Wednesday Collective is a new series, so I’m still allowed to tweak the rules. This’ll be a weekly roundup of any article about movies that caught my eye. There’ll still be a section at the bottom dedicated to collecting reviews for this week’s home releases, but I’d rather devote the bulk of this series to discussion about storytelling on film:
ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
On Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, and the Nature of Muscles
This is from Chris Braak over at Threat Quality Press. It’s a few weeks old, but a very good read. When Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s untitled Superman-starring Man of Steel follow-up, there was an internet-wide backlash against the choice. You see, she comes across as a bit petite. Fans had wanted everyone from Gina Torres (who, frankly, lacks the acting chops) to Lena Headey (one of the most underrated actors going).
Unfortunately, it’s the Internet and the tone of the argument quickly turned to replacing Fetishized Woman A with Fetishized Woman B. Instead of discussing casting and symbolism, we got commentary over which unrealistic ideal of a woman fans would like better. Braak re-frames the argument into something more useful, while not discounting the choice of Gadot:
“It is true that Wonder Woman does not actually NEED giant muscles…that it’s not required for whatever passes for realism in comic book movies that she be tall and broad-shouldered, she can have magic strength like Buffy or whatever, that’s fine. But here’s what I would like us to consider: muscles are not just a source of power for average human beings, muscles also represent power.” It’s a superb read.
12 Years a Slave Producer’s Links to Apartheid
Arnon Milchan is a producer on such important films as 12 Years a Slave, LA Confidential, and the harrowing Alvin and the Chipmunks trilogy. He revealed late last year that he had used his position in the film industry to visit foreign countries and illegally import nuclear-weapon technology to Israel. He’d often use director Sydney Pollack to do it. The most notable trade involved Milchan using his connections to promote apartheid (South Africa’s system for ghettoizing and segregating blacks) in exchange for uranium. The FBI was investigating before the Reagan administration told them to drop it. Under the Radar‘s Bryant Jordan has the most complete article wrapping it all up, but Harriet Sherwood’s Guardian write-up is also worth checking out.
Neeson. Liam Neeson.
The Hull Daily Mail has an intriguing interview between Liam Neeson and Keeley Bolger, in which he talks about turning down the James Bond role that eventually went to Pierce Brosnan because his late wife gave him an ultimatum.
Steven Soderbergh’s Psychos
The great director of Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven, and Magic Mike enjoyed perhaps the most diverse career of any modern director. He retired last year, but he’s very slyly been doing a terrible job of it. Aside from helming Cinemax’s Clive Owen-starring hospital drama The Knick, he just released online his re-edited mash-up combining Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho with Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot, 1998 remake.
Lupita Nyong’o on What Makes Beauty
The speech Lupita Nyong’o gave upon accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress was beautiful and inspiring, but the speech she gave to this year’s Black Women in Hollywood gathering was a remarkable commentary on the biases we still enact upon each other and how best to surpass them.
The 30-year Mystery of The Terminator‘s Score
This article from Slate gives some insight into how an accident helped create one of the most unique, underrated, and iconic scores in film history – the main theme to the original The Terminator.
ON DVD / BLU-RAY
12 YEARS A SLAVE
The Loquacionist wrote a stellar piece about confronting his own family’s slave-owning history as he watched 12 Years a Slave.
Film Threat gets angry that so few movies are made confronting the ugliest piece of foundation on which the United States was built.
Alessia Palanti, as always, portrays the emotion of a film while diving into the meaty theory behind it at Camera Obscura.
And my own response considers the ease with which cultures slip into performing atrocities and explains how the film emotionally broke me like very few others.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
Bad*ss Digest raved about the film, stressing both its political and storytelling subersiveness.
Reel Antagonist thought the film strong, but that it lacked in rewatchability.
I thought it was a beautiful political statement, and that The Hunger Games is positioning itself as the science-fiction epic of my pissed off and discontent generation.
I also write about Jennifer Lawrence’s performance here.
I still haven’t seen it, but Outlaw Vern has a humorous and entertaining write-up on Spike Lee’s remake of Chan Wook Park’s original masterpiece. He says he didn’t hate it or anything, but that they should’ve thrown caution to the wind, dumped Brolin, and gone full-on Nicolas Cage with it. That’s never a good sign.