Screening Room

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 21

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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?

April 4, 2013

The Rapist Next Door: On Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers 10

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If Spring Breakers can have any place in our culture, if it can be something worth seeing, its worth must be located in its frightening capacity to capture a world we dismiss as “just fun,” to capture the seductions of a world we refuse to understand.

February 21, 2013

Stages of Television Grief: On the Decline of Downton Abbey 15

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There is something notable about the backlash when a television character is killed: fans take the opportunity to tear apart the writers’ choices beyond the decision to bump off an individual: across the show, all the indignities they’d have suffered through if everyone had been permitted to live.

February 8, 2013

How Joe Wright Got Anna Right, and the Critics Got It Wrong 7

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But to criticize is easy. To create is hard. And Wright has shown himself to be every inch the creator, not on the level of Tolstoy, of course, but certainly on the same emotional and philosophical wave length.