Thursday, July 30, 2020

Pic of the Day

You all are gonna have to excuse me for awhile, because this new photo (via) of our massive crush Jonathan Majors wearing an extremely fitted yellow henley shirt with dog-tags on his forthcoming HBO series Lovecraft Country has given me a stiff case of the vapors. I have got to go lay down! And can somebody get me the address for this show's costumer, as I need to place an order for an edible arrangement. All of the edible arrangements! Jonathan Majors is an edible arrangement. Oh I am losing the thread. Let me spit out the specifics before it's fully lost -- Lovecraft Country premieres on HBO on August 16th, I posted the trailer right here. It's about racism in the Jim Crow South and also big goopy ancient tentacled monsters and also yellow henley shirts that just cling, cling, cling....

ETA ohhh wait. I woke up from my fever brought about by that photo and discovered that that photo isn't all there is -- they've gone and released a new poster for the show as well as a brand new fuller longer and more thorough trailer, which gives us our first glimpses of the horrific monsters of the show... meaning the titular Lovecraftian sort of monsters as well as...

... the racist white people played by a peroxided Tony Goldwyn sort too! Wild, man. Anyway I will share all of this, the trailer and the poster and oh yes of course also several gifs of Jonathan rocking these snug midcentury costumes like a straight up fever dream, right on after the jump...

I've Seen The Future, Brother...

Once in film school a thousand years ago my film came back from the lab black -- pitch-black, nothing on it, ruined. Twas a disaster. And this being film school everything was already spinning at a breakneck pace -- my project was due the next morning, and I had nothing, nothing, to offer. Somehow -- and don't ask me the origin of this precise lightning bolt, it's lost to time and memory loss no doubt due to all these many years of mid-life excessive drinking -- the thought occurred to me that a sure way to save this disaster would be to take an X-Acto blade and do an animation on the blackened film. To scratch a story into it, frame by frame by frame, over the course of that night before the project was due the next morning. As one does. 

And that is the origin story for how I spent several weeks of my film school experience haunted by visions of an X-Acto blade slowly tenderly slicing into the flesh of my left pointer finger. This is not a thing that actually happened -- I was not cut. I managed to do the animation without any injuries to my fingers, and get a decent grade for it to boot, especially on the back of my tale of woe and forced ingenuity. 

But while my actual fingers might have gone unscathed something, something incorrect, clicked in my brain over the course of that insane fifteen or so hours, hyped up on unholy amounts of caffeine and scratching a caveman's basic script into infinitesimally square of celluloid after infinitesimally square of celluloid after infinitesimally square of celluloid for hours, endless hours. And for weeks after this experience every time I closed my eyes I saw it -- a blade pushing into my the meat of my finger. I dreamt it. I ate and breathed it.

The compulsion of this violent image became so bad that I had to go to the college provided therapist  -- I became convinced I was actually going to go full Hellraiser and start mutilating my own fingertips if this image persisted in this way. There are many reasons that the process of actual hands-on filmmaking turned out to be Not For Me, but the insane spectacle of this pressure, this mental snap, my finger splitting open like a baked potato seems to sum it up whenever I think about what film school was. Bad news.

I tell you that too-long story because all of it came back to mind while I watched actress-turned-director Amy Seimetz's brand new psychedelically haunting horror flick called She Dies Tomorrow, which is out at drive-ins, you guessed it, tomorrow (watch the trailer here), and which is about a woman who becomes so deeply convinced that her death is imminent that this conviction spreads among everyone she tells it until a plague of meaninglessness, of curdled foreboding, sweeps the land. The film is about the way bad ideas take seed, and spoil us and the good things from the inside -- you don't have had to become obsessed with cutting to understand this concept; anybody who's ever been in love understands it just fine. Seeing the person you love across a crowded room laughing at some bohunk's joke will goose the same sensation -- doubt, that many tentacled depressant, will find its way in, and like water freezing and expanding, bursts us at our seams.

Starting with a character pointedly no doubt called Amy (played by Kate Lyn Sheil), Seimetz shows one woman's utter certainty of doom infects all the people in her life, toppling like impressionable dominos -- at first Amy's Cassandra declarations seem absurd, of course; no one knows when or how they will die beforehand. 

But unease whispers bitter nothings in the backs of everyone's minds whether they want to think them or not, and before you know it an Armageddon has come all the same -- it's like the riddle of which came first, all of our Apocalypse Movies or the actual Apocalypse now at our fingertips? Our subconscious has good sniffers, invisible antennae feeling into the future places our mind can't quite make sense of just yet -- the polar bears of today are the Emergency Room wait-staffs of tomorrow; Disaster's only a wee little harmless thought around the corner. We're all bleeding somewhere, some time.

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Michele: Hey Romy, remember Mrs. Divitz's class, there was like always a word problem. Like, there's a guy in a rowboat going X miles, and the current is going like, you know, some other miles, and how long does it take him to get to town? It's like, 'Who cares? Who wants to go to town with a guy who drives a rowboat?

A happy 57 to the wonder of Lisa Kudrow today! This is a good reminder to myself (and either a reminder or first alert to y'all) that I (slash We) need to watch (or re-watch) the video of Kudrow and several of the folks behind The Comeback doing a Zoom Reunion on "Stars in the House" on YouTube a week or so ago (via, thx Mac) -- I totally forgot to watch! What the world needs now is a third Comeback season, dammit.

Great Moments In Movie Staches

If you'd have been in the room as I watched The Heiress for the first time this past weekend -- of course in honor of the passing of Olivia De Havilland, who won an Oscar for the 1949 film -- there's a chance you might have been lifted off the floor and swooped violently straight into my gullet as I gasped so loudly when Montgomery Clift showed up with a mustache at one point late in the film that atmospheric conditions around the globe were momentarily altered. The dew-point dropped precipitously! 

In all seriousness it's a delightful stache reveal for what it represents -- Monty's character Morris woos Olivia's almost-old-maid sans stache at the start of the movie, and she believes his heart to be good and true, but he's revealed to be a money-grubbing cad who's only out for her inheritance, and the next time we see him, many years have passed and in their place a mustache has grown. You know the joke about how somebody's Evil Twin is always played by the same actor just with a mustache? That's how this Stache Reveal feels...

... like now that we know the dark truth of what a shit Morris is his true, stached self can present itself. He looks now like he might tie Olivia down to the train-tracks at any moment! Mind you, this is not a complaint -- Monty with a mustache could tie me down to the train-tracks any ol' time he wanted to. I just think it's funny, how blatant this "immorality of the mustache" is played out across The Heiress. Still I must ask...

PS I also recommend you read our pal Dan Walber's piece on
The Heiress at The Film Experience this week; good stuff!

Scheme This Sucker Into My Eyeballs Stat

So yesterday I did what I do every day which is spout a whole bunch of bullshit on this website -- nothing new! But yesterday some of that bullshit was aimed at the first poster for Miranda July's new film called Kajllionaire, which I admitted to some worry about because I am not its leading lady Evan Rachel Wood's biggest fan. 

Well today as predicted the trailer has dropped and already my fears and whinges seem folly, because this trailer made me laugh ten times and be wistfully optimistic twice that -- this looks delightful. UTTERLY DELIGHTFUL. I don't know how I could have doubted her. I am sorry, Miranda July! Now you watch:

Kajillionaire is set to come out on September 18th.

Colman Domingo Three Times


The best part of these photos -- which apparently originated with Entertainment Weekly for their Comic-Con coverage of the new season of Fear the Walking Dead, but which I swiped off of Colman's Instagram account -- are what he had to say regarding the top one on that same Insta, and I quote:

"The day you realise that when someone says, Hey Daddy....they mean you. I see it now. 😂 I’m all in."

I'm ashamed to admit that even though Domingo's been acting since the 90s -- including a five-episode stint on my beloved The Knick! --  it wasn't until he played the fierce papa of If Beale Street Could Talk that I sat up in my chair and was like, "Wait, who's that?" He truly was exceptional in that film opposite the also exceptional Regina King -- they were easily my favorite thing in the movie...

Well them and that score, that gorgeous score. And then on top of all that you add on the fact that Domingo is openly gay in real life, which I only found out circa that film's awards-run, and WHAM we are Colman for life. Hey Daddy! Hey Daddy over here!!!

Five Frames From ?


What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

Feeling nostalgic this morning for some original flavor Queer as Folk with Charlie Hunnam and Aidan Gillen, which has been on Amazon Prime for ages now and I feel a real cad for not having given a re-watch. I have seen the show again at least once since it first aired in 1999 but it doesn't matter how much time has passed -- this is one show that will transport me like a lightning bolt back to that time and place in my life. 

I was only a couple of years older than Nathan was supposed to be on the show and everything he was going through while still in high school I was going through in college (late bloomer, a la a lot of us gays back then) -- one of the reasons I'll love Chuck all my days, no matter how many bad movies or stupid things he says in the press. Anyway this scene from I think the show's second episode, presenting us with The Morning After after Nathan (Hunnam) has slept with Stuart (Gillen) for the first time, meaning he has slept with a man for the very first time, well it brings me back lemme tell ya. Sometimes I picture this scene instead of what really happened! Not that I have anything I need to forget -- those are good happy memories. 

But seriously -- the first time you showered in another man's shower? The first time another man walked into the bathroom and saw you, and looked at you, in that way? It's a charge, man. Made everything suddenly seem possible. Anyway I know it's ridiculous to think we'll get a QAF: 25 Years Later special in a couple of years but I'm hoping anyway -- Hunnam & Gillen just worked together with the King Arthur movie recently and spoke kindly about their past, uhh, working relationship. Keep hope alive! And hit the jump for a few more gifs from this scene...

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Luca's Giving Us the Full Service

This was not a news story I intended to write today! Or any day, ever, in my life. But here we are and Deadline has just reported that Luca Guadagnino, director of Call Me By Your Name and other Tilda-ier projects, is turning Scott Bowers' fantastical Hollywood Hooker tell-all into a movie! (thx Mac) 

This... is a lot of information. I have been talking about Bowers' book for several years here on the site -- it's called Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Live of the Stars, and it details how Bowers moved to Hollywood in the 1940s with dreams of acting and instead ended up turning a gas station into the premiere Whorehouse To The Stars. To call Bowers' stories lascivious is just to get the tip in.

This was, of course, used as a fictionalized backdrop for Ryan Murphy's show Hollywood earlier this year, with Dylan McDermott playing a spin on Scotty. But after the first couple of episodes that stopped being a focus of the show. Bowers' book (and the documentary that was made before Bowers died, which I also recommend) purports to share all sorts of outrageous sexual secrets of very famous people, including a ton of information about that period in gay history. Rock Hudson and the beautiful boys of super-agent Henry Willson are heavily featured in the telling (as they were also in Murphy's show). 

How much of it is actually true? Nobody seems to know. People have disputed many of Bowers' claims, especially the more outlandish ones -- were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor really whoring it up across Hollywood? -- but everybody who was there is dead, basically, and these are the kind of salacious secrets that people, especially famous people, take to their graves. 

That said I don't know if the truth matters. If the movie manages to find a way to tread the line, like I think the documentary did, between Bowers' own self-aggrandizing myth-making and the actual hidden history of the time and the place, a lot of which is more than well-documented otherwise, I think, I know, it's a fascinating and rich enough playground for movie-making. 

Here's the twist -- the script is being written by (of all people) Seth Rogen and his longtime writing partner Evan Goldberg, who're known for giving us all of the goofy man comedies like Pineapple Express, Superbad, the Neighbors movies. I like all of their movies, and I love Preacher, their irreverent comic-book TV show. And I actually think they're inspired choices -- a comic tone is maybe exactly how this story could best be told. Am I admittedly a little wary of the fact that both men are heterosexual? I might be! That said Luca's there, I trust him, and I know Seth has proven himself to be a solid gay ally. I don't think we need to worry about any "Eww Gay Is Gross" humor from them in 2020. Still those two and Luca are an odd pairing!

But now on to the most important question: 
Who the hell do you cast as Scotty Bowers?

How Much Wood

That there is the first poster for Miranda July's new movie, Kajillionaire! (via) Hopefully everyone reading this site knows what a devotee of July I am, but if you don't, know it -- Me and You and Everyone We Know and The Future are both masterpieces in mine own never humble opinion, and I've devoured every book July's written (of which there are many!) like it's that gunk that poured out of the earth and made the mosquitos huge in the 1976 cinematic classic Food of the Gods. It makes me big in places I didn't even know I had! 

Anyway I preface (yes that was a preface) what I am about to say with all of that love because I feel I should make my devotion clear before admitting, hesitantly, that I am a little worried about where my feelings for Kajillionaire might fall. Not because it got mixed reviews at Sundance -- I don't care about other people's opinions. (Other people thought The Future was a step down from MAYAEWK and those Other People were incorrect.)

No I am worried because, sorry to say, I am not sure I think Evan Rachel Wood is a good actress. She was -- again in my not ever humble opinion -- straight up terrible on Westworld anyway, like "You are killing the show for me all on your own" bad. And that's my most recent interaction with her skill-set. But going back I've never capital-L Loved any of her performances -- I guess the closest I've come was The Wrestler and maybe the Mildred Pierce miniseries but even those with some hesitation. And I haven't seen Thirteen in so long I can't remember if she was actually good or just the right age.

Anyway I hope Miranda taps into some never before appreciated quality of ERW for me and makes me see her in a new interesting light, I really very much do. That's always exciting, when that happens! And if not Kajillionaire also stars Richard f'ing Jenkins, Debra f'ing Winger, Gina f'ing Rodriguez, and Da'Vine f'ing Joy Randolph, who wowed the socks out of me in Dolemite is My Name last year. We'll find out on September 18th when the movie (supposedly) comes out! And maybe we'll get the trailer for it soon...

Invasion of the Riz Ahmed Snatchers

Now there's a face I have missed seeing! Good news today coming at us via Deadline, which is reporting that Riz Ahmed is set to star in a sci-fi horror flick called Invasion, alongside Octavia Spencer. Two great people, one scary movie -- sign me up! Riz will play a former Marine who's on the run with his two sons from "an inhuman threat" -- Octavia is playing the probations officer who's trying to bring them home. The film was co-written and will be directed by UK filmmaker Michael Pearce, who made the 2017 movie Beast with Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn...

... aka our main takeaway from the recent Emma movie. Anybody seen Beast? I have not. Anyway does the title Invasion and the fact that this is described as a "sci-fi thriller" make anybody think this might be a new version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? We get one every few years and we're overdue, if you don't count stuff like Ben Whishaw's movie Little Joe last year or the wonderful and seriously ahead of its time TV program BrainDead...

... sigh, RIP BrainDead. And I feel like there's a thing I am forgetting? Hasn't there been another "body snatcher" adjacent entertainment recently? There is something nipping at my tongue... hopefully it's not coronavirus. Anyway I might be projecting -- the title Invasion is hella generic, it could just be any old alien invasion movie now that the "Body Snatchers" of the title has been erased. Which was part of the problem with the 2007 movie The Invasion with Nicole Kidman, now that I mention it.

That and Daniel Craig kept his clothes on. Still I like to think that we'd just keep whittling the title down -- first the two Invasion of the Body Snatchers films in 1956 and 1978, then Body Snatchers in 1993, then The Invasion in 2007, and next possibly just simply Invasion. Come 2036 I guess we'll have a movie called Vas. Or ooh -- Snatch'd! Makes sense, can't wait. To be alive in 2036, I mean. Anyway in summation -- this has been a whole lot of rambling, I recognize -- here's a music video for a Riz Ahmed song that has a whole bunch of real attractive Pakastani wrestlers in itty bitty barely-there wrestling outfits. Seems a fine place to end.

Five Frames From ?


What movie is this?

Pics of the Day

Vanity Fair has been kind enough to grace us with the first photos from Ryan Murphy's upcoming Netflix series about the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest villainess Nurse Ratched, called simply Ratched -- actually I wish it was called "Simply, Ratched" because that would rule. In the film Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for her portrayal -- now comes, in the grand tradition of "Things Ryan Murphy has touched," Sarah Paulson to tackle the role. But more exciting than that to me is the supporting cast, which has Murphy finally getting his actressexual claws into both Judy Davis AND (drumroll please) the queen Sharon Stone!

And not just any ol' Sharon Stone, but Sharon Stone with a pet fucking monkey. This is like that gif of Wendi McLendon-Covey saying she's going to give the gays everything they want, but in a TV show form. Up to an including COREY STOLL BEING ON THIS SHOW, but he's frustratingly not featured in any of these photos. We do see Murphy regular Finn Wittrock though!

On that note there's a second picture that VF says is of Sharon Stone with Finn but I swear to all things holy -- by which I mean "Sharon Stone with a pet fucking monkey" -- that it doesn't look like Finn in the photo to me. The person looks WAY too young! Am I nuts? You decide...

Ratched premieres on Netflix on September 18th, 
meaning we will probably get a trailer soon!

ETA Vanity Fair has updated and confirmed that the picture is NOT Finn Wittrock -- it's Richard Madden friend and actor Brandon Flynn, who's in a single episode of the show.

Good Morning, Gratuitous Arash Mirandi

My intention was to do this post last week in correlation with my Sheila Vand in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night episode of my "Great Moments in Horror Actressing" series, since Arash Mirandi here is that film's beautiful dripping-with-Dean leading man and I never much mentioned him in that piece. I intended to, then didn't. I don't know. There's a lot going on in the world, man. Cut me some slack. We're here now! 

Anyway I didn't realize that Mirandi is a German actor -- he was born in Iran but raised in Germany and seems to work there mainly. Besides A Girl Walks Home he's got one other super good horror movie under his belt -- he played the doctor in Under the Shadow, Babak Anvari's 1980s post-Revolution Tehran-set thriller about a woman and her daughter trapped in their apartment building with a bomb lodged in the roof. That movie rules -- I reviewed it here.

Looks like he also played gay in 2018 in a flick called Fireflies, about an Iranian in exile in Veracruz, Mexico. Anybody seen it? Anyway re-watching A Girl Walks Home Alone last week reminded me what a treat he is, visually...

... Ana Lily Amirpour knows how to shoot male beauty (see also Jason Momoa in The Bad Batch) and then some. Fingers crossed that Mirandi shows up in more stuff that makes it here to the States but until then, his Instagram's worth a follow, and hey he's made it into a post here on MNPP! Hit the jump for the rest...