WEIRDLAND: September 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Matt Damon ("Something Else") video

Matt Damon ("Something Else") video from Kendra on Vimeo.


Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011) directed by George Nolfi

Matt Damon and Anna Paquin in "Margaret" (2011) directed by Kenneth Lonergan

Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson in "We bought a Zoo" (2011) directed by Cameron Crowe

Matt Damon ("Something Else") video featuring stills of Matt Damon and his female co-stars. Songs "Hate it Here" by Wilco, "One of these days" by The Velvet Underground, "I'm Bewildered" by Richard Berry, "C'mon Everybody" & "Something' Else" by Eddie Cochran, "Walk & Talk it" by Lou Reed, "I forgot to remember to forget" by Elvis Presly and "Ooh Wee Baby" by Jeff Barry.

Jake Gyllenhaal remembers his first kiss!

Long before he was Jake Gyllenhaal the "movie star," the "Prisoners" actor was Camp Walt Whitman's self-proclaimed "canoe master." The 32-year-old actor opened up to MTV News about his years spent at the New England sleep-away camp, including his first kiss. Listen up!

OK, I’ll say it: my first kiss was with Emily Simon. I’ll say it. I’ll say that right now. Well her name is Emily Simon. It was a very special moment so why wouldn’t I [say it here]; it’s respectful of both parties,” Jake recently told MTV News. Watch the video below! Source: www.mtv.com

One of his first kisses on-screen: Jake Gyllenhaal kissing Marley Shelton in "Bubble Boy" (2001) directed by Blair Hayes

Jake Gyllenhaal kissing Jena Malone in "Donnie Darko" (2001) directed by Richard Kelly

Jake Gyllenhaal and his girlfriend Alyssa Miller sharing an intimate kiss on Saturday afternoon (September 21) in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City.

Jake Gyllenhaal on his love of stage, Whitey Bulger (Matt Damon & Ben Affleck)

Asked about a return to the West End in a radio interview with Magic FM, the Brokeback Mountain and Donnie Darko star replied: "Definitely. I love it here and I loved working here on the stage." Gyllenhaal proceeded to drop a massive hint to one prospective employer, heaping praise on Kevin Spacey's star-led programming at the Old Vic. "The Old Vic is such an incredible institution and an amazing theatre space," he continued. "I would love to work there. And if that temptation calls, I will answer in one way or another."

This Is Our Youth (written by Kenneth Lonergan) has proved a star-maker of a play, and Gyllenhaal's fellow actors in that production included Star Wars' Hayden Christensen and Anna Paquin, now best known for True Blood.

Later casts included Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Alison Lohman, while Juno actor Michael Cera led a Sydney Opera House production last year. Source: www.theguardian.com

Matt Damon and Anna Paquin in "Margaret" (2011) directed by Kenneth Lonergan

Warner Bros is making a deal with Aaron Stockard to do script work on the Whitey Bulger movie that Ben Affleck plans to direct, with Matt Damon playing New England’s most notorious gangster and a man who has inspired numerous movie and TV bad guys, most recently played by James Woods on the Showtime series Ray Donovan. Affleck and Damon are producing through their Warners-based Pearl Street banner.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in "Good Will Hunting" (1997) directed by Gus Van Sant.

The script was originated by Boardwalk Empire creator and writer Terrence Winter, and the hiring of Stockard shows that Affleck and Damon are serious even though there is a rival project, Black Mass, that threatens to go into production first. Stockard worked with Affleck as a writer on his directing vehicles Gone Baby Gone and The Town.

Deadline broke the story on the film in late 2011, and the plan is for Affleck to also co-star along with Damon and his brother Casey Affleck, making it a real Good Will Hunting reunion. Source: www.deadline.com

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jake Gyllenhaal: "Prisoners" interviews, next project: "Everest"


Of course, there's a flip side to playing a watchful, observant loner. "The character is hiding from his own thing. He's scared of his past. I wanted that in the scenes. But it sometimes took me away from my real life. I haven't worked since that. I'm about to start working again. It took a while to not look at everybody and question them. 'What's your truth?' Everyone is like, '(Expletive) off. Go deal with your truth,'" says Gyllenhaal.
The finished product is challenging to sit through, especially for a parent, because it's the manifestation of every mother and father's nightmare: children going missing while playing outdoors in a bucolic neighborhood. "My wife watching it was literally gripping my hand. As far as my character goes, my wife would go further. She would lay waste to an entire landscape. There's a lioness, that's my wife," says Jackman. Though Gyllenhaal doesn't have kids, he spends ample time with his nieces Ramona and Gloria, the daughters of big sister Maggie. But Jackman is the dad of Oscar, 13, and Ava, 8 — he understands just how brutal the subject matter is.
"Even reading the script, I felt the pit in my stomach. The key was being specific. The more research I did about it, the more I felt that weight of responsibility. Every day in the papers this story is played out," he says. Source: www.usatoday.com

Jake Gyllenhaal - Los Angeles Times portrait

 -You're next working on Everest. Did your experience with Bear Grylls on Man vs Wild help you prepare?

 -With Everest, it's a story that I've always been fascinated with - even as just a metaphor. The idea of what is seemingly unattainable, but the reasons why people go there and try and as they say "conquer" a mountain. That is a fascinating turn of phrase. That somehow getting to the top of it is conquering it. Source: www.gq-magazine.co.uk

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Free Ride", "Neo Noir", Crime dramas

“Free Ride” is a true crime drama set in 1978. Anna Paquin leads as Christina Milland, a downtrodden mother of two who decides there’s nothing left for her family in blue-collar Ohio, so relocates to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The weather, lifestyle, and her new job cleaning houses in a wealthy neighborhood are invigorating, however, eventually, Christina comes to want more for her family and realizes that she can get it by teaming up with a marijuana cartel to put those big, empty mansions to use. Source: www.shockya.com

Arriving home literally with blood on her hands, Lisa tries to make sense of what happened and her role in it, polling the adults in her life on how best to proceed. She confides in her mother, Joan (the delicately forceful J. Smith-Cameron), an actress whose new play is receiving rave notices and who's embarking on her own perilous interior journey involving a South American suitor (Jean Reno). She talks with her geometry teacher (Matt Damon), a handsome, transplanted Midwesterner with an idealistic streak. She pulls away from her friends but strikes up a relationship with a teenage boy who's clearly trouble (Kieran Culkin). Eventually she meets a woman named Emily (Jeannie Berlin), with whom she becomes schooled in the minutiae of wrongful-death suits. Source: www.washingtonpost.com


Scene from "Margaret" (2011) directed by Kenneth Lonergan, starring Anna Paquin & Matt Damon

Matt Damon in "Rounders" (1998) directed by John Dahl

There's humor in the film, especially when a lot of professional players find themselves at the same table in Atlantic City, and Mike's droll voice-over narration describes the unsuspecting suckers who sit down at the table. ("We weren't working with one another, but we weren't working against one another, either. It's like the Nature Channel; you don't see piranhas eating each other.") The movie was directed by John Dahl, whose "Red Rock West" and "The Last Seduction" are inspired neo-noirs. "Rounders" sometimes has a noir look but it never has a noir feel, because it's not about losers (or at least it doesn't admit it is). Source: www.rogerebert.com

Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan in "The Departed" (2006)

Best Director-winning Martin Scorsese's viciously-violent Best Picture crime neo-noir tale The Departed (2006) was a remake of Siu Fai Mak's Infernal Affairs (2002, HK), and told about reciprocally-planted 'moles' (or rats) within both the South Boston Irish-American mob Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), led by mobster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), and the Massachusetts State Police Department Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio)

Ben Affleck and Diane Lane in "Hollywoodland" (2006)

Allen Coulter's noirish mystery Hollywoodland (2006) retold (in flashback) the unusual circumstances surrounding the death of TV's Superman in 1959, George Reeves (Ben Affleck) through the investigation of down-and-out PI Louis Simo (Adrien Brody)
Source: www.filmsite.org

The cover art for the video rental release emphasized the sex appeal of the film’s femme fatale – an emotionally erratic good-time girl portrayed by Virginia Madsen - despite the fact that the character has relatively little screen time and appears mostly in short flashbacks as the film’s typically flawed hero tries to piece together the plot, while the unimaginative tagline of “Hot kiss, cold sweat, last chance” provided few clues to narrative content beyond suggesting elements of jeopardy and sexuality.

The art-house circuit was been served by such auteur pieces as Trouble in Mind from Alive Films and House of Games from Orion. Adult audiences were catered to by numerous Cannon Films productions such as 52 Pick Up (John Frankenheimer, 1986), Murphy’s Law (Thompson, 1986), and Tough Guys Don’t Dance (Norman Mailer, 1987) before the cycle of Jim Thompson adaptations that started at the end of the decade with The Kill Off from Cabriolet Films and was swiftly followed by After Dark, My Sweet (James Foley, 1990) from Avenue Pictures and The Grifters (Stephen Frears, 1990) from Miramax.

The Hot Spot (Dennis Hopper, 1990) would cast Don Johnson, Jennifer Connelly, and Slam Dance siren Virginia Madsen; and Hopper appeared as a hitman in Red Rock West with Nicolas Cage and Lara Flynn Boyle. Romeo is Bleeding (Peter Medak, 1993) is one of the more peculiar examples of star packaging, with a British leading man (Gary Oldman) and a Swedish co-star (Lena Olin) heading a cast that otherwise comprises two supporting actresses who never quite achieved genuine stardom (Anabella Sciorra and Juliette Lewis) and a veteran of numerous earlier attempts at noir revival (Roy Scheider).

Levy argues that “neo-noir in the 1990s is loaded with the excesses of overeager directors, playing with noir’s ominous shadows and tough-guy poses to make their own contributions,” referring to the proliferation of such product during this period. Also, production costs and the salaries of even mid-range stars had increased to the point that post-studio film noirs like Romeo is Bleeding – which was produced by Polygram Filmed Entertainment and grossed $3.2 million against a budget of $11.5 million – could no longer rely on the video rental market to propel their returns into the realm of profitability. The escalating production cost of such independent noirs as Romeo is Bleeding had taken the genre from the low-budget realms of Blood Simple into the industrial middle range, severely limiting the profit potential of a niche genre.

The writer-director John Dahl has specialized in film noir for much of his career and is responsible for the independent noirs Kill Me Again, Red Rock West, and The Last Seduction, each of which followed a similar path to audience appreciation. These three films were financed by, respectively, Propaganda Films, Red Rock Films, and ITC Entertainment, with Kill Me Again costing $4 million,43 Red Rock West costing $8 million,44 and The Last Seduction costing $2.5 million. They were initially screened at festivals and received positive reviews, but they were not picked it up for distribution, possibly because Dahl’s film noirs seemed too low-key for the major cinema chains, yet they were too proficient as genre pieces to appeal to film students.

Kill Me Again found a home at MGM/UA while Red Rock West was picked up by Columbia and The Last Seduction was sold to independent distributor October Films. In the short term, each of Dahl’s films became a victim of what in industry parlance is called “dumping”; this means that the distributors did not have sufficient commercial confidence in their purchases so they were quietly sent to cable television or video. This, however, proved to be the best thing that could have happened to each film. Kill Me Again, Red Rock West, and The Last Seduction attracted audience attention on the small screen, where an adult audience that was being ill-served by big screen releases was able to enjoy their twisted narratives of cross and double-cross.

Many critics became champions of the director, with Ebert commenting that, “The Last Seduction is the second amazing film I’ve seen by John Dahl, whose Red Rock West was a sleeper hit in early 1994. He makes movies so smart and cynical that the American movie industry doesn’t know how to handle him.” After taking a look at Red Rock West with a view to its theatrical prospects, the independent marketing consultant Peter Graves concluded that “the film doesn’t fall neatly into any marketable category. A western film noir isn’t something people can immediately spark to.”

Blood Simple, with its Texas setting and similarly plotted tale of a duplicitous wife, husband, and fall-guy trying to outwit each other against the desert landscape, had proved otherwise a decade earlier, but the success of that film had obviously been forgotten by industry marketers. However, belated theatrical runs were arranged for each film based on their enthusiastic reception on the cable channel HBO or the home video market. Although Kill Me Again and Red Rock West were sold to studios, their theatrical releases were handled by independent distributors, with Interstar grossing $283,69449 for the former and Roxie’s release of the latter proving more successful with a $2.5 million gross.50 October Films released The Last Seduction themselves after selling the cable rights to HBO, where it debuted months before the theatrical run, with the film grossing $6.1 million at the box office.

Even though Dahl’s films eventually enjoyed theatrical exposure, the unlikely manner by which they reached the big screen serves to show how studio dominance had restricted distribution channels for even superior examples of independent noir. Within the context of the home video market, Dahl’s films – like such similar independent offerings as The Hot Spot and Romeo is Bleeding – were not only competing with the multiple copies of recent big-budget studio blockbusters that were being regularly added to the shelves at Blockbuster, but with cheaper, sleazier versions of their brand of film noir.

Video noirs such as Woman of Desire (Robert Ginty, 1994), Payback, Hourglass (C. Thomas Howell, 1996), and The Last Seduction II (Terry Marcel, 1999) offer blatant low-budget imitations of genre classics like Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) and The Postman Always Rings Twice with more explicit sex scenes at regular narrative intervals. The Last Seduction II was not an unofficial remake of an earlier film noir classic but a sequel to a recent critical and commercial success. -"A Companion to Film Noir" (2013) by Andrew Spicer & Helen Hanson

Matt Damon: Masculine Crisis, Sexual Identity

Michael Douglas, Luciana and Matt Damon at the Emmy Awards, on 22nd September 2013

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie: *Behind the Candelabra • HBO (Winner)

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie:
*Michael Douglas - Behind the Candelabra (winner), Matt Damon (nominated)

Scott Thorson, a young bisexual man raised in foster homes, is introduced to flamboyant entertainment giant Liberace and quickly finds himself in a romantic relationship with the legendary pianist. Swaddled in wealth and excess, Scott and Liberace have a long affair, one that eventually Scott begins to find suffocating. Kept away from the outside world by the flashily effeminate yet deeply closeted Liberace, and submitting to extreme makeovers and even plastic surgery at the behest of his lover, Scott eventually rebels. When Liberace finds himself a new lover, Scott is tossed on the street. He then seeks legal redress for what he feels he has lost. But throughout, the bond between the young man and the star never completely tears.

For a brief honeymoon period—the phrase is appropriate, because the homoerotic undercurrents are explicit—Tom Ripley is intoxicated by what he thinks is his new life. He moves in with Dickie and Marge, and together they spend what Mr. Greenleaf is paying Tom for his living expenses. He sings with Dickie in jazz clubs, lives "la dolce vita" with Dickie and Marge, keeps Dickie's guilty secrets about Silvana and closely studies how Dickie speaks, acts and dresses. (When asked, Tom readily admits that his greatest talents are for lying, impersonation and forging handwriting.) His Ripley is simultaneously compelling and repugnant, a deep well of emotions and an inscrutable cipher, a tragic hero and a monster you're glad to leave behind. That Damon manages to embody all these qualities, and still have viewers concerned when the Italian police or the efficient detective (Philip Baker Hall) hired by the Greenleaf family get too close, is a rare achievement. Source: www.blu-ray.com

Tom ultimately deprives Herbert Greenleaf of his son and heir and then forges the suicide note and will that deliver Dickie’s inheritance into Tom’s hands. But unlike Macbeth, who meets his nemesis in Macduff, Ripley does get away with murder and usurpation, fully enlisting the reader’s “terrified sympathy” in the process, a process that begins because “Tom knew just what to say to a father like Mr. Greenleaf”.

Once again, Tom demonstrates his imaginative genius, a power Arthur Brittan (1989) sees arising out of necessity when “dignity is lost” due to the “dehumanizing influences of technology and industrial society”. Devalued by a society that reduces him to “living from week to week”, Tom reasserts his lost dignity in his manipulation of first Herbert Greenleaf, then Dickie, and finally the social and legal norms to win the crown for himself. At the novel’s end, Tom envisions a literal sailing into the sunset to Crete since “it was no joke. It was his! Dickie’s money and his freedom. And the freedom, like everything else, seemed combined, his and Dickie’s combined.”

The lack of any mentoring through the father figure to aid in forming values that define the masculine and foster success in life constitutes a major crisis in Tom Ripley’s character. Arthur Brittan (1989) focuses on this crisis when discussing Male Crisis Theory, which identifies the problem as being “that men find it difficult to identify with appropriate role models. If such models are absent, or partially absent,” and “men suffer from an acute sense of gender confusion.” Whatever their differences about mentoring boys as they grow to adulthood, both William Pollak (1998) and Christina Hoff Sommers (2000) concur on the very unhealthy impact of an absent father in the life of a young man. Pollak endorses the “generative father” whose care for the next generation promotes the “fundamental father-son connection for a lifetime” and thus cements a “profound and lasting impact” on sons. Sommers argues for the father’s central role in “helping sons develop a conscience and a sense of responsible manhood,” thereby playing “an indispensable civilizing role in the social ecosystem”. Clearly, Highsmith and Palahniuk create characters sorely in need of such generativity from a man and devastatingly crippled by the absence of “responsible manhood” in their lives.

Tom is an orphan, labeled as a sissy by his tormentor, Aunt Dottie. Tom Ripley gets the notice he yearns for by murdering Dickie Greenleaf, assuming his identity, and finally by outwitting every representative of the social order. Tom secures his independence and the successful lifestyle he so admires, but at the price of forever imagining “policemen waiting for him on every pier”. Source: michael-miller.wiki.uml.edu

Friday, September 20, 2013

Emile Hirsch & Holliday Grainger in Bonnie & Clyde miniseries, Bonnie Parker's real story

Almost half a century after Faye Dunaway famously played her as a hard-bitten killer, a new investigation has revealed that while Clyde Barrow revelled in his crimes, Bonnie often fought to stem the bloodshed.

“In so many ways she was innocent,” says Dr Beatrice Colin, lecturer in creative writing at the University of Strathclyde, who wrote the drama The True Story of Bonnie Parker, on BBC Radio 4 this week.

“Bonnie was the one who would ask Clyde to kidnap people rather than kill them, often driving them hundred of miles away then bundling them out of their cars across county lines. “Yes, she was involved with a very violent man but she was just na├»ve, and, you have to remember, she was very young too.”

Unfortunately Bonnie’s name was tarnished for ever when, on Easter Sunday 1934, Clyde opened fire on two highway patrolmen who stopped his car on Route 114 in Texas. She had certainly joined a gang of robbers who were complicit in the killing of numerous police and civilians, but Bonnie never fired a gun.

That didn’t stop the warped image of this sadistic, cigar-smoking hellcat capturing the imagination of the press and later inspiring the 1967 movie starring Warren Beatty and Dunaway.

The Radio 4 drama begins to dispel the myth and reconstruct her image as a woman who just fell in love with the wrong man. “They were Romeo and Juliet with guns,” insists Dr Colin. “The one account we have of her killing someone was later discredited, and in fact we have another account of that same killing and that’s when she was actually seen to help the dying men, cradling them in her arms.” Source: www.mirror.co.uk

The four-hour two-part Bonnie & Clyde mini is set to air Sunday, December 8th and Monday, December 9th at 9 PM simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and History. Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild) and Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) star in the title roles of outlaw couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The killer cast also includes Holly Hunter as Bonnie’s mother, Emma Parker, and William Hurt as Frank Hamer, the Texas Ranger pursuing the Barrow gang. Bonnie & Clyde follows Barrow, Parker and the notorious Barrow Gang as they sweep through the Central and Southern United States committing small-time robberies and daring bank heists, leaving murdered police officers and civilians in their wake. Source: www.deadline.com