1. “Sugar, Spice and Guts.” A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis on representation of female characters in movies and how it’s improving.
“Journey is one of the most overused words in movie-speak. One reason are guides like Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need! that borrow heavily from Joseph Campbell, who wrote that whether the hero is ’ridiculous or sublime, Greek or barbarian, gentile or Jew, his journey varies little in essential plan.’ Too bad that in Campbell’s ’monomyth’ that journey is also unequivocally male: ’The woman is life, the hero its knower and master.’ The classic trip has been so historically male that one critic, Eric Leed, gave it a biological spin, labeling it a ’spermatic journey.’ Never mind that every so often a girl or woman—Dorothy, Thelma, Louise or Hushpuppy—hits the road. She gets out of the house and, like a footloose Penelope, weaves an adventure instead of a shroud.”
2. ”Movie Guide Memories.” Leonard Maltin on what his annual Movie Guide has meant to him.
“As some of you may know by now, the 2015 edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, which comes out today, will be the last, after an amazing 45-year run. (I hasten to add that we are happily working on a new edition of our spinoff volume, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, for next year.) Since the news broke online I’ve received a tremendous outpouring of affection for the book and the memories it spurs for people who grew up with it. Many readers have said they can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a copy on their coffee table, nightstand, or even in their bathroom!”
3. “Rosie Perez & Nicolle Wallace To Join The View As New Co-Hosts.” The search is over.
“Final details are still being worked out but I’ve learned that actress Rosie Perez and political commentator Nicolle Wallace are expected to take the vacant seats on The View when the ABC daytime talk show returns for a new season September 15. They would join Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg. Perez and Wallace would succeed co-hosts Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy, who exited last month.”
4. “Poetry in Motion.” In 1963, as the auteurists were claiming ascendancy in the UK, critic Raymond Durgnat was swimming against the tide, helping transform film culture with his far-sighted advocacy of films such as Peeping Tom and Black Sunday.
“Durgnat had ﬁrst discussed Peeping Tom in his Films and Filming series ’Erotism in Cinema’, in which he argued, drawing on Morin’s concept of ’projection-identiﬁcation’, that ’People don’t just see a ﬁlm, they join in, identify, participate’. ’Erotism’ here was not deﬁned in an exclusively sexual way, but rather as something underlying other affective responses: ’large erotic elements, under all sorts of camouflages and metamorphoses, lurk, or rather loom, in entertainment’, as he put it. ’An essential part of ﬁlms like Psycho and Peeping Tom is that the whole pattern of guilt, terror, suspicion, pity, hope-against-hope and so on, is brought into play.’ Later in 1963 he described seeing Powell’s ﬁlm with a regular audience, concentrating on the murder of Moira Shearer’s character. ’In a suburban cinema full of respectable suburban housewives this scene creates extraordinary audience electricity. The victim is so nice, her death morally so atrocious, yet we can’t hate the killer because he’s so much of a victim too, yet we do hate him—the auditorium is full of gasps, chuckles, screams; people physically writhe as they empathise with the victim.’ By disavowing these feelings, by divorcing the sensuous from the cerebral, the puritanical critical establishment had overlooked the ﬁlm’s complexity.”
5. “Patton Oswalt: Why I Quit Twitter—And Will Again.” Maybe the next fashionable rebellion is to become “unlinked”—only reachable face-to-face
“The second and third week weren’t much different, but…they weren’t the same. A couple of times, in line at a grocery store or coffee shop, instead of taking out my phone to stiff-arm the creeping ennui, I’d look around instead. At the world. At the people around me. Most of them looking at their phones. We now inhabit a planet where the majority of the population is constantly staring downwards, entranced, twiddling like carpenter ants. Do pickpockets know they’re living in a second renaissance? Sometimes I’d catch the gaze of a holdout like me. A freak without a phone. Adrift in this gallery of bowed heads. A teenager, whose phone had probably died. Or a slightly older ’millennial,’ probably waiting for a video to load. But they were unique and far between. It was, mostly, people my age, and older—stooped, staring statues, peeping at windows in their palms.”
Video of the Day: Over at Grantland, Wesley Morris and Alex Pappademas talk Prince movies, hacked photos, and more:
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