1. “Building a Bigger Action Hero” A mere six-pack doesn’t cut it in Hollywood anymore. Today’s male stars need 5 percent body fat, massive pecs, and the much-coveted inguinal crease—regardless of what it takes to get there.
“The last-minute pump comes right before the cameras roll. Philip Winchester, the hero of Cinemax’s action series Strike Back, recalls seeing the technique for the first time on the set of Snatch: ’Hundreds of extras were standing around,’ he recalls, ’and Brad Pitt would drop down and do 25 push-ups before each scene. I thought, “Why is he showing off?”’ Then Winchester figured it out. ’I realized he was just jacking himself up: getting blood flowing to the muscles. I’d always wondered, “How do actors look so jacked all the time?” Well, they don’t. Now we ask: Is it a push-up scene? When I shot that Strike Back poster, I was doing push-ups like a madman, saying, “Take the picture now! Take it now!”’”
2. “Quentin Tarantino’s Staged Hateful Eight Reading Reveals Pic Not Dead Yet.” Regardless of how Hateful Eight lives on, the crowd loved the show they saw tonight—especially the hands-on onstage narration and direction from Tarantino.
“Despite the controversy and legal action surrounding the leaked script, which Gawker put online in January, tonight’s Film Independent Presents the World Premiere of a Staged Reading by Quentin Tarantino: The Hateful Eight, as it was formally titled, also revealed that the big-screen version might not be as shelved as the director first told my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. on January 21. ’I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft, but we’re reading from the first draft,’ Tarantino, wearing a black Stetson and red ribbed cowboy shirt, said to the 1,200 patrons in the almost SRO theater before the performance started. (The well-heeled crowd included longtime Tarantino producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.) ’The Chapter 5 here will not be the Chapter 5 later, so this will be the only time it is seen ever.’”
3. “Bombast: Rebirth.” Mr. Nick “Bombastic” Pinkerton brings his popular column to Film Comment.
“The failure to recognize genius, sadly, is not the only one of the past’s follies. The canon is clotted with overinflated reputations, and this column will act as the needleprick that reduces them to baggy, flaccid nothingness. Right down to the present day, the history of cinema is a parade of Emperors without clothes, their path lined by fawning courtiers. This column will stand entirely alone in stepping out from the crowd to say, ’Hey, take a good look, everyone else! That Emperor, who believes himself to be bedecked in fine raiment, in fact has no clothes!’ I intend to use the exact phrase ’The Emperor has no clothes’ very frequently, in fact, and hopefully its impact will in no way be diminished by repetition.”
4. “The Endless Push and Pull of Lindsay Lohan’s Reality Show.” Kim Morgan reflects on Lindsay.
“The paparazzi seem less the issue. On Lindsay, she seems more overwhelmed by little things, like the missing bedding she can’t locate after she unpacks her belongings, baffled that the delivery drivers can’t just fish through a fully packed semi, despite the fact that it would take them hours. This doesn’t make her so much a diva, but more a dizzy movie star, a screwball who taxes everyone’s patience. She’s charming and also really fucking annoying. She knows exactly what she’s doing and then…she loses something. Like a white couch. She’s a delightful little pain in the ass.”
5. “Eleven Visits to the Sky.” J. Hoberman on Manakamana.
“Manakamana’s own spectacle of humans and animals in space—some perhaps contemplating eternity, others simply marveling at the landscape around the temple—lends itself to allegory. Are we watching something like the transmigration of souls? Manakamana has a certain resemblance to Standish Lawder’s 1970 Necrology, a fixed-camera structural film that used a telephoto lens to document stoical commuters on a crowded down-escalator at Grand Central Station and ran the film in reverse to suggest ascension into the afterlife. Unlike Necrology, Manakamana is airy, detailed, and filled with unexpected bits of business.”
Video of the Day: HBO teases a clip from the final season of True Blood:
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