Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Hold Your Loved Ones Close This Holiday

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This is a very short week! I didn't get everything done this very short week that I wanted to, including writing a proper review of Knives Out, which is out in theaters today and which I can't seem to summon more to say about than just "It's a ton of fun, you should see it!" I mean that. I do, and you should. It's just 1) a movie it's hard to write about because it's an endless series of twists that even just talking about the twists existing feels spoilery, and 2) it's fluff I will eventually watch ten times but doesn't really inspire a lot in the terms of words out of me.
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It's a terrific Movie Movie, full of movie stars having fun and clever misdirections and fun sets and costumes, but I don't really know what to say about it beyond that. I mean that, by the way, is plenty. All of those things add up to plenty! But I can't say I feel particularly passionate about Knives Out -- the thing that's most noticeable about it I guess is that it feels so Old Fashioned now, an original story coming from a big studio on a holiday weekend that's full of fresh characters and good actors, so that should be the thing that gets your ass to the theater for it. You won't be disappointed. 

Spectacularly moved? Probably not. For that you should still check out Marielle Heller's Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood if you haven't already, which didn't do great at the box office when it was released over this past weekend but will presumably still be in a ton of theaters this week for the holiday. I reviewed that right here and yes that is the sort of movie that will get me rambling endlessly. One of the year's absolute best.

Your other best options are Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, which just hit Netflix (read my NYFF review at The Film Experience) and I'll also recommend, if you're in New York, the Guatemalan flick Temblores, which is about a closeted gay man whose ultra-religious family refuses to let him find happiness. It's opening at the Quad (and PS its gorgeous lead actor Juan Pablo Olyslager will be there for Q&As) and the film's a rough sit emotionally but worth checking out for what feels like an honest view of the uphill battle we still face in many places. (Including here in the US for too many!) It's some perfect anti-Thanksgiving programming -- family can truly suck.

The other two films out this weekend, The Two Popes (reviewed here) and Queen & Slim (reviewed here), I wasn't nuts about them to put it mildly, but other people seem to be so who knows where you'll fall. If you see any of these, or anything else worth telling me about, let me know your thoughts in the comments! And have a Happy Thanksgiving, go get good and stuffed...
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Ultraviolence For the Poor

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Last week I fell down a very deep hole watching the special features on Arrow's brand new blu-ray 4K restoration of Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi masterpiece Robocop -- there are chats with everybody about everything, the featurettes go on and on, I couldn't even make it through them all. I couldn't even make it around to watching any of that 4K restoration, which by the way is of not only the original cut but they also restored the Director's Cut as well, so immersed in other bells and whistles was I. So I'll probably be watching those over the holidays.

Speaking of with Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming this is a good time to remind everyone that a good way to support your most favorite website MNPP -- besides clicking on that little DONATE button in the right-hand column and doing that directly, wink wink -- is to go shopping at Amazon through this link, or search for things and click over in that Amazon box also in the right-hand column. 

I know, I know, Amazon is an evil corporation and all that, but don't pretend you don't buy your emergency underpants there. And if you buy your emergency underpants there through my link some of the money gets swindled out of Jeff Bezos' shabby chic pockets and into mine! Everybody wins! Especially Jeff Bezos. Bastard person.
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Barry Keoghan Two Times

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As far as I can tell there haven't been any updates on the TV adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn's most beloved by me comic series Y: The Last Man since August, when Vaughn himself reported that things were going well in the writing room with the show's new showrunner. Its not like Yorick-to-be Barry Keoghan doesn't have other stuff on his plate -- he's co-starring in both The Eternals for Marvel and David Lowery's Green Knight, an adaptation of the Gawain story of yore, alongside Dev Patel. But I'm still gonna check back in on this project every couple of months, other projects be damned -- it at least gives me an excuse to root through Barry's Instagram for recent thirst traps.


Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:


Jean: I’m glad you guys feel better.
Unfortunately I’m still fucked up.
Danny: Do you want to take a swing?
Jean: I could smash every car in this
parking lot and burn the hospital
down and it wouldn’t un-fuck me up.

A happy 50 to Elizabeth Marvel today! What a shit-show that she didn't get any awards traction for this wonderful performance in 2017 -- I liked TMS a lot but she was far and away its highlight, but then we should be used to her being the best thing about good things by now. I mean I saw her on stage with Glenda fucking Jackson last year in King Lear and I walked away only wanting to talk about Elizabeth Marvel's (okay and Ruth Wilson's) performance -- what is that? (Sidenote: Marvel also does some good work in Swallow, my first favorite movie of 2020.)

It looks like this year might end up being the year that Noah Baumbach finally gets his awards attention with Marriage Story, and I certainly don't begrudge that -- that's not only a very good movie (I haven't reviewed it yet, but yes it is good) but it's a movie that's responsible for my beloved Paris Theater reopening for the foreseeable future, so give it all of the awards. Still Meyerowitz Stories feels very underrated to me here two years later, especially in the midst of watching Adam Sandler get praise for his work in the Safdie's latest Uncut Gems, a performance I straight up hated. Nooo critics, don't encourage these bad instincts! Do more like Meyerowitz, Adam.


Slim Pickings

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I considered writing up Queen & Slim and The Two Popes at once, a two-fer, because they're both films I found undone by last acts that unraveled everything good that came before them, including some very good performances. And not just that but both instances involved my atheism getting activated (it's my superpower apparently), which made more sense when it came to The Two Popes since that one's specifically about religion. (Read that review here.)

I decided against that though because Queen & Slim, even if the character arc they carve out for its leading lady Jodie Turner-Smith is some regressive bullshit that pissed me off righteously, even if that it still has more to offer and deserves being grappled with on its own. For one Turner-Smith deserves to be a big star, she's an electric presence; add to that that Daniel Kaluuya, who's already proven himself more than enough with Get Out and Widows, delivers some of his finest work to date here.

Director Melina Matsoukas also shoots the hell out of this thing, gifting us with a molasses slow lovers-on-the-run road-trip across the south that riffs on the iconography of the Black American Experience in exactly the same way as Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise did with womanhood -- that was the movie I thought of the most watching this, and I sure don't mind being made to think of Thelma & Louise whenever I can be.

The script ends up being the film's big problem -- too often it mistakes generic for iconic; there's the Platonic Ideal of a table and then there's just a plain old unremarkable kitchen table, and Queen & Slim spends a lot of time on plain old unremarkable kitchen tables. Characters that should read large fall flat, impersonal -- real big screen presences like Chloe Sevigny and Flea and Indya Moore and Bokeem Woodbine show up but then just sort of float around for a minute or two; nothing about who they are seems to offer anything to the leads' journey. 

And oof, where Queen and her Slim are going -- wake me when we get there so I can start screaming. Without getting too aggressively spoilery let me just say that the film whittles down everything interesting about its "Queen" and finds growth out of recession. The character is far more interesting at the start than at the end -- Turner-Smith works hard to sell this as a flowering, but the movie leaves her stranded in the weeds. And me fuming, exhausted, sputtering please stop.


RIP Godfrey Gao

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I was shocked last night to read that the Taiwanese-born and Canadian-bred model turned actor Godfrey Gao, only thirty-five years young, had died -- he's been one of our favorite posting subjects all this decade, even though we never got to see any of his actual acting. His only real role over here was in the Mortal Instruments movie -- otherwise he mostly worked in China, because our movie-makers are fools who've only recently realized that Asian Men can be Leading Men. I had been hoping that this turning point post Crazy Rich Asians might mean work over here for Godfrey specifically,  since he's one of the most beautiful humans I've ever seen -- he made beautiful Henry Golding look like a puddle of puke! -- but obviously that's not to be. Our thoughts are with the people he knew in the real world today, and feel free to click back through our archives for a ton and I do mean a ton of photos.
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Good Morning, Dustin Milligan

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It feels so strange, seeing people tweet and post breathlessly about the teaser for the final season of Schitt's Creek -- putting on my Old Man Voice (aka my voice) I remember a time when it seemed as if it was just me out here bleating that beat, when the first season aired in Canada and I, Catherine O'Hara freak that I am, downloaded it fresh as it aired there each week, getting side-eyes whenever I tried to tell people that something called Schitt's Creek was the best new everything. Point being I was right, y'all were dumb, na na na na na.
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Of course now that teaser's been out for a couple of weeks (the sixth and final season premieres in January) and while all y'all post and tweet breathlessly about it my old ass is only getting around to that now. So who won in the long run, Jason? Who won in the long run? Well to make up for my tardiness I'll share with y'all several more photos of Schitt's star Dustin Milligan, aka Ted the Vet, after the jump -- how do we think his relationship with Alexis will end? Any predictions for the season? Share those in the comments...

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Bachelorette (2012)

Gena: I personally believe that blowjobs are an extremely delicate thing. You know? Like if you're ranking him on a scale of 1-10. Like 1 being blowing it kisses and 10 being I'm like, choking on semen. Vomit just everywhere. I think you gotta start off with 4's and with 5's. Just enough so that you know and I know exactly what I'm doing but with zero enthusiasm. I'm giving you nothing. Because then you'll just be like, alright fine I'll just fuck her. Cause if I start off with a 10 I got nowhere to go. Why are you gonna spend any time fucking me? You just came all over my face. So you start off small, right? Build. I'll give you a 6 after a fight when we're making up. An 8 when you spent a shitload of money on me or get me something that's a sweet gift or something. I'll do a full 8. Then I circle it back. Back to the 3's, the 4's, and 5's because that shit every time without fail makes the guy's dick alarm go off. You know what I mean when I say dick alarm.
Barely Attractive Guy: Yeah.
Gena: Right? You're gonna be like, hey baby what's wrong with you? You're acting funny. Why so sad? When really what you're telling me is, goddamn it just suck my dick harder!

A very happy 39 to writer-director Leslye Headland today! I'd just like to remind all you Russian-Doll-come-latelies that I was over here deep throating her talent in 2012. Christ I love this foul-mouthed mean-spirited piece of work movie -- it lifts and feeds my foul-mouthed mean-spirited soul.
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A Princely Palate Cleanser

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Instead of being worked up about that dumb god movie I just furiously reviewed let us look instead upon this lovely new photograph of the God's Own Country and The Crown actor Josh O'Connor -- see the rest of the shoot previously posted back here. Thanks for the happier thoughts and feelings, Josh!
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Popin' Off

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If you want a review of a movie about Catholicism that doesn't mention that organized religion is a scourge upon humanity I recommend you read somebody else's reviews about religious movies, because I have a real tough time not viewing movies on the subject through the lenses I stare at the world through, which are very much of that kind. That's the baggage I took with me into Fernando Meirelles' new film The Two Popes, and that's the baggage that undid the majority of my enjoyment of what was certainly a perfectly well-acted and well-shot thing. 

At a certain point the film, which tells the story of the transfer of power from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) to Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) in the decade following John Paul the whatever's demise, began to reek real hard of propaganda to my suspicious sniffer -- as the world media and this movie would have us believe this Francis fellow is The Good Guy, redeeming that curdled institution et cetera, and yo everybody the Church loves homosexuals and abortions and such totally now, let's all boogie up straight to the pearly gates.

I'm not buying that case, if the sarcasm of the previous paragraph didn't shoot devil-eyed daggers straight into your (non-existent) soul -- I kept thinking of the tough and honest ways that Francois Ozon wrestled with the Catholic Church's legacy of awfulness in By the Grace of God earlier this year; there's really almost none of that from Meirelles. The subject is so skimmed over it's practically obscene -- Francis listens to a vague confession from Benedict about shuffling offending priests around and Meirelles makes the sound go out in the middle of it, because such ugliness might ruin our vibe, and then a couple scenes later the two fellas are whooping it up watching soccer. O, what a lark!

The film works best as a procedural of the ridiculous processes by which the Church functions, all of them ridiculous, but it quickly reveals itself to exist within a moral vacuum it has no intentions of addressing, and by its end I was turned entirely furious by the people chuckling around me at this lighthearted rendering of two ol' dudes in goofy robes just chillaxing, like regular dudes do. It has no room for the generations of trauma that institution has inflicted; it pays quick lip service and swerves straight back to its puff piece image rehabilitation intent. I will not wave away those sins or say Hail Marys for this up to no good shit.


King Nabs Dane, More

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When they announced that the next big Stephen King adaptation, of his 2006 novel Lisey's Story, was going to be a Children of Men reunion starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen, I should have posted about it. When they announced that the eight episode series, which will air on the Apple+ streaming service, will be directed by Chilean master Pablo Larraín, who made the films No and Jackie, then I should have posted about it. When they announced this week that actor Dane DeHaan, seen pictured above and below, had joined the cast, then I should have posted about it. (thx Mac) But it's the latest news, that Joan Allen has joined the cast as well, that finally pushed my dumb ass over the edge and into a post. My god what a bunch of folks! Lisey's Story tells the story of... uhh, Lisey? More specifically, here:

"Lisey’s Story is a deeply personal thriller that follows Lisey (Moore) two years after the death of her husband (Owen). A series of events causes Lisey to begin facing certain realities about her husband that she had repressed and forgotten. Dehaan will play Jim Dooley, a huge fan of Scott’s (Owen) books who feels strongly about his unpublished work being released to the world."

King himself has scripted all eight episodes, which... well I love King, y'all know I do, but he's not always shown the best judgement when it's come to adapting his own work off the page and onto the screen. I have more faith in Larraín being there to transfer King's words into images, thankfully. All we know about Joan Allen's character is she's named "Amanda" -- I never read this book (did you?) so that means nothing to me. This will be Allen's second King adaptation this decade, after 2014's A Good Marriage -- the unmemorable AGM was also scripted by King, if you want to consider where this could go without someone as talented as Larraín in the director's chair. Fingers crossed.


The Kelly Gang's Coming Soon

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I have no idea when Snowtown and Macbeth director Justin Kurzel's newest film, called True History of the Kelly Gang and which got some very fine attention at the Toronto Film Festival in September -- including tell of a Nicky Hoult nude scene worth the price of admission -- will be getting a release here in the U.S., but I'm guessing it'll be some ways into 2020. But the film, which also stars Babadook legend Essie Davis and Russell Crowe and 1917 star George Mackay (hey he just sat five inches away from me a couple of days ago) and Charlie Hunnam...

... excuse me, and Naked Charlie Hunnam...

... the film is getting released in its home country on the Australian streaming service called Stan (which is sort of their Netflix, although they have Netflix too) on January 26th. And so they've gone and released a vertiginous-shaped trailer, which thanks to the wonders of the internet I've now got to share with you. It looks absolutely bonkers. Watch:
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Obviously this is one I'll be covering every single little sniff of information about, so keep coming back to MNPP if you want such a thing! Assassin's Creed aside I think Kurzel is absolutely one of the most interesting directors working today and I can't wait to see what he does with the story of the Kelly Gang -- one of, if not The, Great Aussie Myths, which has already been filmed a ton of times at this point -- and with this insanely talented cast.

And also with Nicholas Hoult wearing nothing but sock garters. Did I mention Nicholas Hoult wearing nothing but sock garters? Nicholas Hoult wearing nothing but sock garters. There's no glimpse of that bit just yet but obviously they're gonna save the big money-shot for when it counts...


Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Pic of the Day

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I've had my picture taken with John Waters before but I'm almost more thrilled by that photo I took of him at MoMA last night because one senses half a sneer in it, as if he's thinking, "Who's this fucker taking my picture without permission?" And to be genuinely sneered at by John Waters is TO LIVE. I have LIVED. If a bus runs me over this afternoon tell everyone you know, HE FUCKING LIVED. 

John and I were at MoMA hate-fucking each other with our eyes for a screening of 30/30 Vision: 3 Decades of Strand Releasing, which is a collection of 30 short films by prominent filmmakers who've worked with the Strand Releasing film distributor, who I'm sure you're aware of, especially if you're a gay man. I mean...

... how many of us came of age thanks to that little poof of smoke? Strand turns 30 this year and they celebrated with this collection, which included shorts by Mr. Waters, Gregg Araki, Cindy fucking Sherman, Bruce La Bruce -- whose short was called "Homage to Blowjob" and was a static shot of some guy's face as BLB himself (or presumably since he was credited) loudly, and I do mean loudly, choked on the guy's dick out of frame; for anyone who's enjoying the arty simplicity of Warhol's original "Blowjob" Bruce's valiantly obscene update was a terrific in-joke. The list goes on and on, see all the filmmakers included here, and below's a photo of some of the ones who showed up to the screening last night.
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Jovan Adepo Nine Times

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Perfectly timed to this week's episode of Watchmen -- which we were just feting this very morning, gratuitously-speaking -- comes Flaunt magazine's brand new photo-shoot and interview with the actor Jovan Adepo, who played Regina King's character's grandfather in flashbacks and who had himself some fun with Jake McDormand on the side. Adepo's looking so growed-up these days that...

... I didn't even realize he was that kid from The Leftovers! My goodness. Anyway he's also about to play "Larry Underwood" on the new miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand, so we should all get real familiar with him at this point. Hit the jump for the rest of this photo-shoot...

Good Morning, World

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Alright y'all have watched the most recent episode of Watchmen by now right? I have given you another eighteen hours since our last (and first!) Jake McDorman post to do it, so now it's on you. This week's episode gave us flashbacks to the origin story... or I guess I should say "stories"... and I maybe shouldn't even call them "flashbacks" because of the way the show used them as living memories or hallucinations... oh whatever, this week's episode gave us flashbacks to the tale of the superhero called "Hooded Justice" and how that connected to Regina King's grandfather, a story that's been integral...

... to how Damon Lindelof has been beautifully reconfigurating the Watchmen universe to be about Race in the US. This episode -- which, the rumors are true, is absolutely astonishing -- also managed to wrap LGBT history into all of that, and not in a flat way either; the whole shebang of Gayness and Race, the hierarchies of privilege even among minorities, gets plopped onto the table and chopped up into crazy little bits. All that and it's got a whole lotta ass-kicking, plus some hot perving between McDorman and Jovan Adepo (as you'll see below) -- I mean what more could one even want out of their Peak Television? Well if you answered "some gifs of the sexy stuff" hit the jump I got ya covered on that front at least...

Monday, November 25, 2019

Addicted to the Dance

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As mentioned last week I'm using the rest of this year's posts in my "Great Moments in Horror Actressing" series at The Film Experience to give good love to all of my favorite 2019 ladies -- this week it's Sofia Boutella's work in Gaspar Noé's dance-horror Climax that we're training our eyeballs upon, so click on over to give it a twirl.
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Jake McDorman Six Times

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I've known who Jake McDorman is for awhile because 1) a friend of mine has had a longtime crush, and 2) he's worked a lot in the past fifteen years, on shows like Greek and the Murphy Brown reboot and Shameless. But I've never posted about him -- it wasn't until recently when he showed up as the doofy reincarnation of one of the vampire's eternal loves on What We Do in the Shadows that I really personally took notice. (Y'all watch WWDITS right? So so funny.)

Anyway now thanks to last night's epic and incendiary season-best (so far) episode of HBO's Watchmen, in which he turns up as [I won't say yet since it's been less than 24 hours since it aired and I don't want to spoil it], well... I'm noticing him for sure now. I'll have more on him on Watchmen tomorrow morning (so yes consider this a warning; you've got until tomorrow morning and then I'm spoiling his appearance there, at least a little) but for right this second after the jump I've got a pleasant little photoshoot of him so's we can prepare ourselves...

Pics of the Day

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I was fortunate enough to see Sam Mendes' latest film the WWI one-take action-drama 1917 this weekend -- it's not out until Christmas so I might not properly review it for a bit but I will say you should plan on seeing it, and seeing it on as big a screen as you can. The cinematography from the genius Roger Deakins is fairly mind-blowing, especially a scene at about 3/4s in set in a burning village. Anyway as you see above there was a Q&A at the screening I attended that included the film's leads Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen from Game of Thrones!) and forthcoming-fave George Mackay -- not to mention Mendes and Deakins, holy shit -- and I posted some snaps and video on my Insta, enjoy:
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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