Friday, November 30, 2018

And Here We Are, Nearing The End

Several movies worth seeing are coming out next weekend but this weekend, this one right here that today marks the start of, is kinda dry - I'm guessing that a lot of the indie stuff that's opened small so far, things like The Favourite (my review) and Boy Erased (my review), will be going wider though and that's where everyone will be, since the next two months are nothing but a mad-dash game of catch-up before the Oscars. 

I'm doing far better than usual on this front this year now that I get real honest-to-goodness grown-up screeners thanks to having gotten happily admitted into GALECA this year (read about that here) - there are only a few of the year's big movies left that I haven't seen yet since we've got to start voting on our awards soon, and out of what is left in the next week I'm seeing Ben Is Back, Vice, Vox Lux, and that Spider-man cartoon that everybody's seeming to love. 

I've refrained from watching a single Vox Lux trailer myself - the first images have been so bonkers what with Natalie Portman all bejeweled up and punked out that I decided to surprise myself on that front, see it all fresh when I'm sitting in the theater. Seems a good movie for that! Anyway this is all my rambling way of asking you guys here on the front-side of a slower weekend before the storm what you're all seeing this weekend, what you've seen so far out of the "awards" movies, and what you're digging?

 Share in the comments...

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Gosford Park (2001)

Lady Sylvia: Mr Weissman.
Morris Weissman: Yes?
Lady Sylvia: Tell us about the film you're going to make.
Morris Weissman: Oh, sure. It's called Charlie Chan
In London
. It's a detective story.
Mabel Nesbitt: Set in London?
Morris Weissman: Well, not really. Most of it takes place
at a shooting party in a country house. Sort of like this one,
actually. Murder in the middle of the night, a lot of guests for
the weekend, everyone's a suspect. You know, that sort of thing.
Constance: How horrid. And who turns out to have done it?
Morris Weissman: Oh, I couldn't tell you that.
It would spoil it for you.
Constance: Oh, but none of us will see it.
I was thinking about Ivor Novello a few days ago and as always that thought process leads me to Jeremy Northam playing the homosexual movie star in Robert Altman's Gosford Park -- it has been far far too long since I've sat down and watched Altman's down-up masterpiece and so I was pleased as liquor punch to see that our beloved Arrow Video was putting out a beautiful brand new blu-ray this week stuffed to the stiff collar with brand new extras, from a new restoration of the film on down. Have you seen Gosford Park lately? I do wonder how it plays in a post-Downton world. Anyway if you'd like to see the full list of Special Features on the blu-ray hit the jump...

Guess Who's At The Beach

Having just finished shooting on the new Men in Black movie (with the ever winning Tessa Thompson, holla) Mister Chris Hemsworth took advantage of his time off to do what he do (when not lifting weights obvs) and hit his homeland beach-stead with the fam. 

And as has been the case for just about ten straight years now (ever since the woefully under-rated sunshiny action caper A Perfect Getaway introduced him to us) we are there to cover it. Go forth and hit the jump for over a dozen more shots...

Hangin' Toff

Wanna know why one of the year's best films is Widows (review here) while one of the year's worst is the Fantastic Beasts sequel? Well there are dozens of reasons but for the purposes of this post we'll stick to one - Widows has Colin Farrell, and FB2 replaced Colin Farrell with Johny fucking Depp. Hermione Granger would never. Anyway I bring all of that up as a good sign for Guy Ritchie's next next movie (the one after his live-action Aladdin, that is), which has just cast Colin Farrell as an MMA coach named, wait for it, Coach. The movie is called Toff Guys and weirdly they aren't baking seasonal toffee-flavored treats, but rather doing big brawny classic Guy Ritchie kinds of things like talking with accents and punching. Also in the cast -- Matthew McConaughey, Michelle "Lady Mary" Dockery, Hugh Grant, and Henry "Dreamboat" Golding as a gangster. Could he be a gangster who wears diabolical eye-liner? I think Henry Golding will look real good in eyeliner, you guys.

Great Moments in Movie Staches & Shelves

You know a movie is high quality if I'm torn between doing one of my "Great Moments in Movie Staches" posts and one of my "Great Moments in Movie Shelves" posts -- The Bostonians has it all! Everything! All! Superman with a mustache, bookshelves, lesbian longing -- what else could one possibly require?

The 17th Merchant-Ivory production, The Bostonians is an adaptation of the Henry James book and stars Christopher Reeve (in those heady days between Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace) and Vanessa Redgrave as distant cousins vying for the affections of the same woman, a conflicted suffragette (played by Madeleine Potter). You could say she puts the suffering into suffragette, haha, sigh.

Anyway per usual Vanessa Redgrave is far and away the best thing happening on the screen at any point, but if you're in the mood for some Merchant-Ivory you know what you're in the mood for and The Bostonians delivers all that jazz. Speaking of the film has just gotten a jazzy 4K restoration! It's looking stunning. Here's the trailer:
That restoration is opening up at the Quad Cinema here in 
New York today, so if you're in town you know what to do. 
Any fans of The Bostonians up in this joint?

Raúl Castillo Nine Times

So have you guys watched We the Animals yet or what? I've been proselytizing for this movie for months upon months now (here's my review from spring and here's a second essay I wrote about it) and now that we're at the end of the year I don't want to see this great little movie swallowed up and forgotten among all the emphatic awards contenders - this movie should be on any thoughtful end-of-year list and if it's not, well, don't trust that person! And to see some more Raúl aka good ol' Paps hit the jump...

Nature Boys

Before you ask, yes, there is indeed a moment in the reeds in A Moment in the Reeds. There are actually a few moments in those self same reeds, actually - it's one of the spots where Leevi (Janne Puustinen) and Tareq (Boodi Kabbani) get to know each other, before they, ahem, you know, get to know each other. A Moment in the Reeds, a meet-cute in miniature, is all about the boys getting to know each other - those prime moments where relationships begin, where you ask some shy questions to start and the words just keep coming, and coming, sudden without the slightest of effort.

After escaping to France for school (but mostly for peace of mind) Leevi has returned home to Finland for the summer to deal with his widowed father Jouko (Mika Melender), who definitely must be dealt with. Jouko knows his son dallies with fellas but hasn't at all come to terms with it, and he is nursing a lot of anger over his son's abandonment on top of that. So Leevi comes home to help his father fix up their summer house and pound down the rough patches - enter stage right the sexy Syrian handyman, a sack full of complications hanging under his tool-belt.

Thankfully for us audience members here spending these moments with Leevi & Tareq among the reeds the two actors have chemistry to burn and then some, and their early scenes smolder - just low chats outside in the dark, drinking beer, bring waves of when-will-they tensions. And when they do, because of course they do, the actors capture that fuck-it-all headspace slow-motion explosion - cheeks flushed, hands fumbling, passing breath between each other as a means of still living when your blood's rushed somewhere else. 

That is to say A Moment in the Reeds gets very very hot, and burns bright upon it. There's not much to it beyond that - it stays simple, observing these scenes, and the stuff with dad doesn't entirely cohere into anything save outside menace and interruption (although there's one sequence where the boys try to get their fondle on under his nose without suspicion that's fairly steamy for his obliviousness). But then these moments, among the reeds or rollercoasters or suburban Regal Theater parking lots, these knife-like little glints of scrape-the-bone connection are the wounds that we'll remember, run our fingers along, forever. Observing them are enough.

A Moment in the Reeds is hitting all of the streaming
platforms as well as blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday!

Five Frames From ?


What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

I'm real sad that the German gay-baiting romp 100 Dinge starring Matthias Schweighöfer and Florian David Fitz is hitting theaters over there next week, because it introduces a sense of finality to the nudity parade that they've been hocking for months now - see here and here and here and here for our coverage - I would like this to go on forever, guys! Start making the sequel immediately, please. Well for now they've released another promotional video for us to appreciate, this one filled with on-set footage of the what else...

... but the gratuitously bare-assed variety. This movie seems super! I mean, I guess it's a movie? I suppose there is some movie strung together between these scenes. But I'm not too worried about that. I know my priorities, and they have so far been fulfilled as far as this movie is concerned. German Oscars for everybody! Hit the jump for a few more gifs...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Got To Get a Rain Check on Pain

In 1992, the year that Bill Clinton and his wife walked into the Oval Office, Leonard Cohen cooed "I've seen the future, brother, it is murder," and it feels like we've been on one long roller-coaster ride towards the second half of that lyric ever since. No doubt it felt like that before 1992 - Cohen had to get his inspiration from somewhere - but 1992 seems like a good place to start. For one that marked the first Presidential Election I personally remember paying attention to, what with Bill tooting his saxophone on Arsenio, whoop whoop. 

And for another a show called The Real World premiered in New York on MTV in 1992, inventing the Reality Show Boom that's swallowed up our imaginations. Funny enough that show's harbinger premiere coincided right alongside with a real-life Reality Show that this sleepless city's tabloids couldn't get enough of - Donald Trump divorced Ivana Trump, their gold-plated dumpster squabbles the sort of salacious stuff that our trash compactor country couldn't chomp down enough of. And so it went, and so it goes. Our mouths just got bigger to suit our appetites.

So I've lived the future, brother, and it is indeed murder. As the proclamation goes I could walk down to Fifth Avenue right now and shoot somebody's brains across the store-fronts of Tiffanys & Company and the tourists would keep on keeping on, oohing and ahhing over the bedazzled Bergdorf windows just five feet away. Or more likely they'd take their fat-tongued selfies across the street from Trump Tower, flashing gangland bada-bling signs of suburban wannabe dullards, white supremacists swaddled in Wal-mart caftans.

We're all killing each other, one Facebook post at a time. And Lars von Trier, Michael Haneke with Hemorrhoids, ever the European Art House conduit of a sordid and sick fascination with our United States of Sordid and Sick Fascinations, taps into our inherent violence with The House That Jack Built, his latest underlined provocation, plopped down into the roomy toilet bowl of American underlined provocations. We had it coming, like a sweet-smelling acid rain washing clean our sins - skin goes too, but who's to tell?

Watching Uma Thurman's snooty rich-bitch get her face bashed in I couldn't help but wonder - don't we all wanna smash up something beautiful and momentous, after all? Isn't that the true American Way, espoused by Brad Pitt and Steve Bannon alike? It sure feels that way these days, like we've all got some stranger's blonde hair bloodied on our knuckles as we lap up our breakfast sugars, and no movie has captured the sick oozing pit of stomach acid with which I greet every day with better than this movie just did. The House That Jack Built is the self-reflexive nervous breakdown of our times. I laughed, I barfed, I rolled my eyes and I felt real real bad the morning after.

Presented as a series of colorful and amusing homicidal vignettes, or "Incidents" as the movie self-consciously brands them, we listen as Jack (Matt Dillon, skull-faced and blanched) ruminates on creation, destruction, Mt Saint Helens and Buchenwald, his own obsessive compulsions and the effervescent piano stylings of Glenn Gould, all as he desperately chases down the stinky flesh and blood trails he's left lying in his wake. He's like a kid walking backwards in his boot-prints in the snow of ashes from the Holocaust. It's ridiculous, camp, flatly obscene all at once - it's all American as your red-capped racist uncle farting next to the Thanksgiving apple pie, it is.

Great Moments In Movie Shelves #171

I don't know for sure how purposeful Ruben Östlund was with his sexualization of Claes Bang in The Square -- I don't know enough about Östlund to hazard a guess, and it's entirely possible that some of this read is me projecting my limitless attraction to Bang himself onto what I'm watching -- but shots like this one, which is the opening shot of the film, make me think i'm not reading too much into the movie to think we're supposed to view Christian (that is Claes' character's name) as an object of desire.

He's framed entirely like an odalisque there, reclinsed and soft, his underbelly exposed and private parts unprotected, while a sharp pair of black heels hover behind him prepared to pounce. Oh if you only knew what was coming, dude, you'd be far less comfy.

For a man of refinement, education and artistic temperament, Christian doesn't spend as much time surrounded by books as you think he might - there's a backdrop of them in his office that we see a couple of times, including this funny scene where his entire world collapses thanks to his bad judgement...

... although narrowing this film down to one of those scenes is a laugh, given that's basically the thrust of the entire endeavor, open to close. Speaking of, a little bit later on in the film we see Christian, immediately following a bout of terrible judgement on his part, and we see another wall of books behind him...

Note how those two shots are negative inverses of one another - his office is white, his home is black, he faces left then he faces right, he leans back and he leans forward. The sequence that separates these two scenes? That would be the terrifying art dinner involving the monkey man gone rogue. (If you haven't seen this movie and that sentence reads insane to you, I must implore you to see this movie!) Anyway this switcheroo...

... from light to dark reminds me of the art-show that gives the film its title, which Christian lays out in extensive detail to his two daughters in a sequence at the heart of the film - you can choose the path of the light, of trust, or you can choose the path of the dark and distrust. Christian, ever self-interested, ends up delivering himself straight to the dumps.

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

you can learn from:

Enlightened (2011)

Amy: You know, some of us need people,
more than flowers, to communicate with.
Helen: My flowers don't judge me.

A very happy 83rd birthday to Diane Ladd today.

Five Frames From ?


What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

That is a hot picture, but damn all that font. Anyway there's a really funny video attached to Richard Madden's new photo-shoot, seen here, for British GQ, in which they force him to watch the so-called "Red Wedding" scene from A Game of Thrones while all done up like a pretty princess in his turtlenecked refinery. I was amused, anyway. They dolled him up and then forced him to make a pregnant lady get butchered about the belly! What a lark!

Anyway the only snippet of the interview online so far is that and then what he has to say about the ever-present Bond rumors - do you guys think Richard would make a good Next Bond? I think he probably would. And this photo-shoot is sure as fuck trying to make us feel that way, at least. Have I been brainwashed? Probably. But at least we'll get another Bond totally cool with the man-on-man. That scene in Skyfall between Dan Craig and Javi Bardem didn't go nearly far enough.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pics of the Day

I am running out the door now to see the new Lars von Trier provocation but before I do I figured I had to quick toss up these two pictures that Sundance just dropped from their just-announced slate of 2018 premieres -- above is out first look at Jake Gyllenhaal (his hair-do!) and Rene Russo's re-team with Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy in the movie now titled Velvet Buzzsaw, which is skewering the art world and which I told you about previously right here. And below is our first official look at Zac Efron playing Ted Bundy in director Joe Berlinger's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which I previously posted about right here. That's Lily Collins playing Bundy's long suffering (to put it mildly) girlfriend. I haven't the time to go through the whole Sundance slate but you can see them all right here. Wish I was going!

I Am Link

Well I haven't done one of these link round-up posts in ages and ages; they're time-consuming and what with that steady stream of film fests I was caught up in for a couple of months there twasn't meant to be. There's all sorts of news I've missed mentioning, but I'm going to try to keep these links more recent, since one assumes you guys get your news from other places. I know, I know, a nutso assumption, but we'll entertain the thought for today. Here goes...

--- Crazy Rich Christmas - Gorgeous Henry Golding was to the shock of nobody looking gorgeous and exuding charm in Paul Feig's A Simple Favor earlier this year, and so it wasn't a shock when Feig announced he was re-teaming with the Crazy Rich Asians star for his next project, a romantic holiday comedy called Last Christmas that'll have him wooing the elf-pants right off of the mother of dragons herself, Emilia Clarke. Today's news that Henry's CRA co-star and eternal goddess Michelle Yeoh is joining the cast though, that's something to jig fresh over.

--- Divine Interference - I'm heading down to Baltimore myself in a couple of weeks to see the John Waters exhibit that the Baltimore Museum of Art is currently staging, I'll surely report back on that once I do, but if you'd rather hear what John Waters himself has to say on it well I suppose you could click right here for a chat with him in the Washington Post. (thx Mac)

--- Bateman Below - As if the Muriel's Wedding musical wasn't enough to already have me contemplating throwing out my thumb to catch a ride Down Under now the entire continent of Australia is really going out of its way to make me crazy, musical-style - they're staging my beloved American Psycho musical in Sydney in the spring. The only show I've ever gone to see thrice! I don't know who Ben Gerrard is, I guess he's a well-known personality down there, but it's a shame they couldn't coax Benjamin Walker out of whatever hole Meryl Streep tossed him into after he abandoned that Gummer.

--- The Next Killer - Have you guys watched Cam on Netflix yet? The "cam girl" horror movie starring Madeline Brewer from The Handmaid's Tale? Here's my review in case you need convincing - the movie is very smart and fine and I recommend it. Well writer Isa Mazzei and director Daniel Goldhaber, the team behind the film, just let slip that they're teaming back up to make another horror flick next - it's a "semi-autobiographical" female-led serial-killer flick. Mazzei also reassures that the "semi" means she is not a serial killer, so that's good. In related here's a chat with Madeline Brewer about Cam.

--- Follow That Bird - Being so busy the past week I've fallen an episode behind on Park Chan-wook's miniseries The Little Drummer Girl, but if you've happened to be on Twitter while I am watching an episode then you know I am mad about what I have seen so far - it's gorgeous stuff. And happily the Atlantic got to chat with PCW about the visual style, particularly the show's vibrant color palette, you can read it all right here. I'm holding off on reading the article til the show's done myself though, since I don't want to color, har har, the experience of watching the show as it unfolds.

--- Twits Ahead - Every time a new Roald Dahl adaptation has come up over the years, and there have been many, I've always whined about the one story of his that nobody was adapting, his 1980 book The Twits, which was a childhood fave. It's an over-the-top goofy and brief book so whining aside I've always mostly understood why nobody's bothered. But now comes word that Netflix is making "an exclusive new and first-of-its-kind slate of original animated event series and specials" based on all of Dahl's works - basically it sounds like they're doing for Dahl what Castle Rock did for Stephen King and creating a "shared universe." So I expect me some Twits!

--- And Finally a new trailer for Patty Jenkins' miniseries I Am the Night with her Wonder Woman leading man Chris Pine popped up earlier this week - we shared the first look at the show back in June right here; this is about the Black Dahlia killing in Los Angeles in 1949. The series premieres at the tail-end of January. Watch: