The FAR opened what it thought was a box of delicious ‘Nilla Wafers and it turned out to be one of those Pandora jobs! Apocalypse! Mind attacks! Dead print journals! Static! And then… Hope.
Remember to send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail! Post articles from the past week below for discussion! Have a Happy Friday!
At Crooked Marquee, Ram Venkat Srikar dives into David Cronenberg’s Scanners 40 years after its release:
Looking back at Scanners within the context of Cronenberg’s entire career indicates the change in his brand of filmmaking. Only a handful of his post-Scanners films, such as Videodrome (1983) and Crash (1996), retain the overflowing weirdness and energy that’s omnipresent in the first half of his career. After Scanners, the films became less and less Cronenberg-esque as he drifted farther from horror, inching towards drama. This film, too, cannot be easily categorized as horror. It’s sci-fi-meets-thriller-meets-body-horror, but it doesn’t solely bank on gore either. After the shocking aforementioned head-explosion, we do not witness something as graphic until the very end.
For Reverse Shot, Imogen Sara Smith sorta eulogizes the comatose Film Comment:
Why do we read film criticism, anyway? As someone who writes the stuff, I should probably have a ready answer for that, but it can be hard to justify an activity when it feels entirely natural and necessary to you. After spending a few weeks rambling through a knee-high stack of old issues of Film Comment, I have a better idea. We read it not just for the light that smart writers can throw on cinema, but for the way that cinema, like a projector’s beam, lights up the minds of smart writers. Also because movies leave us enraptured, enraged, befuddled, betrayed, infatuated, or inspired—and whichever it is, we need to talk about it.
Emily VanDerWerff at Vox lauds The Leftovers as the perfect binge watch for 2021:
The series concentrates on guiding its characters toward wholeness, if not happiness. They might remain deeply sad or frustrated or angry, but they’re allowed a moment of kindness or gratitude, a moment that pushes them to extend the same to others. If life is meaningless, if nothing has a purpose, all we have is what we can give to each other. I can’t think of many messages more optimistic or necessary than that.
If reports of Spotify’s new counter-plagiarism tool had you worried the other week, you might be comforted to know the company hasn’t proven very able to combat white noise spammers, gaming millions of dollars off the company’s algorithms. Peter Slattery reports at OneZero:
“Truly brainless to produce,” a former in-house sound designer for Ameritz told OneZero via email, requesting anonymity due to potential professional repercussions. “You’ve no idea of the amount of time I spent recording fans (computer fans, oven fans, desk fans… basically anything you can think of!).”
And at Polygon, Susana Plo muses on J.R.R. Tolkein’s uncommon belief in hope and how it manifested in the plot and particulars of Lord of the Rings:
Tolkien’s celebration of the mundane was not the mark of a guy who didn’t know how to end a story (he was very bad at finishing stories, but that’s perfectionism for you). And “Well, I’m back” was not meant as a cheerful motivational poster yelping “count your blessings” or “appreciate the small things.” It was an ending written by a man who’d brought his life to a point of hard-won stability, who relished finding joy in mundane moments in part because he could never be certain those moments would last.