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Yes No Maybe So - Big Eyes

"The trailer won me over with two phrases:
1) "Lady art doesn't sell".
2) "I've been lying to my daughter".
- Adri

"A Tim Burton movie with the title Big Eyes that features neither Ricci, Ryder, Keaton nor Bonham Carter just doesn't seem right..." -Paul



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Entries in April Showers (38)


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.



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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...

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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?)


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?
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...


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.


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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April Showers: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

In the years doing the April Showers series it's become clear that there are basically four types of shower scenes in movies: sex scenes, sight gags, horror moments when characters are at their most vulnerable and emotional cleansing moments (that the body also gets scrubbed is just a bonus). Dragon Tattoo's shower sequence is clearly the latter type, after Lisbeth's brutal rape. David Fincher famously quipped pre-release that his movie had too much anal rape for Oscar. Oscar didn't mind so much nominating it for several Oscars.

Fincher's discussion of the sequence [after the jump. NSFW] on the commentary track is interesting. 

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April Showers Are Coming

It's that time again. The cinematic downpours are coming, sometimes man-made sometimes heaven sent. 

April Showers fall every weeknight (except wednesdays) @ 10 PM EST starting April 5th. We'll write up movie shower scenes. Any suggestions?


April Showers Bring May Flowers. (Plus: More Film Bitch Nominees)

As illustrated by that pocketful of sunshine, Emma Stone.

April Showers: American History X (1998), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), A Walk on the Moon (1999), South Pacific (1958), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), The Long Good Friday (1980), Groundhog Day (1993), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), The Hurt Locker (2009), I Robot (2004), Single White Female (1992), The Fifth Element (1997) and Shutter Island (2010).

May Flowers: Weekdays at noon. Any suggestions?

oh, okay, okay. I know we can't end without actually watching Emma doing "Pocketful of Sunshine" again. If the entirety of Easy A had been as great as this post-credits opening scene, the movie would have been an A+

P.S. This one-minute delight is nominated in the 2010 FiLM BiTCH Awards for Best Musical Number from a Non-Musical Film. Here's that last page of honorees in progress. Almost finished. Sorry for that weirdly protracted hiatus.