The House


Jean-Claude Carrière

1. "Jean-Claude Carrière's Theater of the Absurd." For Interview, Colleen Kelsey sits down with the famous screenwriter.

"When you write a book you are alone, and you need solitude, concentration, a sort of silence. But when I'm with a director, I love to go on walks, to sit down at the terrace of the café, to observe, to look at people. Everything comes from life, no doubt about it. When I first met Jacques Tati, I received—I don't know how to translate exactly—des leçons du regard, 'the teaching how to look.' A filmmaker doesn't look around like anybody, or a photographer, or a painter. They look in a different way. For example, I am a close friend of Julian Schnabel. He lives in my place in Paris, I live in his place in New York. When we go together to see an exhibit, for instance, we went to see a Van Gogh exhibit in Paris last summer, he looks the way a painter looks at a painting. He teaches me. I'm learning from him things that I would never, never have thought about. For instance, when you pose in front of a painter, the look from the painter to you is not the same as the look from the photographer. He's looking for something else. That's extremely interesting. Being motionless in front of a great painter for two hours is a real experience. He finds things inside yourself that you ignore."

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TAGS: calum marsh, chiraq, colleen kelsey, ela bittencourt, interview magazine, jean-claude carrière, nathan silver, paper towns, paul verhoeven, rainer werner fassbinder, reverse shot, spike lee, the merchant of four seasons, thomas elsaesser, total recall, uncertain terms


Caitlyn Jenner

1. "Introducing Caitlyn Jenner." Vanity Fair's 22-page cover story features stunning Annie Leibovitz photos of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, along with revealing new details. Here's a preview of the story.

"Speaking publicly for the first time since completing gender transition, Caitlyn Jenner compares her emotional two-day photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for the July cover of Vanity Fair to winning the gold medal for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. She tells Pulitzer Prize–winning V.F. contributing editor and author of Friday Night Lights Buzz Bissinger, 'That was a good day, but the last couple of days were better....This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It's not about the fanfare, it's not about people cheering in the stadium, it's not about going down the street and everybody giving you 'that a boy, Bruce,' pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.' Jenner tells Bissinger about how she suffered a panic attack the day after undergoing 10-hour facial-feminization surgery on March 15—a procedure she believed would take 5 hours. (Bissinger reveals that Jenner has not had genital surgery.) She recalls thinking, 'What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?' A counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center came to the house so Jenner could talk to a professional, and assured her that such reactions were often induced by pain medication, and that second-guessing was human and temporary."

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TAGS: a little life, annie leibovitz, breathless, caitlyn jenner, chairs, glenn kenny, hanya yanagihara, jean-luc godard, ken russell, lisztomania, raymond cauchetier, richard brody, sarah yuster, saul bellow, tony zhou, vanity fair, white elephant blogathon


Fears of a Clown

1. "Fears of a Clown." No one is better at making children laugh than Boswick the Clown. He doesn't understand why adults are so scared of him.

"Though Boswick and other clowns allow that some children are genuinely afraid of them, in their experience most are not. Instead, they see clown fear among adults as a lazy pose, a jokey affectation that has become easy to adopt as clowns fade into irrelevancy and the number of people who've seen one in real life dwindles. 'It's a designer phobia, really pretentious,' says Sparky, a clown who lives a block away from Boswick. 'I can tell a person who has a clownaphobia right away if they have it; 99.9 percent are phony. I've met maybe two people who have it. If they have it, they apologize profusely. The other ones go, 'Oh, clowns are scary, that's spooky.'' Boswick's good friend Funnybone, who has worked in South America and Asia, says, 'You go to another country, that concept of being afraid of clowns is nowhere. When I worked in Japan, I wore full clown makeup. It really is just something that's happened here.'"

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TAGS: aloha, boswick the clown, cameron crowe, candelia, clowns, déjà vu, giorgio moroder, heaven knows what, new york magazine, nick pinkerton, reverse shot, richard brody, sarah seltzer, trigger warning


Game of Thrones

If there's one thing the frenetic White Walker-packed climax of "Hardhome" proves, it's that at the end of the day, talk is cheap. Sam (John Bradley-West) can do his best to convince Olly (Brenock O'Connor) that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has made the right decision in heading north of the wall with Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) to acquire the help of the Wildling tribes gathered in Hardhome, but those words mean little balanced against the visceral images imprinted into Olly's mind of his innocent family of farmers being butchered. Likewise, though Tormund explains to one particularly trash-talking Wildling elder, the Lord of Bones (Ross O'Hennessy), that Jon Snow just wants to talk, it's not until Tormund thrashes the man with his own bone-carved staff that a "conversation" can begin.

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TAGS: game of thrones, hardhome, recap


Orphan Black

Be careful what you wish for. In my recap of last week's "Certain Agony of the Battlefield," I pleaded for more "multilayered texture" to "lighten the mood," and as if part of some cruel trick, tonight's episode of Orphan Black obliges with an hour of paper-thin comic contrivances, all topped with a generous sprinkling of mawkish sentiment. Absent the narrative crutch of imprisoned sestras and Castor conspiracies, "Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate" must stand on its own two feet, and the fact that it stumbles so badly doesn't bode well for this shambolic season's looming finale.

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TAGS: community of dreadful fear and hate, Evelyne Brochu, jordan gavaris, josh vokey, Justin Chatwin, kristian bruun, maria doyle kennedy, orphan black, recap, Sheila McCarthy, Tatiana Maslany


Judd Apatow

1. "Judd Apatow Wants to Make the Real World as Nice as His Movies." For The Village Voice, Amy Nicholson interviews the filmmaker.

"'She's crazy funny. I mean, funny in a way that I can only really compare to Seth,' says Apatow of [Amy] Schumer. As Rogen and Dunham know, when Apatow thinks you're talented, he does something about it. He invited Schumer to write him a script. Her first story was wild, high-concept fiction—an idea both are keeping under wraps for now. It was good, but Apatow wanted something more personal, the kind of movie Judd Apatow might have made if Judd Apatow had ever been a 33-year-old single woman. As he saw it, Schumer's debut film was her chance to define her screen identity. 'It might be easier for Anne Hathaway to get great scripts,' Apatow notes. 'But if you have a strong comic voice, there's very few scripts that have your voice.'"

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TAGS: american ultra, amy nicholson, dave itzkoff, four-walling, hologram, jerry seinfeld, joan didion, judd apatow, los angeles review of books, lucy tiven, richard brody, the new york times, the village voice, trainwreck


Total RecallSome of the first things about Total Recall I latched onto as a young cinephile were its dazzling production design and special effects, its breathless action sequences, its over-the-top violence—in short, its surface. And, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger, trying to come off as a normal guy despite his superhuman physique, heavily accented English, and increasingly ubiquitous one-liners. Today, though, my appreciation for Paul Verhoeven's mind trip goes beyond simple nostalgia, and hinges on how its seductive look and immediate visceral pleasures are wily in their concealment of grand themes.

Certainly, the film's Philip K. Dick-inspired plot is rife with elements revolving around images and their sinister undercurrents: Douglas Quaid's (Schwarzenegger) obsession with Mars as a deliverance from his empty idyllic existence on Earth; his gradual discovery of a supposed secret past as a spy named Hauser; Lori (Sharon Stone), the blond bombshell of a wife who turns out to be an operative for villainous henchman Richter (Michael Ironside); the seemingly normal resistance fighter (Marshall Bell) whose torso houses the legendary mutant leader named Kuato.

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TAGS: arnold schwarzenegger, dan o'bannon, Gary Goldman, Marshall Bell, Michael Ironside, paul verhoeven, Robert Costanzo, ronald shusett, Roy Brocksmith, sharon stone, summer of 90, total recall


Female Rock Critics

1. "The World Needs Female Rock Critics." The problem for women is that our role in popular music was codified long ago.

"The problem for women is that our role in popular music was codified long ago. And it was codified, in part, by the early music press. In the effort to prove the burgeoning rock scene of the sixties a worthy subject of critical inquiry, rock needed to be established as both serious and authentic. One result of these arguments—the Rolling Stones vs. Muddy Waters, Motown vs. Stax, Bob Dylan vs. the world—was that women came out on the losing side, as frivolous and phony. Whether a teen-age fan or a member of a girl group, women lacked genuine grit—even female critics thought so. 'The Supremes epitomize the machine-like precision of the Motown sound,' wrote Lillian Roxon in her rock encyclopedia. 'Everything is worked out for them and they don’t buck the system.' Judgments like that are still routinely applied to female artists today. In Jessica Hopper’s [The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic], under the chapter heading 'Real/Fake,' appears a 2012 essay on Lana Del Ray, an artist whose look harks back to those big-haired, mascaraed sixties singers, and whose career has unfolded beneath a cloud of suspicion as to her credentials, musical and otherwise. 'As an audience, we make a big stink about wanting the truth, but we’re only really interested in the old myths,' Hopper writes. The myth of women’s deceitfulness is one of the oldest."

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TAGS: Amy Schumer, anwen crawford, charles taylor, Ellie Kemper, gina rodriguez, jessica hopper, jonathan franzen, kate mckinnon, lena dunham, nick pinkerton, pickup on south street, purity, reverse shot, samuel fuller, the end of the tour, the first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic, the village voice, tomorrowland, Tracee Ellis Ross


Mary Ellen Mark

1. "Mary Ellen Mark, Photographer Who Documented Difficult Subjects, Dies at 75." The photographer, whose unflinching yet compassionate depictions of prostitutes in Mumbai, homeless teenagers in Seattle and mental patients in a state institution in Oregon made her one of the premier documentary photographers of her generation, died on Monday in Manhattan.

"The empathy and humanism of the work, published in book form in 1979, impressed critics. Robert Hughes, in Time, called Ward 81 'one of the most delicately shaded studies of vulnerability ever set on film.' After the show, Ms. Mark signed with the Magnum photo agency. Her interest in social outcasts remained a constant throughout her career, reflected in the book Falkland Road: Prostitutes of Bombay (1981), unusual for being in color. While on assignment for Life in 1983, she began photographing homeless teenagers in Seattle, a ragtag collection of small-time drug dealers, prostitutes and panhandlers who populate the pages of Streetwise, published in 1988. With her husband, the filmmaker Martin Bell, who survives her, she turned her encounters into a film, which was nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary in 1984."

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TAGS: apichatpong weerasethakul, cannes film festival, cemetery of splendor, daniel kasman, elizabeth semmelhack, Eve Ensler, justin chang, mad max: fury road, mary ellen mark, mubi, peter debruge, point break, scott foundas, the new york times, the vagina monologues, variety


Back to the Future IIIThere was a comfort in realizing that Back to the Future III would be set in the Old West after Back to the Future II had just spun everything audiences knew about the series on its head. It was straightforward and familiar, with the focus back on the characters rather than the murky complexities of time travel. More than just the promise of one more ride in the DeLorean with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), the trailer that followed "To Be Concluded" at the end of Back to the Future II felt like the sly wink from a parent having to close a storybook on a dark cliffhanger, promising that everything was going to be okay. The heroes would win, everything would go back to normal, life would be sunshine and daisies. It felt like sweet relief in the theater, with the terrible uncertainty that Doc was even alive instantly smoothed over. It still feels like the start of a new trajectory now, and the first glimmers of the overly earnest filmmaker Robert Zemeckis would become four years later with Forrest Gump.

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TAGS: back to the future iii, Christopher Lloyd, lea thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Michael J. Fox, robert zemeckis, summer of 90, Thomas F. Wilson







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