Tuesday, July 31, 2007

20:07 (The Calm Before The Storm)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
captured using a VLC - your results may differ (different players/timing)

~ You going to the concert tonight?
~ No, I can't... My parents are being bitches this week.

Monday, July 30, 2007

RIP Ingmar Bergman

JA here - I'm sure Nat would want to say something on the death of Ingmar Bergman if he were here, or at least give y'all a chance to say what he meant to you in the comments.

Myself, I just started really appreciating Bergman over the past couple years or so (thanks to Netflix and the mini-festivals one can schedule one's self); I haven't even come close to seeing even half of the films by him, but what I have seen so far has been astonishing. Cries and Whispers, Fanny & Alexander, The Virgin Spring, Persona... all films that couldn't have been made by anyone else and that deeply enriched not only my own love of cinema and what it can accomplish, but the very language and possibility of film itself.

Below is a brief clip from Persona, which is my favorite Bergman film so far, probably because Bergman understood that the greatest terrain he could ever point his camera at and study was the face of Liv Ullman:

What's your favorite Bergman film? Or even just a moment - I, being a horror buff, have often thought that the puppetry scene in Fanny & Alexander is one of the scariest moments ever filmed.

20:07 (Strings Attached)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
captured using a VLC - your results may differ (different players/timing)

Yesss. Pewhaps you can. Now take your weapons of mass destruction and get the f*** outta here!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Ecstasy of Madame de Tourvel

[i'm on vacation so a prerecorded note on today's blog event...]

Madame de Tourvel may have found previously unknown pleasure in the arms of her cruel lover Valmont but her ecstasy was short-lived in Dangerous Liaisons, the best film of 1988. The field of Oscar supporting actress nominees was almost entirely newbies that year but Pfeiffer (The Madame in question) suffered a little death there as well when she lost the Oscar to Geena Davis. I'm guessing Michelle de Tourvel's fate doesn't improve in this month's Supporting Actress Smackdown over @ StinkyLulu's... but you'll have to click over to find out. As will I (it's a nail biter to the actual contributors too)

To whet your appetite for that Smackdown rematch, here's five minutes of retro '88 pleasure with Sigourney Weaver, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Davis and Pfeiffer:

Uploaded by nathanielr

Saturday, July 28, 2007

20:07 (Like The Dogs In The Yard)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
captured using a VLC - your results may differ (different players/timing)

No, it isn't. This is Naomi Finsecker, her mother! Who is this?!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Michelle in the Time of Color Lines

Three reasons to take another look at Love Field:

1) Nathaniel, like many a Pfan, spends a lot more time on Michelle's other 1992 performance. You know the one. meow
2) Hairspray is not the first time Michelle has walked the (color) line, and in a platinum wig to boot.
3) We're all actressexuals here. We can look at Love Field whenever we want. Is it a crime to look at Love Field?

Love Field, named after the Dallas airport where the Kennedys landed on November 22, 1963, doesn't have the greatest reputation. It was one of those early 90s movies that only premiered several years after principal photography wrapped, and only in very limited release, because the studio, Orion, had gone bankrupt. Think Blue Sky, and consider a mini-thesis about doomed vanity projects where major actressexual icons of the 80s play erratic 60s housewives with blinding hair. Also think Blue Sky because, like Lange in that film, Pfeiffer got a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Love Field in a reputedly dire year for that category, and despite the fact that neither woman could get anyone to buy a ticket for their movies. Even the die-hard fans weren't so bowled over. Have you ever heard Nathaniel be this terse about Michelle? At the Pfeiffer Pfan ConPventions, they schedule the "Love Field Love-In" at 8:30am on the day people are still arriving, if you know what I mean, and most of the conversation still turns to Susie Diamond.

I'm not on a major recuperation mission here; Love Field is not a great movie, and it often can't decide whether to play as a farce, as you might expect from screenwriter Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex, Happy Endings) or as a Serious Drama, as the studio probably preferred and director Jonathan Kaplan, who had recently directed Jodie Foster to an Oscar in The Accused, seems to have wished. Watch the scene where Lurene Hallett (Pfeiffer) regrets to inform fellow bus passenger and cutey patootie Paul Cater (Dennis Haysbert) that she has just mistakenly reported him as a kidnapping suspect to the FBI, and that they'll both hafta skeedaddle out of this Tennessee Greyhound station lightning quick. Roos thinks this is funny, I think, though not without the charged implications of racial profiling and unnecessary roughness. The movie wouldn't work if it were only played for comedy, but where Roos' avalanche of dramatic incidents and tart dialogue cry out for some kind of halfway-screwball approach, Kaplan ladles in lots of portentous night-shots and cheesily ominous music, as though he's been inspired by the hokiest, cheapest aspects of Mississippi Burning.

Kaplan earns his keep in the two most carefully framed and inventively shot sequences in the movie: an eerie, extended crane shot in which the rest of Dallas is slowly learning the lethal fate of JFK (but before Kennedy disciple Lurene has figured it out), and the last shot of the movie, which captures Lurene's flakiness as well as her emotional generosity without totally pulling focus away from Haysbert's climactic reunion with his daughter. But this careful balancing of tones, the sweet and the serious, the kooky and the acute, is a feat the Pfeiffer pulls off much more often than her director does, and much more memorably.

Notice how, when Kaplan attempts to push the piece in different tonal directions, he veers pretty wildly, disrupting almost any consistency in the piece. Here is Love Field as a perky, semi-serious period comedy...

...and here is Love Field as a glossy celebration of its heavenly star...

...and here is Love Field as a risky, color-saturated, almost expressionist melodrama about race, class, gender, and political inequalities:

Ungainly, no? Michelle has to work to keep up with a movie that keeps changing its mind about itself, but by hitting so many notes within her own performance—comic, earnest, self-deluding, lonely, alarmed, frightened, plaintive, slapstick, romantic, angry—she convinces us that the schizophrenic movie is reflecting Lurene's many sides, rather than (more likely) forcing its actress into a kind of recovery mission. The through-thread in the performance is that Pfeiffer doesn't pretend that Lurene is bright or "underappreciated": she has an unreasonable identification with Jackie Kennedy, she makes several faux pas about The State of the Negro, and she doesn't even learn from her mistakes, because she makes the same faux pas again. And yet, Pfeiffer shows that Lurene can be slow-witted and stupid without playing her as slow-witted and stupid. Instead, she plays the good intentions and the human warmth, and allows the script to clarify when and how these benevolent traits get misplaced or misfired. We always understand Lurene (and occasionally feel sorry for her), even when we laugh at her a little. She gives the character several moments of realizing that she's being condescended to—when Haysbert offers her a Look Magazine because it "has a lot of pictures," when he and an African-American auto mechanic lament Lurene's white-liberal dizziness—but Pfeiffer makes an interesting choice to freeze up and cloud over her face in these moments. Lurene doesn't get all Angela Bassett or all Erin Brockovich about being made a fool of; recognizing her errors, Lurene realizes she doesn't know the "correct" way to defend herself, and so she lingers in inchoate uncertainty.

After Love Field, Kaplan's career mostly detoured into failed B-movies like the Andie MacDowell western Bad Girls and the bracing but forgettable Madeleine Stowe thriller Unlawful Entry. Lots of other people went on to do better work, often to the explicit discredit of Love Field: Roos wrote sturdier, more adventurous movies, some of which he even directed with real aplomb (tonally, if not visually); Haysbert magnificently semi-romanced another deluded but gorgeously-intentioned white housewife in Far from Heaven; blink-and-you'll-miss-her Beth Grant earned better spotlights for her delicious caricatures of high-strung eccentrics in Donnie Darko and Little Miss Sunshine. As for Pfeiffer, she rode a bus much more expressively in the opening scenes of Frankie and Johnny (still my favorite of her performances) than she does here, and the daring stylization of Catwoman and romantic raptures of Countess Ellen Olenska made Love Field look like a shoestringy, between-commitments type of project. As the 90s wore on, she took a lot more of those movies (To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, One Fine Day, Up Close & Personal, The Story of Us...), so maybe Love Field, sticking out in odd, unbeloved ways amidst the most exciting and courageous passage in her career, looks unflattering now as a harbinger of future films that wouldn't quite deserve her, or demand enough of her.

But hell, you know? It's an admirable and engaging performance, and she did win Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival. She gets some great moments out of a hot pink carrying-case, a partially memorized license plate, a cantaloupe-colored suit with matching hat, a missed encounter with Jackie O., and a nervous grab at her unfastened sweater as she briskly, hilariously walks diagonally through her final shot. Pfeiffer's Lurene is certainly the equal of agreeable also-rans in other years, like Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary or (dare I suggest it?) Annette Bening in Being Julia, and though no sensible voter would have denied the 1992 Best Actress Oscar to Emma Thompson in Howards End, all four of the fellow nominees (to include Sarandon in Lorenzo's Oil, Deneuve in Indochine, and the marvelous Mary McDonnell in Passion Fish) deserve more credit than the media of the moment afforded them. Pfeiffer's Lurene is not an immortal creation, but in fact she's agreeably and appropriately miniature: a kind, sheltered gal who isn't quite as silly as she looks, nor as sober and stately as star-vehicle sometimes require. She's behind glass a little bit, tentatively tapping on the door of a wider world that she doesn't know much about. It's fun to join her for the outset of that journey.

Now Playing

Howdy, folks, JA here, trying out one of these here Now Playing posts that Nat so lovingly gifts us with every Friday... forgive me if I miss anything!


Arctic Tale - So where are these so-called environmentalists when Queen Latifah's out here narrating fart-jokes over footage of struggling polar bears? I mean, don't polar bears have some sort of lobbying group that they could put an end to this sort of representation? Give the dudes a little respect, they're totally worthy.

This Is England - An auto-biographical tale about a lonely kid and his flirtation with induction into some skinhead gang in the 1980s. I don't know for sure, but think we might find out that - shh! - hate is bad!


Who's Your Caddy? - I caught some of Ferris Bueller on TV a few weeks ago and lamented to the boyfriend the fall of Jeffrey Jones (who in 2003 plead no contest to, according to IMDb, "one felony count of employing a minor for purposes of taking sexually explicit photos" and "was placed on a sex offender register"), thinking I'd never see him again (only now, looking at IMDb, do I see he was on Deadwood). Then suddenly there he was, in the trailer for this Caddyshack rip-off... and it made me very sad. Jones was a constant presence in Tim Burton's films - most memorably for me as Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice - and he was fantastic in the under-appreciated Ravenous... he's one of those guys who always fills out the screen, making a picture far more interesting, and while I don't think his conviction should keep him from working again, if he's forced into making this sort of dreck... sad.

The Simpsons Movie - Ho-ho-Homer and the Funky Bunch take over Planet Earth. Resistance is futile. I mean, who knew A.O. Scott was a total Simpsons geek?

I Know Who Killed Me - We've all seen the I Know Who Killed My Career mash-up, right? Did anyone else have a clue that this was actually opening this weekend? I had no idea. The last I knew Lohan was talking about taking stripper classes and there were some pictures of her in stripper clothes... and then Lindsay had some, uh, extracurricular troubles... and now suddenly the movie's coming out? I don't know.

No Reservations - Catherina Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart cook up a souffle... of romance! I know this is the wrong blog to say this on, I should keep these sorts of opinions to MNPP, but I am creeped out to the Nth degree by The Zeta and fear for sweet little Abby Breslin having to spend time with her. I'm scared for Eckhart too, actually. In truth, I feel a little more nervous for the entire world on a daily basis knowing this gorgon is out there, somewhere, waiting to tear the fabric of time and space apart with her demon-fangs. Ahh, letting that out I feel better.

20:07 (Tasty!)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
captured using a VLC - your results may differ (different players/timing)

(soundtrack) The girl can't help it she was born to please / (She can't help it, the girl can't help it) / And if I go to her on my bended knees / (She can't help it, the girl can't help it)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

HumpThursday Hottie

Howdy y’all, JA here, hoping Nat’s settling in for some much-deserved sun’n’fun as I type… I’m gonna be keeping it simple today - it's really humid in NYC right now; brain no work - and by “simple,” I mean “cheating,” because today is not Wednesday, otherwise known round these parts as Hump Day, wherein something called Hotties are presented for one’s perusing pleasure. See, I find myself caught in the gravitational pull of a marketing behemoth born from a tiny television series, once an interlude on a sketch comedy show, spun outwards and upwards into a bit of a cultural phenom, and which, quite fortuitously, is exploding on a few thousand movie screens this weekend with its first full-length motion picture... but what does all this have to do with Hotties you ask?

It has to do with the roundest, yellowest, most unexpected of Hotties – Mr. Homer Simpson.

Yes, Homer. There are other citizens of Springfield who maybe fit the Hottie bill a little more ab-tastically – Groundskeeper Willie and Ned “Feels Like I’m Wearing Nothing At All… Nothing At All…” Flanders always surprise when their shirts come off – but is there a more loveable oaf out there that makes obesity, ignorance and a routine proclivity for child abuse so damned charming? Kevin James and every other live-action fat-man-with-hot-wife sit-combo that’s come since has tried and failed to win our hearts quite like Homer.

So what is it about this bacon-grease-slurping alcoholic that never fails to shine? Is it that we know that deep down beats the heart of one of the most truly decent, loving fathers and husbands ever put onscreen? One that will do anything for his loved ones, if he has to throw himself off a cliff, a waterfall, an airplane, a ski-lift, into a pit of horny pandas… um, I could keep going… point being, he might get distracted by something shiny here and there – and therein taps into a forgotten well of glee in us all, mind you – and to be honest he's usually the one who messes things up to start with, but when it really matters Homer does right. His heart of gold may be coated with a thick layer of lard, but we end up loving the lug anyway. Surely, come this weekend, he'll be winning our hearts anew, and at forty-feet tall too.

And anyway, nobody rocks a pair of cartoon tighty-whities quite the same, either.

20:07 (The Film With Something Extra)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
captured using a VLC - your results may differ (different players/timing)

(voiceover) In my posture class, I was particularly struck by one of the students, a boy with a Polish name. From a certain unevenly rounded thickness at the crotch of his blue jeans, it is safe to assume that he is marvelously hung.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"That's Why It's Hotter Under the Water"

The Broadway bound The Little Mermaid begins its out of town tryouts tomorrow in Denver so expect opinions to start flooding the web. Before the stage version is upon us and we're all rethinking the adaptation of the Disney adaptation of the famous fairy tale, I wanted to pimp my earlier piece on this Disney revivifying toon in case any readers missed it back in December.

I'm like a proud papa... or mama rather; it was a long painful labor squeezing that article out.

...it's easier and more appropriate to read The Little Mermaid as a hormonally addled sexual awakening fable. Ariel does writhe around ecstatically in a bikini but the pleasure she's imaging is inchoate. She (and Disney) is just growing up. It's worth noting that this signature song is not initially about a man. She will meet Prince Eric in the next scene and he will give shape to her longing. The song gains its true title "Part of Your World" [italices mine -ed] only in reprise, after Ariel rescues Eric from drowning. She caresses his face and sings it to him, her desire now tangible. To have him, to grow up, she must become human. This becomes her goal but it's also a frightening journey. The moment her wish is granted is telling, played as it is for sheer terror with thunderbolt flashes of light, her fin splitting --legs opening. What has this young girl done?!
read the full article

I'm doubtful that a Broadway version aimed at the tourists will be as rich with subtext as the animated film but we'll see. Break a le--- er, fin.

Blog News: I am leaving town for a few days for some sun and sand and I had planned to blog as I travelled. Unfortunately my laptop died a not entirely swift & not entirely painless death so I am turning over the reigns to some ol' reliables. You know their work: gratuitous JA from My New Plaid Pants, actressexual icon StinkyLulu and the one and only Nick Davis (OMG. He lives! --it's almost worth quitting for a few days just to hear from him again) will all be popping in to chat movies in my absence.

Blogosphere Multiplex: The Panopticon

The movie-centric blogger interview series continues... Today's victim is Frank who writes a prominent knitting blog, the Panopticon. But fear not: you don't need to knit to enjoy Frank's witty voice. I don't knit personally. How could I? My eyes are required for the screen and my fingers for the typing! Despite my yarn ignorance, Frank's imaginative relationship with his chosen hobby feels familiar to me. Consider his meeting with Dolores or his freak accident with a shawl --it reminds me of my own free associative movie loving/living.

So I slipped movie questions Frank's way and he stitched and back looped his way through the interview (no, I don't know what the hell I'm talk about either) ~ Enjoy.

10 Questions with Frank of The Panopticon

Nathaniel: How often do you go to the movies --and what's the biggest draw for you?

Frank: Let's get this right out in the open: when it comes to movies I'm a snob with shockingly limited taste. I love period pieces to the exclusion of just about everything else; and the more hyper-intellectual they are, the more excited I get. Angels and Insects, for example, sent me into fits of ecstasy. It put everybody else I know into a coma. I also have a fondness for odd documentaries like The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Given that, it probably won't surprise you to hear that I only watch four or five movies a year in a theater - usually without a date.

Nathaniel: So I take it then that your film intake is of the DVD variety... or do you just sit at home and knit? Please don't tell me you do both at the same time!

Frank: Oh, but I do. Within limits, of course. I'm not one of the sure-fingered experts who never have to look down at my work, so anything with subtitles is out of the question. Bergman and lace charts do not mix. But some movies are absolutely made for watching while knitting. The Women, for example. With all the gossip and drama flying around it plays like a typical Stitch and Bitch, minus the needles and yarn. No, wait. Come to think of it, Rosalind Russell actually does knit during the fashion show sequence.

Nathaniel: Oh Roz... That eye dress haunts me.

Oh and now you know someone who loves Angels & Insects. I do too. Kristen Scott Thomas is so delicintense in that movie. And the costumes alone *swoons* so let's go back to costume dramas for a second. Who's your favorite corset queen: Bonham Carter? Winslet? someone less expected?

Frank: Pick a favorite? Oh, not easy. I have the typical male fear of commitment. I must admit nobody works a bustle like Helena, and she has the proper curves to pull off a period gown.
Probably the best period performance I've ever seen is Mieko Harada as Lady Kaede in Kurosawa's Ran. She absolutely masters those huge kimonos and uses them amplify her character. Hot stuff.

But honestly, I can have just as much fun watching an actress who can't handle all that fabric. Winona Ryder is a repeat offender: Dracula, Age of Innocence, and Little Women. She just shambles around like she's in pair of old jeans and flip flops. Feh.

Nathaniel: I'm glad you said it. I'm too hard on Noni in general here but I am horrified (horrified!) every time I manage to forget to forget that both of her nominations are for period work and she's just not good at it. Her nominations should've come from work like Heathers and Reality Bites instead. No shame in doing soulful comedic contemporary work --well maybe it's shameful to the Academy voters but not to me.

While we're on the topic. Are you an Oscar fan? Do you watch every year?

Frank: The Oscars are such a guilty pleasure for me. The films that I like never win much, but I can't resist the parade of emaciated actresses and I love the cheese. Or what's left of it. There's such a slick earnestness about the Oscars lately. They run on more or less on time, people behave themselves, and they cut the production numbers. Oh, how I miss the production numbers. I want to see Angelina, Lindsay, and Bai Ling doing fan kicks and singing "There's No Business Like Show Business" while dressed as Roxy usherettes. Come back, Debbie Allen, come back.

Nathaniel: I don't think the world's eyes would ever recover. While we're on the subject of weird: what's the oddest thing that's ever happened to you at (or on the way to or from) the movie theater?

Frank: When Titanic came out I was completely uninterested in seeing it but got dragged along by a couple of friends who had been once already and said I would enjoy the costume-and-fine-china aspects of the production. Unfortunately, I'm such a pedant that the anachronisms in the visuals and the dialogue set my teeth on edge.

But there was somebody in the audience who must have been tripping on something, and about ten minutes into the show he started commenting (loudly) on the action from the fifth row. Stuff like, "Wow! Big big big hat!" when Kate Winslet made her first appearance. Security took at least half the film to throw him out, and I have to say I found my viewing experience greatly diminished after his removal. If they'd hired him to do an audio commentary on the DVD I might have bought it.

Nathaniel: Popcorn or candy?

Frank: One treat, and one treat only: Peanut M & Ms. A big bag, preferably.

Nathaniel: Yum. Though candy sometimes reminds me of product placement in the movies. Does that distract you in movies? Or if not which products do you wish would get placed?

Frank: You don't get a whole lot product placement in the Indie or period costume pictures I like to see, but sometimes I rather wish they'd make it possible to buy the stuff on screen. I always came away from Merchant/Ivory productions with a desperate longing to buy an Edwardian tie-press or mother-of-pearl opera glasses.

When I do find myself at some blockbuster full of placements for Coca-Cola or Nike or whatever, it just reminds me why I usually skip those movies. I don't like being marketed to in a ham-fisted manner, at the movies or anywhere else.

Nathaniel: Aside from aforementioned period opulence & costumes what (or who) is your favorite eye candy in movies?

Frank: Tough question. To purloin an expression from Gilbert and Sullivan, my loves in that regard have usually been vegetable. Meaning, I very seldom get hot and bothered over people on screen the way I do over a really nice fauteuil. Somehow movie actors just seem too remote and unreachable to bother over. The first crush I can remember was Gene Kelly in An American in Paris (I was five), then there was Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu (I was eight).

Then, a long dry spell until Shakespeare in Love, when Joseph Fiennes went running in his little Elizabethan breeches and the sight of his tuchus compelled me to rip both arms off my seat. But there I am again, probably lusting as much after the costumes as the person inside them.

Nathaniel: What's your take on the state of queer cinema?

Frank: Well, given the arrival of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry my impulse to say it's probably dead. Maybe I'm the wrong guy to ask. Oddly enough, I've never felt much connection to queer cinema. I'm not a pretty boy, I don't live in New York or Los Angeles, and most of my friends are straight, so the stories in gay films have never felt especially relevant to me.

The last queer flick I sat through, aside from Brokeback Mountain, was probably Trick. I thought it was interesting that when the shy, self-conscious, "average" guy took his shirt off in the disco he had perfect abs. That seems to be what most of what gay culture is about: 1,001 ways to display perfect abs.


Nathaniel: Fair enough. Last question: They make a movie of your life. Tell us about it... what's it called, who plays you, who directs, who designs the costumes, what's the MPAA rating?

Frank: Jesus, talk about a niche market picture.

Given that my signature blog image is a chorus line of dancing sheep and sock yarn, I think it's going to have to be a musical. And Busby Berkeley is the only person capable of handling the sheer spectacle. "All singing! All dancing! All knitting!"

I want Edith Head to do my costumes, but Dolores will probably insist on gowns by Adrian. Yul Brynner, of course, will play me; although Ben Kingsley and Vin Diesel will both lobby ardently for the Oscar-bait role. It'll be Rated NC-17 for the leather bar sequences and constant use of foul language, and be called Follow the Fleece.

Of course, the whole thing will be overshadowed by the scandal that erupts when I'm spotted going topless on the beach at Cannes.

Nathaniel: You think of everything.

Thanks again Frank


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20:07 (My Dearest Partner of Greatness)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
I can't guarantee the same results at home (different players/timing) I use a VLC

no dialogue. a prophetic letter has just been delivered

Will Ryan Throw a Gutter Ball or a Strike?

The pressure is undoubtedly on Ryan Gosling, what with needing to follow up his Oscar worthy breakthrough Half Nelson with something stronger than Fracture. Will the upcoming comedy Lars and the Real Girl be magical or just indie style quirky?

The plot screams "Quirky": Introverted man brings home a doll to meet his family and behaves as if it's real. They take him to a doctor. The cast counters with "magical": Gosling plus the superb Patricia Clarkson (Far From Heaven) and reliably fine Emily Mortimer (Match Point).

Either way wouldn't you love to go bowling with him?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

DVD: Jake the Archer

It's a big day of DVD releases for all who said "I'll wait for the video!" earlier this year.

Critical Pets
The Host, a Korean monster movie, garnered ecstatic critical buzz last year but opened to poor box office even for a subtitled picture. What went wrong?

Zodiac is another film that's likely to win a lot of new converts now that it's easily accessible. [my review] For the starry record: Jakey Poo is a Sagittarius. He's surrounded by Scorpios; Mark Ruffalo playing his partner and Chlöe Sevigny playing his wife, his drinking buddy Robert Downey Jr is an Aries, Anthony Edwards is a Cancer.

I don't need to tell you that the man behind it all, auteur David Fincher, is quite f***ing obviously a Virgo; he can't stop analyzing this case. The movie's sign is harder to figure. Plagued by release date shuffling and reshoots, it was some unhold hybrid of a Libra/Capricorn/Pisces. The chart for this movie is crazed and the movie is almost crazy good. I'm a Gemini so my mind has already wandered to the next post but I do plan to watch this again as soon as the Boyfriend whips me up a big pitcher of Aqua Velva, Jake's drink of choice (in the movie). Oh Jake! He even drinks cute.

Other Stuff
The Number 23 Jim Carrey goes berserk while Virginia Madsen continues to pay for some ungodly crime she committed in another life (I'm just guessing --how else to explain the post-Sideways career)
Perfume the Story of a Murderer Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) adapts the Patrick Süskind novel about a sick puppy with an aromatic fetish. It got buried in the glut of Christmas releases. Will it find a second life on DVD?
Reign Over Me Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle star in this drama about a widower who lost his family in the 9/11 attacks.
Renaissance one of last year's impressive looking foreign animated entries for Oscar. It didn't make it (I know people have their Oscar hopes very high for this year's buzzy Persepolis but please point me to one animated film made for adults that Oscar has liked. I'm just saying')

Special Collections
Henrik Ibsen Five BBC adaptations are included in this set including Hedda Gabbler with Ingrid Bergman and A Dolls' House with Juliet Stevenson
Elvis MGM Four films including Kid Galahad

Link Well and Prosper

Muckworld finds INLAND EMPIRE to be even more of a shapeshifting revelation on DVD
Hollywood Elsewhere thinks the poster for 3:10 to Yuma is selling 'a Bob Fosse western' Hee
Greenbriar Picture Shows on the marketing of the early Tarzan pictures
Heroine Content on feminist and racist critiques of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Film Critic movie quiz [thx]
Zoom In Last weekend Susan and I watched Married to the Mob again which led to me missing Jonathan Demme and wondering exactly what does happen to some filmmakers after they win Oscars. Scorsese: Watch out!

Two Actresses I Was Thrilled to Be Wrong About
Gretchen Mol Cinematical talks to her re: Post-Bettie Page career
Rose Byrne turns 28. She was totally watchable in 28 Weeks Later and especially in The Dead Girl. Her blah stint in Troy sure had me fooled

As Little As Possible a tribute to cinematographer László Kovács
World of Wonder gives over a full day to the memorable Tammy Faye
Lindsay Lohan No, she's not dead (not yet anyway)... she's just dead to me. I can't do it anymore. I'm a little sad but I'm done feeling foolish for rooting for her all these years.

20:07 (Twins Who Share Everything)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
I can't guarantee the same results at home (different players/timing) I use a VLC

Elliot Mantle: All she wanted was a little slap on the ass, Bev.

Beverly Mantle: Yeah? Yeah well, I began to wonder what the fuck my brother had got us into behind my back.

Elliot: [chuckling] She’s an actress Bev. She’s a flake --plays games all the time. You never know who she really is.


If you're new to the Film Experience please look around. If you like what you see: bookmark, comment, tell your friends, subscribe. Actress enthusiasts, cinephiles, and OCD movie-loving types particularly welcome (and likely to get the most out of it)

Here are my favorite pieces from 2007...
Twins: Pink Ladies Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter) and Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) are not the same person

Catwoman 15 years old now, this star turn still resonates
Kissing Volver Pedro's latest is a true lip smacker
Nominationless Stars Oscar Refuses to Love
Third Times the Harm
Eating my feelings of disappointment with Spider-Man 3 (inspired by earlier happier Pan'scake post)
Meryl Streep Another great performance. She's gonna keep giving 'em
From Justin to Kelly... -live blogging a terrible film
Xanadu a movie nobody dared to love
Ubiquity: The Sweet and Sour 17 actors we're seeing a lot of in 2007

You can follow series or specific topics via the sidebar or read more on any given subject by chasing the labels at the end of posts. I also blog daily over @ Zoom In Online

Monday, July 23, 2007

Twins: Pink Ladies

It's easy to get Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) confused, swathed as they are in more shades of pink than you previously knew existed. But don't be fooled! They are not, in point of fact, identical. They only share a tendency to project good cheer and a love of pink bordering on the pathological.

"I love what you've done with the place Dorrie, but maybe we could cheer up the rest of Hogwarts, too!"

The similarities end there.
That cheerful demeanor? To Elle it comes naturally...it's truly shiny optimism. To Dolores, it's a put on... a mask for her fearful nature.
Elle never goes anywhere without Bruiser, her chihuahua, who is lovingly accessorized. Dolores keeps her kittens locked up tight, they're mere accessories.
Dolores is all about rote memorization. This professor values theory over creativity in practice. Elle objects!
Elle attempts to befriend her enemies. Dolores aims to punish hers.

Dolores is not impressed with Elle's cheerful tour of Harvard. Have these students no discipline?

Elle Woods has managed to bring a lot of fuddy duddy people around to her way of thinking but she's met a stubborn match in Dolores Umbridge. Despite Elle's best efforts, there remains only one thing that Dolores wants to "bend & snap": the spirit of her student body.

Yes, they're twins on the surface only. Aside from their signature color they share but one thing: a stubborn and absolute certainty that This is the greatest musical number of all time

Think pink! think pink! when you shop for summer clothes.
Think pink! think pink! if you want that quel-que chose.
Red is dead, blue is through,
Green's obscene, brown's taboo.
And there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce
or chartreuse.
Think pink! forget that Dior says black and rust.
Think pink! who cares if the new look has no bust.
Now, I wouldn't presume to tell a woman
what a woman oughtta think,
But tell her if she's gotta think: think pink!

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Monty Got a Raw Deal

Blog-a-thon Announcement
Today is the 41st anniversary of the death of Montgomery Clift also known as 'the longest suicide in Hollywood history' or as doctors put it "coronary occlusion". He was 45. Now is the time to officially announce the next Film Experience blog-a-thon.

As longtime TFE readers know my cat is named after my favorite actor, Montgomery Clift. I like to think that my furry friend is paying homage to the tragic star during his frequent brooding moods. For what classic film star is more inexplicably sad?

Ah, perhaps inexplicable is not the right word. 'Monty Got a Raw Deal' (as REM put it) didn't he? He was troubled by addictions. He suffered through a car accident that marred his considerable beauty and acting ability. He was unable to deal with his sexuality. The last sad straw: though influential as an actor, history likes to pretend that Marlon Brando alone revolutionized acting. They were peers and friends and once even shared a nickname in Hollywood "the gold dust twins" for their near-simultaneous meteoric rise to fame.

Let's give Clift his place in the (internet) sun on October 17th --his 87th birthday had he lived. There's a LOT to talk about. Any Monty-connected topic is fine. First and foremost there's 17 films:
The Search, Red River, The Heiress, The Big Lift, A Place in the Sun, I Confess, Indiscretion of an American Housewife, From Here to Eternity, Raintree Country, Lonelyhearts, The Young Lions, Suddenly Last Summer, Wild River, The Misfits, Judgment at Nuremberg, Freud, The Defector
Many of those are classics...seriously, what a filmography! Now would be a good time to screen a couple. Other topics of interested: queer Hollywood in the 50s, Oscar battles, and Monty's famous Hollywood friendships with Monroe, Dean Martin, and of course Liz Taylor (his most frequent co-star). The classic film lovers should come out in force for this one and I hope that younger bloggers will take the time to discover him. Monty has detractors too (you know who you are) but anyone is welcome to participate.


20:07 (The Baby Brother)

screenshots from the 20th minute and 7th second of a movie
I can't guarantee the same results at home (different players/timing) I use a VLC

Conrad Jarrett: If you’re a friend of Doctor Crawford you’re probably all right but I’ll be straight with you: I don’t like this already.

Dr. Berger: As long as you're straight.

Conrad: What do you know about me --have you talked to Crawford?

Dr. Berger: Yes, he called me on the phone. He told me your name and he told me to look for you. He said you had a brother who died…
Retrospective film history has turned people against Ordinary People due to the defeat of Raging Bull at the Oscars. Unfortunately the shadow side of revisionist Oscar history is this: good movies get penalized through no fault of their own. The sadness in Timothy Hutton's eyes here...it just rips the heart up.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Day Weekend of Rest

Nathaniel: Shhhhh! Let Uma sleep. We owe her that.
Nathaniel: Keep your voice down!
Elle Driver: You don't owe her shit.

Pssst: Daryl Hannah is genius in the Kill Bill movies -- genius I say. But you knew that already. Moving on. I swear I'm moving on.

Next week here at the Experience... who knows? I will try to be like Stella who Got Her Groove Back. I'm even at the beach w/ Susan as you're reading this in an attempt to replenish my depleted Vitamin D stores and creative energies. If a Taye Diggs surrogate shows up I promise to be a true friend and let Susan play the Angela Bassett role.

What are you doing this weekend?
<--- Tour de France watching (I'm rooting for Vinokourov --who really shoulda made my "Alexander list" -- and you?)
reading the new Harry Potter?
Do share in the comments. It's all about the sharing.

Links, Episode #317

Thompson on Hollywood has notes on the transfer of Stardust to the screen and whether audiences will be charmed
Just Jared Tom Cruise and Colonel von Stauffenberg (his new role)
Cinematical stars of Grease and Grease 2: where are they now?
Kenneth in the (212) Matt Damon in GQ
The Gilded Moose "a message from zac efron's pancake makeup"
After Elton Whatever happened to queer cinema? A worthy question
The Mixed Up Files of... sees Badlands for the first time and conveys her personal reaction
Fat Wonder Woman 'nothing but a huge heiffer' this is truly niche but the drawings are great

I'll leave you with the following batch of pics. First is Tony Stark testing his Iron Man gear which Screen Rant was pretty excited about. Then we have new posters for Darjeeling Limited and No Country For Old Men plus Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, Bryan Singer's next project.

When I woke up this morning all four of these photos were on virtually every blog known to man and rather than my usual contrarianism I suddenly felt vulnerable and wanted to fit in. So here they are... maybe someone will eat lunch with me in the cafeteria?