1. “Ellar Coltrane Spent 12 Years Acting for Richard Linklater. Now What?” Boris Kachka chats with the star of Boyhood.
“Ellar’s boyhood bore little resemblance to Mason’s—his strikingly free-range adolescence was more of a millennial update on the Austin slacker archetype familiar from Linklater’s other movies—but young Ellar didn’t always distinguish between the set and the world. Only after seeing the movie did he realize that he’d watched one particularly exciting Astros game, complete with a serendipitous home run, not with his own dad but with Ethan Hawke. He also began to see how deeper currents in his own life were reflected in Mason’s—especially his own parents’ divorce and tensions with a stepfather. ’I don’t know how much I talked to Rick about that, but I’m sure he saw it,’ says Coltrane.”
2. “Margot, Not at the Wedding.” La Reine Margot recasts the 16th-century queen as a prisoner not of religion but of love—and class.
“In a Miramax memo dated 1992, when it seemed unlikely his 1994 movie, La Reine Margot (an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s 1845 novel), would ever be made because of its cost, Patrice Chereau writes, ’It will be anything, perhaps, but a period piece.’ The late director was not interested in papal pomp and circumstance or in reimagining the Louvre in its 16th-century glory; rather, he wanted to show how religious wars have long played out at home and how fraught as exemplar a titled woman’s sexuality is. Chereau’s chosen narrative—Margot’s dooming passion for a soldier on the opposing side, serving as either impetus or shield for her class transgression—could be applied to many other times, other places, far from the plague—ridden Parisian streets. We are familiar with the feminized burden of survival. We know, from West Side-type story after story, that no house can be built on such a divide. The aristocratic beauty loses her love, only to live out her new ideals solo; her formal marriage empty, her family morally corrupt. When you think of a brave king, you think of an army behind him. Not so his consort, if equally brave. Marguerite Duras gave, in The Lover, a perfect summation of the femme rebel: ’Alone, queen-like. Their disgrace is a matter of course.’”
3. “Vladimir Nabokov’s Unpublished Lolita Notes. Vice has the scoop.
“Every two weeks or so, Nabokov and Kubrick would meet to discuss the author’s progress, and Nabokov was bemused by the director’s increasing reticence: ’By midsummer,’ he recalled in his foreword, ’I did not feel quite sure whether Kubrick was serenely accepting whatever I did or silently rejecting everything.’ It’s possible the man was daunted by the sheer abundance of Nabokov’s imagination; in any event, when presented with a 400-page first draft, Kubrick was emboldened to point out that such a film would likely run almost seven hours: too long, even by art-house standards. Obligingly Nabokov cut his script to a more manageable length (’Prologue, 10 [minutes]; Act One, 40; Act Two, 30; Act Three, 50’), and Kubrick said it was fine. During their last meeting, on September 25, 1960, Kubrick showed Nabokov some photographs of the actress Sue Lyon—’a demure nymphet of fourteen or so,’ Nabokov observed, a little deploringly, though Kubrick assured him that she ’could be easily made to look younger and grubbier’ for the part of Lolita.”
4. “A century later, why does Chaplin still matter?” Ignatiy Vishnevetsky provides an answer.
“Chaplin was an unconventional perfectionist whose meticulousness was wholly focused on creating and sustaining an emotional pitch. The best example comes at the end of City Lights, a sublime shot/reverse shot that cuts back and forth between the flower girl and the Tramp. It’s a testament to what critic Dave Kehr once called Chaplin’s ability to turn ’fragments into emotional wholes.’ The scene is engrossing and deeply moving—and yet there’s zero continuity between the two angles. In the hands of most filmmakers, it would be disjointed, but the way in which Chaplin’s reaction—a slow, half-embarrassed smile, which he covers up with his hand—plays off of Cherrill’s creates a sense of emotional continuity that makes technical continuity irrelevant.”
5. “Lucky Punks.” Wesley Morris on Clint Eastwood’s flat, strange, but not totally unlikable Jersey Boys.
“Eastwood isn’t the first great American director to hit his head on a musical wall. Robert Altman made Popeye. John Huston made Annie. And Jersey Boys isn’t a movie that leaves you with the sense that Valli meant to Eastwood what, say, Charlie Parker did. Eastwood made Bird almost 26 years ago, when he was 58. The film didn’t work, but the atmosphere of jazz had gotten to him. He tried to get inside the music, the drug addiction, and Parker—too opaque a genius for easy entry—kindly spit Eastwood out. The movie was full of clichés, but you watch it convinced the man who made it had no idea that they were. As a director, it all seemed new to him—the stage sweats, the night sweats—and it both charged up his filmmaking and mellowed it out.”
Video of the Day: Robin Thicke wants Paula Patton back:
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