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Links for the Day: Christopher Lee Dies at 93, Richard Brody on Heaven Knows What, Armond White on Chris Pratt, Jagged Little Pill at 20, & More

Christopher Lee Dies at 93, Richard Brody on Heaven Knows What, Armond White on Chris Pratt, Jagged Little Pill at 20, & More.

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Links for the Day: Christopher Lee Dies at 93, Richard Brody on Heaven Knows What, Armond White on Chris Pratt, Jagged Little Pill at 20, & More

1. “Christopher Lee dies at the age of 93.” The veteran actor was best known for roles including Dracula and Saruman in the Lord of the Rings franchise

“Sir Christopher Lee has died at the age of 93 after being hospitalised for respiratory problems and heart failure. The veteran actor, best known for a variety of films from Dracula to The Wicker Man through to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, passed away on Sunday morning at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, according to sources. The decision to release the news days after was based on his wife’s desire to inform family members first. The couple had been married for over 50 years. As well as his career in film, Lee also released a series of heavy metal albums, including Charlemagne: The Omens of Death. He was knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity and was awarded the Bafta fellowship in 2011.”

2. “In Robert Altman’s Nashville, every detail contributes to the big picture.” Over at The Dissolve, Andreas Stoehr on the priorities of Robert Altman’s masterpiece.

“As its bits and pieces accumulate, Nashville bustles like a Brueghel cityscape. The camera’s attention flits from one sector of the ensemble to another. Music-industry aristocrats like Haven and Connie congregate with their respective entourages at venues or at the Hamilton estate. Below them in the film’s hierarchy are hangers-on, journalists, and groupies, trying but failing to penetrate that elite circle. Some, like smug out-of-towner John Triplette (Michael Murphy), can roam where they like; he strikes bargain after bargain as he recruits talent for an upcoming political rally. Others, like the elderly Mr. Green (Keenan Wynn), get swept up with the rest of this mob only by proximity, since his wife is staying at the same hospital as ailing country superstar Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakley). As these characters navigate the shows and soirees that constitute a weekend in Nashville, their movements outline a teeming ecosystem of power and art.”

3. “Heroin, Too Close.” The heroin-addicted lovers of Heaven Knows What are wrapped up in an aggressive love that mimics their addiction.

“The Safdies’ genius involves their movies’ extreme symbiosis with performers. Just as the classic auteur seems to appear beside a projected film, just outside the image, as a virtual presence throughout, so the Safdies, at their best, invite their performers to leap out of the frame and stand beside them, behind the camera, transfiguring the brothers’—and the audience’s—view of them. Just as they employ [Ronald] Bronstein, a great director, as their actor, or screenwriter, or editor, and a vital personality such as [Arielle] Holmes, a non-actress, as their star, they turn themselves, as directors, into actors—they are great cinematic chameleons who take on the identity, while directing, of the participants in their film. That’s why their empathy seems so embracingly extreme and intense. The brothers turn the cinematic mirror around on itself, capturing the world as it feels to their characters, to their performers, to their collaborators.”

4. “Jurassic Dreams.” Armond White on how Chris Pratt haunts fanboy wet dreams in Spielberg’s dino franchise.

“Pratt himself is not to blame; his dark blond, sharp-nosed, blue-eyed type deserves its appeal but dramatic scenes opposite military contractor Vincent D’Onofrio exposes definite weaknesses. Pratt has muscle but the burly D’Onofrio has acting strength. Something’s unconvincing, half-parodistic, in Pratt’s bearing (he’s like a gainfully employed Matthew Rush but less stolid than Chris Hemsworth’s similarly imposing Thor). It’s easy to imagine Pratt providing one-note effectiveness in a Josef Von Sternberg silent erotic masterpiece, playing stevedore roles like George O’Brien in The Docks of New York or in Murnau’s Sunrise where a big man’s physical heft was erotically magnetizing and then drew one into his spiritual being.”

5. “Alanis in Chains.” The pressured pop career that led to Jagged Little Pill, which turns 20 years old today.

“It’s jarring to realize that the woman who would later ask her ex-lover if he was thinking about her when he fucked his new girlfriend was at one point too timid to fight for her own vanity plate. But Ottawa Sun reporter and Morissette biographer Paul Cantin thinks her age and inexperience shackled her. ’I think she was just surrounded by older people who knew what they were doing and she was a younger person and maybe wasn’t really comfortable asserting herself,’ he says. Andrea Warner thinks it was more than that. The writer behind We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the ‘90s and Changed Canadian Music believes Alanis’ silence was the typical response of a young woman surrounded by powerful men. ’Even if you feel like you have the capacity to say what you want, it’s different to feel like you have people listening to you and really hearing you,’ she says. ’If it’s a young girl wanting something, then it’s adorable and cute, but it doesn’t necessarily have merit.’”

Video of the Day: Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home gets its first U.S. trailer:

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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