Scarlett Johansson Peter Lindbergh

REVIEW: ‘Don Jon’ Charts the Diminishing Effect of Opposing Expectations

I have something of a vested interest in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon: For about three months while he was prepping the film and training up for the eponymous buff Jersey playboy, he worked out every day at the exact same time I did (around 3 PM) at Golds Gym Hollywood, perhaps to get a feeling for the testosterone-laden swagger of gym rats, despite that fact most of the members of this particular Golds are gay and Jersey Jon emphatically isn’t. Although Gordon-Levitt and I are only one Bacon degree of separation away from each other professionally,

Imagining Lagerfeld: “There Is No Excuse for Fat.”

“This is absolutely ridiculous!” huffed my imaginary best friend Karl Lagerfeld when I conjured him up to meet me for a workout at Golds Gym Hollywood this afternoon.  I immediately thought he was pissed because of the outfit I’d dressed him in: little black tennis shorts, knee-high white socks, black patent leather Nike high tops, a tight white tee shirt with CHANEL emblazoned across the chest in black, and of course his signature black aviator sunglasses.

“Sorry,” I said.  “I thought you would feel comfortable like that.  Much more showy than a tracksuit.  Or is it too showy?”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

REVIEW: ‘Looper’ Stuns, Over and Over, and Back Again

When I was discussing my review for The Master with PFC contributor Chris Cramer the other day, he said, “Paul Thomas Anderson is the Truffaut of American cinema, and Tarantino is the Goddard.”  I mention this because there is something vaguely Tarantino-as-Goddardian about Looper, although I’ll be damned if I can put my finger on exactly what that is.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper

Trailer Trashing 3: Return to Limbo

You’ll note that there isn’t a sudden jolt from summer movies into the more adult fare of the awards season.  It’s more like a shift in perspective, like pulled focus from a foreground character to someone in the background, which is a camera technique I am personally allergic to as a director; it always makes me slightly seasick, and I think it’s lazy filmmaking, like you’re giving into the cinematographer because she’s jetlagged and hungover and can’t be bothered moving the camera and lighting another setup just for a different perspective on dialogue she feels you’ve already covered.  (I have never had this experience.  Really.  I’m just imagining.)

Indeed, it’s not like children’s films or fanboy fare go away after Labor Day, you just don’t get Hollywood’s best efforts, not until the holiday season, when Studio Crap and Award Contenders go head to head at the theaters… and Crap still wins.  Likewise, there were still “specialty” releases (a.k.a., films for people who feel special) over the summer, just nothing you were aching to see.  Unless it was Magic Mike, in which case you were not just special, you were horny, too.

Easing us into the pulled focus from the Crap Tsunami to the Gentler Waves of Watchable Mediocrity will be the first film I’ll review solely based on its trailer:

So, Did You Hear the One About the Guy Dying of Cancer?


by Eric J Baker

Rare is the friendship both instant and lasting.

Near the close of my seemingly endless trek through college, I worked at an electronics store, briefly as a shitty salesman but mostly supervising general merchandise, where staff turnover was continuous. One morning yet another transient reported for duty. Jaded beyond all recognition, I tossed out my usual, disinterested, “So what’s your deal?”

“Well, I do like Fulci movies,” was the reply.

Fulci? You’re gonna bring up Fulci to me? You must have, because I’m the only one here.

I turned. “So, do you lean toward Zombie or The Beyond?”* BAM! Instant friendship. No turning back.

Lucio Fulci’s "Zombie" (1979), the Citizen Kane of trashy Italian splatter movies set on tropical islands and starring Mia Farrow’s sister, Tisa.

I eventually left the store to finish my damned degree (for christsake!) but continued to meet up with the boys for food and drink. My buddy, who we’ll call ‘Ricky Roma,’ had a quiet intelligence, was undemonstrative (except for the time he ripped his uniform in half – while wearing it – to let management know he disagreed with their policies), and a snarky sense of humor. The kind of guy who loves to insult people without them knowing it.