There have been many heartfelt, fascinating things written about the recent passing of Richard Pryor (that sounded more callous than we intended), but the most emotionally complicated may be Stanley Crouch‘s in the New York Daily News, in which lauds Pryor’s latent while saddling him with what he sees as the currently dismal state of black popular culture.
Janice Page at the Boston Globe comes up with what we’re hoping is the be-all, end-all (and final?) story on the "Memoirs of a Geisha" casting controversy, in which she gets some great quotes from the actresses themselves:
It’s kind of like Peking Opera in China," reasoned Gong [Li], who plays the diva Hatsumomo. ”If somebody said, ‘OK, now we’re going to get some Koreans or some Indians to train them to become big Peking Opera stars,’ we [Chinese] might feel very strange about that. We might say, ‘That’s our national art. How can you do that?’ Still, she dismisses the controversy as ”not really that important" because a moving performance transcends nationality, and because being born Japanese would not have spared her from ”geisha boot camp."…
”There’s too few roles and too many of us," [Michelle] Yeoh observed. ”Caucasian faces can cross over, so why would you say Chinese can’t play Korean or Singaporean or Taiwanese? I mean, the English and the Scottish have their own traditions [and bad blood], but it’s all right for them to play each other. So why are there suddenly limitations on this?"
"Syriana"‘s Stephen Gaghan is blogging at the Huffington Post. His first post: "a brief primer on corruption." Roger Ebert, meanwhile, secures the much-cited speech on the topic Tim Blake Nelson‘s Danny Dalton gives during the film:
DANNY: Some trust fund prosecutor, got off-message at Brown, thinks he’s gonna run this up the flagpole, make a name for himself, maybe get elected some two-bit, no-name congressman from nowhere, with the result that Russia or China can suddenly start having, at our expense, all the advantages we enjoy here. No, I tell you. No, sir. (mimics prosecutor) "But, Danny, these are sovereign nations." Sovereign nations! What is a sovereign nation, but a collective of greed run by one individual? "But, Danny, they’re codified by the U.N. charter!" Legitimized gangsterism on a global basis that has no more validity than an agreement between the Crips and the Bloods! (Beat) … Corruption charges. Corruption? Corruption ain’t nothing more than government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around here instead of fighting each other for scraps of meat out in the streets. (Beat) Corruption … is how we win.
Desson Thomson at the Washington Post sees "Syriana" as the first in a pack of major-studios films explicitly dealing with the post-9/11 world, most of them nowhere nears as complex as Gaghan’s film. Speaking of, David M. Halbfinger at the New York Times pays a visit to the L.A. set of Oliver Stone‘s 9/11 project.
+ Pryor’s flawed legacy (NY Daily News)
+ Considering the source (Boston Globe)
+ On Syriana and Corruption (Huffington Post)
+ Corruption and greed in America (RogerEbert.com)
+ Hollywood Zooms In On a Post-9/11 World (Washington Post)
+ A Ground Zero Grows in Los Angeles (NY Times)
+ Israeli consul attacks Spielberg’s Munich as ‘problematic’ (Guardian)