Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Receive Me Brother, With Your Faithless Kiss

A note to everybody in the business of casting and making movies -- hire Matthias Schoenaerts. His specific mixture of sweet, sad, and bulkily intimidating always brings a heap of bang for its buck, to my eye -- I have yet to see a movie that wasn't made a little to a lot better just by Matthias being in it. (Okay maybe A Little Chaos, but that was one hundred percent that terrible wig's fault.) And so it goes for Brothers By Blood,(formerly titled The Sound of Philadelphia), director Jérémie Guez's languorous dissection of crime-family dynamics, set to strike VOD and some theaters this week. (Watch the trailer here.) A textbook case in "Hire Matthias Schoenaerts" if ever there was.

Schoenaerts plays Peter, another one of the introspective boxer-types that he could play in his sleep at this point. But Matthias, bless his bulk, never sleeps, even when he's called on again to be oh-so world-weary -- he remains keenly watchable even at his most somnambulistic, monosyllabic; he resonates like a quiet little bull in the corner of the china-shop standing on its tippy-toes trying so hard to not smash the world. By now Matthias can virtuoso out the tension of that un-smashing -- he's forever the lean-back to a punch, one that doesn't always come. One that might morph into a hug, a big bear one, given the correct alignment of hugging circumstances.

Peter specifically seems to just want to box and blend into the Philadelphia night shadows, but he's unfortunately for him cousins with an erratic and mildly-deranged small-time crime-boss Michael (Joel Kinnaman, hobbling and viper-eyed), who exploits Peter's meat-packing presence to his constant advantage. When the menu calls for intimidation, Michael calls up Peter to his side. Kinnaman, leaning on a cane, somehow inverts his own hulking presence, seeming more like a rat blown up to human-size; scraggly and feral under baggy person clothes. He limps in all the senses.

But besides their violent business relationship Peter and Michael are more than just cousins -- when the movie starts they do seem like friends, semi-confidantes, and at that maybe even the brothers of blood referenced in the title; that final note even moreso as the film metes out their family story in scattered flashback. The boys' crime-history, sordid and sad, becomes their crime-present with overlapping lines of betrayal, all tied and twisted into a crime-future of who knows. No good though. That's for certain in these sorts of stories. Hugs be damned.   

Meanwhile there's also Paul Schneider playing their in-over-his-head old friend, and Maika Monroe as his sister visiting town who quickly becomes The Girl caught in between the cousin-brothers. And in flashback we have a whiskey-faced Ryan Phillippe playing Peter's father, distraught with grief and plotting stupid revenge that will probably cause the whole house, multiple houses even, to crumble. Every past has its moments, some more than most.

But side-characters aside it's mainly the Schoenaerts & Kinnaman Show. And while Brothers By Blood might not be something I've never seen before -- even if Guez does have a great eye for wet city shadows and sad plastered walls, giving this place the sort of dilapidated sense you can smell -- those two actors do manage to make something often worth watching out of some pretty familiar scraps. Are they totally believable as Irish-Americans? That, my friends, is a stretch best forgetting. But they're both immensely watchable all the same, and Schoenaerts in particular, man, the dude just bear-hugs out wonders time and again with whatever you hand him. He fills the screen on his own.

Pics of the Day

I think this is a thing I've said here on the site before but all I want, all I truly want, is for somebody to paint me a painting of The Three Wise Men as portrayed by John Waters, Vincent Price, and Pee-wee Herman. I have the painting in my head but I also have absolutely no artistic skill whatsoever, so for now there it must remain. Anyway today I can satisfy a hint of my cravings with John Waters being this month's cover man for L'Uomo Vogue! Spectacular spectacular! I don't have the interview in English (it's in Italian here, and yes you should read the word "Italian" the way Mary Vivian Pearce pronounces it in Female Trouble -- "I couldn't possibly eat spaghetti -- do I look Eye-tally-in???") but I do have a shot of John standing in front of his bookshelves which is more porn than my body can handle in one sitting. I'm gonna be zooming in on that shot for weeks. Oh and there's some video from his apartment over here too. Lots of close-ups on his outrageous art artifacts. John's living the dream.

Riz Ahmed Three Times

These shots are coming at us via The Hollywood Reporter (shot by David Needleman, an old friend of mine -- a lucky old friend of mine, given the fact that he's taken photographs of Riz right now) where there's also a lengthy interview befitting his status as the front-runner for a Best Actor nomination, if not win, this year. That'd be for his work in Sound of Metal, of course, which is very good and probably deserving, says me. I haven't read THR's chat yet though -- it's set aside for my lunchtime reading. Please let me know if you read it earlier than lunchtime and there's something demanding my immediate attention, though.

Call Me By Your Homo

Heads-up that Call Me By Your Name author and super nice fella André Aciman has a new book of essays out today -- it's called Homo Irrealis (which excuse my blunt understanding of Latin translates directly to "Unreal Men" but perhaps and probably there's a more refined meaning to it I'm not getting at with that exact translation) and you can snap one up on Amazon right this very second. Here's how they describe the book:

"André Aciman returns to the essay form in Homo Irrealis to explore what the present tense means to artists who cannot grasp the here and now. Irrealis is not about the present, or the past, or the future, but about what might have been but never was―but could in theory still happen. From meditations on subway poetry and the temporal resonances of an empty Italian street, to considerations of the lives and work of Sigmund Freud, Constantine Cavafy, W. G. Sebald, John Sloan, Éric Rohmer, Marcel Proust, and Fernando Pessoa, and portraits of cities such as Alexandria and St. Petersburg, Homo Irrealis is a deep reflection of the imagination’s power to shape our memories under time’s seemingly intractable hold."

You can also read an excerpt of the book over on his publisher's website. CMBYN phenomenon aside I think Aciman is a gorgeous writer, with everything of his I've read, so I'm all over this like Elio on any poor peach within reaching distance.

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Good Morning, World

A happy one-day belated birthday to Archibald Alexander Leach aka the movie-star Cary Grant -- I actually did wish him a happy one on Twitter but Cary can't couldn't and shan't be be contained to one place. And especially  not when I came across these photos of him bathing his celebrity nudeness yesterday. Has anyone seen this 1940 film The Howards of Virginia? Released smack-dab between His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story Grant was plenty of star when this came out, but the film looks at a surface-level as forgettable as it's turned out to be. But then who knows -- there are hidden gems still out there, pleading for rediscovery. I'd be shocked if this was one, though. Still it gave us Cary soaping himself in an itty bitty tub as two grown men watch on so it's not a total wash. Get it? Wash? Oh god just hit the jump for a couple more...

Monday, January 18, 2021

5 Off My Head: Siri Says 2012

Three weeks right in a row has got to be some sort of record for our "Siri Says" series -- it's been awhile since I haven't let my attention slip in between. But here we are, for the third time in as many weeks, asking the little woman inside of my telephone to give me a number between 1 and 100 and then name my favorite five movies from the corresponding year. Today, on the second try, Siri said the number 12, and so today we will skip ourselves back not too far, just to The Movies of 2012.

This year is of course recent enough that I already did this once -- you can check out our so-called "Golden Trousers" awards for 2012 at this link. Those were some substantial Pantys! 2012 represents the peak of my awards-posting -- I posted a ton that year, more than any before or since. What I remember about that is it blew me the fuck out. There's no need for almost 70 posts! I've learned to condense them, thankfully -- my sanity thanks me anyway. 

I was curious to see if my original list of favorite 2012 movies had shifted at all in the past nine years and lo, it has, although not a ton. What surprised me the most is how few 2012 movies I've re-watched since 2012? Ones that placed rather high at the time I just haven't seen since. So there's some shuffling off my head today, mostly due to my memory being hazy, but truth be told if I haven't had the desire to re-watch the movie in eight years that might say something about my love for the movie, right? Right. Anyway, the list as it stands today...

My 5 Favorite Movies of 2012
(dir. Wes Anderson)
-- released on June 29th 2012 --
(dir. Leoz Carax)
-- released on July 4th 2012 --

(dir. Chris Butler & Sam Fell)
-- released on August 17th 2012 --

(dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
-- released on September 21st 2012 --

(dir. Jacques Audiard)
-- released on May 17th 2012 --


Runners-up: Amour (dir. Michael Haneke), The Cabin in the Woods (dir. Drew Goddard), Cosmopolis (dir. David Cronenberg), Lincoln (dir. Steven Spielberg), Magic Mike (dir. Steven Soderbergh), The Paperboy (dir. Lee Daniels), Compliance (dir. Craig Zobel), Take This Waltz (dir. Sarah Polley), The Impossible (dir. JA Bayona)...

... Wuthering Heights (dir. Andrea Arnold), Killing Them Softly (dir. Andrew Dominik), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (dir. Stephen Chbosky), Dark Horse (dir. Todd Solondz), Bullhead (dir. Michael R. Roksam), The Wise Kids (dir. Stehen Cone), The Bay (dir. Barry Levinson), Zero Dark Thirty (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)

Never seen: Hysteria (dir. Tanya Wexler), Goon (dir. Michael Dowse), Jiro Dreams of Sushi (dir. David Gelb), Hyde Park on Hudson (dir. Roger Michell), Quartet (dir. Dustin Hoffman)


What are your favorite movies of 2012?

Jake Picking One Time

Hollywood star (as in the Ryan Murphy series, not the whole of Tinseltown) Jake Picking was kind enough to share with us this photo today -- and if you quick check his Insta-stories you'll see some of his pals KJ Apa and Charles Melton as well, who're apparently playing in the desert with him. I hope they're being responsible, and wearing protection! Ohh I mean "masks" of course...

Pics of the Day

Shooting on the third Spider-Man movie (the third one with Tom Holland, that is) began during the last week down in Atlanta, and here are a few snaps of what JJ claims is Tom Holland himself inside the costume -- whenever the mask is on we can't be sure, of course, but as an expert on "the shape of Tom Holland" I like to think I can recognize him, and that looks like his shape to me (thx Max). Also of note -- there are rumors that one-time TV Daredevil Charlie Cox has filmed a cameo as the lawyer Matt Murdock, but there's no solid confirmation on that. They'd be dumb to recast -- just make a Daredevil movie already! Charlie Cox is your -- and by your I mean my -- man. Hit the jump for a couple more Spider-twink snaps...

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Gus Morning, Worthy

Happy Monday, my good people! It occurred to me, as I gathered up this new photoshoot of gold medalist skier and enthusiastic homosexualist Gus Kenworthy (via) last Friday that a good way to frame them, here against the week about to mark the happy occasion of the Joe Biden inauguration, would be to say that hey, here's an Olympian with good politics (here's his emotional post about the election win in November in case you doubted), as opposed to that horse-faced swimmer who participated in the 1/6 insurrection. But then I realized, as I set out to write that nonsense, that I don't actually have to pretend to frame these photos as anything, now do I? It's Gus Kensworthy in tighty-whities! Gus Kenworthy in tighty-whities speaks for itself. Hit the jump for a dozen more...

Friday, January 15, 2021

Criterion is Made at Night

So I just fiiiiinally got the Criterion Channel a couple of weeks ago and it's truly an astonishment, more content than I could ever come to grips with. My list grows by bounds every day, until finally, one eve, it will topple and crush me and I can't imagine a finer fate. Anyway that's my way of prefacing a complaint, imagine that, that they don't have more Frank Borzage films! It could be a rights thing -- I think a lot of Borzage's movies were for Fox and now Disney owns Fox and we all know how that is going. (Insert barf emoji here.) But what it comes down to is I really want an American boxed-set of the Janet Gaynor & Charles Farrell films...

... all twelve of them! Besides The Devils on blu-ray it's the Movie Thing I want the most of all. And I feel like Criterion is the place where I could get that, at least most respectfully. I do have a foreign set (not this out-of-print one unfortunately, which looks like an absolute dream) that includes a couple of the films -- Street Angel and 7th Heaven, which were in particular directed by Borzage -- but my ass is greedy. Anyway I thought of all this today, here on the grand occasion of our monthly Criterion Announcement Day, because Criterion is indeed releasing a Frank Borzage film on disc. It's not one that stars Farrell & Gaynor though...

... it's the 1937 adventure-romance History is Made at Night, starring Jean Arthur and Charles Boyer. Have any of you seen it? I have not but it sounds grand, and I've never disliked a single Borzage film yet of the several I've seen, even the ones that don't star Farrell & Gaynor, so I've got high hopes for this one. It's also on the Channel right now, it appears, so maybe I'll watch it this weekend! Here's how it's described:

"Suffused with intoxicating romanticism, History Is Made at Night is a sublime paean to love from Frank Borzage, classic Hollywood’s supreme poet of carnal and spiritual desire. On the run through Europe from her wealthy, cruelly possessive husband, an American (Jean Arthur) is thrown together by fate with a suave stranger (Charles Boyer)—and soon the two are bound in a consuming, seemingly impossible affair that stretches across continents and brings them to the very edge of catastrophe. Lent a palpable erotic charge by the chemistry between its leads, this delirious vision of lovers beset by the world passes through a dizzying array of tonal shifts—from melodrama to romantic comedy to noir to disaster thriller—smoothly guided by Borzage’s unwavering allegiance to the power of love. "

That sounds right up my alley. A disaster thriller! Yes please. You can pre-order it (and see all of the usual reams of extra bonus special features) over on Criterion's website. And per usual that's not all Criterion has on tap for the month of April -- they're also dropping a no-doubt gorgeous restoration of Bong Joon-ho's probable-best flick Memories of Murder, they're also also dropping Olivier Assayas' grandly weird Maggie Cheung vehicle Irma Vep, and they're also also also dropping Jean-luc Godard's Masculin Feminin, and they're also also also also dropping Anthony Mann's grand 1950 Western The Furies starring our queen Barbara Stanwyck! This is a fantastic line-up of features...

Tahar Rahim Seven Times

Huzzah Flaunt magazine has bestowed upon our weary heads a brand new Tahar Rahim photoshoot and interview this Friday afternoon -- it has been after all an entire week since the last one we posted, so we were hardcore jonesing. It's a good reminder I suppose that I should watch his Guantánamo drama The Mauritanian this weekend while I still have the time, pre-Sundance. I was hoping we'd have a date for when his other project The Serpent, the BBC drama about a real-life 70s serial killer that I've praised a couple of times, was going to drop onto Netflix here in the US, but they still haven't as far as I can tell announced that yet. I hope they do soon! I want to hear what y'all think. For now I suppose let's enjoy this lovely sweater-filled photo-shoot here, after the jump...

Do Dump or Marry: Four Miami Men

First things immediately, a happy birthday to One Night in Miami director and queen-since-way-back Regina King today -- I love that her big movie is getting released on her birthday! Yes indeed One Night in Miami is now on Amazon Prime, watch it here -- this is the flick that imagines what a night in 1964 would have been like where Muhammed Ali (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), all met up in a Miami hotel-room to drink, chat, and blow our collective heads in the future with such a confluence. 

You can watch the trailer here, although I recommend just watching the damn movie now that you can -- the four guys are great (Ben-Adir is best in show for me, but most people seem to have a different fave) and the movie's got a lot of heart, passion, and thoughtfulness to recommend. It's also got, dare I say, just a lotta goddamned eye candy with these four actors.

Which brings me to the "Do Dump and Marry" portion of the post. We haven't done one of these in awhile and this movie clearly lends itself to the game, even if it does present the question of an Odd Man Out since there are four people and three slots (ha) they can fill. Those slots? "Do" means you spend one night with them. "Dump" means you do nothing with them. And "Marry" means you do everything thereafter with them. I'm going to leave it to your discretions with the extra name -- dump two people, fuck two people, have yourself a Mormon wedding, I don't care.

But here's one thing I do want -- I want two lists of answers. I want you to "Do Dump or Marry" the actors, meaning Goree, Hodge (more here), Ben-Adir, (more here) and Odom Jr. And THEN second I want you to "Do Dump or Marry" the characters, aka the real people, that they are playing. Meaning a second list where you choose between the boxer Ali, the revolutionary X, the singer Cooke, and the footballer Brown. Two lists! Four people! Three slots! Make your hay in the comments of all this!

Make It Huckabees Two

Y'all think I love famous people -- well wait til you get a load of the director David O. Russell. He's always been known for gathering up big casts of name actors -- he might not have had the clout with his first film Spanking the Monkey but what clout he had off of Spanking the Monkey's small success (and I remember that movie being pretty buzzy when it came out in 1994) he immediately threw into casting with his next flick, the road-trip comedy Flirting With Disaster...

... which starred Ben Stiller, Tea Leoni, Patricia Arquette, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Richard Jenkins, and Josh Brolin. (Plus bonus points for Celia Weston, of course.) And his casts have only grown starrier from there, reaching probably their apex with American Hustle back in... 2013? Is that movie really seven years old? WTF.

Anyway we might have thought that was the apex, but his new project is putting all of those movies to shame. We don't have a title, we don't know what it's about -- except it's based on "an original idea" from Russell himself -- but we just got nine new names added to the already insane cast in the past 24 hours so let's list off the people who're signing up to get berated on set by him. First we heard about Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington. That's already a big movie right there. Then a couple of days ago they added Rami Malek and Zoe Saldana. But then! Last night! Last night the cast added (deep breath) Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, Timothy Olyphant, Michael Shannon, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Andrea Riseborough, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Alessandro Nivola.

Russell has of course worked with a few of these people before -- Nivola and Bale and De Niro, of course -- but, I mean... did his casting people just come here to MNPP and start grabbing names after that? It's like that meme that says "We're gonna give the gays all that they want" but it's not "We're gonna give JA all that he wants." Olyphant, Riseborough, Shannon, Taylor-Joy and Schoenaerts in one place is literally breaking my brain. Literally. I would take a picture with my phone and show you my brain oozing out of my ears but my brain just oozed out of my ears and so I don't remember how to take pictures with my phone any longer. I am broken. Right, Andrea? 

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