1. “Ben Bradlee R.I.P.” The legendary Washington Post editor dies at 93.
“President Obama recalled Mr. Bradlee’s legacy on Tuesday night in a statement that said: ’For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession—it was a public good vital to our democracy. A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told—stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better. The standard he set—a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting—encouraged so many others to enter the profession. And that standard is why, last year, I was proud to honor Ben with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Today, we offer our thoughts and prayers to Ben’s family, and all who were fortunate to share in what truly was a good life.’”
2. “Shia LaBeouf Interview.” Elvis Mitchell sits down with a chat for the actor.
“When I sat down with him this past September in New York, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d been more interested in feeding his mystique than answering my questions—for instance, that working with Lars von Trier furthered the assumption that anyone out to make sense of LaBeouf was best to view him through a lens of ironic detachment. Instead, the actor’s eagerness to explain himself was a source of continual surprise. Rather than pretentiously discursive, he was intent and thoughtful. His focus was evident and translated into an impressive sense of impact, with the same kind of raw emotion he brings to his newest film, writer-director David Ayer’s World War II action melodrama Fury, in which LaBeouf wrestles with remorse while serving as part of a tank squadron under the command of Brad Pitt’s character, Don ’Wardaddy’ Collier.”
3. “Fake deaths, cheap resurrections, and dealing with real grief.” For The A.V. Club, a beautiful piece by William Hughes about how his reactions to pop culture changed following the death of his fiancée.
“I’ve become a death elitist in the last few months. I watch actors, analyze scripts, judge the editing and the pacing of death scenes, try to gauge whether anyone involved has a real understanding of grief. The PG-13 rating, which divorces death and violence from blood and consequences, has become my nemesis. It’s not that everything needs to be drab or morose—by all means, Sterling Archer can and should go on as many rampages as he likes—but when a show or movie asks me to feel a death, it had better take it seriously. Nicholas Meyer killing Spock at the end of Wrath Of Khan works, because the characters, and the movie itself, treat it as real. Contrast that with the cowardly handling of Kirk’s ’death’ in Star Trek Into Darkness, with J.J. Abrams and crew milking the moment for fake emotion while desperately foreshadowing that everything’s going to be okay. For Abrams and his writers, death is little more than a screenwriter’s tool to evoke emotion, and that cavalier attitude toward one of the universal human experiences makes everything about his film feel hollow.”
4. “Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real.” The actress’s “new” face has launched a thousand think pieces over the last 24 hours. This one by Slate’s Amanda Hess is one of the more succinct and on-point ones.
“It only took a few years for Zellweger’s ’unconventionally pretty face’ to be recast in the public imagination as just plain ugly. And let’s be clear: Zellweger would not have been praised for ’aging gracefully’ had she showed up Monday night un-nipped. In Hollywood, ’aging gracefully’ is a euphemism for ’good plastic surgery,’ the kind that successfully skirts an unarticulated line between sagging and frozen. (See: Sandra Bullock.) Character actresses like Melissa Leo can grow into great careers later in life, playing hard, complicated broads, but our baby-faced ingénues are specifically prized for their youth; it’s nearly impossible for them to ’get better’ with age. (See also: Meg Ryan.) Zellweger’s last critical hit came out in 2005. Hollywood discarded her a long time ago. So now, she’s returned looking nothing like the old Renée Zellweger—you know, the actress nobody wanted to look at anymore. Can you blame her?”
5. ”Ratatouille and the Incredible Simpsonian Task of 21st Century Animation.” Filmmaker Richard Kelly on the animation that changed his life.
“Ratatouille becomes an indelible hybrid of sitcom workplace comedy, French screwball farce, and inter-species anthropological culture clash. The screenplay is filled with organic twists and turns and increasingly elevated stakes. Bird anthropomorphizes the rats just enough in giving them voices and lovable faces—but the brutal realities that they face are never sugarcoated in the least bit. Humans are constantly trying to kill Remy throughout the film. There is a chilling scene where Remy’s father Django (voiced by Brian Dennehy) takes him to an exterminator’s shop on a dark, rainy Paris street and they stare at dead rat carcasses hanging like trophies in a window.”
Video of the Day: BFI gives 2001: A Space Odyssey a new trailer for the film’s 40th-anniversary rerelease:
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