Tag Archives: Leah Greenblatt

The Pleasures of EW

It’s clear to me now.  The point of some Hollywood movie and TV production is to give the staff at Entertainment Weekly something to write about. The movies and TV shows don’t really matter.  The reviews, these are the point of all those deal making, casting, shooting, producing, agenting.  The movie or TV show is really just an accident of the process.  Really, all this takes place to occasion EW coverage.   (It’s an expensive way to go about it, but that’s American culture for you.)

Listen as Lisa Schwarzbaum damns the latest effort by Halle Barry with feigned excitement and sly criticism:

Something awful happened to young Frankie back in 1950s Georgia to make her so broken; it’s just a matter of time, flashbacks, many costume and accent changes, some more jazz and a triggering tune on the radio before the truth can set Frankie, and the audience, free.

Owen Gleiberman:

Darren Aronofsky’s backstage ballet thriller, Black Swan, is lurid, voluptuous, pulp fun, with a sensationalistic fairy-tale allure.

Ken Tucker on Men of A Certain Age:

[T]he achievement of this series is that it makes middle-aged failure so energetically entertaining.

Leah Greenblatt.

No other major pop diva seems to enjoy surrendering her vanity to the pure fun of video-making quite like Pink does (or, really, at all).

And then there are the anonymous writers of the magazine.  They write with a knowing air, as if to say, "surely, popular culture makes insiders of us all."  There is something familiar about their tone.  And I guess we should take this as an anthropological miracle, because they don’t know us and of course we don’t know them.  Perhaps not so miraculous.  After all, we and then have popular culture in common, and that’s a lot to have in common because popular culture is our culture, plain and simple.  

Ditch the adjective and let’s get on with it.  

Wahlberg and Co were one of the biggest boy bands ever.  And NKOTB are currently prepping for a summer North American concert tour that would totally make us hyperventilate…if this were 1989.

References

Anonymous.  2010.  They’re with the band.  Entertainment Weekly.  December 10, p. 96.

Greenblatt, Leah.  2010.  Pink "Raise your glass."  Entertainment Weekly.  December 10, p. 105

Schwarzbaum, Lisa.  2010.  Frankie and Alice.  Entertainment Weekly.  December 10.  p. 90.

Tucker, Ken. 2010.  Men of a Certain Age.  Entertainment Weekly.  December 10, p. 95.

Apologies

I am on the road and don’t have time enough to find an image or links.  

You say ‘content,’ I say ‘composition’

Someone on Twitter recently defined himself as a "word herder."

"Clever," I thought, "but wrong."

Bloggers and twitterers are not herding words.  We are choosing words and combining them. And in a more perfect world, we would take inspiration from those who are good at this very difficult task.

I have two candidates for our admiration.

Leah Greenblatt offers this review of Contra by Vampire Weekend in a recent Entertainment Weekly.  Notice the "slaphappy dazzle" of her prose.

With the band now a known quantity, sophomore album Contra inevitably lacks the slaphappy dazzle of breakout singles like ”A Punk” and ”Oxford Comma.” Still, the album, recorded in Brooklyn and Mexico City, stays largely faithful to the sound they’ve built, with the international-groovy experiments of Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel still clear signposts — Simon’s almost glaringly so. On summery first single ”Horchata,” singer Ezra Koenig gets drunk on multiculturalism, (loosely) rhyming the Mexican rice beverage of the title with ”balaclava” and ”Masada.” If the lyrics sometimes seem to showboat their 10-carat educations (look, Ma, three continents!), the music remains happily inclusive: somewhere between limbo contest on the lido deck and cocktail hour in Cape Cod.

And here David Denby of The New Yorker write richly and admiringly about Avatar even as he exposes its weakness.

Science is good, but technology is bad. Community is great, but corporations are evil. “Avatar” gives off more than a whiff of nineteen-sixties counterculture, by way of environmentalism and current antiwar sentiment. “What have we got to offer them—lite beer and bluejeans?” Jake asks. Well, actually, life among the Na’vi, for all its physical glories, looks a little dull. True, there’s no reality TV or fast food, but there’s no tennis or Raymond Chandler or Ella Fitzgerald, either. But let’s not dwell on the sentimentality of Cameron’s notion of aboriginal life—the movie is striking enough to make it irrelevant. Nor is there much point in lingering over the irony that this anti-technology message is delivered by an example of advanced technology that cost nearly two hundred and fifty million dollars to produce; or that this anti-imperialist spectacle will invade every available theatre in the world. Relish, instead, the pterodactyls, or the flying velociraptors, or whatever they are—large beaky beasts, green with yellow reptile patches—and the bright-red flying monster with jaws that could snap an oak. Jake, like a Western hero breaking a wild horse, has to tame one of these creatures in order to prove his manhood, and the scene has a barbaric splendor. The movie’s story may be a little trite, and the big battle at the end between ugly mechanical force and the gorgeous natural world goes on forever, but what a show Cameron puts on! The continuity of dynamized space that he has achieved with 3-D gloriously supports his trippy belief that all living things are one. Zahelu!

Surely, this is another relationship to establish between the old and the new media, that we the noisy rabble may take guidance from our betters.

Reference

Denby, David.  2010.  Going Native.  The New Yorker.  January 4, 2010.  here.

Greenblatt, Leah. 2010. Vampire Weekend. Entertainment Weekly. January 15. p. 72. here.

Note: this post was lost in the Network Solutions debacle of last year.  It is reposted December 24, 2010.