Friday, September 17, 2021

The Hell Where Youth and Laughter Go

My most anticipated movie out of TIFF -- since I wasn't able to virtually screen either Dune of Last Night in Soho anyway -- was Terence Davies' gay poet biopic Benediction, and I am very happy to report that it did not disappoint! My review went up at Pajiba this afternoon, check it out right here. God I loved writing about this one. Anyway that new photo from the set seen above was shared by Jack Lowden on his Instagram earlier today -- that's him alongside his co-star in cattiness Jeremy Irvine, of course. No word on when this movie is getting an actual U.S. release yet, but I will surely keep y'all informed. Beautiful and moving motion picture, this one.

A Brief Check-back on Aaron's Arms

Diagnosis: Bigger than ever! 
(via, click to embiggen)

Looking Forward To NewFest

I missed this a couple of days ago because I am, as previously whinged upon, totally buried in Toronto Film Fest stuff and New York Film Fest stuff-to-be, but the NYC-based annual queer film fest called NewFest announced their line-up on Wednesday! Running from October 15th through 26th it's always a blast -- they're doing a mixed in-person and virtual line-up which is appreciated, given there is still a whole damn pandemic happening, but they're showing some really excellent shit so you should check it out! 

I've seen several of their bigger titles already thanks to earlier fests in the year -- for instance their Closing Night film, the animated Sundance smash Flee -- tackling the fairly timely subject of gay Afghan refugees -- will be gunning for all kinds of Oscars when the time comes and is absolutely worth it. They're also showing Rebecca Hall's masterful directorial debut Passing with Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, which I reviewed here, and the rowing team drama The Novice which has a tremendous performance from Isabelle Fuhrmann in its lead -- here's my review of that from Tribeca. Oh and Potato Dreams of America which I liked a lot when it screened at SXSW -- review here

Their Opening Night movie is a premiere doc about Pete Buttegieg called Mayor Pete, natch. And they've also got a few big anniversary screenings, including Truth or Dare's 30th and a premiere of Oscilliscope's just-announced 4K restoration of John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus, which is turning 15 if you can believe it. (God that makes me feel old.) Anyway head on over to check out the line-up -- tickets go on sale today! 

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Elvira: And if they ever ask about me, tell them I was more than just a great set of boobs. I was also an incredible pair of legs. And tell them... tell them that I never turned down a friend. I... never turned down a stranger for that matter. And tell them... tell them that when all is said and done, I only ask that people remember me by two simple words. Any two, as long as they're simple.

A ghoulishly delightful 70th birthday to the legend that is Elvira! Which is to say the great Cassandra Peterson of course, icon for the ages. Arrow put out a gorgeous edition of Mistress of the Dark last year, I really recommend picking one up. Did you hear earlier this week that Shudder announced they're giving her a one -night-only Halloween-season special? Called Elvira’s 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special Special, she's going to be presenting a four film marathon on the night of September 25th (okay it's not one night only, it'll be on demand on the 27th, but this is the sort of thing you want to watch live to tweet along with if you can) -- the movies are her own naturally, mentioned up top, alongside the 1959 House On Haunted Hill, 1960's The City Of The Dead starring Christopher Lee (never seen this one), and (drumroll please) the great Messiah of Evil!!! Fuck yeah! Messiah of Evil ruuuuuules! Here's the teaser for Elvira's special:

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

I thought I had posted all of the photos of Synonyms and We Are Who We Are actor Tom Mercier in Behind the Blinds magazine awhile back, but lo, I was mistaken. It turns out they're releasing a special issue devoted only to Tom -- that said I have admitted in the past I have no idea how this magazine actually functions so what "a special issue" means you got me -- and there are more photos! Wonders, they never do that creasing thing. If anybody wants to buy a copy of this "special issue" and send it to me that'd be awesome -- 50 bucks (half of that shipping to the U.S.) is a little steep for me. Slash anybody. But we can enjoy these photos after the jump for free...

Thursday, September 16, 2021

An Active Remembrance

Whenever I visit my grandmother's house there sits an old black-and-white photo of my mother as a little girl in the living-room. "As a little girl" is such an odd phrase isn't it? Like it's the credit in a film. Starring Jason's Mom, "as a little girl." It fits though, since the entire concept seems unreal -- what were our parents as children? It's impossible to imagine them as anything but what they are when we step into the world ourselves -- they've been there staring down since our cribs, and the concept of a "before times" is rendered to weird fiction thanks to our all-defining egos. And yet whispers of that pre-place nibble about our edges. A photo stares back, quizzical eyed. No matter how many questions we ask it's like the right questions, the ones that will get us to an understanding, remain ineffable, ill defined, out of reach.

That's what Portrait of a Lady on Fire filmmaker Celine Sciamma's delicate swoon of a new film Petite Maman is all about -- in seventy brief minutes how do we map impossible landscapes, the ones that define who we are and where we stand in relation to the people who matter the most to our lives, our hearts? It requires magic. It requires storytelling. It requires a tree fort built in the trees -- between four trees, not three! -- in the middle of the woods behind the house where our loved one was raised. Going into those magical spaces, those ones that mean so much to the people who mean so much to you, already feels like some sort of wonderment -- Petite Maman makes that wonder real to the touch.

When we first meet sweet little Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) she's already drifting through someone else's space, a space where the ghost of what was an important person lingers -- her grandmother has just died and she and her mother (Nina Meurisse) are clearing out her things at the nursing home. From there they move on to mom's childhood home, packed to the rafters with ghosts, as we define memories, pieces of furniture and walking sticks -- they have got a few days to clean the place out, sort through an entire lifetime. Three lifetimes really, for three generations. Too much to cram into one backseat and go.

A tension thrums between Nelly's mother and father -- he shows up later, helps a bit, and then Nelly's mom has disappeared the very next morning. It's not what you're thinking -- this isn't some murder mystery nonsense -- but still a squeak of that kind of tension volunteers itself at unexpected moments; we follow a little girl on her own, doing her own thing a lot of the time, and the world is a big dangerous place after all. Death already exists in this place -- it is possible, tangible. Pain a spectral presence; the metal swinging handset over a bed showing that suffering took place here, and for extended periods.

And then, like something out of Peggy Sue Got Married, Nelly wanders all of a sudden through that tree-fort straight into the past. On the other side, not over the river but yes through the woods, another grandmother's house -- we wonder if this place is Coraline adjacent, button eyes on our opposites, but no. There on the other Nelly nonchalantly meets Marion, aka her own mother as a little girl (played by Joséphine's sister Gabrielle), and they make fast friends. Fast sad friends, with their own sets of ghosts, but what a thing to bond over. 

It's only days before Marion, Nelly's little mother of the title, is set to have surgery -- a surgery to right the illness that plagued Marion's mother, Nelly's grandmother, a lifetime to the grave. And it's here, in this twilight moment on the precipice of innocence lost, the place where Marion grew up and out of childhood, that Nelly finds her, woos her, and together they make crepes. They laugh, they make crepes, and reader how I sobbed. It's the sweetest crepe-making scene in the history of existence, I tell you, and Sciamma weaves the most delicate and tender crepe-making magic. 

"You didn't invent my sadness," Mom informs Nelly in the film's deeply moving and wise final moments, but by then we know that already, and only too well -- we all move with them, independently defined by every damned person around us, squeak after squeak. To be granted the gift of seeing it, my god. What a gift. What a movie. What absolute magic.

Fresh Blood From Degrassi High

I am not nor have I ever been a "Degrassi" person but I guess that actor there, named Luke Bilyk (whose name sounds like some kind of yiddish demon right?), was on the "Next Generation" of that seminal-for-some series, so maybe you recognize him. I did not when he popped up in the vampire movie Kicking Blood at TIFF last week, which -- hey whaddya know -- I just reviewed today for Pajiba. It's not bad! Maybe not the ringiest of endorsements but I've seen a lot of really bad horror movies lately -- I'll take "not bad" any day.

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life... can learn from:

Year of the Dog (2007)

Peggy: If you all didn't think I was crazy, I'm sure you will now. How do I explain the things I've said and done? How do I explain the person I've become? I know I've disappointed everyone and I'm sorry for that. I wish I was a more articulate person. I believe life is magical. It is so precious. And there are so many kinds of life in this life. So many things to love. The love for a husband or a wife, a boyfriend or girlfriend. The love for children. The love for yourself. And even material things. This is my love. It is mine. And it fills me and defines me. And it compels me on.

A very happy birthday to the magic and wonder of Molly Shannon today! If you weren't a Mike White Person back in 2007 but you are a Mike White Person now thanks to his HBO series The White Lotus I really recommend flinging yourself back in time to this 2007 gem, which asks a lot of the same thorny and complicated questions about humanity and our place in this world, coming up with no easy answers, just twenty more questions. Oh...

... and it also features an absolute firework of a funny supporting performance by Regina King, well before everybody was all like, "We love Regina King!" Mike White was once again ahead of the pack on that one. He's definitely one of those sage people that you just need to trail behind, picking up what you need to know about yourself as you go.

Who Wore It Best?

Thanks to the eagle-eyed anonymous reader who caught that both Lee Pace -- in his now legendary Met Ball get-up -- and David Harbour -- in his now legendary GQ photoshoot full of skirts -- were rocking the same Thom Browne single striped-sock / black boots aesthetic. David has the skirt going on, while Lee has the sock garters, giving both looks a kick, but who wore it best? Answer that poll above and we'll find out once and for ever!

Say it With Manny

What I'm about to write has nothing to do with actor and beauty Manny Jacinto -- although he does serve as a good reminder that I have fallen several episodes behind on Nine Perfect Strangers (I really have been doing nothing from morning to night but watching screeners for TIFF for the past week) -- but why not slap these two photos of Manny alongside it? Indeed. 

Anyway I just wanted to take a moment to point out that long-time visitors of MNPP might notice a difference on the site today -- I got rid of the sidebar down below on the right where I logged what movies I'd been watching, and just replaced it with a link to my Letterboxed account. Follow me there! I loved having that sidebar, I really did, but I had gotten terrible at updating it regularly and every time I noticed how far behind I'd gotten I felt angry at myself -- and I noticed it every damn day! That's too much anger. And in the meanwhile I'd fiiinnally taken to Letterboxed and now use it regularly. So why not just bite the inevitable tekno-future bullet? We're so hip, after all.

I will admit that I have one bad Letterboxd habit that I need to break, which is that I log the movies I'm watching as I start watching them, so I don't rate or review things there very often -- our ol' sidebar always had letter grades which I know some of you found helpful, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry, okay! God! Anyway follow me on Letterboxd if you don't, is my point. Also that Manny Jacinto is pretty, but you knew that already.

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

We were salivating over Lee Pace's sexy Met Ball sock garters just two days ago -- and over the course of the day, two days ago, we added photos to the post, so catch back up with that if you missed it! -- and this Thursday morning I sit down over my corn flakes and what's the first thing I see? Lee posted three more on his Insta! 

He even captioned the photos "GOOD MORNING" -- if only he'd added the "WORLD" I would have known he was posting the photos for an audience of exactly me. I guess he needed to speak in code so his boyfriend wouldn't get jealous? That's it. Anyway uhhh I ay em ay istening lay, ee lay ace pay. Wink wink. 

Oh and here's the original post:

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Jakey's On Fire

Time for my second-so-far review out of this year's Toronto International Film Fest, and you've maybe heard me already speak of my excitement for this one once or twice around these parts, due to its star -- Antoine Fuqua's The Guilty starring Jake Gyllenhaal is reviewed by me at Pajiba right here. Y'all don't have too long to wait on this one for yourselves (if you didn't see it for yourself at TIFF, obviously) because it's hitting Netflix on October 1st. Jake's very good in it, I thought! Here is the trailer if you missed it.

Here Is a Photo of Oscar Isaac...

... on the set of The Card Counter
(via) You're welcome.

Lee Pace Wins The Men's Ball

Did y'all pay any attention to the Met Ball last night? I hadn't even known it was happening until Timothée Chalamet went live on Insta (I have alerts set for that) and he did this big Live IG entrance thing (see my tweets here) and so I paused the TIFF movie I was watching and paid the red carpet some attention for a little while. As far as I'm concerned Lee Pace here won the men's fashion division, but the general rule with these things is "they only looked good because they are [fill in the blank]" -- like I would look ridiculous in that outfit, but 6'5" Lee Pace makes me think dirty thoughts when he wears sock garters so it's alright. Same goes for Timmy's outfit -- he gets away with that shit because he's a 90-pound 25-year-old fuckboi; all others need not apply. And that's how I want it! That's why they're celebs and I am laying on the couch, happily consuming their content. I ain't got time to try on sock garters. On that note hit the jump for more Mr. Lee doing just that for us...

They Don't Call Him J.O. For Nothing

I managed great restraint in my first TIFF 2021 review, which was for the film Mothering Sunday starring our boy Josh O'Connor seen above -- I reviewed the entire movie at Pajiba right here without mentioning once, not a one time, the fact that the first half of the film is basically a Josh O'Connor sausage-fest, with him walking around in as our grandmothers would say the full nude. Well if you've got it flaunt it and as anyone who saw God's Own Country already knows, Josh gots it. Anyway I save this filthy tripe for here at MNPP where it belongs. Pssst don't tell anybody respectable that I'm a big pervert, k? We got a deal? Thanks. Anyway thankfully the movie's lovely enough that I could talk about it without resorting to a series of "ah-woo-gah" wolf whistles, which is always nice -- sometimes that's not the case and the dicks are all we've got to grab onto! Moving on from that sentiment I missed this photoshoot of Josh earlier this year, so let's un-miss it after the jump...

Five Frames From ?

What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

I'm straining the "good" part of "Good Morning" to its limit this morning after a confrontation with an anti-mask maniac at my local coffee place has left me a little bit shaken -- word to the obviously unwise: when the people behind the counter are wearing masks as they make your food, wear a fucking mask for them -- but it's okay, Chris Hemsworth is here (via) to distract me with his fine business. Anyway! I'm back today after a long weekend watching 24 (!!!) movies for TIFF in four days; I will be posting some, but I'm also working on TIFF reviews, so there's that. We'll see. Heads-up that I will be offline again tomorrow, for more TIFF, so don't get too used to me. For now though, more Hemsworth after the jump...

Friday, September 10, 2021

Simu Liu Two Times

Okay this is it, folks -- I am headed off home now to try and watch a ridiculous number of movies from the Toronto International Film Festival, virtually from the comfort of my couch that is, and posting is gonna get weird for the next few weeks after this, as detailed previously. I've got TIFF for the next ten days, then NYFF immediately after -- shit's gonna be busy, and posting erratic. Okay there's not much to detail -- that's the gist. Still reviews will be popping up, definitely at Pajiba and maybe also here, over the weekend, so definitely follow me on Twitter if you don't and you'll certainly hear about stuff there first. I'm excited! So many good movies to watch! Peace be with all of you! (pics via)