This Week's Best Online Film Writing: The '12 Years a Slave' Backlash Begins
A round-up of this week's insightful commentary, Quora questions, Reddit debates, Twitter feuds and nice weekend long reads on the subject of film, the industry, and storytelling.
- "12 Years As A Slave is easily the greatest feature film ever made about slavery," writes David Denby of The New Yorker.
- Armond White respectfully disagrees. "Brutality is McQueen's forte," White writes. "As with his fine-arts background, McQueen's films resemble museum installations: the stories are always abstracted into a series of shocking, unsettling events."
- Robert Koehler also pans the film on similar grounds. "(Steve McQueen) takes narratives that seem incredible on paper and could possibly make for great movies, then he distorts them into treatises on the body in various states of pain."
- "Never bring an air conditioner to a vehicles-that-convert-into-giant-deadly-robots-fight," Tweeted @NotoriousJLD on that extremely odd life-imitating-art story of a man attacking Michael Bay with an air conditioner unit.
- Is this the end of film critics? asks Nick James.
- "Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen -- ever," writes fanboy Anthony Hopkins to Brian Cranston.
- Film critic Julian Assange is less than a fan of the way he is portrayed in The Fifth Estate. He writes Benedict Cumberbatch: "I believe that you are a good person but I do not believe that this film is a good film." Also: on the question of whether or not television has achieved parity with film as an artistic medium, Mr. Cumberbatch, in a Reddit AMA, casts his lot firmly in the camp of #TeamFilm.
- The Guardian lists the Top 10 Horror Films. Not to be outdone, Forbes lists the "Best" -- note the quotation marks -- Horror Movies That Flopped. And while we are on the subject of horror, 22 things we learned from Killer Klowns from Outer Space. And, in horror science, Could we ever have contained The Thing?
- What is Wes Anderson's secret ingredient (Hint: color palette)? Ponder that while watching The Grand Budapest Hotel trailer.
- On Quora: What are some ideas for a new documentary? Also: a guide to the 8 documentaries on the Oscar shortlist.
- Brett Weinstein, head of UTA's digital media group, is tasked with scouting and shepherding rising YouTube stars. "Their audiences watches almost exclusively streaming content as opposed to TV," Weinstein told Forbes. "They are amassing huge, passionate audiences they can program to without any gatekeepers."
- Vice is launching an animated web series allowing journalists to tell the stories behind their stories.
- Wonderbook: The Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction is filled with gorgeous visual infographics on how to create compelling stories.
- How did screenwriter Kevin Grevioux go from graduate studies in genetic engineering to writing the screenplay for the buzzy I, Frankenstein.
- And, finally, Hillary Weston meditates on Mulholland Drive: "With work that feels so immensely transportive, psychological and visceral its a wonder to me just how (David Lynch) crafted that onto the screen; and although of course I'm curious about the fascinating techniques of a true master, would seeing the behind-the-scenes Lynchian universe take away some of its magic and beauty?"