Of these last 10 films I’ve watched, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Happy Hour stands out as obviously the best of these screenings. With its lengthy runtime (317 minutes), its thoughtful conversations between its four female thirty-somethings, and the impassively flat intonations of its delivered dialogue, Hamaguchi evokes a literary experience cinematically and creates something immersively captivating – a melodramatic inkblot into which the viewer can pour their emotions into. Truth be told, despite how fascinating Happy Hour proved to be, I cannot ignore Jackass Forever. I never really watched the original MTV program, finding it too sophomoric for my tastes. The TV show seemed to only confirm that youth was wasted on the young, yet I now find myself getting more invested in the Jackass crew as they age. Their pain seems more real, more genuine, and the entire enterprise seems to enjoyably push back on the notion that wisdom is wasted on the old. There’s certainly an aspect of Peter Pan about the whole thing, with Johnny Knoxville (now a silver fox) and his Lost Boys fending off father time by riding a shopping cart straight into him at high speeds. Forever stands far from the genius of Jackass 3D (which was easily the best use of 3D’s mainstream resurgence, standing as a kind of post-millennial cinema of attractions), but it was still a ridiculous 96 minutes that I often found invaluable. Love that “Cup Test.”
- What We Do in the Shadows (Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, 2014)
- Jackass Forever (Jeff Tremaine, 2022)
- The Demon (Brunello Rondi, 1963)
- Happy Hour (Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2015)
- Black Angel (Roy William Neill, 1946)
- Attila Marcel (Sylvain Chomet, 2013)
- Slaughterhouse-Five (George Roy Hill, 1972)
- Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond, 2021)
- Shark (Jason Hehir and Thomas Odelfelt, 2022)
- In the Name of the Italian People (Dino Risi, 1971)
Truth be told, these last 10 films screened longer ago than is usual as I’m currently working my way through Mariano Llinás’ La Flor (2018), an epic undertaking at nearly fourteen hours and made up of six episodes starring the same four actresses, with the first four episodes stopping short their natural endings, the fifth remaking a famous French film of the 1930s, and the sixth depicting only a conclusion. Midway through at the time this post is written, La Flor seems to be an intriguing experiment in narrative that seems to luxuriate in its own vagueness, whether by its plotting, its dialogue, or even its planes of focus. Sprinkled between La Flor has been screenings of Good Mythical Morning, a YouTube comedy show featuring Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal playing games, having fun, and participating in taste tests (our favourite). I was already familiar with GMM but I’ve now got my wife addicted to the program in anticipation of Rhett and Link’s forthcoming Food Network show, Inside Eats with Rhett & Link.
Whoa! It’s been quite a while since we put up a “Trailer Tuesday” post. Let’s fix that by going over some stuff banging around in the MMC! dome!
The next best thing to having an MMC! proposal made real is having a label beat MMC! to the punch. This happened just last week when Criterion announced that Bing Liu’s amazing documentary Minding the Gap (2018) would be joining the Collection. We’ve already declared our admiration for Liu’s brilliant coming of age doc set among the skateboarding community of Rockford, Illinois, putting it among our top 20 films of 2018, and it was set to be our next Criterion proposal once we were done with our favourite films from the 2020 Fantasia Festival. The upcoming Criterion edition has some great special features, not to mention the Collection’s January 2021 slate includes the return of Luis Buñuel’s “Search for Truth” trilogy. That’s a one-three punch of documentary realism and surrealist audacity!
The cover art may not be revealed but Moonstruck is coming to Criterion Collection this November and MMC! is here to take all the credit, having previously proposed the Norman Jewison film as a quasi-valentine to my lovely wife who rightfully adores the movie. Our MMC! edition bears a strong resemblance to the actual Criterion release just announced. Both versions port over the current Blu-ray’s special features, each leaving out the lamentable cooking and food featurette, and both include an interview specifically considering the significance of opera to the film. And so, as always … you’re welcome, cinephiles.
The rest of November’s Criterion slate looks solid with an Essential Fellini box set (More weird packaging!), Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Coolness!), Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (Meh!), and Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (An MMC! favourite discovery from last year!).
And for those waiting for MMC!’s next proposal, a new imagined Criterion edition will arrive before the end of this week and it’ll be British, recent, and widely celebrated!
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Ticket of No Return.
The it-girl of the West German art subculture, Tabea Blumenschein, stars as a nameless, silent stranger with a one-way ticket to Berlin and a plan to drink herself to death. While touring high class bars, queer nightspots, and seedy dives, she befriends a struggling homeless woman and runs across a trio of prim, judgemental women known as Social Question, Accurate Statistics, and Common Sense. With Blumenschein’s extravagant costumes and writer/director/cinematographer Ulrike Ottinger’s eye for a city still struggling to lift itself out of the bombed-out depression of World War II, Ticket of No Return is an unforgettably unique tour of Berlin and a deliciously shrewd example of feminist camp.
- Restored 4K digital transfer, overseen by director Ulrike Ottinger, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- New interview with Ottinger
- Berlinfever – Wolf Vostell, Ottinger’s 16 minute short film of a 1973 Happening organized by artist and friend Wolf Vostell
- Gallery of Ottinger’s workbook used to develop and produce the film
- Gallery featuring rare behind-the-scenes production photos
- An excerpt from Gérard Courant’s Cinématon (2009) featuring Ottinger
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A new essay by critic Michael Koresky
MMC! is lamentably late in acknowledging its nomination for a Sunshine Blogger Award by Tony Nash of Movie Fan Man! Cinema fans (particularly those of Euro-crime) should make Movie Fan Man a regular stop as Tony’s valuable appraisals of movies high and low shouldn’t be missed. And, of course, MFM has become a stalwart follower of MMC! and its fantasies, and I am exceptionally grateful for that support!
Now, to the questions!
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Moonstruck.
In this award-winning, romantic comedy, Cher stars as Loretta, a widowed bookkeeper in Brooklyn who agrees to marry a mild-mannered man (Danny Aiello) even though she does not love him. Unlucky in love, she promptly falls for his estranged brother (Nicolas Cage), sparking a torrid affair with the moody, young man while her fiancé is absent at his mother’s deathbed. With wonderfully stylized dialogue by playwright John Patrick Shanley and a brilliant ensemble of supporting performances from Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, John Mahoney, Julie Bovasso, Louis Guss, and Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck is a modern screwball classic and an operatic fable full of moonlit enchantment and the sweet charm of sugar cubes dissolved in champagne.
- New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New interviews with director Norman Jewison, writer John Patrick Shanley, and actors Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, and Danny Aiello
- Audio Commentary featuring Cher, Norman Jewison, and writer John Patrick Shanley
- A Night at the Opera, musicologist Marcia Citron on opera, La bohème, and Moonstruck
- Remarriage Italian Style, scholar William Day on Moonstruck and the comedy of remarriage
- Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family, a featurette on the making of the film
- Music of Moonstruck, a featurette on the film’s score
- Trailer and TV spots
- PLUS: An essay by scholar Mary Ann McDonald Carolan