with alan taylor

Endearing Quality #25 about Tom Hiddleston

When he heard that Alan Taylor’s (director “Thor: The Dark World”) 9 year old daughter was going to be Loki in her school play, he made a video for her on his iPhone, giving advice on how to play the character and emphasizing that the most important thing to remember is that Loki is never not having fun. 

P.S. This is the kind of lovely tidbit you will find on the commentary track of the film.  

Ava DuVernay was never going to direct Black Panther. Even if she’d accepted the job, even if they’d gone into pre-production, even if they were a week out from cameras rolling, she was never going to direct Black Panther. Yet when rumors circulated that Marvel wanted her for the job, I allowed myself the delusion of thinking about what her version of the character might look like.

Naturally, that version will never exist because the only version that can be allowed to exist — regardless of who gets the directing job — is Marvel‘s. Now that DuVernay has made plain that she won’t be making the movie, Marvel can find a new yeoman filmmaker on the rise (or on the other side of the down slope) who either sees perfectly eye to eye with what they want or is willing to go along with it for the paycheck and exposure.

Kim Masters and Borys Kit made this point beautifully back when Edgar Wright left Ant-Man after Marvel handed him a rewritten script he had nothing to do with. It’s not so much that Marvel is making movies, as much as they’re making $150m big-screen television episodes where Kevin Feige is the showrunner and the directing talent is treated like they would be in TV Land: capable conduits for a singular vision (that’s not theirs).

The funny thing about creative differences is that it’s only one person that walks away. Marvel waved goodbye to Wright, they fired Patty Jenkins from Thor 2, they gave Joss Whedon hell on Age of Ultron even after he helped them bust the box office with Avengers,  Jon Favreau didn’t want to do Iron Man 3 because there was no clear vision, Alan Taylor echoed the sentiment that Marvel is “making it up as they go,” Edward Norton stopped playing The Hulk because he couldn’t get control over the character, and even directors like Kenneth Branagh who have expressed public willingness to return to the Marvel fold clashed with the studio during production.

What’s interesting is how open these actors and directors have been in criticizing Marvel after their time there. The consensus seems to be that Marvel works with too-tight budgets, too-tight turnaround on productions, and goes into a shooting schedule with incomplete scripts because of it. Elements that are typically found in a recipe for disaste"

—  Scott Beggs, “Mourning The Ava DuVernay Black Panther Movie that would never been made.” 
Epic Movie (Re)Watch #129 - Bottle Shock

Spoilers below.

Have I seen it before: Yes

Did I like it then: Yes.

Do I remember it: Yes.

Did I see it in theaters: No.

Format: DVD

1) Bottle Shock I think is one of the most oft forgotten films of the late 00’s, which is too bad because - although not the BEST film ever made - it is pretty damn entertaining to say the least.

2) The very first thing we as an audience experience while watching this film is its score. A few notes grace our ears before any visuals, which is delightful because the score is one of the best aspects of the film. Mark Adler’s work is able to blend both the passion of the vineyards in California with the more “snobbish” style of the French in a score which is occasionally humorous, largely touching, and totally memorable. The main theme alone feels just like the perfect fine wine to go with this movie.

3) Chris Pine as Bo.

Originally posted by kven-tin

This is an early film of Pine’s. Well, early as in pre-Star Trek but post Princess Diaries 2 and it shows off the roguish charm he would later cultivate in future roles. Bo is a flower child, a true hippie product of the 70s. He’s not only that though. Bo starts off as sort of a stereotype but he goes through a transformation of passion and self respect throughout the film, something Pine is able to show us wonderfully.

4) Alan Rickman as Steven Spurrier.

Originally posted by hvenenosa

Honestly, has anyone seen Alan Rickman give a bad performance? Has he been in bad movies? Sure. But has he been bad IN movies? I don’t think so. Rickman gives the same level of devotion to Spurrier as he would Severus Snape or Hans Gruber and that is why he’s such a great actor. Spurrier is an interesting character for us to view as the audience. He’s a bit of a snob (well, more than a bit) but watching him become aware of the world of viniculture that lay just outside his previous understanding is a wonderful experience. Rickman is able to play Spurrier’s less likable characteristics in a way which never feels TOO awful. We always sort of connect with him, root for him, understand him. In some ways he is our introduction to this world, and the character writing mixed with Rickman’s performance allows it to work pretty damn well.

Also his bromance with Dennis Farina is pretty nice.

5) This film has some nice bits of humor. Quirky, honest, subtle. This is first seen when Spurrier is attending a fancy dinner and the table he has been given is by the kitchen, so he just keeps getting banged by the door. Very clever.

6) I grew up in Wisconsin, I appreciate any references to my home state.

Maurice [after Spurrier makes a joke about his being from Chicago]: “I’m from Milwaukee.”

7) I never really LIKED the relationship between Jim (Bill Pullman) and his son Bo until the film’s end. Jim is kind of a pretentious proud asshole who is a jerk to his son consistently. I mean I get that he’s passionate and worried about losing his dream, but save for a moment here or there I just don’t really like him at all. Maybe I’m not supposed to.

8) Rachael Taylor as Sam.Most of you probably know Taylor from her excellent work on “Jessica Jones”, well she does an admirable job here. While Sam can fall victim to being objectified here and there by male characters (and male writers), Taylor adds a nice depth to her. She’s still a bit of a 70s flower child but something MORE than Bo. There’s a charisma, an honesty, a passion to the way that Taylor plays Sam which makes the audience invested in her as a character.

9)

George [talking about how wine sort of gets “jet lag”]: “It gets what is commonly referred to as bottle shock.”

Roll credits!

10) Freddy Rodriguez as Gustavo.

The film takes a little while to show off the fact that Gustavo as a character has any…well…character. In the first ten or fifteen minutes he’s pretty silent and keeps to himself. But then we understand who he is in a simple grand gesture when he breaks off the antenna of a racist trucker. This paints Gustavo accurately, as for the rest of the film we learn that he is a passionate man, in touch with his heritage and true to his values. Rodriguez plays Gustavo wonderfully, stealing the show often from Pine and veteran performer Bill Pullman. His passion, his heart, everything that makes Gustavo Gustavo is given to us wonderfully by Rodriguez in a performance you will not be quick to forget.

He’s also got some great quotes.

Gustavo: “Modesty is the virtue of slaves.”

11) Eliza Dushku as Jo!

There’s not too much to say about Jo, but honestly I’m happy to see Eliza Dushku in any movie. I mean come on! She’s Faith on “Buffy”! What’s not to love!

12) The entire scam or “parlour trick” at the bar shows off a lot about the community we see in this film. We see the relationship between Bo and Gustavo clearly, we see how Napa - while wine country - is still filled with rogues. But these are rogues who love their wine, as the game they play at the bar is not based on beer it is based on love and respect they all have for wine. We get a sense of who Jo is, we get a sense of how Sam is fitting into her new environment, all in a wildly entertaining way. One of the best scenes in the film.

13) This film shows off its love for wine in a very sincere and touching way. Its passion about it is shown through all the characters, and particularly the touching music. You understand why Gustavo’s friend cries after tasting his wine, because we FEEL how it tastes as an audience member. That is no easy feat to accomplish on film.

14) I think one of this film’s issues is that it struggles a little with POV. Are we supposed to be seeing this world through Spurrier, through Bo, through Sam? There is not enough of a distinction for it to be an ensemble or anthology piece but there’s also not enough of a focus on one character to have someone we see this world through. Like there are times when Alan Rickman just disappears from the movie, or Bo is briefly forgotten.

15) I love this.

Bo [after Spurrier leaves from tasting their wine]: “Took money for a tasting?”

Jim: “Yeah.”

Bo: “Is that a new policy we have?”

Jim: “No.”

16) I never understood the emphasis on ambition. I mean I myself am ambitious but so what if you’re not? Like Jim gives Bo a hard time for not being ambitious. Like what’s the big deal if you don’t have ambition? As long as you are happy with your life and not treating people like shit, why do you need ambition? And who are other people to judge you for it?

17) When Sam sleeps with Gustavo, it feels totally random to me. Nothing earlier in this film suggested they were attracted to each other. I think it’s meant to show more of how powerful and how good his wine is (because she sleeps with him after tasting it) than anything else.

18) I love this whole aside.

Spurrier: “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” The poetic wisdom of the Italian physicist, philosopher, and stargazer, Galileo Galilei. It all begins with the soil, the vine, the grape. The smell of the vineyard - like inhaling birth. It awakens some ancestral, some primordial… anyway, some deeply imprinted, and probably subconscious place in my soul.

19) Yay! Faith gets to burn the British snob!

Spurrier: “These Californian wines are all…so good.”

Jo: “What were you expecting? Thunderbird?”

20) I do love Spurrier’s way of handling Jim.

Originally posted by dama-do-lago

Originally posted by charlesdances

21) Ugh…Jim…

Jim [to Spurrier]: “If there’s one thing I know it’s people.”

That has not proven to be true even a LITTLE bit during this movie! Like seriously. You misjudge people constantly because of your pride and your anxiety, dude. You don’t get people AT ALL.

22) The entire scene at the airport, where Spurrier and Bo are able to convince these random passengers heading to Paris to carry one bottle of wine each so they can get through customs, is also a great testament to the community and love for viniculture found in Napa. That right there is one of the things the film does VERY well. It also provides a nice rare moment in the film between Pine and Rickman.

Originally posted by laurarickmanortix

23) When I first saw this when I was thirteen, the whole concept of the Brown Chardony stuck with me incredibly. Jim makes perfectly tasting Chardony, but it comes back brown for some reason. A visit to Bradley Whitford playing a professor of viniculture let’s us know this.

Saunders: “You can make wine TOO perfectly.”

There is a natural brown enzyme in chardony that is neutralized by air, so if no air gets in the bottles it stays brown. It is perfect because you don’t wine exposed to air too long.

Saunders: “Barrels of perfection.”

Of course we learn this after Jim has given off and sent the chardony to be dumped in a landfill, but fear not…

24) I LIVE for scenes like the one where Sam, Bo, and Gustavo realize that all the dreams they thought were lost have been saved by Jo. I mean oh my god their faces as they figure out! THANK GOD FOR FAITH!

And then the scene does the impossible and becomes even BETTER by showing us how Jim reacts!!! I wish I could find a clip of it to show you but HE TAKES A FUCKING SAMURAI SWORD TO OPEN THE BOTTLE!!! OH MY GOD HE’S JUST SO HAPPY, AND HE KISSES THE SECRETARY, AND I LOVE IT!!!

25) Jim FINALLY gives Bo the credit he deserves. Yes he started the movie sort of as a bum but when he started doing things right Jim didn’t give him credit because of his pride. And then he says Bo should represent them at the tasting. I love that. Redemption for Jim.

26) In a similar way to Sam sleeping with Gustavo feels unearned, Sam kissing Bo feels a little unearned. We get that he’s had a thing for her ever since she showed up, but she’s never seemed to really reciprocate anything more than friendship. I don’t know, it just feels weird to me.

27) The tasting is a nice way to end the film. For me, the whole brown chardony thing is the climax of the film. It is the moment of greatest tension for Jim, Bo, and everyone else and you just feel such a swell of joy when it is resolved. BUT this whole thing in Paris is a nice climax for Spurrier’s arc and a nice final note to end the film on. Watching the French wine snobs trying to figure out which is Californian wine and which is French is also fun.

28) God bless Dennis Farina.

Maurice [After Spurrier says Cali wines are “radical” and “unique”]: “Where I’m from they call it a left handed compliment. But I don’t think they have a word for it in England. It’s too embedded in their culture.”

(GIF source unknown [if this is your GIF please let me know].)

29) Dude, I love Spurrier’s face when he realizes that the wining wine is Chateau Montelana. I also love Bo’s face when he hears the winner. And then you can even see some pride on Spurrier’s face after the initial shock.

30) This is a nice summation of the film.

Spurrier: “We have shattered the myth of the invincible French vine.”


Bottle Shock is a nice treat. It is nice, escapist fare, with compelling performances from the whole cast, and writing which clearly communicates the passion felt by the characters in the film. From the cinematography to the score, it’s an underrated film I wish you will watch.