Saturday, June 09, 2007

Finger Linkin' Good

Unmissable
Gallery of the Absurd continues to be absurdly brilliant. See for yourself.

Also...
Solace in Cinema on the trailer for 30 Days of Night. I hope this is hardcore inventive/scary like Near Dark which was so 'finger lickin' good' --I've discussed my anticipation for this movie before. I'm crossing my fingers that it's good. I think we've had enough zombie movies for awhile: back to vampires please. They're classic
Ray Pride on Once --a sweet review. This movie does totally set up camp in one's heart. And plans to stay. I wrote about it too but this is my fav piece on this great movie.
Spinner gayest moments in rock history
Walter Chaw on 10 movies that changed the way he looked at film
Blah, Blah, Black Sheep hilarious metrobus conversation
But I Always... very brief thoughts on PotC: At Worlds End

and still more...
Michelle Pfeiffer interview at Good Housekeeping. But ARGH! contrary to Liz Smith's statement It has not been 2 years since Pfeiffer was onscreen --it's been 5. Doesn't she have a fact checker?
Flick Filosopher still fighting the fight in re: to Knocked Up. It's been pretty interesting to follow along. It's remarkable (and depressing!) to me how film writers can be vilified for a difference of opinion... Remember last year when Nick hated Apocalypto? It wasn't long before the groupthink fanboys were getting personal in their attacks. It seems to me that if a critic isn't occassionally willing to swim against the tide, they have no business being critics. The number one requirement of the job should be having opinions that aren't market or box office or groupthink or hype formed.

and finally...
Perhaps in celebration of Gay Pride Month, film experience reader Adam Waldowski composed a list of the LGBT Acting nominees in Oscar history. Interesting stuff. Any thoughts?

22 comments:

Kamikaze Camel said...

Is it actually stated in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that Newman's character is gay? I remember there being strong evidence to support it but I can't remember them saying he actually was. I need to rewatch that. it's amazing.

Also, I agree about the reviewing thing. I don't see the point in even being a writer on the internet (a blogger if you will) if all you do it have pleasant feelings towards everything.

I received emails and comments after my Hostel 2 tyrades screaming "why don't you just get over it. it's only a movie." and I'm like, well no. I won't just get over it. If I don't feel passionate and heated about topics that sometimes ruffles peoples feathers then I've got no job expressing my views for everyone to read. Ya know? It's like when so called news journalists interview people (movie star or politician) and then just ask them about what it's like to go to parties? What's the point of being a journalist if you're only going to be happy and pleasant and complimentary to everybody and everything?

ugh.

/rant

Now I need to go to work.

NATHANIEL R said...

well is anything ever *explicity* stated in Hollywood adaptations of Tennessee Williams work?

Agreed on the "pleasant" thing with journalism. This is one of the reasons why i've never really sought out star interviews. i'd be uncomfortable sticking to only happy 'you are awesome!' questions which is all that's permitted unless you're barbara walters or whomever... and even then i'm sure there's agreements formed behind the scenes as to allowable topics.

rural juror said...

Thank you for that one link...it's so great to find someone who loves 'The Conversation' as much as I do

Ben, Birmingham, UK said...

I thought the point in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was not that Paul Newman was gay (after all he ends up snogging Maggie the Cat), but that his best friend was.

As I remmber the back story he loved his mate loads but in a non sexual way. His mate wanted to move it to another level and, following rejection, killed himself.

This led Paul Newman to seriously doubt his sexuality and what a rubbish friend he was. In turn this causes complete stagnation in the relationship and leads to Maggie and the family believing the worst.

Maggie even spends most of the movie trying to cure him, an impossibility that the guilt-ridden Tennessee whould have been profoundly aware of.

I say all this but it has been a long time since I've seen it. Feel free to contradict if I have the wrong end of the stick.

John T said...

I think it's just assumed that Newman is gay in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof because what straight man could possibly be turning down Elizabeth Taylor in a movie-I mean, has any screen couple ever been sexy than those two?

Arkaan said...

ben from birmingham pretty much has it, with regards to the play. In the movie, it's far less clear. That said, you watch the movie not for a great adaptation, but for the smoldering pairing of Newman and Taylor.

DrG said...

Omigod, I totally missed the gay-theme in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, clearly I was too pre-occupied with Newman's frequent shirt removal.
I love the new banner, the pic of Colin is scorching!

NATHANIEL R said...

right, DrG? Colin has sexy

and Arkaan --yeah the point of CoaHTR as a movie is the megawatt pairing... which is i guess why no one considers it a definitive film version. But the play sure is brilliantly structured. it'd be cool to see a new great film version methinks. though of course you can't top the heat of Newman/Taylor

Marius said...

Actually, in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Big Daddy confronted Brick (Pual Newman) about his problematic (abnormal) relationship with his best friend, suggesting that it was a homosexual relationship (maybe?). Brick immediately denied it, and questioned why people would think such a thing. Eventually, it's revealed that Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor) had some sort incident with the best friend. In fact, Brick thought that Maggie had slept with his best friend. Maggie confessed that she had gone to the best friend’s apartment and even offered herself to him, in an attempt to make Brick jealous. According to Maggie, the friend was willing to have sex with her, but she had second thoughts and didn’t go through with it. So, it appears that the best friend wasn’t gay. After everything is cleared up and Brick has a breakthrough with his father, Brick and Maggie go upstairs, have sex, and live happily ever after.

So, whoever wrote the screenplay dismisses any idea of homosexuality in the end. It was all a big misunderstanding. The best friend was merely a bad influence—that’s all. After Brick accepts his lot in life and has that breakthrough with his father, he decides it’s ok to have sex with his wife. Don’t you just love Hollywood classics?

Marius said...

It seems to me that if a critic isn't occasionally willing to swim against the tide, they have no business being critics.

Nat, first of all, let me just say that MaryAnn is one of my favorite online critics. My problem with this whole Knocked Up situation is that she bashed the film because it didn’t conform to her values and/or expectations. I find that problematic for a number of reasons. For example, she failed to mention whether it was effective as a comedic film. To give another example, she also didn’t say anything about the performances, and the list goes on. She just kept harping on the same thing—that Americans are essentially stupid for enjoying a film that celebrates what she considers deplorable. I remember when Broke Back Mountain first came out, I read what felt like hundreds of reviews, and the one review that really impressed me was written by a Christian writer. He condemned homosexuality repeatedly in his review. However, he praised the film for its artistic merits. I understand MaryAnn’s point, and I agree with her to an extent. I also understand what you’re saying; yes, it’s important to swim against the current from time to time. However, passion without reason is never a good thing. Although I know it’s impossible to be completely objective, I think people should at least try. A critic may be motivated to hate a film for various reasons, but I expect an experienced (and intelligent) critic to set aside his or her reservations and evaluate a film as objectively as possible. Sadly, some people can’t help being narrow-minded, but I don’t think that’s MaryAnn’s problem.

Also, your comment about film writers being vilified doesn’t apply in this particular case, I don’t think. I’m sure you’ve read some of the posts on FlickFilosopher, particularly the Knocked Up review. MaryAnn is an aggressive writer who doesn’t pull any punches, which is why I like her, actually. She was pretty much daring anyone to challenge her. Sorry, but if you’re going to use strong language in your reviews, I think you should expect some people to react. And she does a great job of putting people in their place. Again, that’s one reason I love her blog. LOL

Glenn, I understand that you don’t like Eli Roth. I think you’ve made that very clear on your blog. And, of course, you have every right to express your views. However, I find it very hypocritical when gay bloggers jump on the band wagon and start suggesting that Hostel 2 and other films should be banned or whatever. You should be careful what you wish for. It sounds like a good idea—let’s establish some decency standards. Sure, that makes sense. If something is found to be offensive to a large number of people, then let’s put a stop to that type of artistic expression. Well, let’s consider how that could affect gay men and women in this country. Maybe Hollywood should stop making films that portray real gay men and women—no more homosexual sex scenes; no more images of a man kissing another man. If (most) people find that offensive, then maybe it has no business in our culture. To be honest, I don’t particularly like films like Hostel, but certainly I support Eli Roth’s right to make a film that many may find offensive.

So, I am totally against censorship; and I believe in freedom of choice and artistic expression. I guess we can agree to disagree. But I hope you reconsider your position on this issue.

rural juror said...

I kind of have to agree with Marius and all fronts. He said what I couldn't express as eloquently as he does.

vince said...

Wow, what an interesting list. However, I take exception to the "[gay]" following the name of the actor. It really should be the character's name listed with the gay brackets following.

Which makes me wish we had a companion list of nominated gay actors.

I can't believe the gap in the Best Actress category.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I never said Hostel 2 should be banned. Trust me, I live in a country where the possibility of films being banned is actually prevelant (not so the case with the USA) and it's not fun. We have had quite a few high profile films get targetted for completely idiotic reasons (a family wellfare group condemned Mysterious Skin and lodged a complaint with the Aussie censor board asking for it to be banned because it gave paedophiles are manual or something silly like that, obviously they'd never even seen the movie. If someone complains and investigation must be held). And some groups have succeeded in getting films banned. it's absurd.

I think adults should have the opportunity to see any movie that is released. Censorship of that degree is just so incredibly ridiculous and those groups make me mad as hell.

But when a movie such as Hostel 2 comes along and the ratings board doesn't even hesitate in giving it a plain old ordinary R rating something needs to be done. The rating's board is never going to make the NC17 rating acceptable (which they have said they wish to do) unless they get some guts and actually rate violence accordingly.

One explicit sex scene gets you an NC17 rating. Multiple extremely graphic violent scenes (including castration, sawn off faces, decapitations and the Heather Matarazzo... thing) get you an R. How does that make sense? If Roth is so sure that his movies are more than just simple bloodbaths and that they're movies made for adults then stop advertising them to young men who can easily get passed the R rating at a cinema. And the cinemas need to realise that a group of 15-year-old boys will not be seeing Surf's Up. They will be running to sneak into Hostel.

Ugh. Nevertheless, Hostel 2 has flopped. So now all we need is to get the revoltingly annual Saw freakshow out of our lives.

It makes me happy that teens made Disturbia such a big hit. Call the film what you will, but there is no blood in that movie until the final act and before that it's all just kids talking and actually being involved in a plot. Shocking, I know.

My argument has never been that Eli Roth has no right to make the movies he does. Cause he does. My argument is that he's given leniency. Something that, just pulling this out of thin air, a Russian movie about a gay love affair would get. If there was a light sex scene it would immediately be slapped with an R.

On the matter of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - I was sure that Paul Newman's character was never explicitly labeled as gay (and yes, the climax of the movie is he and Liz Taylor makin whoopie at the end) but that there were definitely hints that perhaps he was and that his friend was. I merely questioned it because of that GLBT Oscar nominees thing. Newman doesn't even have an asterix next to his name so I didn't know if I was merely forgetting something or what.

(Sorry that this reply has been so freakin' long!)

Kamikaze Camel said...

I should mention that, about Hostel 2, my argument is that these movies are given leniency when the violence is even more deplorable than usual because the violence doesn't even serve the plot (it's like extraneous musical sequences in movies musicals. They're just there. They don't add anything. They're like a sketch from MadTV, there to fill out the running lenght) and then the studios use said leniency to advertise their movies to the exact audience that has no right to see what's being advertised.

All the violent movies that this current crop of horror directors grew up watching weren't half as violent as the new films are (check out something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and there's not much blood at all), yet they were all rated much more harshly and most probably saw them on VHS during the "video nasties" cycle.

yada blah et cetera. Sorry again. This topic always gets me flared up.

NATHANIEL R said...

Marius, how does the vilification situation not apply in the MaryAnn case? So what if she didn't discuss the acting. That's her perogative.Nick writes an F review of Apocalypto last december and immediately gets anti-semitic comments. MaryAnn writes a negative review of Knocked Up and people tell her she needs to get laid.

I mean, come on...

it's so strange to me that people are still so scared of strongly stated opinions that they don't share.

Remember when James Cameron tried to get whatshisname fired in LA for his review of Titanic. That was hilariously ill informed.

Just deal with a difference of opinion.

every time I think about Hostel II I get confused though. I am pro freedom of expression but the argument that "anything goes" has limits --especially when there are already systems in place meant to control who has access to "extreme" films: and those people in charge are so unashamedly irresponsible as to what is acceptable and what is not. When you stop to consider that 15 year olds can't see Showgirls or Henry & June even with a parent in tow but they can see Hostel II... well you know we have a very very fucked up system that's basically saying "the human body is EVIL. Unless you torture it and dismember it and play with its blood in which case, wowee !!! look at that. Bring the kids"

Kamikaze Camel said...

Elizabeth Berkley doing a striptease and fucking Kyle Maclachlan in a pool = not nice

Heather Matarazzo being strung upside down and slowly drained of her blood into an orgasming woman below = as long as you're with a parent!!

makes sense to me!

Arkaan said...

Marius and Nathaniel, while I thank you for your well articulated points, there are a couple things I want to bring up.

1. We don't view art in a vacuum,. We all bring our own baggage to a film, and that affects how we view it. While I definitely agree that reason should be a part of it, I'd argue that reason is a part of Mary Ann's resposne. It's worth mentioning, though - that for some of the people who disagree, they do present reason in their arguments. Just not all of them. Anyway, this might be one of the more interesting film discussions I've seen in ages.

2. The critic James Cameron hated was Kenneth Turan.

3. I'd argue that Maryann's review villifies both the general audience ("Americans are children") and other critics, though - so why should she get a pass?

4. It's certainly Maryann's perogative to discuss whatever the hell she wants, but I know I'd certainly rather a critic engaged with more rather than less of a film.

5. I agree with everything stated about Hostel II. It irritates me to no end that extreme violence is considered less harmful than sex. If that's the case, our society is so deeply fucked that we're past the point of no return.

RBurton said...

Thanks for linking me, Nathaniel!

And thanks to everyone who checked out the page.

I'll include an asterisk by Newman's name. I read ten times more gay subtext into everything and Williams' original script is much more direct than Brooks'. Still, I think the film doesn't remove all suggestion that something happened between Brick and Skipper.

NATHANIEL R said...

Arkaan

1. Agreed that we don't view art in a vacuum and that MaryAnn's response is indicative of her own baggage but that is true with literally EVERYONE --i just find that some people are more honest about it than others. and the ones who are more honest about it are the one's who get the most shit for it. which is what bothers me.


3. MaryAnn shouldn't get a pass just as no one should BUT the reaction is still interesting and indicative of unfortunate groupthink problems --I blame the RT and further back Siskel & Ebert for the thumbs up /thumbs down write/wrong view of movie watching. I mean these scores that everyone gets so obsessed with. They mean nothing. If everyone kinda likes something enough to recommend it, that's still 100% I enjoyed Oceans 13 enough to give it a fresh. but i didn't want to give it a fresh. I could just as easily have swung rotten because MANY films are right there in that zone of "ok"

4. me too but sometimes one piece of it is so overpowering that that's what you have to discuss. You do have to choose an argument.

I mean i was surprised writing about La Vie En Rose that I was so complimentary but still hated it because of one or two terrible elements.

5. yep

SusanP said...

Interesting discussion. One question I did have about the "group think" critics is this: Don't most see the film before the reviews come out? If that's the case, how can they be accused of being influenced by what others think? Maybe it's more a matter of certain entertainment having more mass appeal than others.

Of course, I have no problem with those who go against the grain, but if a critic doesn't know which way the grain is going when they write their review, are they making a conscious decision about this?

Personally, I thought Knocked Up was a hoot--and I hadn't read any reviews before seeing it. I read MaryAnn's review after the fact and actually agree with some of her cultural criticism--but I still thought the film was hilarious.

i'm in the movies said...

well that's my indecision about the film there too in a nutshell Susan. If you judge comedies solely on how funny they are then Knocked Up is a great success. But if you judge them in other areas, storytelling, pacing, messaging... then I'm considerably less positive.

but yes. very funny.

Marius said...

Nat and Glenn, thanks for your comments.