Thursday, June 10, 2021

Going Gay All of a Sudden

I feel like me telling anyone who visits this site that there are a giant pile of queer movies on the Criterion Channel right now is pointless -- anybody coming to this site already knows this. But maybe I am incorrect -- it's not like that's uncommon! -- and so I tell you, here and now, whether you know this already or not, there is a giant pile of queer movies on the Criterion Channel right now. This link here is a good place to start (Teorema and Cruising and Poison, oh my!) but they've also got a collection of Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein's films (including their wildly moving and effective doc on Harvey Milk) and a collection of Dirk Bogarde films (Fassbinder's Despair anybody?) and a collection of films directed by Mitchell Leisen (on that note I really recommend this piece on him at The Film Experience)... actually you know what, they have a page on their site for this, right here. I don't have to link to these separately. Everything from Wong Kar-wai's Happy Together to Gregg Araki's The Living End to James Bidgood's Pink Narcissus, to Maurice to BPM to Fox and His Friends and Querelle to Weekend to Mishima; really I would be living on the Criterion Channel right now if it wasn't for Tribeca happening. 

Speaking of Tribeca, though -- please do stay tuned for my first sputtering bits of coverage of that Film Fest, now ongoing, which should go up online starting at some point in the next couple of days. Yes perhaps even over the weekend, even though I don't normally write on the weekends. And it's a three-day Summer Weekend for me, at that! Wild and crazy stuff! Yeah we'll see how it goes. But it'll mostly at The Film Experience and Pajiba, although I'll try to remember to link to all of it from here too. Bye!

Quote of the Day

"It’s a huge movie. It’s a muscular movie. My involvement isn’t nearly as expansive as The Lighthouse. I’m in a supporting role, but it was thrilling. The level of research and detail is there, but on a much bigger scale. During the pandemic, they continued to work and to research things to build, and somehow they did. We gave them the time to prepare for this huge jump in budget and size of production. The sets are fantastic.”

IndieWire talked to Willem Dafoe today and got him to offer up a few little somethings on Robert Eggers' forthcoming Viking epic The Northman, which will be out in April of next year. (Sigh.) It's not as toe-curling a quote as we got from actor Ralph Ineson back in March (you know where he went on and on about Alexander Skarsgard's muscles) but 1) he does say more at the link (a hint of his character being "nefarious" sounds good) and 2) it is a good reminder that we just need to be excited about Dafoe re-teaming with Eggers after they went and made the best movie of 2019 together....

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

The Pirate (1948)

Manuela: Someday Macoco is going to swoop down 
upon me like a chicken hawk and carry me away.

Before you ask no, I have absolutely no freaking idea what that line of dialogue spoken by Judy Garland (born 99 years ago today!) is supposed to be about. And that's why it's amazing, and why I will begin whispering it to strangers on the street from this day henceforth. Oh, Judy. So giving, so true. In case it wasn't clear already I've never seen The Pirate, although unlike most musicals from this period which I stay away from on general principle I have long wanted to see The Pirate because hello Gene Kelly in shorts. (See my previous post about this, with the clip, right here.)

Eli Brown Eight Times

I never watched the original Gossip Girl -- it was on during a period where I wasn't watching a lot of TV -- but I kept up well enough with its cute boys at least; I sure did post enough of Penn Badgley at the time here on the site. Well the trailer for the new iteration of the show, which hits HBO Max on July 8th, has arrived (I'll share it below) and it looks like this adorable fella Eli Brown is the "Penn Badgley" type this go-round and MNPP approves. 

Eli's co-star, the appreciatively skuzzier Thomas Doherty, had managed to swoop in early and grab our eyeballs a couple of times, but watching the trailer (besides all of the bi-action Doherty's party to) it was Eli who got me quickest to googling. Thankfully W Mag had already chatted with him back in April, and I've got their shoot after the jump...

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, Gratuitous Gardner McKay II

Way back in 2012 I did my first "Gratuitous Gardner McKay" post and it was one of my faves -- you know, given the subject matter. Look at him! (PS I really recommend you look at that earlier post, it's substantial.) Anyway this beauty nevertheless never had much of an acting career -- he was more of a writer, a sculptor, a sailor... one of them types that makes you feel like a real puddle of shit, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life types ya know? Thanks, Gardner! Point being I still haven't seen any of his performances save presumably his role as "Bearded Soldier" in Raintree County, but you'll have to forgive me for not recalling the no doubt immense impact he had on that narrative. (Also on Montgomery Clift in his trailer, one hopes.) But I still have managed to come up with a dozen plus new photos of Gardner in the almost-decade since that last post all the same, so we'll share them today, on what would have been his 89th birthday.  (He died in 2001.) Hit the jump for it...

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Let Her Do the Cutting

Not sure how this news slipped by me even while I kept looking for it but a real good horror movie I saw at Sundance back in January is coming out this Friday! (It also hits demand the week after.) It's called Censor and I reviewed it for Pajiba, read that here -- it stars Niamh Algar (who can also be seen in a small but memorable role in Guy Ritchie's most recent Jason Statham flick Wrath of Man) as a film censor in 1980s UK who works on trimming the bad bits from all of those infamous "Video Nasties" of the era. She watches the real degenerate stuff so we don't have to basically, and sure enough that shit starts to get to her and... well you can imagine. 

It goes dark! As I said in my review that idea for a horror movie is just one of those perfect ideas that were sitting there in the movie ether waiting to be plucked and turned real and writer-director Prano Bailey-Bond does a wonderful job plucking the heck outta it. Here's the trailer below, but as I usually say with horror movies maybe don't watch the trailer, maybe keep yourself nice and virginal for the dirty movie instead...

Christopher Meloni Sixteen Times

Thank goodness this arrived, for multiple reasons -- Christopher Meloni's in the new issue of Interview Magazine and at 60 years old -- sixty! -- he's looking as fuckable as ever in the attached photoshoot. Some things might change but that, thankfully, remains a constant. I recommend not reading the entirety of the chat with him though because he comes off a little annoying? 

One second he says he's got a trainer, the next he says he's against trainers, then he says he loves cops (ugh), and then the passage about "testing servers" well I wish I could wipe it from my brain. So that is what I will now do, by looking at fourteen more photos of him doing his best Vintage Jane Fonda after the jump...

Jesus Freaks

I think by now most of you have probably already watched the trailer for The Eyes of Tammy Faye since it dropped this morning -- then again should I not judge everyone else's online habits alongside my own spazzy ones? Maybe y'all have lives, I don't know. This reminds me I was looking at the Instagram page of one of my oldest friends yesterday and it hadn't been updated in a year and I was just like... what do people even do if they're not online all the time, updating their social media? I'd love to not be that person, I try by taking off the weekends from blogging and going to do things in the world every so often -- museums and parks, oh my! -- but I am one hundred percent that online spazz. Oh well. Anyway what were we talking about? 

Oh right Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield playing Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Of course the big story here is Chastain's pretty astonishing transformation -- that make-up is nuts. I'm not entirely sold on some of the facial restructuring they did with probable prosthetics -- it works better on Chastain because of how spackled down the character of "Tammy Faye" is but everybody's jawlines look off, look fake. Like somebody stuck a tire-pump in their necks. Is it just that I know their real jawlines and that knowledge is carrying these jawlines towards Uncanny Valley territory? I can't answer that chicken egg nonsense, I just know what I know. Here's the trailer:

The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which was directed by Michael Showalter of all people, is out on September 17th. I hope this is good, I love all the actors -- Cherry Jones, holla! -- and having grown up in a Conservative Christian family in the 1980s this story was a big deal in my childhood and I was always fascinated by Tammy Faye, especially in her later years when she proved to be an actual decent human being. I recommend y'all watch the 2000 documentary of the same title -- you can rent it on Amazon for a few bucks -- if you've never seen it. It's excellent.

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

Not only is this a five-year-old photo-shoot of Tom Hiddleston but it's a five-year-old photoshoot that I have posted before -- lucky for all of us I'd posted it in two separate posts, here and here, which gives me an excuse here on Loki Release Day to re-post the photos in full but all in one place, for convenience's sake. Easy! Peasy! Beautiful! Bulging Boxers! If you watch Loki today give me a holla, I'd love to hear your thoughts. As briefly shared last evening I really dug what the show is doing -- I love the midcentury sci-fi aesthetic, love its chatty weirdness and world-building; give me this sort of comic book nonsense over the suffocating pseudo-seriousness of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which undermined its own message every five seconds after making one. My ass digresses! Hit the jump for more of Tom Hiddleston positively straining that white fabric...

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

When in Doubt Say it With Hiddles

Literally only posting this old photo of Tom Hiddleston because I don't want my pan of In the Heights to be the top post on MNPP for the next 12 hours as I head out for a screening -- oh and also because Tom's on my brain because I've seen the first couple of episodes of Loki and liked them, but I'll get to that later. For now I make my way into the rain! Have a good night...

Heights and Lows

Every time I review a musical it seems important to me to add the disclaimer that I'm not much for musicals. But I think I've generally gotten better about that than I used to be? The list of musicals I can stomach has grown a little longer than it was a decade ago, anyway -- I do still gravitate more towards the ones that twist the form's trappings into new weird ways (your Hedwig, your Moulin Rogue, your Dancer in the Dark) than I do towards ones that embrace classicism (your Chicago or La La Land) but I've at least forced myself to sit down and watch more musicals in general, and so the list has through simple math grown a little longer. 

The list is staying the same length today though because I sadly won't be adding In the Heights onto it any time soon. Not that I ever truly thought this movie was going to be made for me -- the only things grabbing me beforehand were the notable sex appeal of Anthony Ramos and the fact that the film is a love letter to my real-life New York neighborhood of Washington Heights. Well, sort of -- although In the Heights was indeed filmed all around my stomping grounds (a pivotal outdoor stairs scene happens less than a sixty second walk from my apartment door!) the ethnic make-up of my precise chunk of the neighborhood is actually mainly Jewish, a group that technically has more of a history with the place than Dominicans can claim, and I don't think I spied a single Jewish person in In the Heights?

I'm not Jewish or Dominican so I am proposing no personal claim to The Heights, save the past decade so far that I've loved living there -- that sort of talk is besides the point, and anyway I've embraced my own villainous destiny as one of the white homosexuals who move into neighborhoods to signal the rent's about to go up (side-note: don't go looking for anything gay in this very straight movie either, save a couple of background tokens spied, where else, during a make-over scene). 

But it is in itself fantastic and heartening to see a too-long sidelined minority culture take center stage, and it's winningly showcased by director Jon M. Chu and all of his actors. I think Chu's greatest ability might be with casting, and here, as with Crazy Rich Asians, it feels like you're getting in on the ground floor of a bunch of future movie star careers. Everybody's got charisma to spare.

I just don't really know what it ends up being in service to. For one I found the songs to be wildly forgettable... but here's where my original disclaimer becomes important, because I really hate most Broadway scores. I notoriously can't stand Stephen Sondheim, after all! I mean I can appreciate, on the page, Sondheim's word-craft at the least, but once you tunelessly start talk-singing at me I just immediately check out, mentally-speaking. The music of In the Heights just drones in my ears, same same noise without even the saving grace of Sondheim's skillful wordplay. 

The story, similarly, is a mash of tropes I've long tired of -- The Girl Who Wants Out Of This Place! Saintly Old Woman! The Boy Who Wants Out Of This Place! Too many characters with one defined quirk, their predictable stories running along long in-place tracks; I find it difficult to feel inspired when a person's Big Destiny just turns out to be just the tail-end of another cliche playing itself out to its well-trod end for the ten thousandth time. Is this all there is? 

I know many people find comfort in the familiar, and not-so-weirdly many of those people seem to be Musical fans. I'm really not trying to be condescending when I say that is nice for them! And I suppose a lot of people will find it enough, the Summer Spectacle, the Big Screen, and I wish them well with even a tinge of jealousy. I'm looking forward to losing myself in the Movie Experience as soon as I can. In the Heights just isn't the one for me.

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

 ... you can learn from:

After Hours (1985)

Paul: Greg called.
Marcy: Oh, how'd that little faggot find out I was
staying here tonight? He probably wants to
whine to me about his latest boyfriend.
Paul: Friends like that are hard
to deal with sometimes.  
Marcy: Well, that's what friends are for!

First things first After Hours might be my favorite Scorsese movie, so I don't want you to mistake my complicated feelings here towards the movie's use of the F-slur as this being me throwing a Cancel Party or anything. (You know us Liberals, always throwing Cancel Parties!) I think the character of Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) calling her off-screen friend a "faggot" is definitely meant by the movie to make us not like her, for a second anyway -- Paul (Griffin Dunne, who's celebrating a birthday today, hence why we're here talking After Hours) winces at her use of the word and at this point the movie still wants us to be on Paul's side. 

That said I actually think the further we fall down the rabbit hole with Paul the less the movie is on Paul's side, or at least that's how I personally ride the movie's tidal waves of shifting sympathies -- I think by the end of After Hours Scorsese has fully deconstructed and tossed out the window like so much soggy plaster the myth of self-interested masculinity that Paul represents; he reveals himself to be a real shit, and even if nobody has a night like he gets coming to him... well, he kinda does, as well. Anyway it's complicated, and that's what I like about it -- that's what movies are for!

Day of the Dying Live

Put on a happy face, I wrote up some thoughts on George A Romero's so-called "lost film" The Amusement Park for Pajiba, click on over -- discovered recently and remastered the hour-long scare flick is now on Shudder! I shared the (amazing) poster and trailer with you back in February, alongside a video of Romero's widow introducing the film at a screening at MoMA last year, which was the first time I saw it. Now y'all can experience the darkness for yourselves! And it gets real dark. Both the film and my review. Tis the season!

Bryan Fuller's Killer Car Cometh

Now this is the sort of news I've been waiting for! Deadline is reporting that our beloved Bryan Fuller, he of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies fame, is writing and directing a re-do adaptation of Stephen King's classic book Christine. Yeah the one about the sexy killer car that re-does its nerd and turns him into a bad boy. John Carpenter made a movie version in 1983 that I've always sorta liked, sorta not liked, but I'll admit I haven't watched the movie (or read the book, for that matter) in many many years. Smash cut to my Amazon cart looking a lot like this...

I'll be doing a re-watch and re-read of both of this as soon as I have them in my hot little hands, baby. Anyway Deadline says Bryan plans on keeping the film set in the 1980s and as close to King's book as he can. Also worth noting -- this will be Bryan's first director's credit, if IMDb isn't lying to me. He's always let other people sit in that chair, although his voice across projects has become so strong and distinctive enough that it's recognizable from space. Cannot wait to see how he aims it onto this project!

Anthony Ramos Four Times

To Err Is Human

If this wasn't coming in the middle of my Tribeca Film Festival prep I'd be telling you what I thought of Masaki Kobayashi 1959-ish epic nine-plus-hour trilogy The Human Condition today as it hits blu-ray thanks to Criterion -- I told you about this back in March when it was announced. But I've been bogged down with screeners so I haven't had the nine-plus-hours to devote to this just yet, even though I very much want to. What better way to hide from the ninety degree nightmare currently smothering New York than with a wartime drama detailing a man's methodical disillusionment? Especially when said man is played by the dreamboat Tatsuya Nakadai? I can't think of a better thing.

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

Same, Noah Centineo, same.