Thursday, October 29, 2015

I'm not really like this, you know...

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 have to confess by saying that horror films, unless they're satirical, campy, and/or funny just aren't my thing. Gory horror is probably the worst because it's such a pointless assault on the senses. Psychological horror is slightly better, but it's the kind of thing I need to be in the mood for. So unfortunately I just wasn't in the mood for this when I watched Roman Polanski's Repulsion a few days ago despite acknowledging it as an accomplished work of art.

Me on a regular night.

Catherine Deneuve plays Carol, a quiet and initially unassuming pretty girl. She works at a salon, has a more worldly older sister, and is being courted by a handsome guy. But it's clear there's something off about her. She's prone to bouts of just staring into space, attention from men annoys more than it pleases, and she can barely put the effort to doing much of anything. When her sister leaves her alone to go on holiday, the character and the film devolves from there and it's all truly horrific to witness from her first accidental mishap with a customer to the purposeful slashing of her creepy landlord. The way the film makes all of this feel organic and uneasy at the same time with its claustrophobic cinematography and manic score is something to be  but it's also just a genre I'm not at all enthused by.

So it's no surprise that for my pick for best shot, I picked one that was slightly  less representative of the horror aspect of the film:

Best Shot

This shot just caught my eye upon first view and one can look at it as the moment before the point of no return for Carol. Here, her paramour has come to investigate what's been going on with her. He's just broken down the front door, which is why it's wide open with her across-the-hall neighbor hilariously privy to their little drama. He's trying to understand her and to tell her he just wants to be with her, but both are turned away from each other, bathed in shadows. It's then no surprise what's happens next (aka not so good for him).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Come and have a bathe...

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.

Like many films chosen for this series, A Room with a View is a film I had meant to see sooner, but just never got around to it. It's especially galling in this case considering my penchant for English period films as well as the presence of so many British actors I know and love. Seeing Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench gleefully gossiping amidst the tall grass was a highlight and very nearly made my pick of best shot.

No, my best shot quite predictably went to a pretty, pretty boy namely Rupert Graves who apparently makes his film debut as the ever-energetic and free-spirited Freddy Honeychurch, the younger brother of our main protagonist Lucy Honeychurch played by Helena Bonham Carter. See A Room with a View is actually just my second Merchant-Ivory film. My first was Maurice starring a fresh-faced Graves playing gay. But that's neither here nor there, here's my favorite shot from this film:

Best Shot

It's the joyful end of a very naked scene involving Graves, Julian Sands, and Simon Callow taking a bath at a local lake. Just a little nude horseplay between friends if you will. Here Graves unsuccessfully tries to hide as his mother, sister, and sister's fiancé (brilliantly played by a snobbish preening Daniel Day Lewis) discovers them to their shock, amusement, and annoyance respectively. Just look at his boyish smile and adorable face. Who could resist? Talk about a nice view (yeah, sorry).

Monday, October 5, 2015

Birthday Girl: Kate Winslet

Just a few days ago, I saw Kate Winslet being absolutely wasted on Insurgent and it made me long to see her in great films again. Thankfully I don't have to wait long as she's currently making the publicity rounds, most recently at the New York Film Festival, for her role in Steve Jobs which many believe might be the film to get her back to Oscars' good graces. Not as if she needs it since she's still one of the best in the industry and certainly one of my favorites.

Today is actually Kate's 40th birthday and apart from Steve Jobs, I'm glad she has a couple of other films coming out. The photo above is from The Dressmaker which looks absolutely fun and gorgeous. It had its world premiere last month at the Toronto Film Festival but no word yet on when it'll be released to the general public here in America. Then there's Triple 9 which looks so outside the box to Kate's usual films that I'm probably more excited about it than the two films I've already mentioned (only slightly though). But just look at her...

These are low quality stills from the recently released trailer. And all I can say is... yes, please... more, please... give it to me now! Anyways, happy birthday Kate!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pilot Thoughts: Blood and Oil, Quantico, Heroes Reborn

Last week I wrote about four new pilots I watched this fall. Here are three more though technically two pilots and a reboot.

Blood and Oil (ABC)

As a previous fan of Revenge and current fan of Empire and How to Get Away with Murder, my love for trashy prime-time soaps is clear. My hope was Blood and Oil would follow suit. Unfortunately its biggest sin in the pilot is just how shrug-worthy it all feels. The lead couple played by Chace Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse are blander than milk though I can see the show writing them this way for now to show how quickly they're corrupted by all the sex/money/murder happening in this North Dakotan oil town. But all of that sex/money/murder were just too far and few in the pilot with even Don Johnson and Amber Valletta looking bored. The one teeny tiny highlight was Scott Michael Foster playing the entitled bad boy rich kid. More him and more sex. Less everything else. C

Quantico (ABC)

This show was ABC trying to do a Shonda Rhimes show without Shonda Rhimes. It's literally a mash-up of Grey's Anatomy (hot coeds living and learning together), Scandal (amidst political and dangerous situations), and How to Get Away with Murder (plus a whodunit with a flashback structure). So on the one hand, hats off for doing all of that and still delivering a relatively fun and intriguing pilot. But then it also falls a bit under all of the weighty comparisons and expectations. The characters right now, as uniformly hot as they are, are not specially drawn out, but that's to be expected on a show with this large of an ensemble. Lead Priyanka Chopra seems more than capable though so I'll be interested in seeing what more she can do. B

Heroes Reborn (NBC)

This isn't technically a pilot, but I still wanted to chime in with my thoughts. So, I loved the original Heroes and while I agree that they went off the rails in later seasons, I was still interested in this world, these characters. With that said, I'm predisposed to like this continuation reboot. And here's the thing, this show is exactly what you expect. If you liked Heroes Original Flavor, you will like this. If you didn't, then this new show isn't for you as well. I believe they achieved a nice balance of addressing what happened in the earlier series while being free to continue with a new-ish story. I personally can't wait to spend some time with some old and new characters alike. Is it perfect? It's not at all and many of its flaws (confusing timeline, awkward dialogue) are still present but I'm a sucker for people with super powers so I'll be here every week. B

There was a brief moment last week when I considered watching the pilots for The Grinder and Grandfathered, two shows that I kept mistaking for one another all summer. Both have actually gotten mildly positive notices, but in the era of Peak TV I think I'll do myself a solid and try to limit my TV watching a bit more. In fact, I've already given up on one new show this fall: Scream Queens. I just didn't feel the need to watch another episode after its two-hour premiere episode.