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Soundtracking: Hustlers

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in The Little Mermaid (25)


Sofia Coppola's "Little Mermaid" Can You Imagine It?

I'm going to have months of fun fantasizing about what this film will be like. According to Variety, Sofia Coppola is in talks to helm a new version of "The Little Mermaid", the flexible originally quite gloomy Hans Christian Anderson tale of a mermaid who gave up her life for the love of a human. The project, which once belonged to Joe Wright who is now working on a different sort of tale with fairies, called Pan (but we've discussed that enough recently), was aiming to mantain the original unhappy ending.

Though it's easy to giggle trying to juxtapose Sofia Coppola's high end lost rich girl aesthetic onto the familiar tale -- check out this tweet for a good LOL -- once you stop to consider even for a minute it's not that large a stretch.

Coppola does like to dramatize the hazy inchoate longings of fish out of water girls, whether that's Scarlett Johansson wandering lux hotels and karaoke bars in Tokyo or Marie Antoinette suddenly abandoned by her family for life in a new country as their queen. The other films don't readily connect as easily but since those are her two best and both are less directly tied to privileged Hollywood types, it might be a really great idea to shake up Coppola's increasingly Californian filmography.

What was your first reaction. And your second?


Our Coven: Ursula The Sea Witch

Team Experience is assembling our own coven of preferred witches for Halloween. Here's abstew with ... well, you know who

After nearly two decades of sub par animated films (I'm looking your way, The Black Caldron) that would've made Uncle Walt turn over in his cryogenic freezer, 1989's The Little Mermaid, the studio's first fairy tale in 30 years, finally brought back the art of animation and started the modern Disney renaissance. The film had everything going for it - sassy red-headed mermaid princess, Caribbean accented crab, show-stopping musical numbers, and, most importantly, a voluptuously wicked, tentacled diva villainess.

Early concept art shows that Ursula the Sea Witch's look went through many transformations before the final look of half octopus / half woman (and what a woman - Ursula is said to be modeled after the drag queen Divine). To voice the sea witch, the filmmakers offered the part to Bea Arthur who turned it down due to her work on The Golden Girls and Elaine Stritch had been cast but clashed with lyricist Howard Ashman. Actress Pat Carroll brought Ursula to life delivering some of the film's best lines ("You got it, sweetcakes. No more talking, singing, Zip!) There's always time for a one-liner while being evil. And don't underestimate the importance of body language!

Broom? No use for them under the sea. And probably best not to mention anything wooden as she meets her demise staked by the bow of a ship.

Favored Spell: Fortunately she knows a little magic - it's a talent that she always has possessed. Her spell of choice is taking voices (conveniently stowed in her shell necklace - fashion and function) and turning fishtails into legs in return. Although, if you can't pay the price, you just might find yourself a part of her little garden.

Familiars: Her babies, her poor little poopsies: a pair of scheming eels named Flotsam and Jetsam. They each share a glowing yellow eye that allows Ursula to see what they see.

Pointy Hat?: Her shock of white hair (styled with mousse - how 80's of her!) is pointy enough.

"Only Bad Witches Are Ugly": Considering her beauty regime (waterproof lipstick!) and the fact that she can change you into a weird plant with eyes, I wouldn't call her ugly to her face. At one point she does transform herself into a brunette version of Ariel with Joan Crawford eyebrows, so she's got options. Plus, anyone modeled after a drag queen is gonna look fabulous!

Meet the other members of our coven



I, Linkenstein

Big Screen
Artsbeat Alfonso Cuaron talks us through a dizzy-making scene in Gravity
Flick Filosopher "Hollywood, you are 300 movies away from making me want to marry you" The manic pixie dream guy bit is fab. It's so hard to imagine... which is the point. 
Guardian Olivier Hirschbiegel reacts to the terrible reviews to his Diana biopic 

David Poland 22 weeks to Oscar. He correctly sees that there are very few locks but bizarrely thinks Forrest Whitaker is a lock for Best Actor for The Butler
BuzzFeed live action footage (and actors) that helped created The Little Mermaid 
i09 thinks I, Frankenstein might be the most insane movie of 2014
Movie City News asks a great question about Amy Adams in American Hustle 

Small Screen
Salon interviews Adam Scott on his television breakthroughs and his new film A.C.O.D.
i09 Honestly I did not see this coming. Halle Berry, whose big screen career is still going well (consider how much her ermegency call center movie made), will headline the tv series Extant about an astronaut whose baby might be half alien

Look! A new Halloween opening for The Simpsons courtesy of Guillermo del Toro so naturally there's a fair amount of Pan's Labyrinth up in there. Lots of movie referencing but the funniest bit I think is that misanthrope naughtiness of the Alfred Hitchcock cameo via The Birds

Finally, can I just say "amen" to this Vulture piece requesting a moratorium on anti-heroes as the leads of television series?  I mean you're not going to top Don Draper, Tony Soprano, Walter White, Carrie Bradshaw (yeah, she was one. deal with it) and Nurse Jackie... so let it die a natural death now instead of death from ubiquity. Mark Harris has also wisely noticed that this trend has now poisoned the broadcast networks without the antidote of the artistry that made this type of protagonist so popular on cable television in the first place.


Percussion. Strings. Winds. Links

For Musical Nerds
BuzzFeed definite proof that The Little Mermaid's Prince Eric was a homo 
The Exploding Kinetoscope best words I've ever read about Judy Garland's For Me and My Gal
Pajiba more of those new photos from Into the Woods

Sillof's Workshop look at these AMAZING custom toys, If Dr Seuss wrote Jurassic Park
Grantland Mark Harris joins me in my eternally losing war against Category Fraud (this time with Daniel Brühl in Rush) and talks Enough Said, too 

The Film Doctor five notes on Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, now on DVD
L Magazine see, I'm not the only one that thinks Cuarón's Gravity is a disappointment!
/Film wait they're making Fargo into a TV series and it's the William H Macy role that's the lead? Don't they know that people loved that movie because of Chief Marge Gunderson?

Finally, MNPP reminded us that we can all get our Alexander Skarsgard loincloth dreams back on since his Tarzan flick is no longer (apparently) in development hell. Word is that Christoph Waltz is the villain now. Many will greet this as very good news but this makes me sad. It's not that Waltz isn't a good actor but remember how lame it was the last time he was a threat to pachyderms?

Who wants to go back to there? I do not. And I even kinda liked that movie more than most but Waltz was not the why. How about a few more surprises in casting, Hollywood? Aren't there literally a hundred famous actors in Waltz's age range that might be a fun curveball as the villain? But instead we're going to get somebody who already abused elephants. (sigh)


Pocahontas = Crazy Cat Lady?

I have spent a truly unlikely amount of time thinking about Pocahontas since it opened in the 1990s...uh, in uh 2013 for some reason. The other day while voicing my unpopular Disney opinions and chasing links down various rabbit holes I chanced upon this Dina Goldstein's "Fallen Princesses" series... which is priceless. 

The most brilliant is definitely the fate of Ariel but sometimes they're just plain provocative and willing to courting controversy with what might be considered tasteless treatments. Which is maybe why the jokey photograph of Pocahontas made me squeal inside. I found it so funny.  Is this why I'm so drawn to her? That we're both crazy cat ladies?

This post has been brought to you by my recent decision to do a Tuesday Top Ten of Disney Princesses... until I realized that there were only Eleven (officially) so that would be way harsh, Tai.  

Should we rewatch Pocahontas together? Or have you other Disney demands?


Man of Link

Film Studies for Free collects essays on Todd Haynes' 1995 masterpiece [safe]
Advocate Man of Steel as gay allegory?
Scriptnotes discusses The Little Mermaid in depth. For a whole podcast 
Guardian lists the 5 best performances of Kevin Costner. And it's SO bizarre I don't even know where to start. No Bull Durham (which as Tim correctly stated this week is by far his best work) but Robin Hood: Prince of Thi.... no I can't even type the full title out. Blargh!
Pajiba celebrates Men in Tights given that Supes is back in theaters

Cinema Blend Marvin Gaye Biopic starring Jesse L Martin doesn't have funds to finish production. Boo. I need another biopic about a famous singer with drug problems like I need another superhero flick but I like Jesse.
/Film Sandra Bullock for Miss Hannigan in Annie? That could be fun but as always say it with me now... "can she sing?"
In Contention a biopic of Ingrid Bergman? I can deal with that... especially since this possible new one has a tight focus on one moment in her life (the best kind of bio) 

Off Cinema
Salon on the battle over Detroit's art collection. News from my first home always seems to be bad :(
Towleroad Cheyenne Jackson pleads "Don't Look at Me" in his new video. We disobey
Vulture the ten best oral sex faces of the 2013 tv season