1. “Richard Corliss: 1944 - 2015” To any fan or friend who would ask whether a new movie was “worth seeing.” Time film critic Richard Corliss had a stock, succinct reply: “Everything is worth seeing.” He meant it.
“Film critics can sometimes be intimidating figures: self-assured, cynical, crusaders for an overlooked masterpiece one week, debunkers of your favorite movie the next. Richard Corliss, Time’s movie critic for the past 35 years, conveyed nothing so much as the sheer joy of watching movies—and writing about them. He savored it all: the good, the bad, the indifferent. Except that he was indifferent to nothing. To any fan or friend who would ask whether a new movie was ’worth seeing,’ Corliss had a stock, succinct reply: ’Everything is worth seeing.’ He meant it. For Time, he was an indestructible, inexhaustible resource. He wrote some 2,500 reviews and other articles for the magazine, including more than two dozen cover stories. He covered, at various times, theater and television, wrote about theme parks and Las Vegas shows, contributed cover stories on topics as far afield as yoga and Rush Limbaugh. And as Time’s longest-serving movie critic (and perhaps the magazine’s most quoted writer of all time), he was a perceptive, invaluable guide through three and a half decades of Hollywood films, stars and trends.”
2. “The Films In His Life.” Nick Pinkerton on Tsai Ming-liang’s Goodbye Dragon Inn.
“And this is, above all, a film about going to the movies; returning to Truffaut, one might call Goodbye, Dragon Inn Tsai’s Day for Night, though the more aquatically inclined Taiwanese director, whose oeuvre is so thoroughly drenched in metaphorical waterlogging, imagines films not as trains passing in the night, but as monstrous frigates, unmoored and adrift, which carry their human cargo on a dark free-float. The stowaway-haunted interior of the Fu-Ho, where boys float and brush past each other like buoys, is a ramble of aimless corridors and storage rooms crowded by sagging, soggy cardboard. All of the walls here seem to be the same aquamarine shade of abandoned swimming pools, every corner is stained with dark tendrils of water damage, and everything contributes to the overall appearance of some great vessel’s hull, where the all-pervading, echoing soundtrack of Dragon Inn approximates the moans of a pressurized below-deck. This ship’s off on an under-booked farewell cruise, and the desolate few spread across this space made for the accommodation of thousands, clustering together then ricocheting apart, are fine material for Tsai’s delicately orchestrated tableaux of touch-and-go souls. But so much negative space is also bound to take on a palpable presence of its own, and when one of the Fu-Ho’s occupants finally speaks, almost halfway through the film’s running time, it’s no surprise that it’s to inquire, ’Did you know this theater is haunted?’”
3. “Blake Lively Lives Forever.” Richard Brody on The Age of Adaline.
“[J. Mills] Goodloe and [Salvador] Paskowitz work very hard to make the details of the intricate story mesh. The practicalities that go into disappearing and reappearing, into slipping out of one existence and into another, all the while keeping enough of a toehold at home, are sketched lightly—too lightly; their labors appear to have gone into keeping that complex mechanism functioning, and their vision of romantic connection is a grab bag of comfortable clichés. They and Krieger do virtually nothing with the weight of knowledge that Jennie/Adaline, with her youthful bearing, has accumulated. Her century of experience hardly seems to have marked her at all (except that she’s very good at Trivial Pursuit). It’s exactly the opposite of David Fincher’s passionately realized fascination with history and trauma in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a fantasy of time-distortion that’s the opposite of Adaline in another way, too—its extreme dependence on special effects to conjure its impossible vision.”
4. “Liars’ Club.” Wesley Morris on About Elly, The Age of Adaline, and True Story, three movies about hiding the truth.
“What’s the opposite of stealing a movie? Putting it back? Looking the other way? Laziness? Whatever it is, that’s where I am with James Franco. Lately, he’s like a tennis player who can’t put a ball in the service box. The wrong thing comes off him: contempt. It doesn’t come from the characters he plays, but rather is directed at them. He’s judging them before we’ve had a chance to make up our minds. He’s attached to 19 projects as an actor, director, or producer with ’2015’ next to them. His well-documented busyness may have emptied him out. Or maybe it has emptied me out. Spring Breakers was three years ago, and perhaps the nuclear foolishness of that part—the daring to simultaneously break character and maintain it—has soured him on doing much else as a performer. That was his Scarface, his Mommie Dearest: a breaking point.”
5. “Distinctly Emasculated.” Cody C. Delistraty, for The Paris Review, on Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and sexual anxiety.
“History tends to compare Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald—and why not? As contemporaries and rivals, the two make natural foils for each other. Hemingway, we’re told, epitomizes a certain archetypal masculinity; he presented himself as a hunter, a boxer, a war veteran, and a ladies’ man; accordingly, he wrote in a spare, economical style, mostly about war, solitude, and adventure. Fitzgerald, on the other hand, we know as a social striver, someone who prided himself on his budding elitism and his (incomplete) Princeton education, who was known to have his pocket square and his hair-part always just right. He wrote about socioeconomic status in prose that was, at least next to Hemingway’s, often lyrical and adorned, and most would readily agree that he’s the more effeminate of the two. But the sexual identities of these men, formed by their peculiar childhoods and the Lost Generation artists they surrounded themselves with, weren’t as self-evident as many modern readers might think.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight:
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