Tag Archives: Courtney Cox

Greg Harrison’s November 


Greg Harrison’s November is one of those frustratingly opaque, reality bending sketchy thrillers where a metaphysical shudder is sent through someone’s fabric of existence, in this case that of photography professor Courtney Cox. Driving home late one night, her husband (James LeGros) runs in to a Kwik-E-Mart to grab her a snack right at the same moment a burglar (Matthew Carey) brandishes a gun, and then open fires. After he’s killed, you feel like the film is in for a run of the mill grieving process as she visits a therapist (Nora Dunn). Events take a detour down Twilight Zone alley though when a spooky photograph shows up amongst one of her student’s portfolios, a snapshot of that very night at the store, apparently zoomed in on her husband. Who took it? Is the man actually dead? Will the film provide the concrete answers that some viewers so fervently salivate for in these types of films? Not really, as a heads up. As soon as things begin to get weird, they pretty much stay that way for the duration of the exceedingly short runtime (it clocks in under eighty minutes!). Cox’s character revisits that fateful night from many different angles and impressions, either reliving it, recreating it or simply stuck in some sort of alternate time loop chain. There’s a policeman played by Nick Offerman who offers little in the way of help, and she’s left more or less on her own through this fractured looking glass of garbled mystic confusion. The tone and aesthetic of it are quite something though, a jerky, stark Polaroid style mood-board that evokes ones like The Jacket and Memento, with an art house industrial touch to the deliberately closeup, disoriented visuals. It’s a bit maddening from the perspective of someone only looking for answers, and if that’s why you came, you’ll be left wringing your hands and losing sleep. If you enjoy the secrets left unravelled, and are a viewer who revels in unlocked mysteries left that way, recognizing the potent energies distilled from unexplained ambiguity, give it a go.

-Nate Hill

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Back to Graceland: An Interview with Demian Lichtenstein by Kent Hill

If you have seen the restored Lawrence of Arabia then there’s a chance you’ve seen the extras on the second disc? One such extra is an interview with Spielberg, in which he recounts sitting down with David Lean for a screening of the film. As they watched, Lean provided what Spielberg describes as a ‘live’ director’s commentary, pontificating about all aspects of the production while the pair sat through the movie.

Now Spielberg himself doesn’t do commentaries, but a lot of directors do. Of course I have a list of films that to date, do not boast a commentary track which I wish, so badly, that they did. Near the top of that list are a pair of movies that stick out. One is John Milius’s Farewell to the King and the other is Demian Lichtenstein’s 3000 Miles to Graceland.

But now for something really cool.

At the close of 2016 I had the chance to chat with Demian, and what eventuated was quite extraordinary. I was working my way through my questions when, all of a sudden, Demian started to unload his fantastic tales from the production, and it just kept getting better. As I listened, I imagined Spielberg listening to Lean, receiving first-hand all of those astonishing insights, and here I was in a similar situation getting the good oil on the production of Graceland.

It has become a cult film with the passage of time, but there remains no chance of Demian ever being gifted the ability to go back in and retool his movie. Perhaps in some small way set certain things to right.

I was tired when we spoke, it was 3am here Down Under, but, by the time we were through, I was energized and so sat back and re-watched 3000 Miles to Graceland with fresh eyes. Demian’s stories swirled in my head. When we were talking, just when I thought it was over, he went on. I received scene-specific commentary and even insights into scenes that were written but never shot.

It was a genuine thrill, along with being a great and one of the most surprising interviews I’ve ever done.

3000 Miles to Graceland is out there waiting for you to watch it again or to discover it for the first time. It makes me proud as a fan to think that this interview may serve as the bonus material we never received. A director’s commentary of a splendidly intricate and playfully unique movie with great anecdotes, favorite scenes and even deleted scenes in the form of unrealized story elements.

So, for all you fans and even the first-timers, the journey of 3000 Miles back to Graceland begins here, for your listening pleasure.

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Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: A Review by Nate Hill 

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective shouldn’t really be as funny as it is. It’s random, head scratching and just deeply juvenile, and happens to be one of the funniest films ever made. Why? Jim Carrey. The man is spun gold on camera, and he sells every outlandish minute of this gonzo Looney Toons goofball of a flick. It really wouldn’t work without him. I mean, could you imagine, say, Dustin Hoffman, or John Travolta trying to pull of this kind of malarkey? Ok, I did just laugh really hard picturing that, so it would be funny, but only in an embarrassing way. No, it had to be Carrey, and he’s an engine of unbridled comic mania the entire way through. One acting technique involves basing your performance off of the mannerisms of an animal, and I’ve heard that he chose a cockatoo as the blueprint for Ace. The head bobs, squirrelly movements and that epic, instantly recognizable ocean crest of a hairdo. Makes sense, and I couldn’t unsee it after hearing that. Ace is probably the most eccentric, beloved character Carrey has ever fashioned, and for good reason. He’s like a cannon loaded with jokes, quips, pop culture references, personal space invading antics, a complete lack of inhibitions, a treasure trove of rubber faced muckery and a deep love for any and all creatures of the animal kingdom. Those are pretty much all of the qualities one should look for in a human being. I say that now, but I feel like after spending ten minutes with the guy I’d look for the nearest exit. Ace is on the case, when he’s not goofing off, which is always. Somehow he finds time to search for the missing mascot of the Miami Dolphins, an actual dolphin named Snowflake. The story dimly unfolds in the background of all his tomfoolery, and includes Dan Marino, a suspicious billionaire (Udo Kier, whose exasperation at Carrey’s behaviour looks very un-faked), and an ice queen of a Police Chief played by Sean Young, with an arc that  goes to some pretty disturbing places for this kind of light fare. He also finds time to have hot jungle love with Courtney Cox,  and speak to people through his asshole like a deranged Muppet, among many other things that will have you questioning why you’re watching it, only to realize it’s like your twentieth viewing and you have no plans to ever stop. It’s Carrey’s show, and he takes it into orbit, never letting the mania subside for a nanosecond. He’s borderline certifiable, which comes in handy when he has to infiltrate a mental facility, because the guy halfway to belonging there anyway. There’s just so many cherished little moments, mannerisms and scenes that don’t ever get old, for those of us that love this character. Carrey shaped the landscape of comedy a lot during this portion of his career, and the mile markers that he released stand tall and undiminished to this day, bringing hilarity to all. The sequel is genius too, and one of those rare follow ups that is just as solid as the first.