Welcome to The Morning Read.
First, let me apologize for dropping Wednesday’s column. I blame Jon Favreau, and I’ll explain why on Monday. On an entirely-related note, I was at the AFI Fest closing night screening of “Black Swan” last night, and at the after-party at the Roosevelt, I ran into Matty Libatique, the cinematographer of “Black Swan,” “Iron Man,” “The Fountain,” and the upcoming “Cowboys and Aliens”. We’ve met a few times now, and he’s one of my favorite guys in the business. He’s so inventive, and so expressive, and such a key collaborator on the films he’s shot. There is one moment in “Black Swan” that I can’t describe without ruining the film for you, but it’s a combination of performance and photography and an effect and the score, and it just tears me up. Both times I’ve seen it, I hold my breath watching it.
When I realized he was standing next to me at the bar, I said hello and we talked about that shot and the film in general for a moment. We also talked about the gorgeous Western fantasy work he’s done for “Cowboys and Aliens,” and the pleasures of shooting a face as great as Harrison Ford’s. I love that he can shoot big commercial fare like “Iron Man” and “Cowboys And Aliens” and really give the films a rich, vibrant sheen that makes movie stars look legitimately superhuman, but he can also shoot films like “Black Swan” or “Requiem For A Dream,” pure emulsion emotion. As he turned to another friend in line, he confirmed that he’ll be joining Darren Aronofsky for “Wolverine 2,” so there’s one more reason for me to look forward to that movie. We spoke a little more about “Cowboys” and an early action set piece in the movie, and then parted ways. This weekend, I’ll be speaking to both Aronofsky and Natalie Portman about the film, and we’ll have those interviews for you soon.
I don’t know Duncan Shepherd as a critic, and with my introduction to him being his amazing goodbye column, it feels like we timed that introduction wrong. Talk about saying goodbye in style. And I love that his first film as a reviewer was “Hickey and Boggs.”
Have you checked out The Long Good Read? It’s a website that collects the best long-form pieces from the Guardian UK. They update every day at 5 AM and 5 PM GMT, so there’s always something worth a glance over there. The Paul McCartney piece they have up at the moment’s pretty good.
Are you a Michael Mann fan? Check this out.
Roger Ebert just reprinted an interview he did with John D. McDonald, who is an American treasure, and I wish there were four more hours of conversation between them.
And if you didn’t read Mike Russell’s interview with Berkeley Breathed, you really should. It’s incredible.
How much do you agree or disagree with this list of the ten best political cult horror films ever?
And speaking of politics for a moment, allow me to just say that the conviction of Paul Chambers is like a practical joke, a surreal and obvious mistake. Allow me also to say, “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” #IAmSpartacus.
A good review can make you want to experience something you weren’t interested in, and I’ve managed so far to keep the Kanye West hype at bay, and then I read this review on Vulture, and now I’m going to give in. Curiosity piqued.
I have no idea what to make of this rumor, but I will say that Joe Pesci was at the screening of “The Fighter” I attended this week. Hmmmm…
My acrophobia is set off so profoundly by the first video in this article that it makes me want to lay down with my eyes closed. Good lord.
And the video that Teddy Smith shot of the New Orleans Six Flags which has been abandoned since Katrina hit is my nominee for best horror film of 2010.
I’d never heard of Mater Suspiria Vision until Jenni Miller pointed them out, but I’m intrigued.
Want to read a great piece for Veteran’s Day weekend? Look no further.
I could barely watch this. It sums up YouTube for me in some way. I think this is genuinely a courageous act, but the idea that anyone anywhere in the world can watch this moment of hers is mind-boggling.
Dennis Muren’s ILM article for Vanity Fair is pure nerd heaven.
Looks like I know what I’m doing the next 99 times I go out to eat. However many problems I have, great food in LA ain’t one of them.
There are a lot of Merlin-related projects out there, and so far none of them have made it to the screen. Will this one be any different?
Best quote in this entire piece: “It’ll be like ‘Midnight Express.’ It’ll be awful.”
You know what? I’m serious about this… something has to change. Are we really, as a society, happy with letting the TSA treat us like garbage in exchange for the “privilege” of air travel? Until we push back, they’re going to to keep accelerating this behavior, and it’s so far past unacceptable at this point that it’s almost impossible to accept as real.
TMZ, of all places, ran some giant spoilers from the set of “The Hangover Part II.” The way this is going, we’ll know every beat of the film before it hits theaters. I warn you… that link gives some big things away.
The familiar rhythm this article points out about “Castle” is part of what many people want from TV. Something that feels the same every single time they turn it on. There’s a reason “Eastbound and Down” isn’t on NBC at 8:00 PM on a weeknight, and there’s a reason we consider it a miracle when something that does shatter formula actually manages to work with the mainstream.
You know, there’s a reason I keep my physical media library. At least in my house, “TRON” is readily available right freaking’ now. Just saying.
I’ll have more on Dino De Laurentiis this weekend, but for now, I like this one.
Roger Ebert also put up some Dino thoughts. Great stuff.
There are moments where anyone who publishes online feels this way about comments sections, but I think anyone who hasn’t written for Ain’t It Cool and dealt with Talkbacks has no room to complain.
I think this show may turn out to be one of the most minutely-dissected of the year once it actually airs, and this piece lays out exactly why that’s going to be the case.
I can’t believe there was an actual police raid over a gay zombie movie. Really? That seemed prudent, Melbourne?
Great piece on the Toddy Haynes film “Poison,” which isn’t my personal favorite of his work, but which caused an amazing stir when it was released.
I love that there is still so much energy focused on hating Pig Virus, and that he now appears to finally have reached a sunset of sorts.
Watch this. I dare you.
Does this bother anyone? I’m not the biggest Olbermann fan in the world, but really? This is going to blow back on Carlson, right?
Great way to review this game and show how it really works.
Have some John Carpenter. Everyone needs some John Carpenter.
And on that note, have a great weekend. I’m going to run out and see “Skyline” now, and I’ll report back on that. I’ll also have some odds and ends and stuff over the weekend, so keep checking in.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, except when it doesn’t.