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.
Dissolve contributor Noel Murray penned a lovely Leonard Nimoy obit for The Daily Beast:
“And late in life especially, Nimoy embraced the persona of the gentle philosopher, using his Twitter feed to spread a message of peace and compassion. Decades after the original series of Star Trek ended, some of the cast members would look back on those years—and on the movies that followed in the 1980s and 1990s—and talk about the personality conflicts that kept some actors from speaking to each other for years. But Nimoy largely stayed above the fray, remaining friendly with nearly everybody, and especially with the show’s notoriously prickly star, William Shatner.
All of this was very much in line with Nimoy’s most popular character. It’s a role he seemed to grow into throughout his life, first on-screen—where Spock became more lovable and believable with each new episode and each new movie—and then in Nimoy’s interactions with peers and fans. Even when Nimoy was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), he seemed to take it in stride, using his impending death as an occasion to warn against the dangers of smoking and to encourage his fans to be good to each other. If he’d been able to write one last autobiography, Nimoy could’ve called it I Tried My Best To Be Spock. And more often than not, he succeeded.”
The New Yorker’s Alex Ross looks at memorable movie scores:
“As compelling as curated soundtracks can be, they have their limitations. When preexisting recordings are imposed on movies, they tend to have a cooling, distancing effect: we know, whether or not we recognize them, that they are emanating from another place and time. Whereas, when a film composer hits a sufficient vein of inspiration, the images are charged with a feeling of newness, of unprecedented action. In a further twist, the deliberately inscrutable ending of Birdman—we’re not sure whether the Keaton character has committed suicide or flown away into magical reality—is heightened by a layering of musical signals: Sánchez’s nervy drums intrude upon Rachmaninov’s sumptuous lyricism, and sounds of the city steal in as the credits play. Even as we puzzle over the final shot, the injection of ‘live’ sound gives us the feeling that we have been kicked into the present moment, as the best film music invariably does.”
The New York Times’ Melena Ryzik gets Hollywood to spill the secret of filming sex scenes:
“Amy Schumer: I am sort of a boundaryless person, which is something I’m working on. In our house, nudity wasn’t a big deal, so that was never an issue for me. It was about the crew. The sex scenes that are funny, I don’t care, but the ones that are actually sexual, it’s like these people are seeing me be really vulnerable. Frank, who’s holding the boom, is seeing, ‘Oh, this is what Amy is like when she really means business.’ In between every single take, I think I screamed, ‘It’s so embarrassing!’ ”
Grantland’s staff recalls the peaks and valleys of Will Smith’s career:
“All careers, even the great ones, have their ups and downs. Michael Jordan had his Wizards run. Shaq spent a year with the Celtics. Tiger Woods has his entire life right now. Our legends are fallible, but they don’t become legends without the sort of dizzying heights of success we mere mortals can only dream about. A great man once said that life is a highway, and if you really are gonna ride it all night long, you might get a flat tire or two in the process.
For Will Smith — one of the last great pop culture icons of the 20th century — those career highlights and lowlights have been dramatic. His new film, Focus, might finally be a return to form after a succession of very public embarrassments, so in honor of this possible comeback, we asked the intrepid Grantland staff to pinpoint the exact moment when we were blessed with Peak Will Smith … and the sad day when Big Willie Style crashed his Hollywood spaceship into the show business valley.”
Plus, the rest of today’s biz-ness:
- Sony has fired Digital Chief Bob Osher
- Tsai Ming-Liang classic Rebels Of The Neon God will run in U.S. theaters
- A project to restore pre-revolutionary Cuban films has launched at UCLA
- Sundance Selects has acquired the U.S. Rights to A Murder In The Park
- Bruce Lee’s family is planning a new biopic
- Sony has acquired the rights to YA novel Breaking Sky
- SyFy will air a five-hour Leonard Nimoy marathon on March 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Here's the first trailer for It's Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise