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Thursday
May262016

Thelma & Louise Pt. 5: Crossing Over

25th Anniversary Five-Part Mini Series Event 

Pt 1 (Anne Marie & Margaret) 
Pt 2 (Nick Davis) 
Pt 3 (Daniel Crooke)
Pt 4 (Nathaniel R) 

Pt 5 (Finale) by Laurence Barber

It feels awfully daunting to write about the ending of this film, and not just because, as Nathaniel pointed out, ditching the cop who pulled them over isn’t Thelma or Louise’s finest hour. As an Australian who has experienced outback heat, that scene always makes me feel a bit nauseous even if the way their doing away with this discipline daddy is pretty amusing. More logically, they could have made use of his handcuffs to disable him instead, but you have to appreciate that Callie Khouri hasn’t constructed these crimes around what feels like pattern behaviour. Aside from Thelma’s charm assault/armed robbery, their transgressions feel genuinely like two women thinking on their feet.

Also, you catch a glimpse of a shotgun behind him as he trades shades with Louise so I’ve always believed he figured his way out somewhere down the line (shoot the lock, dummy!).

Thelma: Officer, I’m real sorry ‘bout this.”

Louise: I apologise also.”

1:40:00 This aspect of the scene has always spackled over my misgivings about it too. Much has been said and written in recent years about the way women over-apologise, exercising a kind of ingrained cultural deference to male authority. In this scene, however, their apologies become a subversion; the way Sarandon half-heartedly apologises tells us that she’s given up caring about the needs of men in any meaningful way.

Replete with her new Aviators – a hot new look Scott drinks in with a zoom that feels as awed by Sarandon as we do by this point – Louise and Thelma jump back in the Thunderbird and put rubber to the road, the final stage of their road trip stretching out before them. In a brief cut back to the police part of the plot, Harvey Keitel gravely intones, “Dreams will only get you so far, and luck always runs out.” Lighten up, toots...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May262016

Open Thread.

The finale of our Thelma & Louise retrospective will be up later tonight. But for now tell us... What's on your cinematic mind?

Thursday
May262016

A First Look at "Alien: Covenant"

Next summer brings us Ridley Scott's long promised/threatened Prometheus follow-up, Alien: Covenant. Promising to bridge the gap between Prometheus and the original Alien films, we will see the return of Michael Fassbender's android David (with Noomi Rapace's Shaw sitting this one out) and the introduction of a fresh crew of space victims. Our new heroine Katherine Waterston is seen here (in the shadows) in the first look at the film:

The film recently began filming, beating Neill Blomkamp's Ripley-focused installment to the production punch. While Blomkamp has released copious amounts of preproduction artwork to stir interest in his vision, Ridley Scott has kept the details of this iteration under wraps. This first look at least shows the series staying to its moody aesthetic with the hint of danger - is that a fire in the background? Why so chill, Katherine?

If there's another bit of hinting here, it is that Waterston could be more than a Ripley replica. The actress has been quickly making her mark with primo performances recently in Inherent Vice and Queen of Earth, but now she's joining the franchise ranks with this and November's Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It will be interesting to see how see handles the physical demands of the action/horror genre, but her soulful and sad work in Vice and Queen give hope that this badass lady will be more than skin deep. At the very least, we can expect a performance more human, sexy, and believable than what Prometheus offered.

Alien: Covenant opens August 4, 2017.

Thursday
May262016

Rachel Weisz: A Brewing Renaissance?

Currently on screen in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, Rachel Weisz has so many upcoming movies, she got Murtada wondering if a renaissance is brewing...

My Cousin Rachel

The Lobster is doing gangbusters in limited release and with critics. To these eyes it is uneven and Weisz is absent from its best part. In fact her performance is so bland, it weakens the second half of the movie particularly in comparison with the highly entertaining first act where Colin Farrell and particularly Olivia Colman are exultingly funny. Even when Weisz is front and center she seemed lost, not sure of the rhythm of the film. A supporting player like Lea Seydoux, with much less screen time, was more in sync with Lanthimos and the rest of the cast and outshines Weisz in the section they share...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May262016

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem Join The Asghar Farhadi Avengers

After scooping up Best Screenplay and Best Actor honors for The Salesman at the Cannes Film Festival, Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi has swiftly landed two more international prizes for his next film: Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. The Oscar-winning couple reuniting onsceen is only the half of it; as previously announced last year, they join producers Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar for Farhadi’s first Spanish-language project. If you place the emphasis on the first word in “cinematic universe,” this is the sort of continent-crossing collaboration of which one dreams. As the superheroes behind A Separation, Volver, No Country for Old MenAll About My Mother, and Wild Tales coalesce and move towards production, we can’t wait to see what kind of direction they take the project.

While Cruz, Bardem, and the brothers Almodóvar have all collaborated with one another in some form before – recently, Broken EmbracesVicky Cristina Barcelona; not so recently, Live Flesh – it should be fascinating to see how these very outwardly expressive films gel against Farhadi’s track record of inwardly simmering yet subtly explosive dramas. It’s no surprise that Cruz and Bardem already contend with some of cinema’s sexiest movie star marriages – contemporarily, I’d give them the gold – and it will be fascinating to see how or if Farhadi bends that image against them. His films tend to combust entrenched socio-cultural strictures rather than manipulate flashy celeb fodder but, then again, Kubrick was never much of an Us Weekly guy and he still warped Cruise and Kidman with fascinatingly transgressive results.

What are some of your favorite movies with IRL married couples thrust into diegesis? Or, on a more directorly note, what do you think of Almodóvar and Farhadi teaming up behind the scenes?

Thursday
May262016

Bram Stoker's Dracula, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Peggy Lee Fever

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1828 Feral teenager Kaspar Hauser is discovered wandering Nuremberg, claiming to have been raised in total isolation. Theories abound and the story inspires many artists down the road including Werner Herzog in the film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974).
1877 Influential dancer Isadora Duncan is born. Vanessa Redgrave gets an Oscar nomination playing her in Isadora! (1968)
1886 Al Jolson is born. Will later star in the first "talkie" The Jazz Singer (1927)
1894 Silent film star Norma Talmadge is born
1897 Bram Stoker's epistolary novel "Dracula" is published. Never stops being adapted for film and television but our hearts will always belong to Francis Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) despite the aggravating double possessive
1907 John Wayne was born. Did he always talk like that?
1913 Peter Cushing is born in England. Later stars in Hammer Horror films with his irl best friend Christopher Lee, the Dracula to his Van Helsing. Perhaps most famously Carrie Fisher 'recognizes his foul stench' when she's captured in Star Wars
1914 Geoffrey Unsworth, two time Oscar winning genius cinematographer is born. Shot so many gorgeous movies like 2001, Cabaret, TessSuperman as well as a legendary bad one in Zardoz

1920 Peggy Lee is born. The popular singer was mysteriously left out of AMPAS's annual "In Memoriam" section at the Oscars despite numerous film connections, like voicing multiple characters in Lady in the Tramp, starring in a remake of The Jazz Singer, popularizing the song "Why Don't You Do Right?" in Stage Door Canteen (later spectacularly used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), and even nabbing an admittedly strange supporting actress nomination for Pete Kelly's Blues (1955). Now where's that biopic we were promised from Todd Haynes starring Reese Witherspoon?
1926 Miles Davis is born. His biopic is in theaters currently because famous men get biopics.
1948 Stevie Nicks emerges with her diaphamous shawls from mother's womb; starts spinning. We see her gypsy.
1949 The legendary Pam Grier is born. Also answers to "Coffy," "Foxy Brown," and "Jackie Brown"
1961 Tarsem Singh is born. Eventually trades truly weird beautiful auteurial stuff for still weird CGI mainstream drudgery


1966 Helena Bonham Carter is born. Initially pegged as Merchant Ivory's favorite dress up doll, she goes on to have a rather spectacularly enduring career. Happy 50th Helena!

Helena's 10 Best Performances? My List...

  1. Wings of the Dove (1997) shoulda won the Oscar
  2. Fight Club (1999) shoulda been nominated for the Oscar
  3. Howard's End (1992) shoulda been nominated for the Oscar
  4. Sweeney Todd (2007) shame about the singing voice. because otherwise...
  5. A Room With a View (1986) 
  6. Suffragette (2015)
  7. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
  8. Eyesore in Wonderland (2010)
  9. Lady Jane (1985)
  10. Hamlet (1990)

1971 Lenny, by Julian Barry. opens on Broadway. Barry adapts it to film three years later with Bob Fosse directing. They both receive Oscar nominations. Lenny even gets a third life in a way when it basically serves as the film within the film of All That Jazz
1984
"Let's Hear It For the Boy," from Footloose, hits #1 on the pop charts. Goes on to an Original Song nomination at the Oscars. Loses to "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder from Woman in Red
2006 X-Men: Last Stand, the third X-Men motion picture, opened in theaters and was bad enough to destroy the franchise...except they kept right on making them. Tomorrow X-Men 6 opens, better known as X-Men Apocalypse.