Archive for the Film Category

It’s the pits

John Derek

It’s entirely possible that my attraction to men’s arm pits (and maybe chest hair and beards as well) can be traced back to this scene of John Derek in "The Ten Commandments.”  My love of hairy forearms is surely a result of my endless hours examining the Men’s Underwear section of the Sears catalogue.  Click on John (and click again!) for a closer look!

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Tokyo Story

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Bad Education

Bad EducationGreat, great, great Almodóvar film!!! Gael García Bernal is sexy, amazing and completely seductive, even as a tranny!

The interlocking stories, multiple flashbacks and pieces of a film within the film are frustratingly impossible to describe but keep the film consistently intriguing. The insane plot(s) are complex but easy to follow, even if you sometimes don't know exactly which of them you're actually watching. The Production Design and Cinematography are, as usual, stunningly rich and entirely plot driven. As Stephen Holden said better than I could in his New York Times review, "This film is unrestrained by any need to appear realistic." Almodóvar mines classic Spanish and American thrillers and film noir for style but the substance of this film is absolutely his own. Despite frequent and obvious nods to Hitchcock and DePalma(!) this film is still pure Almodóvar. The beautiful, sometimes seemingly innapropriate score which owes a debt to the great Bernard Herrmann is wonderful on its own. (Imagine Herrmann with flamenco guitar!) These are simply landmarks to help us navigate the thriller territory. Oh, and for laughs, too.

I've read that Bad Education is about all the effects of Franco-era Catholic education on two young men. That's not really true. Child sexual abuse by a priest and battering by another may be what binds these two men and drives at least a large part of the 'story' but the film is really about passion, love and, especially, art. It examines how love and memory drive us to create and how sometimes art is defined by the things we choose to leave a mystery. It's about our identities, how we see ourselves, how we want to be remembered and how we are remembered, despite ourselves. It's about how some people's incomplete and clouded memories motivate the creation of art. It's about a lot of things. And it's hilarious,too, but played completely straight. Bad Education's comic, tabloid roots are made completely clear in the very first scene, so it's hard for me to understand why some folks don't see them. It's sensational in every sense of the word, conciously and proudly so.

Just go see it! If great gay filmmakers like Pedro Almodóvar don't get our support, we're gonna be left with nothing but hacks like Joel Schumacher and crap like Phantom of the Opera.

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The Aviator

The AviatorI sure hope Martin Scorsese gets over his fascination with Leonardo Dicaprio soon. I mean, he’s good and all but I never seem to be able to forget that I’m watching Leo and not a character in the film. Maybe this is my fault but his baby face still gets between me and whatever I’m watching.

Anyways, The Aviator is a good movie but not as thrilling and exciting as I know it could have been. Hughes is a great character and neither his enthusiasm for flying nor his lunacy moved me as they should have. There are a couple of intense scenes about his phobias that work really well. One in which he’s in a public bathroom and afraid to touch the doorknob so he can exit is really unnerving. It’s not something most of us would ever even think about but it brings Hughes to a frightening stop and nothing else matters.

Cate Blanchett IS Katherine Hepburn. It’s fucking creepy, I swear. I was never a big fan of Hepburn’s and Blanchett perfectly encapsulates everything I hate about her. It’s a startling performance. I was aware that I was watching someone impersonate her but reacting emotionally to the character. The sequence in which Hughes goes to Connecticut to meet her family is pure gold. I wanted to stand up and cheer when it was over. Brilliant.

As Hughes deteriorates, his emotional connection with both Hepburn and Ava Gardner, who both care deeply about him, seem to be the only things that can break through his psychosis and move him. The door to the screening room in shich he lived for several months becomes a kind of confessional with those he loves and a barrier against people he loathes. (Unfortunately, the film gives the audience no idea how long Hughes stayed in this one room. If I remember correctly, it was over a year.)

Hughes is a perfect subject for a film and, it might seem, Scorsese. This story has everything, almost literally! I wish it was better. Scorsese is firing on all six cylinders here and his technique is thrilling and fun. The film is stuningly beautiful to look at. The CGI is great, seamless and never a distraction, which would be disastrous in a movie like this. Something is missing, though. Still, I’d see it again.

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Film Criticism

For those of you who care as much about film as I do’after all, I did go to NYU Tisch School of the Arts during the film-heady 70’s:

the film club, Slate’s essential annual e-mail discussion among critics from around the country. This year’s edition is particularly tendentious.

Take 6: 2004 Film Poll which is exactly what it says it is. No interaction but lots of interesting stuff about movies no one’s ever heard of.

They’re both long reads but well worth the trouble. These people LOVE movies.

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Mark Ruffalo's penis

Mark RuffaloI watched the Director's Cut DVD of Jane Campion's In The Cut last night. I really liked the novel and the movie is not bad. The book did a better job of incorporating the heroine's love of words with the sex and thriller aspects of the story. The movie doesn't successfully visualize her inner life, although they do try and it's certainly beautifully shot. The cinematography is more than just pretty, too, it's appropriate. The film is worth renting for no other reason than to see Campion grappling with what is for the most part a genre picture and for Mark Ruffalo's dick. Meg Ryan is terrific in it, even though she seems to be channeling Nicole Kidman. Kidman produced the movie, so I guess she was suppposed to be in it herself.

Mark RuffaloI didn't see it in the movies, so I'm not sure if this shot of Mark Ruffalo's meaty dick was in the theatrical release or not. There's a glimpse of it earlier in the movie, before the sex scene, but this semi-close-up appears at the beginning of their post-cunnilingal chit-chat. Then there's a bit of business in which he pulls the covers over it and then she covers it even more! Too bad.

Ruffalo is very sexy in this movie and, because of his seductive performance, the inevitable cop/victim hook-up is more believable than most. Besides, they get it out of the way early which adds tension to the later scenes instead of relieving it. Anyway, the movie's not bad but the book is a better bet, especially now that I've shown you the good part.

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I went to Blockbuster today to look for used DVDs. I bought "Super Size Me" and "Dogville." The cashier asked me if I really wanted to buy "Dogville." I said I did and she replied that a couple of people have told her it was the worst film they'd ever seen! I saw it in June in Providence and loved it. I'm not sure I'll ever watch it again because it's really unpleasant, but I sure want to own it. It's generally considered anti-American, and it may well be, but that doesn't bother me much. It appears to have bothered a lot of otherwise sensible critics, though. More interesting to me, the director, Lars Von Trier, seems to really get off on humiliating famous actresses. If you want to see Nicole Kidman chained to a giant piece of concrete or Lauren Bacall mime hoeing potatoes, then this is the movie for you!

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Danny woke me up with a call at 10 AM! Christ, I’ve known the guy for, like, 15 years or something, you’d think he’d know better than to call me that early. Having not seen him in over four years, I pretended to already be awake. We decided to not decide what to do but that he and John would pick me up at 11.

It was great to see him again after so long and I’m really glad we’re still friends after all this time. He looked great despite a touch of the lipodystrophy. I think he’s kind of self-conscious about it but, as I said to him, the alternative is even less pretty. I love him and I’m especially happy that he’s sharing his life with someone he loves. That’s not what I’m looking for and any potential partners of mine should be relieved about that, trust me.

Delicious breakfast at Jimmy’s Egg, a local chainette of breakfast/lunch joints. Then a quick trip to Old Navy to buy my favorite Mechanic’s Jacket in this year’s dark grey ($10 off!!), and a visit to Danny and John’s house to meet the dogs and the cat, who nearly coughed up a hairball on my hand. I didn’t take it personally.

We went to see The Incredibles. It was really fun! After a deadly dull first half hour it finally became an exciting, satisfying action movie. I don’t buy the criticism that it’s a conservative, family-values screed, by the way. That’s a preposterous idea. These characters are obviously unhappy being domesticated. Please.

Anyway, a short nap and then, hopefully, some more play.

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