Categories
Film/TV Movie Reviews

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: The Talented Mr. Ripley

This post is for The Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot series. This series concerns choosing a shot from a current film that has been chosen and sharing why it’s your favorite shot and/or in some way important to you.

The Talented Mr. Ripley was released in the late ’90’s. While I don’t think that the ’90’s are a particularly important time for movies in general it was important to me. It was in the mid-’90’s, as a pre-teen, that I realized how much movies meant to me. Before that, I wasn’t old enough to care about any movie that wasn’t just pure fun, a drama like this wouldn’t have appealed to me. Luckily I grew up.

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a long, yet fascinating film about sociopath Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) who is adept at studying and mimicking others. He uses this to his advantage when during happenstance he meets a rich father who hires him to bring his fun-loving son who has traveled abroad back to the US. The man assumes that he went to school with his son due to what he is wearing and sensing an opportunity he doesn’t disabuse him of the notion.

He studies up on the son, Dickie Greenleaf’s (Jude Law), interests to figure out how to endear himself to him after arranging a faux meet-cute. The only thing that I really find silly about the film is that Damon isn’t really considered one of the beautiful people (hence he wears glasses, ah!).

Tthere are many important moments in the movie. However, Tom often seems to wear a blank expression during key moments, which is what I often go for. Despite this, it was still difficult to choose a scene.

I chose the above scene as at this point in the movie he is going back and forth between playing Ripley and playing Dickie Greenleaf. To me it seems as if he’s looking in the mirror to see which he is playing at.

Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley, screencap by Mary Miracle

I also almost chose this last scene which is amazing but probably pretty obvious.

Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley, screencap by Mary Miracle

and just for fun…gratuitous, shirtless Jude Law

The Visual Index for this challenge is here on the Film Experience.

Categories
Film/TV Interviews

An Interview with James Deen on Cowboys and Engines, BDSM, & Burritos

The incredibly talented, sexy adult film star James Deen and his PR rep granted me the following interview via email. I could not be more stoked. I am definitely a Deenager, not only due to Deen’s acting skills, but also his fantastic demeanor and self deprecating blog posts. James has appeared in over 900 porn flicks.

However, he’s currently branching out into other areas as well. Mr. Deen is currently one of the producers on a very interesting new steampunk film being funded via Kickstarter. It’s called “Cowboys & Engines”. The cast includes Malcolm McDowell, Walter Koenig, and Richard Hatch. The project is being helmed by Bryn Pryer, who is both the writer and director. Definitely check out the below Kickstarter video for the film and then go get involved.

There are so many awesome rewards that you can get for backing this movie. For instance, for $20 you can get a digital download when the movie is completed, or for $30 you can get that as well as a signed James Deen poster and a sticker from his store. There are so many more packages to choose from that it’s bananas. If you have mad dough pledge $500 and get a prop from the flick, be an extra in the movie for $1,250, or go out on a date with James Deen for 2K.

Note: This interview was conducted via email. James’ answers have not been altered in any way, they are in bold.

You’re a producer on Cowboys & Engines, do you plan on producing more often in the future?

i have always loved producing. i am currently focusing most of my attention on cowboys and engines so it is hard to plan future career moves, but i would love the chance to produce more.

How instrumental were you in the casting of Cowboys & Engines?

i helped. nothing more. i try to make sure that the director is able to get the exact product they want. i personally think that movies are truly a directors medium. because of this my priority wasn’t what my feelings were about the actors, but what the directors. my job as a producer is to not think as an artist but as a business man. 

What are your favorite westerns?

back to the future 2 

How did you get into steampunk culture?

i first discovered steampunk on a porn set. they used the style to create a very dark and twisted vibe for the scene. i then started to research and find more of the world. i wouldn’t say i know anything about it, as i don’t want to offend the culture, but i do like the idea of using the aesthetics to accentuate and the ideas of turning fictional creations into reality. 

According to the plot of Cowboys & Engines, the characters “Cade and Guinivere set off to save San Francisco from total destruction”. Are you excited about the alternate version of San Fransisco that will be presented in the film?

very much so. the way it is described in the script is pretty impressive and ambitious. it is one of the reason why we are trying to raise 100,000 on kickstarter. the more we have the more detailed we can create our world

Do you consider yourself a bit geeky?

i am nerdy more than geeky. i like gadgets and math and science and learning and the simpsons. the other people involved in the creative process are geeky. they like d&d and battle star galactica, star trek, etc etc. i always wanted to be a geek but i get too caught up in the how to get to the part where you actually get to do anything. 

Have you ever attended a scifi convention?

no

I’ve already backed Cowboys & Engines but for someone who hasn’t, what is the key thing that you want to tell them to get on board?

do you like cool things? then give us a dollar… or 5 

Gus Van Sant and James in Deen in “The Canyons”, from Bret Easton’s Ellis’ Twitter

What was it like to work with Gus Van Sant in The Canyons?

it was awesome. 

Aside from The Canyons, what is your favorite Lindsay Lohan movie?

i have never seen any lindsay lohan movies.

What directors would you like to work with in the future?

i heard a really cool story about peter weir firing dennis hopper on the first day of truman show because he didn’t read his script. i admire this. i really want to work for peter weir

If you could star in a remake of or sequel to any film, what would it be?

back to the future 2 

James Deen as Robin & Lexi Belle as Batgirl in Batman XXX: A Porn Parody

You starred in Batman XXX: A Porn Parody, what is your favorite mainstream Batman flick?

it will always be the first tim burton one with michael keaton and jack nicholson.

Do you often stay in touch with actors whom you’ve worked

i have only done one movie.

James Deen by photo by Danielle Levitt for GK UK Style

Many fans of 50 Shades of Grey would love to see you star in the film, if that occurred and you could choose your leading lady, who would it be?

that is tough. i don’t know. there are lots of good options. i would have to see who i had the best chemistry with and who could actually act the part opposed to look the part

Do you read erotica? (If so, what is your favorite sexy book?)

catcher in the rye :-)

James Deen displaying his merchandise at the At The AEE Show In Vegas-January 2013 from DrivenByBoredom

What are your plans concerning expanding your sex toy line?

i don’t know if i am allowed to speak about this yet. pay attention to doc johnson this summer. there will be a large package of james deen surprises 

Have you always been into BDSM?

since i first discovered what it was. it is like icing on top of a cake. doesn’t really taste good alone but combined with all the other elements, it makes it super pretty and delicious

In your films you always seem to be focused on getting the girl off, possibly more than you care about your own pleasure, do you agree?

yes and no. i enjoy watching girls cum. by focusing on them getting off it is doing just as much for me as it is for them.

You’re well endowed, has a costar ever found it intimidating?

well thank you…. i am now blushing and shy

How much fun has it been to shoot for WoodRocket.com? Can you give me a scoop on any upcoming “Last Meals” that you will be eating?

hahahaha, woodrocket.com is one of my favorite side hobbies. i love every day that we shoot. timothy mcveighs is coming up

James Deen making the world’s most expensive burrito from JamesDeenBlog.com

What are your favorite burrito toppings?

chicken, rice, beans, cheese, pico de gallo, and hot sauce

If you had a time machine when would you travel to?

i want to beat up hitler… so probably to when hitler was about 6 years old. i feel like if i was fighting a 6 year old hitler i could kick his ass

If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

gorilla???

Of the locations that you’ve traveled to, what cities stand out as being particularly fun?

paris france. it is my favorite place other than home

What is the best advice that anyone has ever given you?

my dad has some REALLY good advice, especially when it comes to women and personal interactions with other people. there is too much to list, but pretty much everything the man says is gold.

Thanks again to the amazing James Deen for taking the time to answer my questions, which is just fantastic!

Categories
Conventions Film/TV

An Interview with Huff’s Elina Madison

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Wizard World Comic Con as press along with my sister and fellow writer, Donna Allis. While there we had so much fun and were able to learn more about our favorite films as well as be introduced to new films, such as Huff. 

Huff is an independent horror movie that offers a new take on the old tale of The Three Little Pigs. It’s about a cash-strapped, abusive stepfather played by Charlie O’Connell with three teen daughters. When he gets involved with a drug deal things go from bad to worse. Unfortunately, we were unable to catch the screening of the film that was held at the con because we were in Atlantic City that night but I’m looking forward to viewing it when it’s released. According to the official Huff Facebook page, the current estimated release date is April 5, 2013. 

Mary Miracle and Charlie O’Connell by Donna Allis
Donna Allis and Charlie O’Connell by Mary Miracle
Mary Miracle and Huff producer Terry James

At Wizard World, the team involved in the filming of the flick was on hand to give everyone a scoop on the picture. Charlie O’Connell (Sliders, Dude, Where’s My Car?) was even posing for photos and signing autographs for free. 

We were fortunate enough to meet Charlie as well as producer Terry James, in addition to interviewing Elina Madison (1000 Ways to Die). Elina Madison plays Lorelei in Huff. Please enjoy the following interview with her.

Elina Madison by Mary Miracle

Elina Madison will next be seen in Creep Creepersin’s Dracula. Charlie O’Connell will next be seen on the new TV series Zombie Family. Terry James’ next endeavors are as a stunt coordinator for The Last Duane and a stunt driver in Feed the Dog.

Press Passes to the convention were provided to us gratis from the awesome PR team at Wizard World.

Categories
Books Interviews

Jenny Lawson on Booze, Books, & Mental Health

I am super excited to have had the opportunity to interview the super hilarious, talented writer The Bloggess, aka Jenny Lawson. Jenny recently released her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir). After the book’s release on April 17, 2012, it soon rose to the number 1 spot on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Jenny Lawson with copies of “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” from Jenny Lawson

However many of us have been fans for quite some time. In early 2010 an online friend let me know that you could receive free sex toys and lingerie from the site EdenFantasys provided that you review the products for them. Enclosed in my first package was the official EdensFantasy magazine Sexis, which included a hilarious article by TheBloggess. 

I immediately had to visit her blog, TheBloggess.com. I soon found out that she was not only immensely entertaining but boldly honest and compassionate. I was officially hooked.

Mary Miracle with “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”, from Mary Miracle

Of course, I found her book to be amazing. I greatly appreciate her taking the time to answer the following questions about “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened”.

There are times in your book that you mention writing a second book? Would it be more of the same types of stories or drastically different?
I’m working on my second book right now. Same tone but a little more focused on mental illness.

What is your favorite spy movie?
La Femme Nikita

Do you now drink bottled water (having grown up with contaminated tap water)?
I drink a lot of booze, actually. It purifies everything.

You mentioned that raccoons seem to have OCD, do you think that many other types of animals also have mental health issues?
Every pet is completely insane. That’s why we love them so much.

Do you plan on writing more in-depth about your anxiety issues in the future?
In book two it’ll be covered a lot more, I think.

Did you ever contact anyone interesting with your Ouija board? Did you ever use it alone?
I tried to use it but it didn’t work the way I expected. No doors to Hell opened. At least none that weren’t open before.

How does your husband Victor feel about his initial characterization as a badly dressed Doogie Howser?
I’m not entirely sure that he’s even read the book yet.

Do you feel that therapy helped you with your eating disorder or do you think it was more the acceptance of your new beau at the time?
Therapy helped a lot. I realized I was trying to control my eating because I felt out of control about everything else in my life. It helped me take control of the rest of my life.

What is your favorite item on the Dairy Queen menu?
The peanut buster parfait, although I’m lactose intolerant so I can’t have more than a spoonful.

Which antidepressant made you suicidal?
Paxil.

Does Xanax also make you hungry?
Nope. Just sleepy. 

Do you always read the book prior to seeing the film adaptation?
I try to to. The book is almost always better.

Which one book would you want to have with you to reread in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland?
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
The Miniature Wife and Other Stories

What is your favorite wine?
Chambord. Does that count as a wine? Because it should.

Note: Her answers are in bold. This interview was conducted via email. I have not edited her answers.

Categories
Film/TV Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Ewan McGregor in Perfect Sense

Warning: Spoilers Abound

4 out of 5 stars

Yet another movie that I wouldn’t know existed if it weren’t for the amazing, VideoETA.com. You see VideoETA is a great resource for finding out both theatrical and home release dates of movies. Often while checking to find the date of a film I know about I discover hidden gems. These are often films that had a limited or direct to DVD release.

That was the case with Perfect Sense, also known as The Last Word. It is a perfect case of this, as the film was released in only 1 theater for 1 week. It was directed by David Mackenzie and written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. It was shot and set in Glasgow.

If you only saw the film’s cover you may just go in thinking that it’s a standard romantic drama but it’s so much more. This 2011 drama is the most disturbing movie that I’ve seen this year.

Ewan McGregor in Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle
Eva Green in Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle

The movie is about a horrifying disease that individually steals humans’ senses. As the film progresses, we gradually see and feel the characters lose their senses of smell, taste, sound, and finally sight. It’s implied that they will eventually lose touch as well.

Although the movie shows how this would affect large populations of people in various countries (most likely using stock footage of actual riots, etc, which is also incredibly disturbing) it mainly focuses on how this would affect us as individuals.

The movie focuses on Michael (Ewan McGregor), a chef with intimacy issues, and Susan (Eva Green), a scientist who is sick of men mistreating her.

Eva Green in Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle

Despite her annoyance at the interruption of a phone call, Susan first meets Michael when he bums a cigarette from her. Their meet-cute takes place easily since he is a chef at a restaurant right across the alley from her apartment.

Ewan McGregor and Eva Green in Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle

Despite her initial reticence at getting involved with a player, Susan decides to dine one night after hours with Michael. This is during the beginning of their loss of senses. This causes a very close connection between them as they simultaneously lose their sense of smell.

Perfect Sense, screencaps by Mary Miracle

As they lose more and more senses they rely on and fall for each other. This is incredibly romantic and seductive. They let down their defenses and tell each other things they’ve never told another soul because they can feel everything ending and need something honest.

Ewan McGregor and Eva Green in Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle

Want to go dancing?”
“Sure”
“Get drunk?”
“Sure”
“smoke cigarettes?”
“Always”

Despite the interspersed footage of riots and the horror of the situation, including the fact that as someone who has been studying this epidemic from the beginning, Susan admits that no one really knows what will happen next, for a while things are going better than normal for the characters. Why? LOVE, of course.

Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle
Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle

Unfortunately, before the loss of each sense, humans experience a heightened sense or emotion. So before the loss of hearing they become very angry and violent. This is when Michael scares and drives away Susan after yelling terrible things at her and then wrecking his own home.

This causes them to be apart during the horror of losing their hearing. However, they both try their best to enjoy life as they can. Michael eventually goes back to work and Susan learns to love her sister’s family (instead of just being jealous of them).

Ewan McGregor and Eva Green in Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle

“…and if there had been anybody left to see them, then they would look like normal lovers, caressing each others’ faces, bodies close together, eyes closed, oblivious to the world around them…”

With the impending loss of sight, our lovers realize how important love and being with those you love is. So they reunite as the darkness closes in.

Ewen Bremner (Spud in Trainspotting!) and Ewan McGregor in Perfect Sense, screencap by Mary Miracle

In addition to love overcoming the worst, we are also repeatedly presented with the idea that life goes on and humans learn to adapt. This is often shown to great effect at the restaurant where Michael works. For instance, when people lose their sense of smell, which is tied to taste, the chefs decide that they must increase the spiciness of the dishes to really give the customers flavor. Later as taste goes dining out is more about texture and feeling special as you spend time with a loved one and are waited on.

Perfect Sense is most definitely not an easy film to watch. In fact, you may cry. However, it’s incredibly touching, interesting, and innovative. It is a must-watch!

Note: I think this is an amazing movie. I just reserve 5 stars for movies with rewatchability. That rarely includes dramas, especially ones this heavy. I can’t see me watching this over and over.