Friday, April 29, 2016

Ben Foster, Fur Beast

No sooner had I tweeted about the fact that I'm seeing five plays over the next three weeks than was that picture of (click to embiggen, thanks Mac) and this interview in the NYT with Ben Foster - who's playing Stanley in a new staging of A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Gillian Anderson - brought to my attention. This is one of the shows I'll be seeing, and I'd bought my tickets way way back on the basis of Anderson alone, well before I knew I'd be gifted with a hefted-up and hirsute Ben in return. Good grief! Where did he even get all that body hair from? He's come a long long way from the slick twink he played in X-Men 3.

Tribeca Times Thirty

So it's time to put the Tribeca Film Festival for 2016 to bed at last - I feel as if my brain has finally caught up to the rest of me, or at least as close a marriage as those two ever achieve, and I can sort of put what I saw somewhat into perspective. It was a pretty good year! I mean that substance wise, that the movies were generally pretty good - if we're talking accomplishment wise, I really went above and beyond: I saw THIRTY full-length films at the Festival.
I also saw a couple of short films (I watched those in a bit of a daze and didn't keep track of them but the one called "Curve" by director Tim Egan is one I'll never forget), a couple of Q&As attached to screenings (Tom Hanks for A Hologram For the King! David Byrne for Contemporary Color!), and three of the Tribeca Talks -- the one for the new series Animal Kingdom with Scott Speedman and Ellen Barkin; I saw director Andrea Arnold reflect on her career and what's ahead; and I saw the great Samantha Bee talk about her show.
I haven't reviewed everything I saw but I did review HALF of them, which seems like an excellent percentage. Along with what Nathaniel and Manuel reviewed of what they saw over at The Film Experience I think we gave a pretty great representation of the Fest had to offer, and yesterday Nat rounded up all of our reviews into one place - click here to see that
Anyway since the number of movies I saw is so perfectly rounded out at 30 I figured I'd bite off more than I can probably chew and attempt to rank everything I saw. Since I've only reviewed half of these I will try to offer a brief thought or two on the ones I haven't spoken of, because why make this easy on myself? If I have previously written about the movie, I will just link to it. I only distinctly disliked the bottom couple of films - like I said, the Fest was really pretty decent this year. It might've lacked masterpieces, but there was gold scattered about.
The 30 Movies I saw at Tribeca 2016, 
Ranked Worst To Best

30. TIGER RAID -- I found this movie easier to watch at the time than it deserved because Brian Gleeson & Damien Molony look really good all sweaty and bearded and covered with war paint while grabbing at each other, but it's positively choking on posture and cliches in place of having anything worth saying. Pretty pointless.

Read my review here
It's on Netflix now, but don't waste your time.

28. HOLIDAYS -- Read my review here.

27. SHOW OF SHOWS -- It's kind of not fair to lump this in because it was meant to be screened as a "visual experience" projected around you; it's a bunch of silent footage from circuses and carnivals in the early 20th century arranged by theme - here's some acrobats! Here's some clowns! Here's some Boxing Babies! And even if as a viewing experience all at once on its own Show of Shows was somewhat exhausting, I have to give big time credit to it for introducing me to the concept of Boxing Babies, you guys. AMAZING.

26. THE FIXER -- Nathaniel wrote up this movie at The Film Experience, or at least he focused in on the only part that will remain memorable: gorgeous leading man Dominic Rains.

He's very good too. The movie is not good though - it's nonsensical, and James Franco is downright terrible in it. And as much as I loved Franco's other movie playing Tribeca (see below) he's also the weak link in that. He needs to stop making that face. The one where he looks like he smells something so terrible that he might barf at any moment. It's his go-to and it's godawful.

25. HERE ALONE -- I actually wrote an entire review about this movie talking about how it feels like a very special episode of The Walking Dead, but I never bothered publishing it because it kept reading meaner than I intended it to be. I mean I'd rather watch these actors do their thing than I would watch another second of half of the characters on The Walking Dead, so that's a plus. But it should hit harder, and it meanders too much for its own good.

24. WOLVES -- Read my review here.

23. DETOUR -- Read my review here.

22. A KIND OF MURDER -- Read my review here.

21. FEAR INC -- Read my review here.

20. LIFE, ANIMATED -- Owen Suskind, an autistic man making his way into adulthood who used Disney movies to find his way to communicate with the world, is a fascinating character for sure. That said I might not be the most receptive audience for this movie since too much Disney Musical Theater all at once is a lot for me to deal with. And sometimes the movie seemed sliiiightly condescending towards Owen?

19. ELVIS & NIXON -- Read my review here.

18. THE LAST LAUGH -- This doc, which talks to comedians (mostly Jewish comedians) about Hitler & Holocaust Jokes, if often very very funny, but for some reason I felt as if I've heard most of this stuff before? It's a topic that's been spoken of, once and again. The best bit were the bits following an actual Holocaust survivor around and talking to her about how she finds (and prefers)  joy in life.

17. RESET -- I left this documentary - about Benjamin Millepied's short tenure as the director of the Paris Opera Ballet - with more questions than I did answers. Like how is the show ultimately received, and why the heck does he jump ship so soon after? And where's Natalie Portman dammit? That said Millepied comes off well in the film (better than I expected a man that pretty and talented to anyway) and the process of putting together the first show is fascinating enough.

16. CUSTODY -- Manuel reviewed this movie right here. Viola Davis and Ellen Burstyn are typically incredible in this movie, but it's very "Movie of the Week" feeling.

15. HIGH-RISE -- Read my sort of review here. Like I said I need to re-watch this movie and grapple with some of my issues with it, it could very much move upwards once I do. Oh and Nathaniel reviewed this right here.

14. EQUALS -- Read my review here.

13. THE TICKET -- Dan Stevens is great in this movie, about a blind man whose sight suddenly comes back. Great enough to pad over some of its aimlessness. I wish it was tighter.

12. OBIT -- Read my review here.

11. REBIRTH  -- Read my review here.

10. MADLY -- Manuel reviewed this movie right here. This anthology film telling stories of on the subject of love from around the globe has a great hit to miss ratio - I actually don't think any of the short films are bad at all, and a couple of them are straight up fantastic. My favorite was probably Mia Wasikowska's directorial debut called "Afterbirth" about a woman (played by Kathryn Beck) taking a strange journey to motherhood, which taught me that Mia Wasikowska is a straight up awesome person with a wickedly dark sense of humor that I really want to become best friends with right this second.

9. MAURIZIO CATTELAN: BE RIGHT BACK -- My fascination with Cattelan and his art might have colored my enthusiasm for this movie, which is kind of a straight-forward telling of his astonishing career and vision... until it isn't. It's trickstery, like Maurizio is, and it delighted me. Anyway he is one of my most favorite artists so of course I was into this.

8. PARENTS -- I missed the first press screening of this Danish movie but I was there when it was letting out, and I watched my fellow journos walk out of this thing in a straight up daze. That was enough to convince me to catch it when I could. It's a strange little film, but lovely I thought, and has some incisive and beautiful things to say about growing old with the person you love.

7. MOTHER -- Nathaniel reviewed this right here. I can't believe it was the lead actress' first performance - she's marvelous. And the movie's surprisingly funny, for something so dark.

6. CONTEMPORARY COLOR -- Read my review here.

5. HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING -- Out of all the movies I saw and didn't review this is the one that I most wish I'd written a proper review for, but I don't know that this long list is the place to do it. I very much liked this movie though, which felt like a breath of fresh air in the middle of some small dark movies. It's aggressively bright and mainstream but Tom Hanks is really firing on all engines at this point in his career when he could very much be coasting, and the last half an hour of this movie, when the sense of wandering begins to find a destination, is surprising and romantic and just absolutely lovely. Early on it often feels very Lost in Translation plus a laugh track, but it ends up just as moving in the end.

4. WOMEN WHO KILL -- Read my review here.

3. ALWAYS SHINE -- Read my review here.

2. KING COBRA -- Read my review here.

Read my review here. What a delight.

Today's Fanboy Delusion

Today I'd rather be...

... making Zac Efron my personal Butterball.

Zac's really getting out ahead of anybody calling his acting
"hammy" in this new clip from Neighbors 2...
Neighbors 2 is out on May 20th.

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Selina Kyle: It's the so-called "normal" guys who always let 
you down. Sickos never scare me. Least they're committed. 

Happy 58 to the goddess Michelle Pfieffer!

Bubble For Brains

Just put those lips together and blow, Aaron Tveit. (gif via)

So if I told you that there is a new series set to air on CBS this Summer from the creator of The Good Wife, and it was set in Washington DC, and it was going to star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Tveit, and Tony Shaloub among others, I'm wondering how long it would take you to guess that the plot is about, and I quote:

"... a new staffer on Capitol Hill who comes to realize that parasitic bugs have begun to infect politician's brains and are dumbing them down."

I am thinking that's a plot description that'd be pretty far down your list of plot descriptions, at least coming from this source (maybe if Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson or George Romero was involved we'd be less shocked), and yet here we are. BrainDead is what it's called (really!) and it will begin airing on June 13th. And now there's a trailer! Watch:

I might sound incredulous but I am actually intrigued.

Five Frames From ?


What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

Saw this pic of Russell Tovey and his ever-present dog come up in my Instagram feed this morning and I got very angry -- not about the dog, or about the fact that we can scarcely see enough of Russell (that's very true, though) but about the fact that I had no idea when the hell we're supposed to see the Looking movie. (Yes I grew to dislike the show in its 2nd season, but absence, heart, etc)

And then I remembered - oh wait! We did hear something about that recently, and forgot. The movie is going to premiere (where else) at the San Francisco Film Festival at the end of June. (thx Mac) Anger averted! Let's celebrate with this picture of Russ in his underpants.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"You made Gator leave!"

"I got somethin' for your face... mother fucker!"

Where Do I Sign Up...

... to be one of Chris Hemsworth's surfing buddies? I unfortunately missed the form you fill out at birth to win the genetic lottery for being a part of that family, but I feel like I still have a chance at being the goofy guy at a Hemsworth or Hemsworth-adjacent beach safari. I could tell a joke or two, or bring the drugs...

... and I could definitely keep Chris warm when he comes in from the water or when he passes out from all the partying at two in the morning. Whatever. I'm flexible. (And I should clearly put "I'm Flexible" on my application.) Aaanyway as you see the sun-n-fun that's been going on all week at Camp Hemsworth is still going strong, hit the jump for a couple dozen more pictures...

Tye One Off

I probably did you all a disservice when I wrote up my review from the Tribeca Film Festival of the "Teen Noir" called Detour starring Tye Sheridan and Bel Powley and Emory Cohen -- nowhere did I speak of the fact that Tye spends a few scenes of the movie awfully shirtless. I suppose that we've been watching him grow up on screen for the past 6-ish years and he's only recently turned 20... 

... not to mention the fact that his body is still catching up to that news, well, it gave me pause. But if he's out there now posing for magazines showing himself off it's not my business to hide his bushel. Show it off, Sheridan. Show it off.

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Session 9 (2001)

Henry: Madness is just overactive curiosity. 

I hadn't even realized that Brad Anderson's phenomenal little horror gem here  had never been released onto blu-ray, until just now reading the news that it is finally being released onto blu-ray! It'll be out in August (which will mark the film's 15th anniversary). This also makes me realize I haven't watched this movie in quite some time, and I gotta right that. It's so, so good. Funny how much of the film I can immediately conjure up in my mind's eye - this is one that doesn't let go. The scene with Josh Lucas in the basement! Ahh!

To Croak With Love

I have our good friend Glenn Dunks to thank for reminding me that I have been wanting to watch the 1988 documentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History for a very long time -- the film tells the story of the invasive frog menace in Australia (a plague, you might say!) and it's supposedly, if people like Glenn are to believed, Can't Miss. 

It's just one of the ten Aussie Docs that Glenn tells us are Can't Miss in his new piece for The Guardian, which is also Can't Miss! Go over and read it! And then come back and watch the first-fifth of the Cane Toads doc which is awesomely uploaded onto YouTube. (From there you can click through to see the rest.) I know what I'll be watching on my subway ride home tonight.


Speak In Tongues, Woody

If you can take your eyes for a second off of Joel Edgerton there you'll see Kieran Darcy-Smith there beside him - he's an actor turned director who made Wish You Were Here in 2012, which is what that shot is from the set of. I never saw it but I remember hearing it wasn't half bad, and now he's got a new movie catching my attention - it's called The Duel and it stars Liam Hemsworth...

... as an extremely bearded Texas law-man investigating a series of strange murders in a small town which is run by a crazy snake-handling preacher man played by Woody Harrelson. You know that Woody Harrelson is probably bad news because he does some sinisterly-lit sweaty shirtless push-ups at one point in the trailer.

Although why that vision is bad news is a mystery to me. Oh he also stabs people and acts crazy, I guess. The trailer kind of gives all of that stuff away. Important stuff! Look at Emory Cohen's mustache!

Dude was obviously giving out some of the finest mustache rides south of the Mason-Dixon on this set. Although if we're talking about tickling ourselves intimately with pretty boy's facial hair...

... Liam obviously wins this round.

 Here, watch the trailer:

 This movie is out on June 24th.
Giddy-up, lil' doggies.

Thursday's Ways Not To Die


Tarantula (1955)

This is a weird way to start talking about a scene where a man just got murdered by a gigantic spider, no doubt, but here goes: springtime always makes me think of my grandmother, who died just a couple of years ago. We were very close, all year every year, but for some reason Spring really resonates when I think of her - cherry blossoms in the back-yard and the flooded fields out in the countryside where she lived.

So she's been on my mind lately, is my point. And the other day I suddenly remembered watching Tarantula at her house when I was definitely on the young side to watch a movie about gigantic spiders murdering people, which is such an insane memory for me to have - my grandmother was devoutly religious and wouldn't even let any of us grand-kids watch Scooby-Doo because of witchcraft implications, and yet there I was, some weekend afternoon, laying on the floor of her house watching a gigantic spider murder people.

Is this where it began? This hint of horror poking out like The Rapture, come to deliver me to My God, the eight-legged freaks & raving lunatics that I now call my religion? It's certainly one of my earliest Scary Movie Memories anyway. I mean I'm only human, and as has been established at this point no mere mortal can resist...

... the Evil of the Thriller!
(Thanks, Gramma.)

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