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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in April Showers (38)

Sunday
Apr282013

April Showers: “Anna Karenina”

 April Showers semi-daily @ 11 

 Andrew here to briefly talk about Anna Karenina, because  I relish any opportunity to talk about one of my favourite 2012 films.

Among the great many things about Anna Karenina I remain grateful for (Keira’s most adult performance, Marianelli’s most inventive score, great work from Durran are a few) Jude Law’s turn as Alexei Karenin is near the top. Prior to Anna Karenina I’d been experiencing something akin to cognitive dissonance with Jude for the last eight years or so. Other than the odd Contagion thrown in I’d been finding it more and more difficult to justify the reasons I kept maintaining that he was my favourite actor under 40. So, naturally, he had much to prove to me with Anna Karenina and luckily I wasn’t disappointed.

The shower in question is brief but comes at a pivotal moment in the film. With a third of the narrative left Karenin, assured of his wife's infidelity, experiences an awkward dinner with her brother's family. He is too scrupulous to excuse or understand Anna’s cheating ways and when he receives a letter plaintive letter he rips it to shreds.

 
 
 

 With that tortured look, alone, I’m willing to forgive less than exciting work in the years preceding. It's not that post-2004 and pre-2012 Jude was slumming it, but he's not been pushing himself either. It’s one of the key reasons I would reach for Wright’s Karenina before any other. Karenin is not a footnote, but a full realised man. Wright and Stoppard are unwaveringly interested in ALL of their characters and the examination of Karenin is as compassionate and warm as that of the eponymous heroine. As the shredded paper morphs into a shower of snow it leads to one of the multiple glorious images of the film.

Seeing steadfast Karenin (and his good ethics) inundated in a shower of white does not seem accidental, to me. The idea of a jilted lover standing in a shower of rain is not unheard of, but of course Karenin - forever suffering in silence - is showered not in loud raindrops but snow which is not only as pure and immaculate as his morals are but silent, too. There is no pitter patter as this shower unfolds but a chilling soundlessness as the snow falls to the stage. Like Karenin himself, a man not out of love with his wife but too emotionlessly silent to show it, there is no sound. Poor cuckolded fool, though; shredded paper and all he’s at her bedside in the next scene.

Was anyone else as moved by Jude's Karenin last year? Did Wright's compassion for the cuckolded husband impress you too?

Monday
Apr222013

I Know That You Saw Ryan Phillipe Shower

April Showers semi-daily @ 11
(Tonight's edition is a rerun dedicated to Ms Reese Witherspoon) 

Hello?

So I have never seen I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) all the way through but here's my question. If you were spying on Ryan Phillippe in the shower, wouldn't you forget to carry out your dastardly deed? Who could concentrate?

So Ryan wraps himself in a towel (shame) and moseys on over to his locker where he sees this photo.

You should complete the sentence in the comments.

"I know ______________________ ."

Saturday
Apr202013

April Showers: “The English Patient”

 Andrew here with an April Shower to pass the evening.

I’ve always gravitated towards film scenes incorporating water. Often it does not transcend the aesthetic (water on screen just looks pretty), but even as downpours – natural or man-made –are often utilised as read-made ways of attuning the audience to moments of sadness, it’s great when filmmakers utilise it other ways. I say utilise with slight hesitation because in a film where Minghella seems to be telegraphing nodes and nodes of information, the rain scene in The English Patient comes off as especially slight.

The titular patient (formerly known as Count Laszlo de Almásy) has been severely burned across the body and confined to a bed, remembering ghosts of his past. He is dying, and convivial Nurse Hana – running from ghosts of her own – is keeping him comfortable in his last days in an abandoned Italian monastery as World War II draws to a close. They are joined by mysterious thief Caravaggio and sapper Kip and his Sergeant Hardy. A few moments before the rain is released, an agitated Hana bicycles out to find Kip, her new lover. He is busy defusing a bomb which has his name written on it. Literally.

 

 [more]

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Wednesday
Apr172013

April Showers: The Loneliest Planet

April Showers Returns! (Most nights @ 11)

When I reviewed The Loneliest Planet last year, I puposely avoided the one true spoiler that the whole movie pivots on -- "the incident" as the director calls it. But my aversion to spoilers was so pronounced that I got a little carried away. I didn't even reveal what the first scene of the film entailed. But by now, since this returning series is all about film showers, you've surely guessed it.

I began my review this way:

The first of the senses that writer/director Julia Loktev hits us with over the opening black screen is hearing. The sound is a rhythmic pounding / creaking / breathing that's hard to place (sex scene? construction work?). When the fade-up happens, you'd never guess what image is waiting for you! It's something both utterly mundane and alien and strange. This is only the first of the surprises that await you as you journey across the Georgian wilderness with Nica (Hani Furstenberg) and Alex (Gael García Bernal) in The Loneliest Planet

That utterly mundane yet alien [NSFW] image is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr132013

Turn on the Faucet

I was going to skip a year but people keep asking... (what do we smell or something?). April Showers begin again on Tuesday April 16th. Waterworks most nights at 11 PM. (Any requests?)

Monday
Apr162012

April Showers: "Home For the Holidays"

waterworks each weeknight at 11. This particular installment of April Showers was first published in 2009.

One of the greatest disconnects I've ever had between consensus response to a movie and my own reaction was in 1995 when Jodie Foster's second film Home for the Holiday debuted. It was mostly ignored by the public and the critics were out for blood. Maybe Jodie Foster had just been too successful and too lauded and it was time for the pendulum to swing back? Perhaps the undercurrent was along the lines of 'Does she have to be good at making movies in addition to acting in them?'

Even Robert Downey Jr playing Tommy got bad reviews for his performance as teh gay brother to Holly Hunter's Claudia. Though his performance is pretty out there with his needling rapid fire joking -- he's consistently pushing things too far -- it's also exactly in line with the movie's own sense of humor. And Bonus points: the sibling chemistry between Claudia and Tommy is pretty damn credible. If you're not familiar with the movie I urge you to rent it. You protest: But it's one of thousands of quirky dysfunctional family holiday comedies! I counter: it arrived before that ultra specific genre was wildly over saturated and it's actually very funny.

Holly's shower scene is fairly typical of the movies fast, funny and familial nature. Anne Bancroft, playing Adele the mother, is talking at Claudia but not really with her. Claudia is talking at Adele but not listening. They're on different pages and both of them never shut up. The older woman exits the scene leaving her daughter showering in an open bathroom...

Mom, close the door behind you okay?
No?
okay, no problem, I usually shower in public.
I have no pride.
I have no rights.
I'm only four years old.

I don't need to tell you that Holly Hunter is one of the funniest people in the movies and she was still in her incredible prime at the time (roughly 1987-1998). She makes every pause and emphasis count in a line reading. So many laughs to be had in four sentences. After Claudia is done complaining about the unplanned exhibitionism, she gets down to business. She's vigorously shampooing, suds flying, until she freezes in place with a gasp. Her mischievous brother is lumbering towards the shower curtain like some comic monster.

I swear to god, Tommy, I'm naked in here and I am too old...

*FLASH*

Holly's blind recoil from the polaroid flash is the split second punchline and Foster immediately cuts to the next scene, no time to waste... more rapid fire joking to follow.

Friday
Apr062012

April Showers: "Silent Movie"

waterworks each weeknight at ten

When The Artist won Best Picture at the 85th Oscars in February it marked the first time a silent film had reigned since the very first Oscar ceremony. Some articles on this unexpected throwback and French import mentioned modern filmmakers like Guy Maddin who've experimented with the silent form but strangely Mel Brooks' Silent Movie (1976) was rarely discussed. That's a shame since it might be the closest precedent to The Artist. It was also a widely released comedy about Hollywood and it's also very funny... at least in that shameless Mel brooks kind of way. There's another odd coincidence. Like The Artist it's sole line of dialogue comes from a famous Frenchmen.

The plot of Silent Movie is a simple laundry line on which to hang comic setpieces. Mel Brooks (as "Mel Funn") wants to make a silent movie and the powers that be in Hollywood won't let him unless he convinces the biggest film stars to participate. Since this is the 1970s that means Paul Newman, Liza Minnelli, Anne Bancroft (Mrs Mel Brooks but playing herself), Bernadette Peters and the like.

At one point, Mel Brooks and frequent comic foils Marty Feldman and Dom DeLuise pile into a tiny car and look for Burt Reynolds house. 'Are you sure Burt Reynolds lives on this street?' Brooks asks with frustration before the camera cuts to a huge mansion with Burt's face on it. Haha ...oh, the vanity of world famous sex symbols.  After a few failed attempts to enter his house and access his celebrity will the filmmakers give up?

The camera finally finds the actual mustachioed 70s superstar enjoying a steamy shower.

Burt, a good sport to joke about his own vanity like this, is making 'how you doin'?' faces and blowing kisses into the shower mirror. Burt works up quite a lather after the jump...

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