1. “Bill Murray Interview.” For Variety, Ramin Setoodeh speaks to the actor about St. Vincent, fame, and the “virus” of Oscar season.
“Even if Murray may have a beer with strangers, he won’t be hobnobbing with the press during this year’s awards season, despite the Oscar buzz he’s generating for St. Vincent. Don’t look for him to be joining the other awards-season hopefuls on the campaign trail, either. ’I’ve never done that,’ he says. ’I know that’s something Harvey (Weinstein) does—he forces you to do these things. I’m not that way. If you want an award so much, it’s like a virus. It’s an illness.’ When Murray was nominated for Lost in Translation in 2004, he convinced himself he would take home the Academy Award. ’Six months later, I realized I had taken the virus. I had been infected.’ He says the careers of some of his peers have faltered because of the golden statue. ’People have this post-Oscar blowback,’ he says. ’They start thinking, ‘I can’t do a movie unless it’s Oscar-worthy.’ It just seems people have difficulty making the right choices after that.’”
2. ”San Francisco Bay Guardian Shuts Down.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian weekly newspaper, a leading progressive voice in the city for 48 years, is closing for financial reasons, its publisher said Tuesday.
“’It is the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my 20-year newspaper career,’ said Publisher Glenn Zuehls of the San Francisco Media Co., which has operated the alternative paper since 2012 and also runs the San Francisco Examiner and the SF Weekly. ’San Francisco—and the world—was a very different place when the Bay Guardian began publishing in 1966,’ Zuehls said in a statement. ’Many of the causes the paper championed over the decades have shifted and evolved. The political and social climate of the city, in part as a result of the paper’s coverage, has become more open, transparent and inclusive. The Bay Guardian leaves a legacy as a forceful advocate for social change that will always be a source of pride for everyone who was part of it or who valued its voice in our community.’ The end came in a hurry. Even before the public announcement was made, the newspaper’s website and Facebook page were shut down and all employee e-mail services dumped.”
3. “Getting Jazz Right in the Movies.” Richard Brody on how Whiplash gets jazz wrong.
“But those performances of musicians with a secret are made possible by scripts that don’t rely on index-card psychology, as Whiplash does. Certainly, the movie isn’t ’about’ jazz; it’s ’about’ abuse of power. Fletcher could as easily be demanding sex or extorting money as hurling epithets and administering smacks. Yet Chazelle seems to suggest that Fletcher, for all his likely criminal cruelty, has nonetheless forced Andrew to take responsibility for himself, to make decisions on his own, to prove himself even by rebelling against Fletcher’s authority. There’s nothing in the film to indicate that Andrew has any originality in his music. What he has, and what he ultimately expresses, is chutzpah. That may be very helpful in readying Andrew for a job on television. Whiplash honors neither jazz nor cinema; it’s a work of petty didacticism that shows off petty mastery, and it feeds the sort of minor celebrity that Andrew aspires to. Buddy Rich. Buddy fucking Rich.”
4. “Meaner Streets.” Chris Wisniewski on The Age of Innocence.
“he Age of Innocence unfolds as a portrait of denial and restraint. This may be why it might have seemed upon its release to be so very un-Scorsese like, so incongruous in a filmography brimming with excess and violence. Yet the film’s climax, which begins with Newland and May’s first society dinner party—a farewell party for the Countess Olenska—and concludes with May revealing to Newland that she is pregnant, is surely as violent as anything in the Scorsese oeuvre. Like the other social scenes that precede it, the dinner is carefully choreographed, an exercise in indirect small talk over drinks and delicately plated morsels. Here, though, Woodward’s voiceover betrays the ruthless subtext of the affair, acknowledging that ’New York believed [Newland] to be Madame Olenska’s lover,’ a revelation that casts every movement and gesture in a cruel new light. This simple dinner marks the triumph of social code over desire, propriety over passion—achieved through a silent conspiracy.”
5. “From Outer Space, or Something.” Ismail Muhammad on fantasizing capital in contemporary hip-hop.
“The discourse on hip-hop’s realist tendencies is an old one and is entangled with debates about black authenticity. Critics like Tricia Rose, Imani Perry, Adam Bradley, and Jeff Chang have been parsing rap’s relationship to black ’reality’ for more than 20 years now, posing the question of whether or not, or to what extent, we can consider hip-hop to be a form of ethnic testimony reflecting black socioeconomic experience. Unfortunately, many of these analyses ignore the diverse strands of sound, concept, and content that comprise the ’hip-hop tradition,’ shrinking the music down to an artificial core or golden age. Questlove gives us a prime example: Run-DMC’s socially conscious concern for the struggle makes the cut, but Ace Hood’s dream of waking up in a Bugatti isn’t as true to the golden age as Questlove would like.”
Video of the Day: Well played you dirty little rapscallion:
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