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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB 12215

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25 Responses to “BYOB 12215”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    For those who have seen it…which version of “Eleanor Rigby” should I watch?

  2. Stella's Boy says:

    Good question. I was under the impression that the full version received the best reviews.

    Was watching The Relic on Cinemax the other night, and I was reminded of how much stupid fun it is. Not a masterpiece, but easy to watch and a good time for fans of creature features. Made me think of other studio made, R-rated, ’90s era monster/creature movies I like, such as Species, Deep Rising, Deep Blue Sea, Mimic, and Lake Placid. I wish they still made movies like that. I don’t expect a studio to get behind a $40-$50 million, R-rated monster movie, but it would be awesome if someone like Blumhouse could get into the creature-feature game with more modest budgets. I wonder what the budget for The Blob remake will be, and if it will even be rated R or if they’ll go the PG-13 route.

  3. Ray Pride says:

    Boo to THEM. I saw HER and HIM in sequence, others like HIM/HER. Liked HER/HIM very much.

  4. Bulldog68 says:

    @ Stella’s Boy: Two movies I’m the hugest (is that even a word?) fan of The Hidden 87′ and They Live 88′.

    While I’m not always a fan of remakes, would kind of like to see them get a modern retelling. Hopefully in the hands of a Director who loves the originals.

  5. EtGuild2 says:

    Everyone should go see PREDESTINATION id you can find it. At least SNOWPIERCER got love on DVD and overseas…this is going to be completely overlooked like THE CONGRESS. We’ve truly entered a new golden age of Sci-Fi. Robert Heinlein lives!

  6. Stella's Boy says:

    I also love those movies Bulldog. I even like ’80s schlock like Deep Star Six and Leviathan. I would gladly watch a remake of any them.

  7. EtGuild2 says:

    Some interesting scheduling…

    *Pixar and Illumination have to be pretty happy. Dreamworks has bumped BOO from the schedule and Paramount bounced MONSTER TRUCKS to December. INSIDE OUT and MINIONS are now the only animated movies scheduled from April to almost October. Both potentially $900 million wordwide grossers, especially now

    *MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 5 to 2015 is a no brainer

  8. Pete B. says:

    Wow! Glad to see some love being thrown to The Hidden and Deep Rising. Those are two films I really enjoyed as well.

    If only my VCR still worked!

  9. palmtree says:

    The Congress is now on Amazon Prime along with Under the Skin, two unique female-led films that have me in a very weird head space right now.

  10. leahnz says:

    i can relate to that palmtree, i haven’t seen ‘the congress’ yet (want to) but i felt a bit weird and unsettled after ‘under the skin’ – a beautiful thing. and i still have that freaky discordant violin tune from the score stuck in my head weeks later. i was glad to see it for a second time, it’s visually kind of intense so i missed stuff the first time just tripping out and being disturbed, i think it became clearer on second view ———SPOILERY—-: i think i didn’t quite get what the aliens were ‘doing’ with the humans the first time so it’s cool actually to reinterpret a piece because it all didn’t quite sink in the first time and makes you really think about something esoteric, or at least presented esoterically, the invasion – not what you do but how you do it

    re ‘the relic’, i have a soft spot for that flick (and just creature features in general, from this thread it sounds like i’m not the only one — i don’t understand why there’s not many monster movies made anymore, i wish there were a shitload of creature features instead of superhero stuff, that can go fuck itself), but for anyone who’s read the books one has to wonder if with the cinema adaptation they didn’t miss the boat re the possibility of a good series from the Agent Penderghast cases with D’agusta and margo green after ‘the relic’, cutting his character out was a tough call and the character becomes even more interesting, the book series has kind of a weird lovecraftian/poe-ish bent. but p anne miller and sizemore get the job done)

  11. leahnz says:

    aw nobody has theories about ‘under the skin’? this blog can be depressing sometimes. some random questions for anyone who might have theories/impressions about some ambiguous/esoteric aspects of the narrative/plot/themes:

    (——– M A S S I V E SPOILers ——):

    – in the scene where the one prominent motorcycle alien (of the four) circles ‘the woman’ alien from each angle, is it/he perhaps checking for faults/tears in the skin suit? re their ‘relationship’, my initial impression is that it’s symbiotic and even protective, but a friend saw it differently, seemingly bolstered by The Woman fleeing after it/she rescues the disfigured man for whom she develops compassion/empathy (or is it just that he was rejected by their other-dimensional skin suit factory because his skin was not in keeping with their ‘infiltration plan’, and The Woman didn’t know what to do with him so thusly ‘released him into the wild’ like one might do a laboratory frog?); my initial impression was that she fled simply because she had begun to identify with her human prey and didn’t want to play ‘the lure’ any more, and decided instead to act out being human – do what humans do/try to feel what they feel – but i can see how it could be interpreted that releasing a human who witnessed their secret operation and thereby jeopardizing their mission (and must not be allowed to live) could also have serious consequences for The Woman, weighing in her decision to ‘escape’ into outlying human society. i kind of assumed the four motorcycle aliens were searching for The Woman altruistically, but i do see how the ambiguity makes the other interpretation just as valid.

    – i’d need to scrutinize it again (and i’ve lent my blu-ray out, note to self: don’t do that) but i was wondering if anyone else noticed something: there’s a brief inter-cutting shot of the alien’s true form during one scene luring a man into the goop marinade, wherein the alien’s head doesn’t appear to have any human facial features at all; but at the end, after the attempted rape when the scarjo skin suit is torn and comes off, the alien’s actual underlying head and face very distinctively have johansson’s exact bone structure and facial features – nose, cheeks, lips etc, the alien’s face is now the same as its skin suit’s face. this seems too deliberate in detail to be a mistake when the alien’s form is clearly revealed (why would the alien creature inside the skin have the exact same face as its human skin suit, logically that would make no sense – and johansson’s head/face without the alien inside it blinks and holds its shape so the possibility that the human face was simply taking the shape of the alien bone structure underneath it would seem unlikely, along with the fact that the alien is shown earlier with no human features); is this a subtle hint that the alien was actually slowly morphing into the skin suit’s form, structurally changing? is this part of the alien’s general physiology, that they slowly morph underneath into the species of whose skins they wear, so as to completely assimilate or infiltrate, etc – or is it something profound to the existential experience of THIS particular alien, perhaps as a metaphor for empathy and identifying with a ‘being’ different from yourself? (it’s possible i’ve thought way too much about this stuff and need to step away from the UTS)

  12. Mike says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I remember thinking that they let the handicapped guy go because he wasn’t what they needed. Much like catch and release of an animal.

    I also assumed that the motorcyclists were hunting her down for straying from the pack.

    As a dad of small children, the scene of the drownings bothered me so much that I’m not sure I could ever sit through it again.

  13. leahnz says:

    same here Mike re: the drownings, so disturbing, really effective from a film-making standpoint. i was thinking about how those scenes were done, such a sense of gut-wrenching realism achieved by detachment and portraying the human tragedy so ‘observationally’ rather than intimately; plus i think it’s a believable catalyst for the change in perception that begins in ‘the woman’ alien, she has that moment afterwards where she sees the baby in the car beside her, and then has that massive trip out in the city observing all the women just going about their business, their different expressions and modes, which i interpreted as the alien’s first experience at ‘seeing’ the human species and beginning to understand (the one motorcycle alien hunted down the disfigured man in the ‘burbs and put him in the truck of a car, so i kind of assume he wasn’t allowed to live, poor guy, the whole thing’s pretty fucking grim)

  14. YancySkancy says:

    leah: [SPOILERS] I saw UNDER THE SKIN the other night, and theorized a lot about it in another forum, so I’m a little burned out — but I will say I thought that ScarJo released the deformed man of her own volition after coming to sympathize with him (we see her noticing a trapped fly right before this, I believe). The fact that the motorcycle guy picks the man up later probably proves that ScarJo wasn’t supposed to let him go, whether his skin was unacceptable or not. I assume her defying of orders is why all the cyclists are looking for her.

    As for the ScarJo alien’s face taking on the features of its skin mask, I had forgotten that. I assume the alien’s face is malleable and adjusts to conform to the mask, but it’s just a guess. We don’t see how she got that face. I’ve seen at least one review that thought the corpse at the beginning was also played by ScarJo, but it looked like a different actress to me. At any rate, the alien has already taken the ScarJo form by then, and only takes the corpse’s clothes. But I do think that the alien’s face adapting to the mask works as a metaphor for its growing “humanity,” as you suggested.

  15. leahnz says:

    oh man i always seem to miss the discussions of the films that really intrigue me on the blogs. i can get obsessive about movies that make me think but everyone else seems to get bored of talking about them and they’re like, ‘get away obsessive weirdo’ so it’s good to be able to read/talk about it online with other obsessive weirdos.

    SSSSPPPPPPoilers fwiw i don’t think the dead chick she takes the clothes from at the start is supposed look like/be another ‘the woman’, just someone the right size supplied (killed?) for her clothes who happens to resemble her a bit (this is a pet peeve actually, like in the new ‘total recall’ with whatshername and kate beckinsale, they’re basically the same long-brown-haired woman but with ever-so-slightly different bone structure, you can’t tell them apart half the time, it’s like really you couldn’t get some people with different distinguishing characteristics). ‘the woman’ obviously is new to earth, practicing speech beforehand etc but it’s unclear where in the mission to infiltrate/invade they are, left ambiguous, i don’t know why and it’s based on nothing really but i felt like the motorbike aliens had been there a lot longer, more savvy in the mechanics of human society i guess (and more of them to boot, maybe it’s just sheer numbers). i’m glad to hear someone else has that same impression of the alien’s face taking on scarjo’s skinsuit features and what it could imply/symbolise.
    the idea of aliens harvesting our skins to then infiltrate us (for whatever reason) is a good premise for an invasion (Vincent d’onofrio appreciated the basic concept in ‘men in black’ too haha), that it’s done in such a chilly, unsettling way is all the more intriguing. i’m still trying to decide what its specific use of gender intends (or doesn’t intend) to say, the nature of subversion in such an ambiguous, esoteric piece and different ways to interpret things is fascinating really. after being kind of a Brenda Bummer about the year in film 2014 it rallied toward the end and gives me some heart and hope for more intriguing, weird, stylish cinema, even if it’s not cinema destined to play at the actual cinema for very long anymore.

  16. PcChongor says:

    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Skin_%28novel%29#Plot

  17. YancySkancy says:

    leah, to be clear I meant that I discussed the film in a forum that was not the Hot Blog, so I don’t think you missed anything here.

    I never got the impression the aliens were harvesting skins, in fact everything BUT the skin, which PcChongor’s link bears out, at least in terms of the book. But in fairness, Glazer took a pretty impressionistic or abstract approach to the adaptation. He read the book, but only took from it what he wanted, and the credited screenwriter, Walter Campbell, never even read the book. There’s much less exposition in the film, which gives no specific explanation of the aliens’ plans (though the shot of the “meat slurry” sliding through a chute suggests that they’ve come “to serve man,” as in the cleverly titled old Twilight Zone episode.

    The gender stuff is interesting to think about, and I know some see a “male gaze” statement going on. I’m not sure. It’s true that the ScarJo alien takes a female form that seems designed to lure adult heterosexual male victims (no women or children are ever approached). The alien is objectifying the males, but not sexually. The victims do objectify “her,” however, and it’s their downfall (and hers as well, when she meets up with that logger at the end). So I suppose gender can’t be ignored, but I think a broader interpretation makes it richer. The alien literally sees the men as meat until she gets to understand more about them and becomes curious about what’s “under their skin.” She abandons her mission, tries to learn how to “be” human, and ends up with the tables turned (the hunter gets captured by the game). I love the shot after she’s attacked where’s she looking into the human face she had adopted, and it seems to be looking back. It’s ambiguous — is the alien regretful, wistful, confused, or maybe just pondering the cosmic irony of the situation? Glazer doesn’t force feed us an answer, which is one way he managed to make this fairly simple story resonate so much.

  18. leahnz says:

    ftr i haven’t read the book ‘under the skin’ but a friend has and he’s said it’s quite different from the film, plot and design-wise.

    i believe Campbell and glazier have flipped the script and the aliens are harvesting for skins; i thought initially it was for the meat too, but i believe after a second viewing this is kind of a misdirection – our minds immediately go to harvesting for meat because that’s what we humans do to ‘lesser’ animals – but skinning humans for their meat doesn’t really make sense in the context of the film re: the alien’s ‘factory, or the alien’s behaviour:

    why have a huge marinating chamber designed to keep the humans alive, along with their tissue, perfectly preserving their skin while the organs liquefy and are then seemingly suddenly vacuumed out a pinhole to leave a perfectly formed and in tact, in no way cut or mutilated skin? the elaborate and very specific nature of the marinating/skinning process that keeps the skin alive and perfectly in tact would be a ridiculous scheme if it served no purpose, why go to such trouble to harvest a perfectly formed/in tact skin if you simply wanted to get the meat and organs underneath the skin, it makes no sense really (and the aliens are clearly wearing [modified] skin suits so the skins have a purpose: infiltration. i think it’s an abstract, esoteric alien invasion flick – and i know there are others who see it this way as well. the meat goo looks like it’s sluicing into an incinerator)

    also, if the aliens are harvesting humans for our organs to consume, why can’t ‘the woman’ alien ingest Earth food, which she vomits up? humans are earth food, we’re comprised of earth elements as animals of earth so it kind of doesn’t make sense that they’d be able to eat us and our organs but not the earth food that we eat and comprises us.

    re the gender stuff, apart from ‘the woman’ alien there’s virtually no female presence in the film apart from the alien’s brief observations of women/womanhood, obviously a calculated design using gender to seemingly focus on the behaviour of men (and often specifically on how men treat/relate to women as filtered through the observations of this specific ‘woman’, who isn’t a woman but living as one), which in the film runs a wide gamut from kind and even heroic to sexually violent and sick, as both victims and perpetrators, threatening and vulnerable. i think i’d have to see it again to focus more exclusively on gender as a thematic device since it’s so deliberately employed, i haven’t really formed a firm opinion yet; ultimately i think the theme of the narrative is humanity and what it comprises, but the specific filter of depicting almost exclusively the behaviour of men in this context deserves some deeper consideration.

  19. YancySkancy says:

    You could be right about the skin harvesting, but as for the meat harvesting not making sense — well, any flaw in the aliens’ plans would actually be a flaw of the script. Glazer could have decided to film the harvesting the way he did because he thought it looked cool, not realizing (or maybe caring) that it confused the issue of what’s being harvested.

    But I agree the gender thing is worth more thought.

  20. leahnz says:

    ha or as someone pointed out maybe they’re spiffy conservation-minded aliens and use the entire human body, very efficient

    the ‘is-this-intentional-or-a-flaw-in-the-storytelling’ conundrum is always an interesting element of critiquing cinema (and the type of thing i’d ask about if i was interviewing film-makers, people rarely ask about the stuff i really want to know, it’s frustrating).

    But i guess i’d like to think that logic prevails here; the fact we discover the aliens are wearing human skin suits, and the factory where the aliens process the human bodies goes to extraordinary lengths to do so in a manner that perfectly preserves the living tissue and complete structure of a human skin including the head entirely in tact, is not just some ‘this looks cool’ koinkidink. i kind of give glazier more credit than that considering ‘under the skin’ strikes me as a film into which a good deal of thought and creative design has gone. we discover that the aliens are ‘wearing’ human skin. the processing plant is making/preserving complete human skins. it doesn’t seem like rocket science.
    but i think it’s an interesting assumption that people make that it must be the ‘meat’ the aliens are after, i mean is this: a function of not understanding the film so looking up the book plot and assuming the film is the same? (never a good idea; in the book -i’m told- the humans are treated/butchered much like cattle, which makes perfect sense when it’s the meat you’re after); or is it a bit of a Rorschach test and people naturally assume that other sentient beings would be factory-farming flesh-eaters like us, ignoring the complete, perfect human skin that’s created and assuming that is the waste product? or relying too much on the ‘Wikipedia’ stuff and not thinking critically about the actual content and details of the film to draw a conclusion, which seems very much like a ‘thing’ nowadays.

  21. Hcat says:

    A big congratulations to corky st. Clair for landing the Super Bowl halftime choreography gig.

  22. YancySkancy says:

    leah: To me, the main thing that goes against the skin harvesting idea is that the one guy we see getting the full harvesting treatment is left looking more like a deflated balloon than a well-preserved epidermis. Even before his “meat” is completely removed, his facial features have been rendered indistinct.

    We assume ScarJo is wearing a skin suit, but of course we don’t see her acquire it, and when it’s torn it doesn’t seem to react like real skin would (though that could be because it’s not attached to a human’s anatomy I suppose).

    At any rate, when a film is as deliberately ambiguous as this one, we’re naturally going to get a lot of interpretations, good, bad and ridiculous. I’m guessing that Glazer, as meticulous as he is visually, is content to leave the story up to some level of interpretation (as he did with Birth, to some extent). I think the theme comes through regardless.

  23. leahnz says:

    yeah speculating on the details of the skin stuff is pretty non-observable minutiae for sure.
    (fwiw i didn’t mean to imply that the aliens just slipped on the skin right out of the vat and away they go, clearly the skin would be tech modified and structurally enhanced to fit the bodies of the aliens for their mission -as shown when ‘the woman’ alien’s skin suit tears, it splits open pretty much like skin that’s been thickened/modified and being worn like a suit. the use of actual skin as the outer layer would provide extreme realism for their disguises, and the skin produced in the vat looks like the perfect casing to me – not sure the ‘deflated balloon’ observation actually contradicts this, the body looks exactly like the bones and muscle have vanished leaving the ideal complete outer casing of skin, with the facial features still in tact but the bones inside gone. again, what are the chances we’re shown the aliens go to such trouble to retain an entire in tact, living-tissue human skin, and they’re also wearing extremely realistic human skin, but it’s completely unrelated, it seems very unlikely. and conversely, there’s nothing in the narrative to imply the meat goo is for food or consumption. it’s weird because i haven’t talked to anybody so far (irl) who hasn’t thought it was skins being harvested and the meat goop was the by-product sluicing into the garbage, which i didn’t get until my second viewing so i felt a bit slow to get it; i guess i feel like maybe people have missed the point of the alien infiltration but it’s not exactly spelled out so certainly ambiguity is a valid factor)

  24. Bulldog68 says:

    By the way, who thought of dropping two big budget films, Jupiter and 7th Son, on the first week in February at a combined production cost of over $200m and basically aimed at the same demographic? What do they think this is, Summer?

    And both were moved from another date. Couldn’t they find a clearer weekend?

  25. EtGuild2 says:

    Yeah it’s very strange.

    Btw…if I was Magnolia I’d have no idea what to do with “Serena.” It’s that odd film that’s alternately strange and boring at the same time, and is as uncommmercial as they come…yet it’s now fronted by, arguably, the two biggest stars in current American cinema.

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“I remember very much the iconography and the images and the statues in church were very emotional for me. Just the power of that, and even still — just seeing prayer card, what that image can evoke. I have a lot of friends that are involved in the esoteric, and I know some girls in New York that are also into the supernatural. I don’t feel that I have that gift. But I am leaning towards mysticism… Maybe men are more practical, maybe they don’t give into that as much… And then also, they don’t convene in the same way that women do. But I don’t know, I am not a man, I don’t want to speak for men. For me, I tend to gravitate towards people who are open to those kinds of things. And the idea for my film, White Echo, I guess stemmed from that — I find that the girls in New York are more credible. What is it about the way that they communicate their ideas with the supernatural that I find more credible? And that is where it began. All the characters are also based on friends of mine. I worked with Refinery29 on that film, and found that they really invest in you which is so rare in this industry.”
Chloë Sevigny

“The word I have fallen in love with lately is ‘Hellenic.’ Greek in its mythology. So while everyone is skewing towards the YouTube generation, here we are making two-and-a-half-hour movies and trying to buck the system. It’s become clear to me that we are never going to be a perfect fit with Hollywood; we will always be the renegade Texans running around trying to stir the pot. Really it’s not provocation for the sake of being provocative, but trying to make something that people fall in love with and has staying power. I think people are going to remember Dragged Across Concrete and these other movies decades from now. I do not believe that they will remember some of the stuff that big Hollywood has put out in the last couple of years. You’ve got to look at the independent space to find the movies that have been really special recently. Even though I don’t share the same world-view as some of my colleagues, I certainly respect the hell out of their movies which are way more fascinating than the stuff coming out of the studio system.”
~ Dallas Sonnier