Screening Room

September 27, 2013

Breaking Good: Broadway’s Golden Age Reborn on Cable 6

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It seems clear that if Tennessee Williams and Lorraine Hansberry were writing today they would be showrunners for a cable series, because that’s where the audience is.

September 18, 2013

Speculative Evidence: Ben Urwand’s The Collaboration 1

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It is the unholy alliance of Hitler and Mickey that tees up Urwand’s central claim: from 1933 to 1939, the Jewish moguls who ran Hollywood’s studio system “collaborated” with the Nazi regime, censoring and even quashing films that represented the German state in a negative light.

August 26, 2013

A Breaking Bad (and Beyond) Reading List 6

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The books on this list range from the personal to the mythological to the journalistic, and some intertwine all three. They all depict a world of stark contrasts. There is danger here.

August 6, 2013

Paul Schrader + Bret Easton Ellis + Lindsay Lohan = One Excellent Misadventure 4

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We’re deep in Bret Easton Ellis country here, southern California zip code. Which means there will be sex and there will be blood and anything goes and nothing matters.

July 25, 2013

The Unfortunate Legacy of Richard Matheson: On the Roots and Unfairly Repellent Qualities of Less-Than-Stellar Film Adaptations 6

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It seems worthy of a Twilight Zone episode: Richard Matheson. 87. A writer and screenwriter and noted figure in the annals of contemporary literature. He’s about to find out, though, that simply producing an effective story is not enough. When adaptations are concerned, sometimes, an effective story is just what one needs to produce a completely ridiculous and terrible story. Richard Matheson is entering a world beyond sight and sound. He’s about to arrive…in The Twilight Zone.

July 17, 2013

Hollywood Gossip: At Lunch with Orson Welles 1

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Whether or not to read Peter Biskind’s My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles is simply decided: do you care, at all, about continuing to admire Orson Welles as an actual person and artist, or are you happy to have that illusion exploded by a sad, embittered caricature performing great feats of persona for a sycophant with a hidden tape recorder?

May 17, 2013

Judging Luhrmann’s Gatsby: Five English Scholars Weigh In 22

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You might think that the people who know Fitzgerald’s novel best would have the most disapproving view of the movie. To test that hypothesis, we asked five English professors who specialize in American literature to take in an early showing and share their thoughts. And to our surprise, they liked it.

May 15, 2013

You Can’t Repeat the Past, Old Sport: On Leo, Baz, Gatsby, and Me 3

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When I read Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle opine recently that Romeo + Juliet was ‘too contemptible even to be called a desecration,’ I know that he never lay in virginal bed with headphones and discman, listened to Thom Yorke utter the eternal invitation, “I’ll be waiting, with a gun and a pack of sandwiches,” and just felt so much.

May 3, 2013

Herblock Loved the Little Guy and Hated Nixon’s Guts 6

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Herblock drew McCarthy and Nixon with swarthy mugs, sweating, frequently crawling out of mud puddles or open sewer holes. Herblock hated Nixon’s guts and wasn’t shy about saying so. In our watered-down, fair-minded times, such venom is bracing.

April 19, 2013

Lessons of Hollywood: On the Fate of “Middle Class” Art 3

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If there were no more “middle class” movies, then in what other arenas would an ostensible middle class suffer? Publishing, for sure. But what about . . . everything else?