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o, DAMN and BLAST Film4 to an eternity of unending merde and approbation.
Or something. I'm - yeah, you know, apopo... - inarticulate with rage.

Just noticed.
Tonight they've got a film I've desperately wanted to RE-view for ages - Rivette's hauntillogical CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING ("The most innovative film since Citizen Kane" - David Thomson*). Film4 have scheduled this masterpiece of the ages at 12.20 am**; this for a film that runs to more than 3 hours***. While the prime time slots are taken up with ... The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (indeed, indeeeeed); and then BLACKBALL. What is Blackball, I hear you say? No, I didnt have a clue what it was, either. Blackball is a sunk-without trace Mel Smith 'comedy' with the obnoxious and inexplicably pleased-with-himself Paul Kaye. Even CHANNEL 4's own website gives it a scathing review - as see HERE; whilst the BBC review says: "there is, literally, not a single unexpected element to the story [...] another undemanding, join-the-dots comedy which stands a fair chance of commercial success with a beery Friday night crowd who find saying tosser the funniest thing since farting in public."

I just don't understand anything about this scrappy, all-over-the-place, please-absolutely-no-one programming: I really don't.

(Couldnt they at least have put THE NAKED GUN on at 5.10 and moved Ray's strange, unforgettable JOHNNY GUITAR up to make a vague double-bill with CELINE AND JULIE?
I mean - I'm not a snob. I find the NAKED GUN films funny (in an undemanding, lazy afternoon kind of way); but - really, what the HELL are they doing on a specialist (as it were) FILM channel? They have ZERO interest as 'films', per se - and that's not snobbisme, that's just brass tack facts.
And as for the notion that showing something like Blackball(s) is somehow 'supporting' the (ha ha) British Film Industry - o, do behave. NOT showing it would do our reputation more of a favour.

CELINE AND JULIE isn't some grim stereotypical 'sub titled' angst fest. It's light, and seductive, and thrillingly unpredictable. And (as far as I can remember), I would think that in its own 'haunted house' way, it would probably transfer to the small screen really well.


*Still, after that recent Nicole Kidman book, I'm really not sure about old DT(s).

**{Not quite as bad as putting La Belle et Le Bete on at 2.15 in the a.m., (in favour of the eight fucking thousandth showing of the hugely overrated THE FULL MONTY) as they did on Sunday, but still.

***{ and I speak as someone who sat through the full uncut version of Rivette's L'Amour Fou [at the old Scala, WAY back when it sat in Charlotte Street...].

posted by Ian 10/24/2006 11:29:00 AM

That DT Kidman book is very worrisome, in a Jonathan King kind of way.
Was sorely tempted by the 773 min. version of 'Out 1' screened recently, but couldn't be arsed with the NFT. BY the by wtf ever happened to London Repertory Cinema?
London Rep Cinema: STANLEY KUBRICK DESTROYED IT -- there is no end to the man's contributions to EVIL

(ps i have been told before that i have this story wrong -- HOWEVER THIS IS HOW I LIKE TO TELL IT)
I think people are being much to harsh on the Kidman book; sure, there's some stuff which should have been edited out, but he still has a lot of interesting things to say. Also it's not as if he's hiding the sexual aspect of it, so it'd be good to see reviews that don't just focus on what is ultimately a small part of the book.
To add further insult to the "Celine and Julie" injury, Film 4's scheduling finds it up against Danny & Oxide Pang's "The Eye" on the parent channel.

I would imagne that these two films would have a shared audience, at least as far as recording them for later consumption goes.
The new DVD of C&J is well worth the money. Since I've seen it I have had this morbid fear that Charlie Kaufman or someone is going to do a meta-adaptation about people digitally entered into an actual film.

I don't understand the fuss about DT's Kidman book. If you ask me, it could have done with being *more* obsessive and off the rails, more in the spirit of the Bunuel epigraph. There's what, one short chapter where he describes a favourite dream? Have people not read his Warren Beatty book?
The operative word is "ew."
I'm as much of a closet Dirty Old Man as the next 47-year old shut-in cinephile who has a 'thing' for pale skinned women with flaming red hair, BUT... I have to say, for starters, I just dont't get Thomson on this one at all, anyway. I mean - other peoples sex lives or fetishes are hard to read, OK, thats a given; but this dizzy-ramb to Kidman seems to be more a sign of despair than desire, I think: there's something both mecrophiliac and paedophiliac about it at the same time: fucking a corpse because it reminds you of your first time. Ew, indeed.
It's been a hollow echo beneath a lot of Thomson's choices or thumbs up or OTT raves or OTT funks in the last 15+ years - the corollary of Cinema is Dead seees the patient going into raptures over some elective affinity no one else can discern. (E.g., I seem to remember he went WAY OTT for the film of Leaving Las Vegas. (The book is actually much better, BTW.))
I think - actually - that hanging out with Beatty and Toback and Towne has done something bad to Thomson's critical distance. I think he used to be acute when dealing with male desire as portrayed up on the screen, or 'screened' as phantasy. Again - like Marcus - it was implied rather than dredged through, out in the open.
The 'fiction' chapters in the Beatty book were DREADFUL, and spoiled an otherwise intersting read - for some of the same reason as the Kidman book. It's ne thing to let yourself be perceived crossing over the line into something stalkerish, something get-a-life - that is kinda honest and noble, arguable. But - if it's just plain shoulda-been-edted BAD WRITING?

(I was never a fan of Thomson the fictin writer - even the stuff that was raved about, like Suspects.)

Partly, as I say, it's that I dont quite believe Nicole Kidman as Phantom Lady of Desire ... it reeks of Lunch with Your Agent, Third Martini desperation... I just cant bring one Kidman scene to mind that JUMPED me, blanched me, like Julianne Moore in Magnolia or Anjelica Houston in The Grifters, say. I can't even leak desire a little bit and say I honestly HATED Eyes Wide Shut - which might at least indicate something jacitated my needle there. t was one big who-the-hell-greenlighted-THIS yawn fest. (Again, too: the book was FAR better.)
NB: What tha fuck is Mecrophiliac? Have I invented a new vice? Something between metrosexual and NECROphilia?

How about Reperosexual - n. a cruiser of old repertory cinemas, who maybe makes the old seats squeak a bit more than they should?

Meprisexual - n., someone who has worn out three VHS and two DVDs' thru pausing *certai scenes* in JLG's Le Mepris?

Ticiasexual - n., someone whose most ardent buried desire is to be the craven & foolish slave of Anjelica Houston as Morticia Addams, o, bring out the thumbscrews, cara-mia... oops, strayed into Thomson land there for a moment I think...
Well, I adore Eyes Wide Shut, but I hate Kidman in it.... All of her performances radiate vacuousness, self-satisfaction and stupidity (surely she's totally thick?) Her elevated position in the Hollywood firmanent is a sign of how bad things have got...

Cruise, needless to say, is much more interesting....
In fiction-extension terms, compare and contrast DT's James Dean At 50 piece with Bangs on Count Five; the former is portentous, heaving, the latter LIVES.
MAGNOLIA aside, I have always been near ALLERGIC where Crusie is concerned - that smug self satisfied smile, and especially the period when there was a run of movies where, no matter how out of character it was there has to be at least one scene showing off Cruise doing calisthenics or Running Very Fast and Pumping His Big Arms Up and Down - the one that stays in the mind is the young preppie lawyer in The Firm; out for quiet dinner with wife (& friends?) he suddenly starts doing CARTWHEELS down the night street for no very good reason.
I will concede that the fact that he was only totally convincing in the ONE film where he let the mask slip, as it were, and played a vicious, haunted, power mad, manipulative, hiding-something misogynist - in MAGNOLIA i.e. - *is* interesting.

But I was ambushed last week. Not only did i ENJOY (most of) a Cruise film; but I actually nearly blubbed at the end: THE LAST SAMURAI. Sure it was a load of hokum in places, and I'm a complete sucker for anything to do with samurai, but there were moments where the director had managed to still the gurning and winking and etc and get him to act, quietly, for the screen.

Still - VANILLA SKY. Whoooa there boy! Is this the biggest pile of narcissistic ill-conceived what-WERE-they-ON mega-tosh EVER EVER, or wot?
Of course, CRUISE only becomes *really* interesting if you think of L Ron's Scientology as basically essentially Crowley's THELEMA ripped off and repackaged for sunny mainstream of a reading-Sci-Fi trust-in-Science epoch.
(L Ron knew all about Crowley from Jack Parsons, and even performed Enochian magick *with* Parsons in his Babalon Working.) In which case, you can explain the world domination of Cruise as the triumph of pure WILL on the part of a not especially great (or tall, or 'intelligent') actor. (That not esp intelligent WILL power, tho, was sublimated & sublimed mercilessly by his uber-agent, whose name I forget - but whose name Cruise may never forget, as sacking her may turn out to be the dumbest thing he ever did. It's quite liekly that Studio Heads and Producers and other Agents can only deal with ridiculous ego and demands and money hikes WHEN/IF it comes thru the (third) person of another of their kind - anothr agent. The they can rest happy at night that it has nothign to do with the desire or happiness or 'triumph' of an actual actor - it's all a game they play among themselves. A power game - symbolic. But ridiculous demands and ego straight from the hack/bimbo actor's mouth? Uh uh. Maybe when fuckin HELL freezes over, sweety.
i thought EWS (ha) was silly but i liked kidman in it -- i don't know how dumb she is, but the gap between kubrick's self-regard and what's delivered is the largest in film history (ok i still haven't seen barry lyndon): he is the coldplay of cinema
i'm always impressed, and sometimes semi-half-persuaded, by kp's projection of content ONTO kubrick -- but i think the braininess is comin FROM mark AT stan -- i wd certainly 10000000000xrather read the former than re-watch the latter
Funnily enough, Barry Lyndon is the only one of Kubrick's "proper" films that I even half enjoyed; and funnily enough, what I enjoyed about it is what everyone else seemed to deplore - the ossified, morose, in-aspic feel/look of it: I love the idea of making an Epic, and taking every last epic quality out of it (although whether that was SK's *intention* is another matter; it could just be is is borderline-autistic, and overlooks any/everything remotely *human* in favour of on-high over-view patterns and technical problematics. As, for instance, the one inarguable thing about Barry Lyndon that spoils even my enjoyment of it is Ryan O'Neal's *shocking* attempt at an Oirish accent. (Far better he hadn't even tried, surely?)
I *do* love the fact that for 187 mins, O'Neal/Lyndon wears just the one single unvarying, hurt, perplexed expression.
And I would love to see someone do, say, a De Sade story, or a De Sade bio, in the fashion of Barry Lyndon: mannequins moving as tho drugged thru the one-track dialectic of History, all actorly tic and mannered "passion" and "realistic" gasp-gasp cinematic Sex scoured away.
perversely enough -- in respect of total-projection-as-salvage-work, which obviously i approve of -- michel chion's bfi modern master on EWS is one of my favourites from that series; he commits himself to making a case for EWS as the GREATEST FILM EVER MADE which is nuts enough to sneak under my kneejerk hostility i guess

nicole k was pretty good in TO DIE FOR long ago i thought -- not that i've seen it for ages -- but i just looked up her imdb and completely concede defeat otherwise; certainly i don't want to actually watch any of the films listed to help make the case

i'm readin 120 days of S. at the moment (for the first time) -- it is surprisingly FUNNY
i don't believe i have ever had a dream -- sexy or otherwise -- abt a filmstar

last night i dremt i was told the SECRET INGREDIENT OF SHERRY -- i woke up saying "ew! i must tell everyone! that is hilariously disgusting!" but of course i have now forgotten what it was
i just remembered! acc.my dream sherry is made of EARWIGS
I could be wrong here - but arent earwigs (or something very like them) actually crushed to make some obscure foodstuff ingredient - cochineal? is that it? (SPELLCHECK pls!)

De Sade *is* surprisingly refreshngly funny - and that's funny as in laff-out-loud funny. Did you see in the News last week some poor woman was victim of Nature imitating De Sade's malicious art - when a bolt of lightning entered her mouth and shot out her arse (! - and i bet it *was* very ! for her...) I cant remember if it's Justine or Juliette who is thus punished ...
cochineal used to be made of crushed insects but not earwigs i don't think (and i'm sure it's synthesised these days -- it's not a very expensive cooking item)

(acc.wikipedia) the word earwig (possibly) derives from latin "auricula" bcz THEY used to be crushed as a paste to make ear-medicine -- but i don't know if they were ALREADY associated with eatin into ppl's ears prior to this and it wz a sympathetic medicine
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