Daily Archives: June 5, 2017

High Attitude [TRUTH OR DARE & DICE RULES]

From the Chicago Reader (May 24, 1991). What prompted me to repost my thoughts about Andrew Dice Clay was, oddly enough, the Summer issue of the French quarterly magazine Trafic, which arrived in yesterday’s mail and where the lead article, about our Madman-in-Chief, cites J. Hoberman’s excellent analysis of Trump, which alludes pertinently to Clay. — J.R.

TRUTH OR DARE

*** (A must-see)

Directed by Alek Keshishian

With Madonna.

DICE RULES

* (Has redeeming facet)

Directed by Jay Dubin

Written by Andrew Dice Clay and Lenny Shulman

With Andrew Dice Clay.

“I know I’m not the best singer or the best dancer. I’m interested in pushing other people’s buttons.”

– Madonna in Truth or Dare

“I have no tolerance for anyone or anybody.”

– Andrew Dice Clay in Dice Rules

Madonna’s Truth or Dare and Andrew Dice Clay’s Dice Rules are performance films about sex and defying taboos that are clearly conceived as statements from and about their stars. The movies are radically different, but they have a few things in common: an adolescent sense of outrage spurred by adolescent fans and energies, a postmodernist reliance on movie-star models, a preoccupation with narcissism and masturbation, and a painstaking effort on the part of their stars to “explain” themselves.… Read more »

Lost in Translation [THE LOST CITY]

From the Chicago Reader (May 19, 2006). — J.R.

The Lost City

* (Has redeeming facet)

Directed by Andy Garcia

Written by G. Cabrera Infante

With Garcia, Steven Bauer, Richard Bradford, Nestor Carbonell, Lorena Feijoo, Bill Murray, Dustin Hoffman, Tomas Milan, and William Marquez

An intellectual initially associated with Castro’s revolution, G. Cabrera Infante (1929-2005) founded the Cuban Cinematheque and was known as both the Cuban James Joyce and the Cuban Laurence Sterne. He spent his final 39 years in voluntary exile in London, and his last screenplay was for The Lost City, the first feature directed by Andy Garcia. Among his works available in English are the novels Three Trapped Tigers, View of Dawn in the Tropics (the most succinct and measured, and my favorite), and Infante’s Inferno; his nonfiction includes Holy Smoke (a tribute to Havana cigars, his first book written in English) and A Twentieth Century Job, a collection of film criticism published under the pseudonym G. Cain (derived from his first initial and the first two letters of Cabrera and Infante). And there’s the screenplay for the 1971 Hollywood thriller Vanishing Point, also credited to Cain.

Sixteen years ago Garcia decided he wanted to adapt Cabrera Infante’s unadaptable, pun-packed, joyfully multicultural Three Trapped Tigers, an epic about Havana nightclub life during the late Batista period.… Read more »

Adrift in the Wasteland (NAKED)

From the February 25, 1994 Chicago Reader. It seems that a good many colleagues have ranked this film higher in Mike Leigh’s oeuvre than I did at the time; perhaps today I’d agree with them. — J.R.

*** NAKED

(A must-see)

Directed and written by Mike Leigh

With David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Gregg Cruttwell, Claire Skinner, Peter Wight, Deborah Maclaren, and Gina McKee.

Mike Leigh’s virtuosity as a writer-director and the raw theatrical power of David Thewlis, his lead actor, combine with the sheer unpleasantness of much of Naked to make it a disturbingly ambiguous experience. The apocalyptic, end-of-the-millennium rage of Thewlis’s Johnny — an articulate, grungy working-class lout on the dole who abuses women and spews negativity — registers at times as Leigh’s commentary on the bleak harvest of Thatcherism. But at other times it registers as the ravings of a malcontent too frustrated and paralyzed to even know what he wants. Sorting out the intelligence from the hysteria is no easy matter, and the picture rubs our noses in this uncertainty so remorselessly that we sometimes forget that what we’re watching is largely a comedy.

The first glimpse we get of Johnny, he’s having some very rough sex with a nameless woman in a Manchester alley.… Read more »