Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Sex

Nicolas Roeg R.I.P

Nic_RoegI love Nic Roeg movies. Along with Ken Russell he was an artistic touchstone in the British film industry through the 70’s and 80’s, they were provocative, original, broke new ground, caused trouble and most important, were never boring. Nic Roeg died on Sunday aged 90, rest in peace.

From his early years as a clapper boy, Roeg had progressed to world-class cinematographer, working for second unit camera under Freddie Young on David Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Roeg’s work on this led to important credits including Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death (1964), Francois Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (1966) and on John Schlesinger’s Far From the Madding Crowd (1967).

By the late 60s, after a career in cinematography which would have been quite enough for most mortals, he came to directing remarkably late: Performance (1970) Walkabout (1971), Don’t Look Now (1973), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Bad Timing (1980). And even after that he continued to make excellent movies, including Eureka (1983), Insignificance (1985), the fantasy of Marilyn Monroe meeting Albert Einstein, Track 29 (1988), the sensually charged Dennis Potter drama with Gary Oldman and Roeg’s partner Theresa Russell, and his excellent Roald Dahl fantasy The Witches (1990) with Anjelica Huston.

After his run of brilliant films in the 70s, the British antipathy to experimentation, and films lacking conventional narrative-based realism, resulted in the comparative neglect of Roeg had no liking for self-publicity, which resulted in some projects falling to other directors. As he remarked, he “refused to join the club”.

What an extraordinary film-maker Nic Roeg was, a man whose imagination and technique could not be confined to conventional genres. He should be remembered for a clutch of masterly films, but perhaps especially for his classic Don’t Look Now, not merely the best British scary movie in history, but one infused with compassion and love.


Burt Reynolds R.I.P

MV5BMTc2MTYzMjYyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ1NDkwNw@@._V1_

Burt Reynolds, the mustachioed megastar who first strutted on screen more than half a century ago, died Thursday, according to his agent, Todd Eisner. He was 82.

The Michigan native, whose easy-going charms and handsome looks drew prominent roles in films such as “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Boogie Nights,” suffered a cardiac arrest, Eisner said. A call for an ambulance came from his estate in Martin County, Florida, 911 records show.

An iconic Hollywood sex symbol in front of the camera, Reynolds also tried his directorial hand behind it, and later earned a reputation for philanthropy after founding the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre in his home state of Florida. His roles over the years ranged and pivoted from Southern heartthrob to tough guy to comedy, notably in his role as Rep. David Dilbeck in the 1996 film “Striptease,” which flopped at the box office but earned him widespread praise for his comedic prowess.

But it was John Boorman’s 1972 thriller “Deliverance,” which cast Reynolds as outdoorsman Lewis Medlock, that is widely credited for launching his early career.
Reynolds called it “by far” his best film. “I thought maybe this film is more important in a lot of ways than we’ve given it credit for,” he said in an interview years later. The movie’s infamous rape scene may have helped the public — especially men — better understand the horrors of sexual attacks, Reynolds said.
“It was the only time I saw men get up, sick, and walk out of a theater,” he added. “I’ve seen women do that (before),” but not men.
He was recently cast in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino-directed “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” scheduled for release next year. Reynolds had not yet started shooting his appearance in the film.
Rest in Peace.

Westworld Season 2 – Teasers

As we near the start of Westworld Season 2, the marketing machine has clicked into gear, teasing with a new teaser , revised new website HERE and cool poster with hidden binary code. Producers Jonathan Nolan spoke to EW today:

“We don’t like to endlessly build mystery; we like to settle our debts by the end of the season,” Nolan said. “We want to feel like the show is rocketing ahead. The first season was a journey inward; this is a journey outward. It’s a search for what else is in the park, and what else is beyond the park.”

Westworld_Season_2

As this show attempts to question our understanding of reality, we still haven’t explored outside the confines of this manufactured theme park.

“If we were to describe the show as one camera angle, it would be a steady pull out revealing more and more context,” Nolan says. “So as the hosts learn more about their world—and other worlds, and the real world—the audience is doing the same thing.”

While the creators were hesitant to say if they’d be spending much time in Shogun World, they do confirm that it will take place outside of Westworld.

“This year is much more of a road show—Sweetwater isn’t home anymore,” Nolan tells EW, teasing that leaving behind Westworld is only the beggining into where and when the real world begins. “These hosts don’t live on the same time frame we do and don’t have the four-year life span of replicants [like in Blade Runner]. If left to their own devices, they could live forever. So our story has some real scope to it.”

Certainly they’ve left it open for the inevitable Seasons 3-7, but for now, I can’t wait to see where Season 2 takes us next month.


BLADE RUNNER 2049 – “2036: Nexus Dawn” Short

Welcome to 2036. Niander Wallace introduces his new line of replicants.

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The first of 3 Blade Runner 2049 Short Films.


Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead

If you loved Aussie zom flick Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead, check out this peek at the TV series Wyrmwood: Chronicles Of The Dead. It’s gore-tastic.

Check out their facebook page HERE


Scream – Manipulating Expectations

Films which make the strongest impression on us make that impression for a reason. Sometimes that reason might be a slight one: you were in the right mood, you had nothing else to watch, everyone else liked the film and you can see exactly why. However, as you continue to study films, you will soon discover that the movies you remember the most typically have one thing in common: the story structure is solid.

As this thorough video essay by Cristobal Olguin points out, Wes Craven’s films are perfect to study for their structure. His films teach us that within any scene that truly frightens you, there are numerous relationships and correspondences that produce that feeling of fear. If one is missing, the entire effect might be lost.

Many of these elements are bound up in storytelling, in the little tricks Craven uses to move his tale along. This video takes a close look at a couple of the techniques Craven uses in Scream, written by Kevin Williamson.

[Spoiler alert twenty-one years later: this video reveals whodunnit in Scream.]

By the time you find out who the real killer is in Scream, you might not care. The movie has become less about suspense and more about how to tell a story. Using traditional story techniques in new and interesting ways can give your story a unique structure, such as Craven achieved from Williamson’s script for Scream.


Maps to the Stars – Trailer

A new film from David Cronenberg is always something to look forward too, especially when he turns his mind towards something dark…

Led by the loathsome yet funny and touching child-star Benjie, we witness the convoluted world of shallow, selfish celebrities and their minions, all of whom are about to be manipulated and destroyed by the young woman who literally represents the fruit of their twisted machinations, Agatha, Benjie’s tormented, apparently psychotic sister. As much as it is a sharp, comic look at a vacant and corrupt world, MAPS TO THE STARS is also a haunting ghost story.


Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead

Slow day… so, here’s a trailer for the ‘Sequel You Did Nazi Coming’… Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead… hilarious.


Image

The Rules of Attraction – Dave Amblard

rulesofattractionbg_Dave-Amblard


The Kid Stays In The Picture

michel_comte_robert_evansIconic Hollywood producer and former studio head Robert Evans has partnered with Television 360 to develop a pay cable TV series about Hollywood in the 1970’s. They’ve made a deal with Fox 21, and Evans is exec producing with Guymon Casady, Dean Schnider and Scott Lambert. They are out to writers right now. The vision of the series is much darker than the contemporary inside Hollywood depicted in Entourage. Set in the ’70s with a creative tone similar to Casino, it involves the last days before studios were taken over by conglomerates, when they were run by wily entrepreneurs, and where there was a mob influence, drugs, sex, excess, casting couches, and some of the best movies made in the 20th century. The protagonist is an outsider who against the odds rises to become a king in Hollywood in a tale of power, legacy, and the American dream.

The series isn’t based on Evans — real anecdotes will be used in a fictitious storyline — but everyone who either read or, better yet, heard him read the audio of The Kid Stays In The Picture knows that Evans started as an actor and rose to the top of Paramount Pictures when that studio was nearly out on its feet. He, with a scrappy team of execs that included my former Variety editor Peter Bart, saved the studio by making classics including The Godfather, Love Story, Rosemary’s Baby, Harold And Maude, The Odd Couple, The Conversation, Serpico and others. Evans has plenty of stories to tell about that era.


Filth – Poster Art

Filth_poster-Art_3Filth_poster-Art_2Filth_poster-Art_1


Filth ****

filth_ver5_xlgBigoted, corrupt, sociopathic, misanthropic, alcoholic junkie Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is in line for a promotion. A promotion he sets about attaining by Machiavellian games, manipulating his colleagues, withholding information on a sensitive murder case and sexually harassing the wife of his ‘best friend’ Bladesey (Eddie Marsan).

However, as the racially motivated murder case remains unsolved, his increased drinking, drug taking, sexual misadventures, the office Christmas party, a trip to Amsterdam’s red light district and realisation that his estranged wife and daughter are no longer part of his life, initiate a shift in Bruce’s mood swings. His scheming, bitter, pathetic, rage and insanity give way to a more fragile, tragic and emotionally unstable character.

McAvoy is exceptional in the lead role and totally dominates throughout. If awards were given honestly, for actual performance and not as popularity contests, McAvoy would be on best actor short lists now. He is more than ably supported by the aforementioned Eddie Marsan, as well as Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Gary Lewis and Shirley Henderson.

Filth_James McAvoyCredit must also go to director Jon S. Baird for turning the labyrinthine source novel into a cohesive script. Dispensing with the novel’s ‘tapeworm’ inner monologue in favour of dream sequences with psychiatrist Dr Rossi (Jim Broadbent), and adjusting the books revelation about the murder all work well on film. However, there’s still plenty to work with here, freemasonry, drug abuse, sexism, discrimination, racism, pornography, prostitution and alcohol abuse abound. Baird’s directing style works well with the subject matter and is a marked improvement on his debut feature Cass which I also liked.

8640235554_bb8d865427_oComparisons between Filth and Trainspotting are inevitable due to the source material. Irvine Welsh has stated that Filth is the best adaptation of his work, it’s not, Trainspotting is a far superior film in all aspects apart from performance, in that respect they are impossible to split. However, Filth, in dealing with more unsavoury material and a lead character with no redeeming traits was always going to be a much harder sell.

Gritty, darkly humorous, complex and politically incorrect, Filth feels like a throwback to those gloriously unrepentant crime dramas from the 1970’s, which I love. Exceptional performances, great script and solid direction combine to make Filth one of the better films of 2013… and look out for a fantastically surreal cameo in the final third.    


Enter the Void **½

French director Gaspar Noé has fashioned himself a reputation as a provocateur. His films push the boundaries of what his audiences, and of course various classification boards around the world, can handle.

His debut, I Stand Alone (1998), is a brutal companion piece to Taxi Driver, complete with a final act so graphic that Noé prefaces it with a title card that offers the audience a chance to leave the theatre before viewing it; of course no one would leave, at least until the violence starts…

He then courted world-wide controversy with his follow up, Irreversible (2002) featuring Monica Bellucci, an international star. The movie that featured the now infamous nine-minute, single shot anal rape scene.

Enter the Void is a 3 hour extension of the camera work featured throughout the first half of Irreversible. It could be described as an acid trip in film, featuring dizzying, swirling camera work, lurid colour palette and strobe lighting effects, although technically a brilliant experiment, unlike his previous efforts it falls short on genuine interest.

The film is told throughout from a first-person perspective of a young American, Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), a drug dealer and addict in Tokyo. He lives with his sister Linda (Paz De La Huerta), a pole dancer. The siblings share a close bond due to the early death of their parents while they were young; all they have is each other.

When Oscar is beaten to death in a bathroom deal, his spirit leaves his body and takes a trip around Tokyo, staying close to his sister, through his spirit we witness her descent as he experiences death as “the ultimate trip.”

Before he dies, Oscars French friend Alex (Cyril Roy) gives him a copy of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and explains the central belief of the book, and of course, the film we are watching:

  1. The spirit leaves the body after you die.
  2. You can see and hear everything, but can’t communicate with the land of the living.
  3. Lights put you on different planes of existence.
  4. The “bad dream” ends in reincarnation.

The film then ticks off that list throughout its duration as it portrays life as bleak, while the “death trip” is seen as the ultimate drug-fuelled head trip. Oscar follows Linda, experiencing her unwanted pregnancy, and abortion, he follows Alex who has sunk to new lows, he sees the death of his parents by car crash clearer than his earlier memories of it. And there we have it, Oscar and Linda’s lives were shattered by the death of their parents and they struggled to cope… duh!

Where life is jarring and gritty, the afterlife is fluid and trippy, so it doesn’t really matter if Oscar, Linda or Alex waste their life in their pursuit of sex or drugs, or whatever, they’ll enjoy their death and eventual rebirth. .. or not, it’s hard to care.

Of course this is a Noé film, so we have the expected shots of graphic sex, real or acted, it’s not important, and that’s pretty much my feeling about this ‘difficult’ third film from Noé. He brings so many ideas to the mix, he’s an original thinker, pushing those boundaries again, however for me this was a tedious exercise. It’s a simple plot, over complicated by artistic experimentation. Some judicious editing could have lifted this film to the heights of his earlier efforts.

It’s hard to dismiss the film as Noé is at least trying something new, as I’ve mentioned, he’s an original voice; he experiments with film as a medium and even though I found this film lacking the emotional punch of his earlier efforts, it certainly doesn’t lack their visual and artistic energy.

It’s original, experimental, distinctive and pretentious. As odd and out there as anything by Alejandro Jodorowsky and seemingly styled as a head trip with the pretentions of 2001: A Space Odyssey, albeit with all the style and none of the substance. I don’t mind being shocked, just don’t bore me.

Epileptics beware; there is incessant flashing strobe lighting throughout.

Quality: 4 out of 5 stars.

Any Good: 1 out of 5 stars


Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini (born 18 June 1952) is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Rossellini is noted for her 14-year tenure as a Lancôme model, and for her roles in films such as Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her.

Rossellini is a daughter of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and Italian director Roberto Rossellini. She was born in Rome, and raised there, as well as in Paris. At 19, she went to New York, where she attended Finch College, while working as a translator and RAI television reporter. She appeared intermittently on L’altra Domenica (“The Other Sunday”), a TV show featuring Rioberto Benigni. However, she did not decide to stay full time in New York until her marriage to Martin Scorsese (1979–1982).

At the age of 28, her modeling career began, when she was photographed by Bruce Weber for British Vogue and by Bill King for American Vogue. In March 1988, an exhibition dedicated to photographs of her, called Portrait of a Woman, was held at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.

Rossellini made her film debut with a brief appearance as a nun opposite her mother in the 1976 film A Matter of Time. Her first role was the 1979 film Il Prato. She did not become successful with acting until after her mother’s death in 1982, when she was cast in her first American film, White Nights (1985). However, she is probably best known for her pivotal role as the tortured nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, in which she also did her own singing.

Blue Velvet (1986) American mystery written and directed by David Lynch. The film centers on college student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), who, returning from visiting his ill father in the hospital, comes across a human ear in a field in his hometown of Lumberton. He proceeds to investigate the ear with help from a high school student, Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), who provides him with information and leads from her father, a local police detective. Jeffrey’s investigation draws him deeper into his hometown’s seedy underworld, and sees him forming a sexual relationship with the alluring torch singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), and uncovering psychotic criminal Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), who engages in drug abuse, kidnapping, and sexual violence.

The movie exhibits elements of both film noir and surrealism. Although initially detested by some mainstream critics, the film is now widely acclaimed, and earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. As an example of a director casting against the norm, Blue Velvet is also noted for re-launching Hopper’s career and for providing Rossellini with a dramatic outlet beyond the work as a fashion model and a cosmetics spokeswoman for which she had until then been known.

Rossellini received a 1987 Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her role in Blue Velvet. 

Some other notable film roles include her work in Cousins (1989), Wild at Heart (1990), Death Becomes Her (1992), Fearless (1993), Immortal Beloved (1994) and Infamous (2006). In 2003, Rossellini had a recurring role on the television series, Alias. She has also appeared in quite a few minor Canadian and SyFy channel productions, but nothing of the quality of that breakthrough role.


Linda Fiorentino

Linda Fiorentino (born March 9, 1960) is an American actress. She is best known for her roles in the films The Last Seduction and Jade.

Fiorentino was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Washington Township High School, in Sewell, New Jersey, and is a graduate of Rosemont College in suburban Philadelphia. She has studied photography, off and on, since 1987 at the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Fiorentino got her first professional role in 1985 when she starred in Vision Quest, followed by After Hours, however it was not until 1994 that she became widely recognized, receiving accolades for her performance in the excellent modern film noir, The Last Seduction. A story about a sociopathic femme fatale, Bridget Gregory, who steals a bag of money ($700,000) from her drug-dealing husband Clay (Bill Pullman). Bridget drives off headed to Chicago when she happens to stop at a small town, Beston, a suburb of Buffalo, and meets Mike (Peter Berg), who is back in town after a whirlwind marriage and divorce in Buffalo. The two immediately hook up. Bridget is just looking for sex, while Mike is trying to find a way out of the small town.

Because The Last Seduction was first aired on HBO television, Fiorentino was ineligible for an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, despite glowing reviews.

Jade is a 1995 erotic thriller film written by Joe Eszterhas, produced by Robert Evans, directed by William Friedkin and starring David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Richard Crenna and Michael Biehn. An unrated version featuring additional scenes and more explicit sexual footage with an extra 12 minutes was later released to VHS, though it is now out of print; the theatrical cut was utilized for the DVD and Blu-ray editions. The unrated versions for DVD, and Blu-Ray were cancelled due to poor sales of the unrated VHS version.

According to Eszterhas’ autobiography, Friedkin changed the script so much that Eszterhas threatened to remove his name from the credits. He claimed Paramount settled by giving him a “blind script deal” worth two to four million dollars.

In an interview in Linda Ruth Williams’ book The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema, Friedkin admitted that he had virtually rewritten the script. But Friedkin also said that Jade was the favorite of all the films he had made. Jade grossed less than $9 million domestically while in theatres.

Fiorentino has since featured in Hollywood films such Men in Black (1997), Dogma (1999) and Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000), however her career never fully recovered after Jade…