1. “Let’s Be Real.” Wesley Morris on Let’s Be Cops, cop movies, and the shooting in Ferguson.
“This would just be more flushable summer waste (and, please, don’t let me stop you from jiggling the handle), except Let’s Be Cops somehow doubles as a fantasy that knows its social limits, limits that connect it to the turmoil in Ferguson, and those limits ease on down the road of race. The movie doesn’t want to make a big deal about this, but Justin is black and Ryan white, which is newsworthy in that, despite one guy’s annoyance with the other, they appear to have been friends long enough for racial osmosis to set it. Justin speaks the way black comedians—like Wayans’s father, Damon Sr.—do when they’re impersonating an uptight white guy. Ryan occasionally twists and spikes the cadences of his speech so it sounds comedically black. Justin says ’dude’ a lot. Ryan likes ’bro.’ Permeable racial identity becomes a kind of running gag, especially once Key and his impersonation of a loopy Mexican gangsta shows up.”
2. “2014 Creative Arts Emmy Winners include Sex, Scandal co-stars.” True Detective, Sherlock and Orange Is the New Black all have big nights.
“The first round of 2014 Emmy Awards were handed out at the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony on Saturday (August 16) night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. The ceremony, which precedes the Monday, August 25 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, offered signs of hope for a number of drama and comedy hopefuls. Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, for example, won Emmys for editing, series casting and for Uzo Aduba, who is considered a guest actress for the purposes of these awards. No other comedy series was able to build any other momentum going into next week’s show, with The Big Bang Bang Theory, Nurse Jackie, How I Met Your Mother and Brooklyn Nine-Nine grabbing isolated tech prizes and Jimmy Fallon winning the Guest Actor in a Comedy Series award for the second time in three years for his Saturday Night Live hosting duties.”
3. “Searching for Tomorrow: The Story of Madlib and DOOM’s Madvillainy.” Following the 10th anniversary of Madlib and DOOM’s telepathic mind meld of an album, Jeff Weiss traces the history of Madvillain and details how these two perpetually mystifying artists came together for an uncanny hip-hop classic.
“But the idea of Madvillain was as unlikely as it was inspired. Both men exhibited reclusive, out-of-orbit tendencies usually only found in Burial, Thomas Pynchon, and Himalayan glacier beings. And this was the early 2000s, before cell phones, social media, and email became appendages. The odds of corralling the duo in the same room were grim. Especially after Madlib became estranged from hip-hop in favor of Yesterdays New Quintet, his fictional fusion jazz band where he played every instrument. It may have been creatively emancipating, but his fledgling label, Stones Throw, was on the brink—and, save for a fluke hit that became a turntablist AK-47, Madlib was the imprint’s one-man business plan since its inception in 1996. Despite the sterling merits of his jazz forays, Stones Throw’s target audience didn’t overlap enough with the chill stoner grandpa demographic to sustain itself.”
4. “What Hollywood Lost When the Communists Were Purged.” Richard Brody on Red Hollywood.
“But the inquisitional atmosphere, the virtual political censorship of Hollywood movies at the time, and the deëmphasis of express social content (or discontent) pushed filmmakers to express their ideas and emotions symbolically, to convey their ’general philosophical attitude’ not in dramatic substance but in mood and tone—and these were hectic. Whether filmmakers were on the left or the right, the best of them captured, expressed, and aestheticized something raucous and discordant in the air. (The very title of Mankiewicz’s People Will Talk, a medical comedy about an investigation of skeletons in the closet, and the clandestine intellectual cell of Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows are just two of the myriad hints and winks at the ambient paranoia that found their way into movies by non-Communists.) Much of what we love about classic Hollywood is what we hate about its times.”
5. ”Consumed: David Cronenberg’s Foray into Body Horror Prose.” For Film International, Shane Joaquin Jimenez reviews the auteur’s first novel.
“Consumed does not only derive its title from cannibalism, but as a play on the nature of consumerism as well. Nathan and Naomi are obsessed with acquiring material objects, and entire passages of the novel are populated, Bret Easton Ellis-style, with the name brands of phones, computers, and cameras (one can glimpse the directorial mind of Cronenberg at times, as he pontificates on the superiority of certain camera apertures or editing software). Cronenberg’s dissection of modern life and consumer culture echoes the work of novelist Don DeLillo, whose novel Cosmopolis was adapted for the screen by Cronenberg in 2012. The book’s central relationship between Nathan and Naomi, digitally garbled by technology, recalls the numbed, disconnected way characters interact with one another in Cosmopolis and other DeLillo work. Nathan and Naomi spend the length of the novel physically removed from another, connecting as disembodied ghosts through email or Skype to discuss their latest purchases. For them, as perhaps for all of us, ’Consumer choices and allegiances were the key to character and to all social interactions’ (165).”
Video of the Day: Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna on Y Tu Mamá También, arriving on BD/DVD from the Criterion Collection tomorrow:
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