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Entries in April Showers (52)

Monday
Apr112016

April Showers: Antonio Banderas in "Law of Desire"

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Manuel on Law of Desire (1987).

 

Almodóvar is the air again due to Chus Lampreave's passing and his latest, Julieta getting solid reviews (his best since Volver). And since April is “Actor Month” here at TFE let's kill two birds with one stone by looking at a small scene featuring Antonio Banderas and Eusebio Poncela from the 1987 classic Law of Desire.

The film centers on Antonio (Banderas) and his obsessive fixation with a gay film director (Poncela). After stalking him and eventually roping his way into his life, Antonio settles on trying to shape Pablo after his own image. First, he fixes some things around Pablo’s messy apartment, including some tiles in his shower, and then, the next day he takes it upon himself to set some sort of routine for them.

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Thursday
Apr072016

April Showers: Blue Valentine

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Kieran Scarlett on Blue Valentine (2010).

What are you doing?

-What does it look like I'm doing?

Getting all wet and naked.

A shower scene between two clearly beautiful lovers (even with the aging makeup) has rarely felt less erotic and more heartbreaking. This exchange manages to perfectly illustrate the tragic state of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy’s (Michelle Williams) relationship in Derek Cianfrance’s modern masterpiece, Blue Valentine. Dean is still obliviously playful, too willing to overlook the realities of his disintegrating marriage in favor of ham-handedly ginning up passion and romance. Cindy feels trapped and hopeless, unable to seek refuge from her husband’s obtuse adulation even in the shower. Her voice drips with the weary impatience often heard in response to a child’s incessant questioning, which frankly is not too dissimilar to how Cindy regards Dean at this point. It’s very much an extension of the first time we see Cindy. She’s lying in bed in the early hours of the morning. Her husband and young daughter, very much equals in their oppressive childlike exuberance bound in and snap her from the slumber into the harsh reality that is this life in which she has found herself.

The traditional (and very valid) reading of Blue Valentine’s two-ply structure (the birth of a romance intercut with its slow, painful death) is that Dean and Cindy have lost something. Their love, once ideal and passionate has been suffocated under the stresses of parenthood and a whirlwind courtship turned into a long marriage. However, there are clear indications in the earlier years that bumps in the road litter their future. Dean wants to be whatever Cindy needs him to be, but lacks the motivation or introspection to figure out how to do so. And Cindy, still unsure of herself can’t begin to know exactly what it is she needs from Dean.

As satisfying as it is to watch them fall in love in their earliest interactions, this is clearly the dynamic from the beginning. As deeply enamored with one another as they are, Dean and Cindy enter each other's lives as solutions to a problem. This problem is bigger than her unremarkable relationship with the lug, Bobby Ontario (Mike Vogel), her eventual pregnancy or her desire to leave her abusive father’s house. It's bigger than Dean's aimlessness paired destructively with his need to be a savior. It’s a problem neither of them can identify, which makes the solution frustratingly out of reach.

So, in this moment, Dean and Cindy take a shower that’s anything but romantic. In the “future room” of this kitschy lovers’ motel, it’s the last gasp of a romance that may well have no future at all. Only a past, looked back upon with unreliable rose-colored glasses and a present where these two lovers, once white hot with passion, can hardly seem to look at each other. Even in the confines of a shower.

Monday
Apr042016

April Showers: Kurosawa's Dreams

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at memorably soaked moments in the movies. Here's Lynn Lee on Dreams (1990).


The sun is shining, but it’s raining.  Foxes hold their wedding processions in this weather.

But they don’t like anyone to see them – if they catch you watching, they’ll be very angry!

Dreams (1990) may be the most personal of Kurosawa’s films, and has always struck me as one of his most underrated.  It’s uneven, yes, but at its best it really does capture the vivid yet elusive, disorienting nature of a recurring dream that always seems to slip just out of your grasp – the kind of dream that can turn on a hair from a beautiful vision to a nightmare and back again...

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Friday
Apr012016

April Showers: Joe Manganiello ♥s Pee Wee

You know what we haven't discussed yet? How totally delightful Joe Manganiello is in Pee Wee's Big Holiday (2016). The new film, Pee Wee Herman's first movie since 1988 (!) has been been streaming for a couple of weeks but it's a great fit for April Fool's Day because it feels so impossible that it happened at all. 

Because Pee Wee is Pee Wee and his work has always been skillfully aimed at both adults and children with equal panache, it's often filled with hilarious sexual innuendo that sails over the head of tiny tots but is playful enough not to spoil the exuberant innocence of the comedy for adults who are in on the jokes. Pee Wee Herman's Playhouse, the beloved series that ran for five seasons in the late 80s and early 90s was no stranger to the occasional hunky visitor but for the new film the hunky visitor graduates to full co-star level, courtesy of a very game and funny Joe Manganiello playing "Joe Manganiello". [A few spoilers ahead...]

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Wednesday
Mar302016

Let's Get Wet


"April Showers" returns soon.
Intermittent late nights all month long. Any requests?

 

Friday
Apr102015

April Showers: Rachel Getting Married

April Showers - some nights at 11. Here's new contributor Sebastian on a TFE favorite...

a shower scene from one of my favorite films

Jonatham Demme's Rachel Getting Married (2008) takes place over the weekend of Rachel's (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding, and follows her sister, Kym (Anne Hathaway, earning her first Oscar nomination), on leave from rehab and struggling to navigate the highly stressful family reunion. Though the film is a celebration, it's about loss, too. As a teenager, Kym, intoxicated, caused an accident that led to the tragic death of her little brother, Ethan. His absence is felt throughout the film, through words and images, through an empty room or, most painfully, on his father's (Bill Irwin) face after happening upon a plate with Ethan's name on it.

Ethan is part of the sisters' closest moment together, too, which comes right on the heels of their biggest clash, when Kym returns to the house after wrecking her car in the woods the night before. Physically and emotionally bruised, she goes straight to Rachel, who immediately knows what to do...

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