Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Quote of the Day - Throw Mama From the Train - There's Always Time For Candy

Chat amongst ruthless killers:

Owen: "Where are you going?"
Larry: "I'm gonna kill the bitch. You want anything?"
Owen: "Could you get me a Chunky?"

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

On Body and Soul - Ildikó Enyedi (2017)

Tell me, how wonderful does it make you feel to watch an incredibly touching, romantic film? It can fill you up with an indescribable feeling you carry with you for hours, sometimes days. It's so intoxicating, you want to revisit it right away.

Where does that magic come from? Sure, you'll point to the screenplay, the directing, and the lovely performances. Some romances have a powerful charm and a gorgeous story running underneath everything that you really can't verbalize.

In these gems, we fall in love with the characters instantaneously. It's more powerful than what they call chemistry and it's something that you can't explain in words.

So when we are lost in a film like Abdellatif Kechiche's "Blue is the Warmest Color," Francois Truffaut's "Jules and Jim," Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," or Tony Scott's "True Romance," (my favorite love story), what gives us that spark that makes these films so elegant and timeless?

In Ildikó Enyedi's "On Body and Soul," a young woman, Mária (Alexandra Borbély) starts her new job as a meat-inspector at a slaughterhouse. On her first day, she meets the man in charge, Endre (Géza Morcsányi), an older man, very quiet, who keeps him to himself.

On the surface, they don't seem to form any kind of rapport. But they quickly learn the two of them share their dreams.

Literally. When they sleep at night, they wander into a single dream. It's a very simple dream. Endre is a stag who comes across a doe, Mária. There's not much to it, they spend some time playfully and affectionate at a riverbank surrounded by mountains of snow.

It takes them days to realize it, but when they do, they have no idea how to respond. They are not instantly captivated by the other.

The story slowly starts its work. You realize that these two are either going to have to truly earn their relationship, along with our affection, or you're watching a bad movie.

Then they keep raising the stakes on each other. It's very subtle, powerful storytelling going on as they slowly build to the place where Endre and Mária can't and won't live without the other.

So no, they don't share that glow right from the beginning. It takes a while to do it, but Mária and Endre work hard to win our affection and when we've finally fallen in love with them, we are caught off guard. Emotionally, we live and die in every breath they share, in every touch.

"On Body and Soul" takes no shortcuts. It doesn't take for granted that these two, even given the

connection in their dreams, will be able to sustain, or even start, a relationship. It's right at the top of the list with "Blue is the Warmest Color" as one of the great romances so far this century.

And that makes a film a classic. It's why this film will endure.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Quote of the Day - Support Your Local Sheriff - Stay on Your Side of the Line

I don't know how many of you have seen Burt Kennedy's Comedy/Western "Support Your Local Sheriff," but if you haven't, you've denied yourself a real treat. One of my Dad's favorite movies. I couldn't count how many times we watched it, but I pretty much have it memorized.

The film turns the Western genre on its head and kicks it in the face. The result is one film that still makes me cry with laughter every time I see it.

Sheriff: "Now Joe, the cell on the right is yours. We don't have any bars yet."
Joe Danby: "You're kidding."
Sheriff: "That's what I said! But we're gonna operate just as if the bars were there. You stay on that side of the line and everything should work out fine."

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Quote of the Day - Barry Jenkins' Moonlight - True Honesty

When someone opens up and really wants to share themselves with you, it can go fast and deep and become something you never might have expected. In fact, it can be uncommonly lovely and delicate.

(And no, I'm not just talking about the handjob. Perverts.)

"I should have cried too much sometimes I feel like I'm just gonna turn into drops."
- Ashton Sanders as Black in "Moonlight."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Song of the Day - Everyone Says I Love You - A Pathetic Man Can Break Your Heart

By and large, musicals are wonderful, I've loved them since I was a child. They elicit every human emotion there is and Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You" is no exception. Admittedly, the story doesn't add up to much, but each musical number is delightful.

Some are lovely because they're so filled with happiness. Others, because they are mournful.

Every time I watch this film, this particular song tears me up. I can't explain why I feel for this sad and pathetic man, but I do. Most likely because he seems so useless.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Suburbicon - George Clooney (2017)

You can easily laugh through some dark comedies. George Clooney's "Suburbicon," (based on a screenplay by the Coen Brothers, Clooney, and Grant Heslov) is a comedy in which, the fun and humor are juxtaposed with a backdrop of suffering that isn't funny at all.

Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is an ordinary man, as far as we can see, whose luck spirals downward to an alarming level of rot. Damon is the box office draw, but the Protagonist, the leading man if you will, is actually Nicky (Noah Jupe), Gardner's son.

Nicky is the single innocent in this story. He's the only character who's not an amoral wretch. At the start of the film, the kid is put through a traumatic experience. The sequence is excessively grim, the kind of content that even the darkest of most dark comedies wouldn't touch.

The boy is woken in the middle of the night and dragged down to the dining room. He is tied down by a couple of brutes. He sees his mother Rose, and aunt Margaret (both played by Julianne Moore) are tied down as well.

After a few minutes of intimidating threats, the brutes chloroform all of them.

When Nicky wakes up, he learns that his mother did not survive the attack. His father and aunt are fairly blasé about the incident.

Aunt Margaret moves in to help Nicky and Gardner get used to living without Rose. There may be something sinister behind that.

Rose's death starts a chain of unfortunate events that could very well toss the family right on its head. Nicky and Gardner are threatened throughout the film by nosey cops, gangsters and a corrupt insurance investigator looking to take the Lodges for everything they've got.

Watching Gardner and his sister-in-law Margaret's lives fall apart is hilarious. "Suburbicon" creates so many characters whose demise we gladly cheer for.

There is a secondary plot is focused on a black family, the Mayers, who move into the neighborhood. Nicky strikes up a friendship with Andy Mayer, the new black kid in town.

But the neighborhood doesn't just object to the family's arrival, it rages. As the Lodge family's safety is on the decline, the Mayers face a hostility from the town that simmers through the story and explodes at just the worst time.

It's wonderful how Clooney manages to slowly transform the normal people we were introduced to at the beginning into the sociopaths they really are. "Suburbicon" mirrors the place where the center of the morality of our country is right now, without sounding too self-righteous.

"Suburbicon" is about "Some very fine people," and how they devolve into monsters most wouldn't have recognized before.

The film is screamingly funny all the way through until the end, but it is decidedly disturbing at the same time. You've been warned.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Short but Powerful: William Holden in "The Wild Bunch"

"If they move, kill 'em."

William Holden as Pike Bishop in Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch."

I love that line. Simple and straight to the point. This both terrifies us and makes feel secure seeing a man this confident in the driver's seat.