I don’t envy any TV series that had to run during these last few episodes of Breaking Bad, let alone on the same night and time; to say nothing of the damping effect upon the entire media that the BB coverage inevitably creates, it must also be discouraging to know that the “best show” honours are irrevocably spoken for, and that nothing you can do will make a dent.
So a funny thing happened a few weeks ago, which is that The Newsroom - Sorkin’s endlessly troubled, and troubling, vanity project for HBO - got really, really, really fucking good.Read more
It’s a mark of how relentlessly piss-poor the summer of 2013 was that World War Z is among a handful of movie experiences that I can look back on and say, “well, that didn’t entirely suck.” I think I wrote my Twitch piece about the summer a couple of weeks too early, because I really should have mentioned Z in a somewhat lengthier context. In addition to being one of the box office winners of the season, Z is just one of the all-around winners, too, and the fact that it does that by being - charitably - wildly hit-and-miss is about as effective a barometer of the season as a whole as anything else I can think of. I might put it on my year-end list, just to have something on there that is prismatically representative of the weary, half-turned-on, half-nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach right now, that’s been there for about a month and a half. Fuck, 2013. You let me down.Read more
The pairing was unintentional – I’d meant to follow Only God Forgives with a 3-D screening of The Great Gatsby – but life intervened, and whaddaya know, the two films crash together in mesmerizing ways. They talk to each other, repeatedly across their borders, and the conversation is about the vapidity of each. I’ve never seen a double feature so intrinsically argue for why each piece is in fact less than the sum of its parts.
Both films are, in their ways, harshly unflattering portraits of the presumed gender concerns of their directors. Only God Forgives is a torturous, Oedipal nightmare, overcooked and overheated into dark blood red. It overflows with excruciating violence; is replete with dragons; and contains, if I’m not mistaken, a sequence where the principal character reaches his hand into his dead mother’s womb. The Bling Ring on the other hand is a grotesquely airheaded hall of mirrors about truly awful teenage girls in a fever dream of twin fixations upon exceedingly expensive clothes and disarmingly banal celebrities, in which Emma Watson either fails to supply a convincing performance or vastly overachieves, given that she’s playing someone who, to a nearly sociopathic level, has no personality of her own - only a sloppily manufactured persona based on all the things she thinks materialism demands.Read more
Now where do I even begin with this.
Put it this way: the biggest problem with Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies wasn’t the early cancellation or even Lee Pace; it was that by setting the series inside a reputedly astonishing pie bakery, I left every single episode maddeningly hungry for pie. The episodes generally ended after closing time for most businesses in Toronto, though, so I’d inevitably spend the rest of the night in a state of advanced pie-seeking agitation that could not be fulfilled by a quick trip to Dominion to buy a Flakie Tart.
Now here’s Hannibal, and what’s really freaking me out is how hungry the show makes me.Read more
With D-Coc firmly “back in town” and in the midst of the kind of summer heat wave that burns houses to the ground, he and me and @demetre_e undertook to fuse Repo Man and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome across their apocalyptic axes. It was a successful pairing.
(Previously, on Movie Night:
and many more)
Would it surprise you to learn - and I suspect it would not - that given my lengthy history of sick fondness for threequels that are not, generally speaking, as good as their predecessors, I think Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is a mad brilliance. It takes the wildest left turn I’ve seen in a long time, when it gives up on what seems like a perfectly good opportunity to have a bunch of fights in Thunderdome, and goes to the Ewok Village instead.Read more
Hey internets, I have the worst news: The Twilight Saga is actually pretty good.
I know what you’re thinking - aren’t these the Twilight movies that I’ve been repeatedly told are awful? Well, in a lot of ways I have to assume that’s the big source of the ire in most parts: a lot of opinions about this franchise made up of hearsay content that did not, necessarily speaking, require a viewing of the properties themselves. Regardless of the ceaseless chatter external to the films over the course of the past six years, about K-Stew and R-Patz (and K-Stew’s maybe-affair with R-Sand, whee!), the movies themselves are so much more credibly and competently delivered than their popular reputation would have it.
There’s another demon in the room on this, too: girls like these movies, and people haaaaaaaate it when that happens. Guys hate it when that happens, and, perversely, girls hate it when that happens too. Wait till the popular consciousness turns on the Hunger Games sequel like a crazed howler-monkey, and you’ll see what I mean.Read more
I’ll say this for Spring Breakers (and post the image above to the top of my blog in like kind) - it gets to have its cake and eat it too, as one will certainly discover before the movie’s 30 second mark, what with that fairly impressive slow-motion shot of bare boobies swinging back and forth just so. The movie’s a Girls Gone Wild riot of teen flesh that cinephiles can enjoy like porn without actually admitting (even to themselves, maybe) that they’re enjoying it like porn. I’d say that by the time the poolside three-way is happening towards the tail end of the third act (didn’t the same thing happen in Wild Things, but to much less artistic repute?), if you’re not enjoying it like porn, you were either a) watching the movie in public, Pee-Wee, or b) dead inside.Read more
In a bit of a terror, I realized last week that it was the middle of June and I’d yet to put a single film on my draft list of the best of the year - which isn’t an exact science, necessarily, but something should have popped up by now, and I set round to rectifying things PDQ. So I bought a pizza, bought Stoker, et voila - the list hast started. We need to talk about how fucking good Stoker is. I wanna fuck that movie, and wanted to long before it turned very, very, very naughty. It’s a perfectly realized sensual experience told in cinematic turns, in which the script (by Wentworth Miller!) is a useful jumping-off point but hardly the sum of the storytelling experience. I return to something Matt Price drilled into my (and everyone’s) head last summer when Prometheus came out, about the classic filmgoing error of prejudicing the words in the overall experience of watching a film. With Stoker, I like the words just fine but holy crap, the experience left me flushed from my head to my toes.Read more
After a couple of years of meaningless flirtation I’m finally dumpster-diving my way through a proper Netflix account; the experience remains as chewy and largely useless as I remember. Because seriously: Netflix is the equivalent of those discount bins at Wal-Mart, i.e. yes technically those are movies, but no, not really. (This is the point where half my Facebook connections write in with a variation of “I’m assuming you’re on Canadian Netflix, here’s how you get American Netflix, it’s better.” Guys, I KNOW.)Read more
I’m a fan of the version of the universe where Shane Carruth never made a second film. Such a quantum reality surely exists, if the gods have any sense of humour about Primer or anything else. This is not, by the way, a knock against Upstream Color, which I’ll probably end up knocking later; it’s got nothing to do with my feelings about Carruth’s follow up film or films. It’s just that it took Carruth such a long time to tackle his sophomore effort that I began to noodle about the possibility that he was never going to do it, resulting in a reality where this former mathematician popped up in 2004, made a $7,000 time travel movie that is in many ways outstanding, and then just vanished back into the non-filmmaking hyper-reality from which he emerged like Athena from the forehead of Zeus. Come on, that’s appealing for a whole host of reasons.Read more