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Entries in Only Lovers Left Alive (7)

Friday
Jun 14 2019

Posterized: Jim Jarmusch

by Nathaniel R

The Ohio-born indie auteur Jim Jarmusch first made waves in the cinematic landscape with his black and white sophomore featureStranger Than Paradisein the mid 80s.It was a big critical success and arthouse sleeper hit.He was suddenly the "cool"new director.His career since then has been,like most critical darling careers,full of small waves of audience popularity versus indifference,sometimes not in relation to the critical fates of whichever film arrived.For example,Paterson(2016),his most recent picture prior to the brand new zombie comedyThe Dead Don't Die(opening today)was a huge critical succcess in its year,but grossed just $2 million at the US box office.

Through it all critics have mostly been loyal and actors with more eclectic taste have become his regulars: Tilda Swinton,Tom Waits,and Bill Murray have all made 4 pictures with him.

How many of his pictures have you seen?The posters are after the jump...

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Wednesday
Dec 31 2014

Screener Adventures from American Snipers to British Painters (Pt. 2)

Previously...I shared brief thoughts about rewatches ofBig Hero,Grand Budapest,Babadookwell asThe HomesmanandSkeleton Twins.

What came next in the home-screening adventures,you ask?Here I am to answer.I haven't had as much time as I'd hope (aint that always the case) but I've been trying to cram movies in.Here are a handful of notes on movies from the screener stack.

AMERICAN SNIPER
Credit where credit is due: For once a Clint Eastwood movie is not filmed like its sinking into an inky black void where color is a total affront to sober intent.It turns out Tom Stern can make movies that take place in reasonably well lit places.Okay,okay,let's not get carried away.It's still largely colorless but this time there is daylight though the subject matter remains brutal.I'm not sure what to make of its dead-eyed killings which aren't filmed with any rah-rah glee that you'd think would accompany the movie's conservative America is #1 conservatism.Even its one note patriotism is presented rather than,I think,fully endorsed: Chris Kyle,very well played by Bradley Cooper though there isn't much in the way of an arc,memorably refuses to engage with any criticism and is all "God,Family,& Country"in each scene.But something about its very matter-of-fact presentation and inarticulate hero wore me down after awhile despite gripping action sequences.I have no idea how Oscar might respond but my hunch is it's either full hog or both sound nominations only a laLone Survivor.

Meryl's Insane Bankability Continues!Well done,diva.INTO THE WOODS
Reviewed by ranking its musical numbershere.It was the second time I'd seen it having watched it on a big screen originally.Weirdly I think the cinematography,which often looked too muddy and dark on the screen works a little better on a TV.But anyway...let's hear it for Disney for a great opening weekend.It's important that musicals do well so that we get more of them!Into the Woodswon not only the biggest opening weekend ever for a Broadway adaptation butthe biggest of Meryl Streep's career,as well.I imagine we'll continue to talk aboutInto the Woodsfor a while --  multipleOscar nominations coming-- so I'll let this be all for this post.

THE JUDGE
I already peed on thatherebut it keeps haunting me like bad trip flashbacks.Especially the dye job on Vera Farmiga who deserves better Hollywood,come on.Also that scene where RDJ is like superhero-lawyer and stops a bar fight with the power of his wily words!

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
A love letter from Tangiers & Detroit to all of you who recommended this movie throughout the year.Though I was once the type who would rush to anything vampiric,I'll readily admit that Hollywood's overuse of the bloodsuckers finally wore me out;I've been avoiding all such movies for years now.But I should have trusted Jim Jarmusch to come at it from an entirely different angle and I don't know how I missed that it was shot by Yorick Le Saux who won my silver medal for cinematography in 2010 forI Am Love.Detroit has never looked so beautifully haunted,Tilda and Tom couldn't have been a more exotically languid well-cultured pair,its slow moods weren't trying but contemplative,and the ending was pitch-perfect delayed gratification.

Excusez moi


MR TURNER
A surprise.If you only listen to this movie as opposed to watching it (which is what I sometimes do when The Boyfriend is watching TV) it sounds rather like a horror movie.I'm not kidding.There are alotof scary animalistic noises supposedly emanating from human people (not just Spall's famed grunt speak) and the score byGary Yershonmight be the creepiest outside ofUnder the Skinthis year.

P.S.Speaking of The Boyfriend...
This time of year chez moi he watches a ton of screeners since he doesn't go to many critics screenings with me.I usually don't watch carefully (having already seen them) and drift in and out as I'm working.He is unpredictable about movies.He lovedPrideandIda(as most sane people do),thoughtMr Turnerwas "good.well made"but clearly had no passion for it.Cried huge apartment-flooding puddles duringStill AliceandWild,and inexplicably H-A-T-E-D bothForce MajeureandA Most Violent Year(what the what???x 2).Finally,he was paying so little attention toLove is Strangethat I had to make him shut it off.That wonderful movie from Ira Sachs is too delicate for half-watching.It requires your full attention or that glorious final 15 minutes just won't resonate.

Have you ever learned something new about a movie you loved by catching only pieces of it or hearing it in the background?

Tuesday
Dec 09 2014

Curio: Holiday Wish List

Alexahere.This year my holiday wish list is filled with boring necessities: socks,bedding,towels,and the always welcome cash money.But on the sly I've been bookmarking some film-themed gifts that I would love to receive as an extra surprise,should Santa be willing.I hope this list will help you shop for the film lover in your life,or give you some ideas to add to your own holiday wish list.

1.Wild at Heart mug set.Honestly I can think of nothing better than drinking my morning coffee from Sailor or Lula.The shop,BagApart,also offers mug sets inspired byParis,Texas,Blade Runner,The Graduateand more.

Click for more Nic Cage,miniature Mendl's pastry,andOnly Lovers Left Alive...

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Saturday
Dec 06 2014

Team FYC: "Only Lovers Left Alive"for Hair & Makeup

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race.We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks.And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS,HFPA,or Critics Group voter,take note!Here'sTimon Only Lovers Left Alive.

From Gary Oldman's transformation into a desiccated gargoyle,to a 7-year-old wearing plastic fangs,vampires have long been an inspiration for disguising human beings as immortal bloodsuckers.And withOnly Lovers Left Alive,the hair and makeup designer Gerd Zeiss has made a terrific addition to the annals of the cinematic undead.

Director Jim Jarmusch's vision for the film was more about characters detached from time than horror,and so the vampires played by Tilda Swinton,Tom Hiddleston,Mia Wasikowsa,and John Hurt haven't been designed to look like animate corpses,so much as people who are very,very tired,and very,very old.Swinton's pallid flesh and stringy,wild straw-colored hair are maybe the most immediately impressive work of design,instantly communicating the idea of decades and centuries spent in the dark and isolated from the world,a feeling that she is herself starting to fade away.It doesn't necessarily communicate illness or decay,so much as a kind of thinness and used-up energy.

Tilda is the film's showiest vampire,but all of them suggest the same principles of fatigue and being removed from the entire history of human fashion,out of some combination of disinterest and being out-of-sync with the times.Hiddleston's lanky,unwashed hair does that one way;Hurt's craggy,sallow face does it another,particularly later in the film,as he grows increasingly worn-out and weak even by this film's standards.And Wasikowska stands in contrast to them,with overly bright,scrubbed flesh that speaks to her character's far different priorities and interests,even before the plot starts to make those differences manifest.

In its sole important human character,played by Anton Yelchin,the film even finds space for a wannabe vampire poser,though he isn't aware that's what he's doing.But the calculated sloppiness of his hair and his unfortunately scruffy face illustrates the mind of someone who wants to project an image to the world,even as Hiddleston and Swinton suggest those who no longer care in the slightest what other people think of their appearance.

Of fancy prosthetics and architecturally elaborate up-dos,there are none,ButOnly Lovers Left Alivegets far more mileage out of the small details of its character makeup than most movies relying on enormously fanciful monsters ever could hope to.It draws us steadily and invisibly into the characters' history and worldview and mood,using their appearance to suggest their backstories in ways that would be clumsy and obvious put into dialogue.It's an essential reason that the film is one of the deepest and emotionally involving vampire movies of recent years.


previous fycs

Sunday
Jun 08 2014

Podcast: Summer Fun Times Movie Watching

Nick & Joe & Nathaniel are surveying highlights from the summer season thus far.Nick and Joe love Only Lovers Left Alive and Nathaniel has just returned fromHow To Train Your Dragon 2.

00:00 Intro andLucy
02:20 Alternative Blockbusters & Action Figures
04:00 Favorite Things We Saw This Summer
08:45Maleficentand Villainous Backstories
12:00 Many Tangents:Kill Bill,The Lion King,A.I.Artificial Intelligenceand Jude Law
19:10 Summer Releases To Come,Melissa McCarthy & Channing Tatum
25:00Jersey Boysvs.Think Like a Man 2
and...
30:00-48:00 As an appetizer for next week's 2004 10th Anniversary Podcast.We look back at the Oscar winners: Morgan Freeman,Cate Blanchett,Jamie Foxx,Hilary Swank and Million Dollar Baby

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post ordownload the conversation on iTunes (though sometimes it takes a day to show up there).Continue the conversation in the comments.

Related Reads:
Keith Uhlich onGodzillaandWesley Morris onMaleficent

Summer Fun Times

Sunday
Jan 19 2014

Sundance: Only Lovers Left Alive

Our Sundance Film Festival coverage continues withMichael Cusumanoon Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive.

Tom & Tilda - who needs neck pillows travelling when you have each other

Before Jim Jarmusch'sOnly Lovers Left AliveI would have gladly placed a moratorium on all vampire films.Beyond the exhausting cultural ubiquity of the undead,Tom Alfredson's masterpiece,Let the Right One Inappeared to be the final word on the sub-genre for the foreseeable future.What was left to say after that?

I should've known better.All it takes is the synopsis "Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton in a vampire movie by Jim Jarmusch"to remind one that there is new life to be found in any song,provided that the singer is right.[more...]

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