Read On is a regular feature in which The Dissolve’s staff recommends recent film pieces. Because there’s always someone writing something notable about the movies somewhere on the Internet.
At Slate, Aisha Harris laments action vehicles like The Equalizer taking up too much of Denzel Washington’s time:
“But is this how we hope the greatest film actor of his generation spends his time? Denzel isn’t Will Smith, who has always been vocal about his desire to be the biggest movie star in the world. Denzel was that very rare contemporary Hollywood star, the kind who simultaneously graced Sexiest Man Alive lists (with lyrical shoutouts from admiring ladies) and Oscar ballots, even winning a couple in the process. Rarer still, he did it all while being black, carrying the baton handed to him by Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, running with it gracefully. And now, in The Equalizer, he’s playing a half-baked variation of the ‘retired gunfighter’ trope in a junky action movie. Denzel deserves better.”
At Grantland, Alex Pappademas looks at what Jimi: All Is By My Side says about the careers of André 3000 and Hendrix both:
“Although they’re currently in the midst of a cheerfully low-stakes (and presumably high-reward) reunion tour, Outkast have effectively been broken up since the mid-’00s, and [André] Benjamin’s spent the ensuing almost-decade in flight from the expectation that he might someday make a solo album. His August interview with the New York Times was a virtual catalogue of the things musicians say when their reluctance to make a definitive statement by making a record and putting it out is a force powerful enough to melt clocks, to hold off heaven: I write ideas, I write thoughts … I sit in my house and just play. I’ve been drawing and painting a lot more … No, I’d love to put out an album … When you feel it, it’s right. If he’d played Jimi Hendrix about 10 years ago, in a different kind of movie, the analogy might have helped people unfamiliar with ‘Bombs Over Baghdad’ accept Benjamin as a rock star, if not an actor; All Is by My Side is probably far too weird and elliptical to make that happen.”
At Esquire, Stephen Marche uses the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind to grapple with its racial legacy:
“Gone with the Wind was the next leap forward, the Technicolor, talkie equivalent of The Birth of a Nation. It cannot be denied its profound beauty, the relentless drive of its story and the fascination of its characters. Gone with the Wind is a deeply lush film, filled with a subterranean eroticism as well as a brilliant historical sweep. The grand epic film has fallen out of favor recently — although Boyhood is a brilliant reimagining of its possibilities — but attempts to imitate Gone with the Wind resulted in such classics as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and even the Godfather movies. The character of Scarlett O'Hara, and her love affair with Rhett Butler, is a study in what time does to people. We see her first as a coquettish girl and in the end as a ravaged woman. The sprawl is wonderful. If the classic movie structure is three acts, Gone with the Wind has thirty. Watching it today is closer to binge-watching a Netflix hit. With its classic antihero at the center, its conjuration of a lost world that is also a morally dubious world, it is easy to see the influence of Gone with the Wind on Breaking Bad, or even more Mad Men. Mad Men is basically Gone with the Wind meets the sixties.”
The Martin Scorsese symposium on the revamped Reverse Shot continues with Max Nelson’s defense of the maligned New York, New York:
“But New York, New York can never become a musical in the tradition of Vincente Minnelli or a grand ballet in the spirit of Michael Powell. The cinematic space in which Scorsese’s film takes place is tougher and more severe than that of those earlier films. It doesn’t allow for miraculous reversals; it insists, more or less, on preserving some kind of spatiotemporal continuity between and within shots; it shies away from defying the laws of physics.”
Plus, the rest of today’s biz-ness
—Isabelle Huppert will star in Elle, director Paul Verhoeven’s first film since Black Book
—FAA Approves Drone Use For Hollywood Productions
—A troubled Paul Schrader production? Unpossible!
—Tim Burton wants Asa Butterfield for his follow-up to Big Eyes