Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Good Morning & Goodbye, World

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Just a temporary goodbye, don't worry! I'm not jumping off the Winter River Bridge right after I type this or anything! Just a goodbye until Monday, since Thanksgiving is nigh. What are you guys thankful for this year? I mean besides that picture of Jon Bernthal shirtless, bearded, smoking, weights and a gold chain, giving us the full roughneck experience, anyway? In case you missed my list of thankful things at TFE yesterday see that here. And if you're planning on seeing anything over the break I suggest you consult my reviews, all of which can be found at this link, alpabetically organized and everything. Bye until Monday, and happy holidays!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Poof It Up

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Even though my internet access has been spotty at best this week I did manage to write up a list of things I'm grateful for in 2018 movies for The Film Experience today -- click on over to take a gander at a few things I felt fit to highlight, including that dapper fop up top. I never got, sexually speaking, the elaborate frippery of powdered poofs until I saw Nicky Hoult take it on... and now I got myself a brand new fantasy.

Dacre Montgomery Eight Times

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Hey everybody, sorry this short week's become a shorter bust -- yesterday and today have been devoured by tech issues on my end and all the stuff I'd planned on getting done are not getting done a bit. Not a bit! But here are some pictures (via) of Stranger Things' resident bad boy Dacre Montgomery to temporarily tide us over. Hit the jump for the rest...

Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, World

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Once again I must reiterate I love the German frat-boy love
affair between Matthias Schweighöfer & Florian David Fitz.
See lots more of them right here. Happy bday, Florian!
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Monday, November 19, 2018

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:


Miss Kenton: Why do people clap
when the lights come on?
Stevens: For some people the evening
is the best part of the day.

A happy 25 to this wonderful movie.
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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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Just a heads-up (and if it's possible why not give a heads-up with a random picture of Stranger Things actor Joe Keery in his underpants?) that I'm having some issues with my work computer today, and I might not be online for a couple of hours at best while I sort it out. We'll see how it goes. I suppose as long as I have you here I should also use the opportunity to remind everyone this is a holiday week and it was going to be short already, although I'm not sure just how short just yet. When the time comes, you'll know! That's what my pal Joe Keery says anyway.
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Friday, November 16, 2018

Let the Great Movie Flood Come

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When last Friday rolled around I didn't have anything to say about the weekend's new movies, as I hadn't seen any of them - this weekend on the other hand is a whole different bag of beans. There are by my count six movies out today that I've already offered up my thoughts on  (two of them just this afternoon), and in case you care what I have to say - and I hope you do, otherwise WTF you doing here? - here are links to what I went and said...

Here are my thoughts on Steve McQueen's Widows.

Here are my thoughts on Green Book, in limited release.

Here are my thoughts on Van Gogh biopic At Eternity's Gate.

Here are my thoughts on the horror flick Cam, out on Netflix.

Here are my thoughts on the fine horror flick
The Clovehitch Killer, which is in limited release.

And here are my thoughts on the Coens' The Ballad of Buster 
Scruggs, which is also on Netflix right this very minute.

I'm seeing the new Fantastic Beasts tonight, which... looks terrible.
But if you wanna share your thoughts on any of these movies
feel free to do so in the comments! Have a nice weekend, y'all.
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Charlie Cox Three Times

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I Took My Baby on a Saturday, Bang

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In theory I love it when critics say they go into every movie wanting it to be good - who wants to waste their time? I sat through an excruciating movie a couple of days ago that I hated practically every single moment of and let me tell you what - it weren't fun. I wasn't even looking forward to writing a blistering take-down of it by the end - I just wanted to run for the exit like the air had filled with bleach fumes. That said the theory doesn't always hold - sometimes you go into a movie with a predisposition. A nattering little critter on your shoulder whispering sweet no-thank-yous. 

Well after I watched the trailer for Green Book one of those little fellas had come strolling out of my shirt collar and set up a folding chair right beside my ear-hole. He'd tap tap tapped on his mobile micro megaphone, did his never-funny Tom Hanks "Sibilance... sibilance..." routine, and got to work. "Oh no," he whispered. "Oh no, that Driving Miss Daisy shit ain't for you, big fella. Look the other way! Run! Avoid!"

Dude was wrong though, and about halfway through the movie he was forced to pack up all of his belongings and hike it to the next theater over (the one showing Instant Family, no doubt). Green Book ain't David Bowie, heck it's not even Jonathan Rhys Meyers' false eyelashes, but it's a milkshake at the sock hop and sometimes that's just what the tummy ordered. I felt stuffed, somewhat weak with sugar fits, but humming a happy enough tune to sleep well after.

It worked better for me than the last Oscar Bait stab at a Middle-America Friendly Racism Romp Hidden Figures did, anyway. They're both broad as barn doors in a tornado breeze, but writer-director Peter Farrelly knows how to manage that register better than Hidden Figures director Theordore Melfi did - anybody who wrangled Jim Carrey on full-blast would have to. And its some big roomy boots that Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali have been entrusted with here, plenty a' wiggle with those accents, those frills - reining in is vital. Farrelly managed the neat trick.

Oh there's not a moment that will really surprise you here, it was all written before you were born and after you died, an eternal tale as old as time of coin sides finding shared ground - a penny's ridged edge of commonality, faces long ago etched in bronze and silver, shining bright. But it feels good under your finger, sturdy and hard, true in that untrue but you know, true enough sense, always worth something despite whatever. It'll sit and hold your hand for awhile.
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Making Hay of The Potato Eaters

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It should come as no surprise that the aspects of the painter Vincent Van Gogh that the painter turned movie director Julian Schnabel nails best in the making of his bio-pic At Eternity's Gate are the ones about the painting. Schnabel explicates the creative process by which a human being looks at a chaotic 360 world and turns it into a two-dimensional presentation with a purpose in ways that only someone who's suffered that same inexplicable impulse could ever suss out. Schnabel's camera rattles around like a maniac so badly it started to make me sick to my stomach, until I got it - the camera is Van Gogh's eye, looking and twisting and turning everything around, upsided, until it finds the right way to look at the thing. 

We see this best in a sequence where Vincent (Willem Dafoe, giving a very Dafoeian performance) stares down a pair of boots on his rented apartment room floor. The camera runs down Dafoe's leg like a piss stream, spreading across the floor - it smashes against the window panes, the chair, his eyeballs, an insect intoxicated. The metaphors are as mixed as the colors dotting Van Gogh's fingertips. It's madness, this making the world pretty.

These shenanigans, visually relentless in a Blair-Witch-ian sort of way, at least get us in the right exhausting headspace, then. And Dafoe is ever watchable, a flickering candle flame of inspiration, gold and green and soot purple black - lighting wildly in his eyes, ever just out of reach, run your knuckle across it. The starry nights globs against his eyelids, gumming shut. Riotous exhales.

The movie though, it wanders a bit too aimlessly; Vincent, ever the odder stranger. You can feel the heat rising off of Van Gogh's palms but they stay swimming in search of something the film can't quite ever grab ahold of. I'd get trapped in a museum gallery staring at patches of this thing, muddy fields of sunflowers stirring alive, batting invisibly at my knees, but you can always sense the frame around everything; it stays an object, foreign on a shelf, pulled and pushed and painted by somebody else. There's no blood pooling in my eardrums, Vinny.


Who Wore It Best?

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Tomorrow marks the 93rd anniversary of Rock Hudson's birth, and since we were just talking about who should play him in the forthcoming bio-pic I figured we'd continue celebrating. That shot of Rock and Rod Taylor is from the 1963 military movie A Gathering of Eagles, which I have never seen; have you? Here's another shot of Rock in the movie though, alongside his co-star Robert Lansing...

5 Off My Head: Rob Me Blind

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Steve McQueen's spectacular new movie Widows is out in theaters today -- read my review right here. As I get into a little in there Widows is totally a Heist Film while also undoing the usual ways of being a Heist Movie -- all the pieces are there but McQueen & Co put them together in unexpected ways. His focus on character and outward political resonances over the typical thriller beats takes the movie into emotionally strange places, I thought. Anyway that got me to thinking about other Heist Films which've used the template to undermine or twist it into weird new forms, and... well the list was long! Lots of filmmakers have done this before, sometimes by focusing on one aspect of the routine, by subverting the tone or by slicing the whole process to ribbons... there are lots of ways. So I made a little list of...

My Five Favorite Atypical Heist Movies

Jackie Brown (1997)
"My ass may be dumb, but I ain't no dumbass."

Drive (2011)
"There's no good sharks?"

Bound (1996)
"We make our own choices,
we pay our own prices."

Run Lola Run (1998)
"The ball is round, a game lasts 90 minutes,
everything else is pure theory. Off we go!"

Quick Change (1990)
"Honey, babe? You've got a gun. Shoot them."

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What are your favorite Heist Movies?
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Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:


Grandson: A book?
Grandpa: In my day, television
was called 'a book.'

RIP to William Goldman, the author of the book The Princess Bride not to mention the screenplays for All The President’s Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Stepford Wives and Marathon Man and Misery and the evil ventriloquist dummy movie Magic as well as several unmissable books about screenwriting and the business (the movie business, that is). His book Adventures in the Screen Trade was the first book about movies I ever read! Goldman was 87 - you can read his whole obit over here. Anyway I first heard of him when I read The Princess Bride as a pre-teen, which became my introduction to the concept of movie adaptation - I have spent decades of my life upset about the "Zoo of Death" scene in the book getting left out of Rob Reiner's film version. This might be blasphemous, given what a classic the 1987 film version has become, but I've always wanted a remake because of that.


Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Yah No Say Daddy Me

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Way to grab my attention right off the bat, movie! The Informer -- and now I'm going to have Snow in my head all day thanks to that title -- stars Joel Kinnaman and judging by that the first image from the film his co-star of his cum-gutters (click them to embiggen a whole bunch) in a tale of a soldier who gets recruited by the FBI to infiltrate yadda yadda oh god I'm bored already by the plot. What is interesting though is its cast - besides said cum-gutters it co-stars Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, and Common. Also...

... Joel Kinnaman. 
Did I mention...

... Joel Kinnaman? I should.
Here's the trailer:
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The Informer is out on March 22nd.
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Good Morning, World

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So who's looking forward to Creed II?
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

I Believe In Franz Biberkopf

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Some spectacular news to brighten a not exactly bright day - Criterion has announced their next round of blu-ray releases, this time for February 2019, and as seen above they've re-done their boxed-set of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 15 hour mega-masterpiece Berlin Alexanderplatz! They'd released the series on DVD back in the day but it's been due an upgrade, and this set sounds mighty fancy - here's the list of Special Features:

High-definition digital restoration by the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation and Bavaria Media, supervised and approved by director of photography Xaver Schwarzenberger, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
Two documentaries by Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation president Juliane Lorenz: one from 2007 featuring interviews with the cast and crew, the other from 2006 on the restoration
Hans-Dieter Hartl's 1980 documentary Notes on the Making of "Berlin Alexanderplatz"
Phil Jutzi's 1931 feature-length film of Alfred Döblin's novel, from a screenplay cowritten by Döblin himself
Interview from 2007 with Peter Jelavich, author of "Berlin Alexanderplatz": Radio, Film, and the Death of Weimar Culture
PLUS: A book featuring an essay by filmmaker Tom Tykwer, reflections on the novel by Fassbinder and author Thomas Steinfeld, and an interview with Schwarzenberger

You can read more about it at their site, and pre-order your copy now before its street-date of February 12th - it's actually going for cheaper than the DVD set does on Amazon, so that's pretty cool! It's been awhile since I watched the series -- seven years actually, since I documented the experience in a big post right here. I laid on the floor of my apartment one weekend and watched the whole fifteen-hour thing in just about one sitting, with some sleep in the middle. I remember being delirious by the end, which is probably exactly how you're supposed to feel. Looking forward to trying that out again next year. PS they're also releasing Visconti's Death in Venice in February too, so February just got real gay all of a sudden...


Oliver Jackson-Cohen Nine Times

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I don't usually like to post posts that're nothing but a photo-shoot more than once a day - the magazines seem to release them all around the middle of every month causing a pile-up, and if I'm patient I can dole them out over the rest of the month which ends up being dry...

... but I think you'll all forgive me for not holding off this OJC shoot for Wonderland, even though I posted the Idris shoot for Esquire earlier, because we all deserve this today, and not tomorrow. Well tomorrow too, and every day after, but mostly now, very much now and no later. (Thx Mac) Hit the jump for the rest...