Debate erupts as Hanya Yanagihara's editor takes on critic over bad review of A Little Life. [The Guardian] The editor of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestselling novel A Little Life has taken to the pages of the New York Review of Books to defend his author from a review that claimed the novel “duped” its readers “into confusing anguish and ecstasy, pleasure and pain”. [more inside]
A Zoomorphic Performance: Joaquin Phoenix in P.T. Anderson’s The Master, Daniel Fairfax [more inside]
The Trouble with Clint by Jacob Krell [Los Angeles Review of Books]
“Clint Eastwood is many things to many people, but contemporary critics tend to agree that he is an auteur, i.e., someone with real directorial insight, care, and reach, someone whose individual artistic stamp can and should be used as a heuristic lens. Insofar as so much of his early career as an actor found him traipsing through the storied landscapes of American westerns and action films, it’s hardly surprising that Eastwood’s own directorial mark is often constituted through toying with genre, as he’s done with the western, to acclaimed effect (Unforgiven); with the boxing drama, to acclaimed (and deeply manipulative) effect (Million Dollar Baby); and with the B-movie, to effect somewhere between perplexing and appalling (Gran Torino).”Previously. Previously. Previously.
Introducing Sociology: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing, TimKreider.com
In need of an entertaining cinematic podcast to meet your listening needs? Then tune into Fighting in the War Room! Previously known as Operation Kino, Fighting in the War Room features fascinating discussions between film critics Katey Rich (Vanity Fair), Matt Patches (Hollywood.com / Vulture.com), Da7e Gonzales, and David Ehrlich (Film.com), offering reviews of current films, as well general cinema related topics. [more inside]
"One can almost hear the anticipatory echoes of something like Yelp in the context of José Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses (1930). The multitude, he wrote, once “scattered about the world in small groups,” now appears “as an agglomeration.” It has “suddenly become visible, installing itself in the preferential positions in society. Before, if it existed, it passed unnoticed, occupying the background of the social stage; now it has advanced to the footlights and is the principal character.” The disgruntled diner, now able to make or break a restaurant through sheer collective will. Against this leveling of critical power, the old guard fulminates. Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet, recently harrumphed that “anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about.”"—Star Wars, by Tom Vanderbilt, in The Wilson Quarterly [more inside]
A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline: 'By the time of the first quote “book-review,” criticism had been in circulation for centuries—long enough for writers to know how it can sting. Understandably, then, the critic’s skepticism of an artist's genius has invariably existed alongside the artist's doubt over the critic's judgment.' [more inside]
Diamanda Hagan is an obsessive Dr. Who fan in scary makeup. She posts extensive, entertaining, and exhaustively nerdy rants on some of the worst episodes of Nu Who. Behold! The Beast Below, Voyage Of The Damned, Victory Of The Daleks, Fear Her, The Next Doctor, Planet Of The Dead, The Doctor's Daughter, and The End Of Time (The Whole Damn Thing) (NSFW language)
The art house review/criticism series Brows Held High decided to tackle Nicolas Roeg/David Bowie's 1976 The Man Who Fell To Earth by reviewing it as a karaoke medley of Bowie's greatest hits.
Chris Sims is a former comic book store employee. David Uzumeri is a computer scientist. Together, they
fight crime review the shit out of Batman film canon in an 18-part series they call Cinematic Batmanology, covering all the major theatrical releases from Tim Burton's franchise-reviving 1989 film (start there) up through Christopher Nolan's recent The Dark Knight, with a couple of odd tangents along the way. [more inside]
Fire the Bastards... examined the initial 55 reviews that appeared in response to the publication of William Gaddis's masterpiece The Recognitions. [more inside]
Martha Nussbaum reviews three recent books on Shakespeare and philosophy. The essay offers an excellent analysis of love in Antony and Cleopatra and Othello, and an excellent discussion of the interaction between philosophy and literature. [more inside]
This guy has hit the nail on the head. I've been marveling at how it was possible to completely screw up the sequels to what I consider the greatest action movie of all time. Matt Feeney has precisely and eloquently pinpointed everything wrong with the Matrix sequels.