Read Write Here #3

Read Write Here #1
Read Write Here #2

As part of my goal to be more positive regarding the culture journalism world beyond plugging my own crap, I thought I’d start up my own thing (i.e. rip-off) akin to the likes of Criticwire’s Daily Reads or RogerEbert.com’s Thumbnails. These posts won’t be daily, but I’ll try to get at least one up each week or every two weeks.

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Magic-Mike-XXL-

K. Austin Collins‘ piece on Magic Mike XXL and An American in Paris for Oscilloscope is one of the best things I’ve read lately:

XXL opens with a vision of the man at its center navigating the line between his practical needs and his artistic impulses, his duty to routine and his spontaneous inventiveness. It’s like An American in Paris in that way. And like the Minnelli classic, which ends with Peter Mulligan’s love-fantasies being manifest as a 17-minute long urban ballet on a sound stage,XXL culminates with a series of personal fantasies made “real,” as each member of the former Kings of Tampa, Mike’s crew of fellow strippers, gets the chance to perform a brief solo act wrought in his own image. This idea—the push for personal art—propels the film forward.”

Read here.

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Marie-Antoinette

For the 10-year anniversary of its Cannes premiere, Tina Hassannia writes in praise of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette at Movie Mezzanine:

“It is possible that Coppola saw a bit of herself in these stories, sourced from Antonia Fraser’s sympathetic biography, Marie Antoinette: The Journey. Given that so much of Coppola’s early fame surrounded her much-maligned performance in her father Francis’The Godfather, Part III, coupled by accusations of nepotism even before she started directing films, and considering the fact that women directors have tremendous difficulty creating or sustaining careers, it’s no wonder her status as an auteur is often questioned or ridiculed. Nor would it be surprising if Coppola sees her own reflection within Marie Antoinette’s tragic story, despite it being a few hundred years old. The public mockery, the inability to be taken seriously due to one’s age and gender, the fake and expensive atmosphere in which Coppola was raised—these factors must be taken into consideration given how uncompromising they are in representing the luxurious boredom of one female character after another, the director daring to empathize with them instead of easily mocking them for not being aware of their privilege.”

Read here.

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Clarisse Loughrey has a grand theory about Whit Stillman‘s filmography in her Love & Friendship episode of That Darn Movie Show:

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batman-returns

K. Austin Collins again, on Batman Returns and sexual awakening for Metrograph:

“But none of us is above taking pleasure in a personal history of sexual desire—that’s the good stuff, a nostalgic origin story narrated as a series of shattering, sometimes painful revelations. That same story, made contiguous with one’s love of cinema—even better. I grimace now, gleefully, to think that my earliest turn-on was Tim Burton’s gothic kink, that my first crush was likely a goofy vigilante in a black rubber suit, that the first character I projected my sexually desiring self onto and truly understood from inside out was probably a woman who’d been nibbled into super-villainy by a hoard of stray cats. So be it. Batman Returns awakened a want that endured from one Batman movie to the next, even as the rubber suits were upgraded and the men wearing them kept changing. Come to think of it, was Warner Brothers onto me? They were definitely onto something: the bat suit was eventually given nipples, fecklessly large areolas with no purpose, and soon, the suit had a codpiece so large even discussion on The Oprah Winfrey Show would be pressed to tap-dance through dick-size innuendos.”

Read here.

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kiss-kiss-bang-bang-kilmer-monaghan-downey-jr

Priscilla Page revisits Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in this great piece for Birth.Movies.Death:

“The detective symbolically puts order to the world’s chaos, but Shane Black’s characters are tasked with putting order to the chaos of their own lives. In Raymond Chandler’s The Simple Art of Murder, he describes the detective: “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.” But these men are mean, and tarnished, and afraid. Shane Black described his characters in The Nice Guys as “knights in tarnished armor,” similar to the way Philip Marlowe is referred to as “the shop-soiled Galahad” in Chandler’s The High Window. This term fits most of Black’s protagonists. Harmony even calls Harry “Whitey,” meaning white knight, their high school’s mascot, although in that moment he has an erection — she concedes that maybe that’s not very knightly.”

Read here.

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Jacob Oller on ‘The Secret to Reviewing Mediocre Movies’, over at Film School Rejects:

“Dismissing a film out of hand without talking about it feels wrong, dirty, like issuing taste decrees from a balcony. It’s also a disservice to what we’re writing about and (ostensibly) love. How can someone who writes the same review every time expect anything else from their movies? No nuance means no insight, which falls into the “samey” trap as mediocre movies. Nobody wants to read that. Each review should be something I’m proud to publish or at least contain something I’m proud to publish.”

Read here.

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Knight-of-Cups-Poots

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups finally got released in the UK this month, and Nick Pinkerton’s excellent Reverse Shot review of the film has me keen to see it again as soon as I can:

“Malick seems less interested in resolving these conflicts than in questioning if they are, in fact, conflicts. Though his screen grammar is as loose as the Coens’ is rigid, his latest makes a suitable companion piece to their Hail, Caesar!, which had more religious feeling than any two dozen evangelical cash-ins. (“Squint! Squint into the grandeur!”) Knight of Cups doesn’t build a pro-con counterpoint between genuine spirituality and Hollywood fakery any more than The New World or To the Wonder did in their contrast of old Europe and young America—the Road of Excess is just as important as the Palace of Wisdom.”

Read here.

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ghos016

Kayleigh Anne on ‘The Fetishizing of Nostalgia’ for Bibliodaze:

“The claim of ruined childhoods in this instance is rooted in the insinuation that women didn’t get childhoods, or that theirs were worth less than those of men. The idea that the mere inclusion of women in a space like this film, and the geek culture it’s inspired, will spoil it is the driving force behind the overwhelming misogyny many of us encounter in nerdy circles. Young girls growing up and struggling to find women on screen to relate and aspire to is just the business; trying to rectify that for a new generation is a culture war. Putting women on screen as heroes, as autonomous being who drive the plot and don’t act as second fiddle to a man, is seen as an agenda filled act that must be stopped. Having to acknowledge the mere existence of women is a personal affront. Change is bad.”

Read here.

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