By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Film Critic Adam Nayman

“When I first wrote about Ben Wheatley in that piece on Kill List for Cinema Scope, I just remember finishing it and thinking that I can’t wait to see this guy’s next film and to write on it. The book in some ways was born there, just by thinking, ‘What an interesting career to keep tabs on.’ To your question about why write a book, timing has a lot to do with it. Let’s put it this way: there are no two films that I’ve had more anxiety to sit and watch than High-Rise and Free Fire. When I started writing it I hadn’t even seen High-Rise. When I finished I’d just barely seen Free Fire. Now there’s this rumor that Wheatley may be doing a Frank Miller adaptation for Warner Bros. But when the opportunity came about, I thought it was exciting to write about a young director whose career is still in formation. This is not to compare Wheatley to Godard or me to Richard Roud, but Roud wrote book-length texts on directors like Godard in the mid-60s. There’s something to be said about an early career overview, getting in on the ground floor. It’s a matter of deciding that the subject is worth it. If Wheatley’s body of work remains interesting and he becomes as major a figure as I suspect he could, it’s the satisfaction of becoming part of the received wisdom. Whereas the Showgirls book was the inverse of that, an attempt to overcome the received wisdom by taking a long, hard look in the rearview mirror at something.”
~ Film Critic Adam Nayman

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“Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private… if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn’t be posting this now. I don’t want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street… So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him… I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O’Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the L. A. Times.”
~ James Gunn

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner