The Last Movie: The Last Movie Star

The closing choice to end the Palm Springs International Film Festival was a movie about faded fame and growing old.It was also a movie about a small town film festival awarding a lifetime achievement award to an over-the-hill beloved ex movie star.

An overall great character study with an ageing Burt Reynolds in the starring role and a precociously under dressed, depressed, complex young woman perfectly played by Ariel Winter (Modern Family).  An almost unrecognizable Chevy Chase plays Sonny, friend to Vic Edwards (Reynolds character) who urges him to go to Knoxville, Tennessee to collect his award.

I loved this movie by Adam Rifkin (in attendance) who said that Burt Reynolds was his childhood idol.  He wrote the movie specifically for Burt and sent the script to his agent saying that if he decided not to do it, he would not make it period.  He got a call the very next day from Burt Reynolds.  Reynolds said that if the script was sent to him ten years ago the answer would be “no” but at this stage in his life he was ready.  I loved that he spliced film clips from Reynolds old movies like Deliverance & Smoky and the Bandit alongside what he looks like now.  It’s quite bittersweet to witness the differences between now and then.

And it’s a movie that makes you think about life in general.  Not just that of an ex-famous movie star.  It has all the necessary elements for audience appeal.  Humor, feel-good, sadness, regret, choices.  Some of the scenes brought tears to my eyes.  It was completely human and utterly charming.

What woman did not fall for the charms of Burt Reynolds in his glory days?  What a hunk he was with personality to top it all off.  Handsome, funny, talented with substance.  I mean just look at the women he used to date from Sally Field (the one who got away) to Dinah Shore.  How time flies.

I found this film to be a refreshing and honest look at life.  I highly recommend seeing it when it comes to a theatre near you sometime this year.  Especially if you like (or used to like) Burt Reynolds.

Then. It was a centrefold from Cosmopolitan Magazine. Yes, I had it!

Tomorrow: Best of Fest.  If you’re in the Palm Springs area you will want to check this out:  https://www.psfilmfest.org/2018-ps-film-festival/films/best-of-the-fest

 

 

 

Documentary: Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

As you may know I’m in Palm Springs where the International Film Festival (PSIFF) is still in full swing until it ends on the 15th.

Scotty Bower then

As you may also know I very unfortunately had to miss a whole bunch of great story telling due to some kind of awful virus I picked up.  So for my second movie only since arriving here on December 31st, just beginning to feel myself again, I chose a documentary. Documentaries are some of my favorite story telling because of the truth involved.

Also, this one was directed by Matt Tyrnauer who directed the phenomenal documentary feature Valentino: The Last Emperor (2009), which was short listed for an Oscar Nomination in 2010.  He’s also a special correspondent for Vanity Fair Magazine.  He was in attendance as was his subject, Scotty Bowers, a now 94 year old man with a carefree attitude and great smile.  And one amazing story.  Oh do tell…

Scotty and the Gang

After returning from Marine Corps combat during World War II, this handsome young man arrived in Los Angeles and started pumping gas and pimping (for lack of a better word although he’d prefer to say he ran an introduction service) at 5777 Hollywood Blvd. The gas station is no longer, but the memories are.

As Bowers tells it, an overture from a seemingly unlikely customer, the tweedy gentlemanly actor Walter Pidgeon, led to Hollywood connections with some of the biggest names at the time.  Names I won’t repeat here (you’ll have to see it yourself). Scotty got some of his pals into the act and pretty soon the Richfield station was flooded with customers looking for a quick trick.  The town pump.

Well this is old Hollywood news, is it not? I mean Hollywood has a history and we’ve heard the stories before (yawn, yawn).  Well….not exactly…like this Trust me when I tell you there’ll  be some new and eye raising reveals.  Really!

And then you’ve got to ask yourself “why am I here?”  I mean in the sense of being in a sold-out audience room full of voyeurs like yourself finding out personal information on people you’ve only heard about going back years before your time.  With a little bit of embarrassment for being party to it.  But then relishing the wicked information told through Scotty’s adventures.

As the story delves into his tortured past we can’t help but wonder if Scotty was making his own escape from reality.

The story is told extremely well, it flowed perfectly with just the right amount of interviews, humor involved and naughty intrigue.  A perfect afternoon escape with a man who makes no apologies for his choices – having been the discreet pleasure pleaser of the past to both sexes. Until aids came around to claim the life of Rock Hudson and he decided to shut it down.  As he put it “I enjoyed helping others.

Scotty and his wife Lois Now

And in the manufactured Hollywood of yesteryear there was definitely a time and place for Scotty’s services and that of his posse.  Full Service indeed and Full Steam Ahead!

For tickets (while available):

https://www.psfilmfest.org/2018-ps-film-festival

 

 

Art/Culture/History: “The Post”

OPENING NIGHT – Palm Springs International Film Festival 2018 (PSIFF)

Clip from the film

There is a saying about relationships in Washington: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. – Katharine Graham

The feature film began with a panel discussion with the key players on the stage of Palm Springs High School.

Streep, Hanks & Spielberg

Katharine Graham for those of you unfamiliar, was America’s first female Fortune 500 CEO. As the renowned publisher of ‘The Washington Post,’ she guided the newspaper to national prominence, most notably when it published The Pentagon Papers and reported on the Watergate scandal.

Meryl Streep stars as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee in Steven Spielberg’s gripping true life drama behind the publication of the Pentagon Papers in Nixon’s White House. This history making movie at the time of an incensed, vindictive president meant risking careers and the future of the newspaper.

A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government.

Decades of government lies which led the U.S. into the mire of the Vietnam War were lifted from top secret files. The risk of publishing them was greater than great.

Spielberg, Streep, Hanks

Words to live by:

It’s hard to remake decisions and even harder to rethink nondecisions. Sometimes you don’t really decide, you just move forward, and that is what I did—moved forward blindly and mindlessly into a new and unknown life.

A long time ago I had to decide whether to be a lady who lunched or a women who worked. – Katharine Graham, Personal History

The festival runs until January 15th.  Check out the film and events lineup here:

https://www.psfilmfest.org/2018-ps-film-festival

 

Art/Culture/Film – Palm Springs International Film Festival 2018

Movie Magic 2018

Can you keep a secret?

The Palm Springs International Film Festival tradition of the Secret Screening continues, sharing a brand-new, yet-to-premiere film with only the most discreet of discerning filmgoers. You won’t know the title of the film until you see it on the screen, and once you’re in on the secret you can’t spill the beans. No talking, texting or tweeting before, during or after. While we can’t disclose specifics, we can tell you that this classified title features one of this year’s Film Awards honorees alongside one from 2017. It’s a story that may be familiar, but we promise you’ve never seen it like this before. Ohhhh….

Alongside Films and Documentaries from…

Pop Eye

The heartwarming journey of a man and his elephantThailand

To

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

A fascinating, dishy documentary about the life and times of Scotty Bowers, who, after serving in the Marines in WWII stumbled into a career satisfying the sexual desires of some of the most famous people in Hollywood, both male and female.

And Everything in BetweenAs a member of the PSIFF media to cover screenings and events, I look forward to sharing some stimulating stories with you.

Perhaps with a touch of stimulating Pinot

HAPPY NEW YEAR

ART Facts

Words to the Wise

Art is not a pleasure, or an amusement, art is a great matter.  Art is an organ of human life transmitting man’s reasonable perception into feeling. Leo Tolstoy – 1898

Mark Rothko, Four Darks in Red

His (Tolstoy’s) definition of art is in the inverse of the truth; the task of art is to transform not perception into feeling, but feeling into perception.  Sir Herbert Read – 1960.

I found the above phrases transcribed by perfect penmanship into a beautifully gifted art book from a gallery in Washingon, D.C. I hadn’t opened up the hard cover book in a long while and re discovered it again recently as it was tucked away amongst other belongings.

The nice thing about art is that it never gets old.

ART is an appreciated respite from all the craziness in the universe right now.

How do you feel about that? Yup; me too!

 

 

Trashy Art

We belong to a generation that is extremely consumerist, materialist, and greedy. It’s total garbage!  But here’s how an inspiring artist gets around it while creating breathtakingly beautiful work.

Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, known by the moniker Bordalo II, is showing off some bold new street art in an abandoned Lisbon warehouse. The artist, who was born in 1987, revitalizes end-of-life materials discarded by others to create his pieces. Bordalo draws attention to wastefulness by creating massive vibrant animals out of discarded plastic car parts, and other trash  – and the whimsical designs are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Garbage is given new life as colorful animal sculptures in Bordalo II’s solo exhibition Attero – the Latin word for ‘waste.’ The trash is locally sourced and might come from old cars, construction materials, or whatever else the artist happens to find. He often transforms the debris into animals because they are particularly vulnerable to harm from our society which too often throws items away, polluting the environment.

Attero calls us to reflect on our own consumption, according to Lara Seixo Rodrigues, founder of nonprofit arts organization Mistaker Maker, which curated Attero. She remarked “Whether on a large or small scale, his unusual sculptural creations oblige us to question and rethink our own role as actors in this static, consumerist, and self-destructive society, which exploits, often in an abusive way, the resources that nature offers us.”

Check out more of Bordalo II’s pieces on Facebook and Instagram.

Taken from inhabitat.com article by Lacy Cooke

 

 

 

Monday Mood Board #12

ART Immortal – the Holy Grail of art rediscoveries to be auctioned at Christie’s.  If only I had an extra 100 million dollars to spare…. 

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” unveiled recently at Christie’s. Credit: Jewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In something of an auction coup, Christie’s has secured two blockbuster works for its November Contemporary sale: the last known Leonardo da Vinci in private hands, “Salvator Mundi” or “Savior of the World,” and Andy Warhol’s final silk-screen, “Sixty Last Suppers.” – The NY Times

Andy Warhol’s “Sixty Last Suppers,” at Christie’s New York. Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Christie’s Auction House

The Leonardo da Vinci work is estimated at $100 million and the Warhol at $50 million. Each has been guaranteed by a third, undisclosed party.

Read the whole New York Times article here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/arts/design/christies-leonardo-da-vinci-and-warhol.html

PICASSO’S OLD ART SCHOOL

L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière,

At the unchanged atelier of L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière, you might find yourself sitting in the very same chair where Pablo and a few of his friends, such as Manet and Cezanne, sat sketching their model a century ago. It’s open to the public for sketching workshops in the afternoon, Monday to Saturday, except on Wednesday when there’s an evening session from 7-10pm. No reservations are necessary, just show up with paper and pencils, no teacher, just the model. (14 rue de la Grande Chaumière, 6eme; See the ‘Free Workshop’ and ‘School’ sections of the website for all prices and timetables: grande-chaumiere.fr/en).  Oh by the way, this is in Paris.

L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière,

Channel Gabrielle, the eternal rebel (new Chanel perfume teaser) with a message

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxYRrb7nJ9M

It’s madness out there

“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from a mental illness. Look at your 3 best friends. If they’re ok, then it’s you.” – Rita Mae Brown

There is no great genius without some touch of madness – someone said.

 

 

VIFF: The Nile Hilton Incident

My reasoning for choosing this feature from the many contemporary world cinema selections were the words “Nile Hilton.”

That’s because I stayed there for almost a month in 1999 (now it’s called the Ramses Hilton) in a beautiful 2-bedroom suite on an executive floor as my husband had business in Cairo.  I would take my coffee on the balcony overlooking the River Nile and enjoy all-day refreshments in the lounge.  It was very decadent at that time and I got to know the staff while Don was working, hung out at the pool and walked a short distance to the Egyptian museum to check out the mummies…more than once.  I got to know a lot of shopkeepers too.  I bought gold jewelry, perfume, leather bags, a silk carpet and a belly-dancing outfit.  I had a lot of time on my hands.  I had my own little incident at the hotel which got resolved quickly with the help of a burly bouncer who came to my rescue, but there were no casualties that I was aware of.

Well that was my first reason. My second was that the movie blurb appeared to be intriguingly film noirish.  It turned out to be better than I had hoped for.  It was a gripping crime mystery filmed on the streets of Cairo; seedy and corrupt. All the elements of a good detective story. It won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. This was the Canadian Premiere and the line was loooong.  I sauntered in thinking I had plenty of time to spare but it was already sold out.  I stood in the standby line even with my media pass (“but you don’t understand…I lived at that hotel”).  Just managed to make it, along with my medium bag of $9 popcorn.

An innocent young maid is witness to the murder of a beautiful singer in one of the hotel rooms.  Noredin, The cop who gets involved, (played by Fares Fares, that’s his name) meets resistance at every step of his investigation and you begin to realize that many people are at play here and politics are involved.  Always, right?

The movie is set in a Cairo on the edge of revolution. On January 25, 2011, all across Egypt, millions of protestors from a range of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyption President Hosni Mubarak.  As the engrossing story enfolds, it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

To check out more great cinema at VIFF please visit: https://www.viff.org/

 

 

VIFF: A Fantastic Woman & The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Una Mujer Fantástica – A Fantastic Woman (subtitled)

If I didn’t know any better I would swear this movie was directed by Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar (Volver, All About my Mother). But it was not. Instead it was Chilean director Sebastián Lelio (who made the smash hit Gloria in 2013).

This is a timely film.  Because it is about time that people are more compassionate and at the very least, more tolerant of those who are different than what those of us less broad minded deem to be “the norm” in society.  But guess what?  This is the new normal.

I found this film to be beautiful, disturbing, touching and frustratingly maddening.  It makes you want to fight for equality.

The main character is played triumphantly by Daniela Vega, an actual trans performer.  As Marina, a nightclub singer living with Orlando, her much older heterosexual lover (played by Francisco Reyes) who suddenly dies, you see her struggle in dealing with non-acceptance and disrespect from all angles. From the police who suspect her to be a factor in Orlando’s death, to the ex-wife who doesn’t want her to come anywhere near the funeral because she will only upset the family….she is humiliated constantly. 

Even so, she faces it all with dignity and a strength most of us would envy.  A powerful movie.  A Fantastic Movie!  I give it a score of 5/5.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a whole other animal.

Here is a perfect example of two top-notch performers: Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell being cast in a perfectly flat out psychological disaster of a movie.  Sorry; but that’s just my opinion.  I’m not saying the performances were not good (the characters were supposed to be flat, joyless and strange I’m guessing) but overall it was so disjointed with no explanation given to……too many situations.  But the music was anything but flat.  It was over the top (again; meaning to be) outlandish.  I never saw the film “The Lobster” but apparently it was a pretty good twisted movie, directed by the same person – Yorgos Lanthimos.

In a NUTshell Farrell plays Andrew, a surgeon who’s patient dies while undergoing an operation.  The patient’s son Martin (played by Barry Keoghan) is a total screwball looking to get back at Andrew.  He keeps showing up in oddball places while I keep wondering (trying to make sense of course) why Andrew keeps allowing him access.  Well it is a movie after all so just don’t question the bad sensibility of the surgeon who invites this boy into his home and brings harm to his once happy family.  And it just goes (and goes, and goes on) from there.  And it gets even weirder.  And there’s spoiler alert: NO happy ending.  My final words are:  I’m just not that into this one!

Special mention: Okja

AND here I thought the special presentation of “Okja” was strange………….  although that one had amazing computer-generated imagery (CGI), and Tilda Swinton who did an excellent job (as always) playing the big boss-lady of a huge company manufacturing genetically modified super pigs.  Also, a surprisingly zany Jake Gyllenhall.  It had everything….humor, violence, glamour, scenery, car chases, crazy people, animal rights activists, capitalists, consumers and mostly, an innocent animal friend. I found it very schizophrenic but with outstanding direction from Bong Joon Ho.  Very Hollywood.  Now streaming on NefFlix.

If I lived up in the mountains of South Korea with only my grandfather for companionship, I’d love to have Okja for a pet.

More reviews to follow

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the films playing until October 13th @  https://www.viff.org/

 

 

 

 

ART/FILM/VIFF: Loving Vincent

I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.

This anticipated animated film about Vincent Van Gogh was a real story telling treat.  What’s so amazing about this film is that it is entirely hand painted with Van Gogh’s paintings serving as the backdrop for each frame.  In fact, it is the very first fully painted feature which took seven years to complete.  It’s visually astonishing!

The story takes place in the French village of Arles (a place I visited with my husband where we sat in the famous Terrasse du café le soir.  Yes; that one!

The son of a local postmaster goes around hunting for clues as to why the painter took his own life. There were conflicting reports as to whether he actually committed suicide. The question is really why Vincent went from a complacent quiet man to someone who would take his own life in a matter of weeks.  A look into a complicated, talented but tortured soul.  Sad that in his lifetime he sold only one of his fine works.  Can you imagine?

He saw beauty in the tiniest of objects and in things that most people would deem insignificant.  A man of true genius.

I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.”

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream – Vincent Van Gogh

Your dream came true, it’s just too bad that you were not around to realize it. 

How people all around the world admire your work and can only dream of owning a piece of you!

Please visit: https://www.viff.org to find out more and how to purchase tickets.  The Film Fest runs until October 13th