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Entries in East of Eden (4)

Friday
Feb082019

Linking Neverland

/Film the Wicked movie has a new release date, December 22nd, 2021. We'll believe that once we see actual casting news or a start date for filming. So should we start talking about the 94th Academy Awards yet. LOLOLO no. No we shan't.
Library of America Sheila O'Malley's great essay on East of Eden (1955)
Deadline Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect, True Blood) gets a leading sitcom role. Yay, it's about time since she's always hilarious. The comedy is about a church choir that gets a new director (Bradley Whitford)

• IndieWire interesting quotes from indie filmmakers trying to diversify their crew to have more gender parity and multiculturalism and the obstacles they do and don't face.  
• LA Times women over 70 are killing it right now: Glenn Close, Betty Buckley, RBG, Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda, etc
• AV Club Black Panther's Michael B Jordan is attached to a film adaptation of the popular new fantasy epic Black Leopard, Red Wolf set in an alternate reality Africa. (Hmmm, can he also make movies called Black TigerBlack Jaguar and Black Lion for a full set of big cats?)
• /Film Aquaman's gross has gotten so big that Warner Bros is going to do a spin-off horror film The Trench set in the kingdom of the film's most memorable sequence
• AV Club Steve Buscemi learns about that viral 'deepfake' video of his face superimposed on Jennifer Lawrence's body
• Pajiba explains the whole Jeff Bezos vs National Enquirer business. My god what a mess (but a fascinating one)
• MNPP's obsession with Armie Hammer really does make us love Armie Hammer more
• Towleroad Ellen Page drags Chris Pratt over his homophobic church
• Variety controversial Michael Jackson Sundance doc Leaving Neverland premieres on HBO on March 3rd 

Oscar Shorts Alert
Don't forget that all 15 Oscar-nominated short films are now in theaters. If they're not in your city, they'll be available On Demand on February 19th.

Tuesday
Jan172017

Link Street

Do you know what live streaming is? 

Vanity Fair celebrities react to Fathom Events Woody Harrelson Lost in London Live streaming experiment (which happens this week)
Interview Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) one of the "Faces of 2017" portfolio
TFE Happy birthday to Betty White and James Earl Jones both among the oldest living screen stars
Vulture in-depth interview with smart funny one of a kind Billy Eichner
This is Not Porn Jim Carrey impersonating celebrities in 1992 
Coming Soon new images from Netflix superhero team series The Defenders
In Contention Thelma Schoonmaker and Janet Ashikaga to be honored by the Editors Guild this year
Mind of a Suspicious Kind a reminder of the amazing cinematography of Wings (1927) with a funny anecdote 
Mike's Movie Projector two movie premieres of 1954: A Star is Born and East of Eden 

ICYMI
If you were away for the weekend... 
Team Experience Awards Moonlight, Arrival, Jackie, The Handmaiden, and more...
Nathaniel's Top 20 Sing Street thru La La
Pfandom Episode 2 Pfeiffer in 1979
Pablo Larraín we spoke with the director of the incredible Jackie about "curiousity, love, and rage"
Podcast in the two most recent conversations we covered Silence, 20th Century Women, Hidden Figures
Toni Erdmann's screenplay. Have you seen it yet? 

Saturday
Jun022012

Link to the Future 

Past
The New Yorker a memoir about growing up with B Movies
Aint It Cool News looks back at Alien Ressurection. The Alien franchise is on everyone's brain now that Prometheus is (nearly) upon us. 
IndieWire the cooking channel's Baron Ambrosia names his five favorite food movies. Not the usual comfort food answers. The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover? Well done, Baron. 

Present
Coming Soon The Avengers will come to home video as part of a 10 disc set of Marvel Universe movies. (Hey they gotta move those Incredible Hulk discs somehow.) Details forthcoming. One billion dollars at the box office clearly wasn't enough booty! 
World of Wonder Charlize Theron teaches us to walk like queens. "Just think MURDER..."
My New Plaid Pants today is my friend JA's seventh anniversary online. His blog is still great. 
In Contention Michael Mann will chair the Venice Film Festival this year 
Emerging Artist Contest Quentin Tarantino is hosting a contest for upcoming filmmakers although finding your own voice here means remixing and mashing film clips from Django Unchained and others... makes sense that Tarantino would want a new voice adept at mixing old voices (sound familiar?) but if you're a filmmaker this contest is definitely worth checking out. 

Future
TMZ Lindsay Lohan on "preproduction" set testing out her Liz Taylor biopic look.
Awards Daily has the first promotional photos for Only God Forgives the Refn/Gosling follow up to the great Drive. Including this one...

Rope of Silicon seems that the Andy and Lana Wachowski have finally shaken off the Speed Racer blues with Cloud Atlas arriving soon and Jupiter Ascending which will "reinvent action" in preproduction. Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis will star.
The Mary Sue realizes that Charlize Theron is the coolest girl in the movies while she talks Mad Max and, uh, Game of Thrones. It's weird to me that people are still unaware that Charlize Theron is most awesome when playing herself... but welcome to Charlize fandom one and all.
24 Frames Kristen Stewart wants to make a new East of Eden picture, the James Dean movie being one of those pesky adaptations that sacrifices huge swaths of a book in order to make itself into a great movie. How rude of it! 

Wednesday
Feb162011

My First (Three) Dean(s)

JA from MNPP here with my follow-up to last week's query regarding the fact that I'd never seen a James Dean film and how you all should tell me which one to watch first, by poll. And tell me you did - with 44% of the vote Rebel Without a Cause, his second film with his most iconic performance, came out on top, besting East of Eden (at 37%) and Giant (at 18%). I wasn't exactly surprised by these results.

Most likely when you think Dean, you think this:

That red jacket / white tee / jeans ensemble is Marilyn's white dress flying up on the subway grate; it's Elvis' bedazzled jumpsuit and Audrey Hepburn's little black dress eating a danish in front of Tiffanys. If you're gonna start somewhere with James Dean this seems like the likeliest place to start. Which... well knowing I'd thrown myself at having to write about something so iconic it's sold more stamps than my college education cost, probably squared, was a little intimidating. What is there left to say?

Thankfully the film, while dated, does remain a fascinating, loose, alive thing. Fifty-six years of rebellious teenagers later the movie that crafted the mold somehow manages to remain just enchantingly weird. There is an otherworldly sort of spell it casts over you - there's something very apt about the planetarium setting that the film uses repeatedly. It gives you this epic space - literally all of outer space - with the beginning and the ending of the world exploding around you. But it's a manufactured apocalypse at the same time - you're not under the night sky at all. You're enclosed in a tomb of sound and fury - an echo chamber of gee whizz bang. That sounds a lot like what most of my teenage dramas all turned out to be.

Not that these kids don't have real problems. But the melodramas they play out, coupled with the actors very serious performances, takes the film into a very odd space. It's as heightened as a Douglas Sirk film, only you swap out the acting style of Rock Hudson for James Dean, which... well that's a swap. Having only seen clips of Dean's films before but never a full from-start-to-finish performance from him until now, I've got to say it really and truly was a revelation. I'm sure he was astonishing to watch on stage as well but the man was made to be placed in front of a movie camera. His face is so alive! From every angle - shoot him from the back and you can feel what he is feeling, as if he's shooting pulses of emotion from his scalp.

It seems vulgar to just straight-up gush, but as some of you said would happen in the comments I was so enamored with Dean that as soon as Rebel was finished I put in East of Eden and as soon as East of Eden was finished I put in Giant. And I've now seen them all! (That's why it took me a couple extra days to get this to you - it took me two nights to finish Giant. That is a very long movie.) And now that I've seen them all Dean's legend makes complete sense to me.

I made a joke before having seen the films about the similarity of his characters names - Jim Stark, Cal Trask, and Jet Rink - what seems amazing now, having seen the films is how completely separate these three fellows are to me. It struck me about half-an-hour into East of Eden (what a marvelous film East of Eden is, and how ashamed I feel for having only just seen it) that the Dean I was watching didn't at all seem to be the icon of teenager rebellion that I'd just been confronted with in Rebel and I'd been expecting out of all of Dean's performances. And then you get to Giant and you're watching something completely different still, and yet no less hypnotic, pour out of him.

 

Oh sure there are the loose similarities that connect the three - young men who seem incapable of fitting in with their surroundings, battling against the forces they see closing in on them, the slights real and imagined, all while maintaining a glorious head of hair - but the details that Dean carves out with body language and with his voice, with Jet's easygoing horse-rider's strut or Jim's tendency to jump around like an extra in West Side Story or the seemingly unwitting cruelty that coils Cal up, it was a surreal and exhilarating experience, watching all in one fell swoop.

So whaddya know? Dean was no fluke, no false advertisement. And when his scenes in Giant came to an end I felt the shadow of sadness that audiences since 1956 must sense, knowing that's all there will ever be. Still, even though the thought of all that could've been is maddening, it feels as if there's so much I'll be able to wring from just these three in repeat viewings. It'll be a pleasure.