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Film Critic Catch-All
One of the things I love most about Night of the Hunter is that, while it has lots of suspense elements, it's not a suspense movie, or really any one kind of movie. It's this wonderful stew of different genres and tones that you can't completely nail down. It's just Night of the Hunter. It's its own thing.
Originally posted by Schwartz on Cool as Ice ("When a girl has a heart of stone, there's only one way to melt it. Just add Ice."):
"It's not just a mixed metaphor, or that the stone is one that is melting...but the ice is actually making it melt. (kisses fingers) Magnifique."
Reply
And yet it doesn't feel like a hodgepodge. It feels unified. Charles Laughton described his only picture as a "nightmarish sort of Mother Goose tale." No other classification really seems to make sense. What genre is a nursery rhyme?
Reply
Even in a fairytale, though, the basic rules of good storytelling still apply.
Reply
Lamenting that the movie doesn't play out "like a Great Depression version of The Terminator" isn't a particularly convincing indictment of storytelling flaws, you have to admit.
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HUNTER is no more inconsistent than THE WICKER MAN, HALLOWEEN, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, or GET OUT. It's folk horror, through and through.
home taping is killing music
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This is up with LOST PATROL as my fave pre-1939 Ford joint.

"This Saturday @MetrographNYC you can see The Prisoner of Shark Island, and me discussing one of my favorite American directors, John Ford, one of my favorite American cult novelists, David Stacton, and a certifiably bad American, John Wilkes Booth:"

http://metrograph.com/film/film/1717/the...ark-island

"The Prisoner of Shark Island


Saturday August 11


1936 / 96min / 35mm

DIRECTOR: JOHN FORD

CAST: WARNER BAXTER, GLORIA STUART, CLAUDE GILLINGWATER

Nick Pinkerton presents John Ford’s The Prisoner of Shark Island and discusses The Judges of the Secret Court: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth by David Stacton.

"The making and breaking of American myths was one of the abiding preoccupations of John Ford’s Hollywood career, and is very much at play in the magnificent, deliriously emotional, sensorially overwhelming The Prisoner of Shark Island. Dr. Samuel Mudd (Warner Baxter), vilified by history as the man who set a fleeing John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg following the Lincoln assassination, is exonerated by Ford’s crucible, which emphasizes his heroic service during a yellow fever outbreak at the prison colony in the Dry Tortugas to which he has been condemned. The film will be discussed in conversation with epigrammatically-gifted cult historical novelist David Stacton’s 1961 The Judges of the Secret Court, about the Booth theatrical dynasty, reprinted to deserved praise by New York Review of Books."—Nick Pinkerton

Nick Pinkerton is a Cincinnati-born, Brooklyn-based writer specializing in moving image-based art. His writing has appeared in Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Artforum, Frieze, Reverse Shot, 4 Columns, The Baffler, and the Village Voice, among other venues. "
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

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Quick heads up: Awesome run of genre period Matthau late nite on TCM: Pelham One Two Three, Charley Varrick and Hopscotch!

This is interesting:

"The ‘new Yellow Peril’: How U.S. film critics reviewed Bruce Lee movies in his day-- I'm late but this is great write up from @hermanywong:"

The ‘new Yellow Peril’: How U.S. film critics reviewed Bruce Lee movies in his day

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retr...edirect=on

"Forty-five years after his death at 32, Bruce Lee is a legend, credited with ushering in an age of martial arts movies in the United States and elevating the Asian hero in Western pop culture. His final completed movie, “Enter the Dragon,” premiered in the United States at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles in August 1973, just weeks after Lee died.

The television series “Kung Fu” and the movie “Five Fingers of Death” helped “crack the door open” for American acceptance of Chinese martial arts, but Lee made it mainstream, Matthew Polly writes in his new biography, “Bruce Lee: A Life.”


“It was Lee’s performance in Enter the Dragon that blew it off its hinges  —  launching an entirely new genre of film in the West,” Polly writes."

"A remake of “Enter the Dragon” may be coming soon. No actors are attached to the project yet, but it’s unlikely they will face the kind of barriers that Lee did in his time. Chinese actors were “mostly relegated to meek houseboy roles like Hop Sing in Bonanza,” Polly writes, adding that “prior to Bruce, it was only Fu Manchu, the Yellow Peril villain, and Charlie Chan, the model minority.”

Even Lee’s Hollywood friends who sought out parts for him did not believe he had a shot at becoming a star in the United States, Polly told The Washington Post.

As Lee appeared on television and in U.S. theaters in the 1970s, film critics from Louisville to New York and Boston were confronted with making sense of this new “Oriental” star and the burgeoning kung fu movie genre.

Most reviewers dismissed his films from Hong Kong, complaining that they offered little plot and poor production values. (The Associated Press obituary said Lee’s films were successful in New York “despite almost unanimously disapproving reviews.”) One newspaper described martial arts movies as the “New Yellow Peril.” But most singled out Lee for praise, with some critics comparing him to Fred Astaire and Douglas Fairbanks.

Here are excerpts of the reviews, with some annotations providing context."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

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(08-09-2018, 02:19 PM)Fat Elvis Wrote: Yo, Hammer, you'll dig this the most!

https://twitter.com/newbeverly/status/10...9710859266

[Image: DkH2liSUUAAIR0B.jpg:large]



Oh, you have no idea how much this is my jam. Those were the days.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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"A wet fever-dream of porn, driller killers, Hollywood sleaze & simulacra, murder, sexual obsession/power, and—this being De Palma, after all—voyeurism. It’s the stealthiest, possibly most misunderstood, & certainly most deranged masterpiece he ever made."

De Palma Does Hollywood: Fleshing Out the Split-Screened Study of Voyeurism & Illusion in Body Double

http://www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2018/0...dy-double/

"Earlier that year: Many of those same hardbodies pack tight into a bar, filming a scene for that new Brian De Palma thriller, wrapping around tables and chairs, filling in the background, filling in the illusion of a busy restaurant. In the foreground, stars Craig Wasson and Melanie Griffith are body-doubling the stars of Alfred Hitchcock, the director whom De Palma’s own career has doubled. Wasson’s long milquetoast face, pursed lips, and benign horny-pervy hangdoggedness mirror the weirdo smarm-charm of Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window and Vertigo; Griffith, a revelatory fusion of otherworldly charisma, sexual control, and icy blonde beauty, acts as a literal double of her mother, The Birds and Marnie star Tippi Hedren.

The scene finds Griffith’s character, porn star Holly Body, laying down the rules as they apply to Holly’s body vis-a-vie a prospective follow up to her newest film, Holly Does Hollywood:

“I do not do animal acts. I do not do S&M or any variations of that particular bent. No water sports, either. I will not shave my pussy, no fist-fucking, and absolutely no coming in my face. I get $2,000 a day and I do not work without a contract.”

This is Body Double, a wet fever-dream of porn, driller killers, Hollywood sleaze and simulacra, murder, sexual obsession/power, and—this being De Palma, after all—voyeurism. And it’s the stealthiest, possibly most misunderstood, and certainly most deranged masterpiece he ever made."


"1984 marked the end of the Golden Age of Pornography, as well as the end of the Golden Age of De Palma: an 11-year run of slyly self-aware, erotically-charged thrillers (from Sisters to Carrie to Dressed to Kill to Blow Out, et al.), each coded in the stylized visual language of Alfred Hitchcock, in which all manner of pleasures and traumas are loosed upon the human body and presented for our eyes with a prismatic array of stylistic innovations and malicious methods for creative inhumanity.

Body Double is peak De Palma, the endorphin-flooded, muscle-tightened climax of the period that has come to define his career. It’s also an angry, gnashing rebuke to the critics who labeled his prior films hyper-violent, near-pornographic Hitchcock rip-offs (“If they want an X, they’ll get a real X! They wanna see suspense, they wanna see terror, they wanna see sex—I’m the person for the job. It’s gonna be unbelievable,” De Palma told Esquire prior to the film’s release). An illusory, artifice-lubed fuck-flick “fuck you” to traditional Hollywood storytelling and cinematic “reality.” A dizzyingly perverse, pastel-hued celebration of cinematic pastiche and formalist trickery. A latex-slicked interrogation of the hero’s journey, as well as a smirking appropriation of it.

But perhaps most importantly, if his previous films used the visual grammar of “Hitchcockian” to have a kind of reflexive, filmic conversation with (and about) the works of Hitch (and they did), then the defiantly, diabolically unhinged Body Double is a fully-realized evolutionary leap forward, in which De Palma used the tools from his career-length survey of Hitchcock’s films and techniques to finally have a full-on cinematic conversation with (and about) Brian De Palma."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

Reply
(08-09-2018, 09:35 PM)Fat Elvis Wrote: Quick heads up: Awesome run of genre period Matthau late nite on TCM: Pelham One Two Three, Charley Varrick and Hopscotch!

The Matthau version of Pelham remains amazingly good. It holds up very, very well.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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Pelham has a fantastic ending. The subways in NYC are shit right now, so I'm curious to see how it would play in that context.
home taping is killing music
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got to see Pelham in 35mm a couple of years ago

it plays SO great with an audience
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I'm all about VARRICK. Matthau is amazing in it. I've been Team Dirty Harry forever, but it might be Siegel's best film. Mean, nasty, and darkly funny - it's perfectly executed.

This is cool:

https://twitter.com/T_FUTURIST/status/10...5267334146



[Image: Dj3eU4nU8AAzL_j.jpg:large]



[Image: Dj3eU4nU8AAzL_j.jpg]
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

Reply
Currently playing at the Lyric theater?

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.
home taping is killing music
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Speaking of PELHAM, Colonel Mortimer on the Tony Scott remake:

https://letterboxd.com/colonelmortimer/f...ham-1-2-3/


The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 2009 ★★★
Rewatched Aug 04, 2018
matt lynch’s review published on Letterboxd :

"Despite a terrific cast and a couple of great lead performances this just isn't particularly exciting, mostly just a couple guys on the phone talking. It was a strike picture, seemingly only in front of the camera in the first place because the studio needed a movie that weekend, but worthwhile especially for Scott completists as you can see him noodling with a lot of the elements that would be more streamlined in UNSTOPPABLE. Both films have big fat metaphors as their centerpiece settings; instead of capitalism as a runaway train here it's a ruthless interlocked system, but neither film allows itself to become purely pessimistic, the outcomes are always susceptible to human fallibility and individuality."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

Reply
The Tony Scott remake was staggeringly bad. Better casting likely wouldn't have saved it but Travolta did the film no favors.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Reply
He should have just used Turturro and Gandolfini.
Reply
I unabashedly LOVE Travolta in it.

An interesting perspective on the new Spike joint:

A FEW WORDS ON BLACKkKLANSMAN

http://www.pinnlandempire.com/2018/08/a-...n.html?m=1




"I find Spike Lee’s comments about the tone of his recent film perplexing because the comedic timing in Blackkkansman is pretty on point. I don’t mean to give a backhanded compliment because this is a pretty good movie for the most part. ...kinda. I dunno... It is the best thing he’s done since the criminally underseen/misunderstood Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus if that means anything to you. Blackkklansman is certainly a partial comedy as far as I’m concerned. I mean, the movie literally opens with a title card that reads; "dis joint is based on some fo' real, fo' real shit, yo..."

I know Spike would hate this comparison but some of the klansmen characters in his latest film came off like the dumb, bumbling, comical klansmen in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. On one hand it is enjoyable to poke fun at the stupidity of white supremacy, but it is also a very real thing and is still a threat.

The tone of the jive talking/quick-witted trailer matches the tone of the actual film quite well which is sometimes rare. I’m sure anyone reading this knows that trailers and the feature films they’re attached to don’t always go together. But this could be problematic to some people because the real story of Blackkklansman isn't exactly fun...

I call this a partial comedy because no matter how you cut it - the subject matter of Blackkklansman is not only very serious, but there are plenty scenes that are far from funny or amusing. This story, inspired by the true events of a Black detective (Ron Stallworth) infiltrating the kkk in the 1970’s, is quite fitting given today’s climate as white supremacy seems to be making a “comeback” (I put comeback in quotations because anyone with a brain knows that basic white supremacy hasn’t gone anywhere). Our current president has the support & backing of white supremacist groups like “the alt-right” & the proud boys. Even so-called modern day self-hating black conservatives have racist & elitist views towards their own race yet they try to deny or downplay this by claiming that they’re free thinkers and don’t follow the group thinking/“pack mentality” that some Black folks get sucked in to. But for a group of people who claim to be "free thinkers", I always find it funny that today’s Black conservatives all think alike. Any Black conservative with a platform to voice their opinions all support trump, they all hate Obama & Hilary Clinton, they’re all sympathetic towards racist white people, and they’re all critical of other Black folks. That sounds like group thinking if you ask me (it would be easy and a little lazy to call modern Black conservatives "sellouts", “coons” or “uncle toms” but that would be an insult to actual sellouts, coons & the Uncle Tom character).

Current & former members of Trump’s inner circle can be directly traced to bigoted/racist actions. One could also make a very easy argument that his own policies & beliefs (even before his presidency) are clearly racist.

Now...this is the part where those modern-Day black conservative maids & butlers pull up pictures of Donald Trump posing with famous Black people over the years as if to say; “SEE? He’s not racist! He stood next to a Black person in a photo!” And if not that, they love to bring up the Black people he’s hired in recent years as if to imply someone can’t be racist for hiring Black people)."



However the biggest problem with Blackkklansman is that Spike Lee treats the intelligent viewers like they don't know racism exists or that Donald Trump is terrible. Yes - in a film that is set in the 70's - Spike still manages to fire shots at present-day Donald Trump (and I'm not just talking about the closing credits). So much of this movie's message is so on the nose that you expect the actors to look directly in to the camera after delivering certain lines of socially conscious dialogue.
This is hardly a flawless movie. Far from it. Going back to the comedic tone for a moment, I found the mixture of comedy & drama to be a little disorienting at times. One minute you're laughing, and the next minute you're angry, uncomfortable & confused. But one could flip that by saying that's what makes Blackkklansman unique & original. It’s difficult to categorize the film or put it in a box. I would think some directors (especially those of Spike Lee's pedigree) would strive to make a film that can’t be easily categorized because that’s a sign of (or an attempt at) originality. But personally, I'm a little confused with what he was trying to do overall.

The tone & imagery of Blackkklansman isn’t completely original given it borrows from everything from The Spook Who Sat By The Door to the more respectable Blaxploitation films of the 1970’s..."

"Blackkklansman is certainly "ok" but I hope folks are open to criticizing aspects of it and not just blindly praising it simply because it could be labeled as “woke”. It seems that a lot of predominantly Black post-Get Out/Moonlight films (Black Panther, The First Purge, Sorry To Bother You, etc) are met with universal praise when there’s plenty to pick at and critique. As a Black person I understand the importance & excitement of representation on the big screen, but we shouldn’t be so easily satisfied. For example - David Duke's involvement in this story wasn't as major as the movie makes it out to be. I mean - fuck David Duke, but the actual source material for Blackkklansman is amazing enough without needing to sensationalize things."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

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"Nearly 50 years after its aborted premiere, Dennis Hopper's misunderstood masterpiece THE LAST MOVIE returns to LA in a new 4K restoration 8/16 at @SidGrauman. Special guests @Illeanarama + members of the original cast + courtyard party to follow!"



http://www.americancinemathequecalendar....st-movie-0


New 4K Restoration!

THE LAST MOVIE
1971, Arbelos Films, 108 min, USA, Dir: Dennis Hopper

"Among the most storied productions of the New Hollywood era, this self-reflexive drama follows a movie crew making a Western in a remote Peruvian village. Director Dennis Hopper stars as the baleful stuntman Kansas, who stays behind after production wraps, hoping to find redemption in the arms of a former prostitute - until local inhabitants take over the abandoned set and begin to stage a ritualistic re-enactment of the film. Given carte blanche by Universal after the tremendous commercial success of EASY RIDER, Hopper set up shop as far from the Hollywood machine as possible, with an on-screen entourage that included Kris Kristofferson, Julie Adams, Peter Fonda, Dean Stockwell, Russ Tamblyn, Michelle Phillips and director Samuel Fuller. Though it effectively ended his career for many years, Hopper’s THE LAST MOVIE remains thrillingly innovative and remarkably contemporary, influenced greatly by the work of Bruce Conner and the French New Wave, as well as the Pop and Abstract artists revered by the writer-director-star. The film has been newly restored in 4K from the original camera negative and sound elements."


[Image: DkQcf_RU8AILr39.jpg:large]
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

Reply
Relevant Hot Take:

Jordan Hoffman: "HOPSCOTCH > than any 007 film."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

Reply
(08-10-2018, 07:57 PM)Fat Elvis Wrote: I unabashedly LOVE Travolta in it.

An interesting perspective on the new Spike joint:

A FEW WORDS ON BLACKkKLANSMAN

http://www.pinnlandempire.com/2018/08/a-...n.html?m=1




"I find Spike Lee’s comments about the tone of his recent film perplexing because the comedic timing in Blackkkansman is pretty on point. I don’t mean to give a backhanded compliment because this is a pretty good movie for the most part. ...kinda. I dunno... It is the best thing he’s done since the criminally underseen/misunderstood Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus if that means anything to you. Blackkklansman is certainly a partial comedy as far as I’m concerned. I mean, the movie literally opens with a title card that reads; "dis joint is based on some fo' real, fo' real shit, yo..."

I know Spike would hate this comparison but some of the klansmen characters in his latest film came off like the dumb, bumbling, comical klansmen in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. On one hand it is enjoyable to poke fun at the stupidity of white supremacy, but it is also a very real thing and is still a threat.

The tone of the jive talking/quick-witted trailer matches the tone of the actual film quite well which is sometimes rare. I’m sure anyone reading this knows that trailers and the feature films they’re attached to don’t always go together. But this could be problematic to some people because the real story of Blackkklansman isn't exactly fun...

I call this a partial comedy because no matter how you cut it - the subject matter of Blackkklansman is not only very serious, but there are plenty scenes that are far from funny or amusing. This story, inspired by the true events of a Black detective (Ron Stallworth) infiltrating the kkk in the 1970’s, is quite fitting given today’s climate as white supremacy seems to be making a “comeback” (I put comeback in quotations because anyone with a brain knows that basic white supremacy hasn’t gone anywhere). Our current president has the support & backing of white supremacist groups like “the alt-right” & the proud boys. Even so-called modern day self-hating black conservatives have racist & elitist views towards their own race yet they try to deny or downplay this by claiming that they’re free thinkers and don’t follow the group thinking/“pack mentality” that some Black folks get sucked in to. But for a group of people who claim to be "free thinkers", I always find it funny that today’s Black conservatives all think alike. Any Black conservative with a platform to voice their opinions all support trump, they all hate Obama & Hilary Clinton, they’re all sympathetic towards racist white people, and they’re all critical of other Black folks. That sounds like group thinking if you ask me (it would be easy and a little lazy to call modern Black conservatives "sellouts", “coons” or “uncle toms” but that would be an insult to actual sellouts, coons & the Uncle Tom character).

Current & former members of Trump’s inner circle can be directly traced to bigoted/racist actions. One could also make a very easy argument that his own policies & beliefs (even before his presidency) are clearly racist.

Now...this is the part where those modern-Day black conservative maids & butlers pull up pictures of Donald Trump posing with famous Black people over the years as if to say; “SEE? He’s not racist! He stood next to a Black person in a photo!” And if not that, they love to bring up the Black people he’s hired in recent years as if to imply someone can’t be racist for hiring Black people)."



However the biggest problem with Blackkklansman is that Spike Lee treats the intelligent viewers like they don't know racism exists or that Donald Trump is terrible. Yes - in a film that is set in the 70's - Spike still manages to fire shots at present-day Donald Trump (and I'm not just talking about the closing credits). So much of this movie's message is so on the nose that you expect the actors to look directly in to the camera after delivering certain lines of socially conscious dialogue.
This is hardly a flawless movie. Far from it. Going back to the comedic tone for a moment, I found the mixture of comedy & drama to be a little disorienting at times. One minute you're laughing, and the next minute you're angry, uncomfortable & confused. But one could flip that by saying that's what makes Blackkklansman unique & original. It’s difficult to categorize the film or put it in a box. I would think some directors (especially those of Spike Lee's pedigree) would strive to make a film that can’t be easily categorized because that’s a sign of (or an attempt at) originality. But personally, I'm a little confused with what he was trying to do overall.

The tone & imagery of Blackkklansman isn’t completely original given it borrows from everything from The Spook Who Sat By The Door to the more respectable Blaxploitation films of the 1970’s..."

"Blackkklansman is certainly "ok" but I hope folks are open to criticizing aspects of it and not just blindly praising it simply because it could be labeled as “woke”. It seems that a lot of predominantly Black post-Get Out/Moonlight films (Black Panther, The First Purge, Sorry To Bother You, etc) are met with universal praise when there’s plenty to pick at and critique. As a Black person I understand the importance & excitement of representation on the big screen, but we shouldn’t be so easily satisfied. For example - David Duke's involvement in this story wasn't as major as the movie makes it out to be. I mean - fuck David Duke, but the actual source material for Blackkklansman is amazing enough without needing to sensationalize things."

I'm glad this critic castigated Spike Lee for feeling the need to remind viewers that racism exists and Donald Trump is terrible, but also spends three paragraphs writing about how racism exists and Donald Trump is terrible.
I'm still avian.
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(08-11-2018, 03:10 AM)thecooleravian Wrote: I'm glad this critic castigated Spike Lee for feeling the need to remind viewers that racism exists and Donald Trump is terrible, but also spends three paragraphs writing about how racism exists and Donald Trump is terrible.

okurr.gif
home taping is killing music
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Married to the Mob Captured Everything That Made Jonathan Demme a Remarkable Filmmaker

By Keith Phipps

movies Aug. 10, 2018

http://www.vulture.com/2018/08/married-t...-film.html

"When Jonathan Demme died last April at the age of 73, it wasn’t particularly easy to sum up a directorial career that began with Caged Heat, the quintessential women-in-prison exploitation movie, and ended with the concert film Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids. That’s partially because of the range suggested by those bookends, but also because of the films themselves, which are never quite what they look like from the outside. Or, more accurately, they also contain more than they look like they’ll contain from a distance.

Caged Heat, for instance, folds a subversive streak and a gift for cleverly staged set pieces into the expected elements of a Roger Corman drive-in movie. Like Demme’s beloved Stop Making Sense, Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids is a concert film that doubles as a story about staging the show itself and the communal effort required for such a show to happen. Demme didn’t just always deliver, he always over-delivered in the best possible sense.

That’s never more evident than in Married to the Mob, released in 30 years ago this month at the tail end of a diverse summer movie season that included Die Hard, Coming to America, Big, Bull Durham, and Midnight Run. It wasn’t a bad summer for movies, in other words, but, then as now, August tended to be a home for oddball movies that didn’t quite fit anywhere else, released with fingers crossed that they might catch fire as the summer wound down. In bare description, Married to the Mob fits the profile of an August movie. And despite a clever script by Barry Strugatz and Mark R. Burns, in another director’s hands it could have been just one of many ’80s movies, inspired by the success of Beverly Hills Cop, to mix action and crime and hope for the best.

But Demme wasn’t just any director. He was always looking for ways to go deeper, to squeeze a little bit more into each frame, to capture the telling gestures that defined a character, to get a little more out of every moment. Sometimes that involved savvy, counterintuitive casting. Anyone else’s list of late-’80s actresses born to play an Italian-American Long Islander with ties to the Mafia (and an accent that made no secret of it) probably wouldn’t have included Michelle Pfeiffer. A California-born blonde, Pfeiffer had mostly been seen in parts that matched that description, never quite finding the breakout starring role she deserved. Here, from her first moment, Pfeiffer makes it clear this will be that role."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

Reply
Sunday Reads: Spike Lee & The Exploration Of Cinematic Racism In BLACKkKLANSMAN
How Lee's latest enters a decades-long pop cinema dialogue that began with BIRTH OF A NATION.

By Jacob Knight •Aug. 12, 2018 •

https://birthmoviesdeath.com/2018/08/12/...kkklansman

"So much of BlacKkKlansman – a genre movie that takes a recognizable storytelling mode (the "buddy cop" comedy) and remolds it to fit the revolutionary tale Lee is telling – deals with the cinematic image, and how it acts as a mirror: reflecting and distorting both American history and its people throughout the medium’s just over 100-year lifetime. There's a reason the very first scene we see in BlacKkKlansman wasn't even shot by Lee, but comes from Victor Fleming's heralded big screen adaptation of Gone With the Wind ('39). As the camera slowly pulls back over the battlefield of Atlanta, it's a reminder that one of the earliest American cinematic "classics" celebrated a white Southern heroine who owned slaves and even lived under a charred symbol of racist pride: The Confederate Flag (which fills up the majority of the first frame, defiantly flapping in the wind above hundreds of fallen Confederate soldiers).

Upon its release, Gone With the Wind was a national sensation, with its opening date even declared a state holiday by Eurith D. Rivers, the Governor of Georgia. The most expensive film production yet attempted by an ever-expanding Hollywood, producer David O. Selznick feared he’d never see a profit. Instead – despite a nearly four-hour running time – Gone With the Wind grossed 25 times its cost on the movie’s initial run, and won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Adjusted for inflation, this Technicolor dream of the “Old South” – which comes complete with Hattie McDaniel's Best Supporting Actress win for her portrayal of house servant, Mammy – remains one of the biggest box office hits in US cinema history, and was named the fourth best American film by the AFI in ‘98.

"True, Gone with the Wind isn’t as blatantly and virulently racist as D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, which was considered one of the greatest American movies as late as the early 1960s, but is now rarely screened, even in museums. The more subtle racism of Gone with the Wind is in some ways more insidious, going to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery — an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes."

"It's no coincidence D.W. Griffith's silent landmark is granted even more screen time in BlacKkKlansman than Gone With the Wind (which vanishes after the opening). Perhaps the original "blockbuster", Birth of a Nation ('15) struck such a resounding chord with the American public that President Woodrow Wilson reportedly remarked that watching the movie at a White House screening was like witnessing "history written with lightning". At the time of Birth’s release, the first iteration of the Ku Klux Klan – which inspired both Griffith (as well as the movie’s source text) and was arguably more of a white pride social club than the terrorist organization it eventually evolved into – was all but extinct. Yet some of the film's most objectionable scenes show the KKK riding to the rescue of a white family trapped in a cabin by sexually predatory blacks and their white manipulators, becoming a rallying cry for the organization's second, much more dangerous iteration.

Lee explores how Birth became a revivalist tool for racist whites rather vividly as Stallworth – with the aid of his Jewish "white half", Detective Philip 'Flip' Zimmerman (Adam Driver) – infiltrates the group and is even inducted as a member. At the membership ceremony, Zimmerman is anointed by Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace) – who prefers the more politically savvy title "National Director" – before the Colorado chapter runs a 16mm print of Griffith's upsetting opus, hooting and hollering along with the aforementioned scenes that paint their tribe as nothing short of saviors. Just as Gone With the Wind glorified nefarious Southern views and traditions, its predecessor gifted these hideous forces of oppression moving images that allowed the Klan to see themselves as heroes of their own narrative, acting as the antithesis of what Tarzan did for Kwame Ture.

Being the superlative student of cinema that he is, Lee also allows Ron and Patrice a moment to reflect on the champions black people were given on the big screen during the '70s. While taking a walk together, they debate which of the era's Blaxploitation icons were the very best. Did Patrice favor Pam Grier in Coffy ('73) or Tamara Dobson in Cleopatra Jones ('73)? When it came to the big men of the Blax movement, who was more badass: Ron O'Neal's Superfly ('72) or Richard Roundtree's trenchcoated private detective Shaft ('71)? For Patrice, the choice is clear, as she's going to choose an investigator over a pimp eight days a week.

With a little help from the history books, the subtext of this scene becomes rather apparent (not to mention powerful). The works Spike’s chosen to represent how Southern pride was portrayed onscreen were gigantic mainstream hits, nominated for Oscars and celebrated for years by historians. Meanwhile, the Blaxploitation movement in '70s genre cinema was mostly financed outside of the studio system, usually by white producers who were looking to make a buck off inner city and drive-in audiences. Icons like Coffy and John Shaft were simply positive byproducts of capitalism; the Samuel Z. Arkoffs of the world employing maverick filmmakers to appeal to otherwise neglected audiences. But even when they were financed or distributed by major studios (as was the case with Shaft and Superfly), black audiences were forced to choose between pimps and private detectives as role models. Unless they were portrayed by Sidney Poitier, there weren't many other options."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

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Newly Restored, “The Atomic Café” Is Just as Vital as Ever

Good job, everybody!

by Bilge Ebiri

July 31, 2018

https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/07/31/...l-as-ever/

"A time capsule of a time capsule, the 1982 documentary compilation film The Atomic Café feels suddenly, enragingly relevant again. There was a time — during the 1990s particularly — when Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, and Pierce Rafferty’s montage of newsreels, training films, and commercials from the early years of the arms race seemed like both a cinematic and spiritual fragment of the past. The cloud of nuclear fear had lifted, or so we thought, with the end of the Cold War. But now the possibility of Armageddon is back in the news, in a more unpredictable fashion than ever before. And so here is The Atomic Café, beautifully restored and playing at the newly renovated Film Forum, back to remind us how fucked we truly are, and perhaps have always been."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

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Nice write up on a recent TCM discovery amidst a pre-code kick:

"So many pre-Codes on @FilmStruck today courtesy director William Wellman. I'm partial to Safe In Hell with the unjustly forgotten Dorothy Mackaill. It's everything you might want in a pre-Code,. I wrote about it a few years ago:"

http://krelllabs.blogspot.com/2012/04/li...afety.html


"My local art house is running another series of Pre-code movies this month. This is the third series, so having run through the most iconic and most egregiously batshit insane of the Pre-code films like Baby Face and Red-Headed Woman in previous installments, this series delves into the more obscure films. The kick-off film this year is William Wellman's Safe In Hell (1931), which is everything you want in a Pre-code film and then some. It's salacious, sophisticated, and surprisingly downbeat. It's all kinds of awesome."
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

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Repertory Flashback:


https://twitter.com/troniks/status/1023965926213869570


[Image: DkgtmBPUYAASCij.jpg] 
[Image: DjXbkv4VAAAiIjC.jpg]
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

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https://twitter.com/Karaszewski/status/1...4091356161


[Image: Dkgtk_mUwAEkxry.jpg]
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

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(08-13-2018, 02:36 PM)Fat Elvis Wrote: Nice write up on a recent TCM discovery amidst a pre-code kick:
I've started watching some pre-Code movies as well, and they're always interesting. So lurid, so downbeat, so ADULT. It puts into stark relief how the Hays Code infantilized our country for decades.
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I've waited so long for my friend to do videos of himself just having conversations about filmmaking/screenwriting craft.

And finally he has a first episode!



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Someone has been tweeting excerpts of this interview, and I can't get enough of it. As the person noted 'Siskel & Ebert were each other's own ex-husbands.'

http://reprints.longform.org/playboy-int...oger-ebert





[Image: DklJaYdU4AA6k_a.jpg:large]
In my hour of darkness, in my time of need

Oh Lord, grant me vision oh, Lord grant me speed

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Fear of the Velvet Curtain

THE DESERT HEART OF CHARLEY VARRICK

by Dennis Cozzalio Aug 11, 2018

https://trailersfromhell.com/the-desert-...y-varrick/


"That feeling led me to ponder other instances in which a director has so casually, yet so effectively rendered locations in such a manner that they almost feel like they could be breathed in through the lungs, locations reflective of the mood of a given piece and even the rocky, unforgiving landscape that makes up the characters themselves.

Thanks to that lucky proximity of having seen it 24 hours earlier, Charley Varrick leapt to mind as a prime example. When it was released in 1973 by Universal, few seemed eager to pronounce claims of artistic integrity for what was perceived as an efficient, brutal crime programmer, no more, no less. But seen 45 years later its sturdy, intelligent design couldn’t be more apparent. As a vehicle for Walter Matthau, who would continue the dismantling of his status as strictly a comic actor begun here in films like The Laughing Policeman and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, it’s an excellent showcase for the star’s ability to project the electrical charges crackling behind his hangdog personage, as Varrick attempts to wiggle out from underneath the greasy, bloody thumb of an increasingly angry and impatient crime syndicate, personified by Joe Don Baker’s grinning hit man and John Vernon’s frighteningly insinuating big boss. And because of Don Siegel’s unblinking camera eye, his sense of graphic continuity, and his insistence that the places where the chase for Charley play out are just as important for the mood that can be drawn out of them naturally, from their simple existence as landscape, as they are in conveying the ineffable sense of the existential net closing in around him, Charley Varrick’s shadow is a long one, particularly for a movie that is only now beginning to be considered with the deference to classic status that certainly I think it deserves.

Most modern noir efforts tend to be too flashy and self-conscious by at least half, but efforts like Brian Helgeland’s Payback and Harold Ramis’s The Ice Harvest, and more recently punchy, unpretentious pictures like Hotel Artemis, John Wick 2 and Scott Frank’s A Walk Among the Tombstones, have reached back through the smoke and wreckage of American action film history toward films like Charley Varrick, and in doing so work to stave off the creative dead-end the form seems to have been mired during since the advent of AVID-enable overediting and general CGI blockbuster-it is. Waiting within that long shadow, for filmmakers with a desire to tread this unforgiving, gravelly road, is the calloused embrace of Siegel’s cold shot to the heart, a movie in which their own curdled spirits are surely rooted."
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"When I first saw “Showgirls” on its calamitous opening night in 1995, I never could have never imagined anybody would still be talking about it 23 years later — least of all me, writes @SeanMBurns"


Commentary



How 'Showgirls,' Awful But Exquisite, Has Endured For All These Years



August 15, 2018

By Sean Burns


http://www.wbur.org/artery/2018/08/15/pa...-about-eve


"Toronto film critic Adam Nayman’s 2014 book “It Doesn’t Suck” takes its title from a catch-phrase repeated by Nomi Malone, the lap-dancing ingénue so memorably played by out-of-her-depth tween TV icon Elizabeth Berkley. In it, he makes a considerable case for “Showgirls” as a sui generis work of cinema art, or in his words, “a masterpiece that is somehow also a piece of s---.” Nayman will be hosting Thursday night’s Brattle screening, which he’s perversely paired as a double feature with Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s beloved 1950 farce, “All About Eve.” The films have a lot more in common than you might first expect, as he and I discussed via e-mail last week.

“Verhoeven himself said ‘Showgirls’ was ‘All About Evil,' and in general the movie has a lot of references and callbacks to backstage musicals and melodramas,” Nayman explained. “Both scripts are quite loquacious, nasty and (sorry) full-frontal in their satire and critique. You really can imagine Gina Gershon saying, ‘It's going to be a bumpy night,’ right?”

Indeed, it’s amusing to notice the overlaps when watching these films back to back, as the caustic classic features Anne Baxter’s fawning Eve Harrington insinuating herself into Broadway star Bette Davis’ circle much in the same ways Berkley’s Nomi ultimately usurps the career of Gershon’s dancing diva. The films’ awards trajectories, however, were inverted, as “All About Eve” received a record 14 Oscar nominations while “Showgirls” was up for 13 Razzies, a considerable achievement considering that there were only 11 categories.

That “satire and critique” is what didn’t quite come through in 1995, as mine wasn’t the only American audience unaccustomed to the adversarial, occasionally abusive relationship Verhoeven films tend to have with their viewers. “Showgirls” boasts an incredibly sophisticated visual sensibility in which the story’s thematic doublings are played out in mirrors, reflections and repeated motifs. At the same time, the screenplay by Joe Eszterhas is jaw-dropping in its brutish inanity. The application of such movie-making elegance to this sub-moronic drivel imparts a sour, almost punitive quality to the picture, similar to the way in which Verhoeven films like “RoboCop” and “Total Recall” periodically taunt you with blasts of sickening violence, as if to say: “This is what you came for. Are you not entertained?”"
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