May 18, 2012
May 18, 2012
May 17, 2012
May 12, 2012
[Spoiler ahead] Director Troy Nixey spins a familiar yarn about a spooky, lush estate, a misunderstood child, and the absent adults who don’t believe her things-that-go-bump-in-the-night stories in his adaptation of the 1973 TV movie, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Trying to tap into the collective fears of our childhood, but instead serving up halfhearted impressions of producer Guillermo del Toro’s best-of, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is passable, but lacks the poignancy of the filmmaker’s other collaborations, like Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Orphanage. The usually compelling Guy Pearce is comically unavailable — as the film’s father and an actor — and Katie Holmes delivers an annoyingly weak show at solidarity toward Bailee Madison’s Sally. What feels like an attempt to show Sally’s frustrated perspective lacks conviction. In the end, we can surmise that prescription drugs are evil and that we should follow Nixey’s advice when dad’s young girlfriend gets what’s coming to her, vanishes into the bowels of the haunted house, and the rest of the family all but shrugs and walks away.
May 10, 2012
Rob Pattinson just became a lot more appealing to me. I’ve been writing up news about Cosmopolis for some time now, though, and can’t wait to see more.
The photos come from Premiere France‘s special Cannes edition. Read the interview and see more photos on the Cosmopolis website.
May 4, 2012
My reaction to high school, still to this day.
April 29, 2012
Nicole Kidman’s Diane Arbus is painted as a childlike artist, filled with repression and longing, fervently rebelling against her role as a wealthy, compliant 1950′s wife and mother. Realizing her own potential as an artist, Steven Shainberg’s eccentric fairy tale Fur imagines how an emotionally fragile Arbus’ dormant passions are awaked by an intriguing neighbor, Robert Downey Jr.’s strangely alluring Lionel. He’s a sideshow castaway covered in fur whose soulful eyes, sonorous voice, and seductive games immediately draw Arbus — and us — in. The two navigate a love affair on the fringes that blurs fantasy and reality. The photographer’s work has often been a point of contention. Were Arbus’ images of freaks and deviants simply exploitive? Shainberg and Secretary collaborator, writer Erin Cressida Wilson (informed by Patricia Bosworth’s Arbus biography), attempt to draw deeper connections to the artist’s subjects and conjure her emotional landscape. It’s easy to look past a few intimacy clichés (i.e. the shaving/sex scene) since RDJ and Kidman deliver such provocative performances.
April 28, 2012
Effortlessly revealing the silent turmoil of psychological torment, displaced and grasping at shifting memories, Elizabeth Olsen’s breakout performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene is quietly thrilling. Revelations materialize slowly, in keeping with Sean Durkin’s naturalistic and hazy approach, allowing atmospheric anxiety to build throughout the film’s dual narrative. Ambient tension is seductive and cruel. Whispers and creaking doors, the rush of wind through trees and gentle waves suture Martha’s redemptive worlds together. Plucked guitar strings are lulling harbingers worthy of John Hawks’ enigmatic charisma and menace.
April 28, 2012
This opaque mood piece from Julia Leigh, Sleeping Beauty, intrigues with bizarre banality and detached erotic charge. Emily Browning’s doll in the ether becomes immersed in a sado-masochistic Foucauldian paradigm and conceptual feminist experiment. Lynchian production design from Annie Beauchamp and coolly still cinematography from Geoffrey Simpson are striking standouts. Pro tip learned: match your lipstick to the color of your labia.
March 16, 2012
I recently wrote about the 1970′s fumetti adaptation Baba Yaga for FEARnet. It’s a remake of Guido Crepax’s erotic, phantasmagorical tale Valentina. The screen version opens with an illustrated credits sequence, which I’ve pasted in the gallery below. (These shots aren’t from the new Blu-ray, which is available here if interested.) If Bernie Krigstein and Aubrey Beardsley made babies, it might look something like this.
The fumetti during the ’60s and ’70s were in many ways ahead of their time, exploring sexuality — and even a few political themes — while experimenting with narrative structure and style. Baba Yaga’s opening sequence was definitely unusual for the time period and is still a great standout today. Also of note is the animated sex scene, which employs early animation techniques, intercut with live action — and a creepily leering George Eastman. I shared the scene in the video below along with the trailer.
Audiences were treated to two other memorable cine-fumetti tales just years before Baba Yaga, which director Corrado Farina has cited as influences. Roger Vadim’s Barbarella seemed tame to those familiar with the comic, and Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik is far more fun and sophisticated. Farina’s witchy remake isn’t the sleaziest film you’ll ever see, but it’s fleshy and enigmatic enough to appease fans of the books.
“Adapted from Guido Crepax’ erotic comic (fumetti, as the Italians would say) series Valentina comes Corrado Farina’s 1973 fever dream, Baba Yaga. Clearly influenced by the gialli, the lesbian Eurotrash cult flick stars Carroll Baker (Baby Doll) as a ghostly witch who controls a free-spirited photographer with sapphic mind powers, a hexed camera, an unnerving doll decked out in a sadomasochistic body harness, and surreal Nazi-era flashbacks. George Eastman also appears for that added touch of smarmy boyfriend sleaze. Baker’s Baba Yaga — named after a witch-like figure that originates from Slavic folklore — is an over the top character who suckles garter belts like candy and commands her erotic slaves from a decadent, but crumbling, mansion.”
October 30, 2011
∞ Writerly things:
Trailer for new Herzog; William Friedkin interviews Fritz Lang; beautiful horror film soundtracks; Cuckoo’s Nest asylum photos + more.
Friends new and old worth your time: