1. “Matthew Weiner Talks About Mad Men’s Next and Final Season.” He speaks with the Vulture about where Don is now, and why this will definitively be the end.
“It’ll be ten months, not to split hairs, but it’s a little less than a year. But, yeah, I was immediately surprised to realize that they should have some independent strength to them, these two halves. It is one story running across. Much of what is set up in much in the first seven episodes is paid off in the last seven as we do traditionally, but the stories are denser and the first seven episodes are their own arc. What I realized is that this is kind of organic to how we tell the story here. If you look at the episode sevens over the course of the series, ’The Suitcase,’ ’The Lawnmower,’ ’The Gold Violin,’ ’The Merger,’ which was episode six but it was hour seven—we always split the season in half because that’s the midpoint for me. What I discovered is I better make sure episode eight feels like a premiere and episode seven feels like a finale.”
2. “Are Malls Over?” Amy Merrick wonders if the mall is becoming a historical anachronism.
“Reinventing malls—and the stores that they house—might not be as straightforward as it seems. For all his shortcomings, Ron Johnson, the much criticized former C.E.O. of J. C. Penney, understood the warnings. He reënvisioned J. C. Penney stores, with their enormous—and enormously dated—open spaces, as places for people not only to shop but to hang out, drink coffee, and surf the Internet. His remodelling blueprints called for a ’street’ inside each store leading to a spacious ’square’ that could host yoga classes and other events. But there were two problems with the plan: sales were falling too quickly to support the tremendous renovation costs, and, even if J. C. Penney could have covered the expenses, the stores would have remained stuck in old-fashioned malls. In that sense, Johnson’s previous job running Apple’s retail stores was far simpler—just plunk down a gleaming glass cube on the most profitable shopping streets around the world. Now under new leadership, J. C. Penney has completed only a fraction of the remodelling plans.”
3. “Czech Filmmaker Vera Chytilova Dies at 85.” She was one of the leading filmmakers of the new wave of Czechoslovak cinema in the 1960s.
“Czech film director Vera Chytilova, one of the leading filmmakers of the new wave of Czechoslovak cinema in the 1960s, has died. She was 85. Czech public radio and television, citing relatives, say Chytilova died Wednesday in Prague after battling an unspecified illness for several years. Chytilova’s highly acclaimed farcical comedy Daisies from 1966 proved her reputation as a provocateur and helped establish her as an artistic force at home and abroad. Like the movies of other new Czech directors of the time, it represented a radical departure from socialist realism, a typical communist-era genre focusing on realistically depicting the working class’ troubles.”
4. “News form Space.” J. Hoberman on two exhibitions featuring art inspired by old sci-fi films.
“As was supposedly the case in the Communist societies in which many of the artists were born, the concept rules. Occupying the museum’s narrow top floor, ’Report’ feels at once cramped and empty. Signage is notably minimal and intentionally difficult to understand. This is not what one would call a viewer-friendly show—although on one weekend visit I observed a sprinkling of families with young children, perhaps drawn by the show’s scientific, or science-fictional, themes. Their presence added to the general bafflement.”
5. “Keynote: The teenage utopia of Dazed And Confused, in 10 screenshots.” Noel Murray discovers the gist of Richard Linklater’s classic in 10 pictures.
“Unlike Slacker, Dazed And Confused does have some semblance of a plot, following different groups of rising seniors and rising freshman on the last day of school in a small Texas town in 1976. While the freshmen are trying to avoid getting paddled and/or humiliated by the seniors—who haze the new kids in keeping with longstanding traditions—the seniors are trying to find a new place to party after their original location gets shut down by nosy parents, and the high school’s star quarterback Randall “Pink” Floyd (played by Jason London) is considering whether he’ll sign an “I promise to abstain from drugs and alcohol” pledge for his coach. Linklater follows each of these storylines through to the end, though ultimately he’s less interested in the narrative of Dazed And Confused than he is in getting 1976 right, getting Texas right, and getting adolescence right.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for this year’s New Directors/New Films:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.