This Week, You Will Love/Dis On:
- artistic compromise
- The MCU
- The MDU*
- critical pitfalls
- [metal sign] Vampires!
*Morris Documentary Unpleasantness
Thanks to scb0212, Miller, and Rosy Fingers for contributing this week. Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
At Filmmaker Magazine, Vikram Murthi interviews Chris Wilcha about his latest documentary and paying the bills with commercial work:
I was asking these questions about, how does anybody make a living doing work that is meaningful? It was an obvious question, yet somehow everyone was doing things where they seemed okay with being miserable, or selling their time and labor but carving out this other thing. I was trying to see if there was a way to make a living doing the thing you love, and it is fucking hard. I continue to grapple with this. Sometime you’re on a commercial job where you just can’t believe who you’re making propaganda for. It’s also a freelance hustle. I’m not asking for someone’s sympathy. I’ve had a good commercial directing career, but it’s nerve-wracking. You finish that job and the phone stops ringing, and all of a sudden you might not work for three weeks or three years. That gig economy still haunts me and fills me with anxiety. So, I think that’s a constant reflection on how to make things.
Sean Burns pulls out the knives for The Marvels and Marvel overall at North Shore Movies:
“The Marvels” is no worse than most recent MCU movies, but it’s getting worse reviews because it’s bad in a slightly different way. Movies like “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” and “Eternals” were confidently terrible, luxuriating in their awful cinematography and obscene running times like wasting your time was a divine right. “Thor: Love And Thunder” was arrogantly terrible, insolent in its swaggering lack of effort, acting as if the audience deserved even less than it was giving. But “The Marvels” is nervously bad. It reeks of re-shoots and last-minute post-production patches. The film feels antic and ill-at-ease, frantically shoving more and more shiny, familiar things in your face while soaked in flop sweat. This is the kind of bad movie even the most cowardly critics can feel safe piling on.
Speaking of Marvel projects gone awry, Stuart Heritage has cracked the code on the meme-ified Madam Web trailer:
For Jacobin, Eileen Jones has reservations about Errol Morris’s new documentary about John Le Carré:
All of Morris’s patented processes are present in The Pigeon Tunnel, and it beats me why they all seem rather tired now, a kind of schtick that no longer works as well as in the early days. Maybe he met his match in John Le Carré, who can hold his poker face and maintain his crusty British silence for three minutes — or three years, if necessary. […] Maybe that’s another part of the problem, the sense that Le Carré has already dined out on these tales in so many different forms. And that telling his tales gets us no closer to “the truth” of him and his life anyway. Le Carré keeps undercutting the whole project of the documentary by insisting there’s nothing inside that innermost chamber where people think all the hidden knowledge is hoarded. There’s nothing in the “secret” room, whether that’s a metaphor for the depths of people’s supposed souls or in the innermost workings of governments and international systems, he says.
Leon Dische Becker interviews critic Sasha Frere-Jones about his memoir at Pioneer Works:
LDB: Some of the funniest bits in the book, in my opinion, are about the perks and degradations of being a music writer. They raise an obvious question for me. Looking over your clips, you’ve profiled some of the greatest living musicians. And yet, in the book, you don’t cover inspiring moments from successful interviews with Brian Eno or whatever. Instead, you talk about not getting health care, about being humiliated by Prince, or getting a sneak preview of Chris Cornell’s disastrous collaboration with Timbaland. Why did you focus on the pitfalls rather than the perks?
SFJ: I mean, what makes us interesting is our failures. And people don’t want to read things like, “Ah, yes, I came home from hanging out with Leslie Feist and man, that felt good.” No one wants to fucking read that.
And finally, Polygon‘s Rosie Knight demands the return of nu metal vampire movies:
Just as nu metal is making its return to the mainstream, so has a growing fandom for Queen of the Damned found a home online. TikTok features multiple clips of the film’s most infamous moments with tens of thousands of likes. There are Akasha belly dancing videos and, of course, Lestat and Akasha fancams. It’s not just nostalgic millennials like me who saw the movie at a formative age and never forgot it. Nu metal fashions like chokers, mesh shirts, and ornate jewelry are featured in Queen of the Damned aesthetic posts all over Pinterest. A new generation is discovering the nu metal vampire legacy, meaning that perhaps it can be resurrected again. In the age of streaming, anything can find a new audience, and the internet makes it far easier to find people who love the weird stuff that you thought you should be embarrassed for adoring.