Thursday, January 18, 2018

Today's Mood

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I've got a check-up with the dentist this afternoon, so that's it for today I'm afraid. No... you're not hearing me -- I mean that I am afraid I am going to die. That this is it!!! God, I hate the dentist. Wish my teeth, coated in chocolate and negative thoughts, good luck.
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Wu Raider

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There is a whole lotta CG sturm und drang in in the new trailer for the Tomb Raider reboot starring Mrs. Michael Fassbender but none of it comes close to making my ass find a seat opening weekend as much as the two shots of her co-star Daniel Wu in a tank top do. (See plenty more of Mr. Wu right here.)

Giving Lara Croft a scorching hot man to bump ugly bon mots with was a blessed part of the Angelina Jolie Experience as well - Daniel Craig & Gerard Butler sauntered around being objectified in the original duology, and the movies (generally terrible movies) were just the slightest bit better for it. Glad to see they're sticking true to that much, at least! Watch:
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Tomb Raider is out on March 16th.
What do you think? Yay? Nay? Wu Too?
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Today's Fanboy Delusion

Today I'd rather be...

... getting the rub-down from Luke Evans.

Luke posted this video of him getting handsy with his Alienist co-star Daniel Brühl earlier today, and I have to say I do like these two's interplay. (See also here.) The Alienist premieres next week and I've already seen the first two episodes and I will say more on them shortly (aka not now, but shortly) but you should set your DVRs. Or watch it live? Do people still watch things live? Anyway it premieres Monday night on TNT. Oh and if you need one more reason to watch I learned something that ought to push it right over the edge...
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The Moment I Fell For... Andrea Riseborough

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Looking back now I see that I make no mention of Andrea Riseborough's small role in Mark Romanek's 2010 film Never Let Me Go (weird that this is the second time this movie has come up this week; I guess it's due for a re-watch) in my review of that movie, but I vividly remember her and Domhnall Gleeson striking me - these are gonna be somebodies, I thought. Riseborough had already been in Mike Leigh's Happy Go Lucky at that point, although I don't remember that film well enough to remember her in it. 

Anyway the next year Riseborough became somebody, to me anyway, in the most unlikely of places - she gave a tremendous performance as Wallis Simpson in Madonna's awful 2011 film W.E., making that morally dubious film impossible to entirely ignore as much as one might want to. And from there on every movie she appeared in was made better by her presence, and I'd go out of my way to see things for her. 

It's easy to pretend that Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion is entirely an Andrea Riseborough Film, even with Tom Cruise there running and screaming and running and screaming - by this time I was already regularly singling her out for boundless praise in my reviews - and she might have been the single thing in Birdman I wanted more of. 

But by this time last year when she was popping out of all of two minutes of Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, the single most joyous and boisterous thing in that dour but beautiful movie,  I was past being ready for more - I was angry. Give this woman her damned due already, Hollywood!

This past year might have been the one where that feeling of Not Enough finally got felt by enough people, I think. Her performance as Billie Jean King's hairdresser turned lovah in Battle of the Sexes was another classic from her, full of all the life and vigor that those of us who've been paying attention expect from her on screen. The romance that she and Emma Stone captured made that movie work - their every scene together was sexy and memorable...

... and once again Riseborough seemed, even to a person who's been paying attention all this time, like a totally different person. I don't know how she does it, but she surprises me every damn time. I finally got to see her in person at a Q&A for Battle of the Sexes this past year and she even surprised me in person, as herself.
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I still have no idea who this woman is after all of these years, and I cherish that. I think Battle of the Sexes might represent a turning point in her career, but then just a couple of weeks ago we got a reminder of what Andrea's capable of, of the U-turns that she still manages effortlessly, with her absolutely brutal performance in the new Black Mirror episode called "Crocodile," which is the sort of thing that makes people cross the street when they recognize the person they'd seen doing those things she does in this.

I won't go into specifics of the John Hillcoat directed episode because I know some of you have maybe not seen it yet but it's an exceedingly dark hour of TV, maybe even excessively dark, although the fact that it's female-led gives me pause on that charge because we don't usually get to see a woman behave THIS badly and Riseborough's typically go-for-broke and that is a gift, a gift to savor.

Anyway I bring all of this up because Variety put an interview with the actress up yesterday wherein they discuss the FOUR films she's premiering at Sundance this month. Here's Variety on them:

"There’s “The Death of Stalin,” a savage political satire from “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci, in which Riseborough plays Josef Stalin’s daughter. Then she stars opposite Nicolas Cage in “Mandy,” a gonzo thriller that combines romance, carnage, and supernatural creatures. Riseborough also appears in “Burden,” a drama about a man’s break with the Ku Klux Klan that also stars Forest Whitaker and Garrett Hedlund. Lastly, she headlines and co-produces “Nancy,” the story of a disturbed woman who becomes convinced she’s an elderly couple’s long-lost child."

(Sidenote: I posted a picture of Hedlund in Burden on the Tumblr earlier this week.) You can read the entire chat here. I hope one or all of these movies are good great movies and I look forward to them but no matter what I'm about 99% sure that Andrea Riseborough will be great and totally captivating in every one. It's what she does.

What's your favorite performance of hers so far?
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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Holiday (1938)


Johnny: When I find myself in a position like this,
I ask myself what would General Motors do?
And then I do the opposite!

Archibald Alexander Leach was born on this day 114 years ago in Bristol of England, and 28 years after that he became Cary Grant, working actor, with the sex comedy This is the Night - a film that really only seems to be remembered for marking the debut of one Mr. Cary Grant. 

Later that same year (we're talking 1932 at this point) he'd star in more memorable pictures - there's the submarine thriller Devil and the Deep, which starred Gary Cooper, Charles Laughton, and Talullah Bankhead... and yes Talullah Bankhead worms her way onto a submarine and it is just exactly what you think that would be like, aka awesome.

bike trail guide

PS I've posted about Devil and the Deep before (how could I have not, with that cast) -- read that here. Anyway we're not here to talk about Gary & Tallulah, although it sure is hard to not talk about Gary & Tallulah, we're here to talk about Cary!

Charles is fine with that. Super fine. So anyway besides Devil and the Deep Cary also starred - in this his first year making movies! - in Josef Von Sternberg's film Blonde Venus opposite Marlene Dietrich, although much moreso - he's the proper leading man this time around. Cary was tops from the get-go really, is my point.

And yes Blonde Venus is the movie where a blonde-afro'd Marlene does a, um, let's say "racially charged" strip-tease out of a gorilla costume while surrounded by black dancers done up as "ooga-booga" jungle people. It's one of the most striking sequences ever put on film though, I really recommend you watch it if you never have:
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I suppose Von Sternberg & Dietrich felt they needed to one up her infamous song and dance numbers in The Blue Angel and then the one in Morocco where she wore a tuxedo and kissed a woman - I can't imagine what Marlene Dietrich seemed like to the folks of 1932. Can you imagine? A space alien. She must have felt like their Tilda, I guess.  Anyway... right, Cary, we are here to talk about Cary. I keep forgetting! How does one forget Cary Grant???

I quoted Holiday up top, which I just re-watched for the dozenth time over the New Years break - it's a New Years movie and one of the greatest ever made if you don't know; I can't recommend it highly enough. I can't really say it's my favorite Cary Grant movie because he made all of those movies with Hitchcock but it's definitely my favorite Katharine Hepburn film - she's stunning and dreamy and funny and perfection in it. Wait... am I talking about Hepburn now? What is wrong with me??? CARY EFFING GRANT...

... is in the house. Point being earlier this week we posted our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" series at The Film Experience and asked you to choose your favorite Male Star of Alfred Hitchcock, between Cary and Jimmy Stewart, and you should go vote on that for a first or a fifteenth time. Cary is actually in the lead right now, although to be honest my vote would go for... you know what? Nevermind. It's Cary's birthday. I'm just gonna shut up. Love you, Cary!


Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, World

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It's only appropriate that I appropriate (ha see what I did there) a phrase from Field of Dreams here on Kevin Costner's birthday - if you build it, they will come, and if Miguel Angel Silvestre posts a shirtless picture of himself on Instagram, I will post it here in turn. Tit for, uh, tit I guess? Thanks, Miguel! And happy birthday in heaven*, Kevin Costner!

*Kevin Costner is not dead as of this writing.
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

River Runs Through It

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I don't know why but I've found my mind wandering to River Phoenix a lot this week. Can you believe he'd be two years short of 50 right now if he was still alive? It's hard to picture - this Halloween will mark the 25th anniversary of his death and he remains so young in the mind's eye. Maybe I should do a series on his movies later this year - it wouldn't be a huge task to undertake given how criminally short his career turned out to be. 
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What are your favorites? I know the right answers are the dramas where he fiddled with the sadness in his eyes but I really adore his bit as Young Indy in the third Indiana Jones movie the most, I think. It's so light and fun and atypical for him at that time -- that opening sequence is just movie magic.


Now I Lay Me Down To... DIE!!!

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As much as I love horror movies I don't really technically scare all that easily anymore. I'm not a jumper. But there's one thing that is guaranteed to get my heart racing, works every time, and that's somebody being suffocated. Not being drowned, not being smothered with a pillow; it's more precise than that - it's that thing where something gets inside your throat and chokes you from the inside. (I know, I know - paging Dr. Freud.) Scenes like the Snake Alien Attack in Prometheus where the acid melts the helmet to that one dude's face, or even the scene in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere when Stephen Dorff gets the plaster mask of his head made and has to breathe through those two tiny nose slots...

Immediate panic attack for me. Well Before I Wake, the "new" horror film from Gerald's Game director Mike Flanagan, offers up a big brand new yicky addition to that most ghastly slot in the Cinematic Death Canon, and I am still yicked out, as the saying goes. Death comes in Before I Wake via a sleep demon that'd give the Slender Man second thoughts and who feeds on his victims by just sort of coating them in himself and believe you me this shit shook a shudder or two out of me but good.

I put "new" in quotes above because the film's been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years now (Jacob Tremblay looks exactly like he did in Room in 2015) until just recently dropping onto Netflix - I'm guessing this was part of the deal with Flanagan for Gerald's Game, or maybe just coincidence, but these two films of his would make a very fine double-feature if you're looking for a night of good creeps. 

There's reason to be excited about Flanagan for those of us who care about good solid horror movie-making, because he keeps assembling good solid horror films out of scraps you don't think oughta make such things. Like how does the second Ouija movie turn out to be so scary? All of his entertainments so far seemingly fall into that hell-space of budgets just big enough to to be too big for horror movies, where the mite-too-cheap CG gets leaned on and murders the atmosphere, but he's almost entirely avoided that trap - his imagination for Scary Images, his eye for what actually works, has kept these things just on the right, sweet side of uncanny.

And he cares about his characters, giving them interesting challenges to overcome, while not being afraid to really Go There when necessary - Before I Wake is the ten millionth horror movie about parents mourning a dead child but it actually manages to grab ahold of that horror with two hands and shake the guts out of it at times; it violates decency with a couple of images in the way that horror is there for. Made for. (Picture Donald Sutherland cradling his daughter's drowned corpse in Don't Look Now, anguish shredding his face at the seams.) The bad guy in Before I Wake is bad in a way that feels genuinely bad.

I don't want to run out ahead of myself - Don't Look Now is Don't Look Now, and Before I Wake is not. It's not even Gerald's Game, which I found tremendously affecting thanks to some career-best work from Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. But Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane, who play the parents, and Tremblay especially as their new adopted boy, all turn in solid work here - Tremblay just walks on-screen and you want to protect him, and this movie exploits that feeling ruthlessly (I love how they cast all of his classmates older than him so he just always looks so so tiny all of the time). It's very much worth a look. Just don't hold your breath, guys.
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I Am Link

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--- Spider Bites - That there is the first picture of Tom Hardy in Venom, his upcoming Spider-man spin-off movie - clearly this is before he turns into a gaping mawed black goo person. In related news the rumor's a'swirl that Spider-twink himself Tom Holland will make an appearance in the film, which kind of clears up the question (if the rumor's a'true) whether this movie will be set in the same universe as the Avengers et al. And speaking of Spider-twink we just found out that Timothee Chalamet read for the role once! He could have been our Spider-twink! He told the story while accepting an award this past week. Oh well guess he'll just have to deal with unanimous critical adoration instead, poor thing. (thx Mac)

--- Capitán Fantastic - Chile's foreign-film submission for the Oscars A Fantastic Woman got a wee release here in NYC last fall but it's going to get a real release in February and I haven't written a review yet but it is a (dare I say) fantastic movie, I am dying to see it a second time, and you should all seek it out the minute it's available for seeking. Vanity Fair talked to the film's director and the film's star the absolutely terrific and hypnotic Daniela Vega, click on over to read that. 

--- Gemini People - Back in October I had a momentary freak-out on Twitter wondering where the hell Ang Lee had gotten himself to, so this week's news of casting for his next movie has really perked up that several month old sore spot. The movie is called Gemini Man and it will star Will Smith in dual roles - he'll play an over-the-hill assassin and his 25 year younger clone, and the two will be trying to kill each other. It sounds like this is another chance for Ang to futz around with fancy technology - I'm guessing the twinning stuff won't look like an episode of The Patty Duke Show! - but I will allow it because of the supporting cast Ang is lining up, which so far includes Clive Owen and the goddess Mary Elizabeth Winstead. MEW beat out both Tatiana Maslany and Elizabeth Debicki for the role, and honestly with choices like that how does one even begin to choose?

--- Jason's Dead - There was a rumor going around last week that Blumhouse was going to reboot the Friday the 13th series (yes we hear this same rumor every six months or so) but BD beat the stuffing out of it this time with a What's What on the rights issues for the series, which are currently in the middle of a big lawsuit. Anyway if you need your Voorhees Fix you could go watch a 40 minute doc on YouTube about the dude who played Jason in Part III (aka the best one) which BD explains all about right here.

--- Tis A Video - Vulture's Kyle Buchanan got his greedy mitts on the gold star of Call Me By Your Name coverage, interviewing the elusive Sufjan Stevens about the heart-rending and gorgeous songs he created for the film, and about his meeting with Luca Guadagnino (the coat story is priceless - and you can see the follow-up to it on Twitter too), and oh yeah finding out that Sufjan's seen the film FOUR TIMES now. Keep trying, Suffy - you'll never catch up! In related news our pal Chris tackled the CMBYN soundtrack in his weekly column at The Film Experience this past week.

--- Show Men - At first the thought of Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron starring in a movie together was an appealing thing to me but I realized after the first trailer that The Greatest Showman was definitely not going to be My Thing. Getting me to enthuse about a musical is oft a tricky path anyway. That said Nathaneil at The Film Experience makes an excellent case today, on the basis of the film's secret box office success, we really should be seeing more musicals, and I don't disagree with him.
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--- Lost Boy - I am really very overly anxious for Brad Anderson, the director of the tremendous Session 9 some oh seventeen years ago, to properly follow that movie up - he's made good stuff like Transsiberian and The Machinist, but nothing quite as magic as that 2001 movie. Anyway he's never stopped working this whole time, and here comes another chance - he's made a movie called Beirut, which was written by Tony "Michael Clayton" Gilroy, and which stars Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike. That's a good pair of stars! Let's hope he has something for them. That movie is out in April.

--- Where's My Freak - I am surprised to read that Ben Wheatley has supposedly not filmed Freak Shift, his movie with Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander, yet; I thought they had that in the can? But that's what DH says as they share word that Wheatley's currently in L.A. shooting a super-quick (just eleven  days) secret project titled (at least according to the clapperboard that Wheatley posted on his Instagram) Colin You Anus. (LOL.) No word on what the hell it is but given how mind-bending his A Field in England was, which he also shot on a shoestring in just a dozen days, I'm hopeful here! Oh and in Also Armie Hammer News a couple of pictures of him in his upcoming film Final Portrait are right here. Armie is also playing a homosexual in this! This is out in March.
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--- And Finally I could've sworn I had shared one of the foreign-language trailers for Francois Ozon's upcoming movie Double Lover, which has been out in his home of France for awhile now, but a quick scan through the archives tells me otherwise - we have shared a couple of lovely nudie photographs of Jérémie Renier in the movie (including this shot of Jérémie Renier kissing Jérémie Renier, ooh la la) but no trailer. Which is fine, turns out, because now we have an english-language trailer to watch. The movie is out here in the US on Valentine's Day! Watch:
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Steven Yeun Eight Times

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A couple of pictures of the upcoming movie Sorry To Bother You have found their way online since it's premiering at Sundance - see them here. We told you about STBY back in June when Armie Hammer joined the cast, which already included Lakeith Stanfield (mmm) and Tessa Thompson and our boy here Steven Yeun - here is IMDb's summation of the movie:

"In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success - which propels him into a macabre universe."

No pictures of Armie in the film just yet (that I have found anyway; feel free to correct me if you have seen one!) but the official page for the movie on Sundance's website describes Armie's character as, and I quote, "the company’s cocaine-snorting, orgy-hosting, obnoxious, and relentlessly optimistic CEO" and when do I get to see this movie already??? Let's hope it lives up to the hype. And let's hope that Mr. Yeun here has a fun role too. (If he wants to co-star in Armie's Orgy I'm down with that.)  Hit the jump for the rest of this new photo-shoot...

Today's Mood

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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Thirst (2009)


Priest Sang-hyeon: Grant me the following in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like a leper rotting in flesh, let all avoid me. Like a cripple without limbs, let me not move freely. Remove my cheeks, that tears may not roll down them. Crush my lips and tongue, that I may not sin with them. Pull out my nails, that I may not grasp nothing. Let my shoulders and back be bent, that I may carry nothing. Like a man with tumor in the head let me lack judgment. Ravage my body sworn to chastity leave me with no pride, and have me live in shame. Let no one pray for me. But only the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.

A most happy 51st birthday to South Korean superstar Kang-ho Song today! This year is supposed to bring another reunion with his other (aka not Park Chan-wook) great collaborator Snowpiercer and The Host and Memories of Murder director Bong Joon-ho - they're supposedly making another horror movie called Parasite, which IMDb says is about "A man [who] gets infected with a parasite that changes his paradigm in unforeseen ways." IndieWire says the movie is about "a family going though a disturbance." Okay. Well I think these two could sure make something out of those ideas.


As Fast As Ezra Can

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I didn't really review Justice League because what is there to say that can't be wailed unto the heavens via unintelligible gurgling screams but I did make mention of how ace Ezra Miller was in the movie as The Flash, calling him - and I stand by this a whole week and a half later so it must be true! - the only good thing about the film. Anyway that made us immediately care about a Flash movie where no care had been before, and so last night's news of new directors attached to the standalone movie grabbed our attention.
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That'd be John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein who made the National Lampoon's Vacation remake, which I never saw save the scenes of Chris Hemsworth's fanciful wiener play. I think it's kind of notable that the former people attached to the movie were also a tag-team duo (that'd be LEGO Movie's Phil Lord and Chris Miller) and we've got the Russo Brothers taking over half of Marvel's roster (oh plus Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck making the Captain Marvel movie) - I guess the studios have learned the value of two directors for the price of one (or probably like 1.5) when attempting to steer these unwieldy behemoth projects. Anyway Ezra Miller deserves good things, let's hope that DC can get their shit together and make that happen. And now just because we're here anyway I ask you...

bike trails

Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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One Strange Mr Pettyfer

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Alex posted that stunning sexily-necked shot of himself this morning on his Instagram sharing the news that he's now "The Face" of Diesel's new fragrance, and good for him - I worked myself up into one of my word-stews when I reviewed his new movie The Strange Ones (which is out there on demand right now and you should seek it out!) last week so I didn't mention Alex specifically while I should have, because he turns in probably the best work of his career in the film. (Give or take the effortless and much-needed sleaze that he poured all over Magic Mike, of course.)

He's playing a character whose intentions are purposefully murky and which shift from moment to moment, shot to shot, but remains transfixing and when he's no on-screen anymore you both miss him and feel terribly conflicted about missing him, just like you're supposed to. Oh and he is naked.

There, will that get you to watch it?
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