Film Review http://culturecatch.com/film en A Costly Triumph of The Truth http://culturecatch.com/node/3782 <span>A Costly Triumph of The Truth</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>November 1, 2018 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/189" hreflang="en">movie review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/588" hreflang="en">A Private War</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wSPiztNsmDA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>This masterpiece is one of the finest films ever made about how individual looks at war. It's born a very micro but also a very macro examination based on the very real award-winning journalist and war correspondent Marie Colvin. This brave human ultimately lost her life in 2012 in Syria, but suffered the psyche wounds one would expect when trapped in a"private" view of man's death and destruction of fellow man. <em>A Private War</em> will resonate with the viewer long after the final credits have faded. </p> <p>Rosamund Pike's Oscar-worthy performance shakes you to the core. We feel her pain and frustration as her heroic, but life-threatening journeys consume her every waking moment as she pursues the truth in both her actions and words. She literally lived in the middle of every conflict she covered and so afforded her the profound truths that her newspapers, periodicals, and columns covered for the rest of the world to ingest. Whether her words struck the right chord in each individual reader depended on that individual's view of the world.</p> <p>As Marie Colvin once so brilliant wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>"Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice. We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado? Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price."</p> </blockquote> <p>And for me, that quote is the essence of of the critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman's adaptation of her life. Quite a remarkable piece of filmmaking for a feature film debut. Kudos to writer Arash Amel, as well. Based on a Vanity Fair profile from 2012, where much of the writer Arash Ambel based this script, we see how her fearless and rebellious spirit cost her loving relationships, created mental health issues aka PTSD, cost her an eye, and ultimately her life. The film also depicts the journalistic relationship Miss Colvin had with renowned war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan).</p> <p>This harrowing but thoughtful movie should not be missed.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3782&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="1ALo823tTjmkj88AbbGLcPNY6z0u4ZAhXpiJ7J1-srA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Dusty Wright 3782 at http://culturecatch.com Birth of A Star http://culturecatch.com/node/3784 <span>Birth of A Star</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/mark-weston" lang="" about="/users/mark-weston" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mark Weston</a></span> <span>October 25, 2018 - 10:21</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/446" hreflang="en">film</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/189" hreflang="en">movie review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-10/casey-killoran-viral-beauty.png?itok=mmFcdIQJ" width="1200" height="675" alt="Thumbnail" title="casey-killoran-viral-beauty.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Right now, the entire world seems to be in love with the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga vehicle <em>A Star Is Born</em>.  </p> <p>But guess what?  There is another film out there that is so indy it is mini-indy – make that micro-mini-indy -  and in it, you can witness the actual birth of an actual star.  Her name is Casey Killoran.  She plays a Staten Island millennial named Marsha Day in a movie called <a href="http://www.viralbeautymovie.com" target="_blank"><em>Viral Beauty</em></a>.</p> <p>For those of us over 40, that sounds like the title of a medical drama.  But the younger crowd will instantly know that it is about our social media and internet age.  Marsha Day becomes a social media celebrity when her online quest for a boyfriend goes viral.  Marsha is a beautiful young woman who is curvaceous, and thus becomes an icon for real women everywhere and a target for vicious fat-shaming.  </p> <p>The film is formulaic and literally skin deep, as Marsha meets her Prince Charming and struggles to lose thirty pounds to fulfill the contract of her diet product endorsement. And, if the film was made with less panache and a lesser cast, it wouldn’t be worth your time.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-W89yoX43qI?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Director David Tyson Lam provides a jaunty landscape, both on line in its verite blogging and in its gorgeous depiction of a latter day romance with New York City that goes beyond the boundaries of Manhattan.  The music is great and the cast of kookie internet bloggers is hysterically funny – led by the celebrity narration provided by a winning, if too-loud Perez Hilton.  And the tuxedo cat Mister Kittsy almost steals the show.</p> <p>But <em>Viral Beauty</em> will not be remembered for its story, direction, cinematography or commentary on our celebrity culture.  <em>Viral Beauty</em> will be known as the film that introduced Casey Killoran to Hollywood and the world.  Ms. Killoran employs a Staten Island accent that is so authentic it alone captures a certain type of New York milieu – a working class cousin to the Boston Southy characters made famous by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in <em>Good Will Hunting</em>.  The film essentially charts Ms. Killoran’s character’s make-over from ugly duckling to – ahem, “viral beauty” – but Ms. Killoran is so touchingly real, so full of enthusiasm and joie de vivre that her natural beauty is evident from the first moment to the last.  Behind the working class veneer, Ms. Killoran imbues Marsha Day with both impeccable comic timing and a deep emotional intelligence.  </p> <p>In short, Casey Killoran carries this movie, exhibiting a range that more experienced actors rarely achieve.  Yes, I am gushing, but I defy you to see this film and not fall head over heels in love with her. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3784&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="crMIBLUqFeYYDM3gNidlRhqNIuTyMz4e92azxaQTr4Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 25 Oct 2018 14:21:32 +0000 Mark Weston 3784 at http://culturecatch.com Is Jeremiah Zagar America’s Quirkiest New Auteur? “We the Animals” Screams, “Yes!” http://culturecatch.com/node/3770 <span>Is Jeremiah Zagar America’s Quirkiest New Auteur? “We the Animals” Screams, “Yes!”</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>September 24, 2018 - 15:39</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/446" hreflang="en">film</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-09/we_are_animals_jonah_flying.png?itok=SaEKm5Si" width="1200" height="509" alt="Thumbnail" title="we_are_animals_jonah_flying.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>I'm hesitantly dialing Jeremiah Zagar’s phone number. Young directorial genius is always intimidating to confront. I recall first interviews with Darren Aronofky, François Ozon, and Xavier Dolan. I’m not sure if John Waters fits in here, but why not? These folks hit you over the head with their originality and audaciousness. You sit there looking into their eyes and wonder where it all comes from.</p> <p>Just watch "<em><a href="https://vimeo.com/48463116" target="_blank">Baby Eats Baby</a></em>," the live-action/claymation short which Zagar co-directed with Michael Reich in 2004. You need a deep sense of black humor to get through the delicious, high-anxiety-producing visuals of two dads preparing frightful dinners. Only now that I’ve discovered "Baby" is meant as a commentary on American foreign policy during the Bush era can I breathe a little easier.</p> <p>Two other shorts and a celebrated documentary, <i><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X6W-AL3Csw" target="_blank">In a Dream</a></i>, chronicle the life of the director’s dad, Isaiah, a renowned mosaic artist whose works decorate over 200 public walls in Philadelphia. His mom, Julia, is no slouch either. Clearly, here’s a highly feisty, highly quotable family unit.</p> <p>Zagar was also the creative director of "Starved for Attention," a series of shorts about worldwide childhood malnutrition that was co-produced by Doctors Without Borders. Oddly, there’s also an HBO doc on the trials of Pamela Smart on his resume.</p> <p>But at the moment, Zagar's prize-winning adaptation of Justin Torres's novel of a childhood is why we are speaking. In a rather fine year for film, <i>We the Animals</i>, tops the list. Here’s a peerless work of art that combines sound, animation, music, superb cinematography and editing, plus a terrific cast, in an unexpected manner that recounts the tale of a boy’s tribal adventures with his brothers, a disappearing dad, and a receding mom. Witty and poignant, the finished product interacts with Torres’s prose in a manner that captures and even enhances the must-read novel.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> I've just been watching your films.</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Like which ones?</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> "Baby Eat Baby," <i>In a Dream</i> . . .</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Wow!</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> I'm glad I hadn't seen them before I saw <i>We the Animals</i></p> <p><b>JZ:</b> You saw "Baby Eats Baby"? (Laughs)</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Yes.</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> You're the only who saw "Baby Eats Baby." Like seven people.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> I'm going to spread the word. Watching that short, one wonders why you didn't go into the horror genre.</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> (Laughs.) My co-director [Michael Reich] did. He's a horror film maker now. [<i>She's Allergic to Cats</i> (2016)]. So you can imagine the influence is there.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> In <i>In a Dream,</i> your father says, "All my artwork is a portrait of my life."  If we start putting your films together, is the result sort of a portrait of your life?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Sure, yeah!</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> You and brother Ezekiel both sport beards. Is that because of your dad's extreme hirsuteness or are you following the beard trend.</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Well, I have had beards since I was 19 years old. I have a weak chin so the beard always helped fill out my face. My brother, he always wore a beard. His came a little bit later when he got into Rastafarianism. I just look better with a beard so that's what I dealt with. My father also has a very weak chin. So a beard is family compensation.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Did your mother ever wish she had a daughter. Was there too much testosterone in your house?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> My father wished he had a daughter. My father really wanted me to be a daughter. Yeah, I wasn't, unfortunately for him. I don’t know if my mother cared. She was a very loving mother. We were very close, my mother and I. She’s the best.  She would never tell me if she had wanted a daughter. My father told me many times. (Chuckles.)</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Your father has said that it’s so important to find that person who would help you fulfill your destiny, your dream. “If you are lucky, you will find that dream. If you are lucky that person will find you.”  Have you found that person yet?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Oh, absolutely, and my wife and I both have big dreams. She’s a caterer and a chef with her own company. She works around the clock, and I’m very supportive of her dream. She came and did the catering for our movie. And she let me film the birth of our son and put it in the movie. And she’s been very supportive (He sneezes) of my dream. I know I could not have made <i>We the Animals</i> without her for sure.</p> <p><b>BJ: </b>There was talk of you creating an autobiographical movie when you came across the Torres’s novel. Do you relate to Mr. Torres’s route to becoming an artist?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Yes, very much so. Yes, I mean I think I understood the act of making a book as an act of freeing oneself from the gilded cage of one’s family. I understood that act as one of the important acts of one’s life. And I related to it, you know, as person who’s done the same.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Your father says he is a sensualist. “I touch shit,” he notes. And then you find out that’s not a metaphor. Is there anything in life you would not portray on film?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Well, I didn't have hit him shit in his hand. (Laughs) Some things you don't need to see necessarily to feel. I think . . . I'm interested in not sanitizing life. I don't see life as something that is clean. I find it messy and complicated and dirty. And I think when people try to sanitize love and try to sanitize life and try to sanitize family for that matter, we get a watered-down version of truth. Of emotional truth. And a watered-down version of emotional truth is a useless tool for an artist.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jTRZsrj28C4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><b>BJ:</b> For the film, you aged the children about three years, which seems only logical. It would have been harder to get three young actors at 7, 8, and 9 to portray these characters. Also, with the subject matter, it might have been harder to enact with younger actors. What that your reasoning for aging them?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Sort of. We had to sort of find a soft spot. The book is kind of amorphous where the age of the young people lands from chapter to chapter. The only time age is ever really mentioned is in the seven-years-old scene which we changed to the 9-years-old scene. We did that because we needed the boys to be right in the sweet spot of puberty . . . the transformation towards puberty. Because if they were in that sweet spot, some of them could transform, and Jonah [the youngest] was able to not transform. That was really the key. We couldn’t lapse the amount of years that lapsed in the book so we had to figure what was the true transformational moment of these young boys logically if [the story] was going to take place over one year.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> You change the awakening of Jonah as opposed to what happens in the book, and I think you made the right move. It would have broken the whole mood of the film. Were they arguments about how you would do it? Was it always this way in the screenplay?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Yeah, there was never an argument about it. It was certainly a conversation that Justin and I had with Dan, my co-writer. We all talked about the fact that it was going to be difficult to age the young man to a place where he could have a sexual experience in the back of a bus. That moment for the character in the book takes place somewhere between 15 and 18 years old. It’s an adult move he’s making. A ten year old. An eleven year old. It changes that interaction. So we needed to find something that was a queer coming-out moment for this young boy, or a realization or a sexual moment for this young boy that was relevant for what that kind of a young boy would actually experience.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Right. Is the coming out supposedly meant as a surprise because in my review, I didn't really want to bring it up?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> I think you could say, it is a surprise, but you could say there are queer scenes in the movie that are present without giving up [too much]. You can say that in the book there’s a different element to the ending. That's fine.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Since I hadn't read the book at that time, it's such a surprise, and it's wonderful to experience that without knowing it's going to happen.</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> That's the beauty of sexuality of being young. I haven't seen it so clearly portrayed as it was in Justin's book. You don't know what your sexuality is necessarily until you start to explore sexuality, period. There's a part of your life where sexuality is mixed up much more with brotherly love and familial love than it is with romantic love. And slowly but surely as you begin to change, you begin to awaken your sexual being, and that sexual being is different for everyone. And so really the movie is universal in that way. But what this young boy is experiencing is very different from what his brothers are experiencing. That’s for sure.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> There are moments of magic realism, especially when Jonah flies. And with the animation of the journals. But when you see "Baby Eats Baby" there were seeds of that already there with your mixture of claymation and regular narrative. Is that something you've done often?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Yes. I mean I love animation. I love when it's done right and integrated correctly. The films of Jan Švankmajer were enormously influential. A lot of Czech animation of that time were really, really meaningful for me when I was young. And I love <i>Roger Rabbit</i>. I can think of being a kid and watching people combine animation and live action. But the truth is that I just really enjoy the magic of cinema. I think that animation always feel like magic. It always feels like cinema. And my world was always comingled with those two things if you think about who my father is, our whole lives were animated.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Once you make a film like yours, which is so perfect, you find out that Hollywood agents are crawling out after you and you are having studio meetings, and all that. I remember Neil Jordan went out and did his big Hollywood film with DeNiro, which flopped. Are you already getting calls?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> Sure, yeah. Yes, I've had a number of calls from Hollywood agents at the lot. But you know I think what I'll do are the same kind of stories that I pursued before. I have to pursue stories that are very emotionally, viscerally, and physically my own. That's simply who I am.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> So have you bought the rights to any other books yet?</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> I'm looking at two. One I can't really talk about yet. More than that I'm interested in working with the same collaborators that I worked with on the other film.  Jeremy [Yaches], my producer; Cinereach who made the movie; and Dan [Kitrosser]. We're all working on a project together. That's the vital key to me. These are my collaborators for the rest of my life. I'm a very loyal, simple (laughs), dedicated human being, and I love working with the people who love working with me.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> What was Torres' reaction the first time he saw the finished film?</p> <p><b>TZ:</b> Well, it wasn't like that because he was part of the creation throughout the whole thing. So Justin was there when we shot the movie, and he was there when we wrote the script, and he was there throughout the entire editing process. There's a lot of different emotions he felt. But I think ultimately what we landed on and what we created together is a film that we’re both very proud of.</p> <p><b>BJ:</b> Can you watch the film with objectivity? I guess you can't.</p> <p><b>JZ:</b> No, I can't. You know, before we went to Sundance, I watched the film 12 times in three days all on a big screen to doublecheck it. Doublecheck it. Doublecheck it. To make sure all the tracks were correct, so I don’t watch the film [any more]. But I have participated in Q and A's and in audience reactions. And it’s very moving to . . . Like my uncle, he's a gay man, who's with my family on and off for my entire life. And he's one of the closest people in my life. He, my mother, and my father were all at the Sundance premiere next to each other watching the movie. When I came on, they were crying a lot. People were crying a lot. People were moved, but my uncle said, "Thank you for making a movie about me." And my father said, "Thank you for making a movie about me." And mother said, "Thank you for making a movie about me." And I thought (laughing), What a good reaction. A movie that could mean so much to so many people.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3770&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="NioeRlLZZX7aRF04gSirXUCu7jzkhgnEkxvA5R78ndU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 19:39:00 +0000 Brandon Judell 3770 at http://culturecatch.com A Bohemian's Rhapsody http://culturecatch.com/node/3769 <span>A Bohemian&#039;s Rhapsody</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>September 22, 2018 - 19:10</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bm5GgY3PGFs?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Fenella Fielding  (17th November 1927 - 11th September 2018)</p> <p>Few actresses can have sabotaged their seriousness via one role, but such was the fate of Fenella Fielding. Her accomplished portrayal of the outrageously slinky Valeria Watt in <i>Carry On Screaming</i> became both her meal ticket and her millstone. She realized the dangers implicit in a job well executed in a red velvet dress so tightly fitted she couldn't bend, when she sadly refused the title role in the next film <i>Carry On Cleo</i> for fear of being typecast as a comedic turn. It remains a staggeringly lost opportunity, although Amanda Barrie played it wonderfully, Miss Fielding would have brought an extra frisson to the part with that fabulous voice, implicitly suggestive of sin and other things. An instrument that served her well for seventy years of performing, instantly recognizable as a cross between a purr and a beckoning growl. Although she played Wilde, Ibsen, Chekhov and Coward to tremendous acclaim, her natural sense of mischief saw her equally at home on the <i>Morecambe &amp; Wise Show</i>, she was also the voice of the announcer in Patrick McGoohan's cult series <i>The Prisoner</i> and appeared in episodes of the <i>The Avengers</i>.</p> <p>Fenella Marion Fielding was born to a Lithuanian father and a Romanian mother, both Jewish, in London in 1927. Her relationship with them was fraught. He proved abusive and violent to her, sometimes at the mother's instigation, and although she won a scholarship to RADA, her parents disapproval saw her leave after only a year, taking a secretarial course, but also studying at St Martin's School Of Art. She had an abortive suicide attempt around this time, such was the toxicity of their parental control. Fielding still hankered after a career in the theatre, much to her father's chagrin and gradually she became a regular on the night club circuit. By 1959, having proved a tremendous success the previous year as Lady Parvula de Panzoust, a brazen devourer of men's affections in Sandy Wilson's adaptation of Ronald Firbank's louche novel <i>Valmouth</i>, which had earned her the tag "England's first lady of the double entendre," she was appearing at the Apollo with Kenneth Williams in the revue <i>Pieces Of Eight</i> written by Harold Pinter and Peter Cook.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-09/pieces-of-8.jpg?itok=Tafq8csW" width="1200" height="1200" alt="Thumbnail" title="pieces-of-8.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>It was, a far from easy professional relationship, Williams being vindictive of her favorable reviews. She later recalled:</p> <blockquote> <p>"Kenneth came out of the wings and had the paper in his hand and he had the most terrible temper about it. I thought 'God! I can't help it if they've said something nice about me!'"</p> </blockquote> <p>When she revived the role of Lady Parvula fourteen years later the critic Sheridan Morley wrote that Fielding was "so far over the top as to be almost out of sight."</p> <p>Fielding had large screen success most notably in <i>Drop Dead Darling</i> with Tony Curtis and Zsa Gabor in 1966 and also in comedies like <i>Doctor In Clo</i>ver with Leslie Phillips, but her off screen relationship with the diminutive comedy actor Norman Wisdom was difficult to negotiate. "Hand up your skirt first thing in the morning, not a lovely way to start a day's filming" and she loathed the actor Warren Mitchell who she described as "horrible" whilst Tony Hancock was mostly "drunk."</p> <p>Although she was always associated with the <i>Carry On</i> series of bawdy films, she only appeared in two, <i>Carry On Regardless</i>, a minor but tarty part played perfectly, but it was the Hammer Horror spoof <i>Screaming</i> that she made her own. When she huskily asks Harry H. Corbett "Do you mind if I smoke?" as she writhes suggestively on the sofa, sensually consumed by clouds of dry ice, a moment of comedy gold had just been minted. In 1969 her performance in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler at Leicester's Phoenix Theatre was described by <i>The Times</i> as "among the theatrical experiences of a lifetime." And on it went, a talent to amuse and another to be serious, played equally well and effortlessly so.</p> <p>The legendary director Federico Fellini was transfixed by her, reputedly offering her a film directed by him in which she would play all six parts of various elements of women that men desire. This over a dinner at Claridges in the late 1960s, but as she'd signed to do a play at Chichester she refused him, and a great opportunity was lost.</p> <p>There were other more difficult twists and turns. An agent swindled her and she lost her home. Reduced to signing on for benefits, a humiliating experience for her when her name was called, she invariably soldiered back doing radio, voice-overs and guest appearances on TV. She even made an album where she tackled, and makes her own contemporary songs like New Order's "Blue Monday," Kylie's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head," and amazingly 'Rise' by 'Public Image Limited' which she conquers by virtually dismissing it. The liner notes were effusive and from the pen of Kim Fowley.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/36m2jLl0Me4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Age did not wither her. The voice remained as alluringly beguiling as ever. The wigs became bigger, more Warhol-like in scale, the aphorisms more honed like a female Quentin Crisp, the lips continued to be red and the eye lashes resembled expired tarantulas showing their legs to the sun, and there was still a deliciously naughty aspect to the twinkle in her beady eyes. At 90 she was tirelessly promoting her autobiography <i>Do You Mind If I Smoke</i>. Capable of accepting that it had become her legacy, she promoted it, though frail, with exquisite grace and charm. She could have been her generations Joanna Lumley, had her times been more kind to maverick, breathy and eccentric ladies. In her own way she became a petite, immaculately attired, cultural icon. As Robert Chalmers rightly observed in <i>The Independent</i> in 2008 "that Fenella Fielding, whose wit and distinctive stage presence captivated figures such as Kenneth Tynan, Noel Coward and Federico Fellini should have drifted into obscurity rather than being celebrated... as a national treasure was a travesty."</p> <p>Still working up until the stroke that stilled her a few weeks ago, she was an intellectual, a lover of philosophy and ancient poetry. Her frivolity was a foil, a coy defense mechanism that masked a steely and determined wit. She once remarked that car manufacturers could allow the likes of her to dispense with contacts and glasses if they cut the windscreens to become like giant lenses! At an evening a few years ago when she introduced an event for her friend, the artist and designer Andrew Logan in Stoke Newington Town Hall, she was a tiny bag of nerves, a small kabuki doll being comforted and consoled before she effortlessly strode onto the stage and introduced him with tremendous aplomb, without any evidence of her prior hesitancy. She never married but managed to maintain simultaneous affairs with two men for twenty years without either ever discovering the truth. She late explained "I think it's just an art!" Of her affair with the journalist Jeffrey Barnard she admitted: "It wasn't a serious thing; he was always so pissed."</p> <p>Fenella Fielding died peacefully in London with her lashes on!</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3769&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="IAO0EYMoP_1fA_rlkCZWG3YhPgp9dgIxOakLdALlNTA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 22 Sep 2018 23:10:37 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3769 at http://culturecatch.com The Happytime Murders is Udder-ly Delightful and Unabashedly Filthy http://culturecatch.com/node/3759 <span>The Happytime Murders is Udder-ly Delightful and Unabashedly Filthy</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>August 29, 2018 - 16:47</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/554" hreflang="en">Melissa McCarthy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/555" hreflang="en">Happytime Murders</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rQcPm1gL3RM?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">If you ever wanted to see a cow and an octopus make a porno, look no further. <span>If you once swore on your life you’d never hear a bunny yowl orgasmically, “It feels like Easter in my pants,” get your shovel out and start digging. </span>And if you relish rice pilaf, you better just skip this film.<o p=""></o></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Yes, finally, a movie traipses to the darkside of Muppetville, revealing dirt that not even the <i>National Enquirer</i> would dare touch. Indeed, nowhere else can you learn that puppets pee sparkles, ejaculate whip cream, and snort sugar. It’s not pretty, but it’s sure damn fun to watch.<o p=""></o></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Sort of <i>The Big Sleep </i>meets <i>Basic Instinct </i>meets <i>Pee-Wee’s Playhouse</i>, <i>The Happytime Murders </i>wants you to laugh, while never letting you forget that here is a hard-hitting parody of our racist, misogynistic society. Well, to be honest, you do forget thanks to Todd Berger’s often gleeful screenplay and Brian Henson’s campy direction. [He’s Jim’s son and Chairman of The Jim Henson Company.]<o p=""></o></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The story begins in a world where both human and puppets uneasily inhabit the same quarters in a seedy Los Angeles. As Miss Piggy, who sidestepped this project, once noted,<span> </span><span>“You have to be going to a pretty awful place if getting there is half the fun,” and this L.A. is pretty awful.<o p=""></o></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Why every day, our felty friends might have their eyes pulled out or have mongrels pull them apart, or they might just be gunned down or blown away by bigoted <em>homo sapiens</em>. In fact, there seems to be a whole contingent of puppets getting wiped out at the moment by a serial killer. Oh, no!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">To the rescue are the very blue, Raymond-Chandler-esque private investigator Phil Phillips (voiced by Bill Baretta) and his mostly human, former cop partner Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy). This duo is less compatible than oil and water, especially since Edwards had testified a decade earlier that Phillips, when on the force, refused to kill his own kind. Consequently, he lost his badge and eventually became a disgruntled protector of his fellow puppets, punching human hate-mongers in the face whenever he can.<o p=""></o></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Now, Phillips and Edwards are coerced to work together again to find the maniac on the loose, and this pairing won’t be easy, even with Rick Astley singing in the background. Yet not unlike every buddy film starring Mel Gibson, you know it will all work out in the end.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">To be fair, <i>Happytime</i> isn’t exactly a masterpiece. The plot is unrepentantly silly and possibly a bit convoluted. But as the film nibbles away at every aspect of bad taste, you know McCarthy, who keeps getting mistaken for a man here, and her game cast (Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie David Baker, and Joel McHale) are having a blast. This is clearly apparent when you see the clips attached to the end credits.<o p=""></o></p> <p class="MsoNormal">So forget the Rotten Tomatoes rating, and try this one out.<span>  </span>You’ll be glad you did, especially when another horny bunny at a strip joint screams out, “She’s got her hand on my carrot,” and you know he isn’t in the midst of making a salad.<o p=""></o></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3759&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="uCwRwr6QQVdkHrMACKtlacXMWdWH08qFV0NgHqiWOWY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 29 Aug 2018 20:47:36 +0000 Brandon Judell 3759 at http://culturecatch.com One of the Best Coming-of-Age Novels and Films of the Decade http://culturecatch.com/node/3749 <span>One of the Best Coming-of-Age Novels and Films of the Decade</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>August 13, 2018 - 14:35</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/446" hreflang="en">film</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-08/we_the_animals_image_5.jpg?itok=hS8YNdmP" width="1200" height="659" alt="Thumbnail" title="we_the_animals_image_5.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>"Of course, at their best, movies are anti-literature," Truman Capote noted in a piece on John Huston. "And as a medium, [they] belong not to the writers, not to the actors, but to the directors."</p> <p>Jeremiah Zagar's adaptation of Justin Torres's superb best-selling, <i>We the Animals,</i> both proves and disproves that premise. The film, shovels into the text, at times reenacting passages word for word. Other times, though, through the use of music, animation, handheld camera footage, and razor-sharp editing, Zagar creates a brilliant cinematic equivalent of Torres’s tome, a task much harder than you might imagine.</p> <p>However, the final result is not a mere equivalence. The novel and the film together create a new whole, each enhancing the other in numerous ways. While one lays bare the inner life of a child foisted into a world of dysfunctional love, incomprehensible sexual desires, and a poverty that can "cage" one in for life with addictive sentences, Zagar douses the social realism now and then with wallops of high-flying magic realism.</p> <p>The screenplay begins inside Jonah’s head on his tenth birthday (he is celebrating his seventh in the novel). The boy is part of tribal threesome that includes his older brothers Manny and Joel, a bevy of wildings often unsupervised by their Irish/Italian mother and Puerto Rican dad.</p> <p>She, not understanding completely about sex, became pregnant at age 14.</p> <blockquote> <p>"No one had explained sex to Ma when she was a kid -- not the nuns at school and not her own mother. So when she asked Paps, 'Can't I get pregnant from this?' Paps had lied; he had laughed and asked, 'This?'"</p> </blockquote> <p>He, at age 16, was chatted into marriage.</p> <p>A family accidentally started by two ninth graders in Brooklyn, a union licensed in Texas, and one now relocated to rural New York, searches for the will to persist, forming a battered unit of affection.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jTRZsrj28C4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Now Ma works in a brewery. Paps sometimes as a security guard.</p> <p>And sometimes Paps beats Ma. Also, the children. Then, without warning, he'll disappear into the bed of another woman, who knows for how long?</p> <p>When he returns, he's asked, "Why did you come back?"</p> <p>"Why'd you think?" Paps replies, his answer to most questions.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the lads rob stores and vegetable gardens to survive, tease neighbors, and are introduced to their first porno. A misconception of adulthood is thrust into their minds.</p> <p>Narrated by Jonah, the pretty one, Ma's special boy, the soft one, the secret chronicler of all that he sees and feels, his Homer-esque notebooks, which have been entertaining us, are kept concealed under his bedroom mattress. We know he'll pull through all this because we have been watching his inner thoughts being revamped into a tale by an older Jonah who's looking back with wonder at how he escaped a fate that caused his bros to become the father they both loved and hated.</p> <p>With a superb cast (the boys by non-actors), sublime cinematography by Zak Mulligan, invigorating editing by Keiko Deguchi, and an ever-so-wise screenplay by Zagar and Daniel Kitrosser, <i>We the Animals </i>crowns 2018 as a year on film to remember.</p> <p><i>We the Animals</i>, having already been screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and Sundance earlier this year, opens this week in New York City.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3749&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="5HfokUbA8KWq5o73ioMfZnbkLj7BLAIrCPE87bK4QvA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 13 Aug 2018 18:35:28 +0000 Brandon Judell 3749 at http://culturecatch.com The De-Animator: Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3 Director Tries Humans, Leaving Viewers with “The Darkest Minds” http://culturecatch.com/node/3746 <span>The De-Animator: Kung Fu Panda 2 &amp; 3 Director Tries Humans, Leaving Viewers with “The Darkest Minds”</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>August 3, 2018 - 11:32</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/468" hreflang="en">movies</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tN8o_E_f9FQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I know <i>The Hunger Games</i>. I survived <i>The Hunger Games</i>. <b><i> </i></b>And<b><i> </i></b><i>Darkest Minds, </i>you're no <i>Hunger Games.</i></p> <p>You're also no <i>Divergent, The Giver, </i>or <i>Never Let Me Go. </i>Well, to be fair, you might be <i>The Giver.</i></p> <p>This adaptation of the first book of Alexandra Bracken's bestselling dystopian YA trilogy is the live-action debut for helmer Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who has previously earned cheers for directing computerized pandas, peacocks, and tigers.</p> <p>With flesh-and-blood creatures, she's not so hot. Of course, she and her cast are saddled with a clumsy, inane script by Chad (<i>Wayward Pines)</i> Hodge that will have you wincing at times. Experiencing his dialogue is sort of like getting a mental colonoscopy without the anesthesia, especially during the clichéd romantic moments and, in fact, nearly whenever an actor opens his mouth:</p> <blockquote> <p>"You're just a bunch of negative nellies."</p> </blockquote> <p>But the blame clearly lies with Yuh. Her staging continually lacks imagination. From the action scenes to the car chases to the flashbacks, these could all be excerpts from a film major’s C+ final project, which is sad because the premise is intriguing, and the book, at least what I read of it, is thoroughly engrossing and relevant. (The first three chapters are available free on Amazon. I didn’t feel like spending $6.95 for the whole Kindle experience.)</p> <p>Then there are the continuity problems. In one scene, our heroine is handcuffed to a cot. After a quick cut, she's strutting down an aisle cuffless. How? Editor Dean (<i>Stranger Things</i>) Zimmerman was apparently asleep at the wheel, but then much of his work here is stupefyingly amateurish. Note the substandard fight scenes in the shopping mall.</p> <p>The plot commences with over 90% of American youth, starting at age ten, dying from Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration. The few young survivors apparently have developed extraordinary powers such as psychokinesis, the ability to control minds (e.g. getting adults to shoot themselves), emitting fire from their eyes, and the capability to pass advanced calculus exams. They are very bright. Two even have a prolonged conversation on the benefits of red peppers over green peppers.</p> <p>Fearful of what these youths are capable of, the President forcibly separates them from their parents <em>a la</em> Trump, placing the teens in camps where they are divided by the color of their brain powers. Orange is the most dangerous. They are then forced to shine the shoes of the guards subjugating them.</p> <p>After six years of polishing, Ruby Daly (the affable Amandla Stenberg) escapes thanks to the help of Cate (a bland Mandy Moore), who’s with the revolutionary Youth League, which wants to overthrow the government utilizing the kids’ powers. Not trusting her, Ruby jumps into a van with three other young escapees. She immediately falls in love with one of them, Liam Stewart (Harris Dickinson). He responds and gifts her with a pair of tube socks.</p> <p><i>The Darkest Minds</i>, of course, doesn't end when it ends, because it's part of a trilogy, and you are supposed to be hooked by its finale to want more and more. And if you are a pre-adolescent, you might just be. If your voice has already changed, you'll probably not be.</p> <p>For the rest of us, there might be some satisfaction garnered from the fact that one of America's most promising actors, Harris Dickinson, who was brilliant in last year's indie offering, <i>Beach Rats,</i> is finally making some major studio dinero. If you're going to waste talent, you might as well spread the wealth. - <em>Brandon Judell</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3746&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="nUCI6wp1dJUm7M-Z6FnUCA-5eiukOXo2AW4CIdtSfn4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 15:32:51 +0000 Brandon Judell 3746 at http://culturecatch.com Dance Until You Drop: High-Kicking On Celluloid http://culturecatch.com/node/3741 <span>Dance Until You Drop: High-Kicking On Celluloid</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>July 20, 2018 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/189" hreflang="en">movie review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/527" hreflang="en">dance</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/528" hreflang="en">Lincoln Center</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ygm3qn4d3NU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>As Nietzsche noted, "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once." The man who buried God would no doubt add, if still around, that watching a film or two on this most active of the arts a fine substitute.</p> <p>And to make it easier for those of us who wish to honor Terpsichore by perching instead of pirouetting, The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association will for the 46<sup>th</sup> straight year screen full-length documentaries and shorts from 17 countries within 16 joyously distinct programs.</p> <p>From American tap to Mexican acrobatics, from Marcel Marceau to Spike Jonze, and from Japan to Finland, visual treasures will be unearthed that will make you rethink every aspect of dance that you were once so sure about.</p> <p>For example, "Bleeding and Burning," a two-minute Canadian short directed by Guillaume Marin, in addition to causing you to ponder, supplies a pulsating finale that just might trigger a few seizures. Featuring the dancers Anabel Gagnon and Victoria Mackenzie -- one fully garbed in red fabric from head to toe, the other in black -- the duo sometimes encase each other, when not bombarding their other half. Heavily edited with a pounding accompaniment, the film, the press notes claim, is "an eerie encounter between a malleable human form and a galaxy unknown." I saw a Middle-Eastern woman fighting for survival against a specter of death. Possibly the same conclusion.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/stopgap_in_motion.png?itok=GJyHioYZ" width="1200" height="723" alt="Thumbnail" title="stopgap_in_motion.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Stephen Featherstone's short, "Stopgap in Stop Motion," highlights how a company that "employs both disabled and non-disabled artists [can] find innovative ways to collaborate." Not unlike what The Apothetae brilliantly demonstrates with the current production of <i>Teenage Dick </i>at the Public Theater, the British Stopgap Dance Company accomplishes on both film and no doubt live.</p> <p>Cleverly choreographed by Lucy Bennett, the film showcases black-and-white photographs of the troupe situated on a colorful office desk with its pens, pencil sharpener, and eraser. Suddenly the dancers come alive and let loose, eventually breaking out of the boundaries of the snapshots, an appropriate metaphor if there ever was one. Clearly, this work provides evidence that great art thrives on limitations, assumed or otherwise.</p> <p>Marie Brodeur's<i> A Man of Dance (Un homme de danse) </i>begins with Vincent Warren noting, "I love what Agnes de Mille used to say, 'Dance is written on air.'" He might have added, noting his own career, "It's also written with blood, sweat, and tears."</p> <p>Mr. Warren was born in Florida in 1938, the youngest of 14 children. At age 10, he saw <i>The Red Shoes</i>, and instantly became infatuated with ballet. He started a scrapbook on dance and began paying for his own lessons with an after-school job. He not unexpectedly wasthe only boy in the class. Then, in his teens, he eventually realized he did not fit into the macho culture he was born into so it was off to New York City to develop his talent and to be gay.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1690" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/vincent_warren_a_man_of_dance.png?itok=RD33OGIh" title="vincent_warren_a_man_of_dance.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Vincent Warren, A Man of Dance</figcaption></figure><p>Warren soon became the poet Frank O'Hara’s lover, and remained so until O'Hara’s tragic death on Fire Island. With his world turned topsy-turvy, he eventually wound up with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, retired at age 40, became a renowned dance teacher, and later a highly recognized dance historian.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Sometimes I meet people who remember me as a dancer. Maybe some old ladies It's something you have to accept." Vincent Warren</p> </blockquote> <p><i>A Man of Dance</i>, which begins with Warren packing up his home in box after box, ends with him in his new, smaller abode with the physical remnants of his life more squeezed together.</p> <p>Clearly articulating the joys and frustrations that accompany one's career in dance, this biography spotlights the early aching of the joints, the lack of decent salaries, and the strains placed upon romance. It also asks why choreographers do not create pieces for older dancers.</p> <p>Summing it all up, the grey-haired former star states, "We weren’t rich, but we were happy." Sadly, Mr. Warren won't be at Lincoln Center for the New York premiere of the documentary. He died in 2017, one year after the film was completed.</p> <p><b>Dance on Camera 46 runs from July 20 to the 24</b><b><sup>th</sup></b><b>. For more information and a full schedule, go to: <a href="https://www.filmlinc.org/festivals/dance-on-camera-festival/" target="_blank">https://www.filmlinc.org/festivals/dance-on-camera-festival/</a></b></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3741&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="_Fs7_7EgvGt6VRX0cC3rSzQe3Gn43WoEU_jwTP6rDjk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Brandon Judell 3741 at http://culturecatch.com How to Waste 93 Minutes of Your Life with Jonathan Rhys Meyers http://culturecatch.com/node/3740 <span>How to Waste 93 Minutes of Your Life with Jonathan Rhys Meyers</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>July 18, 2018 - 16:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/403" hreflang="en">films</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ly10vn4gS_Y?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Jonathan Rhys Meyers broods well. Better than most, in fact.</p> <p>His uncontrollable yearning for his family's new hiree (a Jewess in disguise) in <i>The Governess </i>(1998) is an indelible depiction of post-pubescent desire. In Todd Haynes' <i>The Velvet Goldmine </i>(1998), his petulant take on a David-Bowie-esque rocker cemented the film's rep as one of the best narratives on rock. Then there's his Dracula, Elvis, and Henry VIII with their applaudable sneers, plus his obsessed adulterer in Woody Allen's <i>Match Point </i>(2005) whose coin flip brings his comeuppance.</p> <p>Now in David Zelik Berk's highly cliched, instantly forgettable Middle-Eastern spy caper, <i>Damascus Cover</i>, Meyers goes stoic.  What a waste! So wooden is his performance, if you were casting for the part of an elm, you would definitely be stuck between choosing him or the splintery Henry Cavill.</p> <p>Based on Howard Kaplan's bestselling thriller from 1977, Meyers plays the recently divorced Ari-Ben Zion, an Israeli spy pretending to be a German businessman interested in purchasing Syrian rugs from a merchant who regularly commingles with a group of transplanted Nazis. Ari's task is supposedly to help a Jewish family escape to Israel from Damascus.</p> <p>The rightfully esteemed John Hurt, in his final film, plays his boss Miki, the head of Mossad, the Israeli national intelligence agency, who's using the unsuspecting Ari as a pawn in a grand scheme involving much double-crossing. In one scene, Miki gets to eat a sandwich on a bench. It's a minor role.</p> <p>Then there's Kim Johnson (Olivia Thirlby), who shows up as a flirtatious <i>USA Today</i> photographer with a broken watch. But is she who she says she is?</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/damascus_cover_photo_4.jpg?itok=hERGopi1" width="1200" height="557" alt="Thumbnail" title="damascus_cover_photo_4.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>You might care, but I was more interested by the various telephones showcased: the old-fashioned dial-ups, the push-buttons, and the oversized cellulars, especially when one is used as a murder weapon. Try killing with an iPhone X. It just won't do.</p> <p>In another scene, Ari is violently beaten up, possibly by members of Mukhabarat, the Syrian intelligence agency. Blood is everywhere. Face, clothes, street. The next moment, he is splatter-free, bloodless like the film. Maybe he was carrying Wash N Dri towelettes.</p> <p>Director Berk means well with this poorly realized script he co-wrote with Samantha Newton. He’s trying to capture the inanities of the situation in the Middle East, spotlighting how both sides have to go through the motions of playing cat and mouse, constantly switching who's the feline and who's the rodent, but you can't care when the characters are little more than one-dimensional.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3740&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="hEvovOABUT1TbdnIKk6_u2V80FqkmdMYbzUdZD9k7Dw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 18 Jul 2018 20:57:26 +0000 Brandon Judell 3740 at http://culturecatch.com Tom Cruise Becomes Almost Huggable Again http://culturecatch.com/node/3736 <span>Tom Cruise Becomes Almost Huggable Again</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>July 15, 2018 - 15:38</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/522" hreflang="en">Mission Impossible</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/523" hreflang="en">Tom Cruise</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wb49-oV0F78?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>This latest installment of the <i>Mission Impossible </i>franchise is unmitigated fun with its deliciously overwrought motorcycle chases, hellish helicopter skirmishes, frenzied fisticuffs, plus rooftop jumpings galore. My favorite is the bathroom decimation.</p> <p>More beneficial to our joy is that Mr. Tom Cruise has stopped making gossip headlines in recent years. He's only garnered press for injuring himself during an <i>MI </i>stunt. There's no added Oprahesque/religious/marital baggage to distract us from sitting back and being totally enveloped in this "global cultural icon's"* portrayal of the troubled Tom Hunt as he puts aside his own personal problems to safeguard the world from three plutonium bombs that have fallen into the hands of those who will sell them to terrorists.</p> <p>The plot itself is much too complex to try to introduce to you here. (Something about a bonkers anarchist (Sean Harris) and his group, the Apostles, and their desire to overthrow world order.) And, yes, there are moments when you are about to say, "Huh!" But before you can scratch your head in bewilderment, the film hurtles forth at such a great speed from Belfast to Paris to London to Kashmir that you've forgotten that it might not at all make sense. It sort of does though in retrospect.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/mission-impossible-fallout-1.jpg?itok=CkDDR7__" width="980" height="490" alt="Thumbnail" title="mission-impossible-fallout-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Aiding Mr. Cruise are his regular sidekicks: Simon Pegg as Benji and Ving Rhames as Luther. Both add much needed humor to the proceedings. Rebecca Ferguson also appears again as Ilsa Faust, the ass-kicking, sharp shooter who has won over Hunt’s heart. And if the Oscars come up with an award for best cameo, Wolf Blitzer will definitely get a nomination for his solid comic turn here.</p> <p>Then there's Henry Cavill as an overly attractive stick-in-the mud CIA agent. Perfect typecasting.</p> <p>As for writer/director Christopher McQuarrie's helming, although he lacks Paul (<i>Bourne Ultimatum)</i> Greengrass's artfulness, his sensibility is a perfect complement to a large popcorn and a Coke. The man, who won an Oscar for <i>The Usual Suspects </i>screenplay in 1996, tries to pull out all the stops here, and he pretty much succeeds.</p> <p>The result will be a huge hit, or is one already, which means get ready for <i>Missions Impossible 7, 8,</i> and <i>9 -- </i>and at least another two decades of the personable Mr. Cruise doing what he does best.</p> <p>*As noted in the film's production notes.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3736&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="iA8RT-cnj-oDnDorEQyLdDv1f-Yea89xNda_AXApWl0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:38:32 +0000 Brandon Judell 3736 at http://culturecatch.com