Random Thoughts: “Beatriz at Dinner”

This movie beautifully captures the class divide in America.

Self was going to see Wonder Woman.

Her friend’s daughter directed Wonder Woman.

Every single Everlark fan fiction writer has seen Wonder Woman.

But something about the casting of Beatriz at Dinner intrigued her. It was Chloe Sevigny that finally pushed her over the edge. Sevigny is such a kick in the pants, every single time. She’s got this playfully acerbic affect. In Beatriz, she’s decked out in sky-high heels and positively towers over her fellow cast-mates. Just one look from those lazy doe eyes and one is pinned, forever, in the zone of the socially, painfully ridiculous.

Which happens to, of all people, Salma Hayek (playing against type).

Self would also like to say that John Lithgow is particularly good here. Usually, he has such an affable aspect. Here, his affability masks a most cruel arrogance. There is a fantasy sequence which, while shocking, makes complete cinematic sense.

Finally, the real standout — no, not Salma Hayek. It’s Connie Britton, who is best known for her role in Friday Night Lights.

God, this actress. Every brittle gesture and line of dialogue rings true.

The guy who plays her husband — his conversation makes great, casual use of the “F” word — is someone who self has seen before, but always in bit roles. He’s very well cast here.

Everyone is good in this film, but the weakest performance is from the guy playing Chloe Sevigny’s partner. He has some good lines, of which the best is a Mexican phrase he throws out (wittily, he thinks) after Beatriz delivers a heartfelt performance of a Mexican song for the group’s entertainment. Self thinks it’s something like Ay, cucaracha but it could easily be Caramba or something of that ilk. Whatever. It achieves its purpose, which is to establish Beatriz as the Other. And since it’s the end of the evening, and these people have had hours to interact with Beatriz, when the man utters that throwaway line we know all is lost, the evening’s been an utter waste of Beatriz’s (and our) time. It’s a heartbreaking conclusion: that no one can bridge that divide between rich and poor, brown and white, and it’s foolish to even try.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Hot And/Or Cold

Self chose to go with HOT.

Here’s a poster from Mac Mahon Cinema on Avenue Mac Mahon in Paris (The Avenue, according to Google, was named AFTER the cinema. Only the French!). It celebrates the current film festival: 70 YEARS OF CANNES.

All the films they’ve been showing the past few weeks are Palm D’Or winning movies: The Leopard, Blow-Up, Taxi Driver, and all the French ones self doesn’t have time to look up right now.

That is one hot hot hot poster (Self would like to say that the actress is . . .  French. That’s about all she knows):

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Currently Showing at Mac Mahon Cinema, Paris: 70 Years of Palm D’Or Winners from the Cannes Film Festival

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Heritage 2: Film Maven, Paris While Cannes

Self was last here in 2012.  She’s declined every opportunity to return, until now.

Look what she encountered around the corner: a film festival running in conjunction with Cannes. The movies are in English, with French subtitles. Perfect.

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Her Dear Departed Dad worshipped Orson Welles, and movies in general. He passed on this HERITAGE to self.

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Self didn’t know until today that it is the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival:

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Self is a film nut. She takes advantage of every opportunity to attend film festivals, wherever in the world she happens to be: Edinburgh; Ojai, California; Cork, Ireland; Palo Alto; San Francisco.

One day, perhaps, she’ll write a script based on one of her stories.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Call for Documentary Submissions: KQED ROUGH CUTS

Deadline: Wednesday, April 26

If you are editing a documentary that is over 40 minutes long and are seeking feedback, we encourage you to submit.

Principal photography should have been completed.

To submit your cut electronically, via Vimeo Plus or an equivalent video-sharing site, please fill out the on-line application.

To submit via mail, please contact Chris Holbrook at chrismholbrook@gmail.com

We will send you an application and an address where you can send your DVDs. (you will need to send three DVD copies, which must arrive by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 26th)

There is a $25 submission fee.

Filmmakers who are selected for Rough Cuts are eligible for Fine Cuts and Assembly.

Stay tuned.

John Wick, Chapter 2: Keanu, Self Will Always Love You

Have you ever walked out of a film so struck by awe and wonder your skin is abuzz? Has a film ever left you so joyful and drunk on adrenaline that it made you more hopeful about the world? Has a lead performance in an action film ever had such balletic grace it made you marvel at the possibilities of the human body itself? This is exactly how I felt watching John Wick: Chapter Two, the sequel to the surprising 2014 action hit.

— Angelica Jade Bastien, rogerebert.com

Sentence of the Day: Critic After Dark’s Best of 2016

Self really likes Noel Vera’s film blog: he has interesting things to say about American films, and important things to say about Filipino films.

His “Best of 2016” is titled

Terrific Films, Terrible Year

And begins:

Can’t include any horror films because to my mind the entire genre has been rendered not only unfrightening but totally redundant by the world’s recent turn into fascism.

Pretty good opening sentence, wouldn’t you agree, dear blog readers?

Stay tuned.

A Good Match: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 22 February 2017

  • . . .  share a photo of things that complement each other.

— Ben Huberman, The Daily Post

Self has wanted to blog this picture for the longest time: at Dulles International, the day she left Washington DC, there was a one-man concert in the departures terminal. OMG, what a send-off this man’s music was! The sign next to the musician announced that the free concert was in honor of Black History Month. WOW. Self has no words. Thrilling.

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Merlon Devine, playing at Dulles International, in honor of Black History Month: February 2017

And here’s a sign self saw at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore:

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Definitely, Food is Love.

Finally, a poster advertising the annual Noir Film Festival at the Castro Theatre. San Francisco and Noir go together like white on rice:

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The 15th Annual Film Noir Festival (Noir City), held at the Castro Theatre

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Story of the Twins: AMERICAN GODS

It’s a very long fable that gets dropped in on p. 252, and it is one of self’s favorite sections, so far.

The events unfold in 1778 (How does self know? Because Gaiman puts the date right before the beginning of the fable, lol). The twins are born, captured by slave traders, and separated at auction. This part is so horrific, but Gaiman’s voice is at its most mesmerizing:

Their uncle was a fat and lazy man. If he had owned more cattle, perhaps he would have given up one of his cattle instead of the children, but he did not. He sold the twins. Enough of him: he shall not enter further into this narrative. We follow the twins.

In addition, today, self watched Fences. She hasn’t seen the original play, but the first third or so of the movie is very play-iike. The action is mostly limited to the confines of a house, and there’s a whole lot of braggadocio from Denzel’s character, Troy. About a third of the way in, however, the story takes a very interesting turn, and self was never less than absorbed.

She does feel, however, that the movie should have closed with the image of Troy swinging futilely away at a baseball attached by a frayed rope to a tree branch. Troy’s face as the camera zooms in — riveting. Instead, we’re given a kind of epilogue. It’s nice to see what happens to Troy’s son, Cory, though.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: San Francisco Chronicle, 26 January 2017

In a review of Silence! The Musical by Lily Janiak:

Lambs don’t actually appear in the 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs; they’re a metaphor for the lifelong inner suffering of Jodie Foster’s character, FBI agent Clarice Starling.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Existential Crisis of the Day: To See or Not to See Fifty Shades

Fifty Shades Darker or John Wick 2?

Self is a big fan of Dakota Johnson.

Yup, that’s right. DAKOTA JOHNSON.

Plus, the Jamie. Come on. Ever seen this guy’s back blown up on the side of a building?

Well, self has. London, 2015. Somewhere in the South Bank. That back was pretty fine.

She is also a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Yesterday, an NPR reviewer called John Wick 2 the apogee of something: “designer violence” or “designer mayhem” or, anyway, something designer. Niiice!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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