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.
L.A. Weekly’s Amy Nicholson on Judd Apatow’s “second act”:
“Two and a half years ago, Judd Apatow released This Is 40, the most personal film of his career. He was anxious. He usually is. His default setting is inward panic. ‘I don't know if people can understand the pressure to be funny,’ Apatow says today, ‘just knowing how badly you can fail and how embarrassing it will be.’ To the public, Apatow had nothing to fear. He was the king of comedy, the overlord of an unprecedented seven-year, 21-film barrage of hits and near-hits that he'd either directed, written or produced. His leading men had become marquee names: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Paul Rudd. And Bridesmaids had recently given him his biggest box office haul ever. But Apatow is fueled by his obsession with flopping. ‘I work hard and I'm pretending to be positive,’ he admits. ‘In my head, I'm not positive at all.’ ”
Wired has the “definitive oral history” on ILM, the “special-effects powerhouse that forever changed film”:
“MUREN: Somewhere around the time before we made Ghostbusters II and Willow, it seemed like we really hit a wall. CG had been floating around as this carrot: It was promising all this stuff for like 10 years but wasn’t really delivering on it.
HOWARD: But what a transformation we had to do for Willow.
LUCAS: In the script, a goat morphs into all kinds of animals and finally into an elderly woman.
HOWARD: I expected it to be done the way werewolf transformations had always been done, with prosthetics and dissolves and cutaways. Dennis Muren wandered into our story conference one day and said, ‘I think we could do the transformations a little more seamlessly. It wouldn’t be shot in-camera, it would be in the computer.’ I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. It blew my mind.”
Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri looks at what all of George Miller’s movies have in common—namely, toying with the concept of the nuclear family:
“It’s understandable that a director as focused on families as Miller is would turn out to be an ideal director of kids’ films: Rebuilding families, and forging new ones, plays a key part in the Happy Feet films, as well as Babe: Pig in the City (1998). In the latter, the porcine protagonist — who already forms part of a unit with Farmer and Mrs. Hoggett — finds himself adrift in a big city and in a house full of other animals, including two chimps, one of whom gives birth to twins soon after the other animals arrive. The birth helps unify the bickering creatures and begins the process of turning them into something whose bonds run deeper. In the film’s climax, a breathtaking set piece reminiscent of the Thunderdome itself (the film might as well have been called Mad Max: Pig in the City), Mrs. Hoggett and several men wreak havoc by repeatedly chandelier-bungeeing into the posh crowd at a charity event as they fight over Babe. The scene ends, however, with everyone trying to save the twin baby chimps — a symbol, perhaps, of the fact that all throughout the film we’ve been watching a broader, more diverse family being born, one made up of chimpanzees, ducks, dogs, cats, humans, and others. By the end of the film, they’ve all moved to the Hoggetts’ farm and are living together in harmony.”
/Film’s Angie Han on the “heroic masculinity” of Mad Max: Fury Road:
“Mad Max: Fury Road arrives in a culture with contradictory views of masculinity. On the one hand, traditional masculinity is glorified. Our sports stars and political leaders are mostly men, and we worship at the altars of Ron Swanson and Captain America. Even toxic masculinity is admired, to an extent — it’s what the entire wave of dark antihero prestige dramas was based on. On the other, that same culture cautions us that traditional masculinity is dangerous. The underlying message of ‘boys will be boys,’ that hand-wave-y excuse for everything from petty crime to rape to violent assault, is that men just can’t help themselves. And that when men don’t help themselves, we get Elliot Rodger, Ray Rice, Gamergate, Steubenville. Generally speaking, everyone agrees that heroism is good, and that rape and murder are bad. But on a specific, day-to-day level, it can be frustrating to figure out what role, exactly, masculinity should play in our society. Luckily, Mad Max: Fury Road offers a roadmap for the modern man.”
Plus, the rest of today’s biz-ness:
- Luc Besson’s Valerian has a July 21, 2017 release date
- Bertrand Bonello will make “action-packed drama” Paris Is Happening
- Here’s a clip of The Green Room, the latest from Jeremy Saulnier
- Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan teases a future for Lando Calrissian
- Master And Commander screenwriter John Collee will adapt The Mirror: Twin Cities