MOONFALL IS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

HOLLYWOOD – Destroyer of worlds Roland Emmerich has confirmed his new apocalyptic movie, Moonfall is about climate change. The Independence Day director sat down with The Studio Exec to talk about his new blockbuster starring Halle Berry & Patrick Wilson and why Moonfall is really about climate change.

Roland, Can You Tell Us Anything About Your New Film?

Yeah, sure I can. It’s called Moonfall and it’s about the Moon falling out of orbit and on a direct course to hit the Earth. And not just a glancing blow. I mean, destroying the whole f**king world. And then Halle Berry teams up with oil rig worker, Bruce Willis and a bearded Leonardo Dicaprio to save us all. Maximillian Schell is on a beach and Nic Cage keeps having premonitions, or something.

I Think You May Be Mixing Up Your Apocalypses There

Am I? Does it matter when we’re all going to die in a few weeks’ time anyway? Look, the real point of it all is that the movie isn’t about the Moon or space missions. It’s all about climate change. It’s pretty obvious when you stop and think about it.

Can You Elaborate On That?

No problem. We’re all helpless to stop this thing happening, and it’s our own fault. We brought this on ourselves. Just like climate change.

Moonfall Is About Climate Change?

Umm, well not directly, I guess. Or possibly even at all. But the way I see it, if Adam McKay hadn’t played the old climate change card, nobody would even be talking about his f**king film, let alone watching it. So this is my first film all about climate change. It’s really exciting to deal with a new subject, a global concern if you like. We’re all scared about this, apart from those climate change denying assholes, but f**k them. I wanted to talk about this in the best way I know how, and that was by threatening to kill billions of people. It makes such a refreshing change to tackle this subject in one of my movies.

Didn’t You Already Do That With The Day After Tomorrow?

Wait. What? Oh. Shit.

 

Moonfall Is Released In February

THE FIRST IMAGE FROM THE CONJURING 3 RELEASED

HOLLYWOOD –  The first image The Conjuring 3 has been released onto the internet causing widespread fear and panic.

Following the success of the previous two Conjuring films, it was inevitable that there would be another installment. The Conjuring 3 sees the return of psychics Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren, who are called back to London to investigate a possible haunting at BBC Broadcasting house.

Director James Wan spoke EXCLUSIVELY to the Studio Exec about the new film:

During the 1980s the BBC did not have 24 hour programming on the television and so a test card would be broadcast during the night and in the afternoon so that people could see that there television sets were working. The most famous of these was called Test Card F and featured a young girl playing noughts and crosses with a clown called Bubbles. What many people don’t know is that Bubbles would often wait until someone was alone in the house and if the set had been accidentally left on would come out of the television and kill his victims. Over three hundred people were murdered during the 80s and the Warrens were called in, along with several other private investigators, to solve the mystery. In the end the whole thing was covered up by the Royal family because it turned out that Bubbles had been Prince Charle’s only childhood friend.

The Conjuring 3: Horror at the BBC will be released in 2018.

FARGO AND THE WOMEN

FARGO – What is it with Fargo Season 2 and the women?

Season 2 of the hit FX show Fargo just concluded and the praise received if anything exceeded the first season, which itself had come as a surprise. And yet there was something that disturbed me throughout my viewing of Noah Hawley’s intelligent crime drama: namely the women. I remarked on this in my mid-season review (CLICK HERE to read that) and my perplexity only increased as the show went on. A brilliant essay by Kat George for the Decider website posited the absolute opposite of what I’m going to argue here (read that OVER HERE), so first I better concede some points. First off, Fargo gives women a central role. This is the core of the Coen brother’s original motion picture with Frances McDormand’s  Marge Gunderson, a down to earth police woman whose apparent simplicity firm moral rectitude and sharp investigative nous. The first season we got a riff on that with Allison Tolman’s Deputy Molly Solverson. And season two has a quartet of major female characters, all of whom are intelligently written, well performed and move the narrative: Kirsten Dunst as Peggy, Jean Smart as Floyd Gerhardt a would be matriarch of the local crime family, Betsy Solverson (Cristin Milioti) the Sheriff’s ailing wife and Rachel Keller as Simone Gerhardt, Floyd’s granddaughter, a would be femme fetale. In the first episode we get a taste of the strong women when a young Gerhardt tries to prove himself by threatening Judge Mundt (Ann Cusack). Her refusal to concede to the male bluster and her resistance is part of what sets off the chain of events that will unravel throughout the rest of the show – Peggy gives the coup de grace driving her deus ex machina – but it should also be noted that she ends up dead. This is a world not kind to strong women. Not kind to anyone, it might be conceded.

So let’s take the Gerhardt’s next. The ‘would be’s a stuck on there are essential here. Floyd and Simone are both responding to and trying to best the patriarchal mob family from opposite ends of the spectrum – Simone is trying to betray it from without and Floyd take it over from within. And they both fail dramatically. Kat George describes Floyd as a ‘rousing, formidable woman’ but there’s not much evidence of this. This is what she would be, but her only moment of anything like control is when she orders a massacre. All her other decisions end in failure and her sons systematically undermine her. As does her granddaughter whose inept betrayals and manipulations show her as naive and easily manipulated.

Next comes Peggy. The hair dresser with a butcher for a husband and a yen for self-improvement (actualization) is the narrative catalyst that just keeps on giving. George describes her as ‘the puppeteer’. However, giving her power as the lead agent fails to see that her agency is fatally compromised by her mental illness. As the hallucinations in the final episode make clear, Peggy is delusional. Diagnosing her is a tricky task, partly because mental health is always at the behest of narrative in such cases but also because she is the re-enactment of that old misogynistic stereotype – the hysterical blue stocking. Her dissatisfaction and yearning for self-improvement is part and parcel of her madness, hoarding travel and beauty magazines and hallucinating lifestyle gurus. In the final episode we have replay of the scene from the original movie when Marge confronts the main criminal Gaear (Peter Stormare) through a rear view mirror conversation in the police prowler. Her interrogation of the silent banal evil sat on her back seat reveals his smallness, his cupidity in stark relief to her basic un-cynical decency – it is the moral core of the film. The gender roles reversed, it is Patrick Wilson’s police officer Lou Solverson who asks the questions and Peggy who gives a passionate feminist reading of the whole situation – the constrictions of small town life, the limitations and criticisms and surveillance a woman is subject to, her inability to become who she really thinks she should be. ‘People got killed,’ Solverson reminds her. All her problems in the context of the dead bodies reads as a petty complaint of a desperate and desperately selfish housewife, whose delusions led to the death of her doltish but basically good husband (Jesse Plemons).

But Lou is not the only person to give a rebuttal to Peggy and her concerns. His wife Betsy is the counterpoint to all of the women striving to dominate their men, striving to realize themselves. Of her, George writes: Betsy ‘is just as threatening to her world as Floyd and Simone were to theirs, or as Peggy is to the world at large. Betsy has mastered the men in her world, managing to be smart, biting, motherly and gentle all at once.’ So mastery has come through being an uncomplaining, saintly, self-sacrificing, self-abnegating mother and housewife? She masters the men by doing the dishes? By waiting patiently at home, dying quietly while her husband does everything he can not to come back, under the guise of duty? Sure she finds the gun and dispenses stern advice to the town drunk, but all this only secures her in the one role that women are allowed to flourish in. She is a matriarch and not without power, but the matriarch is not necessarily a woman who opposes male power; much of the time they facilitate it – the woman who gets to boss the other women in how best to look after their men.

I get that Fargo is set in the mid-West in a nascent Reaganite America. This is a small town conservative homeliness pitted against the forces of darkness, the interlopers – blacks and native Americans, or just people from Kansas city. It is hard to unpick where that conservative world view is being satirized or lionized – a stickiness that is crucial to the appeal of the source film as well as the TV show. But women, at least in my ledger, seem to get the worst of it. They are mad, bad and dangerous to know on one side, or saintly, motherly and imminently dead on the other. And although misogynists all got short shrift as well – ‘You have a woman problem,’ hisses Dodd Gerhardt, the worst offender – one can’t help but feel the show comes down very much on one side – the Nancy Reagans rather than the second wave feminists.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Use that l’il ole comment box below.

For more Fargo, Click Here.

BONE TOMAHAWK – REVIEW

BONE TOMAHAWK – REVIEW: Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins and Patrick Wilson star in Horror slash Western, a brutal, bloody but also beautiful and eloquent genre mash up which hacks into my 2015 top ten.

S. Craig Zahler’s debut movie Bone Tomahawk is a whip smart horror western that could slap most genre pretenders red. True, it’s not as if there are a huge pile of horror-westerns – Soldier Blue was brutal and A Man Called Horse introduced body horror into the genre – but even Django Unchained clumsy mess didn’t have a fraction of the affection or originality of this.

When two robbers stray into an Indian burial ground they unleash the ire of a clan of cannibalistic, feral Native Americans. One of the robbers flees to a frontier town where he is jailed by local sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell). When the clan attack the village, they kidnap a deputy and the wife (Lili Simmons) of Arthur O’Dwyer (Wilson), who is laid up in bed with a broken leg. Hunt leads a posse that includes old geezer Chicory (Jenkins) and Indian Killer and Dude John Brooder (Matthew Fox). Hampered by O’Dyer’s leg and prone to infighting and the attentions of Mexican bandits, Hunt’s Posse takes their sweet time approaching the clan’s caves. But when they do, they might wish they had dawdled a little longer on the way.

Zahler writes the best old West dialogue since Larry McMurty’s Lonesome Dove and he films the landscape with the same appreciation for the land and the failing light as a John Ford. There’s a genuine affection for the genre – for both genres – and the brilliant cast and Matthew Fox play it seriously, witty, but damned serious. They feel real and there is an affection for them that makes you want the time spent with them to go on. This isn’t a playful postmodern take. And likewise when things start to get bloody, and they get ghastly, Zahler takes that gross out mayhem just as seriously.  Bone Tomahawk is the most original Western for years and cracking fun. Kurt Russell has another Western coming out on Christmas Day and if Hateful Eight is even half as good as this it will make for a remarkable year for the Western.

For more Reviews, Click Here.

FARGO 2: REVIEW

FARGO: Season 2 – Mid-Season Review: The second season of Fargo is some great television but its depiction of women though true to the 70s period is pretty hard to stomach.

At the beginning of every episode, Fargo underlines its fictive status with the greatest lie in art ‘based on true events’. Although in the Coen Brothers’ original movie the assertion was slippery – many took them at their word at least at first – in Noah Hawley’s inspired show the repeated assertion of sober truth is weekly reminder that we are watching a brilliant blackly comic fantasy show. Yes it might be set in Minnesota and there aren’t any dragons, but this is as realistic as Game of Thrones using its comically exaggerated aw heck ordinariness as merely a counterpoint to the operatic levels of violence and the Manichean extremes of good and evil portrayed in the snowy wastes.

Season 2 sees the action shift to 1979 and unfurls as a crime turf  war played out against the background of the irresistible rise to power of Ronald Reagan. Everyone is against Carter, whose original sin seems to be the oil crisis which sees people having to queue to fill up their cars as a sign of the decline of America. The characters are drawn with broad strokes. The honorable and decent police officers Patrick Wilson and Ted Danson are played with ramrod moral probity and down to earth wit. No phone footage of them beating up or shooting unarmed black men. Fargo is set before camera phones made the police act that way. On the other side are the wicked criminals, the Gerhardts and the Kansas City crew, both sounding like progressive rock bands and both with a superbly operatic and unrestrained sense of violence. In the middle are the simple folk, the Blumquists played by Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst, who have to pay for the consequences of poorly made decisions and ultimately the violence of everybody else. Missing is Billy Bob Thornton’s truly compelling performance as an avenging angel of violence, but his bemused extreme violence remains as does the opposition provided by the down to earth folks. This is a world that could easily bring forth the dualism with crayons of Reagan’s morning in America versus the Evil Empire rhetoric.

Part of this conservative universe is the treatment of women who are either dangerously duplicitous (Rachel Geller as the Gerhardt daughter), dangerously dumb bimbos (Dunst) or saintly and dying (Cristin Milioti as Betsey Solverson). The one person who could buck the trend, Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart) Matriarch of the Gerhardts is seen consistently as ineffective and always a step behind her feral offspring as well as her adversaries. Now this is a mid-season review and I’m betting that the worm might well turn at some point but thus far what is really missing from the show is not Billy Bob Thornton’s entertaining grandstanding but Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman)’s strong woman at the core.

Fargo remains one of the best and most unlikely successes of recent television. And it is testament to how good it is that I haven’t even mentioned Nick Offerman’s turn as town lawyer and blow hard.

For more Reviews, Click Here.