Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I'll miss that scene if you don't mind...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

One of the reasons why I love partaking in this series is that it gives me an opportunity to watch films that I probably should've watch a long time ago, but never got around to. This is especially true with regards to genres that I don't seek out often like Westerns. So I was glad that this week's movie was one such movie, the 1969 George Roy Hill film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The film revolves around the misadventures of the two titular outlaws starring the very handsome Paul Newman as the easy-going Cassidy and Robert Redford as the more uptight Sundance Kid. Their chemistry is undeniable as they trade jokes and fling sarcastic asides at one another and is probably one of the reasons, the other being Conrad Hall's magnificent cinematography, why the film is still quite so beloved. Another element that I love about the film was how light and funny it was, which I really didn't expect. So my favorite shot of the film clearly has got to feature both guys, highlight the cinematography, and show how fun the movie is.

Well, not so fast! Because can we just talk about Katharine Ross as Etta Place? Her line delivery of this line gave me goosebumps:
I'm 26, and I'm single, and a school teacher, and that's the bottom of the pit. And the only excitement I've known is here with me now. So I'll go with you, and I won't whine, and I'll sew your socks, and I'll stitch you when you're wounded, and I'll do anything you ask of me except one thing. I won't watch you die. I'll miss that scene if you don't mind.

She's not in the movie much, but her scenes with the boys are among my favorites in the film. We first see her interact with both of them separately, first with Sundance in an erotically charged scene in her bedroom and then with Butch the morning after playfully riding around on his bike as "Raindrops Are Falling On My Head" play in the background. Both scenes do well establishing the kind of relationship she has with both men. With this said, I was so very tempted to pick any of the static shots of the three of them during that New York City/Traveling to Bolivia montage having fun. Two shots I love in particular show them all so comfortable with one another, their bodies casually overlapping with each other:

My runner-up favorite shot is also from this sequence, towards the end, as they dance the night away on their boat heading towards Bolivia. It's actually two individual shots, but together they again highlight their complex and beautiful dynamic with Butch on the sidelines watching Sundance and Etta on the dance floor (all of them looking ridiculously amazing by the way):

But it's a scene earlier in the film where Etta thinks that she has lost both of the men she loves that I keep coming back to. We see a close up of her and in the background are the faint figures of her boys.

Etta then gets up to greet them and wordlessly puts her arms around them, and their arms around her, all of them staying like this for awhile.

 My Favorite Shot

It's my favorite shot of the entire film mostly because it again involves the three of them. The emotions conveyed are epic probably prompting Butch to ask Etta to go to Bolivia with them and definitely informing Etta's big speech above about not wanting to watch them die after already confronting her feelings when she thought they had died. It kind of puts Etta in the dominant position. It's almost like she's saying "I don't care if you're emotionally distant, Sundance, and I don't care if you want to make jokes right now, Butch, because I thought both of you were dead so I'm fucking hugging you both and you just have to deal with it." At least that's how I read this particular scene! Plus all credit to Hall for the beautiful scenery made up of the dark mountains against the darkening sky.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hank and Marie Watch...

Unlike most of twitter, I saw very little of the VMAs this past weekend. I feel old most of the times now so I don't need to watch something that's going to exacerbate that feeling. I did check out that underwhelming blink-and-miss *NSYNC reunion, because I'm only human, but for the most part most of the big moments from that show I heard secondhand via social media. I was too busy doing something else or watching Breaking Bad. Anyways, Miley Cyrus apparently had a performance that was so over-the-top and crazy that the internet just couldn't shut up about it.

Of course the internet being the internet, a video of Cyrus' performance was mashed up with a very serious and pivotal scene from the most recent Breaking Bad episode just a day later creating a pitch perfect commentary on both.

The clip has quickly gone viral and could very well be the beginning of a meme of the Breaking Bad characters Hank and Marie watching something that makes them uncomfortable. For example, after the cut is another video that shows Walt giving his in-laws a different and most surprising DVD...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Short Term 12
Release: August 23, 2013
Distributor: Cinedigm Entertainment
Director: Destin Cretton
Starring: Brie Larson, John Gallager Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, and Rami Malek

This movie has been so below my radar, I didn't even know until I was making this post that John Gallagher Jr. and Rami Malek were in the film! It came to my attention when Nathaniel over at his blog started talking the film up especially with regards to Brie Larson's performance. That's really all it took for me. I don't even really know what the film is about, but then again I try to know as little as I can with certain films so I could be pleasantly surprised when I actually see it.

Above and below are four alternate posters for the film designed by artist Caitlin Craggs. In designing the poster for the film, Craggs had this to say:
Set almost entirely on a nondescript, institutional campus, the magic of Short Term 12 lies in the transformative moments between characters— grimaces, jokes, hugs and tears. My hope was to capture the tumult and frustration, as well as the warmth and sense of community for those at ST12 through simple, almost child-like illustrations, alluding to the coming-of-age narratives that underpin the film.

If anything, these posters and Cragg's statement just made me even more intrigued for the movie.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Birthday Boy: Andrew Garfield

No offense meant to Toby Maguire or Reeve Carney when I say this but Andrew Garfield aka my favorite Spider-man celebrates his big 3-0 birthday today. Granted The Amazing Spider-Man wasn't a great movie or anything, but I could never truly discount the film mostly due to the effortless charm Garfield brings to the popular web-slinger. Plus the film was also responsible for bringing together Garfield with another one of my favorite actors recently, Emma Stone. And as a sidenote, I found out just yesterday that their couple name is apparently Stonefield which is one part adorable and another part a J.J. Abrams top secret movie or something.

But back to the birthday boy... he's currently working on the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man and will continue to work on the franchise for the next few years as there's already two more films scheduled through 2018. At least that's not all he's doing. Just last year he had his Broadway debut as Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman which garnered him his first Tony Award nomination. Film-wise, he has been cast in 99 Homes from the director of Goodbye Solo and in Martin Scorsese's Silence.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sister, you've been on my mind...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

I am ashamed to say that this was my very first time seeing the Steven Spielberg classic The Color Purple which saw the magnificent debuts of both Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, both of which received their first Oscar nominations for their roles in the film. Margaret Avery also picked up an Oscar nomination and I'm glad all three were honored in that way because the film 's strength comes mostly from the towering performances of all three.

The film centers around Celie, played by Goldberg, and the trials and tribulations she experiences as a young African American woman in the early 1900s. She is impregnated by her father, is sent off to live with an abusive man (terrifying played by Donald Glover), is separated from her younger sister, and is constantly made to believe she is ugly and worthless. Her life was like a ever-darkening sky, but little did she know that soon a spark of lightning will slowly, but surely bring her out of her sad shell.

It was one stormy night when she first laid eyes on Shug Avery (Margaret Avery) and despite a bad first impression, their friendship and relationship grew. Even before their fateful meeting, Shug has been a focus for Celie (while Celie herself is out of focus)...

And after Celie and the audience meets her, it's difficult to keep your eyes off of her especially with Avery infusing so much energy in the role. It also helps that she only wears bright costumes throughout most clearly evident in the scene where Shug entertains the masses in the juke joint.

A brilliant shiny pop of red amidst all of the earthly and darker tones. And it's directly after that scene that contains my favorite shot of the film. All throughout this merriment, Celie is quietly sitting, observing the fun all around her, but not partaking in it herself. Shug then surprises everyone by singing a song dedicated to Celie and it's just one of the moments of the film that you didn't know whether to cry or smile. Goldberg as Celie also couldn't make up her mind and that's why it's her reaction to Shug's serenade that will be etched in my mind...

My Best Shot

The sheer joy Goldberg is able to express even with her mouth covered and half her face obscured by shadows is a wonder. Many of my favorite shots in the film is of Celie smiling or laughing. Perhaps it's the optimist in me that honed in on all of the bright spots in a truly dramatic film. I'll end this post with one final shot and it's of Winfrey's Sofia, after spending years in jail and her joy of life beaten out of her, finally laughing again.

So damn cathartic.

Looking Forward To...

The World's End
Release: August 23, 2013
Distributor: Focus Features
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Bill Nighy, Pierce Brosnan, David Bradley, and Martin Freeman

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Future Breaking News: Kaiju Attacks San Francisco

Not sure if the video below actually corresponds to what the movie said (I have the worst memory), but if it is then according to Pacific Rim, we're just a few minutes away from our first kaiju attack. I would probably stay off the Golden Gate Bridge in the next hour or better yet for the rest of the day. Actually I would evacuate San Francisco and any other coastal city along the Pacific right now...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Birthday Boy: Roger Federer

Today is Roger Federer's 32nd birthday and I think this is the year that him and many of his fans would like to forget. Unlike last year, where he was pretty much on top of the world, 2013 has been a tough year.

It started out solidly enough with him losing to Andy Murray at the Australian Open semifinals in five sets, but it wasn't until mid-May in Rome when he reached his first final of the year, losing to rival Rafael Nadal. That gave some hope that he'd make another good showing at the French Open, but he instead lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarters in straight sets. He did win his first title at Halle, Germany a couple of weeks after that again showing optimistic signs that at least in grass Federer is still the king. And then... the world fell apart.

This year's Wimbledon is already one of strangest tournaments I've ever witness with so many top players upset in the first week including past champions Maria Sharapova, Nadal, and of course 7-time champion Federer, losing in the 2nd round to 116th ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky. That loss snapped Federer's unbelievable streak of 36 straight quarterfinal appearances in majors, probably the greatest streak in all of tennis. Worse yet, that loss doesn't seem to be an anomaly with Federer losing to lower ranked players in the two smaller clay tournaments he has played since.

This week he's in Cincinnati preparing to defend the title he won last year instead of playing with the other top players in Canada. He has a good chunk of points to defend through the fall, but nothing too insurmountable. For all we know, he could go on a streak like he did a couple of years ago and perhaps even winning his 18th Grand Slam trophy at the US Open in a few weeks. But then again, I'm also an eternal optimist when it comes to the old man.

Happy Birthday Roger!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Looking Forward To...

Ain't Them Bodies Saint
Release: August 16, 2013
Distributor: IFC
Director: David Lowery
Starring: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Keith Carradine, Ben Foster, Charles Baker, and Rami Malek