1. Saying Goodbye to “Justified.” “Justified” is almost near the end of its terrific run, and Philly.com’s Ellen Gray finds ten reasons why it was great:
Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder. Boyd surviving the pilot — in Leonard’s story, Raylan killed him — may have been the best thing for “Justified,” but Boyd may also be the best reason for ending it before things get silly. Because the dance between these two can’t, realistically, go on forever. Boyd, who began “Justified” as a white supremacist who robbed banks and started a church because he didn’t want to pay taxes, has grown, through his love for Ava, into someone considerably more interesting, but no less deadly. Charm can only take him so far. Read more.
2. The Case for Kristen Stewart. Kristen Stewart got a lot of flak for the “Twilight” series, but Scott Tobias of The Dissolve praises her as a rare, self-effacing movie star.
At the same time, there’s a reason why Stewart was cast in “Twilight,” tied to her particular ability to convey moodiness and reserve without entirely losing her vulnerability and humanity. That’s the magic of her performance in “Clouds pf Sils Maria”: Binoche runs hot the entire film as Maria, whose career has reached such a crisis point that she doesn’t know whether she can pull off her role in the play, much less come to terms with its significance. Maria relies on Val to run lines with her, manage her appointments, and keep her up to date on a popular culture from which she feels alienated. But Val also feels the brunt of her neurosis and frustration — which goes beyond the job description. Stewart doesn’t try to strike back at Maria with equal force; that isn’t in her character’s nature, and it isn’t in Stewart’s nature, either. Her work in Clouds of Sils Maria is exceptionally subtle: no big eruptions, just a gradual whittling away from the intensity of Maria’s dependence. Val cares about Maria, but it’s too much to bear. Read more.
3. The Screen-Free Bedroom. Erich Deleeuw of Adult.com speaks with Cléo Journal editor Kiva Reardon:
My work is all spread out, but mostly in film. Right now I’m working on a larger feature about women in film: it’s about a documentary called Women Who Act. I’m hoping to look more at the untold stories of women in film who get overshadowed by the Humphrey Bogarts — the women who have been in film forever but seem like they haven’t, because no one talks about it! That’s the idea I have now, though I don’t know if it’ll actually work. I also have to transcribe an interview this weekend. It’s with David Cronenberg and we ended up on the topic of feminism, so it’ll be fun. I see film as politics… well, that’s how I see the world really, so why wouldn’t I see film like that? I emailed 15 women I knew either from my grad program at U of T, and other writer friends involved with feminist and gender-related causes, and told them about my semi-formed idea, hoping they would be interested. Luckily they were, and we started by having pizza parties, and brainstorming sessions, I had no idea what would happen. Read more.
4. “The Wire’s” Dangerous Realism. How realistic was “The Wire’s” surveillance technology? Dante D’Orazio of The Verge reports that police asked them to tone it down.
Law enforcement officials requested that the show not reveal the gap in surveillance technology out of fears that it would be exploited. Simon recalls co-creator Ed Burns saying at the time that “to highlight this vulnerability in our drama would have irresponsibly driven the communications of every criminal conspiracy into an impenetrable hole.” The writers ultimately decided to go a different route. Read more.
5. A Visionary 15 Minutes. A 15-minute animated short might be the year’s best film. Noel Murray of The A.V. Club writes about Don Hertzfeldt’s “World of Tomorrow”:
That image of infinite regression—clones watching clones watching clones—is a good starting point for understanding what’s so special about “World Of Tomorrow.” Most importantly, it’s humorous. I don’t want to kill the comedy through over-explanation, but the shot of people remembering themselves remembering themselves remembering memories works because of the blank expressions, coupled with the whole idea of screens within screens. It’s also a sad image, with the figure becoming less animated (and literally bluer) the further it recedes from the original memory. And the picture is aesthetically pleasing, adding layers of lines and shapes that drift through, giving the frame a depth that disguises the overall flatness of the characters and the setting. This goes on throughout the short: There’s nearly always something in motion around the two Emilys, who themselves remain mostly static. Read more.
6. Don Draper’s Oedipal Farewell Tour. James Poniewozik of Time writes that Diana on “Mad Men” is Don Draper’s attempt to go back to the beginning…the very beginning.
You don’t have to be Dr. Freud, or Dr. Faye Miller, to see that Don in some way has all his life been trying to get into her arms, to get back to his own phantasmal, real-but-not-real mother. At the outset of season 4, after his divorce from Betty, we find him in bed with a prostitute, paying her to slap him. (That encounter is further complicated in season 6, when we learn that Dick Whitman lost his virginity as a boy to a prostitute who molested him.) Not coincidence, I’m guessing, that Don becomes fixated on Diana after she has sex with him for money (even if he wasn’t aware of it at the time). Read more.
Tweets of the Day:
I keep asking people what Rashomon is about and getting different answers
— Daniel Carlson (@danielwcarlson) April 14, 2015