Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Ralph & Tilda show, Matthias & Channing too ...

Almost a double bill this week:  the recent A BIGGER SPLASH  at my local art cinema on Tuesday evening, followed by HAIL, CAESAR there on Thursday morning

Luca Guadagnino's new film which - intriguing for me - is a remake of Jacque Deray's stylish French thriller LA PISCINE from 1969 which re-teamed Alain Delon and Romy Schneider with Maurice Ronet whose daughter was played by Jane Birkin - a very stylish murder story around that swimming pool.

This time around its Ralph Fiennes in towering form (as he has been since Wes Anderson's THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL), with Tilda Swinton as a Bowie-esque rock star on holiday on that Italian island, ,she is mainly silent after throat surgery, and with hunk de jour Matthias Schoenaerts Paul, as her lover.  Her ex-record producer Fiennes turns up with daughter Dakota Johnson (the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffiths, and granddaughter of Tippi Hedren) and soon is playing games to win Marianne (Tilda) back. I loved Guadargnino's operatic melodrama I AM LOVE in 2009 - a modern Italian classic, where Tilda - a goddess here - was amazing again (see Tilda label). 
Fiennes and Swinton are never less than compelling - Fiennes' scene dancing to the Rolling Stones's "Emotional Rescue" is fantastic, and its one of their songs I love and play a lot. His character is so annoying and he plays it perfectly - great to see an actor enjoying himself so much. The cast are all dedicated here, stripping off frequently, and Tilda gets to wear to some fantastic clothes. Despite the sex and nudity I could see why it did not play at our local main cinema - a tad too arty perhaps for the multiplex kids. Of course I will have to re-see LA PISCINE now too soon ... Guadragnino came out in a recent interview and one can see the gay sensibility here.
The BFI says: "25 years after BARTON FINK the Coens revist Capitol Pictures with another colourful portrait of studio-era Hollywood. This time its the 1950s and Capitol boss Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is making a prestige Roman epic, but all hell breaks loose when star George Clooney is kidnapped. Many familiar faces populate an extraordinary cast." 
Josh Brolin as Mannix heads the cast, Ralph Fiennes is the fastidious director Laurence Laurentz (a Cukor-Minnelli type) saddled with an Audie Murphy type singing cowboy Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich - that name would have to be changed in the '50s) in his new film of a sophisticated hit play; Scarlett Johansson is the Esther Williams clone swimming star who is unmarried and pregnant; Tilda plays rival sisters and gossip columnists - surely a nod to Hedda and Louella? There's also Channing Tatum doing "No Dames" a camp musical number, a sort of hommage to Gene Kelly and those dancing sailors. The Coens stir it all together in a pleasing pastiche of 1950s movie cliches. The Roman epic is fun too - think Robert Taylor in QUO VADIS or John Wayne at the foot of the cross, or Heston as BEN HUR being very thirsty ..... There really was an Eddie Mannix at MGM back in the day, a Mr Fixit for the stars.  


  1. I can just about make out from your review that you did like HAIL, CAESAR! but I can tell by your lack of enthusiasm that it won't be on your best of ... list this year. As you know, I loved it. I think it has a wonderful sense of pastiche and is probably the Coen's most entertaining film since O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU!

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