Monday, February 27, 2017

Flubbing Warren Beatty

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With this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" over at The Film Experience we're striking while the iron's hot on the Oscar topic du jour and forcing you to take sides with last night's Best Picture kerfuffle -- sure, nobody's really to blame, but where;'s the fun in that? Take sides like your life depends upon it! Because otherwise you might start thinking about the real world, and I need a goddamned break from that for 24 hours anyway. GO VOTE.
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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Suspiria (1977)

Madame Blanc: I must tell you what I have to say very quickly... Because those gentlemen are waiting for me. Something terrible, truly horrible, has happened. One of our students, Pat Hingle, who was expelled just yesterday for improper conduct, Was murdered last night by some madman. It's a frightening story. But I always warn our students, Don't I, Miss Tanner? I tell them to be careful, not to get involved with questionable friendships. 

I hope Luca Guadagnino keeps the dialogue for his Suspiria remake as stilted and Babelfish-translated as the dialogue in Dario Argento's original sounds, because it's got a wonderful one-of-a-kind weirdness to it, and I think  (I know) that Tilda Swinton (who's playing this character) will make quick magic of it.

Anyway the great Joan Bennett was born on this day in the year 1910. Here's are my two favorite fun tidbits via IMDB:

"She made five films for Fritz Lang, more than any other American actor or actress who worked with him (many actors disliked working with Lang)."

"She was a popular target of disdain in Hedda Hopper's gossip column. To get her point across Bennett mailed Hopper a skunk as a Valentines Day gift in 1950 with a note that read, "You Stink!"
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Let's Celebrate Moonlight's Win Today...

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... with these pictures of Trevante Rhodes
 in his underpants.


Good Morning, World

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Chris Pratt shows his big meaty impressive butt twice in the execrable film Passengers and here they both are -- there, I just saved you two hours of your life. You're welcome.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Daniel Kaluuya One Time

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I am seeing Get Out this weekend!
Are you seeing Get Out this weekend?
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Since Everybody's Doing Justin Trudeau's Butt

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I had posted this picture on the Tumblr two days ago (and for the record, because such things matter, I totally got there first) but now that the original high-quality version of photo has been unearthed (it comes via this Twitter account right here) I feel it's time it gets a rightful position here on the blog proper, because oh my god you should click on it -- it gets big, you guys.
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Great Moments In Movie Shelves #96

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I had totally forgotten that Mark Strong's villainous character in Kick-Ass has a book-lined hallway in his evil lair -- excuse me, in his Evil Lair - which the climactic battle of the film takes place in. The movie was on TV last night and I stopped to watch a little for...

... reasons, and there it was. I'm still not the biggest fan of the movie (save how Aaron looks in that jumpsuit, obvs) but rewatching it I did find it a little less annoying now that I don't entirely hate Chloe Grace Moretz anymore.

It's tempting to say the film, which fetishizes brutality so lovingly, is mocking Mark Strong's character for his love of books and art, which his fancy apartment is stuffed to the brim with (and which the film gets a lot of pleasure out of wrecking gleefully) but Kick-Ass himself also has some shockingly thick...

... you know, shelves. 
I was gonna say shelves!
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10 Off My Head: Best Picture Ranked

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I feel as if I have to say something, anything, about the Oscars since they are this weekend and I do present myself as a movie-lover. Of course one could argue that truly loving the movies makes loving or even liking the Oscars at best a sadistic enterprise and at worst an abominable hypocrisy, but... well let's not argue either of those things just for today. Instead I see some people on the Twitter ranking the Best Picture nominees from best to worst as they individually see it, and I figure I can do that much at least.  I mean I only actually like four of the movies nominated, but let's try anyway! Positivity, ho!

2017 Best Picture Nominees, 
Ranked Top To Bottom, Says Me

1. Moonlight 
2. Arrival (review)
3. Manchester By The Sea (review)
4. Lion (review)
5. La La Land (review)
6. Hidden Figures
7. Hell or High Water (review)
8. Fences (review)
9. Hacksaw Ridge (review)

No surprise that Mel Gibson made the perfect "Bottom." Aaaanyway no I don't understand why I never reviewed Moonlight either. That's very strange! I have seen it two or three times now and it's beautiful and moving cinema. It isn't my favorite movie of 2016 (in fact there are at least two movies that would rank higher if I'd ever get around to making such lists again) but it's up there. 

The other movie I didn't review is Hidden Figures, which is mostly harmless mainstream pablum that nevertheless did inspire a pair of choice tweets from me that get across my feelings about it...
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So what does your list look like?
Share in the comments!


I Love These Things So Much

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That right there is the first teaser for the third season of Fargo -- every year these things get better and better and this one is another brief but total delight, somehow showing absolutely nothing and yet nailing everything all at once. Apparently they only began filming a few weeks ago, while the show's set to premiere on April 19th, so it's a bit of a blast forward this time around, but I trust Noah Hawley well enough at this point after two brilliant seasons, and with a cast of actors this year like Ewan McGregor (playing twins!) and Carrie Coon and Scoot McNairy and Michael Stuhlbarg and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, just to name a few, well, you know, insert manic screaming sounds here.
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Champagne Wishes & Caviar Hate Crimes

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Let's just get this right out of the way - Catfight is not sexist. I've seen that accusation being bandied about and it strikes me, in the face of what Catfight is, as an incorrigibly lazy way to look at what director Onur Tukel's going after here. Catfight is aggressive (full stop) at triggering accusations of sexism, yes. But with a purpose, to my eyeballs and brain. A slightly exhausting purpose, but a purpose nonetheless. 

Catfight stars Anne Heche and Sandra Oh as former college frenemies who stumble upon each other years later and with startling immediacy begin beating the shit out of each other. It plays as a trio of hate sonatas spread across an increasingly surreal landscape - they meet, they clash, they meet, they clash, they meet, they clash, each time altering each other's fortunes irrevocably and with terrifically cruel abandon while the world teeters on the brink of a strange political insanity.

I thought about the TV series The Comeback a lot while watching Catfight, and the reaction The Comeback got from a lot of critics when it came out - that the discomfort comedy we'd grown to love from men like Larry David played too "harsh" when it was happening to a woman. Nobody wants to see lovely Lisa Kudrow be made to feel like such garbage! And even worse, sometimes even deserve it and bring it upon herself? The horror.

Catfight runs on the same sort of wavelength, only dialed up to bonkers. A cute little sexy fight between two gals is supposed to be so much fun. Look how they make cute little sexy kitten noises at each other! But what if those ladies were just kind of awful and obnoxious  (the word "shrill" comes to mind, as it must in such a context) and what if instead of little girl slaps we got a full-on drag-out bloody no-holds brawl? 

Catfight is basically a Jean Claude Van Damme story told with Nicole Holofcener characters, and it's... unsettling. Deeply. It's not as LOL-funny as Tukel's two previous films because it relies even harder on making us uncomfortable than Summer of Blood (my review) and Applesauce (my review) did - miscarriage is a rough punchline to give a crowd! 

But man Tukel's got a voice I find riveting and endearingly odd, and there's something profoundly liberating about how far he allows Sandra Oh and Anne Heche to go full bore harsh with their performances. It's more of an experiment and a provocation than anything else, but good god who doesn't want to slap the living shit out of politeness every so often?

Watch the trailer for Catfight right here
The film opens on March 3rd.
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Got Wood

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Today's the day! I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore, the violent comic thriller starring Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood, has dropped on Netflix! I posted the trailer a couple of weeks ago when word came down from Sundance that the movie's a pip, and wham bam it's already time for the rest of us to decide. I love this newfangled democratic world of movie-going. Anyway if I don't go see Get Out tonight (although I really really reeeally want to go see Get Out tonight) I will be at home watching this, so stay tuned for my illustrious opinion, or don't, whatever! And you should go watch it yourself, or don't, whatever!
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Good Morning, World

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Alexander Koch (who is turning  all of 29 years old today) looks exactly like every single guy I had a crush on in college - they were all soccer players and they all had big dark clouds of wavy hair and they all glared at me like I was a green fog of poison gas barreling towards them. Sigh. Good times.

Anyway even if Mr. Koch (pronounced "cock" according to me) was kind of terrible on Under the Dome (granted a truly terrible show all around, it was) I have still managed to post several times about him, so clearly he has his worth. (Lips. It's the lips.) He recently showed for a couple of scenes in the great great great movie Always Shine opposite the great great great Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald (here's my review) and I didn't even recognize him at first; maybe because he actually held his own.

So somebody give the dude some work. We're here for it. We're willing to continue staring at him (Lips. The lips.) and give him the chance to prove his worth. And until then we'll just spend a lot of time with this old big gratuitous post of his.
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

In Case You Were Wondering...

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... this is the look.
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Thursday's Ways Not To Die

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Today is the 79th birthday of the writer-director Paul Morrissey, whose great contributions to cinema have entirely been swallowed up by his producer, a certain somebody or other named Andy Warhol. (Andy even had the indecency to steal February 22nd from Paul -- Andy died on this day thirty years ago, in 1987.)

Morrissey gave us Flesh, Trash, Heat, Blood For Dracula & this here Frankenstein movie, among others (not to mention creating the Velvet Underground) yet most people seem to think of them (if they think of them at all) as Warhol's movies - pretty sure I've been listening to Paul rightfully bitch about that state of affairs all my life. Poor thing. But hey Paul, listen: if your consolation prize is "you spent years aiming your camera at the bare ass of Joe Dallesandro," you don't get to complain, okay?


Who we should really feel sorry for is poor Sacha (Srdjan Zelenovic) -- his only crime was wanting a piece of that, and instead all he gets is the business end of Udo Kier's shears. (Note to anyone listening: "Udo Kier's Shears" = great band name.) But these movies are always such frustrating gay teases - lots of leering but no follow-through.

FUN FACT: the special effects in this movie, including poor Sacha's brutal silly decapitation, were created special-effects legend Carlo Rambaldi, who besides splashing cheap blood and guts all over a bunch of wonderful Italian giallo like Deep Red, A Bay of Blood and A Lizard in a Woman's Skin also designed E.T. for Steven Spielberg (not to mention the aliens in Close Encounters), the space worms for David Lynch in Dune, and the little alien baby that pops out of John Hurt in Ridley Scott's Alien!

So when you're laughing at that shot of Sacha's head popping 
off like a champagne cork with a face slapped on it 
think about where that shit was heading. Movie magic!

Hit the jump for links to all the Previous Ways Not To Die