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Yes Not Maybe So: Bombshell

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Entries in A Single Man (6)

Wednesday
Apr032019

Showbiz History: Star Wars' Oscar Ceremony & Matthew Goode's Birthday Suit

8 random things that happened on this day in history (as it relates to showbiz). Happy April 3rd!

1882 Jesse James is Assassinated by the Coward Robert Ford (Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck recreating that for you above circa 2007).

1930 The 2nd Oscars are held with Broadway Melody taking Best Picture. (No film won more than 1 Oscar at that ceremony but that's less crazy than it sounds since there were only 7 categories then.)

1942 Zoltan Korda's The Jungle Book opens in movie theaters. It certainly won't be the last film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's wild boy and jungle animals adventure but it receives the most Oscar nominations of any of them by far in four categories (Cinematography, Production Design, Visual Effects, and Original Score)

After the jump the historic 50th Oscar ceremony. So much good trivia awaits you...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep062016

Back to School with Realistic Movie Professors

by Kyle Stevens

Professor Indiana JonesAfter teaching for years as a graduate student, then as a postdoc, and then as a Visiting Assistant Professor, I’ve finally started a proper position as Assistant Professor of Film Studies. As semesters begin all over the country, I turned to thinking about my favorite on-screen professors. High school movies tend to serve as microcosms of society; they’re all emotional peaks and valleys, in-groups and out-groups, and the goal is to get out. In college movies, from Animal House and Old School to Legally Blonde and The House Bunny, the goal is to stay on the rip-roaring ride of university life. 

Not surprisingly, college teachers don’t feature heavily in these movies. And in other genres where professors pop up, they’re not exactly realistic. Think Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, Natalie Portman in Thor, Hugh Grant in The Rewrite, and so on. (Propriety dictates that I not comment on the realism of Bruce Humberstone’s 1952 Virginia Mayo vehicle She’s Working Her Way Through College.) Television doesn’t fare much better, as the patently absurd characters in How to Get Away with Murder or Transparent attest. 

But here are my personal favorites. The Top Five Professors in Film..

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec032015

Appropriate Ways to Celebrate Julianne Moore's Birthday

Kieran, here taking a brief respite from the holidays (read: Oscar season) to wish a very happy birthday to Julianne Moore. Between her tribute to Todd Haynes at the Gotham Awards and her very funny “Billy on the Street" segment it’s a good week to celebrate the Academy Award-winning actress. Just glancing at her filmography, she’s gifted the world of cinema with so much to be thankful for and she’s surely got a lot more left to give. It’s far too rare that the great actors of any generation also become Oscar winners. Before Still Alice many had assumed it was over for Moore in terms of ever copping the statue. Seeing her ascend the stage to collect her Academy Award earlier this year, it never felt so good to be so wrong.

So, on this, Julianne’s birthday...

Appropriate Ways To Celebrate

1. Relax with some yoga.

 2. Bake a cake. Watch the sifting flour. "Isn't it pretty? It's just like snow."

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May082014

*smh*

Tuesday
Jan152013

Curio: Marie Harnett's Pencil Drawings

Alexa here with your weekly art inspiration.  Marie Harnett is an artist out of the UK whose focus is on film. She makes widescreen-format, small yet intricate pencil drawings of filmstills that "capture fleeting moments of drama, suspense or beauty and, when released from the original context of the film that inspired them, the drawings each tell a story of their own."

Marie holds a miniature Keira

I recently came upon her work and was struck by the level of photorealistic detail she manages to cram into her tiny compositions, and by how they evoke the history of cinema, despite her of-the-minute subjects (she even draws stills from trailers).  And she's doing quite well for herself; tiny mezzotints of her drawings sell for upwards of $2000! Here are some examples of her current work; you can see more on her website.

'Gatsby' series, 2012

Gangster Squad, Chéri, and A Single Man loveliness after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec152011

Distant Relatives: The Pawnbroker and A Single Man

Robert here w/ Distant Relatives, exploring the connections between one classic and one contemporary film.

Dead spouses are great dramatic devices. They can give your lead character an extra dose of pain and pathos and add some emotional heft to a bland plot, some sympathy to a distant character, or in the case of a good-old-fashioned revenge movie, incite the action. At its most banal, the dead lover is an obvious cliche. But occasionally it can sweep us up into the protagonist's psyche, force us to ask their same questions about our lives and loves. Those questions, pondered and feared by anyone whose ever been in love: "What if this person died, suddenly, tragically, unexpectedly?" "What if I weren't there to save them, help them, comfort them?" "What if their death were no more to me than a vanishing act. One day here, the next gone... no farewell, no funeral." "What would become of them?" "What would become of me?" These are worst case scenarios to be sure, and we repress the thoughts by telling ourselves that such occurrences are rare (I imagine the exact same thing that anyone whose ever experienced it told themselves too). We watch movies about people who've had such experiences not out of morose voyeurism but out of a desire to understand a state of being that we hope never to be in but realize we easily could.
 
Our two films today follow men who are mourning the death of a companion and who are, to use a cliched phrase, dead inside themselves. The Pawnbroker tells the story of Holocaust survivor Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger), a man who lost his family and now lives surrounded by the dirt and corruption of New York City. At roughly the same time, on the other end of the continent, George Falconer (Colin Firth) is barely coping with the death of his partner Jim. George, the subject of A Single Man lives among the sunny skies and bright colors of 1960's Los Angeles. The environments of George and Sol, while polar opposites serve the same dramatic purpose, to highlight their state of mind. Sol's is representative. George's is sadly ironic. Added to this is more than a hit of expressionist style, the gritty choppy manic pacing of The Pawnbroker contrasted with the color boosting and desaturated highs and lows of A Single Man.


Both George and Sol have similar supporting characters in their lives. There are two to whom I'd like to draw your attention. They, in turn, represent George and Sol's impossible futures and unattainable pasts. To George, his friend Charlie's (Julianne Moore) propositions of a move back to England and a quaint straight existence are both impossible and offensive. And for Sol, the advances and attempted comforts of a neighborly Social Worker are something he has no intention of dignifying. Both paint pictures of a future that neither man wants to partake in, yet they only serve to emphasize the pain of the present. As for the past, it shows up in the form of two young potential proteges. For George that man is Kenny, a student who is fascinated by him and a bit flirtatious. For Sol it's his shop assistant Jesus, whose desire to learn the business he continually ignores or rebuffs. Both of these young men possess not necessarily much optimism or intelligence but a youthful exuberance, an almost recklessness that neither Sol nor George have present in them anymore. While George engages with Kenny in a way that Sol does not with Jesus, it may be because George has given up on life and planned a suicide while Sol has decided to go on being a living ghost.
 
Ultimately these films don't have any particularly encouraging messages for the man whose loved and lost. George and Sol float through their existence, flashing back to the moments that have defined them, whether they were present or not. Both men are presented opportunities to feel again, and though they resist and resist, they eventually give in tho their humanness in different but equally tragic ways. For Sol it is a new sadness too deep to ignore, for George a fleeting optimism, quickly snuffed out. Both men are outsiders in worlds that should be embracing them and comforting them, but instead are shunning and fearing them. Both men may have to work too hard to heal. But messages about learning to love again and letting people in aren't the point. The point is to get into the minds of these men and understand what makes them work, how their sorrows manifest, how their lives have become irreparably changed. These films give us insights into the inner workings of men on a precipice none of us ever hope to be. Neither film promises much jubilation but both deliver plenty of humanity.


 
Other Cinematic Relatives
: Veritgo (1958), Last Tango in Paris (1973), About Schmidt (2002), Up (2009)