A remastered 20th anniversary 4K version of Darren Aronofsky‘s Requiem for a Dream will pop on 10.13.20. The critically admired film, based on Hubert Selby Jr.‘s 1978 novel and worshipped by Midwestern Evangelical audiences, opened on 10.6.00. (I’m kidding about the Evangelicals.) Presented in Dolby Vision with a new Dolby Atmos audio track + a pair of new behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Danny Wolf and Paul Fishbein‘s Skin: A History of Nudity in Movies (on demand, 8.18) is a sharp, highly intelligent doc that covers its own waterfront in a diverting, dryly amusing fashion. It’s not so much the nudie clips (here’s a three-hour, 45-minute reel that offers a lot of the same stuff) but the commentary that seals the deal.
I wasn’t expecting that much at first, but I sat up as I began to realize that the talking heads were elevating and deepening the focus with sage observations and occasional razor-sharp quips.
I’m talking about Sean Young, Peter Bogdanovich, Eric Roberts, Traci Lords, Pam Grier (who’s put on a few pounds since Jackie Brown), Malcolm McDowell, Sybil Danning, Bruce Davison (who delivers a funny line about Ben), Mr. Skin‘s Jim McBride, HE’s own Joe Dante, former employer Kevin Smith, the great Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), the late Sylvia Miles, the very much alive Erica Gavin, Liz Goldwyn, critics Amy Nicholson, Richard Roeper and Mick LaSalle, CARA ratings board member Joan Graves, film maven Irv Slifkin, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Tatiana Siegel and several others.
I was a tiny bit scared about reviewing this doc with any enthusiasm for fear of getting the side-eye from #MeToo types. Right now we’re living through the blandest, most buttoned-up, erotically stifled and almost Victorian eras in U.S. (or even human) history, more so than even the Eisenhower 1950s
Time and again actors (mostly actresses) who were in their prime back in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and early aughts remind us that time and biology are assassins — they spare no one. You can’t watch this film and not think “wow, aging is a mother.”
As we watched Tatiana asked what my all-time favorite nude scene is, and I honestly couldn’t think of one off the top of my head. Now I’m thinking it might be Kim Novak‘s bedroom scene in Of Human Bondage (’64). In and of itself nudity has always gotten my attention, but it’s never been that transporting. The tingle quickly fades.
Boilerplate: “The definitive documentary on the history of nudity in feature films from the early silent days to the present, studying the changes in morality that led to the use of nudity in films while emphasizing the political, sociological and artistic changes that shaped that history. [Also] a study of the gender inequality in presenting nude images in motion pictures and will follow the revolution that has created nude gender equality in feature films today. It culminates in a discussion of ‘what are nude scenes like in the age of the #METOO movement’ as well as a look at CGI nudity that seems a large part of motion pictures’ future.”
Does anyone know any reasonably healthy, non-neurotic fellows in their late 40s who smoke? A significant percentage of party people (i.e., druggies and boozers) tend to smoke in their teens, 20s and 30s, but most of them realize they have to step off that train by age 40 if not sooner. Ben Affleck is 47, and days away from his 48th. I don’t know if he’s a regular smoker or if he’s just chipping, but giving in to a nicotine urge is just a step or two removed from drinking again. For years I was a Cannes Film Festival smoker, but that doesn’t count. U.S. residents can steal guilty cigs in Europe or Asia but no smoking on home ground — that’s the rule.
As it must to all men, death came yesterday to Sumner Redstone, the scrappy, swaggering, carrot-haired media magnate and “daring dealmaker” with a huge ego and, over the last 15 or 20 years, a messy “House of Borgia” private life. Not to mention that odd episode when he fired Tom Cruise off the Paramount lot for behaving like a hyper, couch-jumping eccentric.
The Boston-based Redstone began his entertainment career in the mid ’50s with a 12-theater drive-in chain (i.e., Northeast Theater Corp.). He gradually built it into a major megaplex exhibition chain in the ’60s and ’70s. In 1987 at age 63, Redstone engineered a hostile takeover of Viacom, the syndication company that owned MTV and Showtime, for $3.4 billion. In early 1994 he took control of Paramount in a $10 billion deal. Not to mention Blockbuster, CBS, yaddah yaddah…always the drive to dominate, acquire more money and power, a few missed opportunities and miscalculations, etc. You don’t wanna know. Okay, maybe you do.
And…well, read about his combative life if you care to, but it’s exhausting. Reviewing all of the super-strenuous clutching, grabbing, conniving, plotting and scheming by Sumner, his family members and especially a pair of girlfriend gatekeepers will drain your soul. Two Vanity Fair pieces — this and this — tell part of the tale.
I spent 75 minutes refreshing my memories of the man this morning…whew, whatever, later.
The 1979 Copley Hotel fire incident was quite the episode. Redstone nearly died, suffered major burns, needed about a year to fully recover.
If I’d been in Redstone’s shoes in the ’70s and ’80s I would have paid for some neck-wattle surgery, but that’s me.
And over the side with two dummies bouncing and flailing around in the front seat. Then it happens again at the finale.
If you listen to Dave Kehr, Otto Preminger‘s Angel Face (’53) is “an intense Freudian melodrama” and “one of the forgotten masterworks of film noir…a disturbingly cool, rational investigation of the terrors of sexuality…the sets, characters, and actions are extremely stylized, yet Preminger’s moving camera gives them a frightening unity and fluidity, tracing a straight, clean line to a cliff top for one of the most audacious endings in film history.”