Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Heaven's Sakes Is That a Spot

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An inky blight spreads across the azure blue of the Pacific Ocean - like the tar beast of Creepshow 2 gone fishin' that inhuman stain is just waiting for some sucker to stick their foot in, just waiting for meat. And Beatriz at Dinner offers up a sacrificial feast to it - Mike White and Miguel Arteta, the duo behind Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl, have the napkins pressed and the knives sharpened and much like Karyn Kusama's film The Invitation last year we're all invited to dine heartily upon their Californian malcontent.

Beatriz, as played by Salma Hayek styled as Cecilia Giménez' reworked Ecce Homo, is a broken saint - her patience frayed, her car crippled, and her favorite bedroom goat strangled dead. For all her outward serenity her aura is static - on the fritz. But unlike the blonde sun-dressed Amy Jellicoes of the world who can absentmindedly spin off their axis, Beatriz is a small brown woman in big white world, and as such she's forced to say it all with a head tilt, and a slow back into the scenery.

Until she doesn't. This Dinner is one dinner too much - what's on the menu is destiny and despair and wine, in equal helpings. (Okay maybe the wine there's a bit more of.) At the opposite end of the table sits the human stain - a slab of 100% prime and pure Grade-A American Horror Story, tender and juicy and joyfully masticated, in the ever and always splendidly weaselly form of John Lithgow, chewing life up feet first.

Sit back and go wow, watching these two spark. In some alternate dimension this is a love story, so perfectly horribly matched are they, but we live on Planet Earth and so romance, dead in its watery grave, is usurped by that other penetrative act called violence - natural laws are pumped dry and we dream of ninja sly rescues in their wake. And if not we drink and we smoke and we foam at the mouth instead.
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Who Will Top, Hugh or Ansel?

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Lord knows there's nothing Hugh Jackman likes more than being pressed up against a twink, so we're giving him what he wants. (Honestly if Hugh wants to share we'll give him what he wants any ol' day of the week, but we digress.) We're pressing him up against lucky twink Ansel Elgort today due to a couple of timely coincidences -- firstly they're both in the news since Ansel's film Baby Driver (my review) is out now, while the trailer for The Greatest Showman dropped this morning...
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... which was honestly like nails on a chalkboard to me...
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... but what do I know? I'll just go happily re-watch Tod Browning's Freaks for the hundredth time, and you should go read Nat's take on the trailer over at The Film Experience; this movie's way more in his wheelhouse than it is mine. 

Anyway that's not all pushing these two hunka hunkas in our face today -- secondly Hugh has signed up to play former Senator Gary Hart (whose presidential run was ruined by an affair in the 80s) in a film from director Jason Reitman, while Ansel has signed on to play no less than President John F. Kennedy (the twink version, obviously) in a story about his time in the Navy.

Hugh and Ansel are both pretty good casting for those particular politicians, I think. Ya think? But since both the fellas are out here selling what they're mamas gave 'em today I figured we'll buy a little bit of it and ask y'all...

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Queen of the Castle

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Human shaped ball of perfection Melanie Lynskey has just signed on to star in the leading role of Castle Rock, the Stephen King anthology television show that Hulu is putting together, and Castle Rock has just like that - POOF! - become my most anticipated show of the immediate future. Thing is I was already planning on doing a post about this show because they had announced earlier this week that Sissy fuckin' Spacek - CARRIE WHITE HERSELF - had signed on for this show and that, THAT ALREADY, was a corker. But now, well, I'm overcome with the awesomeness. 

Oh and the other actors also attached to the show? Moonlight and The Knick star (and consummate smoker of cigarettes) Andre Holland, and the great "Female Ash" actress Jane Levy. I was rooting for Levy to get the lead role in the new Lisbeth Salander movie since her director-muse Fede Alvarez is set to direct that - she would've been great - but they cast The Crown actress Claire Foy instead. Anyway point being if I am actively rooting for Levy to get roles I must like her, and I do.

But speaking of "Stephen King Horror Television Shows" I asked this on Twitter last night but nobody copped to it - is anybody watching The Mist? I suffered through the first episode and I don't know if I can keep going - I like Morgan Spector a lot and I want to root for him, but the show is suffering from some serious Under the Dome half-assery. Should I bother to keep watching or should I run now before I get dragged through three wretched seasons like I did with the Dome? Whatever the case I hope that the folks making Castle Rock are learning lessons from these shows showing how not to adapt King to the small screen.


Great Moments in Movie Shelves #106

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It is Kathy Bates' birthday today! Huzzah! Any reason to celebrate one of our favorite actresses is always welcome, and so I thought today we'd take a look at... well, yeah, the obvious one. I know I've talked about Misery til the cockadoodie cows came home, but (in my best Jerri Blank voice) I got somethin' new to say.

Specifically -- how great is Annie Wilkes' little Paul Sheldon shrine? It's all in the details -- I love that she has the Misery Chastain novels in both hard and soft cover (like any proper Number One Fan would) and I love her choices in photographs. I mean why the hell would this crappy pulp fiction writer have met the queen? But that was a real picture of Jimmy Caan that they had access to...

... since he really did meet Queen Elizabeth, alongside Barbra Streisand (oh my god Babs, that outfit) and Jimmy Stewart. Anyway those are all obviously real pictures of James Caan that they adopted for the movie; I suppose that was simpler in 1990 than crudely photo-shopping him into anything (today's fun fact: Photoshop was invented in 1988.) All that said...

... the pièce de résistance up there is clearly the
Cat Frame that looks like it is violently devouring him.

What I love about Annie's stalker shelf is it's the second All Paul Sheldon Shelf that we see in the movie -- his editor (played by some blonde woman, I don't know) also has her own Paul Sheldon Stalker Shelf in her office. But she's even fancier - she has a French Edition Poster! Ooh la la, Betty.

Anyway a second before we see Annie's shelf we get this great sight-gag of Paul looking around the house - the framed picture of Liberace makes me bust out laughing every time I watch the film, and then the stuffed pig, and then the great big red (I might have known it would be red) photo-album with the words MEMORY LANE stamped across it that is propped up proudly on Annie's desk - and of course it's filled with every sordid detail of her ol' villainous baby-murdering lifestyle...

... because that's how bad people do. And that banner on the second page that says "ANOTHER BABY" is spectacular, truly spectacular. I can only imagine the good black-comedy cackling the set decorator (Garrett Lewis, who also did the sets for Beaches and Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman! I wanna hang out with him!) had when he dressed up that bit.

Later on when Annie & Paul have dinner together Paul is placed so he's become a prop himself inside of Annie's Paul Sheldon Museum - a perfect subtle choice from director Rob Reiner, in a movie that, well, isn't always so subtle. 

Happy birthday, Kathy Bates!!!
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Alessandro's Birthday Mustache Rides

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Red Sea Diving Resort might not be the sexy wet-suit movie that title promises but as we told you - excuse me, as Michiel Husiman's Bare Torso told you - it does have quite the sexy cast with Huisman and Chris Evans and yes, Alessandro Nivola, seen above showing off his Resort mustache good and proper. We approve, but next time ditch the tank, boss. The mustache would play really well nestled amid that much lauded chest hair.

Oh and happy 45, Alessandro!
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, World

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Every show should come back from commercial break with a slow scan up Dominic Cooper's half-naked body. Even - especially - shows that don't star Dominic Cooper. I suppose Preacher is the best place to start, but we're coming for you next, The Walking Dead.

Anyway have y'all watched the first two episodes of Preacher yet? I liked if not loved the first season - it was tonally sloppy and not quite as clever as it thought it was before, but it had moments of real giddiness - but I think it might be better so far this year? Paring down and focusing in on the main trio was smart - I'm actually starting to care about these three dopes.

Anyway I don't want to get into spoilers so if you wanna talk about anything in particular hit up the comments, or if you just want to stare at Dom standing around in his underwear (whatever the opposite of judgement is here) hit the jump...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 Off My Head: Siri Says 1934

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After a couple weeks spent in the safe confines of the 1970s (has anyone ever described 70s Cinema as a "safe space" before?) where I had seen plenty of movies and could offer up a hefty dose of opinion, this morning Siri, when asked to choose a number between 1 and 100, decided to make it slightly tougher on me and take us back to the 1930s - The Movies of 1934 specifically. That said 1934 isn't a year in film I'm completely unfamiliar with - I managed to choose a respectable Top 5 of movies I very much like with a lovely batch of runners-up too.

But I had to cut short my "Never seen" list because I kind of don't even know where to begin with all that - there are lots and lots that I have not seen! So if y'all want to tell me what I am definitely missing out on in the comments, please I beg you go to town. And until then I give you...

My 5 Favorite Movies of 1934

(dir. Jean Vigo)
-- released on April 24 1934 --

(dir. WS Van Dyke )
-- released on May 25th 1934 --

(dir. Edgar G Ulmer)
-- released on May 7th 1934 --

(dir. Frank Capra)
-- released on February 22nd 1934 --

(dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
-- released on December 4th 1934 --

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Runners-up: Imitation of Life (dir. Stahl), Death Takes a Holiday (dir. Mitchell Leisen), 20th Century (dir. Hawks), Of Human Bondage (dir. Cromwell), The Gay Divorcee (dir. Mark Sandrich)

Never seen: A Lost Lady (dir. Green)
Chained (dir. Clarence Brown)

What are you favorite movies of 1934?
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Who Wants Harrison Ford in Jeans?

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I want Harrison Ford in jeans.
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Well As Long As Adam Driver...

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... plays the dude who cums on the Petit fours I'm down 
with Lena Dunham writing the Toni Erdmann remake.


Baby On Bored

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I'm the sad kid waiting for my late ride home after school - I'm the frustrated commuter looking for a taxi during off-duty switch-over hours. I wanna go vroom vroom but I got lead shoes. Edgar Wright's Baby Driver's got some pick up and go to it... so why am I standing here, twiddling my something or other? I don't know. I don't know. I couldn't catch a ride - I think my thumb's broken. Is this thing on?

I'm not all down on Baby Driver - Wright's film-making, the meat of it, is as always ace stuff; snappy and bright and edited to a tee. Sequence after sequence in this sucker sings. And such songs! But the deal is the deal I feared I was dealt going in - I don't jive to this cast. A too high percentage I actively dislike (Foxx and Spacey and Bernthal's faces are what the road to hell is paved with, with any luck) and the other bunch, the Elgorts and the Hamms and the question mark molded into human flesh that is Lily James, I'm mostly indifferent to. 

I don't speak attraction-wise, obviously - I'd climb in the backseat with Ansel & Jon any day and get the van a'rockin. (I know we're not supposed to talk about that stuff as Movie Critics anymore, but you'll have to tear my objectifying from my cold dead pants. Christ what a terror, somebody taking me seriously enough to care.) But I don't get much beyond that initial wanna-hump-hump frisson watching those two on-screen. (Yes, even with Mad Men. Lay off, man. It ain't never gonna happen.) And as energizing as Wright's camera trickery and soundtrack pizazz are, I remained basically unmoved from start to black and white finish flag - simply a static observer of pretty things whizzing by at breakneck speeds.

If I was going to pin-point my problem - or a problem, anyway, because it's not so simple as being one thing - some of it could be heaped on the front hood of Baby Driver's weirdly one-sided romance. Who the hell was Lily James' Debora, and why was she supposed to care? She never felt to me more than a prize at the end of the race - a trophy for the best run - and that indifference spread out from there, an infection in the engine, a crack in the wheel-case. Everything outward lurches and spins if the baby's not running proper, and I smelled me a lemon.
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Today's Fanboy Delusion

Today I'd rather be...

... slipping into something a little 
more comfortable with Liam Hemsworth.

I don't know what the ever living fuckery I was up to last week at this exact time (actually I do - my calendar tells me I was watching The Beguiled; those vengeful bitches!) or what I have been doing every minute since, but I deserve a hefty beating for not seeing these snaps of Liam's Sexy Surf Escapade until just now. (via)

So Liam, I am climbing up onto my desk and getting myself into the beating position. Okay I'm ready! Come do your worst! The rest of you avert your eyes from such a vulgar display of gratuitous yet thrilling abuse, and hit the jump for several dozen more pics...

Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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