“My prostate is asymmetrical.”

My God, this movie was weird. And, yet, I kind of loved it. It made me want to write a novel.

A few years ago, I was reading Don DeLillo’s Libra, a speculative novel about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and I remarked to a literary critic that none of DeLillo’s characters spoke like recognizable people, and they all spoke alike in their staccato pretentiousness. But there was one exception: Oswald’s wife, Marina, had brilliantly authentic monologues about her life with Lee. And the critic told me that Marina sounded so real because DeLillo had simply taken her Warren Commission testimony and pasted it in his narrative. DeLillo, whatever his philosophical acuity and structural innovation, doesn’t write believable characters; they’re all simply puppets for his ideas and word play. And that word play can be seductive. David Cronenberg, in adapting DeLillo’s 2003 novel Cosmopolis, was clearly taken in by the language, reproducing DeLillo’s dialogue almost word for word. And that means that nothing that the characters say is believable as a human utterance. This is the main reason – but not the only one – that Cosmopolis is such a weird, discomfiting, ultimately entrancing cinematic experience. Continue…

Elephants and Summer Movies

So, I reviewed Water For Elephants. It was relentlessly mediocre. Here’s the money quote:

In many ways, the film is quite old-fashioned. With a different cast and a different director, it could have been a companion piece to 1952s The Greatest Show on Earth, a circus movie considered among the weakest films to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Water for Elephants suffers from the older film’s flaws. It’s too long, and the characters are two-dimensional. A few times, August is shown to feel regret, but nothing ever is explained about why he’s such a murderous bully. We’re offered back stories for Jacob and Marlena, but they don’t really explain or deepen their characters.

Worse, Pattinson and Witherspoon have less chemistry with each other than Pattinson does with the elephant playing Rosie. When she tickles him with her trunk, the glee on Pattinson’s face is the only true, the only infectious emotion in the entire movie.

I also wrote a queer summer movie preview. I’m excited about Beginners, The Perfect Host, X-Men: First Class, and Bad Teacher. Oh, and Thor. Which I saw last week. It was awesome. Not the least because of the scene from which the photo the left was taken. Here’s how the story begins:

While the actual season we call summer doesn’t begin until June 21 and the traditional kick-off for summer doesn’t happen until Memorial Day Weekend, the summer movie season starts the first weekend of May. This year it all begins with Thor, one of the half-dozen big budget superhero flicks out over the next four months.

The summer is usually when studios, big or small, do not like to distribute their more difficult movies – like the gay ones. So, as usual, queer characters and storylines are nearly absent in this summer’s deluge of movies.

Several movies, while not technically gay, feature so much same-sex tension and subtext that you have to call them, to borrow a term from our nerdy queer theorist friends, homosocial. And, of course, there is a bunch that you might want to see, if only because the actors and actresses are so damn hot.

You can read the rest here.