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Daily Reads: How ‘Transparent’ Let Down the Transgender Community, Why ‘Jupiter Ascending’ Isn’t Eddie Redmayne’s ‘Norbit,’ and More

Daily Reads: How 'Transparent' Let Down the Transgender Community, Why 'Jupiter Ascending' Isn't Eddie Redmayne's 'Norbit,' and More

Criticwire’s Daily Reads brings today’s essential
news stories and critical pieces to you.

1. How “Transparent” Let Down the Transgender Community. “Transparent” is one of the most acclaimed shows of the past year, but not all members of the transgender community are thrilled about it. Marcy Cook of The Mary Sue writes:

What “Transparent” is truly about is how cisgender people cope with something they don’t want to be happening – that they can’t stop from happening; and, more fundamentally, that it’s happening to someone they can’t easily be rid of. The focus is on cisgender people being afraid of losing their privilege. It hasn’t focused on trans representation, it’s focused on cis people being afraid of having someone close to them come out as transgender. To me, this is why “Transparent” has lost so much trust, and why so many trans people are questioning how much cisgender applause the show is getting. 
Read more.

2. “Jupiter Ascending”: Not Eddie Redmayne’s “Norbit.” 
Eddie Redmayne is staggeringly awful in “Jupiter Ascending,” and many believe it could be to him what “Norbit” was to Eddie Murphy’s Oscar chances back in 2007. Jason Bailey of Flavorwire, however, says the comparison is off:

Norbit” is a loathsome, repugnant pile of misogyny and xenophobia and fat-shaming, but you can’t say Eddie Murphy doesn’t give it his all; “Jupiter” is a better movie, but Redmayne contributes a terrible, half-assed, laughable performance to it. Secondly, “Jupiter” won’t affect Redmayne’s Oscar chances it’s not his movie they way “Norbit” was Murphy’s (he co-wrote and co-produced that atrocity in addition to starring three times over). In 2007, giant billboards of the actor smothering himself (and his awards campaign) were greeting Academy members all over Los Angeles; “Jupiter Ascending’s” ads don’t give Redmayne anywhere near that kind of prominence, and who’re we kidding, it’s not like voters are actually going to see this lemon of a performance (they can barely be bothered to see the nominated stuff). Read more.

3. “Jupiter Ascending’s” Twist on a Fairy Tale. But while “Jupiter Ascending” isn’t a very good movie, it does feature a great twist on a fairy tale. Alison Willmore of BuzzFeed explains:

…while Jupiter can be a frustrating, limp character…her lack of extraordinary qualities outside of her genetic sequencing does ultimately become part of the movie’s point. There’s nothing that sets her apart, aside from the luck of her birth, and she doesn’t manage to cause a revolution or right the wrongs of the universe or do anything else heroic, in her past or present incarnation. The bravest act she manages, her big moment of agency, is choosing to trade her own life and those of her loved ones for the larger survival of Earth, which may not be a sweeping gesture but is a desperately resonant one. Jupiter chooses not to participate in a system in which her specialness depends on the ruin of others. Dramatic rescues and flying boots and space police and dragon aliens aside, her pivotal choice is to not be the princess. Read more.

4. Great “Mr. Show” Sketches for Bob. Before “Breaking Bad” or “Better Call Saul,” Bob Odenkirk co-starred on “Mr. Show with Bob and David” with David Cross. Metro’s Matt Prigge picked the best Bob-centric sketches:

Now that everyone knows him as a shyster lawyer — albeit a nicer, younger version of himself on the new “Better Call Saul” — it’s worth remembering that Bob Odenkirk is a sketch comedy chameleon. Want to surprise “Breaking Bad” heads with a clip of him as the laidback hype man of fake-’90s R&B duo Three Times One Minus One? And who does a better Robert Evans impersonation (as seen in “God’s Book-on-Tape”)? No one. Read more.

5. “Fantasia” Shows Weirder, More Ambitious Disney. “Fantasia” is streaming on Netflix, and it’s a weird, awkward, gorgeous movie. Glenn Kenny writes at Decider about Walt Disney’s ambitious project.

The thing is though: the Technicolor “Fantasia” is beautiful to look at even when its stories aren’t quite making it. Pushing his artists to the limits of their abilities and beyond, Disney created a still-vital textbook of what hand-drawn animation could do, and pointed the way for what it could do. For animation mavens, even in today’s world of software-driven movie magic, “Fantasia” is still replete with unfulfilled promise. Read more.

Video of the Day: “Coen Country,” by Steven Benedict


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