THAT Scene in Game of Thrones

I do not watch Game of Thrones, but a lot of people are super into it.  Evidently, there was another part that everyone was super shocked over.  I don’t see how these fans can be so shocked, unless they’ve not read any of the books.  No matter.  In the scene being referred to across the internet as THAT scene, a character rapes his sister and often physical lover which of course drew a lot of talk.  Negative talk.  Series writer and show consultant George RR Martin said he originally wrote the scene to be consensual but was supposed to be uncomfortable.  Things change in translation, and he’s right.

Why do people get so bent out of shape when they are exposed to something unpleasant?  Are they under the impression they are supposed to love everything they see on the screen?  “It’s possible to feel that way and still be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of verbiage devoted to the subject, as well as the tendency to circle the discursive wagons and evaluate the encounter according to the criteria of contemporary feminism rather than the quasi-Medieval world of the show. 

That’s what makes Dan Abromowitz‘s alternate script for the scene such a brilliant work of both parody and criticism. Although his comic version of their interaction recalls the snickering over Antioch College’s controversial rules for informed consent — “JAIME: Thank you for having the trust in me to verbalize your lived experience” — there’s no confusion about the fact that Jaime raped Cersei, and that even the perverse nature of their previous relationship and the emotional strain placed on both of them by Joffrey’s murder does not excuse Jaime’s actions. But it does allow that, in a world where brutal violence is quite literally a way of life, the potential for mixed signals might be a little greater:

The script then goes on to pointedly criticize the way “THAT scene” has been written about in our world, although it’s worth pointing out that especially astute writers like Ryan and the Washington Post‘s Alyssa Rosenberg have been able to question the show’s presentation — and especially the statement by the episode’s director that the sex was “consensual by the end” — while still thinking through Jaime’s actions in dramatic and thematic terms.

Considering that HBO is not making advance screeners available for the remainder of “Game of Thrones'” fourth season, critics and viewers will be going forward at the same pace, which should make the ongoing discussion — and the fallout, whatever it may be, from “THAT scene” — all the more interesting.” 

I have copied images from IndieWire’s article of the humorous alternate script.





Tom Hardy teams up with Ground-breaker

“Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures has acquired the rights to the book “True American: Murder & Mercy in Texas” with Tom Hardy attached to star and Kathryn Bigelow on board to direct.”

Two star names: the arguably most commercially successful female-director (The Hurt Locker, Strange Days) teams up with the super-star who has been working his ass off the past few years in major roles after a decade of small parts (The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless, Bronson, etc.)

“The film is based on Anand Giridharadas book that tells the true story of Rais Uddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. But days after 9/11, an avowed “American terrorist” named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him.

W.W. Norton & Company is publishing the book.

Hardy has received rave reviews for his one man show in the A24 film “Locke” and has a handful of films set to bow this year including the Fox Searchlight pic “The Drop” and the Summit crime drama “Child 44.” He is also set to star as Elton John in the biopic “Rocket Man” and the New Regency pic “Splinter Cell.”

I love Hardy’s work and am always ready to see what he gives to the performance.  Bigelow for me is always better the less political she is and when she simply focuses on telling the story.


Prepare for Godzilla

This weekend, another reboot arrives in theaters: Godzilla.  That said, I am very excited about it, as are many others.  According to Variety, it is predicted to arrive this weekend with a $70 million opening, which would make it the largest if it could surpass 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s $72 million.

Budgeted at $160 million, “Godzilla,” directed by Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”), the latest reboot of the Japanese classic after Sony’s big-budget 1998 disappointment. That pic, which cost around $130 million to produce, launched around this time with $44 million and wound up grossing just shy of $380 million.

“Godzilla,” which launches at nearly 4,000 domestic locations, including Imax and other premium large-format screens, has been siphoning Stateside audience attention for several weeks, with Warner putting major marketing muscle behind it. The studio was very strategic with how it revealed the monster in its marketing. Between “Godzilla” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which Fox bows over Memorial Day weekend, few other titles are gathering buzz.

Disney hopes to counterprogram noisy summer fare with inspirational sports drama “Million Dollar Arm,” starring Jon Hamm. Tracking services anticipate the film will gross somewhere in the low-teens, which would be a fine start for the modestly-budgeted $25 million film.

Playability for “Million Dollar Arm” seems strong given its word-of-mouth and potential appeal to faith-based audiences, although it could do even better in ancillaries.

“Godzilla,” on the other hand, has scored a healthy 77% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is essential for the film to register with non-”Godzilla” enthusiasts. The pic has scored even higher with audiences who want to see the film, according to the site.

As the lead-up to Memorial Day weekend, “Godzilla” looks to overperform past comparisons, since this weekend typically has been dwarfed by studio tentpoles bowing on either side. Last year, Paramount managed to score a $70 million opening this weekend with “Star Trek Into Darkness,” though “Godzilla” lacks the same franchise reliability. Instead, it’ll need to rely on positive word-of-mouth to build anticipation.”

I really do not know how these predictions are calculated, but after writing a paper based on blockbusters and how much they make or don’t make, I find that somehow they are usually quite accurate.  We shall see very soon.

Great Films about Middle Ages

IndieWire has compiled a group of lists, one of which is a best of list about middle ages.  Not the time period, it is regarding the time in people’s lives.  I am usually not one to read lists like these, as I am quick to disagree with them (though I believe myself to be quite fair) but I actually think this list has some truly great movies on it.

10. Georgia (1985)

9. Jackie Brown (1997)

8. Hannah and her Sisters (1987)

7. All That Heaven Allows (1955)

6. Groundhog Day (1993)

5. Savages (2007)

4. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)

3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

2. Amacord (1973)

1. Adaptation (2002)

Number one is in my top ten favorite movies of all time, and two of the greatest American directors in history are on this list.  Additionally, a Bill Murray film is always welcome in my book.  Movies like this are not the most popular right now.  Mainstream films most often attempt to reach the younger crowd, but these movies like to touch on subjects everyone may have to eventually face and are not often comfortable to talk about.  These films and others like it have some of the strongest emotional connections I have felt while watching movies; I’m only 21 years old, and I feel like it makes sense to me.  The power of cinema.


Cannes: Stirring the pot with data

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, ever since 1946.  IndieWire just wrote a piece on “Cannes by the number” an info graphic was absolutely fascinating information.  Here is a summary of the recounted information:

1. The North American box office share is paltry in comparison to the rest of the world. Besides a brief spike in 2011, during which North America claimed a remarkable 34% of the world’s box office share, North America’s box office has been, for the most part, steadily receding since 2009. While Entertainment Media Partners and Screen International do not relay a reason for the break in pattern, historical precedent suggests that an increase in box office often accompanies a period of economic hardship – as was the case in the 1930s during The Great Depression and once again during the global recession of 2011. Box office sales may not have increased in North America per se, but the box office share could have increased as a result of a drop in international sales – a scenario that isn’t too far-fetched given the riots that swept much of Europe that year.

2. The term “International” is much more troubling than it is helpful. Case and point, the chart entitled, “Nationality of Directors, Producers and Lead Actors.” Entertainment Media Partners and Screen International take measurements and plots them on this chart using two types of units: USA and International. The decision to amass the filmmaking communities of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa under a single term — “International” — is troubling because it strongly supports the argument that the post-colonial era is a superficial idea rather than an ideological shift. The persistent use of this type of sweeping terminology demonstrates how, despite the physical dismantling of massive cross-continental European empires during the early part of the last century, former colonial powers still remain hard-pressed to acknowledge the cultural sovereignty of their former colonies-turned-nation-states.

3. The total number of screens in a country has nothing to do with its box office admissions. According to the “Cannes By The Numbers” chart comparing the number of screens in different countries, as of 2013, the USA had 39,945 screens — more than twice the number in China and more than three times the number in India.

4. In the past five years, India – home to one of the world’s most prolific film industries with a consistently robust viewership – has not had a film accepted into competition at Cannes. The key phrase here is “in competition.” Indian films have screened at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard and other Cannes parallel programming categories. Anurag Kashyap, one of India’s leading independent film voices, has had his films screen at Cannes as part of the Director’s Fortnight, Midnight Screenings and out of competition. However, no Indian film — at least in the past five years — has been accepted into the main competition, which would make it eligible for the prestigious Palme D’Or prize.

5. Cannes is paradox at its finest. For almost 70 years now, the festival has managed to balance its elitist, borderline aristocratic reputation with a progressive agenda. The festival is just as well known for its glamorous red carpets as it is for championing the work of budding filmmakers whose voice it finds interesting. The “Cannes By The Numbers” infographic, however, captures it best — beginning with a chart that projects the number of attendees at this year’s Marché du Film to reach 18,000 and then followed by a brief note reminding us that the real deals, or as they put it “the biggest deals,” get made on luxury yachts.”

Being in North America, I challenge anyone in my position to not struggle to see things from an outside perspective.  We discuss grosses in domestic and “everyone else” and why shouldn’t we? It makes sense to us.  But it is important to take notice regarding what the world as a whole is doing regarding film, because we are a part of it and shall be affect.