Harvey Weinstein didn't acquire that "Scissorhands" nickname casually -- no producer in the modern era has exerted quite such fierce artistic control over the films he decides needs it. But is he an enabling or obstructive influence? Karina Longworth breaks down the pros and cons in this excellent long-form piece, which goes from his recent editing input on such films as "August: Osage County" and "Snowpiercer" back through the likes of "Gangs of New York" and Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling Blade." (The quoted exchange between Weinstein and Thornton is priceless.) Finally, Longworth wonders if a villainous reputation is exactly what Weinstein has been deliberately cultivating all along. [Grantland]

Tim Grierson attended an Academy screening of "Captain Phillips," and noted a disconcerting "bloodlust" in certain sectors of the audience. [The Dissolve]

Glenn Whipp, meanwhile, attended an Aademy screening of "12 Years a Slave," and noted both solemn admiration and weariness in certain sectors of the audience. [LA Times]

Tim Gray, meanwhile, says that any voters concerned about the film's brutality need to bite the bullet and see it. [Variety]

Grierson again, with a lovely appreciation of Robert Redford's distinguished but imperfect career. [Paste]

Alfonso Cuarón and sound mixer Skip Lievsay talk about  the complex soundscape of "Gravity." [Soundworks Collection]

An essential one for cinematography geeks: Oscar-winner Anthony Dod Mantle discusses the logistical and aesthetic challenges of shooting "Rush." [American Cinematographer]

Why "Enough Said" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a national treasure. [Vulture]

With "alternative content" (theater and concert broadcasts, and so on) increasingly popular in cinemas, it was inevitable it'd eventually get its own award ceremony. [Screen Daily]

Finally, I like this personal video essay made by a reader, Jorge Gonzlez Diaz, on the career of Alfonso Cuarón, and what it means to him:


Guy Lodge is a South African-born critic and sometime screenwriter. In addition to his work at In Contention, he is a freelance contributor to Variety, Time Out, Empire and The Guardian. He lives well beyond his means in London.