Welcome to The Morning Read.
Some days, it's a struggle to find enough material to put together a satisfying Morning Read. Some days, it's a struggle to fit it all into one column. This is one of those days, and it's an uncommonly good batch of material out there to sift through.
For example, there are more of those Empire "Tintin" images online, and I've gotta say, there's a desert one that I find amazing, a perfect Tintin image. And I like the way the Thompsons look so far. They're sort of spot on, and with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg performing the roles together, I can't wait to see them in motion.
And have you seen the Entertainment Weekly images from "The Muppets" with Jason Segel, introducing Walter, the new Muppet who will co-star with Segal in the film due out next Christmas? Awesome. Instantly charming. And my favorite part of the picture is knowing that Segel is probably out of his mind with joy in that photo. He's such a Jim Henson super-geek, and that photo is just one icon after another crammed into every corner of the frame with Segel right there in the middle. That goes beyond dream come true. I hope the film lives up to its potential and restores the Muppets to their rightful place in pop culture. I know we can never bring Jim Henson back, but I'm sure he wanted these characters to have a larger life beyond him. They are so rich, with such great relationships established over time, and done right, this could be a really special moment next year.
Oh, holy crap, Toshi and I are going to see "Batman Live" together. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I know we're not going to make it to New York to see "Spider-Man," as much as I wish we could. But "Batman Live"? Yes. Yes. Yes. The countdown to the ticket sales makes me nervous, but I'm in.
Do you remember "Spitting Image"? If you're American, there's a good chance the answer is "maybe" or "is that from that music video?" or "what?" But if you're from the UK, I think the answer would unavoidably be "yes." So what was "Spitting Image," and how did it happen in the first place? Vice has an amazing piece looking back at the series, its origins, and its place in our culture.
Are you a fan of cinematography in general, and the great Roger Deakins in particular? Well, you should do what I did this morning and register for his forum where you can ask him questions about his craft and discuss the art in general. My friend Keith, whose amazing documentary "Thunder Soul" just sold to Roadside Attractions, was the one who pointed this out, and I confess an almost indecent glee at the idea of being able to join any conversation with Deakins, who I think is one of the lions of his field these days.
Once my boys are back here, I'm going to spoil them rotten for a few months, just to make up for lost time, and even so, there's no way I'm bringing a Kinect into a house where my game systems are hooked up to high-def screens. My two-year-old has already taken out one high-def set with a perfectly-thrown metal airplane. This entire collection of clips gives me stress.
If you've never seen "Incubus," you should read this article just because you won't believe that this movie exists. But the fact that they actually listened to the commentary track for "Incubus," and they are willing to share their new knowledge with us… well, that's what makes the A.V. Club special.
You've got my attention the moment you call a book Gojira: King Of The Monsters, but when I read the synopsis and realized what this really is, I went from interested to rabid. Jim Shepard's book sounds amazing, and I look forward to reading it.
Movie poster nerds, I can promise you a Monday worth your time. Part one of that is this next group of links, and part two of that is an article later tonight on a great new poster art book for the holidays. First, there's this look at Bill Gold and his work, and a great gallery of his work. There's also this piece on what may soon be the most expensive one-sheet of all time.
The reason the Morning Read is a little late today is because I spent five hours looking at this. I'm sure you understand. In all honesty, I have no idea what that is, or how I ended up opening the link, and my attempts to backtrack that thought process have been to no avail. This is one of the occasional hazards of doing The Morning Read. You end up in some alley on the Internet going, "I'm pretty sure I didn't mean to spend 20 minutes downloading pictures of dogs dressed as 'Star Wars' characters." It gets weird out there.
Michelle Williams is rapidly turning into one of our very best, and this interview with her is a fantastic glimpse at who she is right now as a person and as an artist.
Agreed. Cool and somehow overlooked.
I can't believe I never wrote up the Winterbottom film "The Trip." I could have sworn I'd published something about it. By now, the clip of the dueling Michael Caine impressons has gone viral, and that's something that was apparent sitting in the theater in Toronto. That's one of those things that you have to see to believe, and the rest of the film is, I think, equally charming and enjoyable. It's being shown in expanded form as a series now in the UK, and I hope both versions are eventually available over here. For now, the instantly-ubiquitous Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan Caine-off:
Devin did some legwork on the "Apollo 18" film and its back story, and his piece pretty much sums up my feelings on it as well.
And on a similar note, I don't buy that the faintings have been orchestrated, but it's a question worth asking.
RT @MJMcKean Nice NYT piece on Courtney Love; seems like she's getting her shit together, rubbing it in her hair, and running naked into traffic.
This piece on a (literally) underground art exhibit and the fallout from it is fascinating. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole situation, but it's undeniably interesting, and much of the work is beautiful.
I'll admit, I was curious, and I'll bet making this much of a statement was a big deal for Zuckerberg. And speaking of him and Facebook, this sort of thing is only going to get worse. We're looking a whole generation of people who have laid their lives bare online who are just about to start understanding exactly what the consequences of that will be. It's going to be ugly, but it may lead to a renewed focus on what matters, and an overload that finally makes us give up caring about all the crap that doesn't matter.
Of all the remembrances of the great Jill Clayburgh I read over the last weekend, this is the one that hit me the hardest. When my parents were preparing to open their first video store back in 1980, we were getting boxes of VHS at the house, and I was left alone with those boxes unsupervised at times. I was determined to find the most salacious, outrageous, provocative films, and I was obsessed with anything that was rated R. One evening, while they were out, I made plans to watch a film that i was convinced was going to be a wild sexual rollercoaster ride of nakedness and debauchery, and I took great pride in how grown-up I was as I sat down to watch "An Unmarried Woman." Let's just say it wasn't what I was expecting. Mazursky and Clayburgh made magic together, and she will definitely be remembered.
God bless you, Burt Reynolds.
Okay, if that thing above didn't make your head explode, maybe this will:
There are times I need to be reminded of this.
Drudge Report + Prison Planet + people's very real frustrations with TSA = a whole lot of sound and fury. This is going to get very, very weird, I believe, as people begin to finally push back against the fundamental indignity of modern air travel. How? I don't know, but i don't think it's going to make TSA very happy at all. It's miserable now, and the invasive nature of it is going to make for some very strange bedfellows.
Chaplin and time travel are like chocolate and peanut butter.
Short, sweet, and sums up completely why Prop 19 failed in California.
Our own Katie Hasty has a review of the new Michael Jackson single "Breaking News" this morning. Have you heard it yet? You can at the end of her piece.
First, I didn't know that Susan Boyle was covering "Perfect Day," and I really didn't know Lou Freakin' Reed was directing the video. Wow.
Google, I think I love you.
This is an excellent piece on books that "can't" be filmed, and an astute look at who might be right to prove that theory wrong.
And finally, zombies are everywhere these days, but why is the archetype so enduring and what are the real origins of it? This documentary by Hamilton Morris tackles those questions, and this interview with him makes me very curious about his film and when I'll get to see it.
Lots of good stuff ahead this week, and I'm off to see yet another big holiday movie in just a few hours. It's one after another these days, and it's pretty great.
The Morning Read appears here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, except when it doesn't.