"The probable death of movies as popular art, and the retreat of serious critics into contemplation cells, points up a larger problem: the falseness of the claims made for the Web as a new beacon of democracy. In many ways, the Web has been a disaster for democracy." Charles Taylor stirs it up in Dissent. The title of the piece, "The Problem with Film Criticism," is a little misleading, as he's actually addressing umpteen interrelated problems all at once. But there's no pussyfooting around on any of them; at least one of his arguments will tick you off.
"An unlikely 'buddy movie' has struck a nerve in a nation stalked by economic calamity and beset by political divisions and is threatening to break all French box-office records," reports John Lichfield in the Independent. Agnès Poirier in the Guardian: "We are not talking masterpiece or dazzling mise-en-scene — this is not the point." Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's Intouchables (Untouchable) "tells the story of a quadriplegic aristocrat who hires a black ex-convict from the banlieues as his new minder. You will have guessed: it is the tale of an unlikely friendship between two men from opposite milieu. François Cluzet and Omar Sy may give tremendous performances, but the public hasn't flocked en masse for the film's artistic prowess. What they run to go and see is a story of class transcendence and national unity."
New York's BAMcinématek launches See You Next Wednesday: 8 Films by John Landis this afternoon with Animal House (1978). Last week, Landis was a guest on the Leonard Lopate Show.
It's "200 years to the day since the German writer Heinrich von Kleist killed the salonnière Henriette Vogel and himself on the shore of what is now Berlin's Kleiner Wannsee," notes Katy Derbyshire; she's gathered links to a variety of commemorations.
Wildgrounds collects Cuban posters for Japanese movies; and Adrian Curry, who writes up his "Movie Poster of the Week" every Friday here in the Notebook, has launched a new tumblr, Movie Poster of the Day.
Image at the top: From Éric Rohmer's The Marquise of O (1976), based on the novella by Heinrich von Kleist. For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @thedailyMUBI on Twitter and/or the RSS feed.