Louis C.K. to Conservatives about Donald Trump: “Please stop it with voting for [Donald] Trump. It was funny for a little while, but the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the ’30s. Do you think they saw that shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all. If you do vote for Trump, at least look at him very carefully first. You owe that to the rest of us. Know and understand who he is. Spend one hour on Google and just read it all. I don’t mean listen to me or listen to liberals who put him down. Listen to your own people. Listen to John McCain.”
At long last, Kino’s Bluray of Richard Fleischer‘s The Vikings (which I pre-ordered some weeks ago) arrives on Tuesday, 3.8. Odin! Shot in Technirama, the same large-format process used to shoot Spartacus, this eye-filling cheeseball epic is sure to look exceptional in high-def. Not a restoration but certainly an improvement over the old DVD. Brian Orndorf’s Bluray.com review: “Bringing breathtaking vistas to HD, The Vikings Bluray preserves the bigness of the effort. The image (2.35:1 aspect ratio) presentation is generally detailed to satisfaction…a crisp viewing experience that pushes to the natural limits of the original cinematography. Delineation isn’t a problem, handling evening sequences with care. Scenes with mist and fog hit a few pockets of noise. The source remains free of major damage, offering only mild patches of speckling.”
“For me, Fleischer’s peak was The Vikings — the 1958 historical action epic that was mostly dominated by producer-star Kirk Douglas, but was notable for two dramatic elements that still work today.
“One is what seems to happen inside the brawny Viking characters (particularly Kirk Douglas and Ernest Borgnine‘s) whenever Odin, the Nordic God, is mentioned. We hear a haunting, siren-like theme on the soundtrack, and these rough blustery types suddenly stop their loutish behavior and retreat into a childlike emotional place…a place that’s all about awe and fear. This happens maybe three times in this big, unsophisticated popcorn movie (which nonetheless feels far sturdier and more classically composed than a typical big-budget popcorn actioner made today), and each time it does The Vikings has a spirit.
This slightly vandalized American Friend poster has been hanging on my living room wall for a while now. Cost about $275 or $300. I sent this pic to an old friend a few days ago. “Looks nice,” he replied. “Everyone needs a good vanity project now and then.” Vanity? Okay, to some extent but mainly it’s a kind of capturing of the way I used to feel about myself in the late ’70s…the gloom, the despair…the old Hollywood Weltschmerz thing. If I hadn’t manned up and gotten it together in that do-or-die period (’77 to ’81) I might have slid down the muddy banks and into the river. The 40th anniversary of the showing of this film at the 1977 New York Film Festival is fast approaching. Gulp.
Yesterday Terrence Malick‘s Knight of Cups opened in at least four locations. A portion of the readership caught it yesterday, I assume. Please share reactions. I posted a half-mystified, half-apoplectic response during the Santa Barbara Film Festival. And then the German Bluray arrived and I watched part of it again. But I made the mistake of waiting until 11 pm so I’m afraid it put me to sleep. I’ll give it another go tomorrow. Emmanuel Lubezki‘s cinematography delivers the usual but God, the nothingness, the floundering around, the atmospheric plotzing.
The last line of my 2.8.16 review stated that Knight of Cups “is a kind of ISIS recruitment film.” This was a cousin of an idea I posted posted eight years ago about the first Sex and the City film being a Taliban recruitment thing.
If you were looking to persuade angry, disenfranchised youths that America is the cradle of Satan, you would only have to show them Knight of Cups. It makes the case. Christian Bale wanders around from one affluent Los Angeles location to another…doing nothing, feeling nothing, gazing at people and places, apparently wanting nothing. Nothing whatsoever percolating in his soul. This is a man who has discovered the beautiful and repulsive meaningless of things when you have a fair amount of money in your bank account and Chivo is following you around and Terrence Malick is whispering in your ear, “This is good, Christian…let’s do it again but this time with less feeling.”
Hell, Knight of Cups made me think about joining ISIS…kidding. But it did make me think about…whatever, popping a Percocet or something. It’s a brilliant zone-out film. You sit there and sit there and eventually your eyelids begin to droop a bit, and then a bit more. As I sat in my seat I really did wonder what effect this tidepool of ennui and eternal drifting might have upon an angry someone who’s leaning toward a philosophy of moral decisiveness or absolutism. I swear to God this movie is fuel for that kind of thing.
The Trump-Hitler echoes are fitting together. Any psychologist will tell you that Trump’s insistence the other night that there’s “no problem” with the size of his gross animal member is a schoolyard bluff tactic — that only those with concerns boast about such matters. (The same psychology prevails with people in a work environment who constantly throw around sexual double entendres– the more you joke about it, the less you’re getting.) Couple this with a 2.22.16 Telegraph piece that referenced a claim, made in a 2015 book called “Hitler’s Last Days, Minute by Minute“, that Adolf Hitler’s anger and aggression was compensation for having had a micro-penis (“a rare condition called penile hypospadias“). He also had only a single testicle. Last night Bill Maher referenced a 1990 Vanity Fair piece (by way of the Weekly Standard) that claimed “Trump kept a volume of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside.”
The Disney guys offered several invitations to catch Byron Howard and Rich Moore‘s Zootopia. I read and understood their emails, of course, but emotionally and psychologically I rejected the idea so fast I didn’t even see the puff of smoke. I don’t care how “mildly progressive” Zootopia‘s political message is — I will not submit to this thing. Yes, I sat through Inside Out at last May’s Cannes Film Festival and intellectually appreciated its values, but it was hellish all the same. Yes, it’s a bright and insightful woman’s film and a landmark head-trip movie, but I hate, hate, HATE that peppy energy. It’s like snorting bad cocaine.
On a certain level I believe that family-friendly corporate animation is almost demonic in that it has a subversive agenda. It delivers family narcotic highs when your kids are young, but it acts as a kind of childhood sedative that leads to placated thinking and zombie lifestyles. Corporate animation is mainly about injecting and reenforcing blandly positive, middle-class consumerist attitudes and values. Watch corporate animation as a kid, live your tweener and teenaged life in malls, sign a college loan that will keep you in a kind of jail for half your life, and eternally invest and submit to American McMansionism — an Orwellian system if there ever was one.