Anticipation: 2017

  • It is the Year of the Rooster. Kung Hei Fat Choy!
  • There will be a Trainspotting 2! Also a Baywatch movie! Also a Barbie movie! Also another Star Wars movie!
  • EU will abolish roaming charges for cell phones!
  • The world will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, today’s most bestselling author!
  • Museum of the Bible becomes DC’s newest museum!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007): Sidney Lumet’s Last Movie

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Andy, a plump, middle-aged real-estate wheeler/dealer whose world comes crashing down on him in a very big way, after he has the genius idea of knocking off his parents’ mom-and-pop jewelry store in a Westchester mall (It’s like Fargo, only twice as painful):

Andy to his brother Hank (Ethan Hawke):

  • It’s too late to think. It’s too late.

Also, Seymour Hoffman’s character is a cocaine addict. Watching him do a line is gut-wrenching.

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Noir City: San Francisco’s 15th Annual Film Noir Festival, at the Castro

Stay tuned.

#amreading: Sally Potter’s Screenplay for YES

Last year, self saw Sally Potter’s Yes at the London Review Bookshop and the filmmaker herself was present to do Q & A afterwards. Self asked Potter if the screenplay had been published, and when Potter said yes, it was available in the U.S., self almost broke out into a Happy Happy Joy Joy dance.

Can she just tell dear blog readers how she adores this screenplay, the fact that it is written in iambic pentameter from first to last is glorious.


Scene: An Irish woman (played by a luminous Joan Allen) who’s moved to New York returns to Belfast to visit her dying aunt in a hospital. The following passage is the aunt’s interior monologue:

AUNT

No one explained to me when I was young
Why time only goes forward. Hold your tongue
Was what they said when I asked them about
The universe and such and why we can’t
Do all that much about it when we make
A mess of things. If only a mistake
Could be corrected. Wind life back and start
Again. The second time we’d know the art
Of living. But we only get one go;
No dress rehearsals, this one is the show,
And we don’t know it. I don’t see the rhyme
Or reason in this so-called grand design . . .

(A priest enters the ward quietly and rapidly gives the last rites, making the sign of the cross and softly muttering a prayer)

But then I don’t believe. There is no sign
Of him up there as far as I’m concerned.
See . . . if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned
It’s this: it’s down to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Matt Zoller Seitz Reviews “Love & Friendship” (Another of Self’s Favorite Movies of 2016)

Really nice review. Read it in http://www.rogerebert.com.

Kudos to Director Whit Stillman, lead Kate Beckinsale, and Xavier Samuel, who plays the man Beckinsale’s character sets her sights on.

  • “Love & Friendship feels like it was inevitable. The director Whit Stillman adapting Jane Austen is one of those ideas that sounds like it’s made up because it’s so perfect, like Wes Anderson announcing that he’s going to make an animated film about foxes based on a book by Roald Dahl.”
  • “Stillman’s films are comedies of manners . . .  the more brazen or ambitious characters run roughshod over people who have, well, manners.”
  • The main character, Susan, “is distinguished by her audacity, not just in her wants and desires but in the way she talks to other people, turning subtext into text in a way most people would not do unless the person they were talking about was in another room, or another state. But they’re standing right there! And they can’t get their minds around how staggeringly rude and entitled Susan is — most of all Reginald, who’s played with great precision by Samuel as a decent man who is so stunned by Susan’s nerve that he can barely bring himself to reprimand her: he’s too busy marveling at her existence.”

In addition, self is looking forward to seeing the following films, hopefully in the next few weeks:

  • Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson
  • Paul Verhoeven’s Elle
  • Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences
  • Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea
  • Disney’s Moana

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

In Which Sunny and Self Discuss/De-Construct “Passengers”

Of course, because this is the future and we write fan fiction, watching “Passengers” leads to some interesting gender flipping in our de-construction of said movie.

The idea of having Jennifer Lawrence doing the choosing was entirely Sunny’s. Self thought: Go for it!

Exhibit A

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: “Sleeping Beauty in Space,” a Review of PASSENGERS by Sunny Lanning

The movie is beautiful, brilliantly shot. The clean, curving lines of the halls and rooms, the luxurious amenities, the sense of echoing, empty space both within and without the ship, which employs a novel design style. The lingering shot on the long lines of Chris Pratt’s naked back and buttocks fits right into the elegant overall design.

— Sunny Lanning, in her blog Sincerely, Sunny

Self has been having an off-blog exchange with Sunny Lanning about things we like, and one of the things we like is J-Law.

Yup, that’s right. J-Law.

Self knows it’s sort of fashionable to dump on her right now. Indulge in fond memories of “Winter’s Bone” (which was truly great).

Self knows, “Passengers” did not get good reviews. Self reads Everlark tumblrs on a daily basis and people are wondering what happened to J-Law, blah blah blah.

Self has a feeling J-Law will endure.

In the meantime, enjoy the parallels Sunny Lanning draws between “Passengers” and Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty.”

Self’s own personal take on the disappointment with the movie (Note: Self has not seen “Passengers.” But she kinda gets the process Chris Pratt is or has embarked on. It’s called Hollywoodization.), the blown hopes: it’s Pratt. In this role, he’s reaching for that next level. Self doesn’t argue that a J-Law would find him attractive — hot, even. But can we just not make the effort so predictable right now? It just seems so determined and so cynical.

Sunny found that originally “Passengers” was a Keanu Reeves project. Keanu/ J-Law would have been an interesting pairing!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“After Us, the Deluge”

The Force wasn’t enough today.

RIP, Carrie Fisher.

2016, self is so done.

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Vanishing Point, Capitola-by-the-Sea

Quote of the Day: Hell or High Water

From one of self’s favorite movies of 2016, “Hell or High Water”:

  • “I don’t know how you’re going to survive without someone to outsmart. You need a hobby, quick.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

One of Self’s Favorite Movies of 2016

“Hell or High Water.”

In that movie, Chris Pine had such a mournful, thin frame. He looked extraordinary. Perhaps he and Casey Affleck are evolving the same laconic style. But there was so much he was able to express in just the way he stood.

And the other thing: Ben Foster. Yeah, him. Mr. Intensity.

When self last saw Ben Foster, he was in that coast guard movie, “The Finest Hours” (also with Chris Pine), looking overweight but fitting the part so perfectly. Here, Foster’s more like self remembers him being from other movies: runty-looking yet powerful.

In perfect opposition to Pine and Foster, another stellar pair: Jeff Bridges and his dour, heartbreaking deputy, played by Gil Birmingham.

Right now, everyone’s talking Casey Affleck and “Manchester by the Sea”, which self has not yet seen. But let’s not forget: there were four great performances in “Hell or High Water.” Let’s not forget.

Also, there is a restaurant scene that rivals Jack Nicholson’s Hold the Chicken scene in “Five Easy Pieces.”

A waitress runs down a list of choices with Jeff Bridges and his deputy. She finally ends up saying, “What don’t you want?”

Here’s a crucial scene from the movie:

“Momma died.”

“When?”

“Two weeks.”

“Well, good riddance. (Pause) No offense.”

(Sigh) That dialogue. Perfection.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Dana Stevens, Slate

Early in January, David Bowie died, and then Alan Rickman four days later, and those twin losses now seem like the double toll of a warning bell whose somber echo would resonate through the year. 2016 was a year when the pillars that used to hold up our shared cultural universe wouldn’t stop crumbling around us. Prince? You expect us to somehow continue American pop music without Prince? Oh God, Gene Wilder. Oh no, Leonard Cohen.

— Dana Stevens, Slate movie critic, The Top 10 Movies of 2016

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