Monday, October 26, 2020
"We were going to do Bob Dylan with Mangold. That didn’t happen, with Timothee Chalamet about going electric in the ’60’s, and it would have been my third ’60’s movie in a row. ... Not right now. I don’t think it’s dead, but it’s a tough one to pull off in a COVID-era because it’s all in small clubs with lots of extras in period costumes, so you’ve got lots of hair and makeup."
Good lord pic.twitter.com/0Ir5ovLHUh— Ki ki ki Ma ma ma (@JAMNPP) October 11, 2020
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
That said it hasn't been totally scare-free here at MNPP -- while it's not 100% horror-movie focused we have got our "13 Rats of Halloween" series going on (and it will actually keep going on over the weekend so stay tuned!); there's my ongoing "Great Moments in Horror Actressing" series at The Film Experience; and then last week I did give you a list of "My 20 Favorite Horror Movies" over at Final Girl, which is kind of a big deal in case you missed it. Big deal!
Anyway this is all me just trying to get myself right-headed in the spirit of my most favorite season -- the real world's so terrifying right now it can be difficult, but let's try! Together! Y'all tell me in the comments what you're planning on watching or have already watched horror-wise that's worked for you this month! I wanna hear all about it with my eyeballs!
Per usual there are a whole bunch of terrific documentaries screening as part of NewFest this year and I'm going to give you some quick thoughts on three of them. Right now! Here goes!
The film intertwines the two writer's life-stories, swapping back and forth chronologically and watching the ways they lived and worked and moved through the world both independently and up against one another. They knew each other, were friends and creative antagonists fueled by jealousy -- they inspired each other in intangible ways of how they would and wouldn't be, what their work would show and wouldn't. It's fascinating, especially when you consider how much of the world these two shaped with their work. Melodrama and True Crime, how City and Country Life have been molded clay-like in the American Imagination -- these two men had an awful lot to do with that! To see the way their own impulses were born, formed, and reformed across the span of their tangled up existences was a rare and immediate fascination.
Cured manages to talk to most of the figures involved and draws from a wealth of documentation, and somehow crafts a riveting talking-heads-based thriller out of an outcome we already know beforehand. My jaw still hangs in awe when I see footage of the Mattachine Society's first marches, and seeing how those small (or is that enormous?) steps for humankind pushed hard the dominoes to where I stand today, in their shoes, well one wishes and dreams of being able to summon an iota of their bravery and determination. The fight goes on.
This doc takes precise and deliberate pains to peel off the layers of blood metaphor that've gummed up the idea of Gaëtan all these years, made him more than he ever could possibly have been, and turns him back into a man, a human being, an individual that we lost out of so so many that it still astonishes in the worst of ways. In the process the doc shreds the very idea of a "patient zero" down to nothing, down to the conceptual gibberish it always was -- there is no scapegoat except for human foibles, political cruelty, and science just beyond our understanding. Gaëtan was only a man, one of too many men and women we lost from a nightmare plague, and we should weep for every single one of them. Then and now -- it's impossible not to watch an AIDS doc in 2020 and not see the parallels of societal stupidity making a mess of a simple equation today. Save every life you can and be just decent to one another, everybody.
All three of these are available to rent via Newfest's website right now, through next Tuesday. Go check them out, and while you're at it rent like everything else -- there's so much good shit to watch over there I can't even keep up.
... you can learn from:
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Elinor: Marianne, you must change. You will catch a cold.Marianne: What care I for colds when there is such a man.Elinor: You will care very much when your nose swells up.Marianne: You are right. Help me, Elinor.
Which is all to say that watching Robert Zemeckis' new adaptation of The Witches came fraught with more luggage than any movie could hope to manage -- as many bellhops and boisterous chambermaids as it tossed at me I kept piling my travel-things in its way, tripping up myself and my fun. The agony's two-fold -- you're trying to divorce yourself from your memories and expectations, while you're also trying to make of yourself a child, knee-deep in those old things all over again. It's impossible. The movie demands a child's eye but my child's eyes got emotional cataracts, son.
I don't know really how to write about the movie. Not properly. I wasn't watching the movie so much as I was watching for the movie I wanted the movie to be, which is wasn't, but what is? What was? What even could be? Even Roeg's film, as beloved as it is, has never been that thing I remember from my own beforetime. Revisiting the book's the only thing that takes me back there, and "back there" is so complicated and sad that I sometimes can't stand it.
Those are the things the book makes me remember the most. My loneliness, profound as any spectacular fantasy full of seaside whimsy and lip-puckering turns of phrase, shouldered against it hard as can be, shoulder to shoulder. Unpack one and it all comes unraveled. The Witches was my favorite escape place, where I dragged everything awful along for the ride. Me and Roald killed off my parents and gave me a fun Grandma who gave a damn, and we went on a ridiculous scary ride, for just almost long enough to forget... and then for it all to come flooding back in around the corners. I dog-eared this book to save myself from drowning. And that's all I got.
Listen. We all agree that Bette Davis is amazing in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. "Amazing" doesn't even seem a good, big enough word for what Bette Davis is in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. But we really overlook too often Joan Crawford performance as Sister Blanche, if you ask me, and this scene provides one of my favorite bits of acting in the entire movie. After Jane says the line about "rats in the cellar" and leaves the room Blanche is left there to stare at her covered dish of dinner that Blanche dropped off at the same time. Crawford is tasked with, without really saying anything (save an under-the-breath whispered, "No..."), communicating to us the audience the connection between that line about the rats and her food dish, the ridiculousness of that connection, the horror and total revulsion that there might be a connection -- a million little unspoken beats and Joan knocks that shit out, yo...