CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
Subscribe
Rainbeau Creative
HAL 9000

Movie Review:
THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE & HER LOVER (1989)

Written by Christopher Beaubien • July 06, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

Served Scolding, Heavily Trysted, and Blood-Thirsty!

This sumptuously lurid play, by Peter Greenaway, on depravity, sexual oblivion, and Jacobian revenge remains the most accessible and compelling in his filmography. It is also one of the few films I hold closest to my heart. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) is simultaneously simple and deceptive beginning with the film’s title. The main characters could stand for an angry allegory about greedy Thatcher-inspired bullies exploiting the working class citizens of Britain. Then again, perhaps this tale of excess, rape, and cannibalism is a heightened account about deeply wounded souls.

Le Hollandaise is a grotesquely bourgeois restaurant where the thief Albert Spica (Michael Gambon, Gosford Park, 2001), his wife Georgina (the indispensable Helen Mirren, Gosford Park and Last Orders, 2001), and his goons (Tim Roth and Ciarán Hinds) dine every night. We are introduced to Albert as he force-feeds a lowly member of the kitchen staff owing money his excrement, and elaborating on its value: “I eat the very best and that’s expensive!”

The cook, Richard Borst (Richard Bohringer, Diva, 1981) stands up to the thief’s boorish threats concerning his offered “protection” with a collected reserve that masks deep rage – “If you button your expensive jacket, Mister Spica, you feel less…empty inside, Mister Spica.” Seated in the center of the operatic dining room, Albert’s hostility extends toward everyone around him, including the patrons. Georgina, who Albert crudely dubs, “Georgie”, often berated and beaten by her husband, is quietly defiant. She makes eye contact with Michael, a quiet intellectual (Alan Howard, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2003) as he eats and reads in the corner. Their infatuation leads to many excuses for a rendezvous in the opulent lavatory, where she and tender, love-handled Michael make desperate, explicit love as a means of escape.

Their sexual escapades take them behind closed doors in the kitchen, a secret quietly kept by the restaurant’s workers. Albert, obvious to being a cuckold, continues displaying his virtuoso nastiness with loud, arrogant (and darkly hilarious) commentary punctuated by violence: “I think Ethiopians like starving!” and “Human milk should be considered a delicacy.” Everyone around him is reduced to frightened submission. One night, he invites Michael to his table where he picks on his reading habits, “Does this stuff make money?” After having badly-bruised Georgina dictate how wonderful her life is (“Tell Michael you live in a big house and you spend a thousand pounds a week on clothes!”), she retaliates with news about her gynecology appointments (“Being infertile makes me a safe bet for a good screw.”) Albert drags her across the parking lot for that one. CONTINUE READING ►

Film4’s Kubrickian Advertisement

Written by Christopher Beaubien • July 06, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

kubrick1

A couple months after the UK’s take on Gremlins, Film4 has paid homage to Stanley Kubrick (“You haven’t a dook of an idea how to comport yourself public-wise, O my brother!”), one of the most studied and revered filmmakers. To kick off the Film4 channel’s seasonal tribute to the highly guarded auteur, their production house Channel 4 Creative Services concocted a TV spot in homage to The Shining (1980). The following promotional clip takes you through The Shining set in one continuous 65-second tracking shot, a film aesthetic long favored by Kubrick since Paths of Glory (1957), from the director’s point of view.

Channel 4’s KUBRICK SEASON Advertisement

kubrick2The attention to detail is absolutely terrific from the recreated sets that look exactly like the original Overlook Hotel corridors and hedge maze from thirty years ago to the lighting and lens choice — a 25mm Cooke lens that was favored by Kubrick. The amount of visual in-jokes will have die-hard Shining enthusiasts viewing it several times before none have escaped their close attention. I marvel at the prospect that the filmmakers even cast Kubrick’s crew to look like the real-life counterparts including John Alcott, Kubrick’s longtime director of production before his death in 1986. Watch out carefully for a half-dozen dead ringers of The Shining’s most prominent characters. Oh, and the tricycle that appears at the end is the real deal. This is the type of work ethic that makes me beam with joy.

Citizen Kubrick, a new documentary by Jon Ronson will first head off ten of the selected movies from Kubrick’s generous filmography. The chosen films range from the most famous (Lolita, 1962; 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968; Barry Lyndon, 1975) to the most obscure (Killer’s Kiss, 1955; The Killing, 1956). After watching the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) by Jan Harlan, one of Kubrick’s closest producers, I’m still very curious about the secretive genius. I am also relishing the published 304-page diary by Matthew Modine (Short Cuts, 1993) on the making of Full Metal Jacket (1989).

Woe, Originality, Woe!

Written by Christopher Beaubien • June 26, 2008 • 3 Comments

woe_originality

June 23, 2009: This article works best when regarded as a contingent whole from a distance rather than one meant for scrutinizing. By recognizing the existence and length of “Woe, Originality, Woe!”, the point is made as sharp as a slashing celluloid projector — fingers and palms are cautioned.

Have you recently felt waist-deep in the remakes that Hollywood is churning out at us? Those suits are approving them faster than a greasy teenager can wrap up and deliver an equally greasy feces-spotted burger. Now you have to understand, the execs are timid and frightened of green-lighting anything new and original. After all, anything untried could fail and cost them their job.

So far this year we’ve seen Peter Segal helmed Get Smart, The Eye, Shutter, Prom Night, One Missed Call, Funny Games, etc. With the exception of the Steve Carell flick, they all sucked, but that didn’t stop future Idiocracy members from making them profitable, which ensure more and more remakes…

Get ready to duck and cover because here they come!

TRAIN (2008) by Gideon Raff < Terror Train (1980) by Roger Spottiswoode.

The Echo (2008) by Yam Laranas < Sigaw (2004) by, you guessed it, Yam Laranas. It will be like George Sluizer remaking his chilling masterpiece Spoorloos (1988) into the Americanized (re: shitty) The Vanishing (1993).

The Valet (2008) by Bobby and Peter Farrelly < La Doublure (2006) by Francis Veber.

Star Blazers (2008) by producer Josh C. Kline < The Japanese anime series Star Blazers (1979). The upcoming movie will be live-action; just think Thunderbirds (2004) — question: did that hurt?

CONTINUE READING ►

Obituary: George Carlin (1937-2008)

Written by Christopher Beaubien • June 23, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

carlin

Comedian. Teacher. Bullshit-detector.

The Irish-American who tried the FCC by delivering the Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Radio or Television on broadcast radio is gone. At 71 years of age, George Carlin, one of the very best and radical stand-ups, died of a heart failure on Sunday the 22nd in Santa Monica, California.

“Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Radio or Television”

Carlin was extremely influential. I am reminded of Lewis Black, one of his descendants who decreed that “there is no such thing as bad language” because we need those words to convey all the shit we go through. Through his comedy, Carlin channeled important issues like women’s rights, race, religion, and sports.

CONTINUE READING ►

Viral Marketing on “The Dark Knight”: “Half!”

Written by Christopher Beaubien • June 22, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

dent

Last time Commissioner Gordon called you up. Then District Attorney Harvey Dent sent you his Call to Action as part of his re-election campaign via e-mail. I admit it. Come election day, I voted for Dent online because I believed in him. I’m glad HE WON! – you can also watch Dent’s Assistant Rachael Dawes endorse her support for him.

Just days after the Gotham Election Board closed on June 12th, we get THIS.

I only believe in him partially now.

Say, does anyone else think this map of Gotham City looks like a face?

July 18th is just a month away.