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

A. V. Club Review: PASSENGERS

As a committed Everlark fan fiction writer, self still hasn’t gotten over J-Law.

But the fandom is up in arms over Passengers.

Do dear blog readers know that there are a number of Hollywood screenplay writers who write Everlark? For fun?

Neither did self, until the rumbling about Passengers started.

First, there was a tremor over the photoshopping of Lawrence’s eyes in the promo posters.

Next, the trailers.

And finally, the screenplay. Apparently, Lawrence’s status as a feminist is strained to the utmost in this movie, where she is presented as a kind of trophy for Chris Pratt. There are, of course, worse things in life than becoming the trophy/girlfriend of Chris Pratt, but Lawrence surely deserved more than just to play that role.

This is a kick-ass woman, Hollywood! Self things she’s moved past the girlfriend roles.

From A. V. Club:

A spaceship malfunction wakes up Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) 90 years early “and he’s now doomed to live out the rest of his life surrounded by sushi bars and infinity pools, but not a single human companion.”

Unbeknownst to all (or maybe not unbeknownst to all!), Jim has developed an obsession with one of the sleeping passengers, of course a gorgeous blonde (played by Jennifer Lawrence) named Aurora. But, just so you know J-Law’s character is no bimbo, the script has her playing a journalist.

Preston “deliberately wakes her up early so he has someone to talk to.” (I’ll bet!) He then “proceeds to present an innocent face to his new friend/captive and to charm/manipulate her into” a “sexual relationship.”

As Yoda himself might say at this point: The ICK factor is high in this one.

Passengers becomes —  Barbarella???!!

Jane Fonda played Barbarella and she was good in the role.

Lawrence cannot play this role because, no matter how high the hot-ness factor, that gaze of hers is just too knowing, too capable of pinning a man to the floor.

So, who could play this role as space girlfriend? Someone curvy, since this is a male fantasy movie. Scarjo, perhaps? Margot Robbie? Or that woman in the TV series Quantico?

But there is a problem here because Lawrence for the life of her cannot play anything but shrewd. That’s just who she is. And whatever role she plays, big or small, the hugeness of the Lawrence bullshit-detector cannot be hidden, much less effaced. So it is really, really asking a lot of the audience to swallow the fact that one of the shrewdest actresses in movies today is playing someone who cannot read through a man’s intentions. Especially since the screenplay has her playing a journalist. And surely it doesn’t take a journalist, or even a whole village of journalists, to deduce that Jim Preston has an ulterior motive in waking Aurora up early? Because why wake up a journalist in outer space? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wake up an engineer? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have J-Law play an android? Space ship + woken up early + by Chris Pratt = yes, do go there.

Who wrote this?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vanity Fair 2016 Holiday Issue: J-Law (Self Bought the Issue Just Because It Was Her)

She’s still Katniss. To thousands of tumblr followers.

With Trump’s win, there’s been a boom in dystopian Hunger Games fan fiction. A site went off-line today for a mere two hours. Self nearly had a meltdown.

Despite everyone hating Darren Aronofsky and semi-hating Passengers (Yes, the problem is no one knows whether it’s a rom-com or a space movie. Least of all Lionsgate), she’s the only actress the Guardian’s ever called “America’s national treasure.”

Vanity Fair has her on the cover of its 2016 Holiday issue. She’s not glammed up. She looks real. Self likes it so much better than the other Vanity Fair cover, the one where she was sitting in a jungle pool. It didn’t look like her.

The pictures inside the issue, especially the black-and-whites of her in an Alberta Ferretti dress: HAWWTTTT!!! Kudos to photographer Peter Lindbergh.

And, she is still a risk-taker. She’ll agree to do a movie just to get a chance to work with a particular director, even without seeing a script. That’s so completely her: impetuous, and NOT image-driven.

Julie Miller’s cover article begins:

  • The bar of the Plaza Athénée, an elegant Upper East Side hotel, is empty save for an elderly French couple sipping Bordeaux at two p.m. when in bursts a tall blonde crackling with energy. It is Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a black cashmere sweater, jeans ripped at the knee, and black boots, her platinum hair chopped into a chic bob. Delicate gold jewelry circles her wrists, neck, and fingers, and her most pronounced accessory, a security team, looms nearby.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Guardian’s Top 50 (U.S. Released) Films of 2016 — Up to No. 9

They have a separate list for UK films, and right now self doesn’t have time to compare the two. So here are the Guardian’s Top 50 U.S. Released Films of 2016 (Up to No. 9, “The Handmaiden.” The entire list gets posted on Dec. 16).

Self is posting the list in reverse order: meaning, #50 first.

She put asterisks next to the movies she’s seen.

She walked out of “Nocturnal Animals.” She could probably have watched Armie Hammer’s turn as an ultra-detached husband, forever. But the violence, especially in those Texas scenes, was too much, even for self’s normally iron-clad stomach. Not only was it too much, it was predictable. From the moment the bored daughter gives a car of yahoos the finger, she knew what was going to happen. First of all, the father (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) reminded her of a type. The middle-class clueless type. Which impression was only reinforced with every passing second of the unfolding scene.

As for “Fantastic Beasts” — Eddie Redmayne seemed to be channeling Stephen Hawking, but this time with the use of all limbs. Sorry. There was no charisma. Which self cannot believe she just said. About Eddie Redmayne. Who is usually so damn cute.

There are several documentaries in the below list. Which self will have to hunt up on Netflix.

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • The Neon Demon
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane *
  • Fences
  • The Clan
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Eagle Huntress
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • Wiener Dog
  • The Witch
  • I, Daniel Blake
  • High-Rise
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Cemetery of Splendour
  • From Afar
  • Everybody Wants Some!
  • The Light Between Oceans
  • Embrace of Serpent
  • Zootopia
  • Sing Street
  • Chronic
  • The Childhood of a Leader
  • Dheepan
  • Green Room
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them*
  • Tale of Tales
  • Deadpool*
  • Things To Come
  • 20th Century Women
  • American Honey
  • Doctor Strange*
  • Hell Or High Water*
  • The Lobster*
  • Paterson
  • Our Little Sister
  • The Club
  • Loving
  • Nocturnal Animals*
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Sausage Party
  • Weiner
  • The Handmaiden

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sally Potter’s YES (Potter Wrote the Entire Thing In Iambic Pentameter)

Self’s favorite scene in the movie is when SHE (played by Joan Allen) goes to visit her dying aunt in a hospital in Belfast.

Aunt:

The thing is, no-one told
Me I’d have all this time, but far too late
To use it for the things I dreamed of. Fate
Delivers upside down and back to front.
I’ve more to say than ever, but they shunt
Me back and forth all day from bed to chair
And back to bed again; it isn’t fair.
All this experience I’d like to share.
Not that it all adds up. Not that you care.
I’d better stop — it’s time for you to go
Already, isn’t it? Five minutes — oh,
Well maybe ten . . . you see, I never know
When you’ll be here again. It’s such a blow
Each time you leave, it’s hardly worth your while
To come at all. I mean it! Don’t you smile
Like that! Oh, you’ll be sorry when I’m dead.
I’m only joking, dear. I only said
That for a laugh. Although of course it’s true.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Most Amazing

The London Review Bookshop has a film club. Once a month, they show a film, and bring in the director for Q & A. When self was there, earlier this year, she caught a showing of Sally Potter’s Yes.

The entire film is told in iambic pentameter. Self gets goosebumps just remembering. She asked Sally Potter at the reception: “Is the screenplay available?” When Sally said yes, self wanted to do cartwheels. As soon as she could, she ordered a copy of the screenplay.

The heart of the movie is a woman played by a luminous Joan Allen. She visits a dying aunt in Belfast. The SHE in the excerpt below is Joan Allen’s character. The setting is a hospital:

Aunt:

You’re late again. Don’t worry. Never mind.
I know you’re busy. It’s the kind
Of life you lead. But then you chose it, so
I guess you want it. Always to and fro,
You never stop.

SHE tiptoes into the ward and stands looking down at her aunt who lies immobile, her eyes closed, in the bed.

Aunt (cont’d):

Unlike myself. I’m here
To stay. For just how long, who knows. I fear
It could be ages. It creeps up on you,
This funny business. First a creak or two,
Your knees, perhaps, and — bingo! — then you’re old
And in a bed.

SHE kisses her aunt’s forehead gently, pulls up a chair and sits down by the bed.

She (whispering):

Oh, auntie . . .

When you’re watching the film, you’re aware of the rhyme, but instead of distracting you, it helps you concentrate. Amaaaaazing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SHINE 2: Night in the City

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is SHINE.

Which is why self took her camera along when she caught a FACINE (Filipino Arts & Cinema International) 23 film screening at the Little Roxie on 16th St.

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Halloween Already! San Francisco goes all out!

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Heading to the Little Roxie on 16th St.

The film, Ari: My Life With a King, was sweet and gentle and lovely. Rooted in place.

Great script, great editing. By a first-time filmmaker, too. Remember his name:  Carlo Enciso Catu.

Self would like to give a shout-out to Mauro Feria Tumbocon, Jr. for nurturing this festival, now in its 23rd year.

The Festival’s last day is tomorrow. Tickets for individual films are $10.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Curious About the Kevin Hart Movie?

And you are! You know you are!

If you can’t get there, because you’re one of the 99% of Americans who have to work in an office (as opposed to tele-commuting, where no one can see you clock in or clock out, and no one will know if you decide to break up your workday by sneaking into a local cineplex), all you have to do is go to this great movie review website, http://www.rogerebert.com, and read the (3-star) review there, by Odie Henderson.

Self must confess: this is the very first review by Henderson she’s ever read. So she cannot believe it when he writes, “. . .  I don’t have very much to tell you . . . I can’t tell you the jokes because I wouldn’t do them justice . . . My work here is done. Thank you, America! Good night and God bless!”

Mr. Henderson, if you should ever feel the need to branch out from your current line of work (movie reviewer: but why would you ever want to do that? Self would kill, KILL, for a job such as yours), she thinks you might be able to get a gig somewhere as a stand-up comedian.

Stay tuned.

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