Sunday, April 15, 2012
Your Links for the Week
Capital Politics and Herzog's Into the Abyss
It would be tough to pick the most chilling moment from the 20 Republican primary debates, in which television viewers watched debate audiences boo an active duty American soldier, cheer waterboarding, and try to egg Ron Paul into letting our country's uninsured die in the streets. But for sheer bloodthirsty, fire-and-pitchfork mob barbarism, the clear winner came in the September 7 debate at the Reagan Presidential Library, in which the crowd whooped it up for execution.
Your Republican Friends Are Going to Love Lockout
Countless observers have described Lockout, the latest dumb-as-a-doorknob action flick from writer/producer Luc Besson, as "Taken set in space" -- including the prolific scribe himself. But if its tough-guy-rescuing-Maggie-Grace premise is lifted from Besson's 2010 hit, that's merely one of the many other films echoing throughout the futuristic space prison at its center; there's just as much Escape from New York, Die Hard, and Demolition Man as Taken in there, calling up memories of Reagan-Bush I era action cinema, and the politics of that period. What's striking, when watching Lockout (aside from what a terrible, lunk-headed movie it is), is how frequently and explicitly it flaunts its anti-Democrat -- and anti-Obama -- point of view.
Open Thread: Movies or TV? Or Both? Or Neither?
James Wolcott loses me in the first line of his much-discussed Variety Fair piece “Prime Time’s Graduation,” which is pretty impressive, as far as those things go. “After I fell out of love with movies,” he writes, and I’ve checked out already — even more so with the parenthetical that follows: “(new movies, that is — classic Hollywood I still adulate)”. Oh goody, he’s one of those, one of the overbearing boors who insists nothing worthwhile has come out of Hollywood since Jaws, or Ben-Hur, or (if you’re a real, Bogdanovich-style purist) since the takeover of the talkies. But no, it’s worse: Mr. Wolcott is one of these inexplicable “TV is better than movies” people, and because he’s writing for one of the few remaining major glossies (to-do: write my “movies are better than magazines” piece), we now have to have this whole cultural conversation about whether television has, in fact, “surpassed” the motion picture.
Video Essay: “Watching the Detectives: Our Favorite Movie Private Eyes”
Perhaps the most exciting Blu-ray release of the month is Paramount’s anniversary edition of Roman Polanski’s classic film noir homage Chinatown, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year. Polanski’s film — from a celebrated screenplay by Robert Towne — told the story of private investigator Jake Gittes (played to perfection by Jack Nicholson), and ended up revitalizing the private eye genre, which has continued to fascinate viewers to this very day. In our latest video essay, we’ve compiled over two dozen of our favorite movie detectives in tribute to one of our favorite movie genres. Check it out after the jump.
Hypotheticals: Kubrick’s ‘Napoleon’
Here at Flavorwire, we love to engage in what Marcellus Wallace called “contemplating the ifs” — imagining a pop culture landscape filled with movies that never happened, adaptations that never came to pass, and performances that were not to be. In “Hypotheticals,” our new, semi-regular feature, we’ll hone in on a single project that never was (a film, a television show, an album, a book, anything really) and explain why it went away, and what we might’ve missed. First up: Stanley Kubrick’s long-gestating, never-realized film version of the life of Napoleon.
12 of the Most Memorable On-Screen Impersonations
Playing a well-known and well-documented actor, musician, or public figure can’t be easy, even for the best of actors — they not only have to assemble a serviceable performance in the conventional sense, but must also work up a convincing impersonation. They’re playing people that we’re used to seeing, whose look and speech have become familiar and distinctive, and must thus be replicated. The great performances in biographical movies must also then transcend the mere imitation, and create a compelling character beyond that. After the jump, we’ve assembled a dozen of the actors who memorably got into someone else’s skin; add your own in the comments.
This Week in Trailers: ‘Looper,’ ‘The Magic of Belle Isle,’ ‘The Samaritan,’ and More
Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. We’ve got seven trailers for you this week, including the latest from Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Simon Pegg, Morgan Freeman, and Samuel L. Jackson. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.