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From the 2014 film, Whiplash:

An obsessed and driven student. An obsessed and driven teacher. And jazz.

Watch what comes before, then this pivotal scene, then the hypnotic rollout at the end…

Watch it more than once. Then ask yourself that question…where is that line?

 

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herzog
– from an interview with film-maker Werner Herzog

Werner-HerzogWerner Herzog in Los Angeles.
Photograph: For The Guardian by Dan Tuffs

[The first film of his I had seen was Aguirre, The Wrath of God with Klaus Kinski. Then Fitzcarraldo, again with Kinski. Quite an impressive combination of actor and director. Both worth viewing…again…]

Stephen Holden at The New York Times reviews the new Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche film, Words and Pictures:

Jack (Clive Owen), a garrulous, combative and alcoholic poet who has lost his creative mojo, is on the verge of being fired. He is an outspoken champion of the written word and is fearless about voicing a special loathing for social media’s reduction of literacy to tweets and text messages. His rants are witty and impassioned, and the examples he cites of world-changing literary passages convincingly bear out the truth of his conviction that much has been lost in the era of the instant message.

Damn the critics…now I have to see this movie…

Full review here…trailer here…Binoche’s original artwork for the film here

_DSC0836.NEFClive who?

[Thank you Holly for the film tip…]

Maureen Dowd relfects on the passing of NY Time’s editor, Arthur Gelb, and his love of “talented, neurotic, operatic women”:

One morning in 1951, he went to a small midtown hotel to interview “a new personality” handpicked by Colette to star in “Gigi” on Broadway.

“She opened the door and she was in her bathrobe,” he told me, “and she looked a little disheveled, and that was very exciting, and I found my heart pounding a little bit because she was so pretty close up. And she was so intelligent and she had humor and a kind of come-hither way when she talked to a man.”

He peppered her with so many questions, she told him they should finish up over dinner at the Plaza.

When he called Barbara (his wife) to tell her he had to work late interviewing Audrey Hepburn, his irritated bride replied, “You call that work?”

It’s that Brunette thing…I am such a boy…

tumblr_m59b6o4w8j1rrnekqo1_1280Audrey Hepburn reading at her apartment while filming Sabrina
photo by Mark Shaw, 1953
[more here…]

One of my favorite scenes from Midnight in Paris:

Corey Stoll was fantastic as Hemingway…so was Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Alison Pill as Zelda…Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein..Adrien Brody takes a marvelous turn as Salvadore Dali…then, of course, there’s Marion Cotillard as Adriana…the ultimate Brunette…

Now in the midst of To Rome, With Love

Titan turned into a toddler leaving barely enough dust on the ground to show the outline of a footprint. The media has packed up their hype and stored it under their desks just in case they get the chance to run the rest of the alphabet in the few weeks left to winter.

This morning we’re left with only breakfast decisions rather than waiting for the chain call about late openings and delayed shipments. This may go out like a lamb after all.

So following the Oscars and Pharrel’s front row dance with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, and along with Ellen’s tweeted selfie with her celebrity audience, we’re left with Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech for Best Actor to enjoy:

“So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say, ‘Amen.’ To that I say, ‘All right, all right, all right.’ To that I say ‘just keep living.”

What could be so bad about that?

winter-new-york-city-1947

Winter in New York City, 1947
Photo: Art Whittaker/New York Daily News

Staying with the film category for the moment…

Director John Krokidas talks to The Economist about the early lives of Kerouac, Ginsberg and Lucien Carr,  his subjects in the newly released beat-inspired film, Kill Your Darlings:

The daunting thing in taking on people who I admire was not to be overwhelmed by who they would become. I made a very conscious decision to focus on who they were at that particular point. Ginsberg was an awkward young guy, caretaker to a very ill mother (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), and a dutiful son. He wasn’t a rule-breaker, not yet.

I remember Jack Huston (who plays Jack Kerouac) was overwhelmed his first day on set, saying “Oh my God, I’m playing Kerouac.” And I said  “Actually, you’re not. You’re playing a guy named Jack. He’s from Massachusetts, he’s at Columbia on a football scholarship, and he’s beginning to realise that he thinks the jocks are a bunch of phonies. He wants to have life experiences, he wants to write.”

The problem in seeing a film like this is coming to terms with the myths that you’ve created yourself around these iconic characters. I wonder if that in itself will be the true vulnerability of the film…

Currently in very limited release…which is possibly how it should be…

Additional trailers here

kerouac_carr_ginsbergJack Kerouac, Lucien Carr and Alan Ginsberg

*I can’t find the proper attribution for the above photo – but found it on a memorial page written by David Amram that also adds to the history…

…and you know what you gotta do…

There…feel better now?

The famous Typewriter Song scene is from Lewis’s star turn in Who’s Minding The Store? (1963). Also stars Ray Walston, (definitely my favorite martian),  Jill St. John, and Agnes Moorehead.

What could be bad?

The Brunette and I wandered over to the local cinema last night to see Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine. Coming off multiple viewings of Midnight in Paris and his brief pokes at the wealthy class in the US, I was ready for a bit of the same. But this film was not so much a joke at the expense of the rich but something much more cruel.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the reviews and the basic story – Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine who plays the Ruth Madoff to Hal’s (Alec Baldwin) Bernie Madoff.  Hal is a real estate investor who constantly wanders off with his advisors to discuss corporate transfers and manipulations and makes promises of 20% annual safe returns to his clients which included Jasmine’s sister, Ginger and her struggling working class husband, Augie. As Madoff went so did Hal with a complete collapse of his empire leaving his investors dry of life savings including Augie who had won $200,000 in the lottery and came to Hal for business advice.

There is allusion in the reviews to A Streetcar Named Desire and rightly so but not necessary to enjoy the film.  Jasmine has taken a great fall from wealth and lives in the past glory that she once enjoyed. She is so connected to that former life that she is constantly lost in the past while living in the present and often found reliving that life audibly on the street. She sinks deeper and deeper into denial until you realize how seriously ill she is. She is one step short of that homeless woman you avoid on the street but now dressed in designer clothes.

You begin to hope for salvation for her and even when she is offered that chance in a new relationship with a Washington diplomat and political hopeful, rather than tell the truth, she weaves even greater lies into her story.  But then there is that inevitable moment when she is forced into confronting that past when she and her new boyfriend-about-to-be-fiancé run into her ex-brother-in-law Augie in a bitter exchange.

But there is one more revelation to come that will leave the audience with a collective groan. From there, the fall speeds up.

The film itself is good and Cate Blanchett is excellent. She is wonderful in the role as she delivers her story that is beautifully enhanced by her physical interpretation. She wears no masks in this film – her denial, illness, and fear is worn quite openly and she is not afraid to express it. Bobby Canavale also offers an excellent role as Ginger’s boyfriend Chili. There is one scene where he confront Ginger on her affair with another man and he looks as if he’ll turn into Gyp Rosetti any moment. But he doesn’t – Allen is not that kind of director. His violence in this movie is emotional not physical.

It’s a movie worth seeing. But don’t expect a typical Woody Allen film. And skip the popcorn – you won’t need the distraction.

From The Hairpin:

Even as a young child, Lamarr was beautiful. With her pitch black hair, porcelain white skin, and light, gray-green eyes, her mother called her “Snow White.” She was a stubborn, willful child; as she later told a fan magazine, “I used to run my head against stone walls, right through stone walls—and get hurt. But it was good for me. I learned. It is better to get such bumps young.”

Once in Hollywood, MGM gave her the treatment it gave all its would-be stars: elocution lessons (her English was poor-to-bad) and a slew of wardrobe, hair, and make-up tests. They put her in blonde wigs, fancy headdresses, and Shirley Temple curls, all horrible. Lamarr: “You know how it is when you wear an unbecoming hat? And you try to hide your head? That’s how it was with me.”

So MGM let Lamarr stay how she was—pitch-black hair, center part, soft waves, and eyelashes that went on forever.

From her first film, Algiers (1938), with Charles Boyer:

Paris. You remind me of Paris.

I am such a boy.

© Bill Israel

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