Hold the Dark, Pass the Baloney

DATELINE: Not a Howl to be Had!

Wright is wrong

Wright is wrong.

When this movie starts with an unlikely quote from poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, we know we have gone to where over-education lives. We just didn’t know that was in the Alaskan wilderness.

Hold the Dark is a 2018 production that wants to be Stanley Kubrick’s ponderous return to the screen. Unfortunately, Kubrick is dead and this weird paranormal, abnormal plot tosses a bone to the wild wolves who’d be at home at the Overlook Hotel or Nosferatu’s Castle.

Yup, paranormal wolves are taking children in the woods, like some kind of bad fairy tale of yore. So, the mother of one victim calls in Jeffrey Wright as an expert on wolves out of their element (fresh out of Westworld) to help her post-traumatic soldier/husband Alexander Skarsgaard (fresh out of True Blood).

The monsters here aren’t exactly werewolves, but there is some inexplicable and illogical secret about the people living up in Alaska. No one is called Palin. It never is revealed what is happening, but it’s hardly worth the effort to figure it out.

Good luck with this colossal waste of time.

Everything is extreme in the movie, including pointless tedium: especially shining Nature and the weather, whether it’s Iraqi desert storms or Alaskan blizzards. We are not where metaphor blows mildly.

There is a police massacre that defies any purpose, except blood-letting by a minor character who holds them at bay. It is ridiculous, hardly mysterious. It’s offensive to make vets mass murderers.

That’s not to say Hold the Dark is a bad movie. It’s simply pointless. We just wonder why anyone gave this a green-light. Who exactly is the audience? We mean, besides the film production company’s relatives and creditors.

If you are willing to stick with this movie for its two hours and a couple of minutes, you will know the filmmakers loved it. They dote on every image as if the calling up the spirit of David Lynch’s cutting room floor sweepings.

Set-ups and simile details are not exactly a marvel, more like a tad overwrought, but atmosphere is art for its own sake. Hold on. The dark is always with us, and we are left in it.

 

 

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Dressmaker, Murderer, and Arsonist?

DATELINE:  Dunga-Hill Something, Australia

audrey winslet As Tilly Dunnage

When you have an Australian comedy-murder mystery-revenge story called The Dressmaker, you may begin like a house afire. Sadly, it ends the same way literally, which is not so hot.

Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth are both highly watchable in the lead roles, and extremely attractive.

Though when Tilly (Winslet) arrives in 1951 back to her childhood home looking like a Parisian model, her opening statement indicates that she is out for revenge. Alas, that doesn’t really transpire until almost the end of the movie. Mostly she torments the rugby teams.

We never saw Audrey Hepburn play an arsonist/murderer.

Kate Winslet looks stunning coming off a bus in the middle of the outback, looking like the Paris runway was down the street. The film echoes many 1950s movies, like the Audrey Hepburn vehicles where she wore the best Dior.

The film is highly entertaining for the first 90 minutes, then sinks by its own dead weight. And we do mean dead.

The Dressmaker comes with her Singer sewing machine and starts to make gorgeous gowns and day wear. We did wonder where all that material came from. Why quibble?

With stylish clothing worn by the women cast in stunning transformation, it is reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn’s appearance in Sabrina. Indeed, the film is a throwback to 1950, when the characters even go see Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.

Of course, the rub is that the dressmaker has amnesia when it comes to having murdered a childhood playmate. The police sergeant is a cross-dressing friend, thank heavens.

Did Winslet‘s character kill a young boy? With the cast of characters being strangely off- putting, you will be intrigued. For a while.

The movie devolves into soapy opera in the final 30 minutes. There are so many deaths you need a scorecard to figure out who’s killing whom and why.

However, the early visuals are so striking and unforgettable, you almost forgive the bad ending.

 

Two Godfathers in Righteous Kill

DATELINE:  Pacino & De Niro as Cop Team

two godfathers

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have made several movies together. We were surprised by the 2008 entry called Righteous Kill from 2008. When this is all we will ever receive from the two legends in tandem, we take it gladly ten years later.

You have a special treat with this movie. The two legendary actors play New York detective partners. They must’ve flipped a coin to see who got which role. We suspect they have equal numbers of scenes, but play off each other quite well. Nothing less could be expected.

Their Lieutenant played by Brian Dennehy, notes that they must have about 120 years experience between them. Yes, they seem a little long in the tooth and beyond retirement age. This is especially noticeable in De Niro’s love scenes to a girl more than half his age.

Their foil cop detectives are played by John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg, more age-appropriate detectives. They play mincemeat for laughs to the stars. Pacino calls them gay Starsky and Hutch.

There are many 60s and 70s references in this movie, like it should’ve been made 25 years earlier.

However, the stars will not disappoint their fans. Short of them playing mobsters, these roles are the best they probably could find in a script together.

The mystery about the serial killer may easily be figured out,  But the fun is watching Pacino and De Niro act up a storm.

Righteous kill pushes all the right buttons. It is formulaic, yes, but De Niro and Pacino transcend.

To prove we watched every minute including the credits, we can tell you that Pacino and De Niro each has a hairdresser; each has his own make up artist; each needs a personal Stand-in, and each has a personal driver, But Pacino has two personal assistants to De Niro’s one.

The movie is a game of one upsmanship.

 

 

 

 

Safe & Secure NFL Players

 DATELINE: Crime Watch, NFL-Style

Zo mark

Community policing is alive and well in Frostbite Falls, at the Super Bowl.

Rest easy, you Patriots and Eagles, in the sanctity of your locker rooms.

Your NFL security is at work—unlike last year when someone in the fake media had the temerity to take Tom Brady’s blouse when he stripped down.

This year no player will lose his shirt—or pants—before he is ready to surrender them to the Hall of Fame.

The media isn’t the only one with a chip on its shoulder. Now, the NFL is making sure that fake media have been given the chip that is usually associated with your pet. Not under the skin yet.

If a member of the press does not press in or out, the computer will mark them out permanently. Heaven forbid that some careless sports reporter mislays his innocence.

If you lose your chip, you won’t be able to cash in.

Players no longer need fear losing their pants, but their heads and hearts still belong to the media member with the biggest calling card.

It’s a short jump betwixt the shower and the stall and your memorabilia will no longer be available for grabs like some wedding dress at the discount bridal store. The worst that can happen is that someone may sniff your jockstrap, but they will leave it on you (for those who wear undergarments—not many based on our unofficial count).

When you go to the shower, or to visit the winner’s circle, you may rest easy that upon returning, your uniform will be pressed into some branded designer bag, ready to go home, as you are either nursing your wounds, or stuffing your pants with confetti from the winner’s circle.

 

Melania Trump: All Wet Look in Texas Flood

DATELINE: Capri Pants Optional

melania

Mr. Ed knew some thing about lucky shoes. He had four of them, for all kinds of weather.

Melania Trump should take a lesson from the knowledgeable TV star. She has now reached the exalted heights of a talking horse—and her shoes may be most unlucky. The heels were longer than a hummingbird beak.

Choosing to accompany the President on a trip to flood ravaged Houston, Texas, to meet up with Harvey the 50-inch rainfall hurricane, Mrs. Trump wore black stiletto heels on her bare feet. We presumed the open-toed look was to let the water in and out as she stepped into puddles.

No one told her that sunglasses were not needed on a cloudy day. Her bombardier jacket was, however, the right touch—because critics were about to dump on her shoddy shoes. We would be the last person to suggest rubbers for Melania, or even the President, mainly because they usually will be ill-fitting for stilettos.

Holy water, whatever do the Trumps think when they go out to become the first tourists in a natural disaster, the likes of which now rival the Johnstown Flood of the 19th century?

No one expects Melania to need waders as she slogs her way through flooded streets. Indeed, we don’t expect Melania to step over any puddles as she is taking Air Force One, not a puddle-jumper.

We also expect that Mr. Trump will be as gallant as Sir Walter Raleigh who doffed his coat and let the First Lady of England, Queen Elizabeth I, walk across water like she was the anointed apostle of the Church of England. Melania did not wear a crown, only a FLOTUS hat to the flood. No irony intended.

When Mrs. Trump landed in Texas, she skipped trying to look like Jackie Kennedy disembarking with her President. She wore her hair in a pony tail, a la Mr. Ed, and she had exchanged her stiletto heels for a pair of Michael Jordan jumpers for kicks.

No, she did not bring the wet T-shirt this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Sale Takes Pants (and Shirt) Half Off the Rack

DATELINE: Kindest Cut of All

catwalker

Chisox baseball player Chris Sale has become a folkhero to fashionistas.

Having slashed the uniforms of his team to prevent showing up at the party in ugly pajamas, he has been suspended five games—and faces a likely trade to a winning team.

In a scene reminiscent of Psycho, the starting pitcher slashed prices of clothes by cutting off an arm and a leg. By sabotaging the throwback uniforms, untucked and knee high britches, Sale has sailed into the realm of baseball legend.

We’ve heard of players being cut, but this is the first time a player has cut his team’s shirt. This is no tale out of whole cloth, but it may be a tale of holes in the cloth.

If you don’t like the uniform, a new form of protest is available. You may not be able to bring a gun into the stadium, but no one is stopping you from carrying a butcher’s knife into the locker room.

Tom Brady has been suspended for 25% of the season for knowing about air deflation of balls. He never sliced and diced the team logo.

The price of chopping up pajamas is to be suspended for. Let’s do the quick math. It is more like a suspension for 3% of the season.

We may have noticed that baseball has low overhead. And, Boston is a buyer’s market. Sale may be a cheap commodity to trade for in a bullish market. Red Sox uniforms may be made of sterner stuff.

Chris Sale may be sailing on the open sea before trade deadlines and the SEC gets wind of his tactics.