At the Onion AV Club, Keith Phipps and Scott Tobias discuss whether screenwriters get enough credit for their work. The film the debate centers on is, naturally, "Babel," since that very issue is what caused director Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga to testily end their filmmaking partnership. Tobian writes (and we think many are with him here):
In Arriaga’s case, I think the "auteurs" label is appropriate, because he’s one of the few screenwriters with a distinctive voice and a continuity to his work. Yet along with credit comes blame, too. I’d argue that much of what is good about the IÃ±Ã¡rritu/Arriaga collaborationsâ€”and everything that’s good about Babelâ€”is IÃ±Ã¡rritu’s dynamic, texturally rich direction and not so much the humorless machinations of Arriaga’s scripts. The best passages by far in Babel are the wordless sequences, like the disorienting pulse of sound and image in the Japanese discotheque, or the plaintive guitar that strums as an entire Moroccan village takes a wounded Cate Blanchett into its collective care. With a lesser director, I think you’ve got Crash 2, an inelegant, deeply contrived narrative about the ripple effects of violence across the globe, or some such pretentious nonsense. Noel Murray‘s review of the film declared "Hallelujah" at the news that the two were parting ways, and to that I can only add an "Amen, brother," though I’m not entirely convinced that the prudish IÃ±Ã¡rritu will choose material best-suited to his undeniable skills as a pure filmmaker.
It’s an interesting exchange, and one that nicely illustrates one can discuss theory without losing the interest of anyone who’s a non-academic.
Playing a white underclass hardcase whoâ€™s internalized Chicano street posturing (and learned to speak decent Spanish), he instead suggests a member of Max Fischerâ€™s repertory company stumbling through a high school stage version of Bound by Honor â€“ pronouncing â€œbullshitâ€ as â€œboo-shit,â€ and crowing keepers like â€œI got a bone, Gracie!â€ and â€œRoll dat shit up!â€
It’s men like Newman and Redford who make women want to give up the rat race â€“ even, dare I say it, the desperation for equality. Why?
Because they are exceptional beings: they have morals made of steel, hearts made of gold, talent made of intelligence, and beauty made of angels. Perhaps I’m getting carried away.
Ian Johns at the London Times inspects this year’s "The Wild Barnyard Ant Bully who went Over the Hedge during Open Season":
â€œThe similarity of some cartoons this year is undeniable,â€ says the director George Miller, whose eclectic career includes Mad Max, everyoneâ€™s favourite talking pig Babe, and now the Warner Bros cartoon Happy Feet. He admits that when his animators began work on the film, they tended to do low-rent imitations of hits from DreamWorks and Pixar, the CG brand leader behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.
Disney’s supreme achievement was to give visual reality to the fairytales of the Europe that Americans growing up in the 1930s and 40s no longer knew, as their immigrant parents had. Of course, we can buy the original transcripts of peasant tales by the Grimms or Charles Perrault, or read retellings by Angela Carter. Yet Disney reached into folklore, grasped its essentials, and represented it for the modern child. When it comes to Snow White, can anyone separate the folk story from Disney’s version?
This strikes us a bit as forceful retroactive celebration of something that inextricable from modern culture whether it’s good or not, but it’s an interesting read regardless. And over at the Independent, Andrew Roberts reexamines another monolithic cultural icon: James Bond. Roberts looks at the first round of Bond casting, and the earlier actors who’d been considered for the role:
A few years earlier, the rights to Moonraker were owned by the Rank Organisation, which was scrutinising Fleming‘s work with a view to providing a vehicle for Dirk Bogarde, and in 1958 James Mason was even scheduled to star in a television adaptation of From Russia with Love. EON Productions founded in 1961, started by Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, also considered Mason, for the first Bond movie, Dr No. Cary Grant was in the running too, but was reluctant to commit to a sequel.
+ Crosstalk: Do screenwriters really matter? (Onion AV Club)
+ On safari: Christian Bale in Harsh Times (The House Next Door)
+ Why we love them the way they were â€“ and still are (Telegraph)
+ Toontown heads for double trouble (London Times)
+ ‘One of the 20th century’s great artists’ (Guardian)
+ The Bond bunch: the failed contenders for coveted role (Independent)