Archive for the ‘Images’ Category

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Roy Scheider in Jaws
August 5, 2010

Here are a few reasons for Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema being Roy Scheider’s iconic reaction shot to the monstrous great white shark in Jaws:

  1. It’s Shark Week, so only it seems apropos.
  2. When I was home sick on Monday, I decided to re-watch Jaws because sometimes it’s important to shake it up and stray from my usual sick-day viewing requirements.  Variety is the spice of blah, blah, blah.  Also, it’s Shark Week, so that too seemed apropos.
  3. Mostly, though, I’m firmly of the mind that believes Roy Scheider’s reaction in the above image is fabulous, and this is the most important reason, so let’s take a quick respite from living every week like it’s Shark Week and discuss, shall we?

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Angelina Jolie in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
August 3, 2010

Estimated budget of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow as according to Box Office Mojo?  $70 million.  Total worldwide box office of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, again, as according to Box Office Mojo?  $57, 958, 696; in other words, just shy of $58 million.  If you’re going to be an accountant about it, I guess that makes Kerry Conran’s loving homage to Classic Hollywood film serials, kitschy sci fi aesthetics, and New York City architecture in the late 1930s (seriously, the scene where Gwyneth Paltrow goes into Radio City Music Hall is an instant Art Decorgasm) something of a box office failure.  Not an outright bomb, for sure, but also not about to get Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow 2: 2 Late for 2morrow greenlit any time soon.  BOOO, 0bviously.  Obviously?  Obviously.

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Carla Gugino in Watchmen
July 30, 2010

When you consider how I feel about Carla Gugino in Watchmen, and then you throw in how I feel about fabulous ladies in fabulous glasses, Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema of Carla Gugino as the original Silk Spectre, replete with latex jowls and rhinestone-studded granny glasses, is a no-brainer.  Seriously, where’s the boozy old-lady Silk Spectre spin-off we all (and by “we all,” I mean me) have been demanding?  Hollywood, I smell a sequel, and it smells like cheap liquor and Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds!

Oh, and do be sure to click to enlarge and appreciate the faux-geriatic fabulousness of it all.

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel
July 29, 2010

If I’m going to be completely honest about these sorts of things, I must admit that my first introduction to Marlene Dietrich–and naturally the beginning of my obsession–didn’t come from Dietrich and director Josef von Sternberg’s first film together, The Blue Angel.  Hell, I can’t even claim to have come around when I saw her infamous same-sex kiss in von Sternberg’s Morocco, which forever boggles my mind that they were able to get Dietrich in a tuxedo kissing another woman past the censors in 1930, during an in-class screening of The Celluloid Closet.  No no, I first swooned for Marlene Dietrich thanks to a Mercedes Benz, this Mercedes Benz commercial to be exact:

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Today’s Fabulous Image(s) in Cinema: Julia Ormond in I Know Who Killed Me
July 27, 2010

I don’t know what persuaded Julia Ormond to get on board the Hot Mess Express and play Lindsay Lohan’s mother in the thriller/slasher/torture porn/masterpiece that is I Know Who Killed, but I do know I’m forever happy she did.  Without her commitment to the craft, the line “This is Mr. Jervis” would be a line about a teddy bear like any other; instead, Julia Ormond makes it one of the most dazzling, mind-bogglingly bizarre things I’ve ever seen committed to film.  I mean, what in the world is she doing with her voice?  And what’s going on with her face?  No, seriously:

Pure FACE poetry is what’s going on with her face, y’all.

Sure, it’s all too easy to take a line delivered to the girl you believe is your only daughter–the daughter who’s been abducted by a serial killer, lost portions of her arm and leg through a brutal amputation process that involves dry ice and blue glass surgical utensils (don’t ask), and somehow managed to escape–like a she’s just gone through a serious trauma (so, you know, like a normal person), but it takes a special caliber of actor to play that line like you’re in the midst of an exorcism, and that caliber is BRILLIANT.  Lindsay Lohan’s reaction shot pretty much sums it up:

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby
July 26, 2010

Nothing puts me in the mood to caterwaul “DAAAVID!” quite like the delightfully crazy-eyed focus that Katharine Hepburn brings as she attempts to pop an olive into her mouth while wearing one of the most decidedly bonkers veils I’ve ever seen in my all-time favorite screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby.  I mean, have you seen the masthead?  I wasn’t simply punning on Dirty Dancing, y’all.  No no, think of the masthead as  a multi-layered, metatexual tapestry of terrible punnage that looks like a four-headed ouroboros (one for each of the leading ladies in Sex and the City 2).  Seriously, I’m not sure anything will ever be as egregious as the one-two pun(ch) of “Abu Dhabi Doo!” and “Lawrence of my labia,” and it should probably remain unknown if such a pun exists, but much like Judy Garland or Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in the following clip from Bringing Up Bay:

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Miranda July’s Pink Shoes in Me and You and Everyone We Know
July 23, 2010

I recognize that Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema isn’t the sort of fabulous we’re used to dealing with over at this particular corner of the internet, but Dictionary.com does define fabulous as “extremely pleasing or successful,” and the fact of the matter is that the moment when Miranda July (who also wrote and directed the remarkable and sublime Me and You and Everyone We Know) makes a video piece in which  her two pinks shoes eloquently pantomime the ways we try and connect with each other is indeed extremely pleasing (aesthetically) and successful (at making me want to give Miranda July a hug), so you know what?  Yes, this image is fabulous.

Oh, and do be sure to click to enlarge and appreciate the ))<>(( forever fabulousness of it all.

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Fiona Shaw in The Black Dahlia
July 22, 2010

A few years back,I gushed to my mother about what a steal it was when I dropped $5 for a used copy of The Black Dahlia from a nearby Blockbuster.  I went on and on and on about how bad it was, and finally mother stopped me and asked, “Why would you even want to spend $5 dollars on it then?”  I guess that’s a reasonable question (for other people), so consider the above image of Fiona Shaw delivering a perfectly executed side-eye just before sipping her martini my argument for The Black Dahlia being five of my best-spent dollars.

Seriously, when it comes to performances, The Black Dahlia is by and large one of the most baffling experiences of all time.  Most everyone seems to be aiming for ’40s-film-noir only to achieve awkward-and-forced-like-bad-pulp-dialogue, Hilary Swank looks absolutely nothing like “that dead girl” despite Scarlett Johansson having a line of dialogue that explicitly insists otherwise, and then there’s Fiona Shaw.  She plays Hilary Swank’s wealthy boozehound of a mother, Ramona Linscott, and she’s incredible.  I’m not entirely certain what–if any–direction Brian DePalma gave her because her performance is from a completely different movie about a batshit crazy drunk who won’t take anybody’s sass.  She’s like Carla Gugino in Watchmen, lighting up the screen and warming the camp-adoring cockles of our hearts with each slurred word and wildly over-exaggerated gesticulation.  For example, a less inspired actress would probably sloppily eat the pot roast in this scene, but not Fiona Shaw:

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Today’s (Much Belated) Fabulous Image in Cinema: Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal
July 21, 2010

When things get quiet over at this particular corner of the internet, the reality is there’s only person we have to blame, and that person is me.  The only problem with this is that I’m a blame shifter, so when things get quiet over at this particular corner of the internet (at least this time around), it’s Christopher Nolan’s fault.  Seriously, he’s the man behind Inception, and I’m merely the owner of the mind that movie melted, which mean he’s the one who committed the mind crime!  (Get it?!?)  Besides, Joseph Gordon Levitt looking positively dapper (or do I mean Draper?) in a suit and vest will muddle your brain for days like that.  Oh, and the Mad Men Fever obviously isn’t helping my crazy, either.  Anyways, we’re not here to talk about Inception (YET); we’re here to talk about Today’s (much belated) Fabulous Image in Cinema, and Today’s (much belated) Fabulous Image in Cinema is from Notes on a Scandal, so let’s talk about it.

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Lana Turner in Peyton Place
July 15, 2010

The first time I saw this particularly melodramatic moment from Mark Robson’s 1957 adaptation of Grace Metalious’s notorious novel Peyton Place, I found myself marveling at how much emotional anguish she projects through her hands.  She grasps at the railing as if it its physicality were the only thing allowing her to hold down her emotions; however, since this is a melodrama we’re talking about, of course Lana has to sink to the stairs and sob as she clutches to the posts, which is the sort of thing that reduces me to a haphazard assortment of gay male stereotypes.  That’s just how these things how these things work, and you can’t brush them off as cheap cliche when they play out so exquisitely.

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Veronica Cartwright in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
July 14, 2010

There are plenty of actresses out there who deliver perfectly serviceable freaking-the-f*ck-out FACE, but I will forever stand by the notion that Veronica Cartwright had a hot moment in the late ’70s where–between Ridley Scott’s Alien and Philip Kaufman’s superlative remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers–she made it her business to lose her shit on a completely different level.  I mean, have you seen her in Invasion of the Body Snatchers?  Frightened Veronica Cartwright and bugnuts hysteric Veronica Cartwright are basically the same thing, which simply goes to show how much she COMMITS.  Seriously, a long-standing appreciation of scream queens has taught me that there’s many a way to portray fear on film, but nobody else does it with quite the same panache as Veronica Cartwright.

And as usual, don’t hesitate to click to enlarge and appreciate the fabulousness of it all.

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Karen Black in Day of the Locust
July 13, 2010

I’m not saying that we need a remake of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and that’s because you really can’t improve upon Robert Aldrich’s masterpiece of high camp horror.  That said, I would like the above image be exhibit A in that–if there were to be a What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? remake–John Schlesinger should helm it, and he should cast Karen Black in the role of Baby Jane AND Blanche Hudson.  Sure, you might expect me to push for everyone’s favorite hard-boiled-egg enthusiast to reprise one of the roles (either would do, really), but is there a band devoted to the voluptuous horror of Faye Dunaway, or even just some slightly curvaceous creepiness?  No, I didn’t think so.

And as usual, don’t hesitate to click to enlarge and appreciate the (garish) fabulousness of it all.

[Update: In an embarrassing oversight brought to light in the comments, John Schlesinger sadly passed away in 2003.  Looks like a certain fantasy project just went from improbable to impossible.]

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: The Dolphin Statue in Twilight
July 12, 2010

This past weekend, I may or may not have finally sat down and watched Twilight for the time (don’t judge me), and I may more or may not have really enjoyed myself (like I said, don’t judge me).  Regardless of what did or did not happen this past weekend, though, there is definitely a dolphin statue at the end of Twilight, which of course can only mean one thing: super-secret Showgirls reference!  While it remains unclear as to who would be responsible for this homage to the Greatest Movie Ever Made (a cheeky set designer’s assistant?  Catherine Hardwicke?  STEPHANIE MEYER?!?), that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the Dolphin Statue as if it’s a thing that it’s most probably not.  Besides, my money’s on the Mormon (then again, when is it not?), so let’s talk this one through, shall we?

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Penélope Cruz in Vanilla Sky
July 9, 2010

Any explanation as to what makes Penélope Cruz–with her glance that could dismantle bombs by way of unadulterated whimsy  and a fetching, vintage herringbone coat that incites almost as much jealousy as the knowledge that she’s dating Javier Bardem–so irresistibly charming in the above image from Cameron Crowe’s curious (and curiously wonderful) Vanilla Sky would imply that Penélope Cruz–with said adorable glance and coveted coat–is in fact not irresistibly charming in the above image.  That, dear reader, would be simply unacceptable.

And as usual, don’t hesitate to click to enlarge and appreciate the fabulousness of it all.

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven
July 8, 2010

I’m well aware that Alfred Newman’s booming score ads a certain melodramatic je ne sais quoi that a single frame can’t do justice; nevertheless, there’s something to be said for the unsettlingly austere gaze with which Gene Tierney’s Ellen Berent spreads her father’s ashes (back and forth, back and forth!) on horseback  in John M. Stahl 1945 adaptation of Ben Ames Williams’s Leave Her to Heaven.  That, and those lips.  Seriously, either I’ve got an asexual fetish for crazy ladies in red lipstick, or dazzlingly red lips are Technicolor color coding for “psycho bitch.”  Either way, I love it.

And as usual, don’t hesitate to click to enlarge and appreciate the fabulousness of it all.

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes Is Your FACE
July 7, 2010

In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 Technicolor masterpiece The Red Shoes, Moira Shearer plays talented ballet protégé Victoria Page, a woman torn between the composer she loves (Marius Craster) and the (possibly gay–it’s a diva worship thing) impressario who has shone a light on her talent and brought it to fruition and fame (Anton Walbrook).  *SPOILER ALERT*: Things do not end well, as they are so wont to do in melodramas.

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Joan Crawford in Humoresque (Yes, Again.)
July 1, 2010

humoresque joan crawford tragedy

Because you can’t appreciate the Humoresque sweet without having to taste Humoresque sour, and because I can never get enough Joan Crawford (particularly until I’ve finished reading David Bret’s epically salacious Joan Crawford: Hollywood Martyr) here’s Joan Crawford’s Helen Wright shedding a single tear of profoundly agonized longing for her violinist lover, Paul Boray (John Garfield).  He’s playing the Liebestod from Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, she’s drowning her sorrows as she listens to him on the radio, and my head’s exploding from having a moment appeal to the Crawford queen AND the opera queen in me.

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Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Joan Crawford in Humoresque
June 30, 2010

Because Jean Negulesco’s Humoresque–aka, the one with Joan in glasses!–is as much an unheralded masterpiece as it is my favorite Joan Crawford movie, so why wouldn’t I give this gem a little more blog time?  Besides, if John Garfield’s Paul Boray can bring Joan Crawford’s Helen Wright to a state of transcendental sexual ecstasy just by playing Symphonie Espagnole on his violin (as is happening in the above image, if you couldn’t tell from the perfect visual metaphor of Joan’s glistening, parted lips), just imagine what his virtuosic playing will do to you.  (*SPOILER ALERT!*: It’ll blow your damn mind.)

Oh, and don’t hesitate to click to enlarge and appreciate the fabulousness of it all.

Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Kathleen Byron in Black Narcissus
June 29, 2010

Because this single shot of Sister Ruth putting on her red lipstick in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1947 masterpiece, Black Narcissus, is simultaneously the single greatest moment of high-camp pleasure and psychological horror.  She’s undeniably fabulous, for sure, but this bitch has also lost her damn mind.

Oh, and don’t hesitate to click to enlarge and appreciate the fabulousness of it all.

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