…is the movie that I wanted The Umbrellas of Cherbourg to be, and wasn’t. Consider a motley mixture of psuedo-realist throwback song-and-dance numbers (think Coffee and Cigarettes or Dancer in the Dark), achingly beautiful excessively romantic closeups (see Breathless), hyper-charged-yet-strangely-muted emotions (refer to Before Sunset or Faces), and some of the best jazz-as-movie-fodder this side of Kansas City, and you’ve got an idea of what a thrilling piece of work Guy and Madeline is. Better just to partake. B+.
May 11, 2011
March 26, 2011
Long ago, in the very past, an old crone, looking to bolster her pro se ward’s confidence by undermining a profession’s reputation, declared, “whenever they can, lawyers go shirtless.” And thus, a myth was born.
Ever since, voyeurs have erected a vast apparatus of hidden and not-so-hidden cameras to capture the elusive, yet well-recognized, shirtless lawyer. The failure of that surveillance system to achieve its prime objective has been overshadowed by its success in ferreting out ferret lovers and epoxy haters. Still, the myth pervades.
Only recently, when The Lincoln Lawyer was released did it become clear that the usually shirtless Matthew McConaughey was once again portraying a lawyer, and one again remaining shirted throughout. After A Time to Kill, the myth-debunking chatter began. Perhaps this time, we should expect a roar?
March 25, 2011
Watching Hannah and Her Sisters for the first time. Read Breakfast of Champions for the first time a month or two ago. Realized just now that Woody Allen and Kurt Vonnegut, as artists, have an awful lot in common. Both are deeply amusing. Both started in genre, but ended up gravitating away from it and, to a certain extent, shunning it, only to return to it late in life. Both had extensive careers, with many high points centered around the middle. Both got more experimental toward the tail end of their quality periods, and chintzy and nostalgic toward the end. And both have a certain rhythm and consistency to their works that no matter how far flung they are, you can always identify the author.
[Aside: I just realized I'm referring to Woody Allen as if he is dead. What does that mean? I mean, Vicki Cristina Barcelona and Whatever Works weren't that bad. Hmm...]
February 5, 2011
The following cartoon perfectly captures the frustration of those of us looking for a sexy movie on Netflix streaming.
Ah, well. There are always DVDs, other streaming avenues. And bookstores with gloryholes, of course.
[From Netflix Streaming.]
January 17, 2011
Apparently I’ve seen a couple of movies that featured Channing Tatum–Battle in Seattle, Public Enemies–without knowing it. And I’ve specifically not seen a few Channing Tatum movies–Step Up and its sequel, Dear John, G.I. Joe–because, well, they looked like shit. But I haven’t been avoiding Mr. Tatum, so much as unaware I was supposed to know who he is. So why am I perpetually amused every time Dustin Rowles refers to this guy as “Charming Potato”? Because calling someone “Charming Potato” is funny, even if that someone is completely off your radar.
December 25, 2010
So after powering through Christmas Vacation yesterday, we weren’t quite tuckered out, and decided to partake of the old chestnut Miracle on 34th Street before hitting the hay.
Only the version that’s available on Netflix streaming started on an off note, with an odd, unfamiliar exchange between a shopkeeper and Santa Claus. Thomas Mitchell as Kris Kringle? No “a man’s gotta do something to keep warm”? A melty, heavily made-up-to-look-young third place-winner of the Ohio State Fair Gregory Peck look-a-like contest as Fred? A bad “no venison” gag. E.T. as Susan? Douglas Sirk’s cinematographer’s biggest fan deploying a squadron of soft focus? And a forty-five minute run time? What the fuck?
Ah, we’ve stumbled upon the made-for-TV 1955 remake, which adds a definite article to the title. A perfectly serviceable way of getting your 34th Street fix without the trimmings, and with a little bizarro. Recommended.
December 13, 2010
As an undying fan of Hedwig and Shortbus, I was psyched to see a new David Cameron Mitchell project set to be released this year. Another project–a beautiful, silent short film about the redemptive power of stage and paint-related performance, unrelated to Rabbit Hole–is available to whet your appetite:
[From Neil Gaiman's Journal.]
October 21, 2010
The best Eli Roth fake trailer since “Thanksgiving” is “Clown.” Enjoy.
October 9, 2010
I gave Me and Orson Welles a shot because I have an abiding fondness for Richard Linklater’s films. And I heard muttering that Zac Efron, who is the pretty-boy titular “Me,” managed to hold his own on the cast and transcend the whole High School Musical thing. Having never seen the boy on screen, I figured what the hell.
The film had its flaws–a needlessly tacked on wrap-around love story; the overacting of Christian McKay, who seemed to be creating a caricature of Orson in the John Lithgow, as opposed to Maurice LaMarche, tradition; the second-hand familiarity with theatrical work of the screenwriting Palmos–but most upsetting was that the mutterers were wrong. Zac Efron may be many things–dreamboat, workmanlike song and dance company member, popular with teenage girls–but he is no actor. At least not yet. His delivery of nearly every line made me cringe. He had essentially the same smirky smiley expression on his face throughout nearly every scene, regardless of what the scene called for. His chemistry with Claire Daines and Zoe Kazan was non-existent. The fellow-play-within-the-movie-castmembers looked more embarrassed at his posturing than anything, even after they were supposed to have been won over by his skills and charm. Ugh.
August 28, 2010
When I first encountered Greta Gerwig in Baghead, I was intrigued. Here was a beautiful actress I’d never seen before playing an awful, yet strangely compelling character. It helped that the concept behind Baghead was a little more structured than the usual mumblecore. Closer to Humpday than Puffy Chair.
After watching two Gerwig collaborations with Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs and Nights and Weekends, however, I’m starting to suspect she’s just awful. Sure, she looks good naked, and is perfectly willing to get naked on film. But that she always seems to play the same unsympathetic, manipulative, excessively horny character. And I’m starting to get sick of it. Indeed, I’ve pretty well decided against seeing Greenburg and the upcoming Arthur remake because of it.