Screening Room

October 5, 2012

When Costner Was King: An Actor’s Rise and Fall (and Rise?) 8

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With 1989’s Field of Dreams, my Costner man crush truly began. I honestly don’t remember seeing it in the theater. It must have been VHS. Either way, I remember the feeling. That film, pie-in-the-sky as it may be, still gets me.

September 18, 2012

How to Write a Movie About a Writer 9

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Films rely on our familiarity with Hollywood-established Literary Personality tropes: needy yet reclusive, lecherous yet noble, wise yet drug-addled. You know, writers.

July 12, 2012

The Not-So-Silver Screen: Writers Acting in Film 27

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He tries his best, but let’s face it: SALMAN RUSHDIE, fatwa survivor, ex-husband of Padma Lakshmi, plays an obstetrician who is not using enough gel while operating an ultrasound machine. Disbelief has not been suspended if the audience starts yelling, “Use more gel, Rushdie! Use more gel!”

June 18, 2012

Shadow of a Doubt: Franz Kafka and TV’s ‘The Killing’ 16

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When I first began to watch The Killing two months ago, I told a friend who’d been watching since day one. His reaction was vehement. “Goddamn FUCK THE KILLING. I keep watching it and it keeps NOT GOING ANYWHERE. And yet I cannot stop watching.”

June 4, 2012

Ten Books to Read When Mad Men is Over 19

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Mad Men is about to disappear from our lives once again, leaving us to grapple alone with our complicated nostalgia for an era when men were men, women were secretaries, and alcoholism was glamorous. These books give a closer look at the era.

May 10, 2012

On The Road, On The Screen 9

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A large part of On The Road’s powerful and ongoing appeal undoubtedly stems from the lyricism of its language — as opposed to its linearity, or even narrative coherence. Translating this to the screen could quite simply be impossible. Indeed, one suspects it is the reason that, up till now, so many screenwriters have failed in turning Kerouac’s text into visual form.

February 24, 2012

Source Material: Breaking Down the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay 14

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If the publishing industry really does collapse, as some predict it will, it won’t be the big houses or the independent bookstores that will be most affected, it will be Hollywood. This year’s crop of Oscar contenders begs the question “Can there be a cinema without books?”

January 20, 2012

The Literary Pedigree of Downton Abbey 9

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The current PBS Masterpiece series mashes the “class” buttons hard, in both the literary and the economic senses. But its relationship with the English novel is more complicated than it might appear.

November 16, 2011

Monster Mashups: The Recurring Horror of Mary Poppins 3

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The monsters are always among us, because no matter how tightly we shore up the windows and nail shut the doors, we always create some new cracks through which they can come.

September 30, 2011

The Joys and Compromises of Bennett Miller’s Moneyball 2

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Take whatever it is that’s important to you – knitting, perhaps, or mountain biking – and then imagine waiting for a feature film about it. Would you be excited or nervous? Or would you simply be dreading how Hollywood would manage to fuck up your passion?