4 Shots From 4 Films: Dr. No, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Wild Things, Spring Breakers


Today is National Bikini Day!

According to the good people at Checkiday, the proper way to celebrate National Bikini Day is to put on a bikini and head to the beach!  Unfortunately, I don’t live anywhere near the beach so instead, I’ve just been cleaning the house and taking out a wasp nest while wearing a bikini, which is an experience that’s both frightening and empowering at the same time.

(Seriously, we had a huge wasp nest that showed up overnight over the front door.  I went outside and sprayed the nest, which resulted in the porch getting covered with dying and angry wasps.  Of course, that’s when I realized that, because of the whole bikini thing, I had put on a t-shirt but I’d forgotten to put on shoes so I was barefoot, the backdoor was locked, and I didn’t have my keys on me, again because of the whole bikini thing.  Rather than walking in bare feet across a porch covered by angry wasps, I literally crawled through a window to get back in the house, at which point I put on my shoes, went outside, and swept up all the wasps and the nest.  It’s been quite a day!)

Anyway, as we often do here at the Shattered Lens, we’re going to recognize both this holiday and four of our favorite movies!  Here, in honor of National Bikini Day, are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Trailer Round-Up: Captive State, The Beach Bum, The Boat, Her Smell


This week, we have already shared trailers for Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Here’s the best of the rest:

Captive State is the latest science fiction epic from director Rupert Wyatt.  Wyatt previously proved himself with Rise of the Planet of the Apes so I am looking forward to seeing what he can do with the story of an Earth that has been taken over by aliens.  Captive State will be released in March of 2019.

Harmony Korine returns to the beach with The Beach Bum.  Starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, and Snoop Dogg, this appears to be an unexpectedly light-hearted film from the mind behind Kids, Gummo, and Spring Breakers.  The Beach Bum will be released on March 22nd.

Judging from the trailer, The Boat appears to be Christine-in-the-water.  The Boat will be released on September 22nd.

Finally, a legendary punk rocker struggles to stay sober in Her Smell.  Judging from this teaser, it does not appear to be working.

Back to School Part II #32: Kids (dir by Larry Clark)


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The first time that I ever saw Kids, the 1995 directorial debut of Larry Clark, my initial response was to wonder what the Hell everyone was talking about.

Seriously, I couldn’t understand a word that anyone was saying.  The two main characters — 15 year-old Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) and his friend Casper (Justin Pierce) — talked almost constantly.  In fact, Telly even narrated the film.  But both of them had such thick Northern accents and both of them were so inarticulate that I spent 75% of the movie trying to understand what they were going on about.  (Add to that, Casper is pretty much either drunk or stoned through the entire film.)  Don’t get me wrong.  I understood enough to know what was going on in the movie.  I knew that Telly was obsessed with having sex with virgins and that he didn’t know that he was HIV positive.  I knew that Casper considered himself to be the “dopest ghost in town,” and that he ended the film by coming out of his daze long enough to look straight at the camera and ask, “What the fuck happened?”  But a lot of the dialogue in-between got lost as a result of Telly growling and Casper slurring.

So, when I rewatched Kids for this review, I turned on the close captioning so that I could read what it was that Telly and Casper were actually saying to each other while they were walking around New York City.  After a few minutes, I started to really wish that I had just remained ignorant.  Seriously, you may hate Telly but you’ll hate even more once you understand everything that he actually says during the opening scenes of the film.  Telly is literally one of the most disgusting pervs to ever be at the center of a motion picture.  “Virgins,” he announces at the start of the film, “I love them!”  He also infects them and what’s truly disturbing is that you get the feeling that, even if he knew he was HIV positive, Telly wouldn’t change his behavior at all.

Reportedly, Leo Fitzpatrick got death threats after starring in Kids.  Because he was making his film debut in Kids and because the film’s cast was reportedly made up of actual street kids, many viewers assumed that Fitzpatrick was playing himself.  Fitzpatrick is one of the few members of the cast to have actually maintained an acting career after Kids and, by most accounts, he’s not Telly.  That said, Telly is such a demonic character and Fitzpatrick does such a good job playing him that, admittedly, it is strange to see him subsequently play characters who are far different from Telly.  (His performance as faux hitman in Clark’s Bully is one of the highlights of that film.)

Justin Pierce also continued to act after Kids, though his efforts to maintain a career were reportedly hampered by his own personal demons.  Sadly, Pierce committed suicide in 2000, hanging himself in Las Vegas.  As raw as it may be, Pierce probably gives the best performance in Kids.  I’m sure that some would be tempted to say that Pierce was just playing himself but there’s also a sly humor to his performance that isn’t necessarily present in the script.  Casper is a despicable character who not only possibly beats a man to death but who also rapes one of his so-called friends when she’s passed out on a coach.  At times, Casper seems to almost be brain-dead.  (We’re told that he’s been sniffing glue since the 4th grade.)  But then there’s a few scenes where we get hints of who Casper could have been if he hadn’t fried his brain.

(For instance, it’s interesting to note that, alone among the male characters, Casper is the only one who occasionally behaves in a generous manner.  He may steal a piece of fruit but he then gives it to a young girl waiting outside of a dilapidated building.  In the famous scene in which a legless man asks for money while singing, “I have no legs/I have no legs,” Casper gives him money while Telly rolls his eyes.  Casper may be awful but, unlike Telly, he’s not a total sociopath.)

(It’s also interesting to note that, while we meet Telly’s mom and hear from her that Telly has a strained relationship with his dad, we never meet or hear about Casper’s family.  While Kids may be critical of Telly and Casper and their friends, it’s true scorn is reserved for the frequently unseen adults who all either seem to either be in denial or just incredibly callous as far as their children are concerned.)

And then there’s Chloe Sevigny and Rosario Dawson, both making their film debut in Kids.  They play friends who, at the start of the movie, both go to a clinic to get the results of their HIV tests.  The promiscuous Ruby (Dawson) is negative.  Jennie (Sevigny), however, is positive.  Since she’s only had sex with one person, she knows that she caught it from Telly.  What little plot that Kids has deals with Jennie’s efforts to track down Telly before he has sex with another virgin.  From the minute that Jennie starts searching for Telly, you know that it’s a pointless mission.  Even if Jennie did manage to track down Telly, it’s doubtful he would listen to her.

Kids was the directorial debut of Larry Clark.  It was also the screenwriting debut of Harmony Korine and reportedly, it was considered to be very shocking and controversial when it was first released.  I have to admit that, even speaking as someone who grew up far away from the streets of New York on which Kids was cast and filmed, I’ve never been that shocked by Kids.  Don’t get me wrong — it’s a raw and powerful film and the scene where Sevigny sits in a cab and repeats to herself that she’s not going to die brought tears to my eyes.  But, no — the idea of kids and teenagers having sex, doing drugs, and getting violent is no longer shocking (if it ever was).

It’s just another day.

What If Lisa Marie Picked The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

You can check out my picks for 2010 by clicking here.

My picks for 2011 can be found here.

And, finally, here are my picks for 2012.

Best Picture

Best Picture

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Before Midnight

Blue Is The Warmest Color

Frances Ha

Fruitvale Station

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Spring Breakers

Upstream Color

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Best Director

Noah Baumbach for Frances Ha

Shane Carruth for Upstream Color

Spike Jonze for Her

Harmony Korine for Spring Breakers

David O. Russell for American Hustle

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Best Actor

Bruce Dern in Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

Joaquin Phoenix in Her

Dennis Quaid in At Any Price

This-one-is-good

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine

Julie Delpy in Before Midnight

Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue Is The Warmest Color

Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha

Amy Seimetz in Upstream Color

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Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips

Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now

Bradley Cooper in American Hustle

James Franco in Spring Breakers

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

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Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Eva Mendes in The Place Beyond The Pines

Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave

Léa Seydoux in Blue Is The Warmest Color

Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station

Her

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle

Blue Jasmine

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Upstream Color

Before-Midnight

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years A Slave

Before Midnight

Blue Is The Warmest Color

The Spectacular Now

The Wolf of Wall Street

November 1st, 2013 @ 20:49:52

Best Animated Feature

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest and Celestine

Frozen

Monsters University

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Best Documentary Feature

20 Feet From Stardom

The Armstrong Lie

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Stories We Tell

Tim’s Vermeer

Blue-is-the-Warmest-Color

Best Foreign Language Film

(Please note that I do things differently for this category than the Academy.   For this award, I am nominating the best foreign language films to be released in the United States in 2013.)

Beyond the Hills

Blue Is The Warmest Color

No

Renoir

White Elephant

The Great Gatsby1

Best Production Design

12 Years A Slave

Gravity

The Great Gatsby

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Spring Breakers

Best Cinematography

Frances Ha

Inside Llewyn Davis

Nebraska

Spring Breakers

Upstream Color

American Hustle

Best Costume Design

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

The Copperhead

The Great Gatsby

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Upstream Color

Best Film Editing

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Gravity

Her

Upstream Color

American Hustle 2

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Dallas Buyers Club

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Warm Bodies

Maniac

Best Original Score

Gravity

Her

Maniac

Trance

Upstream Color

The Great Gatsby2

Best Original Song

“Let it Go” from Frozen

“A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” from The Great Gatsby

“Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby

“The Moon Song” from Her

“I See Fire” from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

“Atlas” from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

“Please Mr. Kennedy” from Inside Llewyn Davis

“So You Know What It’s Like” from Short Term 12

“Becomes The Color” from Stoker

“Here It Comes” from Trance

Iron Man 3

Best Sound Editing

All Is Lost

Iron Man 3

Pacific Rim

Rush

Upstream Color

Pacific Rim

Best Sound Mixing

All Is Lost

Iron Man 3

Pacific Rim

Rush

Upstream Color

Gravity

Best Visual Effects

Gravity

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Iron Man 3

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Pacific Rim

List of Films By Number of Nominations:

9 Nominations — Upstream Color

8 Nominations — American Hustle

7 Nominations — 12 Years A Slave, Her

5 Nominations — Blue Is The Warmest Color

4 Nominations — Frances Ha, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis, Spring Breakers

3 Nominations — Before Midnight, Dallas Buyers Club, Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim

2 Nominations — All Is Lost, Blue Jasmine, Frozen, Fruitvale Station, Nebraska, Oz The Great and Powerful, Rush, The Spectacular Now, Trance, The Wolf of Wall Street

1 Nominations — 20 Feet From Stardom, The Armstrong Lie, At Any Price, Beyond The Hills, Captain Phillips, The Copperhead, The Counselor, The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest and Celestine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Maniac, Monsters University, No, The Place Beyond The Pines, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, Renoir, Short Term 12, Stoker, Stories We Tell, Tim’s Vermeer, Warm Bodies, White Elephant

List of Films By Number of Oscars Won

3 Oscars — American Hustle, Upstream Color

2 Oscars — The Great Gatsby

1 Oscar — Before Midnight, Blue is The Warmest Color, Frances Ha, Frozen, Gravity, Her, Iron Man 3, Maniac, Pacific Rim, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers, Stories We Tell, The Wolf of Wall Street

Any Takers For “Spring Breakers” ?


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So, we’ve finally discovered what it takes for Harmony Korine to go mainstream — a couple of  established stars, a little T&A, and hey! — he’s in the club. Hell, he can even manage to get himself invited onto Letterman outta the deal — although apparently he can’t stick around for long. Still, the fact remains — long (hell, decades) after you’d given up on the very notion it would ever happen, Hollywood has opened its doors to the guy who gave us GummoJulien Donkey-Boy, and Trash Humpers. And truth be told, he didn’t have to dumb down his sensibilities all that much in the process.

Okay, yeah — Spring Breakers is full of Girls Gone Wild-type footage of hot young flesh parading around in bikinis (or less), muscle-heads partying in jock straps, beer bongs being poured on impossibly tight stomachs, impromptu lesbian make-out sessions, yadda yadda yadda. But it’s piled on so thick and so repetitiously that there’s no way Korine can possibly be engaging in anything but parody of the Bacchanalian subculture he’s depicting. The film never takes itself too seriously, even when it ventures into some pretty dark territory, and it seems to me  that our guy Harmony is sending a none-too-sly message to the Tinseltown suits who previously wouldn’t have touched his work with a 50-foot pole : “this is what you want? Okay. But we’re doing it my way.”

And frankly, that “way” hasn’t changed much — the ultra-naturalistic hand-held camerawork, hallucinatory pacing and editing, and free-from improvisation (as usual, the story per se here doesn’t seem to follow any set “script” as you or I understand the term and appears mostly to consist of the actors getting into character and then ad-libbing from there) of his earlier efforts remains, and the end result is more akin to a series of “found footage” snippets pieced together pretty haphazardly than anything else. The setting may be different this time around, but the basic Korine modus operandi is essentially the same.

In short, if you’ve been following this guy’s career over the course of the pas couple of decades, you’ll only think you’re getting into something different with Spring Breakers, but by the time Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” plays over the end credits, there’s no doubt that this work fits in very comfortably with the rest of his directorial oeuvre. Think Trash Humpers in bikinis, or Gummo with “hotties” rather than genetic rejects, and you won’t be too far off thSo, here’s the deal — four friends (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Korine’s wife, Rachel) at a piece of shit college in piece of shit Kentucky are bored out of their minds and want to go down to St. Pete to live it up over Spring Break. There’s just one problem — they don’t have enough money. In order to alleviate that situation, three of them (Gomez’s character — named, appropriately enough, Faith — a devoutly religious young woman most of the time sits it out) decide to pull a heist at a local fast-food chicken stand using those purportedly realistic-looking squirt guns the cops are always telling us fooled ’em whenever they shoot some poor kid who was holding one dead. They get away with it and head down for a week of sun, fun, sex, booze, and drugs — but they don’t get away with that, because they’re busted at a party that gets out of hand. Don’t fret too much, though, friends, as they aren’t forced to cool their heels in jail for very long. A local dope dealer/wannabe-rapper who goes by the handle of Alien (James Franco, doing his best impression of Gary Oldman in True Romance , just substitute hip-hop for reggae) takes a liking to them when he sees them in court and bails ’em out en masse. Does he have ulterior motives? Of course, and watching him use pimp-like “turning out” psychological manipulation on the ladies in order to seduce them into into being hench-women in his pot-selling-and-armed-robbery enterprise (his only other “employees” are two identical twin brothers that Korine taps from the low end of that gene pool he’s always wading in  ) is both creepy and cool at the same time.

That being said, Alien’s not a one-dimensional character (even though most of the girls, frankly, are) and he does seem to develop a genuine emotional bond with his new recruits. Faith doesn’t fall for his shtick and hops a bus home, but the rest are in. And that, of course, is where the troubles really begin.

Korine follows a pretty delicate balancing act the rest of the way — he eschews standard “don’t aim higher than your station in life or it’ll end in tears” morality-play-style sermonizing even though the material could be played that way pretty easily, while simultaneously upping the ante on the over-the-top-ness of it all in a manner so sly that you almost don’t even notice that it’s happening. The ladies get Alien to fellate a gun silencer and it feels perfectly natural, fer cryin’ out loud! But what the hell, they all appeared before the judge in nothing but their bikinis a few short scenes ago, so anything goes here, right?

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The final shoot-’em-up at the end, at which point another of the former-foursome has made her way northward after taking a bullet in the arm, does in fact strain credulity a bit, but by then the ethos of the film —in short, presenting the blatantly absurd in the most free-form, unforced manner possible — is so firmly established that, even if you don’t exactly buy it, you don’t mind it. The flick’s firing on all its admittedly warped cylinders, and your choices are either go with the flow or pull your hair out. Since I don’t have all that much hair left, the decision is  a pretty simple one.

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I suppose, at the end of the day, there will be those who go into this thing for no other reason than to see three-and four-way sex or former “Disney Girls” gone bad. If that’s your thing, fair enough — but I have to warn you, if that’s what put your butt in the seat, you’re destined to head for the exits scratching your head, even though the film delivers everything you want to see in even more ample proportion than you’d probably been expecting. The rest of us? We’ll have thoroughly enjoyed a movie that’s never as stupid as it pretends to be.