6 May 2016

Widescreen’s best of the web (6 May)

From Widescreen, 9:00 am on 6 May 2016

It's been over a month since we’ve done one of these so our pick of the best* and most interesting screen-related articles and features from around the web is well overdue.

Team Cap defending an... airport in Captain America: Civil War.

Team Cap defending an... airport in Captain America: Civil War. Photo: Marvel

To coincide with the arrival in cinemas of the next Marvel Cinematic Universe instalment Captain America: Civil War, David Larsen goes long and fascinating for the NZ Festival’s ARTicle site on shared universes – the good the bad and the indifferent:

So, “continuity”: the thing that ties shared narrative universes together. It’s the rule that says Killgrave will not turn up in Captain America: Civil War and Kilgrave will not turn up in an issue of any of the many Avengers comics titles: Killgrave belongs to the comics universe and Kilgrave belongs to the film and TV one. So in theory Captain America: Civil War might feature Kilgrave, and Jessica, and Matt Murdock, from the Netflix Daredevil series, although not Matt Murdock from the 2003 Ben Affleck movie, which belongs to a different continuity. Affleck is in any case busy being Batman in a different shared universe again.

The essay also becomes a lovely review of 10 Cloverfield Lane which is a bonus because Larsen's reviewing has been restricted of late.


Idris Elba has two films in cinemas already this year with three more to come, including Bastille Day which is due out this month. Despite his huge recent success, he is surprisingly little known so this profile by Johnny Davis in the UK Esquire magazine is very welcome:

He's got a lot on. There's the increasingly high-profile Hollywood career — five films released in 2016, including this summer's latest Star Trek blockbuster. There's his production company, Green Door Pictures, established partly to develop ideas Elba felt were under-represented on the screen and partly to show the world something of his own personal passions, of which there are many. Channel 4's How Hip Hop Changed The World was followed by Idris Elba's How Clubbing Changed The World, our host cheerfully introducing himself as "Idris Elba: DJ, actor, lifelong raver". The 2015 series Idris Elba: No Limits saw the former Ford factory worker throwing himself into rally driving and aerobatics before breaking Malcolm Campbell's land speed record racing a Bentley Continental across the Pendine Sands. There's the aforementioned DJing which has taken him from Glastonbury to Ibiza, and seen him support Madonna at The O2.


After years as a blockbuster journeyman, Jon Favreau is finally getting his due with a think-pieces and a smash hit version of The Jungle Book crushing it in cinemas all over the world. Sam Adams at Slate surveys the career of someone he calls “an arranger” rather than “a creator”:

Although Favreau’s movies have received ample recognition, both from critics and at the box office, there have been few attempts to address them as a body of work. Favreau is the ghost in the highly successful machine. Directing movies, Favreau told the L.A. Times, is “not something I would do if nobody was watching them, like Van Gogh painting for himself,” which may be why it’s so difficult to sniff out recurring themes in his work, the telltale scent that differentiates the auteur from the craftsman. As muddled and sometimes infuriating as it can be, Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman feels personal in a way Favreau’s Iron Man movies do not—vapid, tedious, and overblown, but fully committed to Snyder’s own ludicrous vision.


It isn't just talking animals that Hollywood’s digital maestros are turning their hands to – serving star vanity is an industry in itself according to Logan Hill at Vulture (h/t to @dillamonster):

Until recently, vain actors were limited to makeup, flattering lighting, corsets, plastic surgery, Botox, crash diets, personal trainers, steroids, muscle suits, color grading, lenses and filters, body doubles, and spray-on abs. Now they also have software: Zits vanish with a click. Wrinkles ­disappear. Abs harden. Jawlines sharpen. Cellulite vanishes. “In postproduction, if they want your nose to be a little smaller or a little bigger, that’s up to them, man,” says actor Michael Shannon. “Some attractive person gets out of a swimming pool dripping wet? Nobody wants to see how they really look: It’s fantasy.”


Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups went straight to video in NZ (reviewed by Dan Slevin for Widescreen). It was a dramatic change of pace for former Batman Christian Bale who describes Malick’s process in this interview with Sophie Monks Kaufman for Little White Lies:

Was there anything from the shoot that you regret is not in the finished film?

I don’t remember. Terry’s a great destroyer of vanity. You might do something where normally you’d think, ‘Wow, man, I did a really good scene,’ then you’d look up and the camera’s looking over that way instead. You learn, ‘Right, just do it for yourself and then if he does decide to turn the camera around, don’t try to repeat what you just did. Alright, so it might not be as great, or dramatic, or memorable but, just keep it truthful.’ That was all that he ever looked for.


[*May not be the actual best. We haven't read the entire internet.]