TORO! :: bull by the horns

an online compendium of culture and commentary

Archive for the ‘filmdom’ Category

some humor for funny games

Posted by rollinsloane on 14 March 2008

Naomi Watts stars in Michael Haneke’s current update of his own 1997 cinematic spectacle of “arthouse torture-porn.”  LA Citybeat critic Andy Klein’s headline: Watts No Riot.  Ha.  That’s balls.

Ollie 

Advertisements

Posted in filmdom, huzzah | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

filmdom: george lucas via saul bass

Posted by rollinsloane on 7 March 2008

Would all of cinema be better if Saul Bass did the credits?  Absolutely.  Check out what some crazed uber-fan of the poster/credit sequence master put together as ludicrous homage: Stars Wars, re-intro’d.  I can’t wait to see how Saul would have imagined Indy.

Ollie

Posted in filmdom | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

sexploitation at fairfax’s silent theater

Posted by rollinsloane on 1 March 2008

It’s hard to consider Fairfax’s Silent Movie Theater a hidden LA gem, especially considering the packed house that showed up for last night’s screening of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (even the theater’s 3-to-a-seat couches were stuffed, presumably by some uncomfortable strangers). But I certainly haven’t come across much press coverage of what must be the top arthouse theater in this very movie-minded town. Even my LA-born-and-bred cinephile butt had never before been; last night’s wham-bam conclusion to SMT’s Russ Meyer month proved the perfect introduction.

The thin wooden seats are too hard and too close together, but they all come with plump corduroy pillows and it’s the sort of place where you might get to know your neighbor anyway. In lieu of pre-screening ads or trailers, the 4×3 screen played a real police training video from the 70s featuring “To Shoot or not to Shoot” scenarios (hilarious for its paranoia, frightening for being real), and I for one didn’t miss the bogus pre-show usher speech now playing in every hoity-toity cineplex in this goddamn town.

Then on to the main event. Where to even begin. Pussycat (1965) is trash cinema at its most innocent, as if all involved were simply riding high on the freedom of being totally outrageous. Its violence is unmotivated, but cleanly bloodless; it oozes with the sexuality of tight leather and innuendo, but plays it for laughs and holds it to mere kisses. Pussycat wise cracks — it’s too happy-go-lucky to offend.

Don’t get me wrong, though — it’s still sexploitation. How many countless feminist film majors have earned their Ph.D with a lengthy examination of writer-director-producer Russ Meyer‘s sexual politics? This man’s bread-and-butter was the burgeoning soft-core industry; as a Playboy centerfold photographer, Meyer was in the perfect place to nudge the new, ahem, art form along. But Pussycat‘s backbone remains its strangely theater-ready script, a tangle of fascinating character dynamics that go beyond its ludicrous plot.

Basically, three go-go dancers-cum-renegade bad-asses stalk the California desert in a trio of sweet 60s sports cars. That’s it. Along the way they terrorize a wholesome young and try to rob a crippled rancher and his two sons, and murky chaos ensues. But mostly they wear tight close and sling about their fantastic hair. Led by tough-talking fem-sadist Varla (Tura Satana, with her own soap operatic backstory and a downright perfect name), these sex-starved ladies (played by embodied by Haji, a purring Italian-looking Canadian, and Lori Williams, the ultimate all-American blonde) could single-handedly bring back high-waisted jeans.

 faster pussycats

(Let’s just hope Quentin Tarantino’s recently announced desire for a remake featuring Eva Mendes, Kim Kardashian and Brittany Spears will never in a million f-ing years come to pass.  I can’t even believe I just read that.  I mean, I know he’s all about the homage, but if he does this out of love it would the ultimate in cinematic OJ Simpson. )

Check out the trailer below for a full-dose of the old-school soundtrack and cheesetastic acting:

Sexuality and strength and violence are all twisted up in there somewhere, and one of these days I’ll get my head around the mess. For now I’ll just be heading to the Silent every chance I get. This month’s calendar includes Philip Marlowe and 30s chorus lines, so feel free to shun Hollywood’s annual crap period and still get out to a hell of a show.

Sloane

faster pussycat kill kill poster

Posted in dude check it out, filmdom, had to be there, huzzah | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

poster art for the cult set

Posted by rollinsloane on 29 February 2008

sweet warriors movie poster by tyler stout

Courtesy of the fine folks over at /film:

Two words: Tyler Stout.  This man needs some cinephile lovin, so pucker up.  In an age of Photoshop and shamefully juvenille studio graphics, this dude has managed to triumph with good old pen-and-ink, winning over the likes of retro-master Quentin Tarantino thanks to an f-ing rad gift for uber-detail.  With posters for movies, concerts and film festivals under his belt (not to mention fabric — there are some sweet hoodies on the market, s’all I’m saying), Mr. Stout has an impressive resume already going; as soon as I get my blockbuster monster-movie epics in the works (any decade now…), I’ll be enlisting him for some iconic design.

Ollie

sweet movie poster for big trouble in little china by tyler stout

Posted in dude check it out, filmdom, huzzah | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

in bruges – close, but not quite

Posted by rollinsloane on 29 February 2008

I can pretty much tell whether or not I’m going to like a movie by what Roger Ebert says about it –a thumbs-up from that senile old windbag and I know I can save myself a trip to the Cineplex.  (This is the clinically insane reviewer who mistook Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe for “enchanting” instead of “atrocious,” after all). So when Ebert gifted In Bruges with a 4-star crown, my heart sank. I had so wanted to like this movie.

Scripted and helmed by acid-tongued playwright Martin McDonaugh (whose Broadway production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore oscillated spectacularly between hysterical and appallingly grisly), In Bruges sticks two Irish hitman into wee Belgium’s most picturesque city and waits for sparks to fly. The conceit is certainly there, and the cast is game. Colin Farrell steps up to the plate as a soft-hearted crime neophyte in way over his head, while Brendan Gleeson (gifted with one of those gloriously froggy faces forever doomed to character work or radio) plays pseudo-uncle as a gentlemanly seen-it-all pro.  Even Ralph Fiennes eschews his usual man-of-few-words gloom to exude some charisma as the duo’s feisty employer, an aggressive kingpin with a strict moral code.

The pieces are all there, but first-time director McDonaugh simply lacks the elusive cinematic glue that could let them gel into a greater whole.  The beats are off; the verbal rat-a-tat of his plays lags on screen, with the boys’ amiable, expletive banter either repeating endlessly or stalling short of relevance.  A few shots pop from the screen with visual wit, especially when a paunchy falling body explodes all over Bruges’s signature cobblestones, but the movie’s overall look is hum-drum and cable-ready.

The script also slings around some wordy, hateful barbs about race and obesity and dwarves that seem geared to antagonize rather than go in any prescribed direction.  Must midgets always be so harped upon?  The ending becomes a beautiful knot of narrative threads, but the dialogue that flavors the journey is either ponderous or left-field.  In Bruges could have used an editor with as hack a mentality as its bloated script.

Sloane  

Posted in filmdom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

when I think ignoble deaths, I think ‘deep blue sea’

Posted by rollinsloane on 28 February 2008

New York Magazine‘s online Vulture squad — one hell of a pop culture crack-unit — is pretty much my Google Reader equivalent of the daily paper, and typically generates Top 10 lists to put the AV Club to shame.  They served it up right today with “Ten Beloved Characters, Ten Ignoble Deaths,” compiling a bunch of lame-death/cool-character combos to honor The Wire‘s latest undeserving victim.  Donny from The Big Lebowski was an obvious choice (not to mention prelude to filmdom’s most awesome eulogy ever), and list-topper Jesus (from The Passion) a total f-ing cop-out, but damn if #9 ain’t the saddest demise in shark-movie history.  When Deep Blue Sea‘s Samuel L. Jackson first got it from behind, it sent my teen heart leaping straight back at the screen.

 — Sloane

PS — The LA Times amused itself last week with an untimely but totally true career re-cap of the many hair stylings of y’all’s favorite Mr. Jackson.  Never would the NY Times print such offbeat non-news, and thus has the LA Times indefinitely proved to me its far superior worth.

Posted in dude check it out, filmdom, list action | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ahem…phallic, much?

Posted by rollinsloane on 28 February 2008

I don’t know how I missed this beaut the first time around, but jeez, have a gander at the poster art for Marky Mark’s recent starring role.

shooter movie poster

Shooter? For god’s sake, this thing looks like it came straight out of the San Fernando Valley. My good ol roommate Marcie brought the DVD home last night (straight out of the Blockbuster discount bin — yes, she still goes there) and I thought she’d suddenly developed a thing for soft-core.

Sloane

Posted in filmdom, really? | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

cloverfield: um, where was everyone else?

Posted by rollinsloane on 21 January 2008

No matter how scary the monster or how efficient the military, there’s absolutely no way even in CGI-ville that the entirety of Manhattan could successfully clear out in about two hours.  There’s no way.  None.  Period.  When Cloverfield‘s nubile 20-somethings scurry through the streets and subways and apartment buildings of one New York City without coming across so much as one other fleeing or cowering urbanite, the movie gives up the appealing cinema verite gimmick established by its handheld camcorder and pretty much goes into action movie-mode.  Its early setting touches worked beautifully — electronic store burglary, zombie-like dust-covered crowds, a Central Park carriage horse wandering without a rider.  Why not play a little more with the city and its famously hardened denizens and have the protags stumble across a pack of homeless in the subway (already armed with canned food and blankets), or an emptying club (mini-skirted girls clinging to frightened bouncers), or a gaggle of awed, camera-toting tourists?  If you must attack New York, for God’s sake, at least have fun with it.

–Ollie

And why attack New York at all?  Vulture has a list of other cities that could use a good monster thrashing.  My vote’s for Vegas.

Posted in filmdom, the latest | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

why juno’s best screenplay accolades are rather off-the-mark

Posted by rollinsloane on 21 January 2008

Sure, Juno‘s a cute movie, solid the whole way around and with characters so compelling you wish it ran more than 96 minutes.  But Best Screenplay?  Considering it’s about teenage pregnancy, Juno does incredibly little ruminating on either being a pregnant teenager or pregnant in general.  Obviously screenwriter Diablo Cody has never herself been preggers, or we might have been treated to Juno’s caustic take on swollen feet, constant bloat or seven-odd months of scandalized stares and awkward pauses.  Juno remains sweet, simple and audience-friendly because it never treads into that uncomfortable territory.  How else could Juno be so plucky all the time?

It’s a cute movie, yes, but not a fully written one.  Cody makes the first-screenplay mistake of being utterly linear and entirely relevant to the plot at hand, rather than expanding the story out into other directions.  Don’t get me wrong — Juno is terrific, and deserves its praise.  But shouldn’t Best Screenplay awards be reserved for a piece of work that challenges the form?   When a script’s innovations are just a handful of out-there lines like “Your eggo is preggo,” hailing it as Oscar bait is ludicrous.

— Sloane 

Posted in 20 lashes, filmdom, the latest | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

the chinese barack obama

Posted by rollinsloane on 17 January 2008

I know that fat dude on SNL is slimming down in the hopes of snagging a four-year gig as resident Obama impersonator, but if I were Lorne Michaels I would hire a translator and cast this guy instead:

tony leung lust caution

Chinese actor Tony Leung, best known for anchoring Wong Kar-Wai’s gracefully melancholy films (In the Mood for Love, 2046) and currently starring in Ang Lee’s erotic spy thriller Lust, Caution.  He’s always been a bit boyish-looking — just like the Dem’s most cuddly candidate.

barack obama

— Sloane 

 

Posted in dude check it out, filmdom | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »