Monday, July 15, 2024

The Zombies & Demons of Criterion's October

It's not just my birthday today, although you'd be forgiven for thinking so -- it's also Criterion Announcement Day! As happens every 15th of the month -- it's almost like Longlegs, only with blu-rays instead of murder -- we've gotten word of the new batch of the physical media label's releases for an upcoming month, this time around being for October of this year. (And can I just say that just saying "the new batch" there had me imagining the masterpiece that is Gremlins 2: The New Batch being released on Criterion, and god I wish!) Anyway they usually save their spooky titles for October and it's half spooky this year, starting off with a pair of classic gothic tales from that midcentury master of goth, Val Lewton -- a double-feature of his 1943 films I Walked With a Zombie and The Seventh Victim! Zombie was directed by the master Jacques Tourneur, while Victim is from Mark Robson -- and they are both exquisitely perfect 40s spookies. The 1940s wasn't he best decade for horror but the Lewton films are the decade's absolute peak in the genre and these two are perhaps the finest of all. Oh and I didn't even mention -- these are remastered in 4K! They are stunningly gorgeous on top of everything so I cannot wait to sink into the inky blacks of them.

The other horror film that Criterion is dropping in October is one that's been on my To Watch List for ages -- Masahiro Shinoda's 1979 shocker Demon Pond, which every image I have ever seen from makes it look visually bonkers in the best of ways. THis is also remastered for 4K and if you click the link you can watch a clip which should make your jaw drop -- cannot wait to immerse myself in this supernatural kabuki remix!

Moving on to the next october title -- I suppose a case could be made for Harmony Korine's 1997 flick Gummo being horror, the way it wades it filth, degradation and suburban surrealism -- I would call that a stretch. But having only seen it in the past couple of years I very much now consider myself a fan -- it wasn't quite as disguting as I'd built it up to be. I actually thought it was kind oif sweet! But the 4K restoration of this does have me nervous -- how crisp do we need all of that dirty bathwater to be, anyway?

And the fourth (technically fifth) and final title for October is G.W. Pabst's 1929 silent masterpiece Pandora's Box, a still perfect movie which turned the actress Louise Brooks into a forever icon -- I am deeply shocked to realize this wasn't already in the Criterion collection, honestly. Maybe it'd gotten a DVD release before and they're just finally upgrading that? I'm surprised this isn't hitting 4K but it's not -- just a 2K restoration. But when it comes to films this old I'm not sure what 4K would do to them anyway. Perhaps 2K is plenty. Anyway a fine batch of movies this month -- not a stinker in the bunch. What are you planning on picking up? And don't forget that Barnes and Noble has the Criterion Collection on sale untilt he end of July! Not these movies mentioned above -- pre-orders don't count. But there's another sale in November so you know maybe just bide your time...

Do Dump or Marry: Boys Being Boys

This photo of actors Kit Connor, Charles Melton and Noah Centineo appeared over the weekend (click to embiggen) and it seems to me like a nice opportunity for us to play a quick round of "Do Dump or Marry" with it! So let us do that now. 

Tell me in the comments which actor you'd spend a single torrid night with (Do), toss in the trash like so much trash (Dump), or wed in official matrimony forever and ever (Marry). 

Timmy On Pong

Happy to see Timothee Chalamet still tackling interesting projects -- lord knows after the genuine box office success of the Dune films and Wonka he could be exclusively grabbing paychecks but our Elio wants to act! Today comes word he's starring in the new movie from Josh Safdie, one half of the Safdie Brothers who made Good Time and Uncut Gems (I think the brothers are taking some time off a la the Coens?) -- it's called Marty Supreme and it's about "professional ping pong player Marty Reisman." If you don't know who Reisman is -- and who the hell would? -- read his Wiki right here. I certainly didn't know who he was, anyway. He sounds like the New York City hustler type that the Safdies love -- Reisman's heyday was the 1940s, so it'll be a period film, which at least is new. I personally am mixed on the Safdies -- I loved Good Time but hated Uncut Gems. So we'll see. Timmy's always a good start. ETA here is a teaser poster A24 shared:

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

Some Raoul Bova for my birthday morning -- can't go wrong with that. (via)  But yes as I mentioned in Friday's post (and thanks to everybody who left a nice comment) today is my birthday and for somebody who hates birthdays I sure do mention them a lot -- I suppose that's a psychological issue of it's own but it's my birthday (in case you hadn't heard) so I don't have to analyze myself thank you very much. I can take today off from that. Indeed I'll be here working but it might be a slow one -- I am leaving for Montreal this Thursday for the Fantasia Film Festival and I gotta get that sorted. Nothing like waiting til the last minute. Anyway hello, happy Monday, is my point.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Stay Cool, Hotties

That's it! I am out of here! Y'all have a good next-three-days 
and I'll see you come Monday. (Otherwise known as "my birthday.") 
If the heat don't get me, that is. Bye...

Longlegs in 350 Words or Less

I haven't quite gotten a handle on what it is I feel is missing from writer-director (and son of Anthony) Oz Perkins' movies, but something is missing from Oz Perkins' movies. Something that's keeping them from being the classics they get awful close to being for me. He feels like the horror version of Xavier Dolan -- infintesimally close to being just right, but there is some little spark that's missing that stops the chain reaction from domino'ing into its big boom. All four of his movies -- The Blackcoat's Daughter, I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, Gretel & Hansel, and now this weekend Longlegs -- fit this description to a tee for me. I like all four of them. They all have great mood and killer atsmophere and some memorable performances. This certainly isn't a record to scoff at -- he's somebody to be appreciated, and I keep going into his films thinking this will be the one. But they keep not being the one. 

Longlegs has all the good stuff, but it's just missing that spark again that makes it feel singular. It's not even (entirely) the Nicolas Cage factor -- you might know I'm not a huge fan of Cage, especially when he goes big, and he is certainly going very big here. But the film keeps him at bay for most of it, yanking back his effortful chomping like a rabid dog on a chain. While the film's using him judiciously it's good and effective. It does finally let the dog off its chain and I groaned some, but I don't place my issues with Longlegs squarely on that. To be honest this is a brief review because I haven't entirely nailed down my issues -- I'll see the film again once it's out on streaming and perhaps have more to say then. I just very much want people to temper their expectations. The comparisons to The Silence of the Lambs are thuddingly obvious while also doing Longlegs no favors at all. It's fine. It ain't no Silence of the Lambs.

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

 ... you can learn from:

3 Women (1977)

Millie: Pinky? What's the matter?
Pinky: I'm scared.
Millie: What of?
Pinky: I had a bad dream.
Millie: Dreams can't hurt ya.
Pinky: Can I sleep with you?
Millie: Sure.

RIP to one of MNPP's favorites, the legendary and singular Shelley Duvall, who just turned 75 a couple of days ago. I'm quite genuinely crying over this news -- there was nobody like her and there never will be anybody like her again. 

And I hope the love we tried collectively sending her way over the past few years made its way to her ear -- in 2021 there was that big interview with her in THR that got a lot of notice (I recommend going back and reading it again) and it seemed to right some of the tabloid wrongs that'd been directed her way over the decades before. Proving wrong all the stories about her having become a deranged hermit in the desert, or whatever. Losing her and Donald Sutherland in such a short span of time, this is too much! Probably my two favorite actors from the 1970s. Go watch one of her many masterpieces this weekend -- I recommend 3 Women the most, it's always been my favorite. I also have the box-set of her Faerie Tale Theatre series, so maybe I'll just soak myself in those for a day...

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

You know -- I have mixed feelings about Presumed Innocent, Jake Gyllenhaal's ongoing Apple+ series about a lawyer who might have murdered his mistress... or I did have mixed feelings, anyway. Then they showed Jake's butt on this week's episode and all has just... vanished? I don't mean just my critical thoughts. I mean all of my thoughts. I don't know what's going on or where I am. Jake could murder me right now and I wouldn't even notice. Total vegetable town over here. Just drool and widening eyes. Now that's entertainment! Five stars, no regrets! (In all seriousness I am an episode behind so don't spoil anything for me. I just had to share these gifs before the week was through, for obvious reasons.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Riz Ahmed Eight Times

Riz Ahmed is the cover boy for Vogue Singapore this month because he's finally going to be in a few things soon, including that modern spin on Hamlet I told you about (with Joe Alwyn!) and a new Prime series... which as far as I can tell still doesn't have a title? So it might be a minute on that one. Anyway it's always good (that word is a true understatement) to see Riz, and these photos represent the second time today, since...

... he also posted that photo on his Instagram this morning, which I have been recovering from all afternoon. I mean how dare he. I need a warning on that sort of thing, my Riz. Yadda yadda these photos are fine, because they are of Riz, and Riz is fine. Logic 101. So let's pray this turns out to be a good and proper and rightful Year of Riz, and then hit the jump for all the fresh snaps...

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

 ... you can learn from:

Criminally Insane (1975)

Ethel Janowski: My heart is just fine 
as long as my stomach is not empty.

I saw this astonishing movie for only the first time this past weekend thanks to Vinegar Syndrome's recent blu-ray drop -- and you can pre-order the double-feature of it and writer-director Nick Millard's 1976 film Satan's Black Wedding on Amazon right now for a July 30th release -- and I am in love, y'all. Totally head over heels. I imagine at the time the movie was made in 1975 it was a "let's all laugh at the crazy fat lady" movie, but in 2024 Ethel Janowski is to my eyes a legend, a hero, an icon, a queen. All of those bastards had it coming, and she is to be emulated. Listen to Ethel, she will show you the way! Ethel Janowski is my lifestyle guru. She is my Goop! Any fans of this camp classic? I don't know where it's been all my life but I feel richer now that it's in me. 

He's Chasing Tornados, I'm Just Waiting Calmly

I am just going to leave this photo of Glen Powell in a wet white t-shirt in the upcoming movie Twisters here for absolutely no reason at all while I run off to a screening... I will give you one guess in the comments as to what movie I am seeing. This is a tough one! Choose wisely! Anyway I'll be back in a few hours. Given the weather probably wearing a wet t-shirt of my own, but you'll just have to imagine that - I won't be posting pictures. Unlike that wanton harlot.

War of the Staches

Well this one looks fun! Peter Sarsgaard and Billy Magnusson's musaches face off in Coup!, a class-warfare comic thriller about a fancy man (Magnusson) facing a take-over by his head-chef (Sarsgaard) during the Spanish Flu pandemic of the nineteen-teens. There's some The Menu, some Triangle of Sadness, there's the great Sarah Gadon and there's every single shot of Billy with his mustache making me swoon.

What else does one need from life? Here's the trailer:

Coup! is out on August 2nd. And if you need
 more Billy Stache right now, hit the jump...

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Blondie Woman

I don't usually monitor the hair color of female movie stars -- that's not my bag, baby -- but seeing as how this is for a movie I care very much about I am making an exception. Lucky y'all. Julia Roberts, famed movie star and former America's Sweetheart, will have blonde hair in Luca Guadagnino's next movie, the college-set morality thriller After the Hunt. The movie just started filming in Cambridge -- see Luca standing with Miss Roberts down below! Or see even more photos over here. And all of my previous posts on the film right here. The film also stars Andrew Garfield, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Ayo Edibiri. Oh and Chloë Sevigny. It wouldn't be a Luca joint without Chloë Sevigny. Cannot wait!

Good Morning, World

Thank goodness that Guy Ritchie put the male model Harry Goodwins in his Netflix series The Gentlemen so I can feel okay with posting his photos -- I try to keep my gratuitous posting limited to actors, given our movie bent. I posted a few snaps from this same shoot back when I did my great big gratuitous post for him when the series first came out, but these ones here (via) weren't included and I think it's fairly clear they need to be. Happy hump day and hit the jump...

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Godzilla Minus One Stomps Home At Last

Funny enough when I posted my "Today's Blu-rays" post about an hour ago I thought about Godzilla Minus One (click here for my review) and how annoyed I am that the movie hasn't gotten a U.S. physical media release yet -- well my annoyance grew wings, turned into a kaiju monster, and woke the asses at Toho up, because they just dropped the pre-order! Click here to order it. Be aware that this is a massive limited edition set for right now -- the same one that got released in Japan in May, just with English subtitles et cetera. It's got four discs including the original movie on 4K and blu-ray, as well as the black-and-white version, and heaps of extras. If you want to wait for a smaller less elaborate set I'm sure it'll probably be dropping around the same time -- this hits some time around September, they're saying. Me I want the big box!

Today's Mood

Hatchets, Crocs, And Hot Boys Kissing

Been awhile since I did a post where I directed y'all to some recent blu-ray releases of note and since I have a few listed on my calendar for today why not? Otherwise I'm just scouring social media for more photos of Theo James in his speedo and there's only so much of that one can do without literally exploding. So today in blu-ray news, first up -- there's Alex Garland's Civil War, which was divisive but not really the way that I think Garland intended it to be. I reviewed it at Pajiba, saying "the film gets to it by coasting on a journalist’s ethics of pure objective documentation over anything resembling subjectivity, and this film that basically demanded to be made at this moment in time doesn’t quite earn its laurels by its end." The movie feels like a cop-out to me. But it's worth seeing and thinking about anyway, and the 4K disc is gorgeous -- you can practically count every hair in Wagner Moura's sexy mustache. 

Also out today is a blu-ray of the sleazy 1979 Jaws rip-off Crocodile from Synapse Films -- this movie isn't my favorite 70s "When Animals Attack!" flick -- heck it's not even in the top 10 -- but it's got its moments, and lots of fun Godzilla-esque miniature work as its enormous croc rampages through puppet-sized Thai villages. My favorite thing is how wildly the size of the crocodile itself vaccillates across the course of the movie -- it's the size of a Brontosaurus in those rampages but then when it goes to eat somebody its mouth is one-person sized. It'd probably be a lot of fun when drunk or stoned. Not that I would know! I am a good, pure, innocent boy, and prefer watching endless underwater shots of bottomless women while sober thank you very much.

Speaking of misogynist sleaze, I meant to mention to the fans of the franchise that Adam Green's Hatchet series of films finally got a proper blu-ray boxed-set release a couple of weeks back -- Hatchet: The Complete Collection contains all four movies (including Victor Crowley) and a fifth disc of special features and the only place to buy it is on Dark Sky's website right here. I personally hate these movies but I know they have lots of fans and I will admit that the practical gore effects do totally rule, and they definitely typify the Aughts era of Bro Horror. Not my cuppa but mileages vary! But finally and most importantly...

... Luca Guadagnino's Challengers is out on blu-ray today! Or at least they say it is -- Amazon has delayed sending my copy because of "supply chain issues, and I am very upset about it. But I suppose some of you probably got your copy, to which I say ROT IN HELL. Ahem. No no, enjoy! I mean that sincerely. ENJOY IN HELL, FUCKFACE. Okay this isn't going right. Here is my review of the film -- obviously I loved it, Luca has yet to do me wrong, and I'll be watching it a jabillion times over. Now if only Trent Reznor & Co would drop the score on vinyl already! They're teasing this out like we're all Josh O'Connor watching Mike Faist change in the lockerroom dammit.

Oh and one bit of news on the pre-order front -- this spring's horror hit Late Night With the Devil is dropping on blu-ray here in the U.S. in September, and you can pre-order it right now right here. I liked, not loved, it -- my high expectations have been slaughtering movies left and right this year -- but it's fun and worth a watch or two. I'll definitely re-watch it when it hits with my lowered expectactions and can foresee it becoming one I revisit every so often when the mood strikes. David Dastmalchian of course rules.