Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Time For Name Calling Is Finally Here

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Because it's just about holiday time - today's only a half day here at MNPP and then I'm off until Monday - this will (probably, let's hedge our bets, I am a crazy person) be our last Call Me By Your Name post before the movie comes out in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. It's really here, y'all!
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If you're not in either of those cities you can see the roll-out plan right here. Anyway... where to begin? There's so much! First things first go back and read my initial reaction to the film at NYFF right here. And my next-day thoughts, slightly more coherent, are right here, more specific to the movie itself than my feelings. And here are a bunch of pictures I took of the cast and crew at NYFF.

But from there let's start with last night. Last night I saw CMBYN director Luca Guadagnino and CMBYN author Andre Aciman speak together at the New York Public Library.

There's also a video on my Instagram of Luca talking about a scene I've mentioned here several times - the unbroken long take in town square - watch that here. But the NYPL streamed and recorded the whole conversation, you can watch it from start to finish here if you so desire. (I was afraid my big head might show up in the live-feed - I was sitting in the second row - so I'm glad to see it didn't.)

Anyway it was a good talk! I'd heard a lot of the stories before since I've been voracious, reading everything about the book and the movie for a good eighteen months now, but there were a few new nuggets. We learned that Luca got a specific reaction shot out of Armie (the one he makes during "The Morning After" for those of you who've seen the film) by showing him on set a YouTube clip of Debra Winger in Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky. And there's a delightfully tense moment during the Q&A when a woman asking a question from the audience asks why Luca would cast someone who looks like Armie Hammer as a Jew. (In case you're not aware, Armie Hammer is himself Jewish.)

From there I have a bunch of links to share....

For a lovely comparison between James Ivory's two gay masterpieces, Maurice and CMBYN, click right here. It's fascinating to think about what changed and what stayed the same in Ivory's perspective on gay love stories over thirty years of time.

That picture way up top of Armie is from this new chat with him at Vanity Fair that's worth a quick skim. I like what he said about how people recognize him.

If I start linking to reviews of the movie I will be here all day - CMBYN has inspired so much tremendous writing over the past couple of months it's been a gift even beyond just the movie itself. But I really adored Alissa Wilkinson's review at Vox; choice bit:

"Ancient sculptures of figures who, as Elio’s father puts it, “dare you desire them” recur throughout the movie, strengthening the allusion to the ancients. And it mixes the pagan with the idea of a Garden of Eden — when Elio and Oliver spend their first night together, it’s certainly explicit at first, but then the camera pans out the window to rest on a tree. And a piece of juicy, luscious fruit shows up in a key, unforgettable scene that weaves together the natures of desire and guilt.
But unlike the story of the Garden of Eden, there’s nothing like sin in Call Me by Your Name’s vocabulary — or at least, nothing puritanical. (One assumes, watching the film, that a puritanical thought has never entered Guadagnino’s head.) This isn’t a film about wrongdoing and punishment; it is about love, loss, and piercing joy in the context of a gay romance."

And you should read Matt Jacob's piece at HuffPo too...

"The characters in “Call Me by Your Name,” “Moonlight” and “Carol” can’t appear outside their crush’s window, like Shakespeare’s Romeo or like John Cusack in “Say Anything.” They won’t crash a wedding to prove their devotion, à la Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate.” Nor will there be impassioned speeches about true love, as in “Notting Hill” or “Casablanca” or “When Harry Met Sally” or “Pride and Prejudice.” No corny cue cards, no “you complete me.” Those gestures are too overt, too public.
Instead, devotion crescendoes in tiny increments. A performatively defensive Elio tells his parents it’s impolite that Oliver’s preferred adieu is an offhand “later!” At a nightclub, his eyes stay glued on Oliver dancing with a woman. He scribbles notes that say things like “can’t stand the silence.” He pops up from a lake wearing Oliver’s Star of David around his neck. On average, these signifiers would be grander in a tale of heterosexual love, where best friends can agonize over will-they, won’t-they predicaments, and sages can help to galvanize a budding pursuit.
Because the wait was tortuous, there are few swoons as powerful as that of Elio and Oliver’s first kiss, planted after Elio decides he can’t settle for underhanded flirtations any longer. And there’s no finale like the finale of “Carol,” in which Carol smiles softly as Therese glides toward her, confirming that, yes, they’ll give the relationship a shot after all, despite so many cultural roadblocks. Borrowing the subtle language of queer yearning, these personifications of self-acceptance spark some of the most moving moments in modern cinema."

I really could go on and on... as you all well know by now. I mean how can I not quote Glen Weldon's review at NPR...

"Onscreen, the two men passionately kiss, and we wait — for the screamed epithet to pierce the night, or for the police lights to flare to life, or, most likely, for the flurry of punches to come sailing out of the darkness.
We watch, and we wait. And we wait.
 Nothing happens. Well, that's not true — a lot happens, but not the thing we expect: Astonishingly enough, they just ... go on kissing, unabashed, un-bashed. Straight audiences will mark this quietly miraculous difference too, of course — but will they feel its simple power with the startling intensity queers do? Will it seem to them, as it does to us, a kind of gift, unlooked-for (yet always looked-for), freely and fulsomely offered?"

And oh what about this interview with the cast and crew of the movie at Rolling Stone? I very much agree with what Luca had to say when asked about not hiring gay actors for the roles...

""I am a gay man," he states flatly. "I'm attracted to men; I've always been. I live my life with a companion that is a man. I have admiration for the expression of a lot of LGBTQ artists today ... but I struggle with the concept of defining a person by his or her sexual identity. It makes me so uncomfortable. I just don't get it, and I don't believe that the fight for civil rights – which is so crucially important – goes hand-in-hand with indictment of someone by his or her identity."

Continuing this thought, he adds, "I do not cast my actors by their sexual identity. I cast them because I desire them. And I desire them because I can feel they mutually desire me. I think that this is a very queer emotion, and I think it's much more queer than casting a renowned gay man to play a gay character. I think it's parochial and borderline conservative to think like that.""

Like I said I agree with him, but I also think I agree with him in the context of him specifically being the filmmaker - I don't know that I would agree if this was a Ron Howard Movie, ya know? Hell just go watch Armie Hammer and Leo ignite absolutely nothing in J Edgar through the eyes of Clint Eastwood and you'll know what I mean.

But anyway you get the point. Call Me By Your Name, beyond being a cinematic bounty, has blessed nearly every writer that I've seen come upon it. Do yourself a favor after you've seen the film and go around and read everything everybody's said, because it's like the openness and aching beauty of this movie just spilled right off the screen and into all of our hearts and fingertips. As Awards Season plows on with its gruesome business tactics and compartmentalization of Art just enjoy, for a minute, this small sun-dappled thing that has impressed and moved so many. Love this love this love.


Who Wore It Best?

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There are a lotta hot people celebrating birthdays today - we already wished Mark Ruffalo one here on the blog and we just wished Stranger Things' second season sexpot Dacre Montgomery one on Twitter - and among them are also Mads Mikkelsen, turning 52, and Alden Ehrenreich, turning 28.  Coincidentally both actors who've gotten sucked up into the Star Wars machine - Mads was in Rogue One and Alden is of course playing the young Han Solo. Anyway see lots more Mads here, and see lots more Alden here.
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I Am Thankful For...

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... Chris Pratt & Baby Velociraptors.
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, Gratuitous Mark Ruffalo

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I normally wouldn't post anything that might in the slightest encourage a beloved fur-monster like Mark Ruffalo to think about shaving anything of his, ever...

... but he's having too much gosh-darn fun in this scene from 
the 2001 movie Apartment 12 to avoid. It's infectious!

I had never heard of Apartment 12 until this morning when I realized it's Mark's 50th birthday today and we'd best find a way to celebrate - but how? How when we've got an archive so stuffed with fur loving already? That's when I saw this movie, flung out of space...

... just sitting there on Amazon Prime. Had any of you heard of this movie? It came out a year after You Can Count On Me, weirdly - I thought everything he made after that was substantial. I guess it took another year for the XX/XYs and In the Cuts to really get the ball rolling. Anyway Mark is shirtless in this movie a lot, and he's also, you know, more than shirtless too, so let's hit the jump for another dozen or so gifs...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Hedy of Her Times

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My grandmother loved to draw. She covered everything in doodles - sweet little cartoons of women with 40s up-dos, usually. They looked like the working dames in old movies, the types played by Irene Dunne and Rosalind Russell. Growing up I was always in awe of these little ladies populating the margins of notepads and napkins scattered around my grandma's house in the country - "You should've been an artist," I no doubt said. I'm sure she agreed. But instead Grandma got married at seventeen to a man who beat the hell out of her. She had five kids in rapid succession, moved to a run-down farm in the middle of no place Upstate New York, and she watched her husband go crazy, year after year after year. But she drew. 

I thought about my grandmother, not to mention my mother trapped in her own web of impossible possibilities, while watching Alexandra Dean's new documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story - I thought about all the women who've had their gifts and talents, their intelligence and strengths, squeezed from diamonds into coal by the boxes we've violently forced them into. Our, meaning men's, casual incredulity - you should've been this great thing, I said so easily, so offhand, to a woman who'd spent eighty years fighting to just keep her breath.

Bombshell is a movie a million years in the making. Bombshell is a hand grenade tossed into our current gas-fire of a situation - it's the movie we need, the story we need, to tell right now. Well it's one of a billion, anyway - Hedy's a good start, a good stand-in, for all the women like my grandmother through the ages who've been devalued and defaced, who've had their accomplishments swiped and crumpled up into the dustbins of history while men's grubby hands pawed them over for good measure, until they were all pawed out. 

Hedy Lamarr was a movie star, an inventor, maybe a spy. She was brains, beauty, and balls, and that was at least two and a half too many things for most people. Hedy didn't fit neatly into the world, and so the world grabbed her by the shoulders and wrenched her to and fro until it made her fit, or some horrible approximation anyway. Hedy's time didn't know what to do with her, and eventually she didn't know what to do with herself either.

Bombshell posits that maybe our time finally will. Too late, but not never. I look at those drawings my grandmother etched onto everything now and I feel sad, sure, but I also feel a joy in her talent that echoes out of the past. Perhaps now we can see Hedy and feel some joy too, Bombshell says. Not just in her scientific accomplishments, which it turns out stand significant beside any man's from the 20th century, but her specific story - Hedy fought backwards and in heels and she left a deep lasting mark across the dance floor. So let's dance forward, defiant, and let's do it for her.
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Bombshell it out in theaters on Friday. You can see a Q&A 
with director Alexandra Dean at the IFC Center that day too!
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Great Moments in Movie Shelves #119

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"Whatever, Book Man."
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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:


Ruby: You've got that look. Oh don't worry honey, that
whole deer in the headlights thing is exactly what they want.

A happy 33 to the great Jena Malone!
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Act For Me, Alex

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We have a new project to officially be very very very very excited about, y'all! I mean we was already excited - we told you back on the 3rd about Park Chan-wook's next project, that he's making a BBC/AMC television miniseries out of John le Carré book The Little Drummer Girl that will star Lady Macbeth's big up-n-comer Florence Pugh. Well he's just cast the male lead in the thing and it's (you guessed it already, I am guessing, given that great big beautiful picture I have posted) ... Alexander Skarsgard! Park Chan-wook filming Alexander Skarsgard - my knees be weak. (thx Mac)

Alex did pretty well the last time he tried prestige TV, winning an Emmy for getting his erect dick hit with a tennis racquet in Big Little Lies, so I don't blame him for sticking around on the small screen, especially with prestige like this. The small screen has been very good to Alex. Anyway if you want to know more of the plot, here:

"... the six-part miniseries follows brilliant young actress Charlie (Pugh) who strikes up an acquaintance with an intriguing stranger while on holiday in Greece, but it rapidly becomes apparent that his intentions are far from romantic. The man is Becker (Skarsgård), an Israeli intelligence officer, who entangles her in a complex and high stakes plot which unfolds as she takes on the role of a lifetime in the ‘theatre of the real’."
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, World

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So who's watched The Punisher? Anybody? I've gotten through two episodes, not terribly enthusiastically, but I keep watching because it's got a pretty stellar group of actors on it - Shohreh Aghdashloo! Ebon "Gratuitous" Moss-Bachrach! And Ben Barnes... 

... seen there giving me more reasons to keep watching. Y'all know I run hot + cold on Jon Bernthal - he was an abhorrent ham on The Walking Dead. But he's grown on me over the past year and yes, it's because of the haircut, don't judge. I think he's fine as Frank Castle. (And fine.) I'm just... not hooked yet. I keep hoping Charlie Cox will show up... but then, welcome to my life. Anyway I made more gifs of Ben and I stole a bunch of gifs of Jon  of Tumblr so hit the jump for those...

Monday, November 20, 2017

Julian Morris Seven Times

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Once again Julian delivers with an ace photo-shoot - I will say that I do wish I saw him in movies as often as I saw him in ace photo-shoots, but something tells me he feels the same way, so I won't press the point. And we'll take what we can get. Hit the jump for the rest of these...

Timmy Speaks Truth

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There was another picture of Timmy in GQ that I posted for you guys last week - well the actual interview with him in the magazine has just popped up on their website (along with that new photo above) and it's a nice little chat, check it out. I loved what he had to say when asked about whether he felt uncomfortable about getting naked for Call Me By Your Name:

"Plainly speaking, and just from a visual standpoint,
Luca always makes his actors look nice."
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A Bigger Beast

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I can't believe I'm about to do a post involving Matthias Schoenaerts and A Bigger Splash and I won't be posting a picture of Matthias' short shorts but hey you can click right here for plenty of that (and, uh, less, wink wink) -- I hadn't seen these pictures from the set of the movie before, so we're posting them instead. (More over here.) And we're talking A Bigger Splash because this week's "Beauty vs Beast" at The Film Experience is hitting up Luca Guadagnino's last movie, from way back when we lived in a pre-Call Me By Your Name world. Hard to believe such a place ever existed, I know!


Quotes of the Day

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Did you guys catch this video on Timothée's Instagram over the weekend? Armie & Luca hugging and then Armie playing with his phone while laying on Luca's lap is my new favorite thing ever. I LOVE THEIR LOVE. If they actually do make a sequel to this movie they'd better do it on the sly because otherwise there will be a storm of stalkers jetting to Italy, for real. (Self included.) Anyway it's really rather impossible for me to quote all of the quotes I want to quote from interviews with the folks behind this movie - they have been doing a truly insane amount of press. But I'll give you a couple of my faves.
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In the THR interview with Armie (the one that I posted the hot photo-shoot from earlier) Armie talks about his & Luca's relationship (yes the above bit of info's a killer) and also this:

""Luca is a sensualist," Hammer tells me as we make our way back to the city. "He floats through the ether like he wants to make love to everything. He'll literally be like, 'Ooohh — I love your jeans.' " He leans over and places a hand on my thigh, then slowly slides it toward my knee. "At first you're kind of like, 'Whoa.' " (I too was like, "Whoa.") "But then you're like, 'Yeah! They are really nice! Feel this part over here!'""

Luca, you lucky motherfucker. Just think - Luca has made a life for himself where he's great friends with Tilda Swinton and where Armie Hammer asks him to feel him up. I wish I was one tenth as good at life as Luca is. Continuing on...
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... I did the briefest of tweet-storms last night (after my sixth viewing of Call Me By Your Name!) about how overlooked and undervalued Esther Garrel's performance has been so far, so I was glad to see an interview with the actress in today's NY Post -- you should go read it. I laughed out loud at what she said about the folks who've had dumb things to say about the age difference between Elio & Oliver in the film:

"I can understand that for some old people, maybe it’s a big difference, but I think for our generation, we are beyond that kind of question. Above all else, the movie is about desire and can happen between so many different people.”

"For some old people," LOL. 
You tell them hags, Esther! 

Moving on to a quote I read last week but which I was really very happy to read - I talked about this centerpiece shot in the film (where Elio & Oliver finally break the tension between them while walking through town square all in a single unbroken shot) before when Timothee was asked about it, but it remains one of my most favorite moments in the film and I want to hear all I can about how it was worked out. And so here's Luca talking about it to Film Journal:

"His intuition about casting the duo paid off in more ways than he anticipated. Not only do Chalamet and Hammer deliver two of this year’s most profound, sophisticated and moving performances, they also operated as true collaborators. Guadagnino fondly remembers the day they had to capture the film’s most challenging shot in a town square, a key moment when Elio first opens up to Oliver and confesses his feelings. In a single take that expands and widens on screen, we watch the duo as they approach a monument together and walk to its opposite sides while they continue to converse in a touching, cryptic fashion about their mutual attraction.
Turns out the stunning shot was Armie Hammer’s idea. “We had five or six pages of dialogue. I was like, ‘Oh my god. How do we do this?’ Reverse angles and stuff. And then Armie said, ‘Why don't you do it in one shot?’ And I said, ‘One shot? Six pages of script? Okay! Let's start with blocking the scene: How do you come in, where do you go, where do you look around?’ After they acted the scene from the beginning to the end, I said, ‘I know what to do.’ We waited for two hours to get more tracks from Milan. Then we simply put it together and did it in an hour. So it's about collaboration. A great actor is not someone who goes into the trailer, waits for the shot and then goes back to the trailer. A great actor is someone who stays on set and becomes a filmmaker.”"

That whole interview at Film Journal is highly recommended.
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Take It Away, Armie

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I've heard from as many of you who are happy to participate in my Call Me By Your Name obsession as I have heard from that are exhausted by it - as I've tried to make clear to those of you who're over it I totally get that feeling, and I don't hold it against you... but, as this week's banner should probably make clear, this week we're gonna be hitting it hard. Call Me By Your Name is out in theaters (at least on the coasts anyway) on Friday, so this is it. 

This is it!!! But hey if it's any recompense this is a short week, what with the holiday. Anyway just plug your eyeballs and sing LALALA until next week. We will come down from this, I swear. And for now hey look new Armie pictures! Hit the jump for a few more (ETA plus more, I added more)...

Thankful Morning, World

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Happy Thanksgiving Week, everybody! And I know what I am thankful for! Instagram! Instagram a million times! Thankful yes, but not so smart, because if I was smart I would hold one of these pictures off for tomorrow, since who knows if I'll have anything to post tomorrow? But I ain't, smart that is, or holding them off that is also, so let's just go...

... ahead and take in three yes that's right three very fine Instagram photographs that have been posted over the past 24 hours or so. Up top that is an early morning Luke Evans, in the middle that is Jesse Bradford taking a dip, and down below this is James Wolk owning ALL the DILF vibes that there ever were or ever will be. But which I ask you...


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