The Friday 5/21/2021

Ida Lupino: Road House

My piece for the Scarecrow blog this week, and etc.

Shrek 2/Shrek the Third/Shrek Forever After. “Never really warmed up to the franchise in the first place.”

If you will, pull up a barstool and listen to my new episode of “The Music and the Movies,” in which I host an hour called “The Film Noir Lounge,” a collection of songs performed in the piano bars and road houses and nightclubs of film noir. I had fun with this one; it’ll be online until 5/30 or so.

And still a couple of days to hear “Coen Brothers Jukebox,” my curation of songs from the films of those guys. A new episode of “M&M” plays Sunday night at 7.

Three vintage reviews posted this week at my other website, What a Feeling! Here we have ’80s reviews for: Rick King’s Hotshot, a soccer movie with Pele; Diane Keaton’s Heaven, a super-quirky documentary about the afterlife (does anybody even remember this exists?); and David Anspaugh’s Hoosiers, a beloved sport picture about which I had reservations.

Boyhood Origins (This Week’s Movies)

Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane: a fragment of time in Boyhood

Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane: a fragment of time in Boyhood

Links to reviews I wrote this week for the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Boyhood. “Linklater calls for us to re-imagine how we treat movies and childhood.” (Here’s the SW version, in case of Herald paywall blockage.)

Cannibal. “The film is so beautifully lighted and framed that it’s almost as though Carlos is calling the shots, creating a movie world in which everything fits neatly into place.” (SW version.)

I Origins. “Once again the rationalists are forced to examine their atheistic beliefs – as they so often are in movies.” (SW version.)

And So It Goes. “The cranky-guy formula with very mild results.”

New installment of the Overlook Podcast ready for you: Put in the earbuds as former KUOW host Steve Scher and I talk about Mike Cahill’s I Origins and the tradition of films that favor the mystical over the rational. Check in here.

I turned up on KIRO radio’s “Mark Rahner Show” again last week, and we talked about The Purge: Anarchy, after which I stuck around for an exciting session of “Focus Group.” That hour is here; I come in halfway through.

Take a look at last month’s Framing Pictures panel, in which talkers Richard T. Jameson, Kathleen Murphy and I go over the likes of Snowpiercer, Jersey Boys, Edge of Tomorrow, and The Rover. Watch it online here. It’s also broadcast tonight at 8:30 on the Seattle Channel (likely channel 21 hereabouts).



Town & Country (The Cornfield #44)

I’m reprinting a few reviews from 2001. And besides, one had to address the unending demand for more material on Town & Country.

When Charlton Heston is the funniest thing in a comedy, you’ve got problems. Such is the case with Town & Country, the star-crossed film that strands a group of talented people in what appears to be a floating wax museum. This long-delayed, $80 million picture deserves to be reviewed not on its budget or its production problems but whether it provides a reasonable amount of diversion, so let us stick to what’s on the screen.

It’s still pretty bad. The movie opens in tired “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” form: Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton are fabulously rich Manhattan architects. In the opening moments, we learn that Beatty has strayed from his marriage, into a dalliance with Nastassja Kinski’s fantasy babe (i.e., she’s sexy, cheerful, and undemanding of anything other than the occasional afternoon liaison). The glamorous architects are friends with Garry Shandling and Goldie Hawn, whose marriage comes apart when Hawn spies Shandling in the midst of an affair.

The rest of the picture criss-crosses their problems. Beatty and Hawn go to Mississippi to check out her country home, and enjoy a brief coupling. Beatty and Shandling go to Sun Valley to relax at Shandling’s country cabin, where they meet up with a literary cashier (Jenna Elfman) and an apparently psychotic socialite (Andie MacDowell). Beatty visits MacDowell’s parents (a gun-toting Heston and Marian Seldes) at their Idaho lodge, where he and MacDowell snuggle in bed with a lot of stuffed animals with cutesy names. This is how Heston gets to the point of speaking the line, “I know Floppy well,” which was one of the only things in the movie that made me laugh.

Garry Shandling carves some moments out of this, by virtue of his signature stammering and whining. Hawn reminds us of her perky physique, which is undeniable, but Diane Keaton can’t do much of anything, having no character to play. There’s only the occasional flicker of directorial oddness from Peter Chelsom, who made Hear My Song and Funny Bones into delightful odes to directorial oddness.

The stitched-together feel is enhanced by Beatty’s spotty voiceover, which appears at the beginning and then disappears for about an hour. Eventually the movie comes around to a Beatty speech about fidelity and commitment (as in Love Affair, another toneless comedy on the same subject). It is tempting to conclude that this is the legendary womanizer’s way of publicly atoning for his past; but that’s a lot of money to spend for a confessional, especially one with so little entertainment value.