Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Woe is Whoa is Me

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This is really going to merit more of a lifestyle change than asking a feeble query on my website will muster, but do any of you fine folks have advice on focusing techniques? I've spent much of the past two days in a mental spiral, unable to get anything properly done that needs to be done. And now that I vocalize this it strikes me it's not an accident this has coincided with my birthday -- this happens pretty much every year. But I've got about ten movie reviews to write, I have to buckle down, and yet my brain's been pulling every trick in the book this week to spazz in every direction but straightforward. No good! No good at all. Helpful tips or good cookie recipes appreciated.
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Early Day Diving Buddies

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I am not going to post it here myself because it looks like Netflix is taking it down everywhere but if you'd like to see the trailer for their upcoming action-drama Red Sea Diving Resort starring Chris Evans and Michiel Huisman...

... and Alessandro Nivola...

... and did I mention Michiel Huisman...

... it looks like it's still making the rounds on Tumblr; it looks like Netflix's New Zealand Twitter account tweeted the thing out before they were supposed to. The tweet's been taken down but the internet is forever. Hopefully Netflix goes and drops a better quality copy ASAP because this movie is set to drop at the end of July anyway, and also I need these pictures in hi-def immediately. If they do release it soon I'll update this post, but if you've missed our previous posts on this movie click here.
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ETA oh wait they have released the trailer finally:
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Ahh that is much better. 
Now I can see Michiel's short shorts!
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Horror Time in the City

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Nothing's scarier than New York in July and August, when the steam sets into the pavement and the rats get that look in their eyes, so its appropriate that we've got some movie options to go along with the sensations already rotting our flesh anyway -- as I already told you about last month the Quad is screening a series of six very fine giallo films starting this very weekend, including the totally gorgeous Fifth Cord which stars that finely mustachioed fellow Franco Nero you see above. Anyway today IndieWire was nice enough to cut together a trailer for the series, you can check it out at this link! I've seen all of these movies save one and they're all a lot of groovy stylish fun. 

The other big horror reveal today is Film At Lincoln Center has announced this year's "Scary Movies" line-up, which contains several HOLY SHIT moments, including the world premiere of Ari Aster's 3-hour Director's Cut of Midsommar (theatrical cut reviewed here) -- can I get a HOLY SHIT? HOLY SHIT! Besides that they're screening the terrific looking wedding night murder game movie Ready or Not (with my Halt and Catch Fire boyfriend Mark O'Brien in attendance), a flick called The Wolf Hour that has Naomi Watts trapped in her apartment during the so-called "Summer of Sam," and Villains, which stars Bill Skarsgard & Maika Monroe as a pair of lovers on the run who come face to face with even crazier crazies played by Jeffrey Donovan & Kyra Sedgwick. Check out the whole line-up here; "Scary Movies" runs August 16th through the 21st.


Five Man Army

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You always know it's a good sign when I'm not sure which member of a cast to google first for pictures to accompany a new film announcement -- I went with Raul Castillo (once I realized I hadn't posted the above photo when I'd posted the rest of its sweltering sexy photoshoot) but Zack Snyder's new movie also gave me the option of the great Garret Dillahunt, the classic Hiroyuki Sanada, the brick shithouse of Dave Bautista, the much-loved-from-afar German Twunk Matthias Schweighöfer.

My goodness and gracious. I know I know, I said "Zack Snyder," we all collectively shudder a bit. But once upon a time Zack Snyder made some fun movies -- I was with him longer than most sane folks, up through Sucker Punch even, or at least some of it; it was the superheroes that truly did him in. And yes I agree his Ayn Rand thing is a horror. But this new flick, besides this cast, is returning him to his roots -- it's a zombie flick a la his Dawn of the Dead remake, called Army of the Dead, which... okay let's retire the "of the Dead" titles in honor to George Romero. Those were his. But this sounds like a fun idea -- it's a heist movie set in a post-zombie-apocalypse Las Vegas. Come on! That sounds fun! Also there's this guy...


Taika Can't Quit Thor

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You can stop chanting over chicken bones and sacrificing virgins, THR has announced today that Ragnorok director and sexual bon vivant Taika Waititi has signed on to direct the fourth Thor film, reuniting him with his beefcaked spirit animal Chris Hemsworth and promising all of us who took note of such things a whole new round of photos of the two of them unable to keep their hands and lips off of each other. Huzzah! I mean I'm not sure we need a fourth Thor film but we can just pretend the second one didn't happen, I guess? I think that'll be fine with everybody. 


Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:


Alice: Millions of years of evolution, right? Right?
Men have to stick it in every place they can,
but for women... women it is just about security
and commitment and whatever the fuck else!
Bill: A little oversimplified, Alice,
but yes, something like that.
Alice: If you men only knew...

Stanley Kubrick's technically unfinished (by him anyway) masterpiece Eyes Wide Shut was finally released on this day twenty years ago... where it was met with a great big "HUH?" I loved it immediately and have grown to love it even more with time, but I get the HUH, I really do. It's a three-hour-long unsexy unthrilling sex thriller that moves like molasses -- I get it! It's a challenging and strange motion picture. And yet with time it begins to feel more and more like it might be the most incisive film about long term relationships I've ever seen. (Give or take a Phantom Thread.)

The way it captures the sensation of moving through the world in the lonely singular spheres that we all travel in, through the inescapable machinations of the human mind and our very natures, tethered to another forever unknowable who's gliding around in their own sphere, and how it feels like the fucking Wizard of Oz whenever you get one of those good clear cruel glimpses inside somebody else -- all of our sublime and ornate ridiculousness, inexplicable and unfathomable -- and you're met with this profound marrow deep shudder of your own Nietzschean nothingness; a gilded mirror held up to a gilded mirror hovering above an abyss. I recognize it!


The Olly Flood Gates Have Opened

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I almost posted this last night but two Oliver Jackson-Cohen posts within a couple of hours of each other felt like overkill, and also I was birthday lazy yesterday. But news that we'd been expecting finally broke yesterday afternoon, not long after I'd posted the news that Oliver's also playing the Invisible Man, that he is returning to the "Haunting" franchise that Netflix began with their Hill House series -- the second series is going by the title The Haunting of Bly Manor and it sounds like they're ripping off pardon me borrowing the story from Henry James' legendary ghost tale Turn of the Screw, with a new governess type (played by Victoria Pedretti, who was "Nell" on the Hill House season), and her kiddie charges getting tormented by manor-bound specters and spooks. According to OJC "he will play a 'charming young man' named Peter" on Bly but that's all we know so far. I have long suspected that Oliver's Peter is plenty charming, so I look forward to finally making his acquaintance.
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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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Jason Statham was the first one of these so-called "bottle cap challenges" that I saw and obviously the best one was Mariah Carey's, but I'm now partial to this Miguel Angel Silvestre version, for reasons that should be clear to you right away.
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Monday, July 15, 2019

Gerwig & Baumbach Pick Up a Blonde

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In absolutely out-of-left-field news -- Is there something further than left field? What if it's so far left field it circles the Earth and becomes right field? -- today it's been announced that Greta Gerwig and her beau and writing partner Noah Baumbach, himself a filmmaker of some note, are writing the script for Margot Robbie's Barbie movie - yes, the doll Barbie -- with Greta possibly tackling directing duties as well. I don't know! I just repeat the news! 

I suppose the best case scenario that comes to mind is Greta wants to make something like Splash, a film she probably grew up with -- a high-concept mainstream comedy about a too good to be true blonde lady. Margot Robbie's about as good of a casting possible outside of 1980s Daryl Hannah, at least. I don't know. I don't know what to say about this news. I have nothing against Barbie per se -- weirdly I was just talking about the Barbie documentary Tiny Shoulders this past weekend, which was fascinating -- and Hollywood cookie-cutter thinking aside if they allow for fresh ideas there are dozens of interesting ways to tackle this movie. It's just... a lot. This is a lot. I'm trying to take it easy for my birthday and this is a lot.


Feeling the Fashionistas

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Last week's Devil Wears Prada edition of our "Beauty vs Beast" poll at The Film Experience was such a good time we've rolled it over and opened it up (y'all are familiar with that concept) for two more characters from the flick -- click on over to vote! And then if you need more Stanley Tucci in your life while you're thinking about him click here for a gratuitous post we did back in the day. It's a perfectly natural reaction.
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I See (Through) You, Oliver

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Although you'd think he was a massive movie star if you went by how much we talk about him here on MNPP, The Haunting of Hill House and Man in an Orange Shirt actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen hasn't really had that big role that's broken him out yet. He first caught our eye in 2011 when he was up for the lead role of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (and don't tell me you can't see him in that role) and then next a couple years later when he got cast on NBC's Dracula series with Thomas Kretschmann. A near decade of smaller roles here and there followed that we always took note of, all leading to this weekend's announcement at last of a big leading man part -- he's nabbed the lead in the upcoming Invisible Man movie opposite Elisabeth Moss for Saw screenwriter and Upgrade director Leigh Whannell. 

Universal's been on shaky footing with their reboot of their Universal Monsters movie universe -- that photo of Tom Cruise and Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp and Russell Crowe has become a joke at this point -- so they're pointedly going back to basics with this flick; they've teamed up with Jason Blum, king of the low-budget horror success story, to make a standalone series of films for not tons of cash. Anyway Whannell's Upgrade is so frakking good -- here's my review; I named it my 17th favorite movie of last year -- that we all should be excited about this. As if we weren't already with Elisabeth Moss attached...
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, Me

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Apologies for making you stare at my melon head this Monday morning but it's my birthday today so I'm making this a Me Moment (as opposed to the rest of the time when this place is some other jack-hole's ramblings?) -- specially I'm using this as good opportunity to say hey, if you'd like to donate to the site a little -- you can do that right here -- it'd make all of my birthday wishes come true! Well okay maybe not all of them, not unless you also send me a Jake Gyllenhaal Sex Doll and a room with no windows. But a buck or two could help that become reality one day!
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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Fantasia 2019: Sadako

As mentioned on Thursday I'll be reviewing some movies remotely again from this year's always stellar and exciting Fantasia Film Festival, which is running in Montreal right this minute all the way through August 1st. Well here's my first take from it, on the Opening Night return of a familiar... well not a face, exactly...

(C)2019 "Sadako" Film Partners
It's been just over 20 years since the scary little girl with the long black hair crawled out of that well and into our hearts with Hideo Nakata's horror classic Ringu, a film that set off the worldwide phenomenon known as J-Horror which introduced, well, many such scary little girls with long black hair to us. Japan cranked 'em out and the US remade them, always to lesser effect -- I know there are those of you who consider the American version of The Ring an essential, but I am not one of those people -- until the well ran dry of little girls, nothing but a drain clogged with hair and bad memories left in their wake.

Fast forward to 2019 and Nakata has returned to the franchise he helped give birth to with Sadako, a sequel set twenty years after the events of the first film and named after that first little girl from down the well we fell in love with -- in the 15 years since he last touched on this material (Nakata made both Ringu 2 in 199 and the American sequel The Ring Two in 2005) surely he came up with some new tricks right? In a world where we no longer need an analog cursed videotape but now carry around a YouTube full of 'em in our pockets 24/7 there's an exciting future of these films?

I'm sure my hypotheticals read as half-hearted and drearily obvious as does my answer, which is that sadly no, Nakata didn't seem to come up with much of anything to reboot the birth of Sadako and her hairy reign of horror -- besides a wink nudge at a viral video star who stumbles into the bad place Sadako the film is a rehash of greatest hits played at half-speed. Our leading lady Mayu (an admittedly charming Elaiza Ikeda) sleuths her way through horror history, dredging up stories best left buried, if only they'd stay that way.

Sadako proves resistant to the ground. It's dreary and redundant stuff, playing out a backstory of the little girl with no new surprises for anybody who vaguely recalls where this franchise has been before, treading the same dirty dank apartment complexes all over again with no new twists on old scares that have become the stuff of spoof by now. In a world where we invite human hexes into our homes via social media every minute of every day this imagination-less update is nigh unforgivable. Sadako, you crazy gal, you done deserved better.
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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Luce in the Sky

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I had heard good things about the movie Luce here and there -- it screened at Tribeca and got good notices -- but it wasn't until I saw the trailer, shared below, that I was fully onboard. Luce stars It Comes at Night actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. (seen above) as an adopted honors student who might be a bit of a psycho who's terrorizing his new mom (Naomi Watts) and teacher (Octavia Spencer). Anyway yes the trailer is terrific and long story short I'm off to a press screening of this right now, so bye.
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Oh but PS unlike other Summer Fridays and weekends there's a chance I might be posting over the next couple of days because the Fantasia Film Festival has just opened for 2019 and I'm covering that remotely again as I've done the past two years, so keep your eyes peeled, reviews are soon a'coming...
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Jack Reynor Eight Times

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In the run-up to Midsommar's release last week it started getting real hard to find new pictures of its leading man Jack Reynor to use in posts because dude hasn't been photographed nearly enough -- for somebody who'd starred in a Transformers film you'd think more magazines would've taken the bait. But he's got some buzz now thanks to Ari Aster's splendid flick (here's my review) and his totally adorable Instagram account for movie nerds, and so I think, with the other week's Esquire shoot and now this one here for Flaunt it's safe to say the magazines, like you and I, are now sniffing around. So let's get our noses all up in there after the jump... 

Cheers to the Movies of Now

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Horror of horrors Twitter is down, so I guess I'll write a post instead of screaming nonsense into that void right now -- here, let's take a look at the several movies out this weekend (my birthday weekend!) then. Of which I've seen precisely none but oh well, I can tell you what they are anyway. There's the action-comedy Stuber with adorkables Kumail Nanjiani & Dave Bautista playing an Uber driver and his psycho detective passenger respectively, which is mainly notable for giving us their press rounds bromance, which has included a lot of Dave talking up Kumail's new muscles. Hell Men's Health even did a feature on Kumail's Muscles now!

Looking good, Kumail! I love the both of these guys so I'll probably watch their movie on a bored afternoon once it hits streaming -- there's other stuff I'm prioritizing. Like the ridiculous looking "alligator inside a house" movie Crawl, for one! This sort of shit is so up my alley -- disaster movie, animals attack, getting to think about Benjamin Walker because the actress in the lead is his wife.

All I ever wanted! Maybe the third act twist will have Ben showing up in his American Psycho tighty-whities, soaking wet from the hurricane, to wrestle the alligator and save the day. A boy can dream. On to the next movies, one of which I just talked about yesterday -- the dark karate comedy The Art of Self-Defense with Alessandro Nivola and Jesse Eisenberg. And then there is the only one of these that I have already bought tickets to see, The Farewell with Awkwafina, which has been getting killer reviews ever since it premiered at Sundance. I'm seeing it tomorrow morning and the trailer makes me sob, so I fully expect to be a mess from this one.

What're y'all seeing this weekend?
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Today's Fanboy Delusion

Today I'd rather be...

... stretching it out with Gus.

Former Olympian and Call Me By Your Name fan Gus Kensworthy, giving off some serious "beefier hairier Richard Madden" vibes here, shared the latest promotional video for the new season of American Horror Story on his Instagram today (following suit from his boss Ryan Murphy) -- as we told you awhile back this is very exciting for me because it gives me a great excuse to be able to post more about Gus Kenworthy. We all win. The eighth season of AHS, subtitled "1984" since it's going full Slasher Movie this year much to my Slasher Loving Ass' delight, will premiere on September 18th. You can see more pictures of Gus on the Tumblr.


Pic of the Day

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Call Me By Your Name author Andre Aciman just tweeted out this, our first look at his advanced copy of Find Me, the book's sequel or whatever you want to call it. It's a sequel. We all agree on the word "sequel" right? That word has come to feel so old-fashioned now that I hesitate even when I oughtn't. Anyway see our previous post on the book here and you can pre-order yours right here which, oddly, I just noticed I haven't done yet myself! WTF? Well I suppose I have time -- it's not out until October 29th, otherwise known as two-thousand six-hundred and twenty-six hours from right this very minute. Set your swatches, peachy pals.
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