After THE FAVOURITE gave Yorgos Lanthimos success, acclaim and a game lead actress on a bigger budget than his earlier films, the director aimed those resources at a project he’d been trying to do since 2009: an adaptation of the 1992 novel Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless M.D., Scottish Public Health Officer by Alasdair Gray. While I’ve read that the novel is set in a realistic Victorian London, Lanthimos has turned it into a colorful (and sometimes black-and-white) gothic cartoon world, with shades of Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, maybe a little BABE: PIG IN THE CITY, while retaining his cock-eyed view, dark humor and fascination with chaotic people upending social mores. POOR THINGS was nominated for Oscars for best picture, director, adapted screenplay, actress, supporting actor, makeup, music, costume design, cinematography, editing and production design this morning because they heard I was posting my review today and wanted to try to capitalize on that. I’ll allow it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘Emma Stone’
THE FAVOURITE is the best picture nominated latest from director Yorgos Lanthimos, who I know from THE LOBSTER. I’m behind on this guy because I still haven’t even seen DOGTOOTH, let alone THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, but I get the feeling this is the least weird of his movies. It’s also the only one he doesn’t have a writing credit on, instead using a script by newcomer Deborah Davis (her first produced screenplay, even though she wrote the first draft 20 years ago!) and Australian TV writer Tony McNamara. It’s a historical costume drama about palace intrigue, nothing conceptually crazy going on here, but it has a distinctive off-kilter feel and biting humor not always beholden to things people would’ve said at the time. (read the rest of this shit…)
LA LA LAND is a straight up musical from Damien Chazelle, writer of the music-themed thriller GRAND PIANO, director of the thrilling music movie WHIPLASH. Instead of heart-pounding tension this time he goes for brazen, shameless romance – romance for the idea of falling in love, and for the city of Los Angeles, its history and the potential it represents for aspiring actors and musicians.
I was a little skeptical when it started. The opening, where Los Angelenos temporarily abandon their gridlocked cars for a long-take song and dance number on the freeway overpass that the bus jumped from in SPEED, has a whiff of Old Navy commercial cuteness, and the story of an actress from a small town struggling to make it in big ol’ Hollywood and she’s not looking for a guy but her friends drag her to a party and just when she least expects it… well, it seems a little too straight up exactly the corny old cliche. But as soon as it’s zeroing in on the specific lives and personalities of the two people about to meet and bicker and flirt and fall in love and chase their dreams together and apart, all of that corniness becomes a strength. These two are too charming and funny for you not to kinda fall in movie-love with them yourself, or at least feel a buzz of vicarious courtship. (read the rest of this shit…)
BIRDMAN OR is an incredible movie on a technical and craft type level. It’s like a play, really. Mostly dialogue and centered around one building, but it’s also very cinematic because it’s photographed ROPE-style, as if the whole movie is one continuous shot. Of course it’s not, that’s all an illusion, and it’s not even supposed to mimic real time. Sometimes it will pull up to the sky and it will become day or night before it comes back down, or the events within the shot will make it clear that time has passed. One second they’re in a rehearsal for a play, the next there’s an entire audience there. Pretty tricky stuff pulled off with the genius of director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki, expanding on the long takes he did with Alfonso Cuaron in CHILDREN OF MEN and GRAVITY. The director/co-writer this time is their buddy Alejandro González Iñárritu (BABEL).
It’s the story of Hollywood actor Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton, JACKIE BROWN), who was a serious actor but became known mainly for playing a super hero in a trilogy of movies in the early ’90s. Now he’s trying to adapt a Raymond Carver story for the stage. He’s having all kinds of problems right before the first preview, while also dealing with emotional crises about his lagging fame, his perceived lack of respect as an artist, his failed marriage (Amy Ryan plays his ex-wife, still in his life), the crappy job he’s done as a father (Emma Stone plays his recovering junkie daughter/assistant, who is constantly annoyed with him and her job). So we, as the point of view of the camera, hover there and watch his rehearsals, his arguments, we fly through the labyrinthine back halls of the theater, into the dressing rooms, onto the scaffolding, onto the stage, outside into crowded Times Square. There is crying, fighting, fucking.
Meanwhile Riggan seems to be losing it, he occasionally hears the Beetlejuice-like voice of his movie character egging him on and finds that he can move objects with his mind and even fly. In fact we first meet him levitating in a yoga pose, but still managing to look pathetic in his slightly loose tighty whiteys and dingy theater-basement apartment that the narration tells us “smells like balls.”
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THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, eh? More like THE YOU KNOW TO BE HONEST I KINDA LIKED THIS ONE SPIDER-MAN if you ask me.
Over the years I’ve gained a rep as an anti-Nerdite, due to some of my challenging of online conventional wisdom and use of insensitive terminology (some people get mad when I use “nerd” instead of “geek”). But the truth is I rarely miss a comic book movie, and I even like some that you all hate (SPIDER-MAN 3, X-MEN 3, MAN OF STEEL it seems, probly something else I’m forgetting). Not to mention the whole issue with STAR WARS prequels and CRYSTAL SKULLs. Face it, geeks – I like this shit more than the people who like it do!
That’s why it surprises me that I never got around to seeing THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN until now. I mean I had intended to see it in the theater in 3D and everything. But everybody said it was bland and they confirmed that they really were re-doing the original story already so I lost the urgency and never got to it.
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Man, ZOMBIELAND was just begging for me to hate it. You know how picky I am about the balance between horror and comedy. And who the fuck makes a zombie comedy now? It feels exactly like that moment when somebody’s dad makes a reference to their favorite band from three grades ago, like he’s just catching on but he thinks he’s on the cutting edge. I was already sick of people talking about zombie movies back when SHAUN OF THE DEAD came out, and to be frankly honest even that one I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about.
I would’ve been even more skeptical if I had read up on it before seeing it, because I would’ve known it was written originally as a TV show by reality show producers trying to cash in on the “fast zombie” love during that couple weeks after the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake came out. It’s two writers and one of them says he’d only seen a couple zombie movies before (didn’t specify which ones), the other one had only seen SHAUN OF THE DEAD. And the director isn’t big on them either and had only done commercials before. (read the rest of this shit…)