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Friday , September 10, 2010
They Remade "Let The Right One In" As "Let Me In" And I'm Freaking Out
I really loved the Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In. It was one of my favorite films of 2008, and I loved it for its visual beauty, its delicately acted characters, the cleanness and clarity of the direction and that awesome late 70s/early 80s vibe. It struck a great balance between being both a sweet little supernatural love story and a chilling tragedy, and despite the deliberate pacing, it still managed to creep the hell out of me in a tastefully restrained way. And it's Swedish, and we all know Scandinavia is the most amazing geolocation on earth.
So when I heard that the dude who did Cloverfield was helming an "adaptation"/remake, I got that super-protective and wary feeling you get when you love something and you don't want anyone else to touch it. And then I saw your typical cheesy tv spot the other evening and it kind of made me want to cry, because it had that horrible melodramatic voiceover ("an ancient secret...over 200 years old...") and the typical horror movie trailer style to it. But then I caught this two-minute trailer and felt much better.
Although I could do without the bombastic, generic music of the trailer and I miss the gender ambiguity of Eli (now Abby, the girl vampire), I'm stoked that the beautifully austere, wintery visual style and setting seems to be retained, and it's clear even from this little bit that the director draws beautifully on the original film. It IS spiritually Scandinavian! So I feel better. A little. Maybe.
Thursday , September 2, 2010
We're Obsessed: The Trailer for "Black Swan"
If there's one thing that's true about me, it's that I absolutely cannot resist a movie like Black Swan, which is the new Darren Aronofsky film about the toxic world of professional ballet, out in theatres this December. I know that's a long time away, but dudes, WATCH THIS TRAILER, IT'S SO GOOD. You could seriously take lessons from this trailer on how to put together a teaser for a movie:
It was like this movie was reverse-engineered out of a "Things That Kat Loves" list:
1. BALLET! Especially Swan Lake, my favorite ballet of all time. Ballet is generally an art form obsessed with the purity of its aesthetics, and Swan Lake's are the purest of them all. It's always a sheer visual delight to watch, even if you're watching the all-swan-dude Matthew Bourne version (which is, by the way, gorgeous.) Loads of beautiful white feathers, gorgeous headpieces, amazing makeup...how could you go wrong with such visuals?
2. Demented ballet dancers played by doe-eyed brunettes!
3. A Winona Ryder cameo!
4. Darren Aronofsky directing! One of the most visceral dude directors around--quite excited to see what he does with the feminine world of ballet. Word has it this project was developed at the same time as The Wrestler, so I'm curious to see the kinship between the two films.
5. My friend JUST saw it at Venice Film Festival and emailed me to say that I was "going to adore the shit out of it." She also said that Mila Kunis is "fantastic," the costumes are "stunning," but she wouldn't give up the goods on the Mila Kunis-Natalie Portman makeout scene. COME ON DAMN IT!
6. Black Swan is supposed to be akin to Polanski's early movies. Now, I'm not too keen on a child rapist, but it's kind of undeniable that his early films like Knife in the Water, Rosemary's Baby, and Repulsion are brilliant. I love a good psychological thriller.
7. The performance costumes were co-designed by Rodarte! It's perfect that they're doing ballet costumes, especially for aforementioned demented ballet dancers!
8. I'm not a huge Natalie Portman fan, but it looks like the film takes advantage of her limitations as an actress and screen presence (perpetual little girl voice, even if she's playing FUCKING ANNE BOLEYN, perpetually tightly-wound) and transplants them perfectly into the darkness of the character.
9. I'm also a fan of any film with a vague Single White Female-type thematic focus. Female transference = YES.
10. And did you get that last bit in the trailer, the stuff with the red eyes and crazyface? I gotta know WTF that is all about.
Wednesday , August 4, 2010
The nogoodforme Astrological Guide to Arthouse Cinema: Cinematic Cleverness and Contemplation for Geminis
Everyone, THANK YOU for all the comments, emails and Tweets on each of the installments of the Astrological Guide to Arthouse Cinema so far! I didn't really anticipate how epic this is turning out, but thanks to the vastness of the zodiac and my eagerness to share my love about a bazillion movies under the sun, it's turning into a content behemoth. So far I've gotten to explore action films for Aries and sensual/foodie/visually gorgeous films for Taurus; this time, I look at the wealth of cinematic cleverness that would keep a Gemini's wonderfully intricate intellect occupied, as well as some seemingly uncharacteristic choices for beautifully quiet films that should suit the other side of complex Geminis.
GEMINI: Geminis are, hands down, some of my most favorite people in the world. On their good twin days, they are so much FUN and great to be around, full of good spirits and a certain quicksilver intelligence. They're often great with wisecracks and possess an ability to crack me up so hard I could burst open my appendix from the laughter, and they're brainiac types, possessing restless intellects that are constantly whirring and buzzing. Your favorite Twitter is probably a Gemini; so is your favorite blogger, because these people are generally born writers. (Geminis are ruled by Mercury, which is the planet of communication.) Even if they're quiet Geminis, they have a certain way with words and language. Whether it's low-key, caustic or wacky, they have that quality known as wit.
Geminis often have a bon vivant side to them; they love to get out into the world and see what life has to offer. They love ideas and experience, collecting these like a squirrel hoards nuts. They know what's up in terms of what's happening or about to happen, and if they're the Gemini to end all Geminis, they're the classic cruise director type, the person who organizes all the social activities of a posse. (I once dated a dude Gemini and I think we maybe went on five proper dates during our year together because EVERYTHING was a group activity. As a cozy, snuggly Cancer, this drove me NUTS!) You know the type of people who read three different international newspapers every morning? Or those people who do the crossword faithfully every week? Or that insanely prolific writer/blogger? That's probably a Gemini, plugged-in, clever, intellectually intrigued by nearly everything under the sun. Their flirtatiousness takes on the quality of "witty banter" or, at the very least, a high level of conversation.
Geminis are generally very cerebral people--not unemotional (we'll get to that later), but mind-oriented in that their first response is often a mental one. Because their minds are so agile, they often rely on them to process their life experience. Because of this, it sometimes takes awhile to know Gemini as an emotional commodity (indeed, sometimes they're often confused and perplexed by their emotional natures in general). Sometimes Geminis are almost too smart and clever, in the sense that they find it really easy to talk themselves into ideas and relationships that just scream of BAD NEWS, FUCKING RUN, GEMINI! They're able to construct these dense, labyrinthine structures of explanation that even they have a hard time finding their way out of, so dizzy they are with theories, suppositions, and formulas--everything but cold hard facts. Sometimes giving a Gemini relationship advice is a losing game because of this reason, and you kind of have to wait till they start talking themselves out of something to really offer anything constructive because they just won't listen to you otherwise. (You know how your words get twisted around in an argument and you're like, "THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEAN!" That's a classic Gemini rhetorical move!)
Tags: Akira Kurosawa, Alain Delon, Alain Resnais, arthouse cinema, astrology, Charlotte Rampling, Climates, Francois Ozon, Gemini, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Jean-Pierre Melville, Lynne Ramsey, Morvern Callar, Rashomon, Robert Bresson, twins, Under the Sand
Thursday , July 29, 2010
The nogoodforme Astrological Guide to Arthouse Cinema: Beautiful And/Or Foodcentric Films That Will Make Tauruses Swoon
Dudes, sorry I loafed on the regularity of my planned multi-part epic Astrological Guide to Arthouse Cinema! But my life is severely Internet-constrained these days, which is kind of ratty, but I am slowly but surely persevering. In my last installment, I wrote a billion words on arthouse films for Aries, which were mostly energetic action and thriller movies in foreign languages guaranteed to keep the interest of any wayward, energetic Ram. This time around, I go in a radically different direction for Taurus, a steadier, slower sign who would probably disdain fast-paced, blow-'em-up movies as inelegant and mind-numbingly boring. Tauruses are earth signs and love STUFF. "Stuff" at its best: food, bodies, possessions, basically things that they can taste and feel and look at. So I used this opportunity to explore some of my favorite visually rich and/or foodcentric movies of varying stripes.
TAURUS: Every Taurus I know is a quietly gorgeous person with the kind of beauty that doesn't impose itself on other people--you're like, "Yeah, I'm hot, but I don't feel the need to put it out there. I'll just sit quietly in this corner drinking Lillet and wait to be discovered by some person of quality." They don't have the astrological rep of being flamboyant children, demonically hot sex addicts or flame-eyed revolutionaries, but they're down-to-earth, lovely people who have a talent for making life beautiful and love graceful. It says a lot that EVERY Taurus I know is and has been in a long-term relationship--they're a little cautious but once they're all got in a relationship, people rarely let them go.
Every Taurus I know also loves beautiful THINGS with gorgeous COLORS and TEXTURES and SILHOUETTES. Taurus is a materialist, but in the best sense of the world--they love materials for the opportunities they present for beauty and sensuality, and luckily their sense of style is nonpareil, so that materialism is really an expression of the grace and beauty that they are. On a bad day, though, they tend to indulge in a little too much retail therapy, although they won't admit to it, because they are also hella stubborn when provoked. They're generally patient souls, but when they're finally pissed off, it's like that slow-boiled rage that lingers--they are RESENTFUL and do not forgive so easily. I love all my Taurus peeps because they're that sturdy, caring, lovely friend who will bring you soup in that old-school way when you're sick in bed. I kind of want to marry a Taurus one day because they sound like they'd be great to shack up for life with. I mean, who wouldn't want to get down and play house with a sensual, elegant Taurus? Especially when you know that house will be the coziest, loveliest home imaginable.
Tags: Almodovar, arthouse cinema, astrology, Barry Lyndon, Chantal Akerman, cinematic materiality, Eric Rohmer, feminist experimental cinema, food, Jeanne Dielman, Luchino Visconti, materiality, Miuccia Prada, sex, Taurus, Tilda Swinton
Thursday , July 22, 2010
To Go: Catch "The Curious Complications of Role Playing" At the Manhattan Film Festival This Friday!
The greatest thing about going to film school was being surrounded by other hyper-creative types all the time. You can weigh the pros and cons of getting an MFA on all kinds of levels, but you really cannot underestimate how amazing and beautiful and transformative it is to be part of a group of people who all love what you do and are doing it, too. So it's a trip and a joy to see friends get their work out there into the world, and I'm so excited to tell people about it because everyone I know is a genius and a half! Anyway, my pal Jessica Rotondi is a great comedy writer-director with a knack of making funny, romantic films that are way cooler than the typical bougie-normie rom-com. She's got a great short playing on Friday (TOMORROW, SORRY DUDES, I'VE BEEN DOWN IN TERMS OF INTERNET LATELY, IT SUCKS) as part of the Manhattan Film Festival. (It's paired with a feature, Anyone You Want.) "The Curious Complications of Role Playing" is about a super-sweet dominatrix who falls for a dude, but man, how is she going to tell him what she does for a living? ("Hey, hon, I'll see you after I get done whipping this old dude and making him lick my boots?" I don't think so!) "Complications" is worth seeing just for a genius comedy moment involving a dungeon, a grater and some Parmesan cheese; I won't say more, only that whenever I see this, it never fails to bust my gut. Seriously, Apatow couldn't come up with this kind of comedy gold unless he got whipped on a regular basis himself. I really, really wish I could put that scene up here, but to get a sense of Jess's work, you'll just have to make do with this little bit from another one of Jess's films, "C'est Moi," one that I helped to co-produce and did the costumes for:
In this playful homage to French films of all stripes, college student Penny has a crush on Nathan, who unfortunately has a thing for foreign chicks. How far will she go to catch his eye? And what unexpected hijinks will arise? Written and directed by Jessica Rotondi, produced by Kat Asharya, Raeshem Nijhon and Will Harper.
Wednesday , July 14, 2010
An Astrological Guide to Arthouse Cinema: Movies With Subtitles That Will Actually Keep An Aries Entertained
We got so many good suggestions from our Marc Jacobs/Shopbop giveaway--a ton of readers mentioned they wanted more astrology-related stuff, and a few mentioned they wanted more film content. Well, dear lovers, luckily I can write about both! I decided to combine the two into an epic, beautiful, erratically comprehensive Astrological Guide to Arthouse Cinema. Of course, you don't have to be a Virgo to like Lovers of the Arctic Circle or an Aquarius to appreciate any Werner Herzog movie, but it's kind of fun to approach film appreciation through the eternal lens of the stars and planets. I initially tried to do all 12 signs at once in one mega-Guide to end all Guides, but the whole shebang got to be a little book-length, and while I'm all for Magnum Opuses (Opi?), I don't want to kill anyone's eyes. So I'm doing 12 installments, one for each sign, so I can recommend more than one film for each sign, because I do believe in the magic of film, of movies that take risks and are audacious and aren't just shit Hollywood products. This week: we ease into the somewhat forbidding realm of arthouse cinema via Aries, whose energy and craziness demand the least archetypal arthouse films out there.
Aries are like the excitable, hyper kid with tons of ADD and energy. People love them for being like a bottle of soda all shook up. They're kind of aggro, but they get shit done in a super-fun way and are supreme flirts, like the kind that plops themselves in dudes' laps with a bottle of beer and threaten to pour it over them and they'll fantasize about this for days because it's just so fucking cute and sexy. Aries, you can get away with this shit 'cause you're an Aries and you think everyone loves you! Luckily you're usually very charming, but chill you are not. Your attention span is just not meant for the meaningful silences that fill so much of art cinema! Your unboundable energy makes you the ideal audience for frenetic action movies, a genre that's hugely underserved in the arthouse circuit. (However, did you know that the most successful American film exports are action films? Scarily, explosions and mayhem are an internationally understood language.) But luckily other countries also love action films and make these as well, which makes them de facto arthouse because of their subtitles, a certain visual stylishness and a kind of audacity that suits Aries well.
Wednesday , June 16, 2010
The Movies Of My Life: How Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless Taught Me What To Do In Bed
I'm doing this thing now where I'm watching all the films that made me fall in love with cinema and filmmaking in the first place--after going through five ferociously beautiful years of film school, I figure it's a good time. It's part of a process of "renewal," I guess -a bit like letting the dust clear after exploding a building and trying to find the original blueprint to put it back together. Why do I love movies? And why do I love the movies that I love? I'm hoping in sussing out the answers, I'll find some clarity and stoke some passion after the dense, noisy intensity that many arts conservatory experiences can be.
Of course, I'm beginning with the movie that started my whole super-sexy love affair with film: Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless, the French New Wave classic that no doubt put the philia in many cinephiles. It's a timely moment to revisit it, actually--it's the film's 50th anniversary, there's a gorgeous new print out now and it's been running at the Film Forum in NYC. There are all sorts of reasons why Breathless is an important film in the history of the form, but this isn't about what I call the "Look Ma, it's jumpcuts!" approach to it. Instead, I rewatched it a few weeks ago with an eye to what it taught me as a human being--how it made me feel and dream and envision and imagine--and to contrast what I saw in it then with what I see in it now.
Tuesday , June 15, 2010
I'm Just Staring At Less Than Zero Screencaps While Waiting For My Copy Of Imperial Bedrooms To Arrive
Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis comes out today. Esquire.com has an excerpt of the first 2,513 words; I read 670 of them last night, and then realized I hate reading books on computer screens. And I want to read the rest of Imperial Bedrooms right now and I can't, so instead I'm staring at screencaps (mostly obtained from joyinthedance.tumblr.com) and listening to Elvis Costello and that's cool too.
Look, it's Blair and Julian in bed, from the beginning of the movie, which I saw for the first time when I was ten. I read the book for the first time when I was 12; my favorite parts were the italicized parts, the dreamy parts, Clay's memories of his dying grandmother and of being at the ocean with Blair. I remember hating Clay's littlest sister because she was my age and her life was so glamorous and my life was quite boring. I also remember underlining the words "It's something you must live with if you live in the hills," which is toward the end and has something to do with running over coyotes? I think? I can't fact-check 'cause once in ninth grade I had the book in my bag and my friends and I had a snowball fight on the way home and a snowball somehow ended up in my backpack and it melted all over the book and the cover and spine ended up getting torn off and now it's kind of hard to find in my stack of books.
by Liz in Film
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They Sure Lounge In Bed A Lot in the Trailer for Sofia Coppola's New Film It looks very Lost in Translation-y, except it's the Chateau Marmont in L.A. instead of the Park Hyatt in Tokyo. And instead of a washed-up Bill Murray, it's a washed-up Stephen Dorff playing a hard-living Hollywood actor who gets a visit from his 11-year old daughter. But don't worry, Phoenix and the Strokes seem to make appearances on the soundtrack, just like how they did for Marie Antoinette. Sofia, what is going on? Are you making the same movie?!! Who cares, when the trailer is as pretty-looking as this one!
They Sure Lounge In Bed A Lot in the Trailer for Sofia Coppola's New Film
It looks very Lost in Translation-y, except it's the Chateau Marmont in L.A. instead of the Park Hyatt in Tokyo. And instead of a washed-up Bill Murray, it's a washed-up Stephen Dorff playing a hard-living Hollywood actor who gets a visit from his 11-year old daughter. But don't worry, Phoenix and the Strokes seem to make appearances on the soundtrack, just like how they did for Marie Antoinette. Sofia, what is going on? Are you making the same movie?!! Who cares, when the trailer is as pretty-looking as this one!
Wednesday , April 14, 2010
Next Month at Cinefamily in L.A.: Pay $17 to Sit in Don Draper's Lap (Sort Of, But Not Really)
How is this not sold out yet? You get to sit in the same room as Jon Hamm, and watch a movie! Okay so it's sort of a big room - but not that big! And the movie's Tootsie, and Tootsie rules. And there's cupcakes - like, faux Hostess Cupcakes and Fluffernutter cupcakes and cupcakes with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in them. Sometimes there's even free beer and hot dogs. You get to sit in the same room as Jon Hamm. And if you pay three bucks more than the $14 ticket fee, you even get to sit in Jon Hamm's lap, all night long.
I'm kidding, about the lap thing. But still: Cinefamily's such a fun time; last month DJ OMG and I saw Michael Cera present this bonkers movie called Freebie & The Bean, and in the middle of the movie I went into the bathroom and Michael Cera was coming out of the bathroom. It was so cool.