With the long weekend looming, it’s a great time to catch up on some of the new movie sites that have sprung up in recent weeks, with an avalanche of great writing (sorry, “content”) for us to wrap our minds around.
The newest kid on the block is “The Talkhouse,” the newly launched film vertical of the site that til now has featured musicians writing about musicians, like Nico Muhly reviewing the new Coldplay album. The film content follows the same model, and though the site only officially launches today, there’s several weeks worth of content to absorb. (Of special note is the essay on “Cold in July” by filmmaker Michael Tully, who’s been doing something similar for years at Hammer to Nail.) If you’ve ever wanted to hear the director of “Sharknado’s” thoughts on the new “Godzilla” — and probably you didn’t, but now you do — the Talkhouse will be the place to turn. Here are a few highlights:
TV used to be a graveyard of constraints when it was relegated just to broadcast networks: Language, length, sex, violence, political correctness. But mostly, the bigger problem was that storylines were aimed toward pleasing everybody – and when you have to please everybody you come up with The Waltons or Cagney & Lacey. Those shows got numbers and made their creators rich as the good Lord – but they did not become part of the literary landscape.
But not anymore. Not without FCC regulations. Not with audience’s thirsting for honest-to-goodness darkness. There are literally no more rules.
Edwards picks and chooses his VFX battles. So many VFX studio films cram in so many quick-cut visual effects moments that the magic of them is sometimes lost among music video-styled editing. That’s not the case here. You really get to absorb moments and see the beauty that went into making each shot. That’s not to say there isn’t a VFX orgy by movie’s end – there is – but Edwards’ restraint is fabulous.
What’s also important is he’s managed to not forget where he came from and used his indie low-budget roots to benefit a big studio movie (which is probably why the budget of Godzilla was kept around $160 million instead of the $250 million of most summer blockbusters).
“An Oversimplification of Her Beauty’s” Terence Nance on “The Double”
Somewhere around the section of the film in which Simon tried to holla at Hannah in earnest during a mandatory work party, Jesse Eisenberg’s sad sap routine felt so immersive and melodramatic that it seemed isolated in its gesticulation, like something conceptualized by Marina Abramović or Vito Acconci. His self-pity was like a Duchampian readymade of behavior, isolated and reduced to gesture so that we could contemplate its absurdity. Because the performance was so decontextualized I found myself thinking:
What is the origin story of existential angst? What is its onset?