1. “Bill Cosby Drugged Me. This Is My Story.” Beverly Johnson, in her own words, on how Cosby took her power and how she’s now taken it back.
“As I wrestled with the idea of telling my story of the day Bill Cosby drugged me with the intention of doing God knows what, the faces of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other brown and black men took residence in my mind. As if I needed to be reminded. The current plight of the black male was behind my silence when Barbara Bowman came out to tell the horrific details of being drugged and raped by Cosby to the Washington Post in November. And I watched in horror as my longtime friend and fellow model Janice Dickinson was raked over the coals for telling her account of rape at Cosby’s hands. Over the years I’ve met other women who also claim to have been violated by Cosby. Many are still afraid to speak up. I couldn’t sit back and watch the other women be vilified and shamed for something I knew was true.”
2. ”’That’s Just a Good Sound.’” For Wondering Sound, Glenn Kenny interviews Paul Thomas Anderson on the music in his movies.
“Another prominent song in the movie was easier to come by: ’The Touch,’ which Mark Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler and John C. Reilly’s Reed Rothchild, porn studs and wannabe rock stars, mutilate during a recording session. The Stan Bush song was originally featured on the soundtrack of the 1986 animated Transformers movie, notorious, among other things, for being the last motion picture to which Orson Welles lent his talents (he was the voice of Unicron). ’Buying the soundtrack to the Transformers movie was the first time I ever bought something for no good reason,’ Anderson recalls. ’Well, no, there was a good reason: the album was 50 cents and I remember thinking that was a bargain, because there’s got to be something worth hearing on this weird soundtrack.’ In recent months observant cinephiles have noted the amusing coincidence that Wahlberg recently played the lead in, yes, a Transformers movie. ’I think ’The Touch’ is the opening track on that soundtrack,’ Anderson says, ’and I sure got my money’s worth! ‘The Touch’ is the gift that keeps on giving. It has legs, clearly.’”
3. “Novelist and Screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis (The Canyons) Talks Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice.” One of Thomas Pynchon’s novels is finally brought to the big screen, but can even of the greatest American cinematic visionaries do it justice?
“Anderson’s epic vision of Southern California in movie after movie is one of modern cinema’s key accomplishments—the scope is a marvel. But the audience for Inherent Vice is not going to be rapturously discussing it this Christmas—the harsh words I heard behind me as I left the screening last week have been echoed all over the place when I ask people who have seen it what they thought, and the pre-release take-down of it around L.A. is as surprising to me as when I told people I really liked Interstellar and was yelled at. I think it will take a little while for Inherent Vice to land. And there is the fleeting thought that it might never land with an audience—that audiences have moved beyond the subtlety and complexity of Anderson’s searching moral vision, looking for something more obvious and feel-good and identifiable—the dreadful needs of the mass (and even mass art-house) audience. But I’m not sure Anderson cares, which is what makes him an artist. Inherent Vice is probably not going to make any money and I love it for that.”
4. “The Best Movies of 2014.” At least according to The New Yorker’s Richard Brody.
“While Hollywood used to signify a spectacular vulgarity, the influential American cinema now has a stifling and well-meaning tastefulness. It features conspicuously well-mannered cinematography and theatrically by-the-number acting. The movies are full of ruefully thoughtful contemplation and exact determinations of character traits that are ready to be extrapolated from minutely calibrated dialogue and action. It’s no longer Hollywood that spreads its styles around the world; it’s now off-Hollywood, the safe independent cinema and its award winners. The homogenized international style runs from Sundance around the world. The patron saint of the new world cinema is John Sayles, but without his purity, clarity, and ardent sense of purpose.”
5. “How Peter Jackson ruined The Hobbit.” Robbie Collin in how the films have lost sight of the depth and richness that made J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit work.
“The Battle of the Five Armies runs for 144 minutes, during which time it covers the six final chapters, or 47 pages, of Tolkien’s book. At a storytelling rate of just over three minutes per page, this makes it the slowest-moving part of the trilogy by some margin, even though it’s also the shortest. The battle itself takes forever to start, and then takes forever to stop. Tolkien’s masterstroke was to boil it down to almost nothing at all, capturing the tragic grandeur of the scene in prose as tightly wound as haiku. ’The clouds were torn by the wind, and a red sunset slashed the West,’ he writes, as the goblin armies close in on the Longbeards’ treasure-hoard: an epic scene made personal and visceral. But for the most part, Jackson zooms out as far as he can, whirling his camera round towers and mountain-tops, confusing scale with spectacle.”
Video of the Day: Noam Chomsky on Syria, China, Capitalism, and Ferguson:
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