Thursday, June 30, 2022

Films That I Saw: June 2022


“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”

Well that is a load of fucking bullshit. America, a country that is meant to be the best of everyone in the world. Yet, we’re going backwards in terms of what is right and what is wrong. What happened in the decision from the Supreme Court that overruled the decision of Roe vs. Wade that was decided on January 22, 1973 as that was a decision that made abortion legal until June 24, 2022 as a whole lot of shit is going down. For women, this isn’t a slap in the face. This is a fucking kick in the gut and an indication of how things are in this supposed land of the free. In Ireland, it is a country that is largely dominated by Catholics yet abortion is legal there. Here in America, it’s no longer OK to have an abortion but it’s OK to buy a gun and kill a bunch of people including kids. This is beyond fucked up.

It is upsetting and also insulting as I do feel for all of these women who have every right to be pissed off. No law should say what they should and what they shouldn’t do with their bodies. No law should do what they have to do if they want to have an abortion. It’s their decision. The conservative government and those in the Supreme Court claim they’re pro-life but… that’s not what the late, great George Carlin thinks:

“There’s life in those fetuses” is what a pro-lifer says. BULLSHIT!!!!! My mother is God-fearing Catholic and doesn’t believe in that bullshit. The fetus is just nothing until it comes out of its mother’s womb as life. This is just a bunch of shit is that really pissing me off and for every political official who is celebrating all of this. Drink that piss you’re putting into your body. You’re going to grovel when this law gets overturned and to Glen Jacobs aka former WWE superstar Kane. You’re a real monster and I hope we burn you to fucking death and make sure you and your former boss Mr. Meekmahan get fucked along with his bitch-boys in People Power and Bucktooth Beaver-bitch!
In the month of June 2022, I saw a total of 32 films in 22 first-timers and 10 re-watches with three of the first-timers directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge as it is a big improvement over the last month due to more time without my niece and nephew around as they’re set to go on a big trip to Boston with their parents to meet their grandparents from their father’s side of the family. The biggest highlight of the month is definitely my Blind Spot choice in Celine and Julie Go Boating. Here are the top 10 first-timers that I saw for May 2022:

1. The Florida Project
2. Crimes of the Future
3. Matthias & Maxime
4. The Demons of Dorothy
5. The Actress
6. Tangerine
7. Fermiere a Montfaucon
8. Terror Sisters!
9. Land of My Dreams
10. Hidden
Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’ve Been Watching

A Fan’s Guide to Ms. Marvel
A preview documentary short from Disney+ that explore the creation of the comic series/graphic novel and how its popularity lead to the creation of the TV series. Featuring interviews with the cast, filmmakers, and the creators of the comic/graphic novel series, it does serve as a nice teaser of what is to come for the TV series.

Assembled: The Making of Moon Knight
The newest entry in the Disney+ documentary series on the TV series for Moon Knight is definitely one of the best entries in terms of the attention to detail they went through in the production. If anything, the art direction and visual effects team deserve a lot of credit for the work they put in and should be considered for some serious accolades as well as credit to showrunner Jeremy Slater, directors Mohamed Diab and the duo of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, and the ensemble cast including Antonia Salib and Karim El Hakim who do motion-capture work for the characters Taweret and Konshu respectively. It’s something fans of the show need to see as it goes into the amount of dedication the creators of the show do with every amount of detail.

The Actress
One of many shorts that I watched on MUBI this month with some of it dedicated to LGBTQ subject matters involve actress Isabel Sandoval portraying different film icons and performances to display the evolution of cinema. Notably in the way she portrays certain iconic performances from films by Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Douglas Sirk, and Terrence Malick. It is truly a must for film buffs to watch.

Terror Sisters!
One of two short films by Alexis Langlois that is presented as part of a double feature from MUBI definitely play into the world of LGBTQ themes. The first of which involve a group of transgender friends at a restaurant where they deal with their identities but also the need to conform to gender norms. It is a short that is filled with a lot of humor but also ideas of fantasy of how to deal with those that want them to conform. Even as it would play into ideas of violence and revenge as it is a whole lot of fun.

The Demons of Dorothy
Langlois’s second short that also feature his sister Justine in the lead role rather than a small role in the previous short has her playing a wannabe filmmaker who has ideas and dreams of the stories she wants to tell. Yet, she also has to deal with the fact that there’s those who want her to compromise her vision in this mixture of glittery fantasy and perverse body horror. It is queer cinema that isn’t afraid to be confrontational but also dangerous as this is a true gem.

The Little Deputy
Another queer-inspired short film that is about a young man reminiscing his time when he went to a mall in Edmonton where he took a picture with his father where the photographer makes a suggestion to the boy as it play into his identity. It is shot on VHS home video as if it was set in the 80s yet it would play into the boy’s relationship with his father and the identity he eventually accepted as a man where he would travel in time to take a picture that he feels is more appropriate of who he really is.

Fermiere a Montfaucon
From Eric Rohmer and producer Barbet Schroeder that was made as part of series of documentary shorts for French television in the 1960s is about the life of a woman farmer in the span of a year. The short is fascinating to show what a woman is doing throughout an entire year amidst changes outside of her world but also her need to maintain a lifestyle that she only knows. It’s a short that fans of Rohmer need to see if they haven’t seen it.

Land of My Dreams
From Yann Gonzalez is a short film about a woman who reunites with her mother as they travel through Portugal to perform in front of men as it is this fascinating strip show. Yet, it is a short that is filled with gorgeous visuals and an entrancing music soundtrack as it definitely play into the idea of longing but also wanting to find a life outside the world of traveling shows.

Get Ready
From Peter Tscherkassky is a one-minute short that consists of found footage that is filled with dazzling imagery that serves as a trailer of sorts for a film festival in Vienna. Yet, it is an indication of why Tscherkassky is a big discovery for me right now.

A short by Aleskey Balabanov as it play into cinema’s history where a man travels to Petersburg after killing his younger brother for sleeping his wife. Upon his arrival, he finds himself in front of a camera where a filmmaker is filming people stepping out of a train as it would then play into this man dealing with his actions and a role he would unknowingly play as it is shot entirely in sepia except for the last few minutes as it set in modern times as it relates to the footage that was filmed in the past.


From Mike Judge is his first short film as it is this animated short about a dumb hick who watches a thing in which a hippie is trying to get dumb people to eat awful veggie food and organic crap. It is hilarious in terms of how ahead of its time it is as it play into the need of trying to get people to eat healthy but through heavy-handed bullshit.

From Jafar Panahi is a short in which Panahi and his daughter picking up a theater producer as they travel to a Kurdish village. There, they encounter a young woman who sings but she prefers not to be seen in order to hide her identity due to the fact that she is unable to get permission from people in her village. It is an incredible short as it play into the fact that it was shot on 2 iPhones by Panahi and his daughter as it is another gem worth seeking out.

Horse on a House
A surreal short film from Hungary about a man trying to find a horse inside this apartment building is one filled with unique animation but also lots of odd imagery. Notably as it play as a weird detective story yet there is a lot more happening as it shows why MUBI is a streaming service worth having because content like this.

My Fat Arse and I
An animated short by another Hungarian filmmaker except in a woman is an exploration of not just body-shaming but also the need to conform to this false idea of beauty. All because a woman couldn’t fit in her new jeans and is being called a fatty. It is an inventive short that really is body-positive and play into the idea of what beauty could be no matter how thin or fat anyone is. Plus, I do like some big ladies.

From Mati Diop is a documentary short about a trio of men who are hoping to get a boat out of Senegal to go to Europe for a better life. Yet, they ponder in what they’re going to leave behind as it is a short rich in its imagery but also the dangers of what they’re about to embark on as this short is definitely another film worth seeking out.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (episodes 3-6)
Definitely the best thing to come out of the Star Wars franchise since The Mandalorian as this series not only made me appreciate the prequels a bit more despite its flaws but it also brought out some amazing work in terms of the visual effects, set design, Deborah Chow’s direction, and the ensemble cast. Notably as there are elements of suspense including a flashback sequence of Attack of the Clones-era Anakin Skywalker in a duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi as it serves as a metaphor for Darth Vader’s own lack of patience who reacted to Kenobi’s trick with humility and respect. The guest performances from Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Kumail Nanjiani are superb with Vivien Lyra Blair and Moses Ingram delivering standout performances with the latter providing a great performance as Reva Savander who has her own arc including some back story of why she joined the Sith.

The final duel between Obi-Wan and Vader in the season finale is phenomenal but is also touching in terms of how far gone Anakin has gone into the dark side with Obi-Wan remorseful what has happened. The show’s ending is touching as it doesn’t just feature an expected cameo from Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine but a massive surprising appearance from an old friend. Ewan McGregor gives a phenomenal performance in the titular role also employing some of the vocal traits of Alec Guinness for those famous words. It is a show that is reason why I love Star Wars when it is good as it’s going into an incredible path. If there’s a second season coming, I’m all for it.

Ms. Marvel (episodes 1-4)
I FUCKING LOVE THIS SHOW!!!!!! Four episodes in so far and wow, this is a breath of fresh air in terms of not just exploring a different culture but also a young girl just trying to find herself. Iman Vellani is perfect as Kamala Khan and is always a joy to watch in every scene she’s in. It is a show that is about this young Pakistani girl living in New Jersey who loves comic books, superheroes, and all sorts of pop culture with a fondness for Captain Marvel as she gains her own powers due to a bangle that her grandmother mailed from Pakistan. Yet, it is more than just some superhero show but it’s really a show about family as the performances of Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, and Saagar Shaikh as the Khans are a joy to watch as well as Matt Lintz as Bruno, Yasmeen Fletcher as Nakia, and many others. The ensemble in this show is strong as it has a lot of life and color while also exploring some things that not many western audiences know about.

The subject of the Partition of India and Pakistan is discussed as that is something I didn’t really know much about and shame on Britain for what they did to those two countries. The first three episodes are set in New Jersey as they all have something to offer while the most recent episode is set in Karachi, Pakistan as it does play more into Kamala’s Pakistani roots as well as some revelations from her grandmother who is still trying to find herself. The final shot of the fourth episode is just astonishing as the episode does feature a guest appearance from Bollywood icon Farhan Akhtar as a man who helps Kamala over what is at stake for her but also the universe as it also relates to the multiverse. Two more episodes are coming and already, this show leaves me wanting for more.

Wrestling Match of the Month: Will Ospreay vs. Orange Cassidy-AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door
An inter-promotional event from All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling was announced a few months ago as it had been in the works for months as there were also planned matches including CM Punk vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship but Punk’s injury changed everything leading to a battle royale and matches to determine a main event for the interim AEW World Heavyweight Championship between Tanahashi and Jon Moxley. Both companies have wrestlers who are injured as it changed a lot of things up until the day of the event yet everyone who worked that night on June 26, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago ended up delivering. From the main event between Tanahashi and Moxley with the latter being the new interim AEW champ while FTR won the IWGP World Tag Team Championships and PAC becoming the inaugural AEW All-Atlantic Championship as well as the debut of Claudio Castagnoli (formerly known as Cesaro) replacing Bryan Danielson in a match against Zack Sabre Jr.

Yet, the match of that night was meant to be the current IWGP U.S. Champion Will Ospreay vs. Andrade El Idolo but due to politics between two Mexican companies in CMLL and AAA with the former in a working relationship with NJPW and the latter with AEW. It forced to change things as it lead to Orange Cassidy to replace Andrade as it was a match met with low expectations considering that Cassidy is often considered to be a comedy wrestler. However, this match ended up being a massive surprise in terms of clash of styles as well as wrestling psychology and move sets. Though it wasn’t surprising that Ospreay would win but it was Cassidy who was the bigger surprise while the post-match stuff that involved members of Ospreay’s United Empire faction and Cassidy’s allies in Chaos was fun but not as impactful as the arrival of Katsuyori Shibata who would help Cassidy out and became a new friend of Cassidy.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1.Portrait of a Lady on Fire
2. Coco
3. Bull Durham
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
5. The Band Concert
6. Don’s Fountain of Youth
7. Captain Marvel
8. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer
9. Man of Steel
10. The Incredible Hulk
Well, that is it for June. Next month, I will be seeing Thor: Love and Thunder as well as a different array of films from my different watch lists including a few westerns, films from A24, and a few other things including my next film in the Blind Spot Series. Other than that, that is it as I want to send my condolences to legendary WWE referees Tim White and Dave Hebner as well as actors Philip Baker Hall and Jean-Louis Trintignant, musicians Alec John Such of Bon Jovi, Jim Seals of Seals and Croft, and singer Julee Cruise as they will all be missed. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2022

Friday, June 24, 2022

Tangerine (2015 film)


Directed, edited, and co-shot by Sean Baker and written and casted by Baker and Chris Bergoch, Tangerine is the story of a transgender sex worker who learns her pimp/boyfriend has been cheating on her following her 28-day prison stay as she joins a friend in trying to get money during Christmas Eve. The film is an exploration of two sex workers who try to uncover some truth while dealing with other things as they work in Los Angeles. Starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, and James Ransone. Tangerine is an entrancing and riveting film from Sean Baker.

It’s Christmas Eve as a transgender prostitute has returned from a 28-day prison stay where her friend revealed that her pimp/boyfriend has been cheating on her prompting this woman to find him and his new girlfriend while also trying to get some money in their profession. It is a film that has a simple premise that also include a subplot involving an Armenian cab driver trying to get his own fix as he knows the two women as one of them is doing a show singing at a club later in the night. The film’s screenplay by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch is largely straightforward though it would have a trio of narrative strands that involve the activities of the sex workers Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) as well as the Armenian cab driver Razmik (Karren Karagulian) throughout the course of an entire day. Notably as Sin-Dee tries to find her boyfriend/pimp Chester (James Ransone) over accusations that he’s been cheating on her with another prostitute while Alexandra tries to defuse the situation while wanting people to come see her perform at a club with Razmik promising to attend despite having to attend a Xmas family dinner around the same time.

Baker’s direction is definitely ravishing in terms of the fact that he shoots the film largely on three iPhone 5S smartphones with co-cinematographer Radium Cheung as it is also shot on exact locations in Hollywood, California including areas such as West Hollywood and Santa Monica Boulevard. Baker’s direction has this air of realism to the film in the way it’s shot as if it is presented in a form of cinema verite while also using Steadicams for some tracking shots in the city where Baker uses a lot of wide and medium shots to capture characters walking on the street and the surroundings they’re in. There’s also some close-ups in scenes inside Razmik’s cab or in some of the places where characters go into a room or a place as well as scene where Sin-Dee and another sex worker in Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan) smoke some meth in the bathroom as a way to make peace since Dinah is Chester’s new mistress.

Also serving as the editor, Baker maintains a sense of style in the visual presentation with some jump-cuts in the editing as it adds to the film’s offbeat presentation while he and Cheung maintain a sense of naturalism into their photography as it has this colorful presentation. Notably in some of daytime/evening scenes where there is this air of beauty in many of the exterior settings while not straying from the story in order to showcase the struggles that Sin-Dee and Alexandra have to endure in being transgender as well as Razmik’s desire for sexual satisfaction. The film’s third act that involves Alexandra’s own performance at a club also play into Razmik’s own family drama as well as a confrontation between Sin-Dee and Chester. There is that sense of realism in these locations and dramatic moments that occur including the fact that these two transgender workers are outsiders but do whatever they can to thrive on no matter the bullshit they have to deal with. Overall, Baker crafts a ravishing and intoxicating film about a day in the life of two transgender workers dealing with personal issues and such during Christmas Eve.

Costume designer Shih-Ching Tsou does nice work with the costumes to play into the look of both Sin-Dee and Alexandra as well as the wigs they wear to play up their need to attract customers. Sound editor Jeremy Grody does excellent work with the sound as it play into the way music sounds on location or in a car as well as other sounds on location. Music supervisor Matthew Hearon-Smith creates an incredible music soundtrack that features an array of music ranging from classical, holiday, hip-hop, pop, and electronic music from acts such as Mya Taylor, Harry Horlick and his Orchestra, DJ Heemie & DJ Lightup, White Night Ghosts, Haterade & Skellism, Sirusho, Mr. Batou, Matthew Engst & Tobias Karlsson, Mariachi De Maiz, Ludwig van Beethoven, BrainDeaD, Neil Davidge with Stephonik, and Duwell.

The film’s casting by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch is wonderful as it feature an array of mostly non-actors including costume designer Shih-Ching Tsou as the donut shop owner, Jason Stuart as a club doorman in Joey, Josh Sussman as a drunk guy who vomits in Razmik’s cab, porn star Ana Foxxx as a prostitute that Razmik tries to have sex with only to realize what she doesn’t have, Arsen Grigoryan as a fellow Armenian cab driver, Ian Edwards as a businessman named Nash, Julie Cummings and Rae L. Siskind as a couple of cops who deal with an incident involving Alexandra and a customer, Scott Krinsky as Alexandra’s customer who couldn’t get hard, Richard-Lael Lillard as a woman in a motel room who runs a ring for Chester, and Clu Gulager as an old man who is part Cherokee.

Louisa Nersisyan and Alla Tumanian are fantastic in their respective roles as Razmik’s wife Yeva and mother-in-law Ashken as the former is a woman that is just trying to have a good family dinner while not wanting to know what her husband does while the latter is nosy and ends up making a lot of trouble during the donut shop scene late in the film. Karren Karagulian is excellent as Razmik as an Armenian cab driver spending the day to do his job while also wanting some sexual satisfaction as he prefers transgender over real women as he is also friends with Sin-Dee and Alexandra as that friendship would put him in trouble. Mickey O’Hagan is brilliant as Dinah as Chester’s mistress/bottom bitch whom Sin-Dee accuses of being his mistress as she is dragged by Sin-Dee to find Chester while also revealing to be someone who has been used by him as she often has something funny to say.

James Ransone is amazing as Chester as Sin-Dee’s boyfriend/pimp who is seen in the film’s third act as someone that is just trying to do his business while also bullshitting everyone about what he does including why Sin-Dee went to jail. Finally, there’s the duo of Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor in incredible leading performances in their respective roles as Sin-Dee and Alexandra with the former being full of energy and aggression as a transgender sex worker who feels wronged and is trying to get answers after being in jail for 28 days. Taylor’s performance as the latter is more subdued but also has some charm and energy as someone trying to get everyone to watch her sing as well as to calm things down. Rodriguez and Taylor together have amazing chemistry in the way they feel ostracized by society as well as being part of a community struggling to be part of an inclusive world yet they’re also people who are just trying to get their money and have a nice Christmas Eve.

Tangerine is a phenomenal film from Sean Baker. Featuring a great ensemble cast, ravishing visuals, a hypnotic music soundtrack, and its exploration of transgender sex workers trying to deal with the bullshit of society. It is a film that is raw yet entrancing in its presentation while also showing a world where a couple of transgender women just trying to get some money during the Christmas holidays and enjoy themselves despite the bullshit they often have to deal with. In the end, Tangerine is a sensational film from Sean Baker.

Sean Baker Films: (Four Letter Words) – (Take Out (2004 film)) – (Prince of Broadway) – Starlet (2012 film)The Florida Project - (Red Rocket) - (Anora)

© thevoid99 2022

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks: Island Movies


For the 24th week of 2022 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the subject of island movies as it all play into films set in islands and such. A place where people can be isolated and be free from the trappings of society or a place that is essentially one’s private Hell. Then, there’s those films that have no plot as they’re all just an excuse to show ass and titties. Here are my three picks:

1. Savage Beach
From the late, great Andy Sidaris is one of his quintessential film about two DEA agents who are trapped in a storm as they crash onto an island that supposedly feature lost gold that the Japanese had hidden back in World War II. While waiting for help, the ladies skinny-dip while later dealing with some nefarious drug dealers who want the gold as all hell breaks loose. Beautiful movie. Guns, boobies, beautiful locations. What more could a guy want?

2. Dinosaur Island
From the legendary Roger Corman and two of softcore cinema’s great auteurs in Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski is a B-movie schlock fest about a group of military airmen who land on a mysterious woman that is largely inhabited by tribal women as they all have to deal with dinosaurs wreaking havoc. Along the way, three of the soldiers get it on with these fine ladies as well as prove they are be all they can be when it comes to killing off dinosaurs and getting laid.

3. Survival Island
While this film doesn’t actually feature an original scenario since it is a lower-budget version of Guy Ritchie’s remake of Swept Away but with an extra man involved. It is a film in which a yachting accident leaves a rich woman and a cook stranded on an island while her husband also arrives as the rich couple lack survival skills while the cook knows how to survive. Alas, sexual tension emerge between the cook and the rich woman as it would create trouble. It isn’t a great film though it does feature a hammy performance from Billy Zane as well as some nice topless scenes from Kelly Brook.

© thevoid99 2022

Monday, June 20, 2022

2022 Blind Spot Series: Celine and Julie Go Boating


Directed by Jacques Rivette and written by Rivette, Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier, and Marie-France Pisier with additional dialogue by Eduardo de Gregorio and text based on original stories by Henry James, Celine et Julie von ten bateau (Celine and Julie Go Boating) is the story of a librarian who meets a magician as they embark on a series of adventures ranging from all sorts of worlds and stories including a murder-mystery. The film is a genre-bending tale that feature two women who embark on this adventure that takes them to places of fiction and other forms of reality as the titular characters are portrayed by Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier respectively as Celine and Julie. Also starring Bulle Ogier, Marie-France Pisier, Barbet Schroeder, Nathalie Asnar, Marie-Therese Saussure, Philippe Clevenot, Jean Douchet, Adele Taffetas, Monique Clement, Jerome Richard, Michael Graham, and Jean-Marie Senia. Celine et Julie von ten bateau is a majestic and whimsical film from Jacques Rivette.

The film is the story of two women with a fascination for magic who meet as they embark on a series of adventures where they encounter a house as they would play the role of a maid in a murder mystery from the past. It is a film that doesn’t have much of a plot as its screenplay is loose in its presentation but also has these layers of stories within a story that includes this murder mystery from the past. The script does feature a lot of literary references in not just some of the works of Henry James but also Lewis Carroll and Marcel Proust in relation to the idea of alternate realities. The film begins with Julie reading a book on magic where she catches Celine running through a park leaving things as Julie would follow her as the two eventually meet and become friends with Celine moving in to Julie’s apartment. Julie is a librarian while Celine is a cabaret performer/magician as the two would know more about each other’s lives but also this home near a house where a childhood neighbor of Julie lived in. There on different days, they would separately encounter this story of two sisters who are in a love triangle with a man as Celine and Julie would play a maid on different occasions where a young girl is murdered.

Jacques Rivette’s direction is largely simple in its presentation as it doesn’t emphasize on anything stylish but rather shoot on actual locations as the film is largely set in Montmartre near Paris. Shot on the 1:37:1 aspect ratio, Rivette uses the format to play into the film’s simple presentation as there are some unique wide shots of the location as well as a few scenes in a room with one of the characters in the foreground and another in the background. There are also some incredible compositions that Rivette uses in the close-ups and medium shots as it play into the way Celine and Julie interact with one another but also in how they try to figure out this murder mystery in this old house where it’s opened at a specific time. There are also these moments in the film where whenever Celine or Julie leave that house. They are disoriented as they would get these flashes of what they had experienced while they would eat a piece of candy later on where they remember what they saw. The scenes inside the house showcase these two women in Camille (Bulle Ogier) and Sophie (Marie-France Pisier) who are sisters who are taking care of their niece Madlyn (Nathalie Asnar) while pursuing her father Olivier (Barbet Schroeder) on Madlyn’s first birthday since the death of her mother.

Rivette’s direction also play into individual pursuits of Celine and Julie with the former being a magician and the latter is a librarian as they would eventually switch roles with the former trying to deal with the latter’s childhood sweetheart and the latter filling in for the former in an audition. It adds to the film’s whimsical tone while also playing into how they uncover the mystery from this candy that they eat as they would take notes on what they remember. The film’s climax is about uncovering what really did happen but also play into this idea of what is real and what is fantasy as it is followed by an aftermath that blur the lines of all of that and more. Overall, Rivette crafts an intoxicating yet exhilarating film about two women who embark on a weird adventure involving a murder mystery from the past and other alternate universes.

Cinematographer Jacques Renard does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as its usage of natural lighting for many of the daytime exteriors as well as the usage of lights for some interior scenes in the day and night. Editor Nicole Lubtchansky does amazing work with the editing with its stylish usage of jump cuts to help blur the ideas of fantasy and reality. Costume designers Jean-Luc Berne, Pierre D’Alby, and Laurent Vicci do fantastic work with the costumes from the more conservative look of Julie to the more hippie-inspired look of Celine as well as the posh clothing of Camille and Sophie. The sound work of Paul Laine is superb for the way sound is presented in its natural setting including some of the music that is played on location. The film’s music by Jean-Marie Senia is wonderful as it is largely a cabaret piano-based piece that is performed for Celine’s stage performance.

The film’s incredible ensemble cast feature some notable small roles from composer Jean-Marie Senia as the piano player Cyrill, Jerome Richard and Michael Graham as a couple of men watching Julie’s audition, Adele Taffetas and Monique Clement as a couple of fellow performer friends of Celine, Anne Zamire as a co-worker of Julie at the library, Jean Douchet as Celine’s boss at the club, Philippe Clevenot as Julie’s childhood sweetheart Guilou, and Marie-Therese Saussere as an old neighbor of Julie in Poupie whom Julie asks about the house next door. Nathalie Asnar is fantastic as the young girl Madlyn who deals with her upcoming birthday but also unaware of the tension surrounding her family with Celine and Julie observing her. Barbet Schroeder is excellent as Madlyn’s father Olivier who is in love triangle with her aunts as he deals with being in love with two women but also trying to seduce the family maid who are played on different occasions by Celine and Julie.

Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier are phenomenal in their respective roles as Camille and Sophie as two sisters who are watching over their niece but also vying for the affection of Olivier with Ogier being more out there as someone who is losing her mind while Pisier plays a woman with an immense fear for flowers. Finally, there’s the duo of Julie Berto and Dominique Labourier in spectacular performances in their respective roles of the titular characters in Celine and Julie. Berto provides a bit of sensuality in her work as a magician but also this exuberance in the way she is introduced into the film while Labourier is more reserved early on while also having a few quirks of her own. Together, the two women display an air of mischievousness in how they plot schemes but also play into the way they react to the other world they’re in as they are a major highlight of the film.

Celine et Julie von ten bateau is a magnificent film from Jacques Rivette that features tremendous leading performances from Julie Berto and Dominique Labourier. Along with its ensemble cast, colorful visuals, whimsical presentation, and its story of two women going into a moment in time that also involve alternate worlds. It is a film that is definitely offbeat in its presentation and premise yet it has a looseness that is engaging to watch as well as what two women would do to uncover this murder mystery but also themselves. In the end, Celine et Julie von ten bateau is an outstanding film from Jacques Rivette.

Jacques Rivette Films: Le Coup du berger - (Paris Belongs to Us) – (The Nun (1966 film)) – (L’amour fou) – (Out 1) – (Duelle) – (Noroit) – (Merry-Go Round (1981 film)) – (Le Pont du Nord) – (Love on the Ground) – (Hurlevent) – (Gang of Four (1989 film)) – (La Belle Noiseuse) – (Joan the Maid) – (Up, Down, Fragile) – (Lumiere and Company-“Une aventure de Ninon”) – (Secret Defense) – (Va savoir) – (The Story of Marie and Julien) – (The Duchess of Langeais) – (Around a Small Mountain)

© thevoid99 2022

Friday, June 17, 2022

Le Coup du berger


Based on the short story Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat by Roald Dahl, Le Coup du berger (Fool’s Mate) is a short film about a woman who is having an affair with another man who bought her a new coat as they try to hide it from her husband. Directed by and narrated Jacques Rivette and screenplay by Rivette, Claude Chabrol, and Charles Bitsch, the short film is an exploration of a woman trying to hide her affair with this coat being the evidence of this affair. Starring Virginie Vitry, Anne Doat, Etienne Loinod, and Jean-Claude Brialy. Le Coup du berger is a witty and engaging film by Jacques Rivette.

The film is the simple story of a woman having an extramarital affair with another man who has purchased a new mink fur coat that they need to hide from her husband. It plays into this woman in Claire (Virginie Vitry) who is given this fur coat from her lover Claude (Jean-Claude Brialy) as they would hide it to avoid suspicion from her husband Jean (Etienne Loinod). The film also features narration where it play into Claire’s need to be one step ahead of her husband as if they’re playing chess until a mix-up over the coat emerges.

Rivette’s direction is definitely stylish in the way he shoots on location in Paris as it serves as a template for a lot of the films that would be part of the French New Wave. While there are a few wide shots including some scenes inside an apartment, much of Rivette’s direction is intimate in the way he presents this affair but also Claire’s need to hide her affair from her husband as she also gets help from her sister Solange (Anne Doat). Rivette’s usage of medium shots and hand-held camera for scenes in a car add to this energy within the film as well as playing up the suspense right to the film’s ending as it does play like a chess game as it include some rhythmic cuts from editor Denise de Casabianca who employ ideas that would become the jump-cut. Shot in black-and-white by co-writer Charles Bitsch, Rivette would maintain a distinctive look that add to the film’s energetic tone that is supported by Francois Couperin’s playful orchestral score. Overall, Rivette crafts a delightful and exhilarating short film about an adulterous wife’s attempt to hide a fur coat from her husband.

The film’s ensemble cast features cameo appearances from future filmmakers of the New Wave in Claude Chabrol, Francois Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard as well as Rivette as party guests at the film’s ending along with a fantastic performance from Anne Doat as Claire’s sister Solange who is always wearing clothes that Claire needs to hide. Etienne Loinod is superb as Claire’s husband who seems to not know anything until later in the film where he starts to act suspicious. Jean-Claude Brialy is excellent as Claude as a smooth and charismatic man who thinks he is clever although he would make a mistake that would get them into some trouble. Virginie Vitry is amazing as Claire as this beautiful woman who feels like her husband doesn’t do enough for her as she loves being with Claude but things get complicated over a mix-up as she ponders if the affair is worth all of the trouble.

Le Coup du berger is a phenomenal film from Jacques Rivette. Featuring a great cast, riveting visuals, and an engaging study of adultery and one-upmanship, it is a short film that isn’t just fun but also serves as a template of sorts of the ideas that would define a new era in cinema that would become the French New Wave. In the end, Le Coup du berger is a sensational film from Jacques Rivette.

Jacques Rivette Films: (Paris Belongs to Us) – (The Nun (1966 film)) – (L’amour fou) – (Out 1) – Celine and Julie Go Boating – (Duelle) – (Noroit) – (Merry-Go Round (1981 film)) – (Le Pont du Nord) – (Love on the Ground) – (Hurlevent) – (Gang of Four (1989 film)) – (La Belle Noiseuse) – (Joan the Maid) – (Up, Down, Fragile) – (Lumiere and Company-“Une aventure de Ninon”) – (Secret Defense) – (Va savoir) – (The Story of Marie and Julien) – (The Duchess of Langeais) – (Around a Small Mountain)

© thevoid99 2022

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks: Shopping Mall


For the 23rd week of 2022 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the world of shopping malls as I’m sure for anyone here from the 1980s and 1990s would definitely remember those places even though they’re on their way out. Even here in Smyrna, GA as Cumberland Mall, which was once a great place filled with so many cool things, is now a shithole. Here are my three picks:

1. Mallrats
Though it was maligned upon its initial release in late 1995 more than a year after Kevin Smith broke through with his debut film Clerks the year before. It is a film that deserve its cult status as it play into two slackers dealing with girl issues as they spend much of their time at a mall. There’s some hilarious moments including a gag involving Kevin Smith’s Silent Bob character trying to use Jedi mind tricks or flying where he would get a look at a topless Joey Lauren Adams or Ethan Suplee trying see what’s in the Magic Eye painting. Add a great cameo from Stan Lee and a topless Priscilla Barnes with a third nipple, it is a joy to watch as it also features an early appearance from frequent Smith collaborator Ben Affleck.

2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
While it is mainly Die Hard in a mall with a fat security guard with hypoglycemia, it is still a fun and entertaining film in which the titular character is really a good guy who works his ass off. It is a film that doesn’t take itself seriously with Kevin James delivering a solid performance as the titular character who just tries to make the mall safe during the Thanksgiving holidays until a bunch of thieves come in to try and steal some money but they have to deal with Paul Blart. He maybe the underdog in this scenario but he’s got a lot of heart and if he’s carrying some sugar. He will be a powerhouse. This was a film not well-received by many critics but it did get a nice praise from the late, great Roger Ebert.

3. Observe and Report
Jody Hill’s mall cop comedy about an unstable young man who is trying to apprehend a flasher while also trying to win over a bitchy make-up counter worker is a film that has some good moments. Yet, it tries too hard to be a lot of things with Hill wanting to be a funny version of Taxi Driver (which is really King of Comedy) where he does succeed in a few moments thanks in part to Seth Rogen’s performance as well as a great supporting turn from Michael Pena as his partner. Still, it is an uneven fare that doesn’t do much for its ensemble cast despite some solid supporting work from the late, great Ray Liotta.

© thevoid99 2022