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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in bad movies (39)


Review: Fantastic [sic] Four

Tim here. The best and maybe the only compliment I can pay to the new Fantastic Four, the third unsuccessful attempt at bringing the oldest of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's creations at Marvel Comics to the big screen, is that it's not obviously the worst one yet. Its insipidities, and it is very insipid, aren't inherently worse than those of the ghastly 2005 big-budget version. That film heralded the end of the "brightly colored larks that are wholly insubstantial but also not much fun" era of comic book movies; time alone will tell if its 2015 sibling will similarly ring down the curtains on the "ludicrously dark and serious-minded exercises in bitterness and misery" era, though I think we should be hopeful.

How much of the film's misery and internal confusion is due to the awkwardly visible fencing match between director Josh Trank and the executives at 20th Century Fox is beyond our ability to say for certain. It does feel like a movie that wants to be anything other than what it is. There were rumors that Trank was hoping to make PG-13, summer-friendly body horror, and there are vestigial traces of that conception; it would have been better for the film to have gone all the way, for at least then the bleakness of tone would have felt like it had some actual purpose. [More...

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Review: Hot Pursuit 

This article was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

If you look really closely while watching Sofia Vergara act, you can sometimes catch little one frame jokes the animators have snuck in. You surely wouldn't be looking for subtlety if you sit down for Hot Pursuit, but perhaps you wouldn't be expecting a full-blown cartoon? In this new buddy comedy from director Anne Fletcher (Step Up, The Guilt TripThe Proposal) everything and everyone is broad, broader, broadest. And not just Vergara as America's favorite Colombian broad. Think The Proposal's strange dancing campfire scene between Sandra Bullock and Betty White. No, no. Not broad enough. Broader. Broadest! 

Sofia Vergara plays tempestuous Sofia Vergara while Reese Witherspoon plays Officer Cooper, a well meaning super uptight cop. It's the classic odd couple dynamic showbiz has relied on since the camera was invented. These types are comedies are never reinventing the wheel, nor should they be expected too, so the test is always in how funny they are and how good the star chemistry is. Hot Pursuit will immediately be compared to The Heat not just because it stars two women (gasp!) but because of this uptight/wild dynamic and a similar crime situation with dirty cops and a drug lord who keeps escaping the law.

1. Will this odd couple who immediately hate each other learn to work together before the end credits roll?  

2. Will Vergara & Witherspoon survive the McCarthy & Bullock comparisons?

The answers are after the jump...

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Drag Race: "Divine" John Waters Inspiration

Manuel here to talk about that wonderful Drag Race episode this week which was dedicated to, as Ru called him, “the Sultan of Sleaze, the Baron of Bad Taste,” Mr John Waters! Seeing RuPaul and legendary auteur John Waters together judging drag queens on their “ugly dresses” was many a gay cinephile’s wet dream.

How does she manage to look this AMAZING every week?

John Waters: She was not afraid to play not glamorous. A lot of drag queens I know, they’re afraid to do that.
RuPaul: You were looking at me when you said that!

And, can you blame him?

RuPaul, the drag superstar par excellence is glamor (or, her latest incarnation is, as “No RuPaulogies” taught us back in season 5). Even when she camps it up (look at that dress!) she is glamor incarnate. Now in its seventh season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has, for better or for worse, created a seemingly new kind of drag, one that insists on glamor above all else (or in addition to everything else): how many times have we heard Santino, Michelle Visage, Ru herself or any of the rotating cast of guest judges complaining that a certain girl’s look wasn’t “couture enough," "not high fashion" or that “it didn’t look polished enough”? Even when challenges call for camp, humor, and/or stylized aesthetics, glamor has remained the requirement on the runway. It’s not for nothing Ru has coined the term Glamazon to refer to her queens.

Not this time, though...

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What Becomes a Legend Most? On "Mommie Dearest"

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Mommie Dearest (1981)
Directed by Frank Perry. Cinematography by Paul Lohmann (who also shot Robert Altman's Nashville!)

As a practicing film buff ever since adolescence I've spent a lot of time thinking about two different questions. The first, what is it that makes some stars last in the public imagination beyond their own lifetimes while other giants fade? The second, entirely unrelated, what is the difference between a great movie and a terrible movie, and by extension this -- are 'bad movies we love' ever truly terrible or are they actually funhouse mirrors of greatness, very nearly the same but for the random comic distortions?

In Mommie Dearest (1981), the infamous movie based on an infamous tell-all about an infamous movie star -- that's a lot of infamy -- these questions collide...

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April Fools? The Age of Adaline

Manuel here wishing you a happy April Fools! To get in the spirit, I considered running a number of fake-o actressy news this morning (did you hear that Nicole Kidman is finally in talks to star in that Star is Born remake with Bradley Cooper? can you believe Angela Lansbury and Julie Andrews have signed on to star in a road-trip film about two boozy estranged sisters? could it really be true that Meryl Streep is starring in a Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? reboot? Oh wait. That last one may not be a joke after all).  

Instead, I figured we could talk about a film that pretty much looks like a joke:


It has to be, no? Watching the trailer I couldn't help thinking of Winter's Tale which from everything I've heard is laughable in all the wrong but oh so right ways. May The Age of Adaline follow suit? The tagline suggests that much:

"The world has changed this century. Adaline has not."

That is, of course, the plot of the film which features the beautiful Michael Huisman as Adaline's new lover whose father (Harrison Ford) may have been involved with Adaline back when he was younger... and she looked the same! Because she doesn't age, apparently? I have to admit I had a hard time getting through that trailer without smirking to myself and wondering "wait, really?" but perhaps I'm not in its demo. The film seems to be pitching itself to a Nicholas Sparks-watching crowd and so while I won't break it down YES/NO/MAYBE SO style, know that the presence of Ellen Burstyn (and the prospect of a shirtless Huisman) would be the only thing in the YES category.

But it really has the chance to be a new unintentional campy flick, no? Unless its self-seriousness proves to be too much. And so, on April Fools we're pressed to ask: is Blake Lively's career ever going to pivot away from a being a punchline?


Q&A Part 2: Guilty Pleasures, Boytoys, and Best Animated Feature

Yesterday I  answered reader questions about film sets worth living in and all time favorite actors and I hope that conversation keeps going because I haven't heard from too many of you what your choices are. There were so many good question this week let's keep the party going for an extra day. Here's the next six questions featuring Guilty Pleasures, Oscar's Best Animated Feature and Unseen Classics. One question will be answered in a forthcoming theme week that's already been planned and one final question is getting its own post. 

You can't say we've been slacking here at TFE.

LADY EDITH: Do you have a favorite Altman? 

I do. And it's no contest. I just shout Nashville (1975) as enthusiastically and loudly as I can when asked. Which is not to dismiss the rest of Robert Altman's always at least interesting filmography. My other two favorites are Three Women (1977) for its psychosexual actressing and Gosford Park (2001) for the sheer pleasure of it but I love his movies... well, maybe not Dr T and the Women but I love quite a few of his movies.

JEFF: What's your biggest guilty pleasure movie? Or a movie that most of the readers would be surprised that you happen to love.

After so many years writing online about movies I fear I have no secrets left. I love the usual guilty pleasures and probably talk about them too much (Xanadu and Showgirls chief among them). I suppose in terms of things I rarely write about the #1 guilty pleasure would be that I do kind of have a (small) thing for B grade action movies and affection for the sometimes limited actors that star in them like Jean Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham, and Schwarzenegger of course. This is not a blanket genre appreciation; I never was interested if the movie starred Steven Seagal or Sylvester Stallone. I've seen Highlander (1986) with Christopher Lambert several times because my brother and his friends loved it. I loved Universal Soldier (1992) for some reason. One truly terrible movie that I used to enjoy with an old friend was Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) starring Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee. This actually happens in it...

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Run All Night and the Liam Neeson Ass-Kicking Hierarchy

Michael C. here.  It has been over six years since Liam Neeson reinvented as filmdom’s reigning action hero by making “I will find you, and I will kill you” sound less like a threat and more like a statement of simple fact. Since then, a sort of unofficial franchise has formed around the concept of Neeson as a grim dispenser of violence. This series, not including would-be franchises launches like Battleship and The A-Team, breaks down into three distinct groups. They are:

  • Pure, unadulterated schlock. Only the faintest trace of plot or character. Just Neeson methodically throat-punching his way through an unending supply of sleazy Euro-Villains bent on doing unspeakable things to his loved ones: Taken 1, 2, 3
  • Still schlock, but with bonus bells and whistles. Supporting characters, a high concept premise, and a plot of rapidly escalating absurdity. Slightly less throat punching than the Taken films, but still a lot of throat punching: Unknown, Non-Stop
  • Actual films of substance smuggled into theaters. Under the guise of another Neeson schlock-fest, naturally. Little to no throat punching. Occasional implied wolf punching: The Grey, A Walk Among the Tombstones

For a while it looks like the latest entry in this series, Jaume Collet-Serra’s currently underperforming Run All Night, is poised to join Grey and Tombstones in that elite third group...

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