Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”

gentlemen1.png

Oh, to have a straight-forward musical comedy like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes these days. In a brisk 90 minutes the laughs keep coming not just from the mile-a-minute punchlines, but also from the editing and shot compositions. The melodies are genuinely infectious and brightly optimistic without being cloying. The whole film works its ass off to entertain you without cracking a sweat, something the cynicism of recent musicals fails entirely at – especially the ones working even harder to apologize for their own genre.

Generally the film is as visually alive as its witty screenplay, all pops of color and effortless iconography. The director/cinematographer team of Howard Hawks and Harry J. Wild is harmonious in building the musical numbers to truly entertain, and almost in as much awe of the Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe power pairing as we are. In fact, that joyous actress revelry in two key songs is more than enough for one post, so let’s.

Continue reading “Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes””

Advertisements

Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “World of Tomorrow”

worldoftomorrow6.png

It’s shorts week for Hit Me With Your Best Shot, a branch of film that I’m unfortunately not well versed. Outside of wide release for each year’s Oscar nominated shorts, accessibility is the issue – though that seems to be changing as more streaming services hit the market. However, without the level of discussion and coverage given to feature length films it’s difficult to discover which ones to seek out.

This was not the case last year for Don Herzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow (long available on Netflix and other platforms) thanks to high critical praise and vocal fandom since its debut at 2015 Sundance Film Festival. It’s easy to know that a film exists if major critics are calling a film one of the year’s best, feature-length or not.

Continue reading “Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “World of Tomorrow””

Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Death Becomes Her”

deathbecomesher1.png

After all these years, Death Becomes Her is still a delightful romp – a broad blend of old Hollywood diva mudslinging, morbid farce, and goddess worship. As much as the film satirizes gratuitous ageism thrust upon women and its impact on the ego, the film adores its actresses. Isabella Rossellini reigns supreme, but Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep are audience catnip even at their most vicious. With this much talent, wit, and glamour in the frame, its no surprise that director Robert Zemeckis and director of photography Dean Cundey frame them like the queens they are.

deathbecomesher5.png

No wonder gays and drag queens have kept the film alive with all this operatic idolatry – though where are the drag queens impersonating Rossellini’s sexual septuagenarian Lisle von Rhuman? Perhaps I just missed that one by a decade.

deathbecomesher2.png

deathbecomesher3.png

deathbecomesher4.png

There is also a classic monster movie element to the actresses visual representation in the film. Mad and Hel are frequently scene lurking around a corner, behind a bush, stalking into the foreground to frighten Bruce Willis’s Ernest. Their eyes are lit like Dracula, their sexuality as threatening as it is enticing. What is Lisle if not a vampire empress, pulling you in precisely because she’s a bit spooky?

Continue reading “Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Death Becomes Her””

Snatch Game!: From Worst to Best

1snatch game.png

How is everyone enjoying season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race? For my money, thus far it is among the best seasons, fulfilling plenty of hopes for the season! The talent pool is among the most diverse we’ve ever seen and this season finds the balance in giving the audience what we want without phoning it in with repetitive storylines we’ve heard told better. However, that momentum could turn sour if it becomes predictable or weak performances like Derrick Barry keep getting a free pass.

Leading up to the premiere, there was The 8 Days of RuPaul’s Drag Race where I featured fun things like lipsync wishes, guilty pleasures, and the highest squirrelfriend of them all. What better week to hop back into the Drag Race realm than that of everyone’s most-anticipated episode: Snatch Game!

12snatch-gaaaame.gif

Snatch Game is a real make or break episode for each season’s batch of racers. Aside from Queen Henny herself, Stacy Layne Matthews, no queen has ever taken a Snatch Game win to less than fifth place. There may be the odd Courtenay Act or Phi Phi O’Hara slips on their celebrity impersonation, but no queen has ever done a lipsync after Snatch Game and gone on to the final 3. Bad news for Naomi Smalls!

While the best individual performances are easy to recall, what are the best overall Snatch Games and which season entries left us wanting?

Continue reading “Snatch Game!: From Worst to Best”

The Best Performances of the Decade – So Far

zd30chastain.jpg

Earlier this week, Robert MacFarlane asked the Twitter void for the greatest performance of this decade now we’ve reached the midpoint to delightful results. Many of these picks came from films without Oscar or box office heights, so there’s also something to be said about how a performance or film can achieve longevity in our minds. It’s about that itch that can’t be scratched, the way the performance evolves over time and reveals itself. With only a small sampling of recurring choices, the selections were exciting reminders that we’re in a new golden age of acting and filmmaking in general.

Close calls were Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), and Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher). I don’t have any 2015 releases included, sometimes things just need time to take root.

So the conversation has freshly brought up recent performances to my mind, and here are the 10 that won’t go away (though dwindling down is agony). Should I continue onto films? Screenplays? On to the list…

Continue reading “The Best Performances of the Decade – So Far”