The House


Hannibal

Last night's episode of Hannibal, "Contorno," is both conveniently and poetically ludicrous. Repetition has inescapably set into this season's Italian sojourn, which partially accounts for why last week's superb American flashback episode, "Aperitivo," felt so sharp. It's beyond time for Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) to be caught in Florence by Will (Hugh Dancy) or Jack (Laurence Fishburne), or even Mason (Joe Anderson), and returned to America to face his sins while presumably counseling a variety of enforcers on the behavior of other ingenious master killers. The show's dream logic has nearly reached a breaking point, as certain visual motifs are coming dangerously close to courting self-parody, such as when Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino) uses a payphone and the audience is treated to a rapturous, slow-mo sequence of the quarter tumbling down the change slot. When Jack spreads Bella's ashes in a canal, the visual device makes emotional sense, but this is...a quarter. One awaits the pornographic opening of a Sprite bottle.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: bryan fuller, contorno, fortunato cerlino, gillian anderson, hannibal, hugh dancy, Joe Anderson, laurence fishburne, mads mikkelsen, recap


Jason Segel

1. "The Rewriting of David Foster Wallace." Christian Lorentzen on the author's ever-morphing legacy.

"Nobody owns David Foster Wallace anymore. In the seven years since his suicide, he's slipped out of the hands of those who knew him, and those who read him in his lifetime, and into the cultural maelstrom, which has flattened him. He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other."

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: a poem is a naked person, angelo muredda, christian lorentzen, david foster wallace, ela bittencourt, film comment, gaspar noé, gay marriage, john lasseter, les blank, Love, piotr szulkin, pixar, supreme court of the united states


Summer of '90: Die Hard 2

Die Hard 2

"What if a demon crept after you into your loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to you: 'This life, as you live it at present, and have lived it, you must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to you again, and all in the same series and sequence—and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and you with it, you speck of dust!'—Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth, and curse the demon that so spoke? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment in which you would answer him: 'You are a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!'" — Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882, trans. Thomas Common

"How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice???" —John McClane, Die Hard 2, 1990

Most sequels try to hide from their derivative essence. This holds especially true for action sequels in the 1980s and 1990s, where plots, characters, and especially catchphrases are recycled once, twice, even five times, exalting in the security of their cookie-cutter form while pretending their predecessors hadn't done it all before. The Rambos of the world seemed to fit the latter answer to Nietzsche's hypothetical; eternal return gave them superhuman power, and big box-office revenues. What's one more sequel if it means a profitable new Paul Kersey adventure? But Die Hard 2 is no ordinary sequel. In almost every way, it embraces the former answer to Nietzsche's question. Die Hard 2 and its hero, John McClane (Bruce Willis), both revel and despair in the poetic absurdity of the story's premise.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: bruce willis, Dennis Franz, die hard 2, friedrich nietzsche, Renny Harlin, summer of 90, William Sadler


Supreme Court

1. "Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide." In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the court ruled, 5-4, that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage

"'No longer may this liberty be denied,' Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. 'No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.' Marriage is a 'keystone of our social order,' Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking 'equal dignity in the eyes of the law.' The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance—or at least stalling—in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions."

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: adam cook, amir ganjavie, gay marriage, jelani cobb, jia zhang-ke, legend, rape, Sean Baker, sonia saraiya, supreme court of the united states, tangerine, tom hardy


True Detective

There's stigmata of sorts forming on the ceiling above Frank Semyon's (Vince Vaughn) bed. Two water-stained eyes stare down at him, transfixing and keeping him awake, for in that casual decay he sees the fragility of the world. As he puts it, "It's like everything is papier-mâché." After all, he had "gone liquid" for his land deal with the Catalyst Group, and now that his middleman, Ben Caspere, has been tortured and murdered, all he has to show for his five-million-dollar investment is a double mortgage on his home and his poker room; his possessions, in other words, are as paper-thin as the money that bought them. And if his physical belongings aren't real, as he muses to his wife (Kelly Reilly), then isn't it possible that his life is also a dream? That he's still locked in a childhood nightmare, staving off rats in the darkness while waiting for his drunk of a father to come home?

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: Abigail Spencer, adria arjona, C.S. Lee, colin farrell, night finds you, rachel mcadams, recap, Ritchie Coster, taylor kitsch, true detective, vince vaughn, w. earl brown, yara martinez


Hannibal

The title of last night's episode of Hannibal, "Aperitivo," is a reference to an alcoholic drink served at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the appetite. Correspondingly, the episode functions as a tone-setter and palette cleanser, sketching in the events that immediately transpired in the wake of the titular character's rampage at the end of the last season. Conventionally, this should have been the first episode of this season, but what fun would that be? Up until now, creator Bryan Fuller and his collaborators have cast a disorienting pall over the series by pointedly refusing to provide us the American context of the events following last season's finale, leaving us feeling as estranged and uprooted as Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), Will (Hugh Dancy), and Jack (Laurence Fishburne). Resisting a chronological structure, shunning a typical "procedural" narrative in which events cleanly flow into one another, Hannibal captures the irrationally circular nature of grief, which inspires the mind to go searching about randomly, looking at events of both great and seemingly minor consequence, replaying them and recasting them in sheens that serve to accommodate emotional realms in constant flux.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: aperitivo, gina torres, glenn fleshler, hannibal, hugh dancy, laurence fishburne, mads mikkelsen, Raul Esparza, recap


Barack Obama

1. "Just a chat with your friendly neighborhood president." President Obama spent an hour Friday in a garage in Highland Park with comedian Marc Maron, taping an episode of Maron's "WTF" podcast.

"There were limits, of course. An unguarded politician is a contradiction in terms, where oversharing is a comic's stock in trade: You take your darkest garbage and spread it around on the table for a laugh. And yet the curious mix of introspection and extroversion that creates a comic is surely not foreign to many politicians—though one senses from this president that, like some performers and politicians, he does not need to look for approval outside himself. (Obama: 'Stuff that was buggin' ya, by the time you're 53, either you've worked it out or you've just forgiven yourself and you've said, 'Look, this is who I am.' 'Maron: 'Oh, I've got to write that down—I can just forgive myself?') Politicians live in the future; they plan, they predict, they promise. What the president says in light of a tragedy like the Charleston shootings, which the two discussed, has to consider both the awfulness of the moment and the better, saner place we might get to; declaring himself an optimist, Obama described Americans as 'overwhelmingly good, decent generous people' who are divided by politics and 'a media that is so splintered now that we're not in a common conversation.' Comedy can also take you to a better, saner place, by making you think and by making you laugh, but it is not in the business of delivering hope. It has a different slant on the human condition."

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: barack obama, eli roth, garden of allah, inside out, manohla dargis, marc maron, pixar, richard brody, seth macfarlane, ted 2, the green inferno, wesley morris


The Third Man

1. "Martin Scorsese on The Third Man: The best revelation in all cinema." The Hollywood director Martin Scorsese reveals how Carol Reed's classic British noir from 1949 has influenced him and why it feels as fresh as ever.

"[That] leads right into the great revelation of Harry Lime in the doorway with the cat—which is iconic. But it's more than that—it's one of the great epiphanies in movies: the cat turning the corner and nestling itself on those wing-tip shoes, and then Harry Lime being revealed when the light is turned on in the doorway and it shines in his face. Remember Walker Percy's great novel The Moviegoer? He refers to that moment in such a beautiful, special way. It became a moment internationally, a shared experience for a vast audience seeing that film. It's not just a dramatic revelation—there's something about Orson Welles' smile at that point that shifts everything to another level, and it sustains no matter how many times you see it. Welles comes into the picture about halfway through. That's the first time you actually see him, after you've spent so much time picturing him in your mind because everyone has been talking about him and thinking about him. So that might be the best revelation—or the best reveal, as they say—in all of cinema."

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: Ashley Clark, carol reed, hbo, james cameron, james horner, Jennie Livingston, los angeles review of books, marlon brando, martin scorsese, michelle chihara, Paris Is Burning, richard brody, sleeping with other people, terrence rafferty, the third man, titanic, true detective


Days of ThunderI was just a little tyke when Days of Thunder opened in June of 1990, still vroom-vrooming toy cars on the beige carpet of my parents' living room and in need of an occasional diaper change. That description also fits director Tony Scott's film, which routinely resembles what would happen if a dozen dudes who like to slug cheap beer and talk about engine pistons were given $60 million to make a masturbatory fantasy about stock car racing. However, to say Days of Thunder is about anything more than ego tripping gives Scott and screenwriter Robert Towne too much credit. Towne frontloads the script with endless racing jargon and Scott's got his trusty filter collection on his right hip, drawing monochromatic reds, blues, and greens as fast as thunder, er, lightning, which muffles and masks the film's core, male melodrama.

The American flag. The Confederate flag. The Pepsi flag. All fly at full mast during the film's opening credits through a succession of shots that would function as auto-critique of national-cum-corporate exploitation were they not part and parcel with producer Jerry Bruckheimer's own, still freshly minted brand of hyper-capitalist blockbuster cinema. Bruckheimer's corporate circle-jerking is even fluidly integrated into Towne's script: When Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise) explains his orientation to racing, he mentions how "the coverage on ESPN is excellent." Cruise's boyish bravado naturalizes the rep, another tacit formation of the Bruckheimer mold, where charisma compliments commerce and obfuscates insidious dealings in conglomerate mitosis.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: days of thunder, hans zimmer, jerry bruckheimer, michael rooker, nicole kidman, robert duvall, robert towne, summer of 90, the two jakes, tom cruise, tony scott


Jaws

1. "How Jaws took a bite out of America." Glenn Kenny on how, forty years ago, a little movie filmed on Martha's Vineyard changed everything.

"Watching Jaws today, the film shows its age from the very start. The cheesy TV-movie typeface of the credits, the hair and clothes, the normalization of smoking — all very '70s. But there's more. Jaws, especially relative to its more frenetic ostensible inheritors, has a control and a coherence that's cinematically classical, as opposed to classic. It doesn't shrug off death the way so many of today's big summer movies do. Five people fall victim to the shark in Spielberg's movie. Asked how many people were killed in his 2013 blockbuster Man of Steel, director Zack Snyder replied, 'Probably five thousand.' Jaws takes its time, letting the horrors wrought by the shark's destructive path sink in. Actress Lee Fierro, as the mother of a young child killed by the beast, has one of the film's most memorable moments when she slowly approaches Roy Scheider's Sheriff Brody and then slaps him in the face, saying: 'My boy is dead. I wanted you to know that.'"

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: bilge ebiri, cinema scope, ex machina, glenn kenny, j. hoberman, jaws, jonathan rosenbaum, li'l quinquin, new museum, stanislaw lem, steven spielberg, studio museum, terry gilliam, the criterion collection, the fisher king, the new york times, the wire, wet hot american summer: first day of camp







The HouseCategories



The HouseThe Attic

More »



Site by  Docent Solutions