Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coming Distractions August 4th, 2009

Flight of the Conchords - 2nd Season
The Soloist
Labor Pains
Race to Witch Mountain

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! - 3rd Season

Nature's Grave also comes out on Tuesday. It's a remake of another Australian film, The Long Weekend, about a couple who callously abuse nature on their camping trip, until nature fights back. I found it highly enjoyable. Interestingly, while the relationship of the couple was hokey at times, nature's attack wasn't so much. It's a highly atmospheric brand of horror movie, with lots of beautiful shots of Australian wildlife throughout. Including some lovely kangaroos: though they are not as openly ferocious as the roo in The Mighty Boosh (who had racked up "212 kills, 147 disembowelments, and is wanted in 18 countries for eating a man's face right off his skull..." as well as being the ugliest kangaroo i've surely ever seen on the small screen).

While reading The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath I came across this lovely movie-related passage, and wanted to share it with you:

...“How about doing something tonight, then. A flick, maybe?” “Sure, love to.” “I’ll call.” He drives off, and you run in, upstairs. Your eyelids are heavy, they dip, lift, dip again. You just about manage to strip and get into the shower and out and onto the bed. He does call, and you run downstairs, eager, in your thin blue cotton night gown, your bare feet feeling the slight film of dust and grit on the linoleum floor. He wants to see “Kind Hearts and Coronets” and Somerset Maughm’s “Quartet.” So do you. When he comes, you are fresh and apple-scented in the lovely shimmering tie-silk dress

with the lavendar design on the silvery-beige background. He is protectively chivalrous, opening car doors, shutting them, and you think of Southern breeding. The drive is lovely, into Boston in the clear soft light of late sun still, and the leaves green and full, with the faint pink dust rising, layers of it looking liquid, drifting as through levels of clear champagne. Boston streets, Kenmore Square, and the carpeted, gilt-adorned palace interior of the theater, where in the darkness you find two seats, whisper a remark or two, and go lifting, speeding into the great movie magic of the silver screen which pulls all into itself, lulling with the magnetic other-worldliness all who sit in adoration before it.

The collection is taken discreetly at the door by the gaunt, gray-haired man in the scarlet uniform with the crust of gold braid, and the worshipers are ushered to their cushioned pews in reverent darkness. No matter if they are late; the service is continuous, and if the beginning of the first mass is missed, one may stay through the beginning of the second to achieve full continuity. In the democratic twilight, the clothes of the patrons are not in evidence. If Mrs. Allan’s hat is out of taste, if Mac the cabdriver snores through the dull first lesson or the news reel, if Mamie and Joe nuzzle each other playfully, fondly in response to the sermon of a screen kiss, there is no one to be censorious, no one who really minds. For this is the altar at which more Americans spend their time and money, daily, nightly, than ever before. Here the mystic incense of the traditional popcorn, chewing gum and chocolate, of mixed perfume and whiskey smells is neutralized and cooled by the patented air-conditioning system. And here people can lose their identity in a splurge of altruism before the twentieth century god. His messengers, his missionaries are everywhere. Dark in the room above your heads, one runs the machine; reel after vibrating reel of divine life circles under his direction onto the mammoth screen, playing forth the drama, the life force, the Bible of the masses. Rave notices are circulated in the newspapers. Everybody reads them. Sex and slaughter are substituted for the sin and sulphur of the pulpits, now quite antiquated. Instead of watching a man dictate manners and morals, you watch the very workings of these manners and morals in an artificially constructed society which to you is real. Which, to all the worshipers, is the most wonderful and temporary reality they could ever hope to know. The liquid, gleaming lips of movie actresses quiver in kiss after scintillating kiss; full breasts lift under lace, satin, low scallops: sex incarnate, (and the male worshiper feels his mouth go thick and sweat start, and the fire starts burning in his loins. If he is with a girl, he puts his arm around her maybe, thinking of how her breasts would feel if maybe he could feed her a few too many beers – there’s that place down by the river where the kids go parking and if he got started...) The male actor says “C’mere, baby,” and his voice is rough, brash, intimate, and his strong arm bends behind her soft body, forcing her to him, against the muscular length of him, standing there, proud and virile... (and the female worshiper goes limp, thinking how good it would feel if only Johnny got tough, even if it was just playing, now and then, and pretended he was really going out for her in a big way – she could let her hair fall over one eye a little, and if she tucked in her blouse tighter, maybe pulled the neckline down a little lower, leaning toward him, maybe he would get started...)

So there it is, the Fire Sermon, and the choruses and responses, all to the music and the hymns, the superterrestial, supercollosal paens to the good guy, the good girl, the sex organs of America... bigger & better marriages these days and more often please.

Sidetracking, that was. Now to the subject at hand which is not a lecture, nor yet, supposedly, an analogy between the church and the cinema, but rather a sketch of two people reacting together: a Princeton boy and a Smith girl.

At the movies, they laughed, long and delightedly together, for the films were British, intelligent, deft and mature – (no gorgeous women in WAVE uniforms doing variety can-cans on deck, or soft hatted men looking tough in plaid lumbershirts on a rearing horse –.)

His arm rested for a little on the back of her chair, and his hand, now and then, tightened appreciatively on her shoulder, and she wanted very badly for him to hold her in his arms because it was a long while since she had been made love to, and then it had been quite thoroughly and wonderfully....

– Sylvia Plath (July 7, 1952)

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