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Entries in Wachowski Siblings (11)

Monday
Jun152015

Review: Sense8, season 1

Tim here. We've had a little more than a week now to play around with the new Netflix series Sense8, which has hopefully been enough time for everybody to process it. For myself, I'm still working on that: it's a whole lot of show, frequently not to its benefit. But it dreams no little dreams.

The show is the brainchild of J. Michael Straczynski, whose Babylon 5 largely created the "pre-planned serialized television" in the 1990s, and siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski, of The Matrix and its many attempted follow-ups, all of which have been met with widespread derision and a small but freakishly adoring cult. In the interest of full disclosure, I should confess that I'm part of that cult. I even really liked Jupiter Ascending. So feel free to not trust anything I have to say about anything ever again.

Straczynski's achingly earnest liberal humanism blends seamlessly into with the pie-eyed optimism and sincerity of the Wachowskis' post-Matrix work, especially the swooning globalist poetics of Cloud Atlas. The result is a show that wears its politics and its sentiment right out in the open, with actors navigating big mouthfuls of dialogue that sound like an op-ed first, a stoned philosophy student's stream-of-consciousness second, and things that human beings would ever say out loud to other human beings third (another legacy of Babylon 5. I'm not even entirely sure I mean that as a complaint. Artlessness born out of sincere passion is a very different thing than a simple lack of talent. It's charming, albeit in a shaggy way.

More...

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Friday
Jun122015

Identity Crisis: Sense8's NSFW Evolutions

What to do about the Wachowskis? Lana and Andy started so strong and sexy with their lesbian grift noir Bound (1996) - which remains their best work -- and then captured the whole world's attention with the reality-bending sci-fi The Matrix (1999). The global success of that influential movie seemed to give them carte blanche and blank checks going forward and the freedom doesn't appear to have been good for them; the size of their ambitions and geektastic dumb/coolness of their concepts (like college students getting stoned and talking superheroes and theology all night long) is undermined every time by messy storytelling. That's so strange for filmmakers who started with such a tightly constructed narrative piece like Bound.

Daryl Hannah is the Octomom !!!

Tim will be reviewing Sense8 proper for us when he's finished with the first season but for now I want to talk about what I do love about this aggravatingly slow series and that is its radical sexuality. I've never seen the like in American mainstream film or television. NSFW business after the jump...

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Friday
May082015

Where My Links At

Before We Get Started...
First image of Emily Blunt from Sicario which will premiere at Cannes.  She plays an FBI agent pushed to her limits. I'm not quite sure why I decided to get so excited about this movie but I did so I'm running with it.

 

Links
THR Natalie Portman gears up for promotion of her Cannes entry A Tale of Love and Darkness, calls Oscar a "false idol"
/Film Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon's Big Little Lies project will be a limited series for HBO now. With Michelle Pfeiffer's hubby writing it! Since it's about three women can La Pfeiff be in it, too? Just suggesting! Free advice; we got it right here.
MNPP Alex Garland (Ex Machina) starts lining up a lucky female cast for his next trippy Annihilation - Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton? Wow.
In Contention Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt's By The Sea, a marital drama set in France in the 1970s, gets a release date: November 13th. Should we add it to Oscar charts?
Dissolve Juliette Binoche to play Pearl S Buck in a biopic. 
EW features Hateful Eight on its cover. I feel robbed. Unless it's a fold-out this is only Hateful Three: Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Samuel L Jackson.

 

Dissolve ...okay I spoke too quickly. There are also character posters of the other ones
Pajiba "Pants-Igniting Things Oscar Isaac Is The Absolute Best At" 
TMZ Tyson Beckford losing his towel to promote that Magic Mike rip-off Chocolate City 

Still cherry-picking good Age of Ultron links because there are interesting articles out there!
Sound and Nerdery Terrific read on the complexity of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, especially focused on Age of Ultron (which has taken so much flack for her portrayal)  
CNet on Joss Whedon's twitter exit. Why we should care when celebrities leave social media
Esquire Age of Ultron reviewed by a 9 year old:

If you like movies about robots who make jokes, or movies about girls singing lullabyes to the Hulk, or movies about cities that float into the air for no reason, Age of Ultron will be right up your alley.

I like movies about all those things except the cities floating in the air part. Never dug that. Not even in The Empire Strikes Back

Exit Video
Today's intriguing watch. A trailer for the Netflix series Sense8 by the Wachowski siblings.

It looks to have a very confusing sci-fi premise (what else is new with them?) about 8 people in different cities being mind-connected or something. But Doona Bae (yes) and Max Riemelt (very sexy German actor who you might have seen in Free Fall, streaming on Netflix) star. Plus Daryl Hannah (!!!!!!!!!). Plus they throw some gay-leaning group sex into the trailer so... why the hell not try it out in June? You can always abort the binge-watching if they show doesn't grab you. 

Monday
Feb092015

Links

The Carpetbagger on the rising red carpet revolt. No more 'who are you wearing?' no more Mani-cams?... 
Lainey Gossip ... but not everyone is okay with this. Here's an angry report on Nicole Kidman at the Grammys
Playbill Anna Kendrick will perform at the Oscars but they're not saying what. My guess is that they're doing a 50th anniversary Sound of Music tribute -- I just hope they make Best Actress Julie Andrews a part of it somehow.
Vimeo "Life Inside Jabba the Hutt"
EW longform goes 'sex lies and fifty shades of grey' 
Film School Rejects allows for the non-story silliness of imagining Ava DuVernay directing a superhero movie
Hubpages how Franklin became the first black Peanuts comic strip character
Pajiba on the relatable marital awkwardness of HBO's Together starring Melanie Lynskey and Mark Duplass
AV Club remembers Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen in Starman (1984). It's a goodie

Wachowski World
Hitfix Motion Captured The Wachowskis interviewed on the insanity of Jupiter Ascending, Wizard of Oz and Brazil as influences and more
Variety thinks that Jupiter Ascending failed because it was too original 
Hollywood Elsewhere ...but Jeff Wells thinks it failed for the opposite reason 

LGBT Interest
Gawker Rich Juzwiak is brilliant as usual - a must read on Lance Bass's "masculine" Reality TV wedding
Women in Hollywood Lionsgate won the bidding war for Julianne Moore and Ellen Page drama Freeheld 
In Contention redemption might be coming for the much maligned 54 (1998) with Mark Christopher's directors cut? I remember loving his Alkali, Iowa short which first won him attention but the version of 54 that hit theaters was weak. The new version which is said to contain 40 minutes (!!!) of unseen footage and excise 30 minutes of studio-forced reshoots premieres at Berlinale tomorrow!

Thursday
Feb052015

Posterized: The Wachowski Siblings

Lana and Andy WachowskiWe have an early contender for movie that's most fun to read about this year. Andy and Lana Wachowski's latest, their lucky (?) number seven,  Jupiter Ascending has arrived. It is apparently a doozy and your definition of that word will vary. Between insane costumes, insaner plot, insanest characters including Channing Tatum as a some sort of wolfish alien, and Eddie Redmayne as Glenn Close (?) with gigantic mouth and abs for days it promises to be memorable at least. Even if the memories are mostly of "What is Happening To My Eyes?"

But then the Wachowskis have been doing that since their blockbuster breakthrough The Matrix (1999). Indeed the only film of theirs that seems "controlled" in the classic sense of 'this movie is perfectly constructed, awesome, and insanely watchable without being actually insane' was their very first: the lesbian noir Bound  (1996). For my money it's still their very best and still criminally underappreciated possibly because it's so atypical in that the only visual effects are how impossibly sexy and clever Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly are.

How many of their seven oddities have you seen?

I've seen them all -- or rather I will since I'm hitting Jupiter tomorrow or Saturday. The Wachowskis have the singular dinstinction of being the only directors in history to earn both an "A" (Bound) and an "F" (Cloud Atlas) grade within their filmography from yours truly.

I'm kind of hoping that Jupiter Ascending earns both.

 

Tuesday
Apr012014

Yes, No, Maybe So: Jupiter Ascending

For April Fools Day a Yes No Maybe So on a trailer promoting a movie that could well be a folly.

Though I am on record at having loathed Cloud Atlas I appreciate movies that operate from the outer edges of sanity. I'm always curious when the Wachowski Siblings make a movie despite a despairing qualitative free fall: their first was their best (Bound), their second their second best (The Matrix) but it's been a precipitous drop each and every time so at this rate they'll make the worst movie of all time soon. Will it be Jupiter Ascending

I realized this trailer arrived a week ago but it's been busy chez moi. I made a wee bit of time today because... well, you'll have to see why in the Yes column after the jump. 

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