The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere.
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“On the Ethics of Vampire Slaying in Buffy the Vampire Slayer” — Greta Christina at io9 takes note of a piece of magic technology in the Buffy-verse that makes everything else she does truly unethical.
“The men, monsters, and troubled waters of Jaws” — The gang at The Dissolve does a thorough exploration of the triumphs and limitations of a group that needs a bigger boat (and a shark that works).
“Jaws is so effective as a thrill machine that it doesn’t get enough credit for depicting how our business-first attitudes can trump fundamental concerns about public health and safety. Much of the film’s tension comes from Brody being caught between that pressure, which temporarily walls him up in denial, and his not-really-paranoid suspicion that the creature is still lurking, and any further victims will be his responsibility. (The scene of him watching—and eventually clearing—the beach is perhaps the most masterful piece of suspense filmmaking in the whole movie.) Once the film definitively moves to the hunt, and Brody joins two other men on the boat in pursuit, Jaws shifts dramatically in tone, but Brody’s arc unifies it.”
“This is What Sold James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy” — Rob Keyes at Screen Rant checks in with the director on being drawn into Marvel’s orbit.
“Dear Documentary Filmmakers: Give Up on the Oscars” — Christopher Campbell at Nonfics explains a new rule that should shut out a lot of small documentaries from Oscar consideration, but points out that the beauty pageant element of the award means doc makers should look elsewhere anyway.
“Every Little Tear: The Transcendent Beauty of ‘Crying’ in Mulholland Drive” — Kyle Turner at Movie Mezzanine visits Club Silencio and gets caught up in an old Roy Orbison tune.
“The Provocateur: Luis Bunuel is Still Jabbing at Eyeballs” — Calum Marsh at The Village Voice picks up a razor blade to explore the vastness of space.
“The most notorious gag in The Phantom of Liberty involves a dinner party in which the guests publicly defecate on living room toilets but retreat to the bathroom to dine in private. The genius of this scene is not merely the shock of seeing a social custom reversed. Buñuel sought to reveal the arbitrariness of such customs and values, how they furnish our lives with a false sense of meaning. For this, the upper classes were the ideal targets: Nobody is more concerned with keeping up appearances. For Buñuel, appearances were a form not only of deceit but worse, of self-deceit. He wanted to tell us the truth so that we’d see the truth of life’s absurdity. He wanted us to stop lying to ourselves.”