1. “Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry.” He nearly destroyed this magazine. Sixteen years later, his former best friend finally confronts him.
“In our interview, his views about his parents sounded more nuanced. Yes, they were pressure-cooker Jews, he admitted, ’but I internalized the pressure much more than they put it on me.’ He reads his descriptions of them in the legal papers and they sound ’harsh’ to him now. ’I feel much more sympathetic, because I brought their world crashing down on them, too.’ He said his parents had changed over time and so had he. Now, he thinks of them as ’more like good friends who have a long shared history with me, but there’s no real feeling of dependence.’ I pressed him on this, and he said that he was ’wary to talk about them.’ I had the strong impression that Steve had faced all these former versions of himself—not just the fabulist but the pleaser and the manipulator and the grasping Georgetown grad desperate to be a lawyer—and shaken hands with them and emerged from those encounters improbably content.”
2. “The Fault in Our Stars.” For Grantland, Wesley Morris on the empty wonder of Interstellar and the overwrought The Theory of Everything.
“That film’s characters felt like a breakthrough for Nolan, who’s a better puzzle-maker than a pure storyteller. What makes you laugh about him when some of his non-Batman films reach their climax is his apparent belief that the puzzle is doing more work than it is. For me, the mere ingenuity of the puzzle is enough. But it’s not for him. He’s got to build for his movies the soul that other films are born with. In Interstellar, Nolan pours on and misconstrues Dylan Thomas’s ’Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,’ refurbishes warped dreamscapes from Inception, and ends the film three times. The images photographed in 70mm Imax, by Hoyte Van Hoytema, are as gorgeous as you’d expect. (The many non-Imax shots look sludgy at that scale.) But the incongruity becomes funny. He doesn’t realize these people just aren’t as cool or compelling as outer space. While you’re sitting there with McConaughey hovering in a mild panic (this man does not freak out) and Nolan’s grand machine of a movie has just clicked into place, it occurs to you that, for all the relativity and eternity, Interstellar itself is small. It gives you everything you want in a vision of the future, everything except awe.”
3. “Interview: Robert Drew.” For Film Comment, Nicolas Rapold shares his interview with the director of such documentary classics as Primary and Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment.
“Drew passed away this past July at the age of 90. Two years ago, he generously spent a long time sharing with me firsthand recollections of documentary’s historic shift in the 1950s and 1960s. All too often the history of what’s usually called cinema verité tends to coalesce around the same names and victory-lap claims to ’capturing reality,’ and sometimes Drew’s role seems relegated more to textbooks. In our interview, his journalism-derived criteria for what makes a good story are evident, and he’s not shy about his role in guiding progress, but he also recognizes the influences of other filmmakers and the role of money in putting obviously appealing ideas into action. He also goes into gratifying detail about the engineering knowhow behind crucial camera modifications, both the people and the parts.”
4. “Spoiler Alert.” For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Noah Berlatsky on why your art should be ruined.
“When fans or viewers insist on spoiler-free criticism, they are privileging a certain approach to art—reverent, deferential, and committed to a consciously naïve pleasure of immersion. Critics like Linda Williams, Mark Twain, James Baldwin, and Laura Mulvey, though, insist that art offers other possible pleasures and displeasures. They also insist, in various ways, that criticism is itself a form of art. The call for ’no spoilers’ can, in that context, become a form of philistinism or censorship. Taking the spoiler from the criticism can spoil the criticism, when the aesthetic purpose of the criticism is to spoil (for example) The Flash.”
5. “Warren Oates: An American Original.” Kim Morgan’s extended written piece on Oates, from the video essay that appears on Criterion’s two-disc edition of Monte Hellman’s Ride in the Wirlwind and The Shooting.
“The past and the present—it’s something that echoes throughout his performance in the masterpiece The Shooting, the first picture he made with one of his greatest collaborators, director Monte Hellman, an artist who saw Oates not simply as a character actor, but as a leading man, and also an emblematic figure of a man, a soul shambling through an elliptical universe. Within Hellman’s artful revisionism and reinventions, he cast Oates in varied states of frustration, melancholy, anger and mystery—imprinting that face and voice within so many gorgeously shot frames. Hellman understood Oates’ range, casting him as a garrulous, flamboyant wanna-be-gearhead in his brilliant, existential road movie Two-Lane Blacktop, as a mute in his, excellent, rough, though tender and dreamlike Cockfighter in which Oates’ character chooses not to speak, and as a soulful farmer in the captivating and reflective western, China 9, Liberty 37.”
Video of the Day: Marion Cotillard stars in Metronomy’s “Snapshot in LA” music video:
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