Monday, November 23, 2020

Thankful For Jake, and Vacation

As stated about an hour ago I got a jolly good surprise today with the news that I now have the rest of the work-week off from coming into the office. And when left to my own devices, aka my couch and being lazy, chances are good that I'll do just that. Will I blog a word over the next six days, between here and next Monday? I wouldn't bet good money on it. I have a pile of movies I bought on the recent Criterion sales, after all. That copy of Pasolini's The Decameron ain't gonna watch itself! But as long as we're speaking of arthouse classics, did you know ... 

... tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of Love and Other Drugs? Wow, to speak of that fairly terrible movie & Pasolini in the same breath -- might my official cineaste card be taken away? Will the ghost of Stan Brakhage appear to me on Thanksgiving Eve and slap me to death with a rolled-up copy of Cahiers du Cinéma? Stay tuned. Until then let's celebrate by staring at a dozen promotional photos of Jake Gyllenhaal (maaaaaybe at his hottest?) in Love and Other Drugs, after the jump...

Darker Phoenix

I really, really hated Joker, and I really really hated Joaquin Phoenix's awards-run of speeches, but in general I dig Joaquin and find him extremely talented -- I was thankful to be reminded of that with my recent re-watch of To Die For, how far that like goes back -- and so this news, I will celebrate this news. Joaquin is rumored to be heading up Hereditary and Midsommar director Ari Aster's next film! That is honestly just such a good pairing of director and actor that I'm verklempt, one hundred percent, at the thought. 

Even better we even have some details on the film, which we haven't had so far. It's apparently titled Beau is Afraid and it will be a "surrealist horror" (I mean... that's not exactly a shock, given Aster's stellar track-record), and then this:

"[The film] will reportedly center around an extremely anxious man named Beau who has a fraught relationship with his overbearing mother due to the absence of a father he never met. Beau then learns of the death of his mother under mysterious circumstances and upon traveling home makes an alarming discovery about his past. During his journey, he runs into various crazy supernatural threats."

The King McQueen

Every time I do a post about Steve McQueen's "Small Axe" anthology of films I have to re-link like a billion links because I have reviewed 3/5ths of the series already, and I don't feel like doing that again -- I just found out that I have a bonus day off this week, meaning the only day of office-work I have this week is today, and I have suddenly been swallowed whole by a "kid before their summer vacation" mind-set, aka I ain't getting anything done now. It's full-tilt stare-at-the-clock o'clock around here. So here's the deal -- the first part of "Small Axe" is out now over on Amazon, and this is me reminding you to watch each and every single part, starting with this one. They get released every Friday, through December 18th. All everything else that you need to know about "Small Axe" including a trailer and links to all of my reviews you can find in this post that I did last time the subject came up. Voila, done!

Man of the Holy Mountain

LOL the grrrrreat Alessandro Nivola shared the above image on his Instagram today from the local "Yac Donalds" restaurant in Nepal, where they shot the brand new miniseries adaptation of Black Narcissus that we've been (oh wait for it) yakking about (oh there it was) for months now, and which airs on FX this very evening! If you missed the trailer -- which allowed me the making of a life-changing gif of Mr. Nivola -- you can watch it here.  

Black Narcissus was of course famously and brilliantly turned into a masterpiece of color and torrid nunnery by the genius Michael Powell in 1947, and tells the story of a convent in the Himalayas going stir-horny. If you've never seen it see it right now, just go ahead and buy the blu-ray, you won't regret it. This new adaptation has the terrific Gemma Arterton slipping into the terrific Deborah Kerr's habit, while Alessandro's hopping onto David Farrar's iconic tiny pony for a go.

The Gyllen-Fincher Feud Strikes Again!

I'm not going to be taking a side in this because we're all adults -- well I hope we're all adults; all of the five-year-olds reading MNPP, cover your eyes! -- and adults don't have to take sides in other people's bullshit that doesn't concern them. But in a new interview with the New York Times director David Fincher (whose film Mank! is out this month) talked a little about the long-known and well-documented friction he and his Zodiac star Jake Gyllenhaal went through in the making of that fine motion picture back in 2007:
"Jake was in the unenviable position of being very young and having a lot of people vie for his attention, while working for someone who does not allow you to take a day off. I believe you have to have everything out of your peripheral vision….I don’t think he’d ever been asked to concentrate on minutiae, and I think he was very distracted. He had a lot of people whispering that Jarhead was going to be this massive movie and put him in this other league, and every weekend he was being pulled to go to the Santa Barbara film festival and the Palm Springs film festival and the fucking Catalina film festival. And when he’d show up for work, he was very scattered. 

I don’t want to make excuses for my behavior. There are definitely times when I can be confrontational if I see someone slacking. People go through rough patches all the time. I do. So I try to be compassionate about it. But. It’s: Four. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars. A day. And we might not get a chance to come back and do it again”

That all seems perfectly reasonable to me. And the end product is so good -- one of Jake's very best performances to date -- that I honestly could give a shit. I mean it was right around that time, post-Zodiac, that Jake started making decisions like, "Hey I'm gonna make a Prince of Persia movie!" so his getting maybe not the best advice and attention from those around him doesn't seem like a totally insane suggestion. 

Quote of the Day

“I distinctly remember going to see Call Me By Your Name... Timothée Chalamet just smashed it in that movie. He blew my mind, if I’m honest with you. I was so moved by it, it sort of shocked me. He is on another level and it just made me realise what a young actor, roughly the same age as me, could be capable of, the level I had to get up to. I had hardly even worked at all at that point, but I very clearly remember leaving the cinema absolutely terrified by Chalamet’s performance, because I saw how high he’d raised the bar. That was an important moment for me."

There I am just sitting here innocently reading Paul Mescal's profile in the new issue of British GQ -- and not so innocently looking at the photos of Paul Mescal in the new issue of British GQ -- when I should stumble face-first upon this quote, wherein he extols the thesp virtues of one Timmy Chalamet, Boy Wonder, in Call Me By Your Name. As if those shorts-shorts he prefers sauntering around in public weren't enough of a love letter aimed at me already! But you go on that extra mile, Paul Mescal -- you go on. 

In the chat he also talks a little about heading off to film Maggie Gyllenhaal's new movie (we told you about it here) as well as the insane social media response to his show Normal People... oh and keep your eyes peeled for the part where the writer of the piece describes Paul's legs. Those are some legs. They got everybody talking. But to get back to what matters... that photo-shoot! It could include more of his legs, but we dig it. Hit the jump for the rest...

Kingsley Ben-Adir Four Times

These shots of actor Kingsley Ben-Adir are for GQ Style -- there is one more at this link -- and follow nicely with the photos of Kingsley that we shared here on MNPP last week; it's good that we're all being familiarized with his name and face (and so on...) because once y'all see him play Malcolm X in Regina King's film One Night in Miami we're gonna want to say we knew him when. He's so good in it.

Heaven Sent

Per usual on Friday I told y'all I had some stuff to share over the weekend and then the weekend came and I fell off the face of the planet -- I get home, I lay on my floor, there's no doing. No doing nothing! Anyway only half of the two things I had to share went up, so let's share that thing now! Do you recognize the actor seen above? That would be...

... Cornel Wilde, the actor who played the schmuck who gets obliviated by Gene Tierney in the 1945 technicolor-noir masterpiece Leave Her To Heaven, which I wrote up some thoughts about over at The Film Experience on Saturday for Tierney's Centennial. I've written a'plenty about this movie over the years -- it's one of my faves -- but this might be my favorite thing I've written about it so please do go check it out. I had fun.

In case you're curious these nudie shots of Mr. Wilde are from the 1965 flick The Naked Prey, making this is 20 full years after Wilde cut a sharp figure in his high-waisted trousers in Heaven -- he kept it going on, he did. (Anybody seen The Naked Prey? It's been released on Criterion so it must be worth seeing right?) I've admitted before that I think Wilde's kind of blown off the screen by Tierney in Heaven but the more I watch that movie the more I notice how broad his shoulders are, how tiny his waist, and I stop caring so much about his performance...

Pic of the Day

A massive, like gargantuan, shout-out to MNPP reader and classy, classy person Cameron, who reached out last week about gifting your MNPP overlord with something I've been wanting and needing and clamoring for for sixteen full years -- a copy of the "Wax Lion" from the pilot episode of Bryan Fuller's one-season wonder known as Wonderfalls. A limited run of these were made, I don't even recall the circumstances of their making anymore, but I do remember that I never got one and there's been a dented-lion shaped hole in my heart ever since. No more! I am complete!

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

Haha on Friday morning I blathered something about me going back and forth between the same two people all week -- Tom Mercier and Joel Kinnaman -- and here we are, keeping on keeping with the Kinnaman come Monday. Whatcha gonna do -- when Joel Kinnaman presents, you accept. (via)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Riz Ahmed Eight Times

Although I am not encouraging people to go to movie theaters right now -- under any circumstances, not anywhere! -- I will acknowledge that Riz Ahmed's film Sound of Metal is hitting them big screens of dreams tomorrow, where ever the hell those things are open, by sharing these photos of him for Esquire Singapore just because, hell, let's look at Riz. I don't plan on reviewing the film until it hits Amazon on December 4th, but...

... I did say that when I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago, and I still mean it. Really very good, he is. Aaaaaanyway tomorrow here at MNPP is gonna be a scattered day -- I'm not coming in to the office proper, but I do have a couple of pieces I'm working on so I will probably pop in here to share those. Don't expect tons! Not that you ever should! Hit the jump for the Riz...

Night Boat To Fassbender

Two terrific bits of Michael Fassbender news today! First -- the latest chapter of Michael's "Road to Le Mans" YouTube series, which has been documenting his race-car thing for the past few months, has arrived and Michael spends a hefty chunk of it shirtless, in a face-mask, be still all my pieces. You can watch the whole video over here (although I giffed all the good parts down below because duh) -- this is a good companion piece with the other times he has entertained us thus, seen here and here and here

Second bit! He's attached himself to a new project! His production company has optioned the rights to Kevin Barry's 2019 book Night Boat to Tangier -- anybody read it? Here is how Amazon describes it:

"In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen -- Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs -- sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice's estranged daughter, Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence, romance, mutual betrayals and serial exiles, rendered with the dark humor and the hardboiled Hibernian lyricism that have made Kevin Barry one of the most striking and admired fiction writers at work today."

I had to look up the word "Hibernian" -- I didn't know it! It just means Irish. There, we all learned something today. Anyway either of those "aging Irishmen" sound like a good role for our laddy Michael here; it sounds a little In-Bruges-ish right? I wanna watch Michael in his own In Bruges. Ooh maybe they could hire Colin Farrell for the other role! Although... that might be distracting. I would be distracted. Not that I won't be distracted anyway with just Michael around, but you times him by Colin Farrell and all bets are off, and by "bets" I mean "my pants." On that note let's get to the rest of those gifs, after the jump...

Chaos in the Making

Back in March of 2012 the first Hunger Games movie had come out, and by that April I was already posting about how studios were rushing to adapt every Young Adult novel in existence. One of them was Patrick Ness' trilogy of Chaos Walking books, which got no less than Mr. Charlie Kaufman attached to adapt, which got no less than yours truly to read the books immediately. And they're pretty good, I recall! (I remind you, it's been eight years.) Very weird, and seemingly un-filmable, with their noisy clouds of visible thoughts -- an idea which you can see would draw somebody like Charlie Kaufman in. Anyway that was eight years ago -- eventually Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley and...

... Mads Mikkelsen got cast and Go director Doug Liman got hired and the movie took ages to make and then it sat on a shelf for more ages and I think they reshot a bunch of it at one point and and now we have a trailer, voila. (Funny enough you can see Tom Holland's age jump around in just this footage here.) The movies, they can be weird and wily beasts towards the finish line. Anyway here's the trailer:

Once Charlie Kaufman got the kibosh and this thing got delayed and delayed I have to admit my interest waned, but we'll see when it "comes out" in January -- a January release! Always a good sign! But if nothing else it appears that Spider-twink spends a lot of the movie in a tank top, so all's not lost. On that note I made some gifs of precisely that, right on after the jump...

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

This week's "Good Morning" posts have been hella lazy of me, treading the same topics back and forth and back and forth, but whatcha gonna do when the same sources keep making it so easy for you. I just hope that this week's easy-boys Tom Mercier and Joel Kinnaman know I will always and forever be hella easy for them in return.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Fabulous Madness of Mackenzie King

Being teleported unto another reality, warped or nay, is or should be high on everybody's wish-lists in the year that's been twenty-twenty, and have I ever got a Brundle-machine for your tired and needy and wanting brains today -- The Twentieth Century, out on demand this Friday, is Gold Diggers of 1933 meets Eraserhead, and it's a fucking trip, man. Guy Maddin, the old-timey gauntlet's been tossed in your general way!

TTC is the first feature from Winnipegger Matthew Rankin, but its awesomely deranged accomplishments feel anything but first -- and I suppose with fifteen years of short films under his belt it isn't, not technically. Granted the film's multi-chaptered structure often gives the film the feel of several single-reeler adventures stuck together, but that turns out an appropriate aura to give off given its turn-of-the-century (the last last century, of course) positioning. 

Familiar That-Guy face Dan Beirne plays actual one-time human being Mackenzie King, the haughty and mother-laden Prime-Minister wannabe at the center of our most strange and surreal tale. The city is Toronto, or a Toronto as imagined by Karel Zeman on poppers anyway, and the year is 1899 -- lurching at the precipice of modernity, a future as far as the antiquated steampunk robot eyeball can see, King sees himself as a banner man for tradition. He parts his hair like he means it.

Mackenzie's on the path to the big time, and from her curtained black bed-frame Mackenzie's mother (a hysterical Louis Negin, teeth first always) whispers deranged proclamations in his ear, preconceptions of high fortune and valiant romance that will be his, forever his, if he can be... well, just a little damn better. Their relationship, off-kilter as everything in this place, is awash in perversion, and that's before we even get to the boot-sniffing and enthusiastic cacti.

I've seen a lot of films over the past several years trying to do what The Twentieth Century is doing -- straining for that particular weirdo Guy Maddin Magic of stuttering frame-rates and flashes, silent film iris fades in the place of much meaning. They're all visual trickery, no real substance. What Rankin gets right, gets better, is first and foremost his script, which is chockablock in beautiful funny-ass wordplay, with well-maneuvered set-ups to gags that pay off far down its twisty turny seemingly hand-drawn road -- this movie honestly and truly had me laughing harder than I have laughed at anything in ages just by teaching a puffin puppet to speak French.

But speaking of puffin puppets -- and what deranged mind wouldn't want to speak of puffin puppets when given the puffin puppet opportunity? -- TTC ain't just words, it's a bag of madly inspired and queer visual tics, all piled high into a beautiful squawking symphony of mad bird song, somehow terrifyingly beautiful in spite of its cacophony. I fell in love fast and hard, and it was one of those ones where you're worried the rickety nailed-together stairs the film's built for itself will topple, could easily topple, at any turn -- you're holding your breath at its daredevilry, and then with a swan's grace it shrieks, it snaps, and it lands a perfect ten. 

Find places to watch the film starting this 
Friday right here! And here is the trailer:

Bringing the Miami Heat

Dunno if you've heard the building buzz for beloved actress Regina King's directorial debut One Night in Miami --which imagines the foursome of Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) footballer Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and one Cassius Clay soon-to-be Muhammed Ali (Eli Goree), spending the night in a hotel room together in February of 1964 -- but the movie's getting great notices, even if nobody seemed to have thought what I immediately thought when I heard that plot description.

Anyway that aside (big aside) the film, which I saw a couple of weeks ago, is totally solid, and features star-making turns from Kingsley Ben-Adir (seen up top) and Eli Goree -- that's not to slight the other two! I just already consider Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr.'s stars good and made already -- am I wrong? But I do think those first two are best in show, especially especially Ben-Adir, who should definitely be in the run for Best Supporting Actor... although I think I read they were running him as Best Actor? I personally think all four should be considered Supporting but what do I know. Anyway, we have a new trailer!

One Night in Miami is supposedly hitting some theaters on Christmas Day, and then struts its stuff onto Amazon for a streaming release on January 15th. So more on it to come down the road. For now let's just take in three more of these shots of Kingsley Ben-Adir after the jump cuz hot damn...

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)

Pearl: Keep brushing your teeth 
and you will always be a happy person.

Here's where I admit I have never seen this Harmony Korine movie. It wasn't until Mister Lonely in 2007 where I came around on Korine -- I actively avoided this film and Gummo at the time they were released (and up through right now) because they just looked like they were going to make me feel gross in ways I had no desire to feel gross. Perhaps I should go back and give them a shot now? Thoughts? 

Anyway a happy 46 to Chloë Sevigny, who I've totally fallen back in love with in the past year or so, mostly thanks to the unexpected and magnificent creep she just played on Luca Guadagnino's We Are Who We Are series. Her whole "thing" with her son, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, was fascinating and off-putting and I loved every second of it. Chloë always finds ways to twist page-flat characters into the strangest three-dimensional spaces, it's admirable and never not an intrigue. We are blessed to have her. In summation...