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It Came From the '90s: Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade.


My cinematic obsession began as a teenager in the 1990s, which coincided with the Golden Age of the erotic thriller—which was often also the neo-noir erotic thriller. It started in the late 1980s and peaked in the early to mid-'90s. Movies like Fatal Attraction (1987), Sea of Love (1989), Body of Evidence (1993), Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), and Malice (1993), to name a few, flooded theaters with a provocative mix of oversexed men and women doing really terrible things for money.


Certainly, Sharon Stone starred in two of the most popular erotic thrillers of that time, Basic Instinct (1992) and Sliver (1993), but when I look back today, one actor seems most symbolic of this era: Linda Fiorentino.


Her performances in movies like Chain of Desire (1992 and pictured above), The Last Seduction (1994), Bodily Harm (1995), and Jade (1995) cemented her status as the ultimate &#…
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15 Years On: Lost in Translation

Fifteen years ago, writer-director Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation became a surprise hit, its particular melancholic spirit resonating deeply with far more people than Coppola ever imagined possible. After all, this was very much a personal film, forged out of her own loneliness and existential angst over feeling disconnected from everyone and everything in her life. Clearly, many of us could relate. Fifteen years on, many of us still do.
On a few occasions on social media recently, I've noticed some viewers reassessing the film through the lens of contemporary understandings of historically cliched portrayals of relationships between older men and younger women in film. For some, the relationship between Bill Murray's Bob and Scarlett Johansson's Charlotte—mostly platonic beyond a few embraces and chaste kisses, but over the course of the movie it's obvious that each character is tempted to take things to the next level—has taken on a whole new aspect in the er…

High Impact Filmmaking: Kathryn Bigelow

“I don’t want to be made pacified or made comfortable. I like stuff that gets your adrenaline going.”

“Everyone else seemed so much more normal. I began drawing in order to create my own universe. I still have a tendency to withdraw into my own world. Directing films requires communication with hundreds of people, and it has made me open up.”

"Exactly, there are rest notes and there are flurries. You need rest moments where the camera is simply covering two people in an unbroken wide shot and you see the body language. It's a cinematic exhale. That's why we have punctuation. Peak experience only exists in relation to something that is not. It's all context."



"I don't believe in censorship in any form."

“Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time.”

"I like hig…

Baby Pfeiffer

Every Wednesday, social media reminds us to celebrate #WednesdayWisdom, #WednesdayMotivation, and #WomanCrushWednesday (or #WCW). When I think of all three, I think of one person first and foremost. I'll give you a second to think on it. Here's a hint:


Oh, okay, I'll just tell you. Michelle Pfeiffer! Surprise!

Life of late has been hectic, busy, stressful, overwhelming, exhausting, relentless, and even at times crushingly depressing. Thus, I've had less time or mental capacity for writing this month. In order to keep this place going, though (Because you demand it! I hope?), here's a little fresh content. It's light on text but heavy on visuals, and when then the visuals are Michelle Pfeiffer photos*, you really can't complain about that ratio.


These are publicity shots of a young Ms. Pfeiffer from 1979. We're talking very early in her career, when she was guest starring on Fantasy Island (I will write about those appearances one day, so stay tuned) an…

Technicolor Love: Revisiting The Love Witch

"All my life I've been tossed in the garbage, except when men wanted to use my body."

"Do you like to ride, Elaine?"

*****


Released two years ago this month, writer-director-editor-producer Anna Biller's 2016 indie sensation The Love Witch remains one of my favorite films in recent memory.


The story is elegant in its simplicity: Elaine (Samantha Robinson) is our titular Love Witch, using what she refers to as "sex magic" and "love magic" to make men love her. She's a beautiful, and beautifully symbolic, metaphor for both the male gaze in cinema and men's innate fear of womanhood, as well as embodying societal linkages between women, love, and sorcery.


The film understands how men have historically viewed women as they wish to see them—beings of pure fantasy, there to serve male desires. The Love Witch spins that reality on its head in wildly entertaining and deliciously subversive ways.


The men are mostly clods and dopes who go …