A boy’s best friend is his mother.

Good evening.

I saw Hitchcock today. Just a few quick thoughts…

1. The nicest thing you can say about this movie was that it was witty and clever, but it’s ultimately very light fare. So much of this movie is fantasy – and not just the fantasy and daydream sequences – but it’s trivial aspects, imagined insights into the life of the filmmaker and his wife. A documentary about the making of Psycho and this era of Hitchcock’s career, with speculation from more informed opinions would’ve probably proved to be more interesting.

2. This movie has gotten mild Oscar buzz, and I guess it’s there, but primarily for the production design. The story is pretty formulaic, not giving the actors much to do other than say their lines competently.

3. Speaking of which, James Darcy does a fairly accurate seeming impression of Anthony Perkins. It’s funny to me that they make Perkins’ homosexuality not so much an unofficial secret throughout Hollywood, but something that a careful observer can pick up from a distance.

Just imagine the meeting of ScarJo and Bernard Herrmann.

4. This is second movie that I can think of that introduced a character played by ScarJo by doing a close up of her ass.

5. That said, it’s a film, it’s fantasy. The people are better looking. Helen Mirren is obviously much more attractive than the real life Alma Reville, and Anthony Hopkins, even under all the make up, probably still has a much more expressive face than the real Alfred Hitchcock. Also, Danny Huston is a villain in everything, right? That’s good casting.

6. Watching the film, of course, lead me to thinking about Psycho again. And that lead me to thinking about Delillo’s last novel, Point Omega, which has a prologue and epilogue set at the 24 Hour Psycho art installation by Douglas Gordon, which was at the Museum Of Modern Art in 2006. The installation took Hitchcock’s 109 minute movie and stretches it and slows it down so that it plays out over the course of 24 hours. The shower scene, for example, which lasts 45 seconds, takes a whole hour to play out.

In the novel, the 24 Hour Psycho stuff is a fascinating sequence that really informs the rest of the novel and how it deals with the perceptions missed perceptions of time passing. This little section always stuck out with me:

“The less there was to see, the harder he looked, the more he saw. This was the point. To see what’s here, finally to look and to know you’re looking, to feel time passing, to be alive to what is happening in the smallest registers of motion.”

If you’d like to check out an interesting book that takes a nice look back at Psycho, I would highly recommend A Long Hard Look At Psycho by Raymond Durgnat. It would make a nice companion piece to a film like Hitchock, really digging deeper than the fluff.

7. Something the film touches on, but only ever so briefly, is that great art can come from disturbed minds and from desires and fantasies that can’t be beaten and broken down into a box labeled “normal.” Obviously Alfred Hitchcock had some curious interests and obsessions and some continuing issues with women. The same could be said for Woody Allen. And Roman Polanski. There could be a lot of accurately negative things said for them as human beings, as well as a lot of accurately positive things said about their art. You need to pick your medium of release, because dark fantasies don’t have to spill over into reality. Sometimes creativity is born in the shit, and art has to be separated from the artist. Like I’ve repeated in one of my favorite quotes, there’s a difference between make believe and real life.

The difference between make believe and real life.

8. Now, I kind of want to watch that recent  HBO movie with Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren. Since it covers the making of The Birds and Marnie, it’ll be a kind of unofficial sequel to this movie. And it’ll get into some of the trivial parts of history that really interest us (and that Hitchcock only touches on sparingly): Hitch’s obsession and control over his leading ladies.

9. I’m not sure if this makes me really want to go see Bates Motel.

10. When you watch movies in December, and especially the second half of December, you kind of have to keep the idea of the Oscars always present in the back of your mind, right? I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet but I suspect that the big Oscar buzz will be between that and probably The Life Of Pi. On the Time Travel Murder Mystery podcast Benjie and I talk about the padding you have to do to come up with 10 films to nominate, because at least four and sometimes five of those films have no chance whatsoever. I suspect that Hitchcock is one of those films. It’s a cute movie about a great director and his under appreciated wife and a mid-life crisis (well, slightly later than “mid-life”) and some marital scrapes. And through that time there came about a truly great piece of cinema. Psycho, that is, not Hitchcock.

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You know nothing, Jon Snow!

This is excellent:

Fly casual.

Found this online today:

Even I get boarded sometimes.

God bless the internet.

If you’ve been listening to Greedo Shot First or Time Travel Murder Mystery then you know that I’m definite supporters of Idris Elba as Han Solo (in a remake) or to be involved in some kind of capacity in the new Star Wars.

Podcasts!

In the last episode of Greedo Shot First we discussed the latest rumors about the next episode of Star Wars and then revisited The Phantom Menace, and in the latest episode of TTMM, we talked about the latest episode of Homeland and the end of Veronica Mars‘ second season and after that, Benjie took his pants down and squatted down and took a ripe hot shit on Peter Jackson and The Return Of The King, all in eager anticipation of The Hobbit. You can check out both shows in iTunes, of course.

A nice murder.

Nothing really important to say here, just that I’m mildly fascinated by the latest interest in things Hitchcockian… There was that HBO movie with Toby Jones and Sienna Miller, and there’s the new one with Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and ScarJo, which will probably get some mild Oscar buzz. And then there’s also a new TV show, a prequel to Psycho, starring Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga as Mama Bates. It has Carlton Cuse, from Lost, as its showrunner.

I remember when Brian DePalma did his best films in the 80s, which were all nu-Hitchcockian fare, and even Curtis Hanson did a decent riff on Hitchcock, The Bedroom Window, which starred Steve Gutenberg (LOL), Elizabeth McGovern, and Isabelle Huppert. Anyway, doing stuff in the style of Hitchcock is one thing, but all these movies about him… Just seems interesting to see competing projects of this nature.

Eye of the sparrow.

I normally think these are a bit stupid, but I actually find this one not only delightful…

…but inspired.

Hunted by your future. Haunted by your past.

I’m not going to say a lot about Looper here, probably because I’m presuming that Benjie and I will talk about it on the next episode of the podcast. But I share a few very brief, very unnecessary comments…

Like, for example: I really liked this movie.

I really liked Brick, and I really liked The Brothers Bloom prior, so I went into this movie expecting to like it, plus it’s Rian Johnson dealing with time travel, which is one of my favorite sci fi devices, and it features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the young exciting actor that I think everyone’s rooting for these days, right? So me liking this is not all that shocking, but this is a vastly different movie than Johnson’s previous films.

Brick was amazing, and as much as I liked its indie polish and the cleverness of transporting film noir into a typical American high school setting, I was more dazzled by the dialogue. That is a movie that is entranced by and enthralling in its dance to the music of words.

And The Brothers Bloom was also incredibly clever, playing with the style of films from eras past, making them modern, but never losing the cleverness of those tropes. But the movie was a bit precious, a bit twee, if you will, which the same argument could be made for Brick as well.

But then there’s Looper, which feels… a little more grounded, a little more hardcore, a little more mature, perhaps. This film is essentially a very geeky and more humanistic remake of parts of The Terminator, and then it turns into a western. On the past two episodes of the podcast, Benjie and I were discussing the various different forms of time travel out there, and one of the many things I like about Looper is that it is the perfect example of time travel in the movies. Is it the most realistic, the most accurate as far as dealing with cause and effect and the danger of paradoxes? No. But it is exactly what you want to see in a movie. It is a wonderful example of Time Travel In A Visual Medium.

And are there plot holes? (Or loopholes?) Yes, of course. But aren’t plot holes a constant in any movie featuring time travel? Aren’t they almost a requirement?

Also in film law correlation, but with spoilers: No one can touch Bruce Willis in psuedo-hero mode. This is the third time where he’s played a character who’s encountered a younger version of himself, and all of his bullets hit his targets and none of his foes’ bullets can hit him. The only thing that can stop him when he’s in Terminator mode is temporal murder/suicide.

(Also, loved that this is the first film to address Willis’ male pattern baldness realistically.)

Rian Johnson has now done movies featuring murder mysteries, con men, and also time travel. Some of the absolute favorite types of stories, at least to this nerd. Perhaps we can change the name of the podcast to Time Travel Murder Mystery Sexy Confidence Man Shenangians.

Or, more importantly, aren’t you dying to know what Johnson will dabble in next? As much word of mouth as this filmmaker gets, and more so lately in the advance buzz leading up to Looper‘s release, he still doesn’t get enough. He’s doing it incredibly subtly, but I like to think that Johnson is literally crafting some of the genre cinema of the future, and people aren’t paying nearly enough attention.

In the past week, Peter Jackson has publicly  proclaimed his love for Doctor Who and his desire to direct an episode and the moronic world at large has celebrated this and the BBC is seemingly now going to move Heaven and Earth to make that happen. Sigh. Whatever. This is the same week that Rian Johnson has also declared his love for the show and the desire to do an episode (the same for Game Of Thrones), and that seems all that more intriguing and exciting to me. I don’t watch Breaking Bad, but I hear the episodes he directed of it were pretty impressive, at least visually.

I’m not going to talk about the prosthetics that poor JGL was saddled with once they cast Bruce Willis in the film, except to say that JGL is an actor who can clearly thrive despite them, and you have to admire a film that is that committed to its set up to force such a thing on its lead.

Anyway, I’m saying more here than I intended, and plenty that I’ll probably repeat in a few days time (it’s like looking into the future, that). Oh, one last tidbit that I don’t want to leave out…

It’s fascinating that Shane Carruth was involved in the visual effects of this film, especially considering that he’s done probably the most mind bendingly accurate time travel movie ever, Primer. Probably a big contributor to why the effects looked as good as they did considering how low this film’s budget was.

from here.

Anyway. This was all inelegantly put down, I know, but I didn’t want to let the time pass without me saying something about Looper here, doing so with a bunch of pictures, or doing it without a few time travel puns. Go see the movie if you haven’t already, and then, even though time travel hasn’t been invented yet, go back to the theater and see it again. The person sitting in the dark there next to you might just be you, from either the past or the future.