Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Erin Watches Movies

In March, I read The Big Short, and over the past weekend, I finally watched the movie version on Netflix. 


It’s a very good film. Although it's no secret I’m a big Christian Bale fan, and I really enjoyed his performance as Dr. Michael Burry, I thought Steve Carell’s performance was the best. (I did appreciate how Bale was framed so that the left side of his face was de-emphasized to help create the illusion that he had a glass eye, like the real Michael Burry. Good cinnamon tography.)

I didn’t realize it while I was watching it, but later when Tit Elingtin watched the movie at my suggestion, I noticed Tracy Letts in the cast list. As you may recall, I heard his name in “HardcoverBound 2,” first thought he was a female and probably quite feminist playwright, and then thought to associate him with the films Bug and August: Osage County

Tracy Letts has a small role in The Big Short. It makes sense. He’s a theatre kid, writing plays and acting in movies. Also, his mother was the writer Billie Letts, who wrote Where the Heart Is. It was turned into a movie starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. (I saw it in the movie theater with my friend Jamie in 2000.) Judd, who was in Bug, has thus appeared in films by two different Lettses. 

I didn't read this.
But I digress. In trying to find out a little more about Letts’ acting career, I found upon a photo of Letts with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (no relation to one another). The Halls and Letts are involved in a film called Christine, scheduled to be released in October (next month).

I recently saw Michael C. Hall in Kill Your Darlings, the drama in which Daniel Radcliffe played Allen Ginsberg. I loved that movie. David Cross was adorable as Ginsberg’s poet father, Dane DeHaan* is dreamy even though Lucien Carr was a shit boyfriend to Allen (repressed much?), and Radcliffe is now my second-favorite movie Ginsberg after James Franco. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the Norman Reedus/Keifer Sutherland/Courtney Love film Beat, with my sweet sweet baby Kyle Secor as David Kammerer, Carr’s creepy stalker. The Kammerer character in KYD is much better written and sympathetic, and Hall does an excellent job playing him.

Rebecca Hall, of course, played the long-suffering wife of Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) in The Prestige. It’s one of my favorite movies, and I’m not the only fan. The Simpsons had its season premiere this past weekend. Mr. Burns re-instated a vaudeville-like stage show like he remembered from his childhood, including a magic act performed by twins Sherri and Terri that referenced The Prestige.

I DID read Christopher Priest's novel - after I saw the movie
I’ve also been watching Rebecca Hall as Edwardian narcissist Sylvia Tietjens, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, in Parade’s End. She will play the title character in Christine.

Christine is Christine Chubbuck, a real person whom I read about in He Who Shall Remain Shameless

Sylvia Tietjens isn’t a very sympathetic character. One tends to feel more sympathy for husband Christopher, who is desperately in love with spunky suffragist Ms. Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens, a young Australian who played Myrtle Wilson’s sister in The Great Gatsby), but too old-fashioned to divorce Sylvia. I'm on episode 2 of the 4-part miniseries, and so far the most scandalous thing Christopher and Valentine have done is get lost in the fog and stay out together all night…sitting next to each other. Just sitting, physical contact at an absolute minimum. It’s like the opposite of Jane Eyre. Where Edward Fairfax Rochester was not concerned enough about pursuing the woman he loved while in a bad marriage, Christopher Tietjens was probably too concerned. Lots of unresolved longing and surreptitious eye contact ensue.

Christine Chubbuck, conversely, is a very sympathetic character. Life dealt her a hand so much worse than she deserved. Her severe depression cost her her life. Live on television. We can't see the actual footage, thank Something, but we will see a dramatized version. 

*I saw him in the trailer for Tulip Fever while waiting for Love and Friendship (a Jane Austen adaptation) to start in the movie theater. I want to see that. Christine might be too sad, even though I'm sure Rebecca Hall's acting will be great. Let's see Tulip Fever instead. As of this writing, its release is planned for February 2017. 

No, I did not read this book.

This is an affiliate link:

Hollywood Classics Title Index to All Movies Reviewed in Books 1 - 24 by John Howard Reid. $0.99 from Smashwords.com
Another essential book for a film buff's library, this one is packed with information and reviews. Some of the entries are quite extensive. JHR provides all the information you need, including complete cast and production staff. I find JHR's information invaluable. I like to read not only who acted in a movie, but who made it, both top-billed and lesser mortals. -- Ross Adams in DRESS CIRCLE mag.

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