the new beverly cinema

“Okja”

-shout out to New Beverley for showing this on the big screen in 35 mm; what a experience

-this film is a tone-a-sauras. It’s like eight films in one, each changing with the language. But all of them are great, Bong Joon Ho lets loose a streak of genuine eccentricity, and this is one of the best films I have ever seen.

-the pre credits showcase Tilda Swinton’s character ramping up we the audience with a cutesy graphic about ending world hunger via super pigs;
+notably popping his head in is her associate repeating her words with a movement like a puppet master; suggesting he is pulling the strings behind her image

-off to Korean as the film introduces Ahn-Seo hyun as Mija, and her relationship with Okja, forming a bond with far more resonance than I was expecting

-I am somewhat in awe of Bong introducing Okja so soon in the running time and so casually. Like in “The Host” the creature is introduced concurrently with the humans, suggesting they are a character like the rest, a natural part of the world

-this section of Mija and Okja hunting for food in the forest really really brings to mind “My Neighbor Totoro”. Except I actually think this is better

-the part of Okja running valiantly to hook Mija to a tree and seemingly sacrifice herself dropped my jaw

-I literally never expected such a scene let alone so suddenly in the film

-one aspect of this film I am really enjoying is how Bong doesn’t introduce Mija as being a “normal” element or or stand in; he simply shows what she wants, so that we empathize with her, and we never lose track of who she is or what she desires in life (mostly happiness and frolic with Okja)

-Okja swimming like a goof and flinging her shit like a hippo is so positively sublime in its patience to show a character be content with itself

- I have to pause here and say I have no idea how to describe Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Dr. Johnny Wilcox.
+What tone or planet Jake is going for is completely lost on me, and yet I was never once less than thrilled to see him.

-Dr. Wilcox is a character I got the gist most of the audience couldn’t stand, and some will be quick to label a failure, but I (in addition to imagining him a double shotgun parody of the male character from “Her”) found him so bizarro and different that I wouldn’t have taken a second away from him

-Mija’s sheer enthusiasm at seeing him is doubly sad considering his sinister intentions

-I love how baffled Dr. Wilcox is at seeing Okja being so super by being (essentially) given a free range life; to wander and enjoy her environment
+that it never was considered anywhere else is troubling and so very pathetic

-Mija’s grandfather is utterly awful, he seemingly never gets her, and attempts to woo her with money (I say all grandparents real love is food until you are a human boulder and then money as a cherry on top)

-the fact that he does so while at the graves of her parents is the ultimate low

-there is something of cultural significance to this golden pig I am not getting right now, but suspect my intuition will reveals later (I don’t mean in terms of the story, but how it relates to Korean culture)

-no attempt is made to humanize Okja, and her shyness is beguiling

-beautiful touch as Mija is ready to jump at this glass office door with her full force, looks at it from a long hallway, and carefully adjusts use backpack at the last moment

-I never get tired of moments where it seems the target is standing then collapses two seconds later

-this girl can’t stop, not stop

-Mija’s athletic attempts to get on the truck that is carrying Okja away is so Spielbergian in its utter mastery and disdain for realism in geography that I simply must say that anyone who doesn’t think Joon Ho is a master can go eat shit

-the jumpcuts and angles as we follow this tiny 14 year old as she; attempts to jump on moving truck, doubles speed and actually jumps on truck, ducks and narrowly avoids being hit by low bridge, seeing even lower bridge and runs back to grab back of door is spellbinding

-the red herring truck driver/really pissed off blue collar worker is just killing me. Especially his disgruntlement at “I got vehicle insurance, but no workman’s comp; so, fuck you”

-Okja running through a Seoul mall is so vintage 70’s American cinema; I’m emotionally standing up and clapping

-odd but delightful detail with the masked rescuers using umbrellas to block the tranquilizer darts

-the most jarring tonal shift happens as the masks come off and they are revealed as the animal liberation front, with Paul Dano as Jay, and he fills Mija in via a lengthy monologue

-it somewhat reminds me of the council scene in “North by Northwest” where the action and events are so fast and piled so high, there needs to be a “what the fuck is going in” scene before it shift gears

-of course Bong being Bong, this is intercut with moments of a animal lover almost fainting because of his hungry, trying to “leave the tiniest carbon footprint” before being conviced to eat a tiny cherry tomato

-I suspect Bong’s real feelings are coming out in Mija’s cry to just leave her and Okja alone, he being one to put personal decisions and values above those put group identity and politics above all, but translations are mislead and the journey continues

-I cannot help but feel the character of K saying “learn English, it will open doors” and the later “translations are sacred” is not only Bong commentating on entering the American film industry but his dust up with the weinsteins over “Snowpiercer”
+at least in my head

-Tilda Swinton deepens her character’s insanity as we find out she is obsessed with clearing her company’s name and making it gold
+also that she personally designed all the uniforms for the security, seemingly inferring that she can see the trees, but not the forest

-in an extremely long and up close take the same associate from the beginning(Gicarlo Espisito) slides the chair away (as loud as possible) then casually walks over to the coffee machine, equally as loud as the chair, to the dismay and fright of the other underling is in the room
+he definitely walks along a tightrope as only he can

-Shirley Henderson (as the personal assistant) is doing this voice in a way only Betty Boop world approve of

-here’s the interesting thing; pretty much every major character in this corporation (excepting Expisito’s) from Swinton’s to Gyllenhaal is utterly fucking demented or emotionally unstable; conversely Dano’s character, while forlorn and moody, comes across as thoughtful and sincere in his convictions (for animal rights)
+ it would certainly be much different potentially if made by Americans; as animals activities tend to be painted with a bucket of antisocial paranoia

-nonetheless Mija is conned back into coming to America and agrees only out of desperation ; meanwhile the animal activists see more disturbing shit from their video feed

-in a moment I am entirely unsure of the reason for, Okja is forced to mate with another super pig; this is more inferred than seen but is certainly vividly disturbing

-Dr. Wilcox is entering the height of his carpet eating hysterics, as he drunkenly punctures Okja for her meat

-the taste test of the tiny sausage (with the second judge being a kid who says “fuck yeah!”) is something out of “Robocop”

-the tone is varying wildly, as I literally have no idea what to expect

- Paul dano communicating with Mija via cue cards (including one that says “Don’t look back) is a beautiful, freewheeling touch

-I note these similar cinema colors and hues to again point out Bong Joon Ho knows how to mix and match and meld with the best of them; he steals like a artist

-Paul Dano shedding his bellhop uniform just makes me happy

-another thing I like about Ho is how he treats each new scene, particularly in a new location, as way to add visual textures and patterns, keeping my eyes stimulated

-Pink Floyd pigs; I just have it in my mind

-Lucy is scared of her sister Nancy, and Espitsio’s character is very subtle in revealing who his real alliance is to

-it’s very impressive how much heavy emotional lifting Hyun is doing as Mija through her eyes and her movements

-despite all the attacks and chaos, the most disturbing thing in this section is how militarized and corporate controlled the police are.
+They beat the shit out anything that they are pointed to

-the part with Mija and Jay barely missing Okja is so very heartbreaking

-Nancy (also Tilda Swinton) is fully in control
And in her detached way the most demented of them all

-my stomach turned several times when they track Okja down to the slaughterhouse

-I will be truthful; I’m not entirely sure why nancy agrees to sell Okja for the golden pig; perhaps I had missed something, but the pure cinematic force of dread just wants that poor animal to be free

-in a wholly disturbing moment a momma and poppa superpig throw their young for Okja to save

-the part with all the pigs moaning and screaming into the night seems like a "Animal Farm” moment

-at last there is a moment of happiness, of light at the end of darkness, of new beginnings of Mija and Okja together.
+They certainly deserve it

-a wholly hilarious post credits sequence where Dano gets everyone in his bus to put in a mask to attacking the corporate stock holders, including a surprised granny

-a most unusual film that won me over several times, and had me upset at bacon. Bong Joon Ho certainly unleashes more pure cinema and human heart than anyone else I have seen in a long time. I grow ever more excited to see this man and his work. He is one of the greatest, and this quizzical film is his most audacious yet. I cannot wait to see it again

The New Beverly: The Shane Black Incident

Heard a story from one of the regulars at the New Beverly where you can occasionally find me on days in which I’m not slated for an early call time and they’re showing something interesting to my tastes.

Apparently the director of Monster Squad Fred Dekker had a falling out with his Co-Writer, Shane Black and was talking about it with the audience of Monster Squad during a screening of the film a few years ago. Dekker was out of work as a screenwriter, his most recent credits being a couple episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise nearly a decade prior.

A mocking voice called out from the rear of the theater as Dekker was talking about Shane Black, The voice was confident and familiar to Dekker and you could see it on his face.

Everyone looks at the rear of the theater.

Shane Black, Director of Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys, and writer of Lethal Weapon was standing there, he had taken time off pre-production from the new Predator movie in order to crash the Q and A session. They had a uniquely friendly but also confrontational banter with them both trading barbs but they seemed genuinely happy to see each other.

They made up that night and Dekker was tapped to assist in polishing the script of the new Predator movie directed by Shane Black.

Juvie’s Halftime Report 2017

‘FILM

NEW RELEASES IN FILM (NOTE: CERTAIN FILMS THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN DISTRIBUTED WITH A RELEASE HAVE BEEN OMITTED)

SONG TO SONG (TERRENCE MALICK)

THE DEATH OF KING LOUIS XIV (ALBERT SERRA)*

THE LOST CITY OF Z (JAMES GRAY)

MIMOSAS (OLIVER LAXE)*

PERSONAL SHOPPER (OLIVIER ASSAYAS)

A QUIET PASSION (TERENCE DAVIES)

HERMIA AND HELENA (MATIAS PINEIRO)*

GET OUT (JORDAN PEELE)

LOGAN (JAMES MANGOLD)

*-Denotes that these works were seen in 2016 at a film festival 

MUSIC

ALBUMS

DRUNK. by Thundercat

THIS OLD DOG by Mac DeMarco 

AFTER LAUGHTER by Paramore 

BIG FISH THEORY by Vince Staples 

TALES OF INTEREST by The Dopamines 

STEROIDS (CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN GABBER MEGAMIX) by Death Grips

BODYGUARD by The i.l.y’s 

PURE COMEDY by Father John Misty 

MELODRAMA by Lorde 

NO SHAPE by Perfume Genius 

DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar 

DEMO by Steve Lacy 

THE FAR FIELD by Future Islands 

NUMBER 1 ANGEL by Charli XCX 

FILL YOUR LUNGS by Mar

CULTURE SHOCK by Culture Shock 

YOU TAKE NOTHING by Ragana 

HOPE by Shamir Bailey 

HEARTLESS by Pallbearer 

SONGS:

‘Want You Back’ by HAIM

‘Rain Come Down’ by Vince Staples 

‘HUMBLE.’ by Kendrick Lamar 

‘Choir’ by Perfume Genius 

‘How To Boil An Egg’ by Courtney Barnett 

‘Big Fish’ by Vince Staples 

‘Ryd/Dark Red’ by Steve Lacy 

‘Shadows’ by The Chromatics 

‘Windswept’ by Johnny Jewel

‘Ascension’ (feat. Vince Staples) by Gorillaz 

‘ELEMENT.’ by Kendrick Lamar 

‘Cut to the Feeling’ by Carly Rae Jepsen 

‘Fake Happy’ by Paramore 

‘Never Been Wrong’ by Waxahatchee 

‘Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)’ by Downtown Boys 

‘Truth’ by Kamasi Washington 

‘Wonder Woman’ by JoJo 

‘Watching Him Fade Away’ by Mac DeMarco 

‘It’ll Cost You’ (feat. Kristen Yoonsoo Kim) by House of Feelings 

‘The Louvre’ by Lorde

‘Thinking of a Place’ by The War on Drugs

‘Cost of Living’ by Downtown Boys 

‘Slip Away’ by Perfume Genius 

‘As If It’s Your Last’ by BLACKPINK 

‘Perfect Places’ by Lorde 

‘Girl Like You’ by Toro y Moi

‘Another Weekend’ by Ariel Pink

‘My Old Man’ by Mac DeMarco

‘Machinist’ by Japanese Breakfast  

‘New York’ by St. Vincent 

‘Hard Times’ by Paramore 

‘Ballad of a Dying Man’ by Father John Misty 

‘Something More’ by Ralph 

‘Show You The Way’ (feat. Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald) by Thundercat 

‘Rose Colored Boy’ by Paramore 

‘Long Time’ by Blondie 

‘On the Level’ by Mac DeMarco

‘Beauty of the Road’ by Future Islands 

‘Drew Barrymore’ by SZA  

‘Holding On’ by The War on Drugs 

‘Malibu’ by Miley Cyrus 

I AM ONLY WATCHING THREE TELEVISION SHOWS THAT STARTED THEIR SEASONS IN 2017 BUT I THINK THEY ARE ALL GOOD:

TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN 

GIRLS SEASON 6 

RIVERDALE SEASON 1

BOOKS THAT I LIKED (YEAH, YOU BET I READ):

David Lynch: The Man From Another Place by Dennis Lim

Notes on the Cinematograph by Robert Bresson

Good Enough to Dream by Roger Kahn  

Meditations in An Emergency by Frank O’Hara

Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara

The Collected Short Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever 

Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara 

The Sound & The Fury by William Faulkner

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh 

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

The Nix by Nathan Hill 

The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry 

CONCERTS

I only went to one concert and it was seeing Brian Wilson along with Al Jardine and company to performing Pet Sounds, which I wrote about here.  


REP FILM SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS:

-FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES as a queer film discovery that is like a fictional mish-mash of Paris Is Burning, John Waters, Tangerine, and Pier Paolo Pasolini- except this was in 1969 and preceded like half of those works.

-PUNISHMENT PARK in 35mm 

-DCP restoration of Andrei Tarkovsky’s STALKER 

-I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND with a great 35mm print

….and finally  

-The Elaine May double-bill at the New Beverly Cinema with friends and acquaintances on social media taking in 35mm prints of both A NEW LEAF and ISHTAR with Quentin Tarantino in attendance. #Juvie2LA started off on a high but #Juvie2LA was fantastic the whole way through.  Did so wearing that t-shirt listed above too.