1. “Deconstructing Angelina Jolie.” The mystery, mayhem that make Angelina Jolie one of our few remaining true movie stars.
“When you listen to the women who don’t like Angelina Jolie, it’s impossible not to hear something in their voices that tells you they consider her a threat to all those nice, sensitive girls. But we’d already seen evidence of that on screen. No action heroine of Jolie’s will ever commit a killing as lethal and thorough as the one Jolie administered to Winona Ryder in Girl, Interrupted. Cast in a supporting role in Ryder’s pet project—The Bell Jar as princess fantasy—Jolie, as the bad girl, without breaking a sweat, stomped all over the picture’s moon-eyed, poetic suffering leading lady. It was akin to hearing the Sex Pistols in 1977 and believing, for a moment, that you’d never have to listen to the Eagles again.”
2. “James Gray: American Cinema’s Secret Jewel.” Bilge Ebiri on the director of The Immigrant.
“Troubled releases. Reluctant distributors. A somewhat uninterested public. This happens often with Gray, whose films are feted in Europe—2007’s We Own the Night and 2008’s Two Lovers were both nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Cesars, France’s answer to the Oscars—but vanish when they come to the U.S. Speaking during a recent visit to New York, Gray, now 45, doesn’t pretend to have any answers, but he seems fairly Zen about it all. ’Truth be told, all of the films I’ve made have been pretty mixed in their response,’ he says, regarding his films’ U.S. fates. ’Of course, I have people who tell me or write me letters and stuff, which is very gratifying later on, but it’s not particularly helpful for the films when they come out.’ He seems resigned to the fact that he is one of those directors notorious for being liked by the French while getting ignored at home. ’It is what it is,’ he shrugs.”
3. “Wrestling with Louie, Part 1.” Matt Zoller Seitz wonders if Louie C.K. is trolling the Internet.
“I won’t go so far as to say that Louis C.K. is trolling his audience by parceling out the episodes this way—and I’d rather not ask him about it right now, because even if he answered the question, I’d rather have a pure reaction to whatever he’s attempting in season four. But the thought has occurred to me at various points during Louie’s run. It occurred to me again last week when I glanced at the show’s episode guide and realized we have to wait two weeks for ’Pamela Part 2’ and ’Pamela Part 3.’ C.K. showed us a profound romantic rejection which led into a fairly withering bit of stand-up about men and women and sexism and entitlement, which in turn led into Louie’s attempted rape (if the episode did not want us to think of it as rape, it would not have repeatedly used the word).”
4. “Tales of Army Discord Show Tiananmen Square in a New Light.” Tiananmen Square, 25 years later.
“Even after a quarter-century, the night of bloodshed remains one of the most delicate subjects in Chinese politics, subjected to unrelenting attempts by the authorities to essentially erase it from history. Yet even now, new information is emerging that modifies the accepted understanding of that divisive event. At the time, Deng Xiaoping, the party patriarch who presided over the crackdown, praised the military for its unflinching loyalty, and the image of a ruthlessly obedient army lingers even in some foreign accounts. But the military speeches and reports composed before June 4 that year, and in the months after, show soldiers troubled by misgivings, confusion, rumors and regrets about the task assigned to them.”
5. “When Global Warming Kills Your God.” Twenty-three Alaskan tribesmen broke the law when they overfished king salmon, but they claim their faith gave them no other choice.
“They came up with seven hypotheses for the decline. Natural cycles are cited, but the report returns again and again to climate change. Rivers are breaking up earlier along their routes, sending more vulnerable juveniles out into the ocean. Changing ocean currents may be spreading disease. There are shifts in other species in the food chain upon which the salmon depend. Warmer waters are depleting the energy of the fish, causing higher mortality rates along the migration route. The impact of each of these factors is currently unknown.”
Video of the Day: Unboxing Gwyneth Paltrow’s head:
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