Thursday, September 03, 2015

Persona Non Meta

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Sometimes I'll go read somebody else's review of something in order to inspire myself, word-wise, and so it went today as I tried to slap together some words of Elisabeth Moss in Alex Ross Perry's new film Queen of Earth -- I went and I read Manohla Dargis' review in the Times, and sure enough she name-dropped several of the movies I felt like name-dropping: a hint of Persona, a splash of Repulsion, a quiver and a shim of Fassbinder. It's not the Fassbinder I would've gone with -- Manhola thinks of The Marriage of Maria Braun but to me it's much more Veronika Voss -- but still, crazy lady movies, ho. (Also Dargis says Queen's curlicue font reminds her of Braun but come on, that font is straight-up Rosemary's Baby.)

There's also a pretty awesome typo, 
which I snapped a shot of:

It's worth NOTING that it's worth NOTHING.

The movie that Dargis doesn't name that was first and foremost in my mind watching Queen of Earth though is Andrzej Zulawski's 1981 masterpiece of lady madness Possession. Possession's had a renaissance amongst we the high-minded city cineastes over the past few years, among whom Mr. Perry no doubt counts himself, so I've no doubt he's obsessed about Possession along with us - if I googled I'm sure it I'd find him talking about it some place online, in fact. Anyway I'm shocked he maintained the restraint to not show Elisabeth Moss humping a squid at some point; perhaps it'll be in the DVD extras.

If you can sense some cynicism in my voice here, good -- I was good with a lot of Queen of Earth; I like the films he's referencing, all of them, and I like to think about them! And Moss & Katherine Waterston are both giving as committed-to-Cassavetes performances as we're gonna see in American Films these days. But where Perry's last film, the rascally mean-spirited Listen Up Philip, felt pulled up on its own boot-straps, mostly this new film feels like a pile-up of shout-outs; by the time the last act collapses upon us I felt more smothered than anything else. It is worth noting that the two fencers statue is worth nothing, actually -- it's just a tip of the hat to an existential duel being fought somewhere down your DVD shelf.
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The Speedo Is Out There

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All I wanted to do was make a crack, upon reading that filming just finished on the X-Files reboot, about how somebody involved with the show, be it David or Gillian or whomever, should have flashed a shot of a red speedo on social media at some point during shooting - imagine the free press! Assholes like me would've gone nuts! Of course me making a crack involves me googling "David Duchovny Speedo" and then well whaddya know there are actually tons of pictures of David Duchovny in a speedo, be them behind the scenes from The X-Files or just David Duchovny, swinging loud and proud, living his real life in a speedo. So now I've got a bunch of them and I gotta do something with them, so hit the jump and I will share them, with you, because I give and I give...

I Mean... Can You Even? Can You Even???

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I almost feel as if I need to ease into these pictures slowly - like, I don't think I have posted about Luca Guadagnino's A Bigger Splash or talked about it enough in my personal life that my boyfriend knows what it is, and if I suddenly fling the sight of Tilda & Matthias Schoenaerts & Ralph Fiennes all at once at him and tell him it's a new thriller from the director of I Am Love on top of that, well...

... I don't know if a person's brain can hold up under all of that awesomeness all at once; I don't want to have to fish him out of the local river a la Ophelia because of a movie, for god's sake. But still! This is so much of a lot, you know? So much! The film just got set for a release here in the US in May. That's too long! How will we ever answer the following question without the movie to guide us...

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Hot Fob

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Oooh, I wanna rock your fob.

Yikes sorry for the Body Spray flashback, I don't know what came over me. [Insert "Charlie Hunnam came over me" comment here.] Anyway that's Charlie on the set of Lost City of Z, that movie we told you he's making with director James Grey based on that old-timey adventure book of the same title  (via). It's shooting right now. Diggin' the stache, Chuck!

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Citizen Ruth (1996)

Ruth: You wanna send a message? 
I ain't no fucking telegram, bitch
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Five Frames From ?

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What movie is this?
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Today's Fanboy Delusion

Today I'd rather be...

... holding my breath for Nico Tortorella.

Playing catch-up with Nico's ever-gratuitous Instagram.


Thursday's Ways Not To Die

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Well I warned you guys yesterday that I had more to honor the too too early passing of Wes Craven with today, and here we are. The strange thing is I had been planning on doing this scene from Deadly Friend for this week's episode of "Thursday's Ways Not To Die" ever since last week, when my friend Tom Blunt showed this scene at his live "Lady Robots" show in Brooklyn; this scene's been overdue the treatment as is. So... strange coincidence, but yeah, overdue.

Deadly Friend was initially supposed to be a simple teenage spin on Frankenstein, with a boy-genius losing his girlfriend and bringing her back to life with robot technology (it was first called A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, funnily enough) but the studio and the test audiences hated Wes' non-horror cut so they made him go back and shoot a ton of gory death scenes (presumably this scene wasn't in the original cut then) and add them in... but then nobody liked the movie, and it flopped.

Even Wes was quoted as saying he had no idea "what the hell kind of movie it was." So as a follow-up to the massive success of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Deadly Friend was a down note, and this of course matched the arc of Wes Craven's career - five flops for every flat-out masterpiece. But even in his flops (except for maybe My Soul to Take -- eeesh, that one) there was gold to be found, like, for example, the sight of the mean lady from The Goonies getting her head exploded with a basketball by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Thank you, Wes. 

Links to the rest of the Ways Not To Die after the jump!

Envy The Animal Lovers

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The first trailer for The Lobster, the new movie from the director of Dogtooth and Alps and his first with an English-language cast (including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and Ben Whishaw, oh my) has arrived, and it's every ounce as bizarre and delightful as I want it to be, and the film promises to be. Oh and we see Colin Farrell in tighty-whities, I should probably mention that?

Anyway the movie is playing the New York Film Festival next month, which is hopefully where I'll see it since it won't be out in theaters until next year. Here's the trailer!
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Good Morning, World

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If there's just one thing that I miss about Revenge (there are actually several, but let's say there's just one for this post's sake) it's how they made Jack (Nick Wechsler) become a cop solely so they could build a police station locker-room set and from there on out have all of the cop business be conducted while someone is going to or coming from the group showers. Revenge knew how to do it! A happy 37th birthday to Wechsler today -- see more of him here.


Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Martin Wallström Three Times

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The Mr. Robot finale is tonight! 
And I'm caught up now, so let's have it...
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Which is Hotter?

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You guys are we totally sure that the actor Jai Courtney and the football player Julian Edelman aren't actually the same person and we've just gotten our coverage confused all this time?
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For more Jai click here and for more Julian click here.
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The Sort Of Stuff & Nonsense

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The other week I mentioned that I was getting to see Jacques Tourneur's film I Walked With a Zombie on the big screen thanks to MoMA and Martin Scorsese, and see it on a big screen I did, and it was a delight. The film drips with voodoo island atmosphere and getting to see those scenes in the nighttime sugarcane-fields projected large did not disappoint - there's some heart-stopping beauty on display as the characters drift through the stalks, a virginal white nightgown billowing out, the breeze carrying the sound of drum-beats steadily stronger.

Anyway I wrestle with the film's use of race; I'm never quite sure if it's being racist itself or tackling racism; maybe probably some of both columns. But I'm glad to see The Playlist tackling the film, and just that subject, for today's "Classic of the Week" -- there are some thought verbalized at that link that I'd had trouble doing myself.
"Though "I Walked With a Zombie" certainly trades in some uncomfortable exoticism, the majority of the "horror" doesn't come from the natives themselves (in fact, the Voodoo ritual scenes are clearly researched and shot with respectful long takes), but rather the land that both they and the white plantation owners walk upon. It's a cursed island because its existence is built upon racial entrapment and ownership, and its that "curse" that infects everyone ."

The best thing I discovered over there though was a link to the New York Times original 1943 review of the film, which is AMAZING. It's short so I'm just gonna share the entire thing here. Wowza!

""Horror" pictures are enjoying a peculiar popularity the country over at the moment, according to box-office statistics, so it seems reasonable to assume that RKO has a safe bet in "I Walked With a Zombie," which opened yesterday to a packed house at the Rialto and, at one point, drew a horrified scream from a woman patron. It's just like the days of old when "The Bat" and "The Gorilla" were scaring audiences out of their wits, and "Frankenstein's Monster" was making the night hideous for children and the more impressionable oldsters.

With its voodoo rites and perambulating zombie, "I Walked With a Zombie" probably will please a lot of people. But to this spectator, at least, it proved to be a dull, disgusting exaggeration of an unhealthy, abnormal concept of life. If the Hays office feels it has a duty to protect the morals of movie-goers by protesting the use of such expressions as "hell" and "damn" in purposeful dramas like "In Which We Serve" and "We Are the Marines," then how much more important is its duty to safeguard the youth of the land from the sort of stuff and nonsense that their minds will absorb from viewing "I Walked With a Zombie"? ? ?"

Quote of the Day

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"The fact that I know they’re going to win out in the end 
has now slightly interfered with my continuing to go to 
those movies. If I see yet another Spider-Man, 
I’m going to have to actually hang myself."

-- That's Emma Thompson when asked about superhero movies. 
I guess she has no love for the Spider-bum -- her loss! Anyway
she has lots of typically delightful stuff to say at Vulture, go read.
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