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Entries in Wachowski Siblings (13)

Wednesday
Nov092016

Noirvember: "Bound" (1996)

by Chris Feil

It's worth remembering that while the Wachowski's career has been defined by The Matrix and to a lesser extent their following sci-fi films, they actually started their careers in another genre entirely. Bound, their 1996 queer crime thriller starring Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly, launched them onto the scene as audacious visual stylists and smart thrillmakers. If noir has basically died in our current film landscape, this film represents one of its great final moments.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar112016

A Toast to Lilly Wachowski

This week, the younger Wachowski sibling revealed that she has transitioned. Everyone raise your glasses to Lilly Wachowski!

In an open letter, Lilly detailed her recent struggle with different press outlets that have nearly gone public with her story, particularly taking the Daily Mail rightly to task for their vulturous treatment of trans individuals. While it's disgusting that press interference has pushed Lilly to reveal her transition publicly before she might have planned, her statements about the current state of trans acceptance and treatment utilize her sizeable platform perfectly. Thank goodness she got to tell her story in her own way.

The letter is a gorgeous bit of writing, a rare insight into the more introverted of the already media wary siblings. In one of the most crucial and eloquent moments of the piece, she questions our societal perception of gender:

But these words, "transgender" and "transitioned" are hard for me because they both have lost their complexity in their assimilation into the mainstream. (...) But the reality, my reality is that I've been transitioning and will continue to transition all of my life, through the infinite that exists between male and female as it does in the infinite between the binary of zero and one. We need to elevate the dialogue beyond the simplicity of binary. Binary is a false idol.

That sentiment is one that is also present in the sisters' work, and one of their most exciting themes, to boot. Now that both siblings are living openly (Lana came forward with her transition in 2012) perhaps they'll be able to explore that even deeper than we've seen with Cloud Atlas and Sense8. For the trivia obsessives, Nathaniel wondered if this made the Wachowski's the first sister directing duo? The names that immediately popped up were the Soska sisters. Do you know of any others? 

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...

Click to read more ...

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...

Click to read more ...

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.