Michael Mailer

Michael Mailer

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Michael Mailer - New York screening of 'The One I Love' at the Crosby Street Theater - New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 5th August 2014

Michael Mailer

Seduced And Abandoned Review


Excellent

Anyone interested in how movies get made will love this feisty behind-the-scenes documentary, which uses sharp comedy to explore the messy business side of cinema. Both smart and very funny, it may not tell us much that we don't know (mainly that it's almost impossible to get a film financed unless it's a blockbuster with bankable stars), but it reveals things in ways that make us wonder about the future of the movies.

The film follows actor Alec Baldwin and director James Toback as they head to the Cannes Film Festival to secure funding for their planned Iraq-set riff on Last Tango in Paris. They meet with a variety of experts who tell them that their hoped-for budget is three times too high for a movie starring Baldwin and Neve Campbell. So they talk to Chastain, Bejo and Kruger about taking over the lead role. They also consult with a range of prominent filmmakers including Scorsese, Coppola, Polanski and the Last Tango maestro himself, Bertolucci. But the more time they spend with the people who control the money, the more they wonder if their movie will ever get made.

It's fairly clear from the start that Last Tango in Tikrit is a joke project, but everyone takes it seriously. And as they talk to prospective investors, Baldwin and Toback consider adjusting the film to get more cash by, for example, shooting scenes in Russia or China. It's fascinating to hear these billionaires offer advice on how to get their movie made. And hilariously, no one worries about Baldwin's insistence that the story requires explicit sexual scenes.

Continue reading: Seduced And Abandoned Review

The Golden Boys Review


Bad
Daniel Adams' The Golden Boys has nothing to do with the Emmy-winning sitcom The Golden Girls (sorry, mom). In no way is it a masculine spin-off that replaces sassy-talking Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan with Rip Torn, David Carradine, and Bruce Dern.

Yet there are similarities worth mentioning. Both rest on characters tolerating their "golden" years. And both offer television-sized entertainment.

Continue reading: The Golden Boys Review

The Lodger Review


Bad
Marie Belloc Lowndes' 1913 novel, The Lodger, based on the grisly Jack the Ripper killings in turn-of-the-century London, has been grist for the movie pulp mill ever since its publication. Knockoff versions of the story trace the history of film, from Pabst's Pandora's Box and all the way to mad psycho James Spader in Jack's Back and Daffy Duck taking on the Shropshire Slasher in Deduce You Say. The most famous version of the novel itself was the first Hitchcock-style Hitchcock film, the 1927 silent The Lodger starring Ivor Novello, who later recreated his role in a 1932 sound remake. The most atmospheric version of the tale was John Brahm's 1944 Fox redux with the creepy Laird Cregar as the notorious murderer.

Now writer/director David Ondaatje has come along with a contemporary version of the story, updated to the mean streets of L.A. in 2009. And this new version of The Lodger also has atmosphere in spades.

Continue reading: The Lodger Review

The End Of America Review


Good
There's a popular saying, long attributed (likely in an apocryphal fashion) to Upton Sinclair, that's gained some resurgence in the last few years due to the current political situation. (As an aside, one can always tell that things are bad when people describe their national mood and government as "the current situation.") It says that when fascism comes to America it will come wrapped in a flag and brandishing a cross. This may well be true, but it's hard to imagine that anybody thought the message of the incipient police state would be carried by as unlikely a messenger as Naomi Wolf.

In the calm but provocative agitprop film The End of America, author Wolf -- still best-known for her 1991 college-feminist masterwork The Beauty Myth -- stands on a stage before a studio audience and delivers a 10-point plan by which we shall know that democracy in America is no more. With her large wave of elaborately-permed hair, sensibly stylish suit, and colloquial manner, Wolf seems more like a particularly engaged PTA mom than the protest-marching Mother Jones-reading raconteur that her speech brings to mind. Probably that's for the best, as the proto-fascist program enumerated by Wolf is more disturbing than just about anything dreamed up in today's run-of-the-mill leftie documentary. Better a messenger she than Michael Moore.

Continue reading: The End Of America Review

Loverboy Review


Bad
Much like Robert Towne's recent adaptation of Ask the Dust, Kevin Bacon's Loverboy is a labor of love. Sometime in 2003, Kyra Sedgwick (Bacon's spouse) handed him a copy of Victoria Redel's novel, Loverboy, and both found themselves eager to bring the story to the screen. And similar to Towne's effort, Bacon is so enthusiastic about the material that he can't get his concentration correct.

Emily Stoll (Sedgwick) is in her late 20s and roaming the Midwest and just about everywhere else for the right ejaculate. After a miscarriage from a "no father," multi-partner pregnancy, she meets Paul (Campbell Scott) and in one night of passion, a child is conceived. The son, Paul aka Loverboy (Dominic Scott Kay), quickly becomes Emily's entire life, trying to make life a magical, ongoing discovery. Emily has nightmarish flashbacks of her lovebird parents (Bacon and Marisa Tomei) who were too busy being in love to take care of a child properly, and she daydreams of her fantasy mother, Mrs. Harker (Sandra Bullock). Loverboy eventually becomes wise to his mother's obsessive grasp on him and begins to revolt, especially when she tries to seduce Mark (Matt Dillon), a father figure. This, of course, can't end well.

Continue reading: Loverboy Review

Empire Review


Good
When you stop and think about it, the similarities between Italian mobsters and urban gangsters -- as filmmakers commonly portray them -- are really quite astounding. For every gold chain stuck in a mobster's chest hair, there seems to be a corresponding gold medallion slung around some gangster's neck. For every Cadillac, there's a Lincoln Navigator. In place of the Tommy gun, there's the Glock. It's a comparison that writer and director Franc Reyes is all too keen on making in his debut film, Empire.

Played by John Leguizamo, Victor Rosa is a Latino gangsta with all the ambition of a young Godfather and all the attitude of a taller Joe Pesci. He spends his days violently whacking errant drug dealers and monitoring the sales of his own designer "street pharmaceutical" not so subtly labeled Empire -- which is exactly what Vic thinks he's building in his little bit of the South Bronx. But when his girlfriend (Delilah Cotto) announces that she's pregnant, he thinks it might be time to go legit.

Continue reading: Empire Review

Michael Mailer

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Michael Mailer Movies

Seduced and Abandoned Movie Review

Seduced and Abandoned Movie Review

Anyone interested in how movies get made will love this feisty behind-the-scenes documentary, which uses...

The Lodger Movie Review

The Lodger Movie Review

Marie Belloc Lowndes' 1913 novel, The Lodger, based on the grisly Jack the Ripper killings...

Advertisement
The End of America Movie Review

The End of America Movie Review

There's a popular saying, long attributed (likely in an apocryphal fashion) to Upton Sinclair, that's...

Empire Movie Review

Empire Movie Review

When you stop and think about it, the similarities between Italian mobsters and urban gangsters...

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