1. “Inside the Midnight Rider Manslaughter: Will Hollywood Learn From the Death of Sarah Jones?” The director of the Gregg Allman biopic is serving 10 years. It’s the first time a U.S. filmmaker has been convicted of a felony for an on-set death.
“[While] Miller’s prison time brings some closure to the Midnight Rider tragedy, it hasn’t necessarily brought satisfaction to the industry. Film workers are being encouraged to report on-set safety violations without fear of reprisal; there’s even an app or two to help them do it. But despite candlelight vigils, walkathons, PSAs, and petitions like the one 62,000 signed to get Sarah Jones’s name added to the 2014 Oscars telecast, practical initiatives to prevent similar accidents from happening have so far eluded the industry’s studios and unions. ’I do not seek revenge, but rather I seek healing from all those involved, including those responsible for my daughter’s death,’ [Sarah] Jones’s father, Richard Jones, said Monday in court. ’At the same time, we cannot send a signal to the film industry that it is OK to disrespect life, to commit such selfish, dangerous acts for the sake of so-called cinematic immunity.’”
2. “Sony just gave Ghostbusters a big, familiar gender problem.” An op-ed by The Dissolve’s Genevieve Koski.
“Having two Ghostbusters, one led by women, one by men, is just a new form of an old sort of brand extension: the distaff counterpart. The Hardy Boys begat Nancy Drew. The Chipmunks begat The Chipettes. Hercules begat Xena. One for the boys, one for the girls, double the merchandising opportunities. Everyone wins, but Sony especially wins—if winning just means making all the money. But with this announcement, Sony has turned what’s unfortunately still a revolutionary action—rebooting a franchise with an all-female cast in place of a male one—into the same sort of tired gender-line toeing that’s kept the entertainment industry chugging for decades.”
3. “Shine On.” Willow Maclay on the transgender allegory in Under the Skin.
“Glazer follows Amy’s birth with another scene typical to transgender experiences. Alienation intersecting with adaptation whilst shopping. Amy finds herself in a new world, and like many trans women she sees what other women around her are doing and tries to mirror their behaviour. Glazer punctuates this scene with banal images of women trying on make up and looking at clothes, so Amy does the same thing. She turns over a simple pink top and examines lipstick. What’s wonderful about this scene is how he plays it for both its mundaneness and its exploration. For trans women, the idea of clothes shopping for yourself for the first time is often fraught with confusion. When I first went shopping, I know that I bought the first things that I saw that fit well enough and got in and out as fast as I could because it was such an alien experience. It was an entirely new world, one that I felt like I should have always been a part of, but was new and scary nonetheless. It’s a really simplistic scene, but it captures those feelings of unsureness remarkably well. Amy doesn’t linger either, and the minimal amount of clothing and make up she purchases represents that cluelessness that comes with diving in head first to fashion without knowing much of anything on the subject. He closes this moment with Amy putting on lipstick just like all the women she saw in the store. She examines herself in her compact to make sure her face is just right. It’s her first learned behaviour in adapting to what society thinks a woman should do.”
4. “Melanie Lynskey on Togetherness, realism and ’radical’ nudity.” From Heavenly Creatures to HBO’s Togetherness, the New Zealand actor reflects on what 20 years—and Charlie Sheen—have taught her about showbusiness.
“I saw the speech that Sam Smith gave at the Grammys. He said that he was trying to look like a pop star, he was trying to lose weight and he was trying to write songs from a different perspective. He was ashamed of being gay; he was ashamed of being chubby. The moment that he accepted that he had this voice and all he could do was be himself the songs started pouring out of him. I thought: ’Wow!’ So don’t be ashamed of anything that’s happened to you. Don’t be ashamed of your struggles, or your challenges, or the things about you that you think make it hard for you to fit in because those are the places where you’re gonna find your voice and those are going to be the stories that are going to be yours, that nobody else is going to be able to tell. And that’s what the world needs.”
5. “iSpy.” For The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley on the C.I.A. campaign to steal Apple’s secrets.
“Researchers working with the Central Intelligence Agency have conducted a multi-year, sustained effort to break the security of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, according to top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept. The security researchers presented their latest tactics and achievements at a secret annual gathering, called the ’Jamboree,’ where attendees discussed strategies for exploiting security flaws in household and commercial electronics. The conferences have spanned nearly a decade, with the first C.I.A.-sponsored meeting taking place a year before the first iPhone was released. By targeting essential security keys used to encrypt data stored on Apple’s devices, the researchers have sought to thwart the company’s attempts to provide mobile security to hundreds of millions of Apple customers across the globe. Studying both ’physical’ and ’non-invasive’ techniques, U.S. government-sponsored research has been aimed at discovering ways to decrypt and ultimately penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware. This could enable spies to plant malicious code on Apple devices and seek out potential vulnerabilities in other parts of the iPhone and iPad currently masked by encryption. The C.I.A. declined to comment for this story.”
Video of the Day: Kent Jones on François Truffaut and his influences:
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