What Art/World/HW Films Have You Been Watching?

Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Apr 6 2018, 10:56 AM #3281

Here's a thoughtful, incisive, and hilarious review (by a group of several lively critics,who are all clearly fans) of all of Stanley Kubrick's films, ranked from his worst (his two debut films) to best---if you like Kubrick's work, and have seen at least half the films here, it's just good fun reading,lol. Also his truly groundbreaking 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, which is considered nothing less than his masterpiece, is about to be re-released to celebrate its 50th anniversary (I heard a review of it last week on NPR) which is another good reason to read this,too🙂:

Consequences of Sound-----Every Stanley Kubrick Film From the Worst To,Y'know,The Best

I caught KILLER'S KISS on the THIS movie channel years ago, and while the plot and acting weren't that great, the cinematography was pretty innovative and stunning for its time. I didn't know that Kubrick's film debut, FEAR AND DESIRE (1953) was a war film---for some reason I got it mixed up with KILLER'S KISS, so I'm definitely gonna check that out. Still haven't seen EYES WIDE SHUT, or BARRY LYNDON, or sat through SPARTACUS, but saw all the other essential ones. One thing I've noticed about Kubrick's films and the way they're shot----even his older, earlier films have this remarkable, larger-than-life modern look to them that is both startling and impressive-looking,from just some of the stills alone. That alone makes his old films stand out from their contemporaries at the time.
Last edited by Kim Greene on Apr 7 2018, 01:58 PM, edited 3 times in total.
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Apr 6 2018, 11:49 AM #3282

This article discusses and grades sex scenes in some of today's films by #MeToo era standards:

Grading Hollywood's Sex Scenes In The Era Of #MeToo
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Apr 6 2018, 01:42 PM #3283

One person I know who programs a New York theater says "scheduling a Kubrick retrospective is like printing money." There's actually one going on right now at a City Cinemas multiplex, except they're going through his oeuvre at one film a week. I wrote an article for the Atlantic on FEAR AND DESIRE when it was released on Blu-Ray. It's a mediocre and amateurish film, but it's not terrible or a disgrace. I don't fully understand Kubrick's desire to totally suppress it during his lifetime. 
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Apr 6 2018, 08:15 PM #3284

Here's my review of Moodie Black's LUCAS ACID: http://gaycitynews.nyc/noise-rap-scream-alienation/

Molly Ringwald looks back at her work with John Hughes and finds much to admire but also a lot of misogyny and moments that make her cringe now: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/perso ... ty-in-pink
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Kim Greene
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Apr 7 2018, 02:07 PM #3285

I read that article (which is really good,btw) and I'll comment on it later, since I was never a fan of John Hughes films to begin with,even back in that era. Last week NPR played a playlist of the 150 or so best albums ever made by female artists---I only caught some of it because I didn't know it was on, but it was still cool to listen to. This list is from last year, but they probably used this same one----last week's playlist was probably celebrating what was left of Women's History Month.

The 150 Best Albums Made By Female Musical Artists

Also, here's a list of different ways and other places online (and offline) to find new music---some of which you're probably already familiar with, being a music critic and all,lol. This was certainly a little helpful to me:

How To Find New Music You'll Actually Like
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Apr 7 2018, 07:49 PM #3286

I don't have trouble finding links to interesting-seeming new music. In fact, the issue is that I don't have time to listen tp everything that crosses my path, especially now that I now have some access to free downloads of new albums from music industry publicists, and I can't afford to buy everything I'd like to. 

That Ringwald article is really a model for looking at problematic art in a balanced but critical manner, especially if there's the complicated angle of personally participating in it. One film critic I know on Twitter says she will assign to her next class in the fall. I liked Hughes' teen films when I was in high school, but I haven't seen them yet. Criterion's decision to include THE BREAKFAST CLUB in their collection got more criticism than probably any choice they've made since issuing a Michael Bay laserdisc. 
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Kim Greene
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Apr 8 2018, 04:45 AM #3287

To be honest, I was never into Hughes' films because frankly, there was nothing about them that even interested me as a young movie-loving black teenage girl coming of age in the '80s . Not to offend you, but they always came off as too "white" for me to even relate to at the time. The only one of Hughes' films that I actually saw in the theatre when it came out is HOME ALONE, and that's not a favorite of mine or anything. I took my then five-year old sister to see it, and she actually laughed out loud at one scene, so it was worth me taking her to see it,lol. I did catch 16 CANDLES on cable over a year after it came out, I wasn't all that impressed with it---even back than I thought it was lame and stereotypical, and even that funny. I heard of most of Hughes' films mainly since they were major mainstream box office hits, and I have to admit, his 1987 film SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL actually looked different and a little more mature than his previous films, from what I saw in the trailers and on movie review shows, but I never did get around to actually checking it out. I also recall the Psychedelic Furs' big hit from the PRETTY IN PINK soundtrack, which was also called "Pretty In Pink", but here's another song I liked better off that same soundtrack, which I only heard on one station that played alternative music late at night (and wasn't a hit.) This was probably the first song I heard and liked by a then-up-and-coming artist named Suzanne Vega:

Suzanne Vega----Left Of Center

What was cool about the article by Ringwald was that she's clearly had enough time and distance from her early films to look at and assess them more critically as a mature adult, which gives the article its heft. After all, she was just a teen herself when she starred in those films, so of course she didn't have this perspective back then. So now she can look back on it differently---with a different perspective,naturally.
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Kim Greene
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Apr 9 2018, 02:32 AM #3288

Check this out----the country of Saudi Arabia just opened up its first theatre chain (AMC, of course) in 35 years, and the first movie that's going to play there in 35 years is---you guessed it----BLACK PANTHER! Yep, Saudi Arabian moviegoers are actually going to get a change to see and have fun enjoying the worldwide movie phenomenon ( which just passed over the 1 billion mark at the box office) alongside their fellow Muslims,lol. I'm sure the younger ones who like American films are secretly geeked about that---even though Saudi Arabia still has its own issues with human rights, despite the new young head of the country making some much-needed changes:

BLACK PANTHER set to break longtime Saudi Arabian ban on films
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Apr 9 2018, 03:45 AM #3289

I haven't seen any Hughes films in more than 30 years. By the time I started college, I thought Long-Duk Dong was pretty f**ked-up, and almost every Asian-American man I've met blames his lack of dating success on that film.  William Paul's book LAUGHING, SCREAMING, which was published when I was getting my M.A. in Cinema Studies and is half devoted to 1980s teen comedies and half to horror films of the same period, makes a case for the importance of that sub-genre, but FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH is the only one I've really re-visited. I don't take offense at what you said about Hughes' films being too "white," but I don't recall that entire wave of films being very diverse. FAST TIMES star Phoebe Cates is half-Asian, but I don't know that at the time, one can't tell from looking at her and her ethnic background is not part of her character. 

I would be interested to see how Hughes would respond to Ringwald were he still alive and willing to do so (although I have the feeling she wouldn't have written the piece if he was still around.) There are some areas where 2018 is simply different from the 1980s; unfortunately, it was realistic to write characters casually throwing around anti-gay slurs then without anyone calling them homophobic (and, probably, without them thinking that calling someone a "faggot" thoughtlessly is insulting to actual gay men, if they cared.) It's not that people have stopped using slurs of any kind, but they now know that if they say them, it marks them as haters (or they try to come up with some "ironic" justification, like the guy documentarian Joanna Arnow dated and depicts in her film I hate myself :.) that went to Harlem open mic comedy nights and used the N word in front of African-Americans, claiming this served some vague anarchist/libertarian agenda.) The casual objectification of women's bodies was also something that has come in for much more scrutiny lately - not that it was the right thing to do then, but Hughes' films seem relatively benign next to the shower scene in PORKY'S and  only feminists really cared about this in 1986.  Hughes obviously wasn't one. 

I am going to try and get in touch with both the cinematographer and actor I want to work with on CULTURE SHOCK and figure out a schedule. I need to talk with the former and see when she will be done directing her M.A. thesis film, so that she will have time to shoot my film (which she said she was willing to do last time I talked to her.) I have two friends in mind whose apartments I might be able to use to shoot the film in. Both are filmmakers, so I think that their apartments would suit my film's character. After that, I will start looking for a sound person and P.A. 

Also, I downloaded an application I can use to get videos onto my hard drive from YouTube. I will obviously need this to edit my 2019 film, ID. I think I will try to edit the film myself, although I need to check if my computer came with such software built in. 

The first Saudi filmmaker, Haifa Al-Mansour,  went on to make a film in the U.S. about Mary Shelley. It's opening here this summer, distributed by IFC Films. (It plays at the IFC Center in June.) 
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Apr 9 2018, 11:40 PM #3290

I appreciate using the timing to make a point, but I anticipate an army of racist trolls saying "Spike Lee is exploiting Charlottesville to promote his movie": https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ ... m=referral
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Kim Greene
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Apr 10 2018, 03:04 PM #3291

I've been seeing talk of Spike's latest film for a minute now, so it's nice to hear about him having made what promises to be a hell-raising,controversial film like the kind he used to make back in the day,lol. Screw what the trolls say---they're always gonna find something or somebody to hate on somewhere,regardless.

And,yeah, practically every Asian-American blog or site I've come across for years that mentions 16 CANDLES has slammed the Long Duk Dong character as a prime example of how Asian-American men are stereotyped in films. Here's an interview with Gedde Watanabe, the Asian-American actor who played the character, from a couple of years back on the 30th anniversary of 16 CANDLES, discussing how he got the role (it was his film debut) the backlash he got from other Asian-Americans about it, and his surprise at how the film is still liked, to some extent:

Vulture---Gedde Watanabe Talks 30 Years of Sixteen Candles

I always figured the lovely and appealing Phoebe Cates was probably biracial, because she always looked it to me, so I wasn't surprised to find out that she was part-Filipino (she retired from acting for good around the mid-'90s.)  Both the casual objectification and use of the F-word could be found in practically every genre of film back then,though, not just teen films in particular. The difference is that far more out gay and lesbian writers/producer/directors are making films and TV shows behind the scenes now, and that's made a big difference. For example, even barely 20 years ago, you would have never seen anything like the 2017 TV mini-series WE WILL RISE ( about the history of the gay and lesbian rights movement) broadcast on the family-friendly Disney-owned ABC network, because it would have been boycotted and driven off the air by Christian and anti-LBGT groups. I don't remember hearing any right-wingers raising any hell about it when it was broadcast last year---it should be on DVD by now,though. Good luck on your film, even though I sort of forgot what it's about,lol.

And cool to hear that Mansour---who got much hype for her first film, WADJDA  (2012) might be able to probably get her second film actually seen at a local theatre in her home country, instead of it being banned and never seen there,which is usually what happened to most Middle Eastern films that don't make past the censors..
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Apr 11 2018, 10:59 PM #3292

Every Asian-American man, gay or heterosexual, whom I've talked to about this subject complains that potential partners view them as asexual eunuchs with no potential for active sexuality, essentially, Asian-American women and other gay men mostly want to sleep with and date white people and that media invisibility and stereotypes contribute to this. There was an Asian-American college professor who decided to try and fight this by directing amateur porn featuring Asian-American men as studs. THE DAILY SHOW did a segment on him with a rather mocking tone, and perhaps making porn isn't the best way to combat the view of Asian-American men as sexually passive, but I can understand where he was coming from. 

I haven't seen WE WILL RISE, but LOVE, SIMON has led to a few rants from far-right Christians to the effect that it should go on to depict Simon living a life of loveless sex,  drug abuse, depression and STDs, dying young and then burning in hell. Because of course that's a realistic view of the lives of all gay men. (Do they actually believe this crap or is it just a schtick they're stuck with at this point?) 

Atlantic Records' publicist has not responded to any of my E-mails re: getting a review copy of the new Janelle Monae album. I know this is going to sound entitled, but I don't expect to actually be able to download it until about 2 days before its release. However, I'd like to know that I will be able to do so then, and know whether the publicist needs to see links or an E-mail for my editor to prove I'm not a freeloader who wants to leak the album on Soulseek. (Publicists have said that in the past.) 

I have jury duty coming up on May 2nd, and I thought I could get my psychiatrist to write me a note to get out of it. No such luck. Since setting the date 6 months ago, I haven't heard anything from the city and I hope that maybe they don't need me after all at this point and will forget about this. 

I like the song/video recommendations from Vulture here: http://www.vulture.com/2018/04/best-new ... -mone.html. I am surprised how good Drake's "Nice For What" and his feature on Bloc Boy JB's "Look Alike" are, because I found "God's Plan" a bore and its video actively self-serving and irritating. And as it suggests, "Nice For What" finally gets past Drake's "f**k me, I'm sensitive" persona (as film critic Charles Taylor described James Taylor) and his tendency to divide women into "good girls" and "bad b****hes." 
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Apr 12 2018, 07:35 PM #3293

Here's my review of Lucrecia Martel's ZAMA: http://gaycitynews.nyc/adrift-colonies/
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Apr 13 2018, 04:20 PM #3294

Here's my interview with Sophie Fiennes about her Grace Jones documentary: http://www.studiodaily.com/2018/04/dire ... ight-bami/

BTW, I was in a cafe yesterday when they happened to play the song SOB X RBE sampled for the beat to "Carpoolin'." Even if I'm not into their tiresome gangsta posturing, now that I've heard the original version, with singing scattered throughout at a much slower pace, I'm impressed by their ability to rap to such an uptempo beat for its entire length. 

The Australian band Stonefield, who consist of 4 sisters, released an album, FAR FROM EARTH, today. You can stream it for free here (or download it). They have a '70s hard rock feel but there weren't really many '70s bands who actually sounded like this, given how few women were encouraged to pick up electric guitars and play mainstream rock back then. A lot of this suggests Stevie Nicks fronting Deep Purple, with prog and folk influences. I find them far more interesting than the currently popular Led Zeppelin clones Greta van Fleet, who are kids in their early 20s with a singer who sounds like a combo of Robert Plant and Geddy Lee. Here's the link: 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Apr 16 2018, 06:33 AM #3295

Haven't posted anything for a moment because I just needed a break from being online. I'm good now,though. Anyway, I do remember reading about the professor who decided to do Asian-American porn---he did complete at least one porn flick. I get where he was coming from with that idea,though.

And LOVE, SIMON apparently hit it big at the box office anyway, despite any right-wing homophobes ranting about it, so that's good. Hopefully, that pissed them off even more,since they can't forbid anyone from seeing it,lol. Here's a review of a new Netflix film that's supposed to be an edgier counterpart to SIMON (yeah, I know, I should put this in the TV section, but I'm only mentioning it for the LOVE, SIMON comparisons.)

Indiewire-----Review of Alex Strangelove

Since you can't hear Monae's new release right away, here's a new single of hers until then (it just now occurred to me that you're probably already seen it though---it's really beautiful, and I love her fashion style in it:)

Janelle Monae----Pynk

As for jury duty, just take a book and some snacks with you---you might not even get picked. That's been my experience---I only made it to an actual jury screening once, and that was years and years ago. The movie ZAMA sounds even more interesting since I saw VAZANTE last week----it was a definitely dark look at the reality of slavery in 19th-century Brazil,and the dynamics between the slaves and the slaveowners. I liked the fact that it was filmed in black & white, and disturbed by its brutal ending. Still pretty interesting though,with one of its main male characters (the slaveowner) always walking around looking like a emotionally drained inexpressive zombie. Liked the article about Fiennes and her new film on Grace Jones,who's certainly one of the more intriguing singer/songwriters and groundbreaking musical artists to have come out of the post-punk era. Incidently, she came out with a biography a couple of years back called I'LL NEVER WRITE MY MEMOIRS (which she did anyway,lol.) I got either a cassette or a CD of her best-known hits,and having grown-up seeing her weird videos and hearing/loving the heck out of her classic hits like "Pull Up To The Bumper" and "Slave To The Rhythm" and really not knowing what the hell to make of her, it's been cool getting some perspective on her over the years, and learning to appreciate just how truly groundbreaking she was in a lot of ways-----particularly for a black female artist who never let herself be restricted to one single genre of music. So that definitely sounds like it would be worth seeing,wherever it's playing.

Listened to some of that Stonefield song-----actually there were a few all-female rock bands back in the late '60s/early '70's---it's just that they were  never able to get people to look at them as anything more than a novelty at the time---groups like She, New York's Goldie and the Gingerbreads, Kentucky's own The Feminine Complex; Nile,Michigan's own The Lu'ved Ones, the hard-rocking Fanny (who had the distinction of being the first all-female rock group signed by a major record label in the mid-'70s) then The Runaways, who weren't appreciated and seen as little more than a novelty in their own time.  ( I would have mentioned Heart with the Wilson sisters, but their band wasn't all female,since half of it was three guys. The R&B group A Taste of Honey,best known for their biggest hit, the 1978 disco classic "Boogie Oogie Oogie" wasn't an all-female band, but they could boast of having Janice Marie Johnson and Hazel Payne, the guitarist and bassist/lead singers,respectively.)

Here's a good article about why it's easier for actresses to come out as gay or bi or queer in Hollywood than actors:

Hollywood's Gay Double Standard When It Comes To Actors/Actresses Coming Out
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Apr 16 2018, 09:27 AM #3296

Also, James Ivory of the Merchant & Ivory films fame is the oldest winner of an Oscar for Best Screenplay for CALL ME BY YOUR NAME---89 years young. You'd think he'd want to just kick back and chill at his age (especially after well over 50 years of making films) but nope, he still wants to get more projects going. Here, he sounds off about the lack of gay nudity in CMBYN, and talks about his relationship with his late partner, Ismail Merchant:

The Guardian
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Apr 17 2018, 01:31 AM #3297

I've heard Fanny and own their album CHARITY BALL. Evelyn McDonnell's biography of the Runaways is very interesting. Even she admits their albums are uneven but have some great songs, making a case for LIVE IN JAPAN as their best, since it takes the highlights from their first 2 studio albums and adds some covers and unrecorded songs. Her description of the milieu they worked in and their lives after the band is very revealing; unfortunately, Joan Jett was the only core member who didn't wind up succumbing to serious substance abuse problems or violence from men. 

I got my jury duty postponed to August 1st, so I will be able to do all the work I needed to do on May 1st. Also, I got the schedule and list of films for the New York African Film Festival, but I think I may be out of town for most of it. 

I've had some issues with my computer refusing to turn back on after sleep mode or being shut off, beginning Saturday and getting more severe today. After occupying my day going to 2 repair shops, the Apple Store's Genius Bar told me I had 14 pieces of malware on my hard drive - I only knew about one, which I tried removing myself but could not - and that was the cause of the problem. They took them off, and knock on wood, my computer's running fine now. I will back up the hard drive later this week, just to be safe. 

Stonefield remind me a bit of Heart, actually, who at times seemed to be trying to come off as a female-fronted Led Zeppelin. 

The Dutch post-punk band the Ex has been around for almost 40 years, although at this point the guitarist is the original member left. Bandcamp put up a guide to their music, including their latest album 27 PASSPORTS: https://daily.bandcamp.com/2018/04/16/the-ex-list/. They're one of the most exciting live bands I've ever seen, and the last time I saw them, a group of Ethiopian musicians were the opening act and then came back and jammed with them during their set. The Bandcamp article delves into their engagement with Ethiopia. 

I think Monae's recent videos reflect the freedom that article about female actresses talked about. Tyler, the Creator is in a similar position as far as making music that strongly hints that he's queer without declaring his sexual orientation in interviews or social media statements. His new single "Okra" has a line that seems to lust after Timothee Chalamet, but the video does nothing to call attention to it. There's a white guy in his 20s who keeps appearing in Tyler's videos that is rumored to be his boyfriend, but he has not appeared in anything as homoerotic as the "Make Me Feel" video or that image of Tessa Thompson's head poking out from the vaginal folds of Monae's clothes in the "Pynk" video. I'm sure Monae is sincere and not doing this a la Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," but it aids her that many straight guys who are homophobic towards gay men (and, probably, towards lesbians who aren't conventionally attractive and have zero interest in men) have no problem with bisexual women. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Apr 17 2018, 10:06 AM #3298

Yeah, I had issues with the internet,too---- I couldn't seem to get into it, no matter what today, and a fellow activist said that her internet wasn't working either. So apparently, this was affecting more than just us. It finally came on after I got home, at least.
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Kim Greene
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Apr 19 2018, 01:32 AM #3299

Kim Greene wrote: Yeah, I had issues with the internet,too---- I couldn't seem to get into it, no matter what today, and a fellow activist said that her internet wasn't working either. So apparently, this was affecting more than just us. It finally came on after I got home, at least.
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Kim Greene
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Apr 19 2018, 02:04 AM #3300

My computer just conked the hell out on me yesterday for no reason I could figure out,so that sucked big time. I took it to the shop for a checkup---hopefully it's something that can be fixed. The day before that, it wouldn't come on for hours and now this,dammit. I'm pissed off about that,but that's how it is right now. At least I can find other places to keep posting stuff here, so that makes up for it,at least. I'll live, lol.
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