Monday, February 21, 2011

Swanshead Revisted

A month or so ago I may have lightly sprinkled some hate flakes on the Black Swan. Well last Friday I went to see the New York City Ballet performance of Swan Lake at Lincoln Center and I must say that an apology is in order.

Black Swan totally influenced my experience.  In my mind every swan (there are about 21 of them) had Natalie Portman's face and I was okay with that. I enjoyed projecting a troubled home life as the white swan danced around. Oh man, when THE BLACK SWAN made her entrance! I was so AMPED!! It was like that daymare I can make myself have where the psychotic rotten tomato reveals its true colors and the rock music comes on and I know I'm just effed.

I have no idea why Black Swan wasn't nominated for Best Writing (Original Screenplay).  23% of the ballet consists of the swans onstage (which btw are the best parts by far). The rest is about raucous divertissements (which, you might have guessed, are not the best parts).

Black Swan, I'm sorry.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Someone needs a hug

To understand the above photo is to understand Blue Valentine. First off, Gosling is an extremely handsome man. That's more of a general observation, but I'm just setting the tone here. Next, the vantage of this picture is intimate, it's mad close, it violates Gosling's personal space. We are, one could say, 'in his shit'. Well the whole movie takes place within Ryan and Michelle's 'shit'. Now, finally, look again at Ry Ry. Beyond the beauty, if you can. Notice how he's looking at something he knows may not be in his best interest but keeps looking at because it's pretty damn gripping and the casting is so good?
If this movie doesn't move you then congratulations, you are the living dead.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

'Psst. What the #$#@ is going on?'

Lex and I have never been more confused by what we were watching than with The Leopard (now showing at Film Forum). We failed to grasp simple facts such as where, when, who, why, oh and also what. Compounding this in a horrific manner was the row behind us who literally laughed at anything said by anyone. And I'm pretty sure this movie isn't a comedy. And no, they weren't high. And yes, their laughs were unbearable. They were like cough laughs. Laugh coughs. Right in our ear. Cough laughing.

Two hours in and another to go the house lights came on by accident. This was our cue to leave and so we did. We later learned that the last 45 minutes are sublime and the reason the movie is so beloved by all.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Somewhere some-meow

After working in the marketing world for over four years I can say without hesitation (no hes) that the most effective marketing tool out there today is the movie trailer.

Behold, the evocative and captivating trailer for Sofia Coppola's new dog turd of a movie, Somewhere:

How VISUAL and INTERESTING was that? And Casablancas straight up doing his thing! (He should literally get a percentage of ticket sales) And even the sound editing; the 'Hey Dad/Hi Cleo' exchange-- it sounds so CRISP. This trailer is PERSUASIVE!

Now, if I had a bootleg version of the actual movie I'd paste it below and say something like 'Behold, the new dog turd of a movie, Somewhere' and I wouldn't really have to say anything else because it would be clear to you how nothing was added in those ADDITIONAL 95 MINUTES. Though I would probably also incorporate a picture of Garfield the cat because Sofia is so lazyyyy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Blame it on the...

I think we're all pretty aware of the phenomenon that is high expectations. For example, if I believe for whatever reason that Jamie Foxx's new album, 'Best Night of My Life' will be sick as hell, I am creating a premature level of quality for the star of the 'Jamie Foxx Show' to achieve sonically, setting up the actual experience of popping BNOML into my computer and letting the crooning begin for failure. Whether Jamie likes it or not, I will be listening to his new full-length LP through a lens of 'this is gonna be some good ish' and if it's not then I will think of him merely as an actor-slash-actor.

Now, to be clear, I'm not referring what's commonly known as 'Hype' which has more to do with external excitement and expectations. No, high expectations is about the internal. I am partial to Jamie Foxx as a human being and am irrationally pinning my love for the Academy Award winning actor to his musical talent.

I had high expectations for Black Swan for a few reasons:
  • I'm interested in anything Darren Aronofsky does.
  • I read The Black Swan ealier this year and kinda jived with what the dude was saying (note: they are COMPLETELY unrelated).
  • My friends who had seen it already said they had to decompress afterward because it was so intense.
(Hmm I thought there were more reasons actually. And yea the last one is more hype, but bottom line is I had expectations of elevated proportions.)

I have to say though that the casting was really good.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Because its almost Halloween

Enjoy this Psycho remake/mashup.
Look out for the original in bottom right and Gus Van Sant's remake in top left.

And check out Psycho the way its meant to be seen at Film Forum this weekend through November 4th!

Hitchcock was constantly finding ways to test the production code enforcers of the day, and Psycho is chocked full of "questionable" material: Marion in lingerie, a nude shower scene...

Even flushing a toilet (seen frequently in the clips above) was controversial in films of the day. According to Hitch's writer Joseph Stefano, "A toilet had never been seen on-screen before, let alone flushing it. I thought if I could begin to unhinge audiences by showing a toilet flushing -- we all suffer from peccadilloes from toilet procedures -- they'd be so out of it by the time of the shower murder, it would be an absolute killer."*

Sure enough, the censors objected to this scene and Marion in her lingerie, and the nudity in the shower scene, but Hitchcock hatched elaborate bluffs and schemes manipulating them to approve the footage. But that's another blog post! One more thing about the significance of this bathroom scene, Film theorist Slavoj Zizek does a great piece about the significance of toilets and drains in a close reading of Psycho and The Conversation, in his great film The Perverts Guide to Cinema.

If you do plan on checking this out at Film Forum (and you should!) Here's something to keep in mind while the lights go out:

Back in the day (1960 that is) Hitchcock went awsomely overboard hyping the release of this movie, restricting critics from advance showings so nothing could be given away, and instructing theaters with strict directions:

"Close your house curtains over the screen after the end-titles of the picture, and keep the theater dark for half a minute. During these thirty seconds of stygian blackness, the suspense of Psycho is indelibly engraved in the mind of the audience, later to be discussed among gaping friends and relations. You will then bring up houselights of a greenish hue, and shine spotlights of this ominous he across the faces of your departing patrons."*

*These quotes and anecdotes are from "Alfred Hitchock: A Life in Darkness and Light" by Patrick McGilligan, 2003.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New York Film Fest Funfest Fest

The New York Film Festival is, as they say in the biz, 'on and popping', and you know the TCP had get a piece of the action. Actually deciding what to see was quite an ordeal, which is another story in itself. We settled on Of Gods and Men, this year's Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes.

There's nothing really to say about OGAM that's not covered in the synopsis. True story, very serious, subtitles. But what I will say is that the new Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center is, to borrow another phrase from the biz, 'the shizznat'. Franco-Christian Monks filing paperwork never sounded so good.