A Quick Note to Wes Anderson, a Great Filmmaker with a Spotty Track Record and Potential to Make a Masterpiece

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) (Photo credit: Bvu)

Hey Bro. I am fresh off Moonrise Kingdom and want to shoot a warning shot across your bow.

The film was a trifle but it had its moments. I am sure the cool kids in Brooklyn, Austin, L.A. and London loved it. But you are capable of making a much better movie and at this point in your career you really should have. Continue reading “A Quick Note to Wes Anderson, a Great Filmmaker with a Spotty Track Record and Potential to Make a Masterpiece”

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Get-Psyched Jam: a Definition

Get psyched jams aim to inspire. They’re daylight songs and workout songs and are not built for quiet contemplation (AKA: no one listens to them when they’re stoned unless they’re looking for a laugh). They are the songs procrastinators play when they absolutely have to start working. They are songs about conflict, overcoming adversity and defeating intimidating foe and challenges that seem insurmountable. They are odes to underdogs, sonnets of scrappiness and paeans for perseverance. And, more often than not, they’re songs featured in movies that explicitly state the plot or theme of the movie they are from. Continue reading “Get-Psyched Jam: a Definition”

Dial R for Remake

So I had some thoughts on remaking “Dial M for Murder.” Ten of them, in fact. Check them out!

10. The film’s origins on the stage are obvious, which limits the movie unnecessarily. The movie takes place almost entirely on a single set. This isn’t the only single set Hitchcock movie; Rope is similarly contained. But unlike Rope, which was made entirely in a series of long takes to give the film the illusion that an uninterrupted, real time story was unfolding, DMFM does not take advantage of the single set in any noticeable way. Key expository dialogue scenes occur, one in a row, on the same set. Split the scenes into two locations and you a far more dynamic approach to storytelling and the opportunity to create visual motifs and themes.

Continue reading “Dial R for Remake”

Wherefore Art Thou, Ray Milland?

Cropped screenshot of Ray Milland from the fil...
Image via Wikipedia

Just finished watching Dial M for Murder. Terrific picture. It’s been such a long time since I watched a good, chatty little classic movie that I forgot how much fun it is. Made me wish they would start turning plays into movies again: the whole thing took place on one set, and there was an “Intermission” title card dead center of the movie. It’s a Hitchcock film, but doesn’t really feel like a HITCHCOCK film, if you know what I mean: the editing was perfunctory and framing was serviceable. Also, I didn’t catch his cameo, assuming there was one.

As heartless as it is coldhearted, the movie follows a former tennis pro who tries to plan a perfect murder, then cunningly improvs after his plan fails. Some indie dude should remake it and lop off the back third. It would make for a tidy little downbeat miracle. Nonetheless, the final throws of the happy-ish ending are hilarious in how delicately the whole plot hinges on circumstantial evidence.

I’m not giving too much away, because I think all and sundry should slow down their heartbeats and give the movie their undivided attention for 105 minutes or so, if for nothing else than watching Ray Milland play a character with a mind like a snake. This is one sinister fucker, but he’s so smart and he has that charming way about him that can only be pulled off by a pure sociopath expertly pretending to understand what it means to be human.

After DMFM finished, Milland was two for two with me. I’ve seen him before in only one movie, and it’s an all time fav featuring him in every frame: The Man with X Ray Specs. I’ve seen that movie twice: one time was in Prospect Park with Pere Ubu playing accompaniment. That screening fulfilled every promise ever made by the synch up of Dark Side and Wizard of Oz. Also, they tacked on the urban legendary “I can still see” closing line (I know, I know, it’s deep nerd shit. But you’re reading an article by someone who’s actually read Roger Corman‘s autobiography. AND interviewed Don Rickles. Deep nerd shit’s gonna happen when TMWXRS comes up.).

Anyway. Obviously, now, I’m team Ray Milland.

So I dig in a little and find out he’s really two for three with me. Evidently he was also in The Lost Weekend, one of those old school movie classics that everybody should admit is inherently shitty. It’s an Oscar bait prototype with Milland playing a rummy on a bender where a whole bunch of inconsequential melodramatic bullshit ensues. It’s like basically your grandfather’s Leaving Last Vegas. 

So I’m kind of cold on Milland for a minute. Then the next big discovery brings it all to a boil. I’ll let the trailer below do the talking.