I’ll admit upfront — I’m not always a fan. I like a lot of movies that feature gay characters and storylines, like A Single Man and Brokeback Mountain, but when the film is specifically targeting a gay audience, I tend to feel excluded. Maybe I have a bias; maybe such pieces of entertainment have a recurring deficiency. Maybe a little of both.
I knew a little bit about Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up before watching it. I knew it was made in 1966. I knew the plot. I knew it inspired a Brian De Palma remake (Blow Out) starring John Travolta. But when I turned it on, I had two major revelations that proved I actually didn’t know much about the movie at all.
First: this movie is in color?
Second: this movie is in English?
As a kid, I got excited for summer movie season, because it brought sequels, superheroes, dinosaurs — that kind of thing. But the past few summers haven’t given us more than one or two blockbusters worth getting riled up about. These days, my event movies tend to be much smaller in scale, featuring powerhouse acting in favor of explosions and Oscar buzz in lieu of box office clout.
For a guy like me, fall is the new summer, because that’s when all the Academy Award hopefuls roll out. It’s starting already, with Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (which opened last weekend), and something at least mildly tantalizing opening just about every weekend until the new year. Yay!
And here I must admit to a major gap in my film education. I confess — this was my first foray into Truffaut territory. I am guilty as charged. (Certain cinematic purists would surely be appalled.)
And so here I am, popping my Truffaut cherry.
First of all, full disclosure: I hate Glee. Glee has experienced a bit of a backlash over the past year or so (due to a dip in quality, I hear — considering how bad it was at its peak, I shudder to think). But I hated Glee back when the entire rest of the human race was lapping up Ryan Murphy’s Kool Aid (or Slushee, I guess).
So I was pre-disposed to dislike The New Normal just as much or possibly moreso, both because of Murphy and also because the concept itself seemed such a desperate bid for pats on the back from a very specific demographic — to the extent that it should have been called either Hey, Liberals — Watch This! or Shove It, Republicans. (Not that I am vehemently opposed to telling hardcore right-wingers to shove it.)
The Oscars are coming!
I wouldn’t go so far as to call Fellini, Godard, and Kurosawa “household names,” but if you mention them to the average moviegoer, there’s a good chance they’ve heard of them, even if they can’t name one of their works. But mention Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (also known as “The Archers”), and you’re likely to get a blank stare instead.
Life’s tough for a pop culture aficionado. You can’t keep up with everything, and sometimes the buzziest properties aren’t available to you. I’m speaking specifically about HBO, home to a good many quality programs, which until recently I had no access to. The only series I’ve actually watched live on TV in the past three years is Season Five of Breaking Bad; otherwise there’s always plenty to catch up with on DVD or streaming.
But then — along comes a pop culture event so momentous that if you’re not in on it, you’re out in the socially irrelevant cold. And once you’re out, it can be very difficult to find your way back in again.
Continue reading “Get It, Girl: The Semi-Empowered Females Of HBO’s ‘Girls’ & ‘Veep’”
If you’re a serious cineaste, it’s trendy to harken back to the greats — the silent era, in particular — as innovative, vital, and untouchable in their greatness. Nostalgia for such films is what helped The Artist win Best Picture this year, and it’s likely the first silent film many people have ever seen (and may remain the only one they ever do).
There have probably been at least five episodes of this show that left me thinking, “Well, now Walt’s really evil.” Just when you think our antihero has crossed every line he could possibly cross, he goes just a little bit further.
Or, in the case of this week, he goes a lot further.