Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Great Moments in Movie Shelves #120

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"We were very thorough when we 
divided the books, that I remember."

"I've been looking for this edition."

"You've lived without it for 30 years 
- I think you can manage."

"You can take it if you want, Harold.
I've mostly stopped reading fiction."

This is such a wonderful scene in The Meyerowtiz Stories, isn't it? Bless Noah Baumbach for putting some Candice Bergen into the world. The world needs more Candice Bergen.
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Arnaud Valois Seven Times

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Hey look I am doing a post about a gay movie not called Call Me By Your Name, do I get a cookie? (Ha ha I still managed to make this about CMBYN, joke's on you.) Thank goodness we live in a world with room for Call Me By Your Name and God's Own Country and Beach Rats and Moonlight and A Fantastic Woman and Princess Cyd and indeed also the tremendous BPM, which Arnaud here starred in, despite what the silly ol' awards nominations tell us - all of these movies still exist and are tremendous accomplishments even if they don't win awards for it. What a magical wonderful world full of great art we inhabit. Hit the jump for more Arnaud...

A Bigger Burial

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On another (less interesting) movie site they would share this news with a picture of Gorgeous Movie Star Jennifer Lawrence, but we are blessedly not some other (lesser) movie site, we are MNPP, and so there is a picture of Italian Director Luca Guadagnino holding a bowl of soup. YOU ARE WELCOME. 

Luca is teaming up with JLaw to make a movie called Burial Rites, which is an adaptation of a 2013 book by Hannah Kent of the same title - anyone read it? Here what the book is about:

"A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question: How can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?"

One's first reaction is that sure sounds different from what Luca's done before - a period piece set in 19th century Iceland about execution - but that last bit, about the book really evoking a sense of time and place and especially lyricism, well then it starts to sound a lot like Luca. As for Lawrence I think she's swell and I love how she keeps pushing herself - you can't look at something like mother! and come away not seeing an actress taking risks.

Anyway Luca's got his remake of Suspiria somewhat finished at this point from what I hear, it'll presumably be out in 2018, and then he's all set to make Rio with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams (Brokeback in the house) and Benedict Cumberbatch - I haven't heard anything about when that's filming but I suppose Burial Rites will come after that.
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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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I've got a screening this morning -- no it isn't of Call Me By Your Name for a tenth time, although I wouldn't be mad if it was. But to keep you guys company until I am back in the afternoon here's a new (and exciting!) image of Timothee Chalamet playing Elio in that movie. This is one of those "funny" scenes I was telling you abut! Anyway good luck to Timmy, Michael, Armie, Esther & Amira with this morning's SAG nominations! Chalamet won the Chicago Critics Best Actor award last night - he's racked up quite the tally. Did you guys see this terrific piece specifically about the physicality of his performance? Read it.
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Nightmare Maker

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So how many of you have seen 1947's carny noir Nightmare Alley? It stars Tyrone Power as a grifter mind-reader alongside Joan Blondell - I don't remember a ton about it save Tyrone looking good in a greasy kind of way. Well today comes news that Guillermo Del Toro wants to remake it! It's not his next project but he is lining it up for down the road - enticingly writing the script is Kim Morgan, whose site Sunset Gun here on this internet thing has been the standard for swoony online writing for well over a decade. That is a thrill! Of course one's mind turns to casting - Power was 33 when he made this movie. Who could replace him? Any ideas?


Today's Fanboy Delusion

Today I'd rather be...

... contemplating with Paul.
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10 Off My Head: Siri Says 2000

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Time for this week's weekly installment of "Siri Says When" wherein the voice from our telephone commands us what to do by choosing a number between 1 and 100, which we then use to select a favorite batch of films from the corresponding year. Today Siri gave us one I wasn't totally sure her software allowed for - the number 100. And so we'll be looking at The Movies of 2000. While maybe not quite as good as the year before it - 1999 is one for the record books - the year 2000 is an excellent one too. 

Lots of filmmakers that I've come to worship and adore in the 17 years since were just finding their footing - people like Michael Haneke and Darren Aronofsky and Park Chan-wook and Sofia Coppola weren't necessarily making their first films but they were making films that would come to define them or give us a good look at what they were capable of. Indeed this is another instance where the year's good enough to force my hand - we're doing a Top 10.

My 10 Favorite Movies of 2000

(dir. Mary Harron)
-- released on Aril 14th 2000 --

(dir. Peyton Reed)
-- released on August 25th 2000 --
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(dir. E. Elias Merhige)
-- released on ?December 29th 2000 --

(dir. Darren Aronofsky)
-- released on December 15th 2000 --

(dir. Christopher Guest)
-- released on October 20th 2000 --

(dir. Curtis Hanson)
-- released on February 25th 2000 --

(dir. Sofia Coppola)
-- released on May 19th 2000 --

(dir. Lars von Trier)
-- released on October 6th 2000 --

(dir. Wong Kar-wai)
-- released onSeptember 29th 2000 --

(dir. Ang Lee)
-- released on December 8th 2000 --

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Runners-up: Memento (dir. Nolan), Battle Royale (dir. Kinji Fukasaku), Unbreakable (dir. Shyamalan), Pitch Black (dir. Twohy), Final Destination (dir. James Wong),  The Gift (dir. Sam Raimi), Nurse Betty (dir. LaBute), JSA: Joint Security Area (dir. Park Chan-wook),  The Cell  (dir. Tarsem Singh)...

... What Lies Beneath (dir. Robert Zemeckis), Ginger Snaps (dir. John Fawcett), Sexy Beast (dir. Jonathan Glazer), You Can Count on Me (dir. Lonergan), Tigerland (dir. Schumacher), Scream 3 (dir. Craven), Chopper (dir. Andrew Dominik), Code Unknown (dir. Haneke), Before Night Falls (dir. Schnabel), Erin Brockovitch (dir. Soderbergh), Chicken Run (dir. Peter Lord)

Never seen: O Brother Where Art Thou? (dir. Coens), The Beach (dir. Danny Boyle), Chocolat (dir. Lasse Hallström), Amores Perros (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu), Billy Elliot (dir. Daldry)

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What are your favorite movies of 2000?
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On Oliver & Elio & Bottoms & Tops (Oh My)

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I've been considering writing a few more thoughts about Call Me By Your Name that've been plunking around in my head since the last big piece I wrote over at The Film Experience, and two factors have conspired over the past few days to make it happen (it is happening right now, you see). First off there was that question at the Q&A this past weekend with Timothée Chalamet that I posted video of, the terrible one about whether he and Armie had discussed the sexual roles Elio and Oliver would take in the bedroom - which was the "top" and which was the "bottom." Here's that video:
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And the second factor that's got me yapping more is this lovely review of the film by Tomas Trussow at Film inquiry; specifically this section from it, which brings up the pan out the window which I went into a detailed defense of myself in my last piece:

"When they finally consummate their relationship, Guadagnino pans to the bedroom window—but not out of prudishness. It is rather a normalizing gesture, since for time immemorial, a pan away from the lovemaking couple has been a traditional feature in cinematic romances. It is to give them their privacy, as well as to give our imaginations a stake in the process.
Here, Guadagnino seems to say, the love of two men now belongs in that tradition. Desire is not always dependent on whatever is made explicit, and here, it is enough to imagine the intensity of love that no actor—not even actors as extraordinary as Chalamet and Hammer—can reproduce as convincingly as two people so madly in love as Elio and Oliver are."

You can maybe kind of see where I'm going to go with this at this point, but I've got to give credit to my boyfriend, who made this case to me immediately after reading my piece last week, well before either of these factors came around to goose me into action today - that part of the reason for the privacy that Guadagnino extends to Oliver and Elio by panning out the window is due to the politics of gay sex and the idea of power, submission and dominance. The act of gay sex always gets complicated by who is the "top" and who is the "bottom" and what that says about who is in control at that moment, yadda yadda - it's an exhausting and stupid conversation quite frankly, and I don't blame Luca for wanting to side-step it entirely since it would only at that point in the film serve as a distraction.

Trussow's piece lays out the structure of the film nicely - how its split into thirds, with Elio coming to realize his attraction to Oliver in the first third, with Elio pursuing Oliver in the second, and with their post-consummation bliss through its end in the final act. The turning point from the second to the third act is when Elio & Oliver have sex and the camera pans out the window, and it seems to be foundational to the structure of the film that the two of them be on equal footing in our minds at that moment. The audience shouldn't be thinking about one dominating the other - that moment is about them finally being on the same page, eye to eye.

The book, of course, has time for a back and forth - the two characters trade roles in bed as Aciman lengthily details their lovemaking over the span of their final couple of weeks together. That's the benefit of writing a book, which is not the same as writing a basic three act film. And it seems to me Guadagnino made the right choice to entirely circumvent the power conversation at that moment, and focus instead on finally immediately realizing Elio and Oliver as equals, partners, joined side by side like those twin beds I wrote about in my other piece. Even if you think the conversations around passive versus active roles in gay sex are silly and unnecessary like I do there's no denying that they interject themselves into the conversation whether you want them to or not. And that's not the conversation this film needs to have to work.

Once Elio and Oliver do consummate their relationship the bottom (so to speak, hardy har) really falls out of the film time-wise and its previous languid pace is tossed out the window - you really get the sense in its last act of time escaping too quickly, of the air running out of the room. When Marzia shows up she says three days have passed since she last saw Elio and every time I watch the movie that statement surprises me - where did all that time go? And then before you know it they're on the bus to Bergamo and then they're saying goodbye. I love the Rome section of the book, where the boys meet all the hip literati and have a magical night, but cutting that lengthy section, which would've brought the film to a standstill, was imperative for the film to get across this sensation of Oliver & Elio's time together ending before its even properly begun. That's the tragedy of First Love, gone before we even realize what we had and what it was doing to us, that was Guadagnino's aim and ultimately his bullseye.
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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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A happy 21st birthday to the already-an-Oscar-nominee Lucas Hedges today! Lucas can be seen in theaters right this minute in Lady Bird, giving one of its many fine performances off-center (his scene in the alley behind Lady Bird's coffee-shop is for me the film's most moving, but then it would be) and he can be seen sometime in 2018 in Joel Edgerton's gay conversion therapy drama called Boy Erased, which we've talked of previously right here and right here. That one hopefully fulfills all the promise it's got here at the outset. 

These pictures (which by the way are very HQ, click them to embiggen) are from some play called Yen that was put on here in NYC about a year ago - I'm pretty sure this morning is the first I've heard of it (I can be lousy with keeping track of theater) even though it co-starred by beloved Ari Graynor. Did anybody see it? 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Daniel Kaluuya Two Times

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If you head on over to The Film Experience we're facing brand new Golden Globe nominee Daniel Kaluuya off with his nightmare Get Out girlfriend Allison Williams for this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast." And yes I know Kaluuya is going to stomp her butt to Timbuktu and back, but let's see just how lopsided a victory we can make it! GO VOTE.


DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH

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Happy Psycho Day.
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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:


Giulia : If you want... want to... 
Marcello : If I want to...? 
Giulia : Yes, right here... on the floor... 
on the carpet... Want to? 
Marcello : Better think about the priest. 
He may not grant absolution. 
Giulia : They grant everyone absolution.

This is just one of the most gorgeously shot scenes in one of the most gorgeously shot films ever made, is all. The light moving through those blinds against the colors of her dress, everything about it, it makes my eyeballs sing. Watch:
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God I adore this movie. Top Ten of Ever, for sure. A happy 87th birthday to the legend Jean-Louis Trintignant today - I'm supposed to see the new Michael Haneke film Happy End tomorrow night if all goes according to plan, which reunites Haneke with his Amour leading man, so stay tuned for my thoughts on that soon enough!


Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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