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Posts Tagged ‘Elvis Presley’


Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

As a movie viewer and person interested in the topic of Elvis Presley, I feel spoiled that within a year and a half we’ve gotten two really good Elvis movies from two very distinct directors. Sofia Coppola’s PRISCILLA doesn’t feel at all redundant coming after Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS, because the perspective and approach are so different. Adapted from Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir Elvis and Me, it follows her from the time she met Elvis until the time she divorced him. Most of that shit Luhrmann had to do montages about is happening off camera while she’s left at Graceland waiting for him. (Also Colonel Parker, the narrator and magical puppet master of Luhrmann’s film, is just a guy on the other side of the phone in Coppola’s.)

Cailee Spaeny (young Lynn Cheney, VICE) plays Priscilla Beaulieu, 14-year-old American girl just minding her own business in a diner on the military base in Germany where her stepfather (Ari Cohen, BRUISER, IT, MOLLY’S GAME) is stationed when a soldier named Terry West (Luke Humphrey, John Bobbit in I WAS LORENA BOBBITT) introduces himself. He says he arranges the music on the base so he’s friends with Elvis, and he could introduce her to him because Elvis misses home and likes to meet other Americans. It takes some doing, but he convinces stepdad and mom (Dagmara Dominczyk, BOTTOMS) to let the kid go to a party. (read the rest of this shit…)


Monday, July 4th, 2022

Any musician biopic, pretty much, is gonna be a legend or a tall tale. What’s great about Baz Luhrmann directing one is that his entire style leans into that. Condensing a whole life and career into an entertaining 2 1/2 hours requires shortcuts, cheats and artistic license that prevent it from being literally true, so here we have a director whose work is rarely about the literal truth anyway. It’s more about how something feels and looks and sounds, or making it look and sound like it feels. Biopics depend on montages to move quickly across time, and this guy speaks fluent montage. He’s also a director whose films have generally been on the verge of being jukebox musicals (going all the way in the case of MOULIN ROUGE!). So what could be more perfect for him than an Elvis Presley biopic?

ELVIS is absolutely presented as a legend, one told by Presley’s long time manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks, DRAGNET), who admits “there are some who’d make me out to be the villain of this here story,” and in between his justifications does come off as something of an evil mastermind. He addresses us decades after Elvis has passed, when he’s on his own death bed in a Las Vegas hospital room with a view of Star Trek: The Experience (1998-2008), but in his mind he’s also dragging his I.V. drip around an empty casino. (read the rest of this shit…)

Flaming Star

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

tn_flamingstarFLAMING STAR is a Don Siegel western about a mixed-race family – a white man, his white son, his Native American wife, and their son together, Pacer. They all get it from both sides but especially Pacer, who has one foot in each world. The whites won’t even speak to him after a Kiowa massacre of a white family, and at the same time he’s being pressured by the new chief to turn his back on the white man and become a Kiowa warrior. Not like the chief gives two shits about him, he just wants him for the propaganda value, to be able to show somebody who turned their back on the white man. But Pacer doesn’t want to do it and thinks they’ll kill him when he says no.

He and his mother go into the Kiowa village to try to talk their way out of it. Pacer is convinced he’ll be forced to say no in front of everybody, but in fact the chief respects his bravery and allows him to leave peacefully to consider it more. They shouldn’t have been so distrustful. Ironically it’s a white man, an old friend, who ambushes them when they’re leaving.

Oh, and by the way Pacer is played by Elvis Presley. You know, the singer. I should’ve mentioned that probly. That might be relevant to how you’ll react to this one. (read the rest of this shit…)