1. “James Garner Dead at 86.” Gene Seymour remember the film and television legend.
“He was the logical synthesis of John Wayne and Jack Benny. Interlace the Duke’s measured drawl and virile swagger with Benny’s comic timing and shrewd use of wordless exasperation, and you have James Garner, who died Saturday night in Los Angeles at 86. His persona: Laid-back pragmatist…or, if you needed to be a tad more provocative about it, coolly principled coward. It endeared him to generations of moviegoers and television viewers. Garner’s most cherished roles shared, to varying degrees, a bent gallantry that saw little need to advertise or flaunt itself before others. In his entry on The Rockford Files—the 1974-80 TV series in which Garner played a perennially, often unjustly besieged private detective living in a trailer—Gene Sculatti’s The Catalog of Cool summed up ’Gentleman Jim’s beat message: Very few expenditures of energy are worth the effort. Like Zen, man.’”
2. ”’Bye Sierra’: A Slightly Angry Queer Response to the Sierra Mannie Controversy.” Anthony Michael D’Agostino in response to “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture.”
“You’re wrong, though. The idea that only people born as women generate, and therefore own exclusively, femininity is probably one of the more outlandish of homophobic ideologies. Genderqueer, m-to-f transsexuals, and feminine gay men exist in their own right, Sierra. Feminine gay men don’t, as you say, merely ’adopt’ or ape women’s behaviors and mannerisms. The truth of the matter is that some men are as authentically feminine as some women. And some feminine men who are white grow up around black people who are feminine, so, yeah, their femininity might seem a little ’black’ to you. Really not their fault. Really none of your business. This is to say, your heterodominant feminist fantasy of owning ’womanhood’ is not the reality of queer people or feminine men. Femininity is theirs also and it is not for you to allow or deny their gender expression.”
3. ”Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces Makes You See Fire Walk with Me in a Different Way.” David Lynch unveiled nearly 90 minutes of deleted and extended scenes from his 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me at a Los Angeles theater last night. It was intense and weird.
” These deleted scenes range from the bizarre to the truly heartbreaking; they shine a stark light on Laura’s relationships with those around her, including the dynamic at play between her, her fragile mother (Grace Zabriskie), and her father, and that with Donna Hayward (Moira Kelly, replacing the show’s Lara Flynn Boyle), her far more innocent best friend. One sequence depicts Laura at the Haywards’ house and reveals a sad longing for a sense of normalcy, one glimpsed in the easy intimacy between Dr. Will Hayward (Warren Frost), Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel), and Donna…which is at odds with the horror unfolding at Laura’s house. While the film goes to great lengths to capture the trauma experienced by Laura, there are scenes of exquisite happiness as well, such as when Leland, Sarah, and Laura join hands to recite a Norwegian phrase (’Hello! How are you? My name is Leland/Laura/Sarah.’) around the dining room table. These light and playful scenes—Sarah’s crazy laugh alone makjng it worth inclusion—are in stark contrast to the pain and sorrow of many of Laura’s other scenes, including one in the Briggs’ basement in which she begs Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) for cocaine in order to dull the constant horror of her life. “
4. “How Bernardo Bertolucci Found Himself.” Bilge Ebiri speaks with the legendary Italian director.
“Bertolucci’s control over his frame is legendary, but so too is his openness to his actors: He practically let Marlon Brando walk off with Last Tango in Paris, letting the graying actor improvise for pages on end. ’The person who acts a character gives life and flesh to what was written, and so much more comes with that,’ Bertolucci says. ’When I shoot, I try to feel the body and the face and the weight of the actor, because the character until that moment is only in the pages of the script. And very often, I pull from the life of my actors. I’m always curious about what these characters and these actors are hiding about their lives.’ In Me and You, that manifested itself in Olivia’s former career as a photographer. (Like Bertolucci, who won a major prize for his poetry at age 19, Olivia also won an important literary prize as a teenager.) ’When we shot the movie, Tea Falco showed me some of her photographs,’ Bertolucci says. ’She’s a real artist. She did all these ironical self-portraits. So it came from her own life, this piece of experience. In the script there is nothing about that. I often like to quote Jean Renoir, who said, ’Always leave a door open on the set.’ Because reality has to come in through that door.’”
5. “Woody Allen on Magic in the Moonlight, the Crisis in Gaza, and Those Allegations.” The Magic in the Moonlight filmmaker discussed his latest romantic comedy, the late Elaine Stritch, his desire to make a movie starring himself and Louis C.K., and more.
“More terribleness. Ever since I can remember, when I was 21 years old, they were telling me, ’Peace is around the corner between the Arabs and Israelis. The next generation. Right now, there’s a lot of bitterness, but with time, new generations will grow up and be more peaceful with each other.’ This would go on and on and on, and in the end, nothing’s changed. This situation remains tragic and terrible, and the leaders in Israel and the leaders in the Arab world have not been able to come to an agreement. It’s a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself—but I say that without knowing that it will. I hope that it will, but it seems, at this point, that nobody on either side is ready, willing, and able to. But I feel that the Arabs were not very nice in the beginning, and that was a big problem. The Jews had just come out of a terrible war where they were exterminated by the millions and persecuted all over Europe, and they were given this tiny, tiny piece of land in the desert. If the Arabs had just said, ’Look, we know what you guys have been through, take this little piece of land and we’ll all be friends and help you,’ and the Jews came in peace, but they didn’t. They were not nice about it, and it led to problems, and over the years, both sides have made mistakes. There’ve been public relations mistakes, actual mistakes, and it’s been a terrible, terrible cycle of mismanagement and bad faith.”
Video of the Day: Check out some Benedict Cumberbatch peacocking in this teaser trailer for The Imitation Game:
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