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Movie Review: BERNIE (2012)

Written by Christopher Beaubien • September 12, 2012 • Start the Discussion!

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The Positively True Adventures of the Convicted Texas Widow-Murdering Mortician

Too often, people cannot believe that he – of all people! – could commit murder. They knew him! Laughed with him! Never saw it in him. That is the buzz coming from the good people of Carthage, Texas over their beloved Bernie Tiede – the real life subject of Richard Linklater’s bizarre crime story.

Teaming up again after their success in the tailor-made School of Rock (2003), Jack Black plays Bernie as though he was sprinkled in sugar. Bernie is a thoroughly spiffy and effeminate man. He is all roundness emanating a soft, optimistic voice. His mustache must tickle his lips to smile so sweetly. Working as a mortician, he tends to the deceased so they look their very best for the funeral.*

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Drawing on the Rest of Life During Wartime’s Cast

Written by Christopher Beaubien • August 03, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

Artwork by Akiko Stehrenberger from the Criterion booklet of Life During Wartime.

The cast of Life During Wartime (2010) from left to right:
Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens (Andy Kornbluth), Shirley Henderson (Joy Jordan), Michael Kenneth Williams (Allen), Ally Sheedy (Helen Jordan), Rich Pecci (Mark Wiener), Michael Lerner (Harvey Wiener), Allison Janney (Trish Jordan), Emma Hinz (Chloe Maplewood), Chris Marquette (Billy Maplewood), Ciarán Hinds (Bill Maplewood)

As I suspected about the new Criterion release of Life During Wartime (2011) back in May, Miss Stehrenberger has illustrated the whole gaggle of characters from the film.

Beautifully done!

The arrangement of the characters complements their relationships to each other so thoughtfully. All three of the Jordan sisters are separated from each other. Joy is torn between her husband and the ghost of her ex-boyfriend. Helen, the black sheep, who has abandoned her family, is ignored by everyone. Most dominant is Trish, positioned up front. With her steely gaze, she has a dynamic presence. Her vibrant, almost violently paint-slashed dress suggests that she has survived a battle.

Notice how both Joy and Trish’s daughter Chloe have their arms behind their backs. I find Chloe standing in front of her mother has the stance of a foot soldier. Joy and Chloe also share similar hairstyles, head shape and facial features. How ironic that Trish is on her way to raising little Joy all on her own. Remember when Chloe wondered if baby carrots feel pain? That’s the kind of thought “Sensitive Joy” might have had as a kid.

Fathers and sons are paired together on both Wiener and Maplewood fronts. The two Wieners assume the same pose. I’m going out on a limb, but I doubt Bill has his hands in his pockets like his son does. Of course, Bill is cast off to the far right. The only character in the group he talks to is his son. Andy is on the far left – he’s dead with only Joy as his last connection to the the world of the living… or is it just in her head?

Criterion Gets a Life During Wartime (2010)

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 18, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

For the first time, a film by Todd Solondz is getting the Criterion treatment. This is Life During Wartime (2010), one of the most exciting movies to come out last year that very few even noticed on its limited release. Now everyone has a chance to catch up with it as well as the characters from Todd Solondz’s most controversial film Happiness (1998). That’s right: Life During Wartime is Happiness 2! Now have Bill, Trish, Joy, Helen, Andy and the rest of the gang gotten along after ten years? Not surprising, they’re worse now than before.

Yes, Andy is still dead. Solondz just brings him back as a ghost to haunt his ex-girlfriend Joy. What luck Joy has!

At first glance, it appears that the designers at Criterion had their work on the DVD’s front cover handed to them. The final illustration and design of the original Life During Poster promotional poster by Akiko Stehrenberger was already at their high level of quality. All that was needed was to slap on that big C and set it to Screen. Before its theatrical release, I wrote about the process that the Life During Wartime movie poster went through to come to this.

That is until I found this on Akiko Stehrenberger’s bio:

Her illustrated poster, Life During Wartime, garnered press as well, which she recently adapted and illustrated the cast for the Criterion Collection DVD. She was deemed “Poster Girl” by Interview Magazine, and Creative Review published a 20 page zine of her illustrated movie poster work for their January 2011 Monograph series.

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Cinelation is on the LAMB

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 13, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

This is my best impression of a lamb.

 

Last Saturday, Cinelation was submitted as the #922 website in the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB). Special thanks to Rachel, one of the site’s leading authors, who took my website into consideration and posted it.

The next day I was encouraged by Max Covill of Impassioned Cinema who found Cinelation through the LAMB. Judging from his output, the name for his website is very appropriate.

Of the livestock available, thank goodness the LAMB’s mascot is an adorable, fluffy one instead of grotesquely characterized variant.

Like this one:

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Do You Know the Movies in the Facets Video Logo?

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 11, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

It’s time to get to the bottom of this. Every time I play one of my DVDs for Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Decalogue (1988) series, I see the Facets Video logo: Six seconds that quickly fade in and out with fourteen movie clips a half-second each. Over the past seven years I have been able to identify four of them, which means I should be watching more films released by Facets prior to August 19, 2003.

I thought about getting in contact with Facets and asking them what these titles are, but what fun would that be for you cinephiles out there?

If you know which movies belong to any of these still images, write it in the comments and I’ll credit you along with the answer in this article.

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