1. ” Why Aren’t Movie Monsters Terrifying Anymore?” History’s greatest on-screen creatures embodied specific human fears. With luck, Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla will save us from today’s glut of bland, interchangeable CGI beasts.
“Predictably, the overarching problem with the modern movie monster is that American pop culture is so saturated with franchises—which aren’t operating systems that typically thrive on empathy, metaphor, or textural specificity. Would something as quietly violent and hopeless as Alien even make an impression on multiplexes now? The occasional breakout success of something like Paranormal Activity keeps hope, however marginal, alive that audiences are still willing to go looking for something stranger (or, in Paranormal Activity’s case, something that at least started out stranger), and thus spur filmmakers to want to appease that hunger—not for newness, but for awe.”
2. “Oscar-winning director Malik Bendjelloul dies at 36.” Swede, whose film Searching for Sugar Man won Oscar in 2013 for best documentary is thought to have committed suicide.
“Swedish film-maker Malik Bendjelloul, who shot to fame with his Oscar-winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, has died aged 36. Swedish police said the director had died in the capital Stockholm on Tuesday, and on Wednesday his brother said the former reporter had committed suicide. Johar Bendjelloul told the newspaper, Aftonbladet, that Malik had been ’depressed for a short period,’ the AFP news agency reported. Bendjelloul’s award in 2013 was the first time a Swedish film had won an Oscar since Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander in 1984.”
3. “Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans from Polar Melt.” And there’s nothing to stop it.
“A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries. Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said. The rise of the sea is likely to continue to be relatively slow for the rest of the 21st century, the scientists added, but in the more distant future it may accelerate markedly, potentially throwing society into crisis.”
4. “H.R. Giger, 1940-2014.” Matt Zoller Seitz on the xenomorph’s father
“Giger knew what scared us. He always did. And he was ahead of the cultural curve in ways that only true artists can be. His work anticipated the real-world blurring of the organic and the mechanical, the real and the virtual, that powered so much science fiction and so much horror over the last thirty years. The fact that horror and science fiction have become increasingly indistinguishable is partly due to Giger’s imagery, and designs that borrowed or outright stole from him.”
5. “Hollywood Should Make More, Not Fewer, Superhero Films.” Yes, the genre has produced few true classics and many duds. But it’s young. Give it time.
“The truth is that pulpy adventure stories and genre fare, whether they’re using old-school or computer-generated effects, will always have to do more to be taken seriously by critics who search for true beauty for a living. I doubt there will ever be a time when an article saying ’all these formulaic Hero’s Journey plots are ruining everything’ won’t find a readership. If we really want to see poetic superhero movies, then we need to expect a few more Daredevil-style duds first. But luckily there is still a lot of potential for innovation: getting a major female superhero movie, letting Guillermo del Toro do Dark Universe however he wants, and most importantly getting others in to compete with Marvel and take the genre new places.”
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