Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Feel the Dern

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First off WHERE has that photo of Laura Dern recreating the terrifying detached heads scene from Return to Oz been all my life? I don't even know what the original source was, when it's from, but it filled a need I didn't know I had. Anyway in Queen Dern News the title for the new Jurassic World has been revealed today as they just started filming, and I wrote about it, and my battered and bruised love for the franchise, over at The Film Experience today, click on over to read. The greatest hope for the movie is Dern's return as Ellie Sattler -- let's hope they do right by her. And Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum, who will all be back. And by "do right" I mean "if you kill any of them I will fucking riot" obviously. I have my limits.
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Julian Makes a Happy Liar of Me

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(via, click to embiggen) I figured I was going to be proven wrong this morning when I posted the fourth photo from Julian Morris' Ongoing Naked Campaign To Kill Me Dead and said it was time to move on and post other things after two straight days of this -- I knew more would be coming and the second they did I'd be right back on the case. And here we are. Who cares, we're all gonna die from the cold flu any second, let us enjoy naked Julian Morris while we still can. (See the previous three ass-tastic photos here and here.)
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5 Off My Head: Wonder Boys Wonder Lines

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One of my top ten of all time favorite movies just turned 20 this past weekend -- Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys, adapted from Michael Chabon's novel and starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire and Frances McDormand and Katie Holmes and Robert Downey Jr. -- oh and, lest we forget an Oola, this week's banner woman Jane Adams! -- the movie boasts career best work from several of them and is just a warm blanket I slip on whenever I need that sort of thing. For any Humanities fetishist it's the Dream, the Platonic Ideal -- small college town, snow, characters... to paragraph Michael Douglas's character, lucky for me this movie manufactures my drug of choice.
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If you've never seen it, change that immediately, but here's the gist: Grady Tripp (Douglas) is n English Professor at a small New England Liberal Arts College. His wife has just left him, his mistress Sara (McDormand), who's also married to the chancellor of the college, is pregnant, and he's found himself caught up in the dramas of a talented young gay writer James Leer (Maguire) in his class. All of this comes to head as an annual literary festival, WordFest, descends on the sleepy hamlet, bringing Grady's agent (RDJ) into town as well to nag at Grady about his long unfinished book.

Yes I wrote that plot description without looking up a good goddamned thing -- this is a movie I've seen so many times I could narrate it from start to finish. And it's the perfect movie for that since narration is both a device used by Hanson within the film (Grady narrates the film telling his story) as well as a subject in the actual plot -- the characters, who are mostly writers, often begin randomly narrating their lives, a sort of distancing themselves from it which gets them into trouble more often than not.

Anyway did I mention this movie is perfect? It is perfect. My love for it is perfect, every frame is perfect, and there are about a billion characters in it that are each and every single one perfect. On that note I figured why only give love to the well-known bits -- for a second I considered doing a list of just line readings by Frances McDormand, who is absolute genius in this, but I want to spread the love. So here's something a little more random, as is my predisposition, and yes again I rattled each of these off from memory, because me and this movie are LIKE THIS. (I am wildly gesturing a big hug.)

5 of my Favorite Line Readings from 
Cameo Characters in Wonder Boys

"I mean, Jesus, what is it with you Catholics?"
Sneered by James Leer's classmate in the opening scene, this is how his contemporaries delicately review his work. And this is the moment that slips me right back into that frame of mind, that place, those war-zone classrooms. I'm hooked from then on. Oh I know this place!

"Oh right. The Book.
I hope it's really good, Grady."
The great Philip Bosco playing Grady's soon to be ex-wife's father, devastating Grady's entire self-obsessed world-view with one withering read -- The Book. That fucking thing. 

"So Professor Tripp, is all that stuff true, about Errol Flynn? How he used to put paprika... on his dick? To make it like, you know, more stimulating for the chick?"
Traxler (played by our beloved Alan Tudyk of Firefly fame) is giving Grady a ride and just randomly drops this question out of nowhere (turns out he noticed a biography of Flynn in the backpack Grady's holding) and I promise you -- this line is all I hear whenever I have seen Errol Flynn for the past 20 years. And Grady's flummoxed response, where he makes up a long list of things that Flynn did indeed rub on his dick (ground lamb!), always makes me howl.

"Tony. Now that I'm home."
The character of "Miss Antonia Sloviak" played by Michael Cavadias is one of the pieces of the film that's definitely dated in the past 20 years. She's repeatedly referred to as a "transvestite" and played as a visual punchline for awhile, but I think (and you can tell me if I'm wrong about this) the film makes up for it with this scene where Grady gives her a ride home -- everybody's always giving everybody rides in this movie, which also rings very true to my college experience -- after RDJ decides to chase Tobey's twink ass instead. She takes off the wig and make-up and Cavadias, in this minute or so of screen-time, paints a fascinating mini-portrait of what Antonia / Tony's life must be like, returning to this liberal town that's as close-minded as any place in this country. Like so many of these people you want to follow Tony off when he gets out the car and find out Antonia's story.

"So what was it about? Your book.
What was the story?"
Never forget an Oola! My beloved Jane Adams (just two years post-Happiness) shows up early in the film as the pregnant waitress as the local pub with a name-tag that says OOLA in big white letters, and then not again until almost the end, as everything has just collapsed around Grady. His book's blown to the wind! And Jane Adams, bless her to the heavens, cuts through the shrieking and chaos and weirdness and delivers this line with such warmth and friendliness, bringing us right to what matters. The Book. Oola more than earns that Marilyn Monroe jacket and her own happy ending.

So what are your thoughts on Wonder Boys?
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Be His Victim

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The first honey-hooked poster and the first bee brief glimpse of footage (see below) for the new Candyman have arrived! Directed by Nia DiCosta (who made the movie Little Woods with Tessa Thompson last year) and produced by some guy named Jordan Peele, the film will release a full trailer this Thursday, and then it hits theaters on June 12th. We still don't know much about it -- I think it's basically a sequel to the original films that will have the gentrification of the Cabrini Green neighborhood on its mind, is what I think, but we'll see better come Thursday I guess. It stars Watchmen's Yahya Abdul-Mateen plus Beale Street's Teyonah Parris and Colman Domingo. Oh and a lil' somebody named Tony Todd, too.
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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Greta (2019)

Greta: A lady is known
by her shoes and her gloves.
And we are nothing if not ladies.

I've really been wanting to re-watch Greta lately -- I was going through the list of all the 2019 movies  I saw (because yes, I am finally working on my 2019 awards, the rumors are true!) and saw Greta listed there and was like, aww. Greta. I remember that. Maybe the fact that it's director Neil Jordan's 70th birthday today will be enough to push me over to a re-watch then? Or maybe I'll just fast-forward through to all of Isabelle Huppert's scenes. Whatever ends up happening a happy birthday and a thanks for the memories to Neil Jordan.
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, Julian Again

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Yes, it's another Julian Morris photo. I guess that's what we are now. MNPP now stands for "Many Nude Picturesof Prettylitteliarsstarjulianmorris." I'm okay with that. Are you okay with that? Either way it's what it is. I actually had this one last night when I posted the one last night but it had InstaStory typeface all over it and I was hoping we'd get a crisp clear copy by this morning -- we did not, so I photoshopped it. You're welcome. You can see the other other pair of photos at this link. Now let's try to be serious bloggers for the rest of the day -- Julian has devoured us for twenty-four hours now! We can't go on like this forever. (We can.)
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Monday, February 24, 2020

Julian Morris One More Time

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I started the day today with two photos from Julian's new and very naked photo-shoot, and now given the opportunity it looks as if I shall end the day with a just-released third photo (via, thx Ryan). If I could start and end every single day until the end of time exactly like this I would, dear god I would. Julian knows what we need to get us through these trying times. An end. His end, specifically.
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Little Shop of S&M Dentist Fantasies

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Deadline is reporting that no less than Captain America himself Mr. Chris Evans is in talks to play the sadistic dentist "Orin Scrivello" in the new musical movie version of Little Shop of Horrors, which is being directed by Love Simon's Greg Berlanti. Yes that's the Steve Martin role in the original, and yes this is the same remake that is also supposedly circling muscle-twink Taron Egerton to play the nebbishy Seymour -- I kind of want to make fun of Greg Berlanti for being such a gay with this casting but who am I kidding?

What sort of hypocrite would that make of me? Anyway I would ask if Chris can sing but it's not terribly important with this role, Steve Martin kind of screamed the whole song and it was still charming as fuck. And you can't tell me you don't want to see Chris Evans strap Taron Egerton to a chair and go to town on his mouth. On that note hit the jump for a few more pics I don't think I've posted before...

A Special Night

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I mentioned this on Twitter but perhaps you're a smart person who avoids Twitter like the plague, in which case I will now mention it here -- Turner Classic Movies, aka the only reason I still have cable, is screening Ettore Scola's 1977 film A Special Day with maybe-you-heard-of-em Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni tonight. I think at 10pm. The film's notable from where I stand because Mastroianni plays gay in it -- it's about Mussolini's targeting of homosexuals during WWII, and has the stars playing neighbors who meet for the first time when they both stay home during a parade celebrating the union of Mussolini and Hitler. Presumably he opens her housewife character's eyes to some scary ways of the outside world.
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I've never seen the movie, but Mastroianni was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor that year, a rare enough occurrence -- a performance not in English getting U.S. attention -- that it seems worth a look. Not to mention it's got an actor I always think of as a big time ladies man, in a stereotypically macho country, playing gay in 1977. That seems worth a look as well. 
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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Get Out (2017)

Jim: I used to dabble myself. Wilderness mostly. I submitted to Nat Geo 14 times before realizing I didn't have the eye. I began dealing. Then, of course, my vision went to shit.
Chris: Damn.
Jim: I know. Life can be a sick joke. One day you're developing prints in the dark room and the next day you wake up - in the dark. Genetic disease.
Chris: Shit ain't fair, man.
 Jim: Oh, you got that right! Shit ain't fair.

I need to re-watch Get Out. It's been a hot minute; not since seeing Us earlier this year at least. Also with me not liking Queen & Slim it'd be a nice reminder how great Daniel Kaluuya can be. On that note -- a happy 31st birthday to him today! Up next for him is a bio-pic of famous Black Panther Fred Hampton reuniting him with his Get Out co-star Lakeith Stanfield, and then he's doing voice-work in some sort of  "darker fantasy" slash "radical retelling" of A Christmas Carol alongside Andy Serkis and Carey Mulligan. Mkay.


George Mackay Eight Times

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I wish I'd had this new photo-shoot from Esquire (thx Mac) of the 1917 and True History of the Kelly Gang actor last week when I told you about his next project, which'll have him thinking himself a wolf instead of a man, but I suppose we'll make due, spreading George Mackay everywhere all of the time. Somehow! Hit the jump for the rest of this colorful Mackay cornucopia...

Quote of the Day

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I keep forgetting that my honey pie Elisabeth Moss is in Taika Waititi's forthcoming soccer comedy Next Goal Wins with my other honey pie Michael Fassbender, but she is, and during a chat about this week's Moss vehicle The Invisible Man the subject came up and she had this to say about her upcoming co-star:

"First of all, the man is so good at improv and I had no idea! I think of him as a very serious actor, but that man is hilarious. I was shocked, honestly, and I think people are gonna be really bowled over by him, because he is really funny and his ability to improv is absolutely remarkable. I've always been impressed by him as a dramatic actor, and I saw this whole new side which was really cool."

Along with that comic karate flick Kung Fury 2 that he's doing it seems that Fassy took a break in order to refocus his career on not being the Shame guy, peeing on screen while crying with a bloody nose or whatever, which is probably good for him, mentally-speaking. We like that. I mean he can still pee on screen as far as I'm concerned, but maybe he can smile while he does it now? Everybody wins. (See some photos of Fassy on the set of Next Goal Wins here and especially here.)
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Putting the Man in the Invisible

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Take in Oliver Jackson-Cohen while you can still see him, since I'm guessing those moments will be few and too far between in his new movie The Invisible Man with Elisabeth Moss, out this weekend. (Watch the trailer here.) I've heard good things! I haven't seen it yet but I am hoping to tomorrow, so stay tuned -- I will surely have things to say about the horror movie starring the actress who gave my favorite performance last year and directed by the director of my 17th favorite movie of 2018. This morning, though...

... this morning I'm taking us back real old-school. Over at The Film Experience this week's "Great Moments in Horror Actressing" post is giving some love to the great character actress Una O'Connor, who did her thing in James Whale's 1933 version of The Invisible Man with Claude Rains. We love her! You should love her too!
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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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Hey! Eyes down here! That's better. So it looks like we've got another legendary Julian Morris nudie photo-shoot to add to the stack! The thick, delicious stack... ahem. It's about time, too -- besides some Hot Insta Action the last proper one of these was a year ago in April. Not that we can complain, as he's been especially giving in this regard -- I would link to them individually but the sheer number is exhausting (the good kind of exhausting) so you just need to click through our archives. You won't be disappointed. (That said I have a special fondness for the one pictured at the top of our very first Julian post here -- I mean this photo obviously.) Anyway these here photos, these here new blessed photos, come via a new magazine called (appropriately) Yummy, photographed by  Bartek Szmigulski, and let's pray there are even more to come. Happy Monday, everybody. This is not at all a bad way to start a week...

Friday, February 21, 2020

Bang Bang It's the Weekend Boys

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That photo of Rainer Werner Fassbinder at a table full of guns sure is a mood, and I am feeling it. Revolution, motherfuckers! Or I could just go see his great 1975 movie Fear of Fear at MoMA tonight. One of the two. Margit Carstensen, or Revolution. We'll see in a minute. 

On that note it's the weekend and I'm officially the fuck out of here. If you've come here looking for advice on a movie to watch while also being in new York I have two recommendations for you and they are both playing at Film Forum -- I just reviewed the 1983 anti-war epic Come and See, a flick I've been terrified of seeing for ages given its reputation and which, well, it lived up to its reputation but I'm angry at myself for putting it off; it's brutal but astonishing, one of the absolute greats. 

The other movie I recommend at Film Forum is Poland's nominee for Best International Feature this past month at the Oscars, called Corpus Christi -- read my review of that right here. As a deep skeptic, to put it mildly, of religion and its institutions I found this to be a fascinatingly ambiguous dig into that mind-set.

As for movies I don't recommend I didn't much like the new Emma with Anya Taylor-Joy, which kinda depressed me -- I root for her as a bonafide disciple of The Witch but this one just didn't work. Even if there are a bunch of cute boys wearing tight-in-the-right-spots  trousers. You can't win 'em all, I guess.


Look On Our Works, Despair

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For the past two weeks I've been struggling to come up with words that feel adequate to express the profound slap of a feeling I felt as I walked out of Elem Klimov's 1985 anti-war masterpiece Come and See. (A new 2K restoration of which opened today at Film Forum here in NYC -- watch the trailer here.) Nothing seems good enough. Even the word "masterpiece" feels thin gruel, reductive -- the film goes beyond the idea of art and the ability to talk about art and it becomes an experience. To paraphrase Ouisa Kittredge in Six Degrees of Separation (as I too often do) I won't turn it into an anecdote. It was an experience.

The film is one of the most powerful examples I've come across of an image's power over the written, the spoken, text -- the whole "a picture's worth a thousand words" conceit. Come and See certainly fits right in alongside silent era stunners like The Passion of Joan of Arc or Sunrise; films where the camera itself comes across as a conduit, some kind of a sorcerer's vessel for capturing the sum total of an idea. Come and See is War.

It's right there in the title. There's something almost fairy tale sounding about it, as if Klimov means to take us by the hand and leading us into the forest to show us magic and wonder, witches and faeries and emerald tall palaces against the bluest of skies. The film starts in that vein, in 1943 as little Flyora (Aleksey Kravchenko) decides to enlist with the Soviet resistance fighting the Nazis who are closing in on his little Belarusian village. Flyora's innocence about the notion, giggling at his worried mother with his dull ideas of patriotism and heroism and valor, are not long for the world -- the next time he'll visit his village its entirety is a loose stack of limbs, pale kindling piled behind a shed that the film barely takes time to glimpse. 

Like that the horror becomes so commonplace, so half-glanced, it permeates our flesh, makes our skin prickle with it -- the fog, a bloodless color of corpses, seems to crawl right off the screen and surround us as we watch a whirlwind of atrocity, us trapped at its cold dark cold center. Too much to ever absorb, it washes over, small waves in a bog, a mud puddle from here to never heaven. I wouldn't have been surprised to look down and see that moss had grown beneath my nails, that my boots were awash in blood.

Come and See somehow straddles the impossible, simplifying the atrocities of World War II, of any war, down to a series of poetic sequences, ones that still never seem to belittle the reality of that; the price etched and scarred across humanity's worst self. The film's surreal hell-scape, one where mutilated cows substitute for pillows (all the better to jump over the moon, my friend), one where time itself strides backwards in furious marching montage, seems so practical, so honest, that you could reach out and touch it. Its power lay in its starkly conceivable impossibility; in its vision of the egg that birthed us cracked and spoiled and stomped down into the muck. Life-force and possibility spent instead on the mad absurdity of mass murder.
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Talk To Him

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When it comes to Francis Ford Coppola films I'm one of those Team Conversation (or Team Dracula) weirdos who prefer those titles to his more vocally appreciated masterpieces, the stuff that rhymes with Bapocalypse Bow and Ree Rodfather. I'm not saying I hate, uhh, Ree Rodfather. I'm just saying that if I had to choose one FFC film to take with me to a desert island Ree Rodfather would not be the one. Anyway my point is that Film Forum here in NYC is premiering the brand new 35mm print of The Conversation next month, which was supervised by Coppola himself, and I'm so so very there, that's my point. It's screening from March 20th to April 2nd. (poster via) What's your number one Coppola movie? And don't be a smart ass and answer The Bling Ring, you know who I mean. (Even though yes it's true as you can see below I only have a site tag for his daughter; it always amuses me.)
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Take A Hammer to the White House

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Did y'all see the teaser trailer for Ryan Murphy's Halston series starring Ewan McGregor that popped up earlier this week? I've included it at the bottom of this post in case you haven't -- I bring it up because it reminded me what weird casting that was and is, and how Armie Hammer here would've been a much better choice to play Halston. But Armie's got his own weird ass casting now, as it's just been announced (thx Mac) that he's going to play Watergate-era White House council John Dean...

... and that is weird ass casting. He's playing John Dean in Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail's new series called Gaslit, which will be an adaptation of the podcast Slow Burn and reunite him with his Homecoming star Julia Roberts (Homecoming, which I really dug, was also based on a podcast). Julia is playing Martha Mitchell, an Arkansan socialite and the wife to Nixon's Attorney General (who'll be played by Sean Penn). Also in the cast will be Joel Edgerton as FBI agent turned Nixon fixer G. Gordon Liddy. The series doesn't have a pick-up yet but with that cast I think it won't be too long. Anyway here's that Halston teaser I mentioned:
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