Spring Breakers, the name says it all. For all intents and purposes it is the what, when, why, where, and who of Harmoy Korine's latest youth culture thesis -- a 94 minute non-stop Girls Gone Wild-esque Dubstep rager that prudently substitutes a copiousness of style for a seemingly decided lack of dramatic substance, inter-cut with super slo-mo beach bosoms and bottom biscuits jiggling at a hypnotizing rate of frames per second. it doesn't make a much sense, but whatever. It's summertime and this movie rules!
It seems to me that the real juice of the Spring Breakers fruit has little to do with cautionary tales, innocence lost or questionable actions, but rather it has everything to do with James Franco's cornrows. That is, soaking up the the overall look of the film, which seems to be inspired if not full-on endorsed by Vice Magazine sponsored American Apparel type fad-mongering marketing strategies, is as good as this movie gets.
It shouldn't go without mentioning, however, that that highly skilled costume designer Heidi Bivens' hot-neon, day-glo accented beach wear, DTF sweatpants, and pink unicorn ski masks really transport viewers into the hyper-surreal world of Spring Breakers to the point of outmoding the efforts of the aforementioned houses of haute hipsterwares for the trending-now crowd. Indeed, the joint efforts of Bivens and Korine, not to mention the talents of cinematographer Benoît Debie, seem to signify an extremely creatively driven approach to fully realizing this project, but the commercial element Spring Breakers presents is most definitely a fashion force to be reckoned with, whether the message translates as what to buy or what not to buy. For me, I couldn't suppress the urge to indulge in a cinematic marathon of summer fashion features after practically gagging on Spring Breakers.
This Saturday night marks the continuation of a Bay Area summer tradition of free outdoor movies in parks in San Francisco and Marin: the always free Film Night In The Park series. The series, which began last weekend with a screening of Chasing Ice at the Fairfax EcoFest, kicks into full gear this Saturday evening at 8pm (or dusk) with a free screening in San Francisco's Dolores Park ofRaiders of The Lost Ark (trailer below of this 1981 Steven Spielberg fantasy adventure flick) - projected onto a huge screen with the perfect backdrop of the San Francisco skyline. Attendees are invited to bring picnics and blankets (no chairs so as to not block views) and advised to arrive early to secure a good vantage point. Also bring warm clothes in case that pesky SF fog descends on the hillside park - Dolores and 19th, San Francisco's Mission District.
All screenings are free but "donations are accepted" according to the organizers of this wonderful series that will include such films as Martin Scorsese's recent Hugo in Old Mill Park in Mill Valley on June 21st, School Of Rock with Jack Black at Creek Park in San Anselmo on July 19th, and Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Union Square San Francisco on July 13th where on August 17th the American musical classic Singin' In The Rain will screen. Other scheduled screenings in the upcoming Film Night In The Park 2013 series, that concludes on September 21 with a screening of Skyfall in Dolores Park, will include The Avengers in Creek Park, San Anselmo, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom in San Francisco's Washington Square Park on September 7th, and The Birds in China Camp in San Rafael, Marin County - screening at the beach at Chinese Village which is the perfect setting for this 1963 Hitchcock suspense classic that was filmed not too far from there in Bodega Bay in the next county over from Marin, Sonoma County.
The 2nd Annual Sunset and Dine is upon us, taking place June 13 at Academy Hollywood, the outdoor theater at the AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) Pickford Center. The event brings together local businesses for an evening of food, drinks, booths and a movie screening — this time it’s the classic Hollywood film noir Sunset Blvd.
Amoeba Hollywood has tickets available for the event at $30, plus a $2 service fee. Tickets garner visitors access to beer and wine, plus free food samples from local businesses. Amoeba will be on hand at the event with a booth featuring Amoeba goodies and a DJ. Come say hello!
Sunset and Dine kicks off Academy Hollywood’s Oscars Outdoors series, screening movies most Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer.
The celebration is put together by the non-profit board Central Hollywood Coalition, which manages the Sunset & Vine Business Improvement District (BID), dedicated to revitalizing a 15-block stretch of Sunset Blvd.
Academy Hollywood is located at 6322 DeLongpre Ave. in Hollywood.
Los Angeles is a film town -- maybe the film town. Like the Hollywood district contained within it, the name "Los Angeles" a metonym for American film industry in the minds of many. "La La Land," "The Entertainment Capital of the World" and all that. I love movies; however, in my mind, the Hollywood film thing actually ranks pretty low in the long list of what makes Los Angeles the greatest city in the world. This is possibly (probably) shocking to hear/read if you're a cog in the blockbuster factory or a celebrity worshipper but better you find that out now than never. Luckily, Los Angeles doesn't just make movies, it also shows them. There are few cities in the world with as robust a film culture as Los Angeles.
For those who love celebrity-driven, gazillion dollar CGI superhero franchises you're in luck; there are multiplexes in every mall and Redboxes at every 7-11. Thankfully for other varieties of cinéastes, there's a lot more to Los Angeles’s mise en scène than that. There are architecturally beautiful picture palaces, romantic drive-ins, dingy dollar theaters, high profile revival houses, low profile smuthouses, and actual art house chains. Additionally there are all sorts of special screenings and festivals that take place every week of the year.
"Your God gave you the gift of the Gun. The Gun is good. The Penis is Evil." - Zardoz
Sick of honoring Saint Patrick's Day by celebrating your Irishness or affinity for Irish culture by going out to drown your innards with copious amounts of Irish spirits? Stay indoors, save some green money, tuck into your own whiskey stash while marveling at the natural beauty of the Emerald isle as framed by British filmmaker John Boorman in such films as Excalibur(1981) and Zardoz (1974) -- could two films made in the same location, directed, produced and written by the same person be more different? I think not.
Gabriel Byrne and Nichol Williamson as Uther and Merlin in Excalibur
And yet one gets the impression that even in within the context of Boorman's adaptation of Arthurian legends the sword Excalibur represents a goodness not unlike that of Zardoz's "God-given gun" while the "evil" penis serves naught but to wreak havoc upon Camelot's carefully constructed peace what with all that adultery and incest going 'round the round table. But Zardoz is one of those films that I find myself thinking about more than I probably should, perhaps that's because no matter how many times I've seen it it completely freaks me out. It is such a strange film that it's almost impossible to believe it actually exists.
Sean Connery in Zardoz
It does exist, of course, and looking past Sean Connery's adult diaper-looking red short-shorts, matching bandoliers and thigh-high leather boots costume -- not to mention the plenitude of naked women that flesh out the cast -- to digest the core of the penis vs. gun debate in this most extravagant of dystopian science fictions is only half the fun. But I digress, and I really shouldn't attempt to mold Excalibur to its freaky, art house contours. Though both of these films were made in Ireland, largely filmed on Boorman's own estate (must be nice!), Zardoz doesn't pack the same atmospheric punch that Excalibur does, but then Excalibur isn't trying to sell viewers on the concept of giant stone God heads that fly around distributing arsenals of firearms to the people down below by ejecting guns by the dozen from it's gaping mouth-hole. Excalibur's magic is a softer, more subtle stuff. Personally, I think it's the best movie of it's kind ever made.
Nicholas Clay and Cherie Lunghi as Lancelot and Guenevere in Excalibur
There is a seemingly excessive use of green lighting used to fantastic effect throughout Excalibur, highlighting what I've always assumed to be the suggestion of magical elements at work within the story (see the green glint on the sword pictured above), and spotting the use of unnaturally green light throughout the film seems worthy of a drinking game. Unlike Zardoz, Excalibur's more unbelievable moments are enveloped within an oft-told mythological narrative so well known that when when the audience is presented with, say, an awkward, huffy-puffy sex scene between a nude actress (Boorman's own daughter, Katrine as Igrayne of Cornwall) and a fully-armored knight (Corin Redgrave as Cornwall, or is that Gabriel Byrne again?) it's not all that surprising. Shocking? Maybe a little, but plausible. Just about as plausible as the Lady of the Lake (featuring Boorman's other daughter, Telsche), whose scenes not only make an argument for her existence showcase some of the more beautiful of Excalibur's Irish locations.
Nigel Terry as King Arthur approaches the Lady of the Lake
All in all, there are plenty of other fantastic fantasy films made in Ireland (Princess Bride is a standout favorite) so if you're stuck inside the house this St. Paddy's Day, or are just plain loath to go out and mingle with the greenery, get a little Irish film fix with either of these Boorman classics. Also, be on the lookout for the Excalibur documentary, Behind the Sword in the Stone, currently in production and featuring interviews with Boorman himself and many cast, such as Nigel Terry, Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Cherie Lunghi and Charley Boorman who played young Mordred in this so-called "Boorman family picture." Check out the trailers for both Excalibur and Zardoz (if you dare) below.