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Showing posts from July, 2019

Watch: Gaspar Noe's ENTER THE CATS

It's been quite the day for trailers. Ad Astra. It Chapter Two. Top Gun: Maverick. But I don't think anyone was REALLY ready for the promised "digital fur technology" of Tom Hooper's Cats. The trailer is pure nightmare fuel.

While watching it, the first thing that struck me was how dark and dreadful the film looked. Like physically and literally. I started thinking about how the film would probably be enjoyable while on some drugs. Then I started fixating on a shot of Idris Elba on top of a multi-colored lit building and the poster for Gaspar Noe's Enter The Void suddenly popped in my head. And after that, there was no turning back...

Trailer Alert: James Gray's space epic "Ad Astra"

It's no secret that I greatly admireJames Gray's The Lost City of Z. So his upcoming operatic space drama Ad Astra has been of great interest to me. While the first trailer certainly was intriguing, the second trailer (which 20th Century Fox released today) works like gangbusters. Tonally, it fits more in the Gray cinematic canon -- i.e. it's introspective, it has stirring orchestral music and focuses on another father-son dynamic. Think about it. Joaquin Phoenix felt an obligation to do the right thing for his cop father Robert Duvall in We Own The Night. Phoenix also felt an obligation to keep his father's dry cleaning business alive -- and therefore making his social and romantic life impotent -- in Two Lovers. In The Lost City of Z, a final father-son exploration back into South America proves tragic. And now Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut who goes looking for his estranged astronaut father (Tommy Lee Jones) in deep space.

For me, this trailer gets every…

#InformedImages: Thom Yorke and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Anima"

#InformedImages is a Free Cinema Now series that studies and brings to light influential films and other examples of moving images that informed and inspired specific visuals in later works.

Paul Thomas Anderson shocked a lot of cinephiles last week when he dropped a new musical short film -- Anima -- on Netflix. Anima is a creative collaboration with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke; it immediately drew comparisons to Buster Keaton from several film writers. The Keaton comparison is fine and all but it is kind of a lazy summation in my opinion. To me, PTA's Punch-Drunk Love was more of a Buster Keaton homage if anything (just look at the sequence where Adam Sandler runs from the Four Blonde Brothers outside of a 99¢ Only Store).

I feel that Anima comes from a perfect storm of pretty random inspirations. Among them, some Bergman (Persona) and McQueen (Shame). The centerpiece of Anima, I believe, is a direct offspring of the 1989 Oscar-winning animated short film Balance. This extended…