryan lowder, les blank, michael brown, phillip maciak, rembert browne, slate, spend it all, steve macfarlane, story of my death, werner herzog, wesley morris


Chuck Hagel

1. "Hagel Said to Be Stepping Down As Defense Chief Under Pressure." Obama Dissatisfied, Officials Say, Amid Global Crises.

"The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel's resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said. The officials described Mr. Obama's decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration."

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TAGS: benghazi, bill cosby, chuck hagel, iggy azalea, jennifer lopez, marion barry, the hunger games


Lost

1. "The Lost Interviews." Todd VanDerWerff interviews Damon Lindelof about 10 episodes from the show's first season.

"A decade after its debut, Lost seems ever more like a weird, collective dream we all had. A complicated, character-driven sci-fi/fantasy hybrid with heavy elements of horror? And we all watched it? And it was on broadcast network television? When looking at the modern TV landscape, it's hard to find anything quite so ambitious, especially on the broadcast networks, which increasingly manage toward the margins in a dying business model. 'Even if you fail, people will appreciate you having attempted the harder trick and crashed than just kind of doing the easy stuff,' said co-creator Damon Lindelof during a 90-minute interview about the show's first season. He said this wisdom was instilled in him by his fellow co-creator, J.J. Abrams. Abrams would leave the show seven episodes in, but leave an indelible mark upon it: the mark of going for broke, of trying anything, of never settling for the routine."

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TAGS: alan turing, albert serra, benedict cumberbatch, blue velvet, cutprintfilm, damon lindelof, david lynch, dna, fbi, jake pitre, lost, mike mccabe, Morten Tyldum, movie mezzanine, nick pinkerton, patti smith, pussy riot, story of my death, the imitation game, todd vanderwerff, twin peaks


Mike Nichols

1. "Mike Nichols R.I.P." The acclaimed director of The Graduate dies at 83.

"Mike Nichols, one of America's most celebrated directors, whose long, protean résumé of critic- and crowd-pleasing work earned him adulation both on Broadway and in Hollywood, died on Wednesday. He was 83. His death was announced in a statement by the president of ABC News, James Goldston. Dryly urbane, Mr. Nichols had a gift for communicating with actors and a keen comic timing, which he honed early in his career as half of the popular sketch-comedy team Nichols and May. He accomplished what Orson Welles and Elia Kazan, but few if any other directors have: He achieved popular and artistic success in both theater and film. He was among the most decorated people in the history of show business, one of only a handful to have won an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy."

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TAGS: assassin's creed, bennett miller, foxcatcher, global strike command, glynnis macnicol, justin clark, medium, mike nichols, paste, princess leia, reid cherlin, richard brody, star wars, the graduate


Charles Champlin

1. "Charles Champlin R.I.P." The former Los Angeles Times arts editor and critic dies at 88.

"Charles Champlin, the former Los Angeles Times arts editor, film critic and columnist whose insightful, elegantly written reviews and columns informed and entertained readers for decades, died Sunday at his Los Angeles home. He was 88. The cause was complications of Alzheimer's disease, said his son, Charles Champlin Jr. The Harvard-educated Champlin had worked 17 years at Life and Time magazines before joining The Times as entertainment editor and three-times-a-week columnist in 1965. During his 26 years at The Times, Champlin served as the paper's principal film critic from 1967 through 1980. He then shifted to book reviewing and, with his 'Critic at Large' column, offered a more general overview of the arts. He retired in 1991 but continued to contribute to The Times' daily and Sunday Calendar sections and wrote two books despite becoming legally blind from age-related macular degeneration in 1999. In honor of his film coverage and criticism, Champlin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007."

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TAGS: charles champlin, cinderella, imogen sara smith, inherent vice, jean grémillon, jesse baaron, kenneth branagh, la weekly, los angeles times, men's central jail, reverse shot, roxane gay, the new inquiry, virginia quarterly review


Emoji

1. "Smile, You're Speaking EMOJI." Adam Sternbergh, for New York magazine, on the rapid evolution of a wordless tongue.

"This elasticity of meaning is a large part of the appeal and, perhaps, the genius of emoji. They have proved to be well suited to the kind of emotional heavy lifting for which written language is often clumsy or awkward or problematic, especially when it's relayed on tiny screens, tapped out in real time, using our thumbs. These seemingly infantile cartoons are instantly recognizable, which makes them understandable even across linguistic barriers. Yet the implications of emoji—their secret meanings—are constantly in flux."

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TAGS: Adam Sternbergh, charles taylor, charli xcx, emoji, genevieve koski, hollywood, jillian mapes, new york magazine, pitchfork, pitchfork music festival, Sleater-Kinney, st. vincent, the dissolve, the happy wanderer, the sopranos, todd vanderwerff


Christopher Nolan

1. "Christopher Nolan Breaks Silence on Interstellar Sound (Exclusive)." The director says the movie's 'adventurous and creative' sound is 'the right approach for this experiential film.'

"Nolan attributed Interstellar's sound to 'very tight teamwork' among composer Hans Zimmer, re-recording mixers Gary Rizzo and Gregg Landaker and sound designer Richard King. 'We made carefully considered creative decisions,' he said. 'There are particular moments in this film where I decided to use dialogue as a sound effect, so sometimes it's mixed slightly underneath the other sound effects or in the other sound effects to emphasize how loud the surrounding noise is. It's not that nobody has ever done these things before, but it's a little unconventional for a Hollywood movie.'"

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TAGS: charles taylor, chris strompolos, christopher nolan, eric zala, gary rizzo, gregg landaker, hans zimmer, hayao miyazaki, hickey & bogg, inherent vice, interstellar, john semley, los angeles review of books, los angeles times, raiders of the lost ark, rebecca keegan, rollin


Contact

1. "Robert Zemeckis's Contact Is the Proto-Interstellar." Nick Schager says the two have more in common than you might recall.

"Contact tries to bridge the divide between faith and science by contending, finally, that both can—and, in many cases, must—coexist, a notion that also comes through in Interstellar's gonzo third-act plummet down its own pseudo-spiritual wormhole. That McConaughey (as Palmer Joss) embodies Contact's have-it-two-ways attitude is thus a further, fitting conduit between Zemeckis and Nolan's films, which also both utilize cutting-edge aesthetics on a grand scale. Be it an opening three-minute reverse-zoom from the Earth to the cosmos—which, in 1997, was the longest all-CG scene in movie history—or a pair of beautiful mirroring shots following Ellie running through a house and a satellite station (respectively), Zemeckis's artistry is at once imposing and subtle. Even without the IMAX proportions available to Nolan, Contact stands as a technologically breathtaking blockbuster that marries all manner of disparate imagery, from traditional compositions to computer-generated spectacles to TV-filtered action that includes cleverly reconfigured vérité footage of President Clinton commenting on the alien communiqué."

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TAGS: adam nayman, american journalism review, christopher nolan, cinema scope, contact, dan singer, fifty shades of grey, foxcatcher, gavin francis, i can hear you whisper, interstellar, lydia denworth, megan garbert, music criticism, nick schager, robert zemeckis, the atlantic, the new york review of books, vulture


Grace Jones

1. "Kim Kardashian Doesn't Realize She's the Butt of an Old Racial Joke." This may not come as a surprise to Grace Jones fans. For The Giro, Blue Telusma traces Jean-Paul Goude's photograhs for Kardashian's Paper Magazine cover story to some older, loaded photos from the photographer's portfolio.

"First off, those of you declaring that these pictures are 'history-making' need to chill out. There is nothing new or even original about this spread. Renowned French photographer Jean-Paul Goude just dug into his archives, pulled out some of his old favorites and recreated them with reality TV's reigning It Girl. That's it. At best, these pictures are recycled art, and at worst, they are lazy sensationalism—but innovative they are not. On the flip side—those of you saying that Kim Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply because she is a mother also need to sip a big champagne glass of 'Girl, Bye!' Because this antiquated idea that mothers are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is ridiculous and naive. How exactly do you think women become mothers? Immaculate conception? I've never been a fan of policing other women's bodies, and I'm not about to start now. Ya'll can have that."

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TAGS: blue telusma, brian brooks, cuba, enrique de la osa, eugene hernandez, film society of lincoln center, flavorwire, jason bailey, jean-paul goude, kim kardashian, nick pinkerton, paper magazine, reverse shot, the close-up, the grio, the homesman, tommy lee jones






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