Spending extra money on an action sequel in peril, pushing the envelope in onscreen depictions of youth, calling out snooty movie stars who dare insist on privacy, diving into the declining mind of a notorious gangster – is there any boundary the FAR will not cross? We draw the line at unilateral nuclear submarine warfare, no closer.
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Slate pushes Matthew Dessem to the brink of sanity again as he attempts to fact-check the new Al Capone biopic from Josh Trank, a film that sounds… quite unique:
Did Al Capone Disguise Himself as a Lady to Avoid the Police, Then Go on a Fishing Expedition Where He Killed an Alligator With a Shotgun to Get Revenge After It Stole His Fish? Probably not! He loved fishing, and according to Bair, his mental condition caused him to fixate on an upcoming fishing trip to Wisconsin in 1941 with “the joy of a boy being told he was about to get the treat of his dreams.” As late as 1945, he was still taking fishing trips on his boat, the Sonny & Ralphie, but his condition was such that he wasn’t allowed to go alone.
From The Ringer, a funny recounting of the summer Twister shot in Brian Phillips’s small Oklahoma town, where locals find fault with Helen Hunt and puzzle over the production choice of movie monster:
It was strange enough that Ponca City was being used as a home base for a film production. To my friends and me, it was even stranger that they were making a movie about tornadoes—a movie not only set in Oklahoma but centered, literally, on the weather. Our stupid weather! This was completely confounding. It was like finding out Steven Spielberg wants to produce a hundred-million-dollar blockbuster about your parents’ dishwasher.
You know we can’t ignore an oral history of the winner of the Solute’s Best of the Decade poll. Kyle Buchanan of the New York Times will carry you through the gates of Mad Max: Fury Road, shiny and chrome:
[CHARLIZE] THERON: In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes. That is frightening! And I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, “This is scary for you, and it’s scary for me, too. Let’s be nice to each other.” In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival.
Nick Pinkerton writes on his Substack about the obscure filmography of Catherine Binet, and specifically her 1981 transgressive coming-of-age story The Games of Countess Dolingen of Gratz:
What is remarkable about Binet’s film, though, is not only its venturing transgressions on multiple fronts but its total absence of sensationalism in doing so, its very matter-of-factness in addressing adolescent sexuality, which even in these unusual and sometimes terrible circumstances it treats as universal and no grounds for hysteria…
Finally, Zach Vasquez for Crooked Marquee rediscovers Crimson Tide as a surprisingly anti-war entry among Tony Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer collaborations:
Top Gun may not be the most jingoist movie of the Reagan era, but its full-on fetishization of all things Military Industrial Complex certainly proved the most influential for the propagandistic blockbusters films that followed—to say nothing of the actual propaganda put out by the Pentagon. Surprisingly, there is no such issue with Crimson Tide, Scott’s grand return to the subject of Naval combat nine years later. That film (which many, myself included, hold up as Scott’s best) is remarkable not only for its own technical and aesthetic qualities–Scott s able to indulge his love of extreme color palette, frantic camerawork and editing, and musical bombast without overdosing on them as would in later offerings—but for its clear-eyed look at the moral limitations of duty, order and tradition. (you know, all the things upon which military service is founded).