What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood* (*If you’re not a straight white man.) (SLNYTimes, Interactive)
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture (SLNYTimes Magazine), by A.O. Scott: Comic-book movies, family-friendly animated adventures, tales of adolescent heroism and comedies of arrested development do not only make up the commercial center of 21st-century Hollywood. They are its artistic heart.
"A glance at this list, and at the daunting array of actors who have worked with him over the years, many repeatedly, suggests that Mr. Nichols is not only smart but also the cause of intelligence in others. One of the reasons his movies reliably yield pleasure in spite of their limitations is the quality of the acting on display." It seems that Mr. Nichols is also able to inspire profoundly interesting reviews such as this one in the NYT.
This column (NYT/reg. req) gets my vote for Stupidest Theory of the Day. Basically, he says that movies are more memorable and stay with us longer than TV shows. Huh?! He's kidding, right? (more inside).
2 Hollywood Titans Brawl Over A Gang Epic -- (NYTimes link, I apologize but am unsure of the etiquette on that issue). Martin Scorcese's project Gangs Of New York (about pre-Civil War NYC immigrant gangs) is quickly turning into something akin to Titanic, and not just 'cuz it's got Leo in it. The budget's out of control (maybe someone cheaper than U2 should do the score), the release date's on a backwards spiral (yes, it was supposed to come out last Christmas), some of the content rankles after 9/11, and now Harvey Weinstein wants a new ending. The cherry on top? Its current release date has it pitted against Tom Hanks and Sam "American Beauty" Mendes' The Road To Perdition, another gangster piece. For a relatively complete diary of the film's woes, try the film's page at the always-useful Corona. Think Miramax has its most spectacular dud on the way, or do you trust Scorcese to pull it off?
Is President Bush Gay? (Answer: No, but he says "fabulous" a lot.) Is Billy Joel washed up? (NYT required) (Answer: Sounds like it.) Is Star Wars Episode Two any good? (Answer: Yes, beyond your wildest dreams.)
The movie censored in France opens in the US this week. Base-Moi is being translated by the newspapers as "Rape Me" but a better translation would be "Fuck Me," which better indicates that sexual power that the main female characters have. They use sex as a weapon, as the gateway firearm to murders and massacre. Violent, bloody, aggressively sexual, even pornographic, filled with "chic amoralism," as the New York Times says, and perhaps difficult to redeem. Gratuitous everything.
As the expression goes: what one person finds sexy is vulgar to another. This piece form the NY Times (you'll need $#%$#% password!) explores films that contain explicit sex, but have merit beyond their sex appeal. I think it’s refreshing that these directors are not afraid to unapologetically use sex as part of artistic filmmaking and interesting story telling.