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Entries in Psycho (27)


Curio: Hotel Keytags

Alexa here with your weekly film curiosities. Remember when hotels used real keys instead of key cards? Yes, our age is showing. My nostalgia for these days of yore made me immediately take notice these clever keychains at KeyChainsRUs. Made to resemble those Route 66-style plastic motel key tags, they reference some of our favorite film overnights.  

Which set of keys after the jump would you grab for a night's adventure?

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Beauty vs Beast: Motel Hell

JA from MNPP here, wishing you all a happy Monday and wishing what would have been a happy 88th birthday to the great, sadly passed Janet Leigh. She's been gone for over a decade but Janet's legacy still looms tall with several classics -- Touch of Evil and The Manchurian Candidate both come to mind -- but as it has been said we all go a little mad sometimes and color me mad when I realized that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho has somehow never found itself "Beauty vs Beast"-itized. It's a prime pick whose time has come! Slap on your favorite wig and let's play!

PREVIOUSLY This weekend Terminator: Genisys flopped box-office-wise and according to your votes maybe they should've thought about bringing Linda Hamilton along for the ride since her Sarah Connor trounced Full Metal Arnold in our face-off taking just under 80% of the vote. Said SusanP:

"As far as I'm concerned no contest -- Sarah Connor in a walk. Plus, when you list her pros you are neglecting her most important/awesome assets: The Arms "


Q&A: Best "Crazy," Gay Identification, and Old Hollywood Favorites

I'm a day late to our 'you ask, I answer' weekly party. But you didn't play along well with the rules this week. This time I asked for "weird" questions and got a bunch of the normal kind about favorite actresses! (Well, a few were weird. I love the Streep Hair question but I'll save it for another post) Since we're talking about weird let's start with this.

For some reason in the comments section this thing cropped up of people recommending I see After Hours (1985) and 'why haven't I seen it because it's got so many actresses and whatnot.' Bitch plz I saw that in 1986 on VHS (I broke my "R" Rated movie cherry in 1985, fwiw).I  don't think it's prime Scorsese or anything but Scorsese movies are such sausage parties that I treasure it as a real outlier in his filmography alongside Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore and The Age of Innocence... the only other ones that seem more interested in actors of the female persuasion. 

But ignoring the assumption that I haven't seen it, it's a great film to bring up in a "weird" mood because everyone is a little touched. As a kid I L-O-V-E-D Terri Garr in everything.

HEY: since you asked - favorite performances of characters that are "a little touched"?

Oh great, now we have to define "touched" which is difficult. Two actors who I think do all time great work delineating the slow mounting crazy of their characters are Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver (Best Shot APRIL 15th! Join us) and Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. For non-violent 'something's off here' characters anything Shelley Duvall ever played amirite. She's so perfectly "off". Michelle Pfeiffer is scalpel precise with her sociopathic tendencies in White Oleander and with Catwoman's unravelling (particularly at the end -- it's like watching glass break and all the pieces of her shattering everywhere). Speaking of unravelling I will never ever ever forget that trainwreck "concert" from Ronee Blakeley in Nashville.  Laura Dern, The Face, is really gifted with "heightened" crazy, less concerned with realism than auteurist mood, tone and style, especially with Lula (Wild at Heart) and, in her own words:

'...whatever I was in Inland Empire. I have no fucking clue!'

Classic actresses, unloved remakes, and more crazies after the jump...

But if you're speaking visibly bonkers -- actors going Mommie Dearest big with their psychosis -- I love the hell out of Fiona Shaw's crack-up in Black Dahlia, Steve Martin's dentist in Little Shop, Christian Bale's everything in American Psycho, Juliette Lewis's moodswings in Natural Born Killers, Brad Pitt's jumping bean lunacy in 12 Monkeys, and Bette Davis for time and all eternity in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

JOEYS: What remake does everyone hate but you secretly love?

Gus Van Sant's Psycho (1998) all the way. I really do love it in an academic "exercize" way. He has balls and really so does Anne Heche who I will forever wish had become a big movie star. TV seems to have sanded off her edges but she was a thorny wonder for awhile on celluloid.

Classic actresses, jack lemmon, and straight romance after the jump...

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The New Republic Mark Harris interviewed on the politics of movies and Oscar races
Guardian Meryl Streep joins the period drama Suffragette as feminist icon Emmeline Pankhurst. The film stars Carey Mulligan with Helena Bonham-Carter and Romola Garai in the supporting cast (but it sounds like Streep's got a glorified cameo)
Dissolve a graphic designer looks at Her 

Gurus of Gold if you haven't checked out the charts lately, you should. David Poland has posted "if we could sway the Academy and there's not much time left to do so. 
Daily Beast Michael Musto talks to an Oscar voter about how friendliness at luncheons affects his vote and how scandals don't  
MNPP on the bad wigs in Bryan Singer movies. Ugh. Quicksilver, one of my favorite characters, looks just atrocious
Twitter an account sharing Top Gun scene by scene... almost frame by frame. LOL
TFE have you voted on our recent polls? Bette Midler? Beauty vs. Beast: Hustle? Who you want to win the pic & acting Oscars?
Josh Cooley a Pixar artist does really fun cartoons of R rated movies, like this one from Psycho...

Moving Picture Blog classy low-key Oscar campaigning from Jeremy Irons circa 1991. An SNL classic
First Showing talks to Matthew McConaughey about the ambitions of Interstellar 
Slate great piece on that makeover moment at the tale end of Frozen's "Let it Go" -- that's the only part I don't like myself and this is exactly why!

Exit Vids
The Onion nails it again while talking Netflix. This is exactly what I use Netflix for though I pay a lot more than $5 a month! Also the "Kid Oscars"... I think the Captain Phillips one is best because methinks it's funnier when kids adlib rather than read dialogue.


Team Top 10: Horror Films Before "The Exorcist"

It's Amir here, brining you this month's poll. It's October so we're obligated to take you to the dark depths of cinematic greatness with a list of horror goodies. We're looking at the best horror films of all time, with a twist. We chose The Exorcist (1973) as our milestone since it's the first horror film nominated for the best picture Oscar and about to celebrate its 40th anniversary. So we've split the Best list in half, with The Exorcist as cleaver. Part two comes next Tuesday, but for now

The Top Ten Best
Pre-Exorcist Horror Films

There really isn't much I can add by way of introduction, aside from pointing out that the boundaries of what is or isn't within the limits of this particular genre are blurry. Can Freaks still be considered a horror film today, removed from the initial shock of seeing circus performers with deformities on the screen in 1932? Cruel and unreasonable as it is, the appearance of the protagonists is the chief reason why such a passionately human piece of film history is considered scary at all - though as you will see below, one of our contributors has other ideas. No such questions would apply to Night of the Living Dead but what about Night of the Hunter? Hour of the Wolf? So on and so forth. The point is, take the genre categorizations with a grain of salt, but the suggestions to watch them very seriously. If you haven't seen any of these eleven films -- why is there always a tie? -- here's hoping this list persuades you to do so this October.

10. = Vampyr (1932, Carl Theodor Dryer)
There’s never been a horror movie with stronger art film credentials than this one, made according to the then in-vogue Surrealist style by a director who’d already created The Passion of Joan of Arc and had Ordet yet to come. But just because Carl Theodor Dreyer was a proper “artist” doesn’t mean that Vampyr’s pleasures are exclusively aesthetic. In fact, the same dictatorial control over image and space that makes Ordet a spiritual masterpiece makes this familiar story of one man’s journey through a creepy rural town living in fear of a bloodsucking old woman one of the most thoroughly unsettling things you will ever experience. It's more of a walking tour through a nightmare than a clear-cut narrative, with eerie shadows and shapes every which way and a profoundly moody score by Wolfgang Zeller that jangles one’s very last nerves.
-Tim Brayton

ten more spooky films after the jump

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Team Top Ten: Most Memorable Performances in a Hitchcock Film

Amir here, with this month's edition of Team Top Ten. To celebrate Alfred Hitchcock's birthday next week (Aug 13th), we've decided to celebrate his career by looking at something that isn't discussed quite as often as it should be: the performances he directed.

Hitchcock has more auteur cred than any other director so its understandable that his presence behind the camera attracts the most attention in all discourse about his oeuvre. Yet, his films are undeniably filled with amazing performances, from archetypal blondes and influential villains to smaller, eccentric supporting turns from characters actors. The list we've compiled today is the Top Ten Most Memorable Performances from Alfred Hitchcock's Films.

Make of "memorable" what you will! Our voters each certainly had their own thinking process. Some of us - myself included - took the word literally and voted for what had stuck with us the most, irrespective of size and quality of the performance. Some went for the best performances, some for the best marriage of actor and role and some for a mix of all of those things. Naturally, the final list veers towards the consensus, but as always, I've included bits and pieces of our individual ballots that stood out after the list.

Without further ado...

10. Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont (Rear Window)
There's memorable, and there's iconic. And then there's Grace Kelly in Edith Head. A performance all at once decadent and demure, Hitchcock's crown jewel struts and strolls glowingly in Rear Window, lithely giving off the allure to which she's come to recognize is her signature (and she worries, her sole) appeal. It's only as the mystery of the picture begins to unravel that the shades are lifted (literally) and the flinty little girl we thought we knew positions herself to be the real knight in shining armor. The famed icy Hitchcock blonde archetype manages that most remarkable and memorable of transformations in this, his best film; thanks to and because of Ms. Kelly, the sculpture discovers itself and its purpose. It's a beautiful thing when an actor can make a director forget himself and his tendencies. Something New Happens.
- Beau McCoy

9 more iconic turns after the jump

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Two TV Takes: "Southland" & "Bates Motel"

As I wait anxiously for the next great TV series to arrive -- where are you? -- I thought we should talk a little about two very different shows and the axis of Concept and Execution. Mad Men gets "A"s in both but most TV shows have to struggle through by leaning on one or the other. Having a good and/or original concept can win you a lot of leeway if your execution is problematic (see: Smash) but what of the inverse? Enter... Southland now in its 4th season. On the surface and at its core Southland is just another police procedural. You've seen it before and you will see it again.

So why the hell is Southland so damn good?

"How to Be Awesome"
The answer is all in the Execution. more...

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