1. “What Died at Altamont.” Richard Brody on Gimme Shelter and the Altamont Speedway Free Festival.
“The Maysleses and Zwerin intercut the discussions between Belli, Carter, and the authorities with concert footage from the Stones’ other venues along the way. The effect—the music running as the nighttime preparations for the Altamont concert occur, with fires and headlights, a swirling tumult—suggests the forces about to be unleashed on the world at large. A cut from a moment in concert to a helicopter shot of an apocalyptic line of cars winding through the hills toward Altamont and of the crowd already gathered there suggests that something wild has escaped from the closed confines of the Garden and other halls. The Maysleses’ enduring theme of the absent boundary between theatre and life, between show and reality, is stood on its head: art as great as that of the Stones is destined to have a mighty real-world effect. There’s a reason why the crucial adjective for art is ’powerful’; it’s ultimately forced to engage with power as such.”
2. “Review: Alex Gibney Takes on Scientology in Going Clear.” Manohla Dargis reviews the documentary for The New York Times
“If ever a documentary didn’t need embellishment it’s this one. Mr. Hubbard was an outsize, fascinating figure: what other science-fiction writer—the author of apparently more than 1,000 published books—can lay claim to starting a worldwide religion? (Many of us worship Philip K. Dick without attending church.) One of the reasons that The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s fictionalized take on Mr. Hubbard and the origins of Scientology, works so brilliantly is that it doesn’t mock or condescend to the church or its adherents (or, rather, Mr. Anderson’s analogues). As in many religions, there are strange goings-on, yet the anguished search for meaning at center—embodied by the title character and his shattered disciple—is treated as both timeless and deeply American.”
3. “On the Reflective Horror of It Follows.” Angelo Muredda on the David Robert Mitchell film.
“What’s clear, at least, is that he’s interested in opening up a space between the exploitative demands of the genre, which routinely invites us to take pleasure in the graphic mutilation of young people, and a more reflective account of what it means to be in one those endangered bodies. Hugh’s violent turn, it bears mentioning, immediately follows the closest thing to an outtake from Mitchell’s first film, Jay’s dreamy postcoital monologue about how, as a child, she wanted nothing more than to project herself elsewhere into the future—somewhere north, maybe. The irony that Jay should nostalgically yearn for that freedom to pilot her life while occupying the backseat of her date’s car is surely not lost on Mitchell, who at different points lets his camera adopt the unnerving gaze of the neighborhood boys who creep on Jay’s poolside swims, as well as that of her kind but overeager platonic friend Paul (Keir Gilchrist), who looks at her with sad territorial eyes that suggest he’d be all too honored to take her curse upon himself.”
4. “Behind Mike’s Gut-Wrenching Backstory on Better Call Saul.” Esquire’s Megan Friedman talks to Saul writer Gordon Smith about his jaw-dropping first ever television script.
“If Saul says something about himself, well, maybe that’s true, or maybe he’s saying it for embellishment. But if Hank says something about Mike, or Hank says something about Saul, we can probably be pretty certain that happened. Because one of them has a little bit more authority than the other. It’s less organized than it might seem. I don’t know if you’ve seen the guide to Wile E. Coyote, which was so great—you kind of wish you could have a character that’s so clearly delineated, but we don’t really have that unfortunately, because we’re dealing with people.”
5. “Terence Stamp: ’I was in my prime, but when the 60s ended, I ended with it’.” With the reissue of 1967’s Far From the Madding Crowd, the actor talks about his friendship with Michael Caine and his topsy-turvy career.
“Stamp goes on to explain—with what I come to realise is a habitual forthright honesty—that the experience was somewhat ruined by the fact he didn’t respect, or like, Schlesinger. ’He didn’t strike me as a guy who was particularly interested in film. Plus I wasn’t his first choice: he really wanted Jon Voight. He wasn’t exactly hostile, but he really didn’t help me. I was working on my own, really.’ Fortunately, says Stamp, he bonded with the director of photography, Nicolas Roeg (who would, of course, have a spectacular directorial career himself), and the two would go off after shooting had officially ended for the day to work on sequences of their own. That’s where the celebrated sword-demonstration scene came from, in which Stamp waggles his not entirely unsymbolic weapon to Christie’s squealing delight. ’I’ll say this for Schlesinger, when he got in the cutting room and realised he had all this extra footage, he used it. He understood it then. But I didn’t have a lot of time for him.’”
Video of the Day: Björk’s music video for “Lionsong”:
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