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Daily Reads: 5 Key ‘Game of Thrones’ Premiere Scenes, Why ‘Wonder Woman’ Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More

Daily Reads: 5 Key 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Scenes, Why 'Wonder Woman' Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More

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

1. Key “Game of Thrones” Scenes. “Game of Thrones” is back, and Matt Patches of Esquire talked to season 5 premiere director Michael Slovis about 5 key scenes.

Young Cersei Encounters a Witch. “They said it’s something they don’t normally do and everybody was very excited about that,” Slovis says of “Game of Thrones'” first flashback moment. “The whole idea for that scene, that opening scene, was to not know where we were until, ‘We have to go, Cersei,’ and then we do that cut, that smash cut to Lena. You don’t even know it’s a flashback. So, really we wanted to deal with it as a big question: where ware we? Why are we watching this? And that’s always kinda my approach to filmmaking. Introduce something in a question and then shortly thereafter, or somewhere down the line, answer it. Why are we being shown this?” Read more.

2. The Forgotten Prestige Show. 
“Justified” never became a cultural phenomenon like “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men,” but the Village Voice’s Inkoo Kang writes about why it was a great show anyway.

Amid the self-conscious stylishness, the scenes of regional decay, and its moral ambiguity, “Justified” distinguishes itself from every other show. Its folksy, snarky, frequently hilarious dialogue is a kind of cowboy poetry that mixes the Shakespearean and the profane. When Raylan pits one baddie against another earlier in this final season, he practically rubs his hands together in anticipation as he crows, “Wonderful things can happen when you sow seeds of distrust in a garden of assholes.” Read more.

3. Why “Game of Thrones” Was Stolen, Not “Leaked.” This weekend, many outlets reported that the first four episodes of “Game of Thrones” were leaked. Sonny Bunch of The Washington Post says that “leaked” isn’t the right word:

These episodes were illicitly obtained, apparently via a screener DVD. That the network likely provided the disc the episode came from is immaterial. This was not some canny strategy of HBO’s to drum up business. Instead, the episodes were illegally uploaded to a variety of sites, where they were then illegally downloaded by a variety of people who, for whatever reason, decided that they couldn’t wait to see what happens next in Westeros. Read more.

4. Subversive Masculinity in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” John Huston’s great “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” features tough guy idol Humphrey Bogart panning for gold and fending off bandits, but it’s more than a paean to macho behavior. Tasha Robinson writes:

Huston subverts the whole set of Western archetypes… his morality isn’t black and white; none of his characters are idealized saints or sinners playing out broad fables meant to help American mythologize itself. They’re all desperate men making desperate choices. And his model of superior manliness for the film isn’t a strong-and-silent type in the prime of life: It’s his own father, Walter Huston, who was in his early 60s at the time, and looking older with a squint, a grizzled white beard, and his false teeth pulled out. Walter won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Howard, a cantankerous old coot who’s just as down on his luck as Dobbs and a third American they run across, game-but-naïve Bob Curtain (Tim Holt). But even though Howard is broke, living in a dirt-cheap, rat-infested flophouse, and getting by on tales of former glory, he turns out to be more of a man than Dobbs and Holt put together. Read more.

5. “Veep” Grows Up. “Veep” has always been a funny show, but The Atlantic’s David Sims writes that the fourth season improves on its predecessors by introducing real stakes.

Selina would try to accomplish something, she and her staff would screw everything up, and at the end of the day they’d look like idiots, only to move on to the next mistake. The comedy was largely predictable, in that the stakes for everyone involved were low. They’re not anymore. In “Veep’s” fourth season, which premiered Sunday on HBO, the blundering Selina has found herself in the Oval Office after the surprise resignation of the (unseen) former president. She’s still campaigning to retain the office, something she was doing a fairly miserable job at before she took over, but no longer is she just a grinning hairdo summoned for the cameras. She’s negotiating peace deals with Israel, traveling to Iran to free journalists from prison, and giving speeches to joint sessions of Congress (as seen in the premiere). Read more.

6. Good News with “Wonder Woman.” Michelle MacLaren is no longer directing “Wonder Woman,” but Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson writes that this is actually good news for MacLaren.

MacLaren certainly has experience folding individual installments into a larger arc due to her work on “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones,” but viewers could always tell when it was her behind the lens. Her camera work and compositions were unmistakable. And that’s a good thing. Yes, “Wonder Woman” would be a profile-boosting job for MacLaren, and, naturally, we should always be a little concerned when one of that rare breed — female director — loses a highly visible gig. But if staying on “Wonder Woman” meant stifling MacLaren’s creatively, then wouldn’t we rather see her move on? Read more.

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