Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Quote of the Day - Let's Go Mid-Nineties Insane

Don't you love the power of positive thinking? That was David Fincher's gospel in the nineties.

Dr. Beardsley: "He's experienced about as much pain and suffering as anyone I've encountered, give or take, and he still has Hell to look forward to."


Friday, February 16, 2018

Call Me By Your Name - Luca Guadagnino (2017)

Do you remember the moment you discovered you were a sexual creature? You think of others as more than just handsome or beautiful. You actually want to do things to them. You start to wonder creatively what those things could be.

Luca Guadagnino's "Call Me By Your Name," reaches back to that moment when one's sexuality first rears its head.

Every summer, the Perlman family hosts a guest for the summer. The patriarch, Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg), is a professor and it's an opportunity for a kind of mentorship. This summer, that guest is Oliver (Armie Hammer), a twenty-four-year-old student of Mr. Perlman.

At first, Elio (Timothee Chalamet), the Perlmans' seventeen-year-old son, doesn't like Oliver at all. In fact, Oliver is kind of a dick. He's arrogant and dismissive. He refuses any overtures of friendship, but he himself demands constant companionship. He expects others to drop everything to accommodate him. So yeah, Oliver is not just kind of a dick. He's a straight-up bastard.

Elio has to spend almost all of his time entertaining Oliver. He has to go on errands with him. Whenever it suits Oliver, he insists Elio must accompany him all of the time as he goes bike riding or swimming, etc.

Slowly, Elio's feelings turn from annoyance to attraction. Like a little man-crush, and the romance builds from there.

At the same time, Elio is curious about sex in general. He hasn't found his identification yet, so while he's falling for Oliver, his romance with girlfriend Marzia (Esther Garrel) is progressing, getting more serious and more sexual.

But as his attraction to Olivier turns into infatuation, he has to make some kind of choice. To be fair, Marzia deserves that much. She needs to know where her relationship with Elio is going.

The bulk of the film concentrates on the evolving romance between Oliver and Elio. Now, the time he spends with Oliver, running errands, bike riding, swimming etc. have gone from tedious to treasured.

The way the story plays out with this small intimate group of characters, against the backdrop of northern Italy in the summer makes me think of Bernardo Bertolucci's "Stealing Beauty." Just as in "Stealing Beauty," the characters adore each other and that endears them to us. Plus, the love scenes between Oliver and Elio are soft and intimate.

One thing I have learned from art-house, gay-centered films is that all of the love scenes starts with play fighting. I don't believe that's the way it is in life, but I don't think I've ever seen a gay love sequence without that wrestling kind of foreplay.

The tenderness and subtly which with Guadagnino unfolds this romance is beautiful. If you like love stories at all, you'll enjoy "Call Me By Your Name."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Song of the Day - OhGr Is More Than a Trippy Wonderful Singer. He's a Beautiful Actor, Too!

Sometimes, you get a wonderful rare treat that comes straight of your favorites.

Darren Lynn Bousman's "Repo: The Genetic Opera" has given me one such performance. Skinny Puppy just so happens to be my third favorite band of all time. So wasn't I just delighted to hear OhGr would be playing one of the evil brother, son of a Capitalist gone wild. That's another reason to love the film: its firm anti-Capitalist stance. But we'll read about that another day.

For now, enjoy this song with Bill Moseley, Paris Hilton and OhGr in a cute, nihilistic romp.

Pavi Largo: "Ask a gentern who they prefer, ten out of nine will say "The Pavi!" The most dashing, panty-snatching. I will leave your diapers dripping! Two hearts! Mark it up! Pavi steals all of the hearts."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Quote of the Day: Love Takes Many Forms

Lee: "I love you."
E. Edward Grey: "We can't do this twenty-four hours a day seven days a week."
Lee: "Why not?"

She makes a very fair point, don't you think?

(Lee sits down at Grey's desk.)
E. Edward Grey: "Put both your hands on the desk, palms down.
(Lee puts her hands on the desk, palms down.)
Lee: "I wanna make love."
E. Edward Grey: "Keep both your feet on the floor until I come back."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Quote of the Day: Who's Afraid of Stuntman Mike?

Stuntman Mike: "It was a fifty-fifty shot on whether  you'd be going left or right. You see we're both going left. You could have just as easily been going left, too. And if that was the would have been a while before you started getting scared. But since you're going the other way, I'm afraid you're gonna have to start getting scared...immediately!"

Monday, February 12, 2018

Thelma - Joachim Trier (2017)

As young adults or teenagers, when we encounter our first loves, it changes every part of us irrevocably. In some of us, the changes are  subtle. In others, however, the transformation slaps us in the face and recreates us into something we never would have believed.

The girls Joachim Trier presents us with in "Thelma" are quiet to start with, particularly Thelma (Eili Harboe). She's a young college student, starting life out on her own. Sort of. She's still tied to her religious yet demoralizing parents.

Thelma's father (Henrik Rafaelsen) is a grand manipulator. Whenever he tries to teach her a moral lesson, it always ends the same: Thelma lowers her head and starts to weep. These speeches spring up randomly in most of their conversations and they devastate Thelma.

Her mother (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) is a quiet, passive-aggressive woman who doesn't talk very much, but is clearly softly bullying the girl.

Thelma plows through, studying and going to classes. She hasn't really made any friends yet. A girl, Anja (Kaya Wilkins) sits with her one day while she's studying. 

Thelma's attraction to this girl kicks in right away. She falls to the floor having a non-epileptic seizure. She has no history of epilepticy or seizures of any kind. The doctors run tests, but don't find anything, so clearly, something else triggered the seizure. Like seeing her first love for the very first time. Put that together with Thelma realizing in a second that she likes girls it's no wonder why she reacted so strongly.

Thelma and Anja start to get closer as Thelma's desire for Anja rises. At the same time, Thelma's religious upbringing harmfully holds her back. At night, she kneels with her head against the wall and pleads with God to take away these sinful thoughts and urges. When her father finds about her sexual identity, he forces her to kneel with her head against the wall, pleading with God to remove these new, deviant desires. Thelma is profoundly lost.

The bulk of the film is about Thelma's choice. Does she bend to the so-called morality of her upbringing? Or is she going to hunt down the girl she loves dearly so they call start their relationship?

They clearly have a pure love between them. The passion that grows between them reminded me of Abdellatif Kechiche's deeply emotional "Blue is the Warmest Color."

Therein lies the trauma millions of young gay men and women experience. They can't let themselves love because something in their heads insists that who they are is wrong. So much unhappiness comes from love deprivation. Above everything in this world, love is what we need the most. And everyone deserves to have it.

"Thelma" looks at this problem without condemnation, for neither Thelma or her parents. Trier doesn't condescend to mocking her upbringing, her beliefs or her family, even when they're at their worst. That kind of kindness he shows to all of his characters carries this film and raises it up among others that explore this theme.

So yes, you should seek out "Thelma." Not just if you're a sucker for romance but if you love film or storytelling. This film is far too thoughtful to peg it into a genre.

Let  me say it as strongly as possible. "Thelma" is one of the great films of 2017.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Today, the Quote of the Day will be The Song of the day

I love finding fun and interesting movie quotes to share, but when there is a song that flows right along with the story, well, it's just magical, isn't it?

I don't know how many of you have seen Stuart Murdoch's "God Save the Girl," but it's an overlooked gem.

Murdoch and his band, Belle and Sebastian, are the force behind the songs in this obscure musical.

This song, "I'll have to dance with Cassie" is damn near perfect. Every time it pops up on my playlist, my whole family stops and sings along. It's infectious. So take a listen.