In David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, Al Pacino turns in his third performance of the last year as a man in the grips of a post-midlife crisis. This time he’s Angelo Manglehorn, a locksmith whose obsession with a lost love is preventing him from fully inhabiting his own life. Dreamily kind for the most part, but given to fits of furniture-hurling rage and truth-telling so blunt it borders on sadism, Manglehorn drifts through his own life, observing the often quirky people around him as if from a great, sad distance. In one emblematic scene, he happens upon a multiple-car pileup and strides down the line of automobiles as the slow-motion, blurred sound, and the bright red watermelon guts strewn over the cars (one of the vehicles was carrying a load of melons) give the whole thing a surrealistic vibe. His house looks depressed too: dimly lit and all dark, metallic colors, even the wood paneling tinted a faint, sickly green. His only hope of connection with another living being, aside from his beloved cat, appears to be Dawn (Holly Hunter), a demure bank teller with whom he plays out a painfully awkward, lurching courtship.
David Gordon Green (#1–10 of 16)
Theodore Melfi’s debut feature, St. Vincent, is a heartwarmer that never insults—exactly the opposite of what its protagonist, Vincent (Bill Murray), is supposed to be: a disgruntled drunk who nobody likes. Trading in the quiet, aloof, melancholic persona of his Lost in Translation and Broken Flowers characters, Murray at first seems to be going full grouch. Ultimately, though, Vincent turns out to be just the kind of character who aging actors play regularly these days: a curmudgeon with a heart of gold. (Fitting, then, that Jack Nicholson was apparently interested in the part before Murray.)
In his essay from the late 1940s entitled “Manners, Morals, and the Novel,” literary theorist Lionel Trilling, a member of the famed New York Intellectuals, stated that “pleasure in cruelty is licensed by moral indignation,” and would go on to claim the middle class as the group of people where such a strange aesthetic relationship often takes hold, designating moral indignation as their “favorite emotion.” Rich Hill exists in this space; detailing the lives of three separate, impoverished teen boys living in Rich Hill, MO, directors Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos allow their camera to probe and linger in spaces of disorder and grime, but without any discernible purpose other than gaining access to lower-class spaces—another popular pleasure created through middle-class distance. Rich Hill is poverty porn, and this isn’t simply because the film examines poverty, but because it does so with pity as its operative mode, engendering little more than a space for viewers to leave the film acknowledging its sadness.
1. “In State of the Union Address, Obama Vows to Act Alone on the Economy” After five years of fractious political combat, President Obama declared independence from Congress on Tuesday.
“The president’s appearance at the Capitol, with all the traditional pomp and anticipation punctuated by partisan standing ovations, came at a critical juncture as Mr. Obama seeks to define his remaining time in office. He touched on foreign policy, asserting that ’American diplomacy backed by the threat of force’ had forced Syria to give up chemical weapons and that ’American diplomacy backed by pressure’ had brought Iran to the negotiating table. And he repeated his plan to pull troops out of Afghanistan this year and threatened again to veto sanctions on Iran that disrupt his diplomatic efforts.” [For a full text of the speech, click here.]
- Alex Ross Perry
- barack obama
- ben foster
- david gordon green
- doris day
- ernest hemingway
- f. scott fitzgerald
- gravity's rainbow
- james joyce
- karina longworth
- lone survivor
- mark wahlberg
- Mel Gibson
- meryl streep
- michael atkinson
- michael koresky
- nat king cole
- Nick Pinkerton
- pauline kael
- state of the union
- terence davies
- the long day closes
- the passion of the christ
- thomas pynchon
- william faulkner
Junot Díaz on publishing’s retrograde politics.
Give back? Yes, it’s time for the 99% to give back to the 1%.
Screenwriter Robert Towne joins writing staff of Mad Men.
Richard Brody on the radicality of Chronicle of a Summer.
Pitchfork interviews Explosions in the Sky and David Gordon Green.
For those afraid that David Gordon Green had completely abandoned the lyrical style that marked such early films as George Washington and All the Real Girls for the crude stoner-comedy mode of Pineapple Express and Your Highness, well, it’s back in his latest film, Prince Avalanche, though perhaps not in the way one might have expected.
Simply on the level of tone, the film, a Judd Apatow-like bromance elevated to the realm of near-myth, is an extremely odd, deliberately jarring work—the kind of film where a tossed-off fart joke coexists with a mournful montage of a man, Alvin (Paul Rudd), contemplating the burned-out ruins of an old woman’s house. But the film has even weirder angles to it than that: how the old woman eventually turns out to be a ghost of some sort, and the how the leavening mysterious female presence offers a counterpoint to the broadly macho old-man ghost that offers Alvin and his fellow road worker, Lance (Emile Hirsch), drinks and, by extension, tempting them to indulge in their inner macho selves.
Will Smith supports President Obama’s “bravery.”
Check out this toxic Kansas town and its last remaining residents.
Nick Stahl is missing.
Is Internet Doomsday real?
After 25 years, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has finally revealed his real-life inspiration for the town of Springfield. D’oh!
How Bill Maher managed to occupy an important place in the national conversation.
Lollapalooza announces its lineup.
Paul MacInnes of The Guardian previews Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.
David Simon doesn’t want to tell you how to watch The Wire.
The New York Times was among the 1% allowed to experience Kraftwerk at MoMA.
Bitter, yes, but given all the black-clad “tastemakers” present at night one, not so much anymore.
- bill maher
- cannes film festival
- david gordon green
- David Simon
- edward copeland
- fox news
- gary ross
- Marion Cotillard
- matt groening
- museum of modern art
- nathan rabin
- paul macinnes
- rich juzwiak
- ridley scott
- Robert Altman
- rust and bone
- the guardian
- the hunger games
- the iron lady
- the new york times
- the player
- the simpsons
Why Detroit loves Clint Eastwood.
And that Eastwood ad was David Gordon Green’s best work in years.
The White House responds to Virginia anti-gay adoption bill.
Press Play kicks off its Oscar-prediction coverage.
Amazon stores might invade your neighborhood.
Josh Melnick and Water Murch in conversation.
Simpsons dolls banned in Iran as “promoters of Western culture.”
As a Southern-gothic fairy tale about post-Katrina New Orleans, Beasts of the Southern Wild could have easily turned out to be a crass and unwittingly exploitative work. Co-writer/director Ben Zeitlin’s fanciful approach to his understandably touchy subject matter theoretically seems glib. Thankfully, every time Zeitlin and co-writer Lucy Alibar threaten to oversimplify their story with mawkishly twee sentimentality, they steer the film’s elemental narrative in another direction. The hopefulness that viewers take away from the film, the most buzzed-about title at this year’s Sundance, feels earned thanks to Zeitlin and Alibar’s focus on their characters’ fears of imminent abandonment and annihilation. As a film about the seductive and essential power of hope, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a warm, accomplished, and fitting tribute to the fighting spirit of New Orleans.
This is the film you might get if Terry Gilliam conflated David Gordon Green’s George Washington with Alice in Wonderland. We follow Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), a six-year-old girl that lives with her single father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in a remote region of New Orleans only referred to as “The Bathtub.” Since Hushpuppy spends much of her time by herself, all of her fears are filtered through a convoluted system of icons and symbols. This proves that she’s a product of her environment. She listens to animals and people’s hearts because her father has a heart condition, fears cannibalism after a Bathtub resident teaches her that all living things are “meat,” and even fantasizes about wild rampaging boars because Wink has a big fat black hog on his farm.