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 Brian Phillips looks at The Lady From Shanghai and the legend of Orson Welles:
“Orson Welles needed $50,000 to pay for costumes, so on opening night, in desperation, he called the president of Columbia Pictures and asked for a loan. Welles was frequently in desperation in 1946, and he frequently tried to talk his way out of it. His play, an adaptation of Jules Verne’s adventure novel Around the World in Eighty Days, was an audacious disaster, featuring giant mechanical elephants and music by Cole Porter; Welles had to finance it himself when the producer stormed out, and he was broke. His film career, which began six years earlier when he wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane at the age of 25, was sputtering. His second film, The Magnificent Ambersons, had been taken out of his hands and butchered by the studio. Since then, he’d developed a reputation for fighting with producers, wasting money, and turning in work that played to studio heads as insultingly uncommercial. Just 31, he was seen as headstrong and difficult, the increasingly unsalvageable shipwreck of a self-appointed genius. What was happening to him? Just a few years ago, he’d been so in demand that he had to hire ambulances to cart him from theater to theater in New York, sirens wailing; his triumphs couldn’t wait on the traffic.”
Movie Mezzanine’s James Rochi on the Marvel Industrial Complex:
“This, then, is not a critique of the Marvel films, although it will discuss some of the intrinsic structural problems that plague all superhero films, and the Marvel movies specifically. Nor is it a discussion of whether or not ‘superhero fatigue’ exists or not, although it will look at how, and where, money is spent on these films as they are bought and sold both domestically and internationally. The simple question which we have to ask—which we I think we’re obligated to ask—is: If these movies are the biggest thing in American pop culture, what does that say—openly, obliquely, or accidentally—about American culture itself?”
The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin asks, “Will there ever be another John Hughes?”:
“Who’s the new John Hughes? The question has been bobbing around since the mid-2000s, when Mean Girls reminded us, following the rise of the American Pie films and their imitators, that the teen-movie genre had more to offer than nostalgia, bad behaviour and moderate nudity. Since then, a handful of great films have emerged about what it means to be beached on the bank between childhood and adulthood – Jason Reitman’s Juno, Greg Mottola’s Superbad and Adventureland, Will Gluck’s Easy A, and Drew Barrymore’s Whip It foremost among them. But they’re all the work of people dipping a toe into the genre before moving on – whereas Hughes committed himself, over a four-year period in the mid-Eighties, to articulating what it meant to be teenage more acutely than any single writer or director had done before or has since. Which is why it’s tempting to say our John Hughes is nobody else than John Hughes: still is; always will be.”
Vulture’s Nate Jones thinks Age Of Ultron could learn a few things from Ex Machina:
“Ease up on the technobabble. Early on in Ex Machina, Nathan tells Caleb to ease up on the programming terms and just give him his straight impressions of Ava. It's a nifty writing trick, spotlighting Nathan's slipperiness and need for control while also keeping things grounded for the audience. We don't really need to know exactly how she works, you know? One line about using Google searches to create her personality is fine. Compare that to Age of Ultron, in which Tony Stark and Bruce Banner have interminable conversations about exactly how they're going to create Ultron, and then two hours later, have the same conversation about how they're going to create Vision. My audience had no idea what they were talking about, and I'd venture Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo didn't either. It's basically gibberish, and it stops the movie in its paces.”
Plus, the rest of today’s biz-ness:
- Here’s the first poster for Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster
- The Criterion edition of Moonrise Kingdom has been moved from July 21 to September 22
- Joss Whedon didn’t quit Twitter because of "angry feminists"
- British spy series Spooks will hit the big screen
- The real-life Andy Dufresne was caught 47 years after escaping prison
- Doug Ellin will keep making Entourage movies if nobody stops him