My name is Mario McKellop. I'm a writer.
  • sterlingsea:

    same

    Sh-shake it off?

    (Source: awkwardconversationss, via dvvglvs)

  • On The Knick, “Methods and Madness”

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    I watched the first episode of The Knick and a few thoughts about it that I wanted to write down before I watch the rest of the season. I know it’s become gauche to write about one episode of an ongoing series, but a few things in the premiere really jumped out at me and I think would have gotten about some of these things once I was five hours into the show. And I think it’ll be interesting to see how my first impressions match up with how the first season actually plays out. 

    Right off the bat, I was struck by how The Knick was shot, directed and edited just like one of Steven Soderbergh’s movies. I know that sounds like a dumb observation given that he shot, directed and edited every episode of the show, but usually when a film director moves into television, there’s a drop off in quality due to financial and logistical limitations of the medium. Like, True Detective directed by Sin Nombre’s Cary Fukunaga had number of cinematic moments, the best of which was the robbery turned riot in episode 4 of the first season, but it lost some momentum as it went on and Fukunaga had to work increasingly hard to visually invigorate cop show clichés that writer Nic Pizzolatto felt the need to check off on the way to the finale. A similar thing happened to House of Cards after David Fincher’s first two episodes; the visually language became much less nuanced and much more utilitarian as a number of TV directors were brought in complete the rest of the season. Having seen the first episode and read some reviews of the following episodes, that’s not something that happens with The Knick.

    It was obvious from the premiere’s opening, a medium shot Clive Owen’s incredibly stylish white leather boots as his character Dr. Thackery naps in an Opium den, that this was Soderbergh being Soderbergh. He could’ve opened the series in the titular hospital or in some sick person’s home right before they’re brought for surgery, but instead he chose to hold off on the world building and remind everyone who was behind the camera. I don’t if Soderbergh just filmed exactly what was in the script or if he noticed the boots in some old photograph and just wanted to make sure they got some screentime but it feels like a creative choice designed to let the audience know that this show will have strong aesthetic values from the drop. Every frame of the show looks gorgeous, which is even more impressive considering how bland Soderbergh’s last foray into TV, 2003’s K Street, was. As Conor Griffin so eloquently wrote on TwitterThe Knick is not so much cinematic as it is cinema.  

    The writing on the show isn’t bad, but it is its least interesting aspect. Showrunners Jack Amiel & Michael Begler are longtime TV guys and The Knick is written like a better than average cable drama. The first episode has a clearly delineated five-act structure, everyone speaks in declarative, expository dialogue and it’s packed with call backs and predictable character arcs. Other than an early bit where Thackery uses his mentor’s eulogy to rail against God, the only notable aspect of the writing is its treatment of race. The Knick has a refreshingly clear and unapologetic view on racism; it’s depicted as poisonous and soul crushing social reality, not an unfortunate fashion trend that people simply outgrew. Rather than hide behind some rhetorical nonsense about not including fully fleshed out black characters because that wasn’t how whites viewed blacks at the time or offer up some excuse why non-whites weren’t included in the narrative because the creators didn’t want to create a Benetton ad, manyThe Knick’s character’s have deep-seated prejudices and are totally uninterested in challenging those perceptions, even when confronted with an individual whose very existence challenges their notions of equality. Other than that, the show is written like a premium cable version of House.

    Along those lines, Dr. Thackery is fairly uninspiring cable anti-hero. He’s incredibly talented surgeon who breaks all the rules but he’s also a smug, elitist, racist and cocaine addict. Owen’s body is made up to show the physical toll that drug abuse wrecks on the human body, but his addiction feels like a cheap way to get the audience on the character’s side a la Walter White’s cancer, Tony Sopranos’ panic attacks and Don Draper’s dysfunctional childhood. I’ve gotten to the point where I have a knee-jerk negative response to the archetype and I really hope the show expands its scope enough to give the rest of the ostensibly talented cast to put in some work, even though Clive Owen has been pretty great so far.

    Lastly, Cliff Martinez’s score is fantastic. It’s synth heavy and so atmospheric that I sometimes didn’t know if I was listening to his music or background noise. Whatever I’ve listened to so far sounds like it would be totally at home in an ‘80s thriller. I imagine some people would be put off by it because it breaks up any sense of verisimilitude, but I really dig it because it forces me to regard the action without nostalgia. Soderbergh seems to be trying to make the period as vital and relatable as possible, not building a hermetic diorama. The music, coupled with the race stuff, it almost feels makes the show feel like an allergic reaction to Downton Abbey or Mad Men.

  • Zainab Akhtar, on criticism. 
  • "I don’t think I’m adequately informed, experienced or educated enough to lend to the criticism side. If I’m honest, a factor that plays into that is fear of reprisal — people jumping onto your back to tell you why you’re wrong or why something is this way and not that. There was a lot of discussion around what comics criticism should be towards the end of the year, and frankly quite a but of it fucking annoyed me, because most of it was actually coming from comic creators — don’t tell people how to react to your work, or what they should and shouldn’t talk about and how. If people want to go online and talk about a comic, that’s their business. They can say the shittiest of shit things about your book, correctly or incorrectly, but they have that right. Unless it’s a personal attack on you — and I understand that your art can feel like a part of you — suck it up. Comics is a great community, but the gap between creators and "critics" is non-existent almost, unlike in any other field, and that insularity is double-edged."
  • Michele Roberts, the new head of the NBA Player’s Union (via emilyisobsessed)

    “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on”

    “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on”

    “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on”

    (via duhdoydorothy)

    BALL IS LIFE

    (via plantaplanta)

    First time I read that line a couple months back, I’m pretty sure I pumped my fist in the air. 

    (via wolkin)

    (Source: mdz1971, via twentypercentcooler)

  • "

    I bet you can tell I’m a woman,” she said, “and I suspect the rest of the world can, too.”

    She said she was all too aware that if she was selected, she would represent several hundred male athletes in the NBA; she would deal with league officials and agents who were nearly all men; she would negotiate with team owners who were almost all men; and she would stand before reporters who were predominantly men.

    She did not flinch. “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.

    "
  • "Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this. It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world […] It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside."
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, on my favorite Tarantino movie. 
  • "When you see these two people of a certain age and up front and out in the open to have a movie that’s so cool and so breezy about middle age,” he explained. “These people feel the clock ticking and to have that dialogue so beautifully written and so perfectly acted, with such grace, delicacy and sweetness…"
  • graemem:

    This amuses me so much.

    (It’s from CBR’s preview of Just The Tips, the cash-in spin-off from Sex Criminals that’s coming out later this year.)

    Graeme’s totally right, though. 

  • bigredrobot:

    Kurt Busiek dropping the mic on the “wretched, insulting narrative that Kirby’s heirs up and sued Marvel because they smelled money.”

    Definitely worth reading the whole thing cuz these screenshots are terrible.

    EDITED because I guess my link to his comments was screwy. Should be fixed now.

    (via bigredrobot)