Includes cinema reviews and trailers for upcoming films. A digest of the best and worst interviews on movies and cinema.
It’s pretty well known that Swedish dancer an actor Alicia Vikander is part giraffe. In her previous jobs the professional liars (surely ‘Photoshop artistes’? – ed) shorten Vikaner’s neck so as not to alarm household pets and dads.
Happily, for her part as Lara Croft in the latest Tomb Raider spin-off, Warner Bros have left Vikander well alone. And, rather horribly, everyone says she looks weird. Expect to see her mutated again very soon.
(Why do they stare, Lara? Why?)
Harry Dean Stanton has died. he was 91.
Stanton also led his own band, first known as Harry Dean Stanton and the Repo Men and later simply as the Harry Dean Stanton Band, and would play pickup gigs in L.A. area clubs. Bob Dylan, with whom he worked on Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” was a friend. Another friend was Hunter S. Thompson, and Stanton sang at his funeral.
The character actor was the subject of two documentaries: 2011’s “Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland” and Sophie Huber’s 2013 “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction,” which featured interviews with Wenders, Shepard, Kris Kristofferson, and Lynch.
Chucky smells of orange soda. Well, the Chuckie [sic] Bath Bomb based on the demonic character in the Child’s Play horror film series. Made by California’s Loquita Bath and Body , the company’s founder, Mira Perez, explains:
Well the name came from my husband, he says I am a “loca” [crazy] which I have to admit, I can be a loquita in the best way possible. The brand, however, came because I was throughly mesmerized by these bath and body companies catering to the “goth” style and as much as I love the dark or obscure I didn’t feel like it screamed “ME!’ So, I decided to create bombs that were nostalgic and that I could identify with.
Spotter: Rusty Blazenhoff
Angelina Jolie has been casting for her film set in Cambodia. The film, First They Killed My Father, features children living under Pol Pot’s murderous regime. According to Evgenia Peretz writing for Vanity Fair, the auditions involved a novel form of mental torture and exploitation. Jolie, a woman with the purchasing power to pluck orphans from slums, slap an ‘X’ on the names and transport them to an American mansion to appreciate the kind of lifestyle a Russian oligarch might find gauche, was looking for the right kind of desperate child:
To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie says. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.” Jolie then tears up. “When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral.”
Presumably all the losers in this ugly contest got an all-expenses paid trip back to the slums from whence they’d came. And what of the local stage school kids who’ve trained to act – because it’s all about pretending, right? Would Jolie pull a similar stunt in the US? Would poor children in Jolie’s native LA be used to make the stinking rich, self-aggrandising narrator’s moralising resonate with purpose and meaning?
Angelina Jolie says she’s been misrepresented. She responds:
Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present. Parents, guardians, partner NGOs whose job it is to care for children, and medical doctors were always on hand everyday, to ensure everyone had all they needed. And above all to make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history.
I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened.
The point of this film is to bring attention to the horrors children face in war, and to help fight to protect them.
Is grandstanding and ‘raising awareness’ better than coming up with solutions and handing over cash? Jolie’s work is a movie, something she hopes people in her homeland will spend their leisure time and money watching. Celebrity colonialism might well make viewers and fans in rich countries take notice of stuff in poorer places but is there a shred of evidence it changes lives other than those lucky enough to make it on the plane to the land of make believe?
Star Wars, but all of the light saber sounds are Owen Wilson saying “wow”:
Duncan Skiles has made this neat video of dummies and other actors pretending to be Arnold Schwarzenegger in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.
This money box based on the character No Face on the 20-01 movie Spirited Away is great.
Bilge Ebiri tells The Village Voice readers about the new Transformers movie:
“No matter, because this after all is a Transformers movie, so soon we’re faced with fiiigjhkwetwnwwwjsahafajhwfohofoehaoowofoeoicioeciaqidjFaerlaeaffjgjlje XGRSXSsfdsmfjjjsomuchrandomstuffsomuchegjwogpjwd bldklhjitslikeyouthoughttheearliermovieswereeconfusinghahahah mfjff7ga98fhfhfplwxczchowarekidssupposedtounderstandanyofthisVSSH gmnskglactuallyhowareadultssupposedtounderstandanyofthisjskjjlvr lmnkrjsljrjsaywhatyouwillbutonceuponatimejsogrjdvpvarivpaeimp grfggjsfsfpoemichaelbayc”
Here’s your chance to own the jacket Kelly LeBrock wore as Lisa in Weird Science (1985). You’ll need at least $30,000.
Profiles in History trails the item:
Original black leather bolero-style women’s bomber jacket with short shawl lapel and hook and eye front closure. The entire jacket has been expertly studded with steel points, round stars and spikes with stud-formed symbols including spades with the number 13, crosses and diamond panels. Created by costume designer Marilyn Vance and hundreds of hours of single-studding to realize the designs’ special symbols representing luck and superstition.
With draped link chains on the back of the jacket. Interior lined with black satin. Highly visible in the beloved coming of age, Sci-Fi comedy when dream girl brought to life., “Lisa” (LeBrock) teaches the boys, “Gary” and “Wyatt” (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) how to be “party animals”. The only one of these jackets produced due to limited time and extreme expense. In production used fine condition. Comes with an LOA from designer Marilyn Vance.
Brandon Vezmar is suing his date for $17.31, the price of the movie ticket he bought her. Vezmar claims the woman’s behaviour on their night out “is a threat to civilized society”.
Vezmar, 37, of Austin, Texas, is unhappy that whilst on a date at Barton Creek Square cinema, the woman, 35, became disinterested in the 3D showing of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 and began texting.
He talks to the American-Statesman. “It was kind of a first date from hell,” he says. About 15 minutes into the movie she took out her phone and texted. “This is like one of my biggest pet peeves,” he adds. In his small claim’s law suit Vezmar claims the woman “activated her phone at least 10-20 times in 15 minutes to read and send text messages”. This, he states, was a “direct violation” of the cinema’s policy on mobile phone use.
He says he asked her to stop. She refused. He invited her to text outside, which she did. She left and never returned. She took off in the car she and Vezmar had shared to reach the cinema, leaving him to make his own way home.
“I had my phone low and I wasn’t bothering anybody,” she says. “It wasn’t like constant texting. I’m not a bad woman. I just went out on a date.”
This being America, the woman says “she planned to file a protective order against Vezmar for contacting her little sister to get the money for the movie ticket”.
This one will run and run.
Acting. Isn’t that about pretending to be someone you are not? One writer takes issue with indie movie Anything, staring Matt Bomer:
However, it is not Bomer’s incontestable conventional attractiveness that is setting off alarm bells. It is his off-screen gender and the consistent issue of cis performers playing people of trans experience in film.
Recent years have seen both Jared Leto and Eddie Redmanye win Oscars for their respective trans-woman roles in “The Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Danish Girl”. Chloë Sevigny, Felicity Huffman, Elle Fanning and other notable cis-gender actors have taken on parts that show trans people either during or mid transition. Almost all of these actors have collected praise from the mainstream press for doing so.
Lauding cis actors for delving into trans experiences has long been a Hollywood tradition. The frequency of those plaudits has only more regular more and more films take up the trans narrative at different angles.
Can’t we recruit actors on merit? Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon tells the Sunday Times:
“I feel like one thing I encounter is that, particularly with cis men, when they find out I’m non-binary, they don’t know how to be in relation to someone that isn’t something that they understand,”
The paper adds:
And yet, even as more trans stories surface across all media, actual trans actors are often shut out of telling stories that are — in many senses — theirs to tell. It’s a trend that’s been a regular source of criticism and genuine concern.
When Miley Cyrus talked about being gender fluid in 2015, some dismissed it as yet another Hollywood wild-child phase. But Cyrus is hardly alone in identifying this way, joining the likes of teen activist Amandla Stenberg, the Transparent director Jill Soloway, and the model/actor Ruby Rose, who also stars in Orange Is the New Black. The number of gender nonconforming people in the UK is growing and almost half (44%) of a poll by the Fawcett Society last year said they regard gender as more fluid than simply man or woman. Taking their cues from the real-world social discourse, Facebook and Tinder now offer dozens of gender identities.
For those still confused, this is how Dillon put it on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in March: “Sex is between our legs, gender identity is between our ears.”
So what are you? And what are you dating?
Today’s mash-up has been created by Palette-Swap Ninja. They’ve combined Star Wars and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Each song corresponds with a scene from the film:
Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
Luke Is In The Desert (Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds)
Being From The Spaceport Of Mos Eisley (Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!)
The movement towards creating explicit codes of behaviour for every aspect of life – especially the messy bits about sex – welcomes the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), which is now using the ‘F-rating’ to signal films of a feminist type. This is “so [viewers can choose films that fairly represent women on screen and behind the camera.” It is “applied to all films which are directed by women and/or written by women and/or have significant women on screen.”
That part about ‘significant women’ opens up a few issues, not least of all when it comes to grot movies, especially the girl-on-girl sort. The F-rating might not be the best guide to family entertainment or indeed anything approaching entertainment of any strain. But, then, the F-rating is not about films; it’s about educating the masses and turning people – wonderfully complex humans – into quotas. The official F-rated website explains the vision:
‘The stories we see on screen need to be told by a broad spectrum of people to represent our diverse culture. Without change, we will train the next generation to only recognise white males as the protagonists and the ones in control of the cameras, scripts and budgets. As well as equality on screen and behind the camera, more female film critics from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities need to be welcomed into the industry so that opinion and feedback is balanced.’
It’s certainly not about viewers, many of whom are women. It’s about gender. The thinking is that female film fans go to the cinema not to seek escapism but to reaffirm their identity. You’re not watching them; you’re looking at yourself. But you’ve already got free use of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to gawp at idealised filmic versions of yourself, so why spend good money on watching a narcissistic film?
Note 1: If equality is the mantra, then the IMDb could look at itself. According to Wikipedia, the IMDb ‘originated with a Usenet posting by British film fan and computer programmer Col Needham entitled “Those Eyes”, about actresses with beautiful eyes.’ Col is a white male – and since he flogged the site to Amazon, a very rich one.
Note 2: Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, a rich white male. Amazon Inc. has 7 ‘Officers’. All are white. One is a woman. Amazon has 11 directors – 9 of whom are male. Should businesses get an F-rating, too – and if so would the IMDb warrant one?
Edgar Wright wants a moment of silence for Gene Wilder:
A moment of silence for the master of the comedic pause.
Gene Wilder: funny doing something & funny doing nothing.
John Waters explains the purpose of contemporary art:
“Contemporary art’s job is to wreck whatever came before it. And from the very beginning after the Old Masters, from then on, each generation wrecked that. That something is pretty and beautiful is probably the worst thing that you could say today in contemporary art about something, unless it’s so pretty it’s nauseating.”
Kurt Kuenne’s short film Validation is the “fable about the magic of free parking”.
Str Wars actors Kenny Baker (24 August 1934 – 13 August 2016) and Anthony Daniels (born 21 February 1946) star in an anti-smoking PSA. R2D2 and C3P-0 says not to smoke:
Know what time it is with this cuckoo clock in the form of the axe scene from The Shining. On the hour every hour Jack Torrance with menace you with a “Here’s Johnny!”. For added homeliness, Shelley Duvall’s character will scream her head off.
It’s made by Chris Dimino.
High-Rise is a vision of hell set in the 1970s. It’s a bit like the EastEnders omnibus, only without the nightmarish Shane Ritchie. In the Creative Review, Mark Sinclair interviews graphic artists Michael Eaton and Felicity Hickson:
Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, looks at mid-70s Britain through the prism of an ultra-modern tower block. Adapted from JG Ballard’s 1975 nove by Amy Jump, the film follows Dr Robert Laing (played by Tom Hiddleston) as he adjusts to his new life as a tenant on the 25th floor and explores the relationships between the building’s various social groups and the tribal mentalities that emerge as the tower gradually descends into chaos. While working families live on its lower levels and aspirant professionals reside halfway up, a wealthy elite is confined to the uppermost floors – a structure that does not last long.
To help realise this unique world, envisioned by production designer Mark Tildesley, graphic artists Michael Eaton and Felicity Hickson created a legion of objects and products and several type treatments for the film’s locations: one for the high-rise itself, with its supermarket, gym, spa and swimming pool; a house font for the building’s architect, Anthony Royal; and signage for Laing’s place of work, the School of Physiology.
Nice work – and if it does make more than a passing nod to Sainsbury’s own-brand.
Form the top: Ape, My Mom’s A Werewolf, War of the Colossal Beast, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Attack of the Crab Monsters.
All via RhettHammersmithHorror