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Out on Screen

Out on Screen

Film and Television

Friday, October 03, 2014

Screen Savor: Mysterious Stranger

The ten-year anniversary blu-ray edition reissue of Mysterious Skin (Strand) opens with a new two minute intro by queer filmmaker Gregg Araki that neither adds nor detracts from the film. Mysterious Skin was the indie movie version of a perfect storm. The best film of Araki’s directing career, it was his first time adapting a novel, Scott Heim’s acclaimed first book of fiction, for the big screen. The film also contained Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie’s haunting score. But the real coup, for a low-budget indie, was the amazing cast.

Family dynamics are a crazy thing. Most families get along, or at least pretend to get along during holidays and special gatherings, and others just can’t be in the same room together without some unfortunate event taking place. The Altman family, from the new comedy-drama This is Where I Leave You, falls squarely into that second category. Oldest son Paul (Cory Stoll) feels like the “responsible” son who took control of the family business while his younger brothers fled their hometown. Middle son Judd (Jason Bateman) seems to have a successful career and marriage... on the surface, and youngest son Phillip (Adam Driver) is seen as the irresponsible one who is now dating a much older woman. Then there’s sister Wendy (Tina Fey) who seems more like a mother to them all than their actual mother.

Friday, September 19, 2014

(Un)American Horror

Only Lovers Left Alive (Sony Pictures Classics) looks and sounds like what you’d expect a contemporary Jim Jarmusch vampire movie to look and sound like; lots of interesting music and artfully shot scenes. If only it wasn’t so sluggish and overly long.

Cleverly named ageless British vampires Adam (Tom Huddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) have been married forever. There’s a photo of them, from their third wedding in 1868, which Eve admires. Like some long-married couples (see Dolly Parton and Carl Dean), Adam and Eve live in separate quarters in separate countries. Fittingly, he’s living in a ghost town called Detroit populated by young humans he refers to as zombies. She’s living in Tangier where she hangs out with Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Yes, that Christopher Marlowe.

Friday, September 19, 2014

‘The Drop’

I’ve not read a book by Dennis Lehane, but I have seen several of the movies based on his books (of which he is usually the credited screenwriter). Some of those films I have enjoyed and some I have not, mainly because they all seem to have a sort of commonality to them – cold, grey, extremely bleak, with nary a character you can actually root for (case in point: Mystic River). Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island were more successful, in my book, perhaps because the directors made the material interesting (and Shutter Island certainly divided audiences with its extremely ambiguous conclusion).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Screen Savor: Road Trips

Construction director Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is in the process of resolving as many “fuck-ups” as he’s creating in the one-man show Locke (IM Global). On the eve of the biggest concrete pour ever in Europe, Locke is in his BMW SUV, driving away, almost two hours to London, to be with Bethan (voiced by Olivia Colman), a woman who became pregnant with his baby after a one-night fling.

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