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.
Grantland’s Kevin Lincoln on what the visual style of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies tells us about The Force Awakens:
“Because Star Wars is part of the cultural vernacular in an almost scriptural way, many recognized the ship as a Star Destroyer, the flagship cruiser of the Imperial fleet — mega bad news if you see one coming your way. By sticking that ship in the dirt, The Force Awakens writer-director J.J. Abrams follows a path mapped out in his previous films, most prominently the installments of the rebooted Star Trek: He’s grounding his space escapades in our world, or at least in a recognizable version of it. As a visual stylist, Abrams’s name has become married to lens flare, a silly and superficial effect he’s employed with great enthusiasm in his work to date. It got bad enough, Abrams said, that he once showed his wife a scene from an early cut of Star Trek Into Darkness, and her response was, ‘I just can’t see what’s going on.’ But in the Force Awakens trailer, there’s something else at work. It’s a pair of techniques that Abrams has employed just as prominently as lens flare in his career so far — visual gestures that tell us far more about what his ambitions are for this movie.”
Movie Mezzanine’s Jake Pitre on the value of being “Lynchian” instead of being unique:
“Recently, someone asked me to describe It Follows, David Robert Mitchell’s horror film currently in theaters. Having just seen it and unable to come up with the right words, I immediately settled on ‘Lynchian’ without really knowing why. Afterward, I stitched together some kind of reasoning: the suburban tranquility interrupted by the seething and aggressive darkness, the dreamy synths of the soundtrack, and a general atmospheric approximation of what David Lynch typically strives for in Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, and the like. It held together, but just barely. To call a film ‘Lynchian’ is to use shorthand for any movie that attempts to balance the macabre with the mundane, referring back to David Foster Wallace’s definition of the term. It’s a way to quickly and succinctly summarize the style and/or substance of another film so that others will have an idea of what they’re getting into. (For the same reasons, a technically meticulous and thematically ambitious film has often been labeled ‘Kubrickian.;) But what is the real value of these custom adjectives, if they have any?
Little White Lies’ Aaron Kent on how True Story shows that sometimes it’s okay to “dress up the facts”:
“Dramatisations of criminal cases are nothing new, and Serial and True Story are no different in that respect. The key to successful examinations of true crime stories lies in their ability to provoke a strong audience reaction, be that an emotional response or a pronounced shift in perspective. Serial ensured that audience participation extended beyond simply listening to the story, stirring debate through social media, in person and even on network news. It worked so brilliantly because it gave people the opportunity to discuss the case at length — delivering new details and revelations week-on-week — while keeping its audience guessing as to the final outcome. Not having the benefit of being serialised, True Story required a different approach. Goold has engineered it so that the likeability of his film's characters and the drama of the story dovetail neatly, creating a similarly gripping, yet not strictly authentic, end result that leaves it to the audience to separate fact from fiction.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Kim Masters and Tatiana Siegel dig into the drastic changes being made by Tim Rothman at Sony:
“Still, several filmmakers are said to be leery of working under Rothman's detail-oriented management. Sources say the studio had to soothe the anxieties of The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum, who is set to direct the space drama Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Also said to be nervous are 22 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, whom Rothman, for obvious reasons, very much wants to keep in the fold. Sources also speculate that Jump Street producer Neal Moritz, who is hands-on in marketing his films, might clash with Rothman, also known for his own heavy hand in marketing…On the financial front, Rothman already has managed to tighten the budget on Paul Feig's all-female Ghostbusters, planned for July 2016, without any apparent bloodshed (despite earlier friction with Feig when the director made The Heat at Fox). The Ghostbusters price tag when greenlit by Pascal was a hefty $169 million, with rich deals for talent, including $14 million for Melissa McCarthy and north of $10 million for Feig. Rothman couldn't do anything about those fees, but sources say Feig made tweaks to the script to reduce the cost to $154 million — just a few million above Rothman's target of $150 million.”
Plus, the rest of today’s biz-ness:
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk will be released on Nov. 11, 2016
- Warner Bros. and IMAX have teamed up for 30 movies, including Batman V. Superman and Tarzan
- The Film Arcade acquired Christopher Abbott-starring drama James White
- Here’s the latest trailer for Mr. Holmes
- And here’s another, non-Italian-dubbed trailer for The Tale Of Tales
- Warner Bros. has set the release dates for the next three Lego films