1. “Tim Cook Speaks Up.” Apple’s chief executive says he is “proud to be gay.”
“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple. The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.”
2. “The Problem With That Catcalling Video.” Slate’s Hanna Rosin makes me regret linking to the video yesterday in this column.
“The video is a collaboration between Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization, and the marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative. At the end they claim the woman experienced 100 plus incidents of harassment ’involving people of all backgrounds.’ Since that obviously doesn’t show up in the video, Bliss addressed it in a post. He wrote, ’we got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera’ or was ruined by a siren or other noise. The final product, he writes, ’is not a perfect representation of everything that happened.’ That may be true but if you find yourself editing out all the catcalling white guys, maybe you should try another take.”
3. “Kaiju Shakedown: 31 Asian Horror Movies.” For Film Comment, Gray Hendrix recommends 31 obscure, terrifying, and often just plain weird, cinematic nightmares. Below are his thoughts on 1997’s Intruder.
“Hong Kong/Mainland tensions get worked out via limb amputation in this fable that teaches us that being nice to strange prostitutes never pays off. A cab driver shows some interest in Wu Chien-lien (Where is she now?) and immediately regrets his decisions when it turns out she’s a Mainland criminal, hiding out in Hong Kong using a dead hooker’s ID card, and what she really needs is to tie him to a table and slowly saw off his arms. From Johnnie To’s Milkyway Image production company, this was torture porn before torture porn was cool.”
4. “Easy Virtue.” For Cinema Scope, Angelo Muredda on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.
“If the incongruity between Carver’s punchy minimalist gem and Iñárritu’s incurably maximalist tendencies is intended as a joke, it’s the only one that has any teeth in this otherwise obstinately unfunny bid for blackly comic satire. While Iñárritu’s brute-force style—less an authorial touch than a two-handed shove—worked effectively enough for the unabashed melodrama and raging indignation of Amores perros (2000) and, arguably, the maudlin martyr’s fable of Biutiful (2010), little in his po-faced filmography up to now has suggested he has any particular knack for comedy—and indeed, Birdman’s tin ear is matched only by the straw men it sets up as the objects of its satirical scorn. Low-hanging fruit is the order of the day here: press-junket whores (“Is it true you’ve been injecting yourself with semen from baby pigs?” one scribbler asks of Riggan—immediately adding “It was tweeted,” as if the mere mention of social media signals vacuity), mouth-breathing, dirt-digging digital hordes (who retweet a blurry video of Riggan locked out of his own theatre during previews and marching past the ticket booth in scummy underwear), and, of course, snobby, old-guard critics, the frosty gatekeepers who would never deign to let novices like Riggan pass before they’ve paid their tithe in blood. “
5. “Noir: The Horror Film’s Kissing Cousin.” For Fandor, Chuck Bowen on pairing the loneliness and lovely negativity of horror and noir for your Halloween entertainment.
“What’s a horror film or a noir, particularly considering the pronounced elasticity of both? The ultimate answer is close to personal opinion, though horror films tend to favor more overt fantasy elements (monsters, alternate realms, psychic phenomena, ghosts) and Grand Guignol violence (operatic butchery, decay), while noir films are generally crime stories with a thin pretense of ’realism,’ however stylized and heightened it may unavoidably be. But these are superficial distinctions. The genres share profound commonalities (right down to unerring specificities, such as a Freudian obsession with water), beyond their obvious confidence in things not working out according to a social plan. They are both surveys of the landscape of the mind; anatomies of a human’s flirtation with established taboo. For an embodiment of the symbolism of both genres at once, see, among others, Cat People, a definitive horror-noir directed by Jacques Tourneur (who made classics in both genres: I Walked with a Zombie, Out of the Past, Night of the Demon) that merges the chiaroscuro cityscapes that reflect a noir hero’s psyche with the Freudian beasts and monsters that typically torment the mind of a horror protagonist.”
Video of the Day: PJ Harvey covers Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand”:
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