1. “Israeli filmmakers call for ceasefire.” A group of Israeli film-makers took a stand against the current political conflict today at an emotional press conference at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
“We, the undersigned, Israeli directors whose films participate in the Jerusalem Film Festival, believe that in these violent days, it is impossible to talk only about cinema while ignoring the killing and horrifying events around us. We are scared too. Some of us are parents. Our children are terrified of the code red sirens and of the thundering sounds of warfare. We do not seek revenge and do not believe in a military solution; this has proven futile in the past. Children in Gaza do not enjoy the protection of the Iron Dome systems. They have no residential secured spaces, and no sirens. hildren living in Gaza today are our partners in peace tomorrow. The killing and horror we inflict only push any diplomatic solution further away.”
2. “Miss American Dream.” How Britney Spears went to Vegas and became a feminist role model. No, really.
“I’d like to submit a different theory: What if this is a personal song? The song’s sentiments are certainly the only ones in current pop that I can relate to. Its message is that nothing comes easily, that you can’t keep your kids in private school and your community gated and your ex-husband in his nation-building ambitions without work. Britney isn’t the fuck-up we decided she was during a relatively short but well-publicized period of her life. She drops off her kids and picks them up from school just about every day. She shows up on time, hits every mark, is polite and soft-spoken. She rehearses five or six hours every day, saying, ’Let’s run through it one more time.’ Britney works. So, are we prepared to dismiss our preconceived notions of her as some sad gum-chewing has-been to make room for another interpretation? What if Britney has somehow become a feminist role model for single working mothers here and everywhere?”
3. “Kaiju Shakedown: So Much Sex!” For Film Comment, Grady Hendrix on sex in Chinese cinema.
“Looking to lure butts into seats by offering what television couldn’t, and inspired by what was going on in the clubs, the ’animal comedies’ started spurting up on screen. Cheap, fast, tacky, and tasteless, they were about a bunch of guys lusting after the same girl and vying to get her in bed first. How a Strange Hero Thrice Teased an Unruly Girl (68), O.K. (69), Lucky Seven (70), Lucky Seven Strike Again (70), and Triangular Round Bed (70) were basically the forerunners of many far more family-friendly comedies of the Eighties. As the actresses (usually Tina Ti or Lee Hung) bedded politicians, blackmailed them into giving them cash, and lured them away from their wives, they demonstrated a hardheaded business sense, kneeling before their beds and praying ’This bed is like a vessel of money’ before making whoopee. Meanwhile, the guys spied on them in the showers, drooled over them, stared at their breasts, and hid in closets. It was all pretty chaste, especially compared to what would come later, and scenes of actual lovemaking were almost nonexistent.”
4. “Tori Amos Goes Under The Covers With Miley Cyrus, Madonna And Metallica.” The Huffington Post sat down with the singer in New York City to chat about how she chooses the covers, why guys in metal bands really get her, that one time she called Morrissey a “small-dick motherfucker” and more.
“This girl had been asking me for it and asking me for it and asking me for it and I’d been thinking, OK. Yeah. Let me get my head around it. And then she told me in a different city that she had a muscle issue she was dealing with and all of a sudden the poetry lined up. She is so beautiful—so beautiful—and I’m not talking about on the inside, she’s stunning. She’s a looker. And you wouldn’t realize that she’s going through this and all of a sudden the muses said to me ’the muscles are frozen.’ From that moment, the song was for her. She was bringing her parents that night in Amsterdam and it all came together at soundcheck and I told the crew, ’Let’s work this out.’ She had been to a few shows and sometimes when the young ones come out, I don’t know if they’re leaving school to come or what but I don’t want their parents to think I’m [cult leader] Jim Jones because that isn’t my thing [laughs]! I’m not handing out space cakes to people at the stage door… you see what I’m saying. So I wanted the parents to also feel like their daughter’s request was being met. But I had no idea people would respond to it. I didn’t have a way in to ’Frozen’ until it all came together with why she was asking me for that but she told me afterward that she hadn’t been asking me for it for that reason.”
5. “Atlantic City Strives to Rise as Casinos Fall.” Charles V. Bagli, for the New York Times, on a major American city’s struggle to reinvent itself.
“Over the Fourth of July weekend, this town was packed. Hotel occupancy soared to 95 percent, and shoppers coursed through the outlet stores opposite Trump Plaza. At Revel, the city’s newest casino resort, the lively, dressed-up crowd gazed out through the floor-to-ceiling glass to see the surfers riding the day’s last waves onto the wide beach. But the booming weekend belied the wrenching problems plaguing this New Jersey resort. In the winter and even midweek in the summer, Atlantic City—battered by storms, declining property values and, increasingly, crushing competition from gambling operations in neighboring states—is relatively quiet. Since January, four of the city’s 12 casinos announced plans to shut down if they failed to find buyers. In the latest blow, workers at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino received notices on Monday that the white-towered complex with the bright red letters was expected to lock its doors as soon as Sept. 16. The Atlantic Club is already closed, and Showboat and Revel would close in late summer. The four represent 25 percent of the city’s casino work force: more than 8,000 jobs that could be lost, according to union leaders.”
Video of the Day: Weird Al is “Tacky”:
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