Under the old Hollywood studio system of the 1930's through the 1950’s it wasn’t uncommon that some executive would get a clever premise in their head, assign it to a contracted writer to be turned into a screenplay before turning it over to a contracted director to bring it to life with contracted actors, none of whom could care less about what they were making, they were just happy to be in Hollywood making movies.
One day perhaps, actress Gina Rodriguez will be a major movie star. She has the talent and the charisma of a leading lady. She’s shown her movie star chops in her supporting role in Annihilation. There is no question that Rodriguez has unlimited potential. That potential however, is entirely unrealized in the rote and problematic remake, Miss Bala. An American take on the 2011, Mexican original of the same title, 2019’s Miss Bala does nothing to justify why it exists.
Watching Velvet Buzzsaw I kept impatiently waiting for the movie to be good. I had really high hopes for Velvet Buzzsaw. It stars the brilliant Jake Gyllenhaal alongside a pretty creative supporting cast and has a look that reminded me of a combination of Nicholas Winding Refn meets Tom Ford. Dan Gilroy is a really talented filmmaker who directed one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best recent performances in Nightcrawler so clearly there was a reason to be excited. And yet, it stinks!
What the hell is a ‘Jellicle?’ I understand it has a root in a T.S Eliot poem, but even the venerable poet was rather nebulous about the conception. In the new movie adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Cats, I can only assume that Jellicle serves the same function as the word ‘Smurf’ does to the tiny blue people defined by that term. Jellicle is used to modify and describe numerous types of strange behavior in Cats and it never fails to baffle me at each use of it.
There have been only three Popes in my lifetime and only one of them has been slightly relevant to my life. Pope Francis, the modern Pope, has held me in thrall on a few occasions, specifically during his first days on Twitter when he was charming the world. And then, in the documentary about his time as Pope and how he was dragging the Catholic church out of the dark ages with one modern touch after another.
The story behind the so-called Torture Report is a strange and fascinating one. The comedy history podcast The Dollop brilliant captured the absurdity contained in the report in a 2016 podcast called The Torture Psychologists. In that podcast comedians Dave Anthony talked about the strange duo that the CIA turned to in their bizarre and futile attempt to justify torturing supposed terrorists.