The Morning Read (2.09.09) Winstead as Flowers, Critical Missteps, and the Swanberg debate
Good morning. It's been raining in LA on and off all weekend, and I've spent most of my time hanging out with the family, working on a few creative projects, and watching DVDs and BluRays. I can't call it a "lazy" weekend, per se, but it's been an enjoyable mix of work and relaxation, the right balance. That means it'll be a busy week, since I always end up paying for it if I even spend a few days without the pedal all the way down, but it's worth it.
Over at AICN, a few things in particular seem worth mentioning. There's the article Mr. Beaks wrote about Quint's new horror film, and I have to say... nothing anywhere online today makes me as happy as this particular piece. Over the years, I think Eric "Quint" Vespe and I have become very good friends, and the same is true of the director of "The Home," Kristoffer Aaron Morgan. And for the last year and a half, I've been watching them put this picture together, step by step. Now that the details of the film are becoming public, it's nice to finally be able to see how other people react to what they're doing. WETA is a major part of the process, and I think they have a shot at doing something both beautiful and disturbing. I was surprised to see Matt Ward listed as co-writer, but pleased. Matt's a good guy who is a great creative fit for both Eric and Aaron, and with the guys behind the French film "Inside" and Richard Taylor and Elijah Wood all backing the project, I can't see how they can lose.
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And if you want to read the best eulogy for the great character actor James Whitmore, the one Frank Darabont wrote is what you're looking for.
And finally, many people have picked up on this, but I happened to notice Quint's piece on AICN first, pointing out that Edgar Wright published an absolute torturous tease of an image of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers in "Scott Pilgrim." Oh, lord. I may not be able to withstand the sheer cannon-blast of adorable she's going to be in the role. I may implode from the intensity of my crush.
It's been an interesting weekend of watching online columnists make a few ghastly mistakes, and I sympathize with them. I've certainly made my fair share over the years. I tend to make mine out of enthusiasm or because I make my mind up on something and dig in my heels. But I'm a very different reporter and writer now than I was 12 years ago, and I believe I learn from each year that goes by. I can't imagine treating a film festival the way Jeff Wells did, and I certainly can't imagine taking his attitude towards anyone who brought up the issue to him. But that's Jeff, I guess. And I feel bad for the putz who spent his entire "Coraline" review bitching about Tim Burton's work on it, only to get called out for it by Neil Gaiman on Twitter. Oooooooops.
Glenn Kenny wrote a positively devastating piece on the work of Joe Swanberg, and I agree with every word of it. I'm not a big fan of a certain kind of navel-gazing intentionally amateur filmmaking, and it's always a relief to see someone else articulate the exact same hesitations I have towards this stuff. I'm equally interested in a passionate defense of that work, even if I disagree heartily with it. I just love that conversations at this level exist online, when bloggers can bounce off of one another and push each other to write with real passion about things that matter to them.
For example, I like it when Devin Faraci decides to editorialize. Sometimes, I think he's right on. Sometimes, I think he's just half-cocked. But I like that he can work up a head of steam on these things and really grapple with a subject and not just do it lip service. He's been thinking about slasher films this weekend, and it's a fun read.
And finally, to wrap up this brief but hopefully satisfying Monday morning read, a question from BoingBoing worth asking in this age of Internet leaks.
The Morning Read can be found here at Motion/Captured every morning from Monday to Friday.