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Posts Tagged ‘Frances McDormand’

Darkman

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

After his horror breakthrough, his failed comedy, and his knockout horror sequel, Sam Raimi finally made it to the semi-big-time. He’d really wanted to do a movie of Batman or The Shadow, but could never get the rights. Then he came up with the idea for his own dark avenger, one with the ability to change his face. His 40-page treatment The Darkman was greenlit by Universal Studios in 1987.

Raimi brought in NAVY SEALS writer Chuck Pfarrer to flesh out the treatment as a screenplay, which was then rewritten by Raimi and his brother Ivan (under the theory that Ivan, a doctor, could help make the medical sci-fi aspects plausible). The studio brought in the team of Daniel and Joshua Goldin (up-and-comers they also had working on PROBLEM CHILD) to bring the various drafts together before the Raimis went at it again. By the time the movie was made and released at the end of August, 1990, Tim Burton had made his BATMAN movie and all the studios were trying to mimic that success. Surely that was an influence on Raimi’s choice of composer Danny Elfman, and on the minimalist marketing campaign based around a silhouette and the question “Who is Darkman?”

I’m sure at the time I would’ve been interested in this movie anyway, but I was specifically excited when I read that it was the genius behind beloved video favorite EVIL DEAD II taking his first shot at a large scale mainstream movie. Seeing the posters, reading about it in magazines, seeing it on the big screen, I accepted it as a big time summer blockbuster alongside DICK TRACY, BACK TO THE FUTURE III and DIE HARD 2. But Raimi having four times his budget on EVIL DEAD II still meant about a third or a fourth of the budgets of those films. Even Cannon’s DELTA FORCE 2, released the same day as DARKMAN, had a slightly higher budget. I think it’s a testament to Raimi’s exciting directorial style that his many green screen and miniature techniques, which have dated technically more than any of those other movies, still seemed flashy enough to stand toe-to-toe with them. (read the rest of this shit…)

Nomadland

Monday, March 22nd, 2021


NOMADLAND is a simple, quiet character and/or lifestyle study. It’s shot all on location, mostly outdoors, and feels largely improvised. It centers on the great Frances McDormand (DARKMAN) as a woman named Fern, who is often alone. But when she’s not, she’s often working exclusively with non-professional actors just being themselves, using their own names. (Two of her co-stars are credited as “Linda May” and “Swankie,” which is also what she calls their characters.)

Adapted from the non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by the journalist Jessica Bruder, these are characters and/or real people – mostly of what used to be called “retirement age” – who have either chosen or been forced into a life living in vans or RVs, crossing the country to take on different seasonal jobs. Fern’s husband died, and then the mining town where they lived did too, and for years she’s been “doing the van thing,” as a friend she runs into at a store describes it. Everyone she knows from before seems concerned for her, and offers to let her stay with them. And we will learn over the course of the movie that it’s not just pride that makes her turn down their offers. (read the rest of this shit…)

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Monday, December 11th, 2017

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is playwright turned IN BRUGES/SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS director Martin McDonagh’s exploration of a grieving mother at war with the local PD. Her teenage daughter was raped and killed seven months ago, and she’s mad that they haven’t made any arrests, so she rents three billboards that bluntly explain the situation and blame the police chief by name.

I probly don’t need to tell you that this creates some tension in town. Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson, SEVEN POUNDS, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, TRIPLE 9, THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, 2012) tries to reason with her politely about taking it down. His deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES), who is locally infamous for an unexplained incident involving the torture of a black man, is not as cool-headed about it, and threatens poor Red Welby (Caleb Landry Jones, GET OUT) at the billboard company. The woman’s son Robbie (Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA) is traumatized and hurt by the graphic details of the murder he had previously avoided knowing. Her ex-husband Charlie (John Hawkes, STEEL), a domestic abuser and a cop, is embarrassed by it and doesn’t think it helps anything. (read the rest of this shit…)

Moonrise Kingdom

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Now that GI JOE: RETALIATION has become GI JOE: PROCRASTINATION that means the big Bruce Willis movie of the summer to hold us off until EXPENDABLES 2 will have to be Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM. Bruce plays Captain Sharp, head of the Island Police, New Penzance Township, charged with the task of capturing a fugitive – Sam (Jared Gilman), a disturbed young orphan gone AWOL from the Khaki Scouts of North America, Troop 55, to run away with his also disturbed pen pal/girlfriend Suzy (Kara Hayward).
(read the rest of this shit…)

Transformers’s Dark of the Moon

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

tn_transformers3Bnote: this review is excessively long and convoluted and takes forever to get to the point, but only as a clever form-is-an-extension-of-content type reference to the movie it describes, in my opinion. Unfortunately I could never match the feel of the movie no matter how hard I tried. It’s like when some asshole reviews a Dr. Seuss movie in rhymes or some shit like that.

introductory remarks/overture

My friends, we have lost. Michael Bay has defeated us. First he invaded the shores of the genre we hold most dear. He brought us gifts of explosions, while behind our backs he robbed us of the very language of geography and context we use to communicate what is exploding and who or what is endangered by said explosion. Then he confiscated our property, buying up our favorite low budget horror classics to rebuild as slick, soul-less product – just to crush our spirits. And now he has completely subjugated us.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Blood Simple

Tuesday, January 1st, 2002

Hey Harry and Father Geek, it’s me, Vern.

Well you know what guys I am going through some tough times in my life, sort of an introspective type deal, and what you do in this type of situations sometimes is you want to relax, go to an activity such as a barbecue, titty bar or film festival and get your mind off of things.

So that is what ol’ Vern did yesterday, I went and saw the BLOOD SIMPLE movie that every motherfucker has been recommending to me left and right. “Vern, see Fargo. Vern see Blood Simple. Vern, see Big Lebosky.” Well Blood Simple was playing at the Seattle’s International Film Festival, a film festival here in Seattle. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern takes in THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE!!!

Friday, November 2nd, 2001

Hey folks, Harry here with the latest from that insane man… VERN. Vern comes from another planet…. or so I’ve heard. They apparently herd sheep into trailers there. He’s using this grazing ability to sum up the cornstalkability of this latest film from the Coens…. Here ya go…

THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE

by Vern

Monday I saw the new movie by the Coen Brothers.

First I gotta say, I am not exactly familiar with these brothers. The hughes brothers I know. The wachowski brothers. The Maysles brothers. The doobie brothers I know a thing or two about. For example, they have two drummers don’t they? I don’t know. The point is, you know more about the coen brothers than I do. Are they twins? I don’t know. Maybe they aren’t really brothers, it is only a stage name like the blues brothers, the smothers brothers or the isley brothers. The point is, I wouldn’t know. Because I know jack shit about them, if jack shit was two things. (read the rest of this shit…)