Movies,TV Shows »Behind the Candelabra

behidn1Directed by Steven Soderbergh (2013)

Wow. I did not expect to love Behind the Candelabra so very much but I found it to be one of the most likable and intriguing things I’ve seen in some time. Soderbergh, with this and Magic Mike (another film I was surprised by but haven’t reviewed because I never saw the last third) has really hit on something interesting.

Both films center around people on the fringe of “normal” society, who are rarely protagonists and even more rarely represented as more than caricatures. With a Michael Douglas’ incredible performance (which has been overshadowed by cunnilingus) as Liberace -“Mr. Showman” – we feel that this is a real, flawed, complex person not just an iconic flamboyant performer. (Same can be said for Channing’s good guy stripper).

Both films also largely play out with low tension and stress. Jim thinks this is an interesting development in movies – that maybe life is so stressful and people are drawn into stories about people’s lives rather than formulaic tension. Of course, the story of poor Scott does spiral into tragedy (that one sees coming a mile off) but Matt Damon’s performance keeps last chapter of the movie from feeling too much like Boogie Nights lite.

Still, predictable blurry hand held cocaine fueled scenes aside, it’s an exceptionally entertaining trip with incredible costumes, sets and a fantastically creepy Rob Lowe.

See more: Movies,TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on July 21, 2013

TV Shows »Supersizers Go

On The Cooking Channel

If your passionate about history and food look no further than Supersizers Go for a fun serving of both.

Brits Giles Coren and Sue Perkins, a food writer and comedian take on a different era each episode taking on the customs, dress and most importantly food of the time most often from the richest society.

They recreate actual menus from recipe and historical books.

By the end of the week they compare their overall health.

It’s fascinating to see how people used to eat and this is a great companion to the new York Public Library What’s on the Menu project.

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on February 13, 2012

TV Shows »Gia

Too Beautiful to Die, Too Wild to Live

When you’re playing the waiting game while pregnant, you’ve got to find things on a daily basis to get excited about. For me, the fact that Lifetime Movies Network was playing Gia, and that I had it taped was one exciting, alone time afternoon taken care of. The Angelina Jolie vehicle is the pinnacle of made for TV true stories and everyone is turned up to 11 with campy performances.

Faye Dunaway is channeling her most eye brow arching faux accent. Jolie is constantly growling and writhing. Mercedes Ruehl is spectacularly theatrical as the ignorant flawed mother. Even Juliet, that smirky doctor on Lost, is here, as a reluctant lover. Sprinkled throughout are token bitchy fashion gays, flamboyant photographers and even an embarrassing Anna Wintour type who declares stuff like “Now this is meat! This is sirloin!”

While the true story of Gia is quite tragic, she was one of the first casualties of AIDS, in HBO’s hands the lesson to not take drugs makes for entertaining TV. It’s definitely the most watchable thing Angelina’s been in. Campy gems like this only come along every once in a while.

Click here for the rest of Gia

See more: TV Shows

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on October 13, 2010

Movies »Irma Vep

directed by Olivier Assayas (1996)

Whether his work is always completely successful or not, Olivier Assayas is one of the most interesting film makers working today and his projects are engaging and memorable for their unique point of view and vitality. Irma Vep is probably his simplest work and one of my favorites.

In it, Hong Kong action star and dazzling charmer, Maggie Cheung is a stranger in Paris. Playing herself, she is cast in a French remake of the silent film classic Les Vampires. The film shines as an ode to movie making, but in a realistic way. Assayas is one of the few film makers who has a genuine interest in portraying creative working life as it really is. One could be forgiven for at first thinking this was a documentary, it balances a kinetic ballet of realism that reminds us of the best scenes from Altman movies, sans a major plot.

In fact, Irma Vep is rather aimless and subtle with not too much “happening” (in cinematic terms) but it’s never, ever boring – rather inspiring and exhilarating. From the off kilter and manically lovely costume designer, Zoe (played by Nathalie Richardson), to the fading, possibly insane and passionate director, Rene (played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, possibly channeling his one time director, Truffaut, whom he now resembles), you feel like you are watching the interactions of characters that are fully alive and real.

It’s visually striking and makes one sentimental about the transient, temporary and vibrant world of collaborative creative projects (especially if you’ve ever worked on a movie before). Irma Vep was released on Criterion Collection and is currently available on Netflix instant.

Click here for the rest of Irma Vep

See more: Movies

Be the first to leave a comment →
Posted on September 5, 2010

Movies »Amadeus

directed by Milos Forman (1984)

While working at home, it’s hard to decide on a background movie. If it’s foreign or too interesting, it’s a distraction, but if it’s too dull, I’d rather have nothing on. So, I’ve been delving into my very, very favorites and Amadeus has been one since I was a kid. Possibly the film I’ve watched more than any other, I can pretty much watch it with my eyes closed.

Milos Forman’s exquisite take on the legendary composer is based on the Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play. While the historical facts are played with, it’s a sensationally entertaining movie, with a perfect soundtrack and an amazing cast that for the most part was strangely rarely seen from again.

It’s the winner of numerous awards, including an Oscar for Best Picture, is available on instant netflix – there’s no excuse not to see it if you haven’t yet, or, like me, you can watch again for the thousandth time.

Click here for the rest of Amadeus

See more: Movies

One Comment →
Posted on August 1, 2010