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Links for the Day: Why Mulholland Drive Is a Great Horror Film, Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater Convictions, Sarah Jessica Parker on Oscar de la Renta, & More

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Links for the Day: Why Mulholland Drive Is a Great Horror Film, Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater Convictions, Sarah Jessica Parker on Oscar de la Renta, & More

1. “Why David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive Is a Great Horror Film.” For the Vulture, Bilge Ebiri explains why.

“This is about as perfect a ’horror’ scene as one can imagine. The oddly floating camera, the strangely somnambulant delivery of the actors, the way they seem to be literally pulled towards the dumpster, the anticipation of the reveal. And, yes, the sound—that ever-present, Lynchian thrum that infects even the most mundane things with anticipation and dread. The scene also sets up this terrifying thing behind the dumpster—is it a hobo, a demon, or something else?—as being a pivotal figure, even though we only see him briefly a couple more times later in the film. (’He’s the one who’s doing it’ is such a delectably vague statement.) So, right at the outset of Mulholland Drive, we have the suggestion of the supernatural and demonic, of something fantastical lurking beneath what seems, at least, at that point, to be a somewhat straightforward thriller.”

2. ” Blackwater Founder Remains Free and Rich While His Former Employees Go Down on Murder Charges.” For The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill reports on the convictions.

“None of the U.S. officials from the Bush and Obama administrations who unleashed Blackwater and other mercenary forces across the globe are being forced to answer for their role in creating the conditions for the Nisour Square shootings and other deadly incidents involving private contractors. Just as the main architect of the C.I.A. interrogation program, Jose Rodriguez, is on a book tour for his propagandistic love letter to torture, Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, so too is Erik Prince pushing his own revisionist memoir, Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror. While the Blackwater verdict is an important and rare moment of accountability in an overwhelmingly unaccountable private war industry, it does not erase the fact that those in power—the CEOs, the senior officials, the war profiteers—walk freely and will likely do so for the rest of their lives.”

3. “Garage Doors and Tanning Beds.” 9 Actors Remember Their Famous Horror-Movie Deaths.

“I did not actually do the scene, the dialogue part, before the actual instrument attack. But the moment just before I kill Carrie, I didn’t rehearse that. I wanted the moment to be as raw as possible. I think it was an underlying element of how I thought of Margaret, her religion, her attitude about her daughter, and the fact that she considered her daughter menstruating horrible. And the fact that I sounded like I was having a very long orgasm…I never spelled that out to Brian, I just did it. Part of that I actually played, but I suspect that in editing they extended that vocally longer than I actually did it. But I had such a good time shooting that scene. “

4. “The Revival of Kieran Culkin: A Reluctant Star Seizes the Spotlight.” He went from child stardom to a Golden Globe nod in Igby Goes Down. Then he disappeared. Now, he’s back in the Broadway play This Is Our Youth. Culkin opens up about his unusual journey.

“Many young actors have made their theatrical debut in [Kenneth] Lonergan’s play, from Mark Ruffalo (in the original 1996 Off-Broadway version) to Matt Damon to Jake Gyllenhaal. I’m curious if it has to do with actors missing out on ’that murky in-between’ period of not being sure what profession they’d like to pursue, or even—in his case—their childhood. He pauses. ’I don’t think my childhood was that unusual, or that I missed out on my childhood,’ says Culkin matter-of-factly. ’And when a young person decides they want to be an actor, they’re basically saying, ’I’ve decided that I want to be stressed out and pretty much have no guarantee that I’m going to have any job ever and that I’m probably going to be poor and eventually have to throw my hands up and go, fuck it, I guess I’m going to have to try something else. I’m 32 years old and I have no skills.’’”

5. “Sarah Jessica Parker: A Personal Tribute to Oscar de la Renta.” “I can’t remember how I had the courage to be friends with him,” the actress tells The Hollywood Reporter of the designer, recalling their most memorable collaborations, that Met Ball gown—and his love of singing.

“I wore countless beautiful dresses of his, dozens of them, fresh off the runway. It was always a momentous occasion in my life when he would build a dress for me—for the Emmys, the Met Ball, for my 40th birthday at the Plaza. When Fashion’s Night Out started happening in 2009, I spent all those nights with Mr. de la Renta in his store on Madison, and it was a real honor. The first year I got there, he said, ’Let’s sing!’ He loved singing, sang beautifully. He was a muscular singer; it was one of the things he most enjoyed. He sang with mariachi bands, he delighted in any opportunity to create a festive environment. We did show tunes one year, mariachi another year—he even serenaded me. On every Fashion’s Night Out, I had to be at Mr. de la Renta’s store when he was there—it was planned around his arrival and his exit.”

Video of the Day: Danny Torrence goes to IKEA:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1oR0iqLgwE
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Awards

Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

After walking back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing here.

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BlacKkKlansman
Photo: Focus Features

Eric and I have done a good job this year of only selectively stealing each other’s behind-the-scenes jokes. We have, though, not been polite about stepping on each other’s toes in other ways. Okay, maybe just Eric, who in his impeccable take on the original screenplay free-for-all detailed how the guilds this year have almost willfully gone out of their way to “not tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film.” Case in point: Can You Ever Forgive Me? winning the WGA’s adapted screenplay trophy over presumed Oscar frontrunner BlacKkKlansman. A glitch in the matrix? We think so. Eric and I are still in agreement that the race for best picture this year is pretty wide open, though maybe a little less so in the wake of what seemed like an easy win for the Spike Lee joint. Nevertheless, we all know that there’s no Oscar narrative more powerful than “it’s about goddamn time,” and it was so powerful this year that even the diversity-challenged BAFTAs got the memo, giving their adapted screenplay prize to Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott. To bamboozle Lee at this point would, admittedly, be so very 2019, but given that it’s walked back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing.

Will Win: BlacKkKlansman

Could Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Should Win: BlacKkKlansman

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Awards

Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

This season, Hollywood is invested in celebrating the films they love while dodging the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.

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Green Book
Photo: Universal Pictures

You know, if it weren’t for the show’s producers effectively and repeatedly saying everything about the Academy Awards is terrible and needs to be changed, and the year’s top-tier contenders inadvertently confirming their claims, this would’ve been a comparatively fun and suspenseful Oscar season. None of us who follow the Academy Awards expect great films to win; we just hope the marathon of precursors don’t turn into a Groundhog Day-style rinse and repeat for the same film, ad nauseam.

On that score, mission accomplished. The guilds have been handing their awards out this season as though they met beforehand and assigned each voting body a different title from Oscar’s best picture list so as not to tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film. SAG? Black Panther. PGA? Green Book. DGA? Roma. ASC? Cold War. ACE? Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Even awards-season kryptonite A Star Is Born got an award for contemporary makeup from the MUAHS. (That’s the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild, not the sound Lady Gaga fans have been making ever since A Star Is Born’s teaser trailer dropped last year.)

Not to be outdone, the Writers Guild of America announced their winners last weekend, and not only did presumed adapted screenplay frontrunner BlacKkKlansman wind up stymied by Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but the original screenplay prize went to Eighth Grade, which wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. Bo Burnham twisted the knife into AMPAS during his acceptance speech: “To the other nominees in the category, have fun at the Oscars, losers!” In both his sarcasm and his surprise, it’s safe to say he speaks on behalf of us all.

As is always the case, WGA’s narrow eligibility rules kept a presumed favorite, The Favourite, out of this crucial trial heat. But as the balloting period comes to a close, the question remains just how much enthusiasm or affection voters have for either of the two films with the most nominations (Roma being the other). As a recent “can’t we all just get along” appeal by Time’s Stephanie Zacharek illustrates, the thing Hollywood is most invested in this season involves bending over backward, Matrix-style, to celebrate the films they love and still dodge the cultural bullets coming at them from every angle.

Maybe it’s just tunnel vision from the cultural vacuum Oscar voters all-too-understandably would prefer to live in this year, but doesn’t it seem like The Favourite’s tastefully ribald peppering of posh-accented C-words would be no match for the steady litany of neo-Archie Bunkerisms spewing from Viggo Mortensen’s crooked mouth? Especially with First Reformed’s Paul Schrader siphoning votes from among the academy’s presumably more vanguard new recruits? We’ll fold our words in half and eat them whole if we’re wrong, but Oscar’s old guard, unlike John Wayne, is still alive and, well, pissed.

Will Win: Green Book

Could Win: The Favourite

Should Win: First Reformed

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Watch: Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Starring Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton, Gets First Trailer

Joanna Hogg has been flying under the radar for some time, but that’s poised to change in a big way.

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A24
Photo: A24

British film director and screenwriter Joanna Hogg, whose impeccably crafted 2013 film Exhibition we praised on these pages for its “disarming mixture of the remarkable and the banal,” has been flying under the radar for the better part of her career. But that’s poised to change in a big way with the release of her latest film, The Souvenir, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Prior to the film’s world premiere at the festival, A24 and Curzon Artificial Eye acquired its U.S. and U.K. distribution rights, respectively. Below is the official description of the film:

A shy but ambitious film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (Tom Burke). She defies her protective mother (Tilda Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper and deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams.

And below is the film’s first trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9Al2nC0vzY

A24 will release The Souvenir on May 17.

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