The film stars Nicole Kidman as the Philadelphia-born-and-raised Grace. It’s set in 1962—six years after she was married to Prince Rainier III of Monaco—when princess life starts to dull and she’s hankering to to be a movie star again. Kidman stars alongside Frank Langella, Parker Posey, Paz Vega and Tim Roth, who plays Rainier III.
You can catch it on Monday, May 25th, when it airs on Lifetime at 8 pm. Check out the trailer below, but be warned: The royal family of Monaco panned that, too, saying it “appears to be a farce and confirms the totally fictional nature of this film.”
It’s a special kind of terror that sits on your shoulders when, after doing your best to keep your nose in the air and parse out rational, cutting movie critique, you realize that your favorite modern movie series is Fast and Furious.
It may be one of those special-circumstance-of-young-adulthood things, like going shopping for healthy groceries and coming home with a loaf of bread, Dr. Pepper, and five boxes of Gushers; or trying to re-learn how to dunk, even though your brain keeps telling you that your knee will fall apart like the chassis of a 1990 Corolla dropping out at 60 MPH on the thruway. It’s one of those quixotic, silly, confounding moments that help you realize that, in spite of all the trappings of professionalism and governmental subservience, you are still a kid, and sentimental. And that you like when cars go boom.
We rounded up some of our favorite lesbian movies on Netflix Instant Streaming, adding in each of their Rotten Tomatoes scores to back up our claims. We’ve included some well-known films, like the much-talked-about Blue is the Warmest Color and the Meryl Streep-starring The Hours to some under-the-radar picks that we think you might enjoy. Lesbian aliens, anyone?
A Marine Story: “A decorated Marine officer unexpectedly returns home from the war and is quickly recruited to help a troubled teen prepare for boot camp.” While working with the teenager, the Marine officer struggles with accepting herself.” Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%
The lo-fi indie horror genre has gotten a tremendous boost from the festival circuit over the last couple years. In 2014, we had the spooky, unleashed id of Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, which premiered at Sundance a year ago; now we have David Robert Mitchell’s psycho-sexual predatory nightmare It Follows to savor after commanding runs at TIFF, Sundance, and Cannes (and the upcoming The Witch from this year’s Sundance lineup).
It Follows revolves around a simple yet terrifying idea: One night a young woman has sex with a relative stranger in his car and in the process, like a form of particularly virulent VD, a horrific phantom gets transmitted to her from her apologetic partner. This phantom can take any form—a friend, a family member, a complete stranger—and it moves very slowly and deliberately, but there is no escaping it. Once attached, it will track you down and kill you most gruesomely, unless you can pass it on by having sex with someone else. The phantom goes in order, so as long as enough other people end up between you and it, you can survive.
Very often if you see one film you really enjoy, you can find other films that echo some of the things you really loved about the original. Here, we round up five movies you should dig if you like It Follows.
Ils (Them) (2006)
If you like: Psychologically deft horror films that scare you silly.
Then you should like: The unfettered genius of David Moreau and Xavier Palud's film, which revolves around an equally simple premise: A young couple spend a weekend at a country retreat and are terrorized by a mostly unseen group of assailants.
Comparison: This skillfully rendered horror opus, a French-Romanian collaboration, works largely because of its incredible restraint. In other hands, it could just have easily been turned into some kind of super-graphic, sadistic gore-porn vehicle, but that's not at all what the filmmakers are after. Instead, they use every cinematic trick in the book to induce unending dread and anxiety from the audience. Every scene is honed, every movement of the camera is precise and exacting, and the result is a truly terrifying film that uses precious little in the way of gore to get its point across.
If you like: An indefatigable villain in constant pursuit of our protagonists.
Then you should like: James Cameron's hugely popular followup to The Terminator ups the action ante in almost every possible way.
Comparison: Instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the villain, he becomes the reprogrammed cyborg trying to protect young John Connor (Edward Furlong) from the new evil robot-from-the-future, the liquid-metal T-1000 (Robert Patrick). Slick, sleek, self-repairing, and utterly relentless, the T-1000 has all the qualities of the Follows phantom, but it's also inhumanly fast. How one defeats such an unstoppable opponent is the crux of the film's drama, and one not fully satisfied until every possible erg of thrilling action has been wrung out of the script.
If you like: A shape-shifting creature who can come at you anytime, from anywhere, with anyone's body.
Then you should like: John Carpenter's delectably demented remake of The Thing From Another World, which takes the basic premise of the original—a group of scientists in a remote Arctic outpost are forced to combat a terrible alien who can take the form of any creature it kills—and turns all the dials and knobs to 11.
Comparison: Hailed now as a horror classic, the super-gory and mind-splintering film was initially derided by critics and virtually ignored by audiences. But it has earned a surprisingly robust outpouring of devotion amongst horror fans in the more than three decades after its release. The scientists—led by Kurt Russell and Wilford Brimley—never know whom they can trust and where the next incredibly horrific, gory slaughter will hit next, which, in turn leaves the film's audience in equal peril. Legend has it that even Russell and Carpenter weren't totally aware of whose body the creature was inhabiting at a given time, which lends the film an edge of real unpredictability, the horror genre piece de résistance.
If you like: Being inspired to extreme paranoia for an extended period of time.
Then you should like: David Fincher's dark thriller, which posits Michael Douglas as a rich, miserable businessman who suddenly gets thrown into a macabre and deadly seeming intricately plotted scenario hatched by a company who specializes in breaking down its participants hired by his younger brother (Sean Penn), who soon vanishes.
Comparison: The enjoyment of Fincher's film—in addition to seeing the Michael Douglas-rich-snob character he's so perfected over the years get broken into little pieces by the brilliant malevolence of the game-makers—is the wash of pure paranoia it waves over you. Before too long, you're trying to second-guess every detail of the plot, and every person Douglas's character encounters on his journey. In Mitchell's film, he often places the phantom deep in the background of a given scene, and has them gradually and inexorably move towards their victim in a way that the audience sees long before the protagonist. It's a genius idea, and forces you to scan the background of every frame, searching for the phantom.
If you like: Low-budget spookiness jump-started by young, psycho-sexual angst.
Then you should like: One of the seminal examples of the modern horror flick, another John Carpenter creation, and one of the more imitated and referenced horror films of all time.
Comparison: This was one of the films that established the new rules of the genre so gleefully sent-up by the Scream franchise back in the '90s. Carpenter's high-school kids, who are terrorized one Halloween night by the return of the twisted Michael Myers to his hometown after escaping an asylum, follow what would become several of the standard characters of the slasher flick: The cute nympho (P.J. Soles) who, along with a doltish boyfriend, are among the first to get killed; the bookish prude (Jamie Lee Curtis), whose sense of responsibility and practicality help keep her alive long enough for help to come; and the anxious doctor (Donald Pleasence), whose main job to reiterate just how dangerous and deranged the killer is. The strong implication—long held by Hollywood's bizarre rules of teen sexuality—is that sexually active youth are always the first to die, punished, if you will, for their hedonism, an idea plucked out and toyed with in Mitchell's film, who follows the ensuing perils of its heroine after her brief sexual tryst, but only after her lover turns out to be a spineless cad, who drugs her, warns her what's in store for her and furtively takes off, leaving the phantom inexorably on her trail.
It Follows opens March 27th at the PFS at the Roxy Theater (2023 Sansom Street).
Piers Marchant is a film critic and writer based in Philly. Find more confounding amusements and diversions at his blog, Sweet Smell of Success, or read his further 142-character rants and ravings at @kafkaesque83.
Nadav Lapid’s poignant The Kindergarten Teacher plays April 20th at Ritz East as part of the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival’s CineMondays series.
March 23rd marks the kickoff of Gershman Y‘s Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (PJFF)’s CineMondays.PJFF director Olivia Antsis explains that the festival showcases six Philadelphia premieres that examine various aspects of the Jewish experience. “This past fall, we presented our best festival ever, with an increase in attendance, ticket sales, sponsorships,and audience ratings. … We look forward to serving the community with more exciting and thought-provoking films and programs this spring.”
Catch this year’s picks starting tonight, March 23rd and running every Monday through May 4th. Tickets are available here. We’ve got the full schedule—with IMDB descriptions when applicable—below:
Deadline reports that the Disney Channel is in the process of developing a film based on Philadelphia Taney Dragons star pitcher Mo’ne Davis. Throw Like Mo will portray Davis’s rise to fame following the Little League World series last summer, covering some of her biggest accomplishments, like becoming the first Little League player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The best part of my experience with Focus was going to get Dairy Queen before it started.
That is to say, there’s not that much to say about Focus itself. It’s a middling, corporate con-movie that suffers from a painfully self-confident script and reliance on the interplay between main Will Smith and sidekick/lover/protege Margot Robbie. It has no real antagonist—well, I mean, Rodrigo Santoro, kinda—and lurches from plot point to plot point as though it were a series of first-season TV episodes crammed into a movie.
Ultimately, there’s more wrong than right with the movie (real quick: the criminal psychologist from Law and Order: SVU engages in a Ken Jeong-style portrayal of a Chinese high roller; Gerald McRaney delivers what will go down in history as one of the most terribly pitched monologues ever; and a hugely important plot point takes place at the ugliest, fakest movie faux-Super Bowl ever—brought to you by Mercedes-Benz and Bud Light.)
As reported by Amy Kaufman in the L.A. Times, Kevin Hart’s newest comedy, Get Hard, co-starring Will Farrell, made its world-premiere Monday night at Austin’s Paramount Theater for SXSW. Despite the goodwill the actors built up before the screening (both were on stage, making yuk-yuks with the crowd), the reaction to the film, which posits Farrell as a rich, white dude busted for a bunch of financial crimes and sentenced to hard time. He hires Hart’s character—whom he naturally assumes has spent time in the joint—to prepare him for his oncoming ordeal.
Apparently, even though it got major laughs throughout the screening, the post-screening Q&A with first-time director Etan Cohen started to go seriously downhill after one patron called the film “offensive.”
On Monday night, Philly-bred comedian Kevin Hart was at SXSW to premiere his latest film Get Hard. The buddy comedy co-stars Will Ferrell as a man who’s about to go to prison, so he solicits the help of Hart’s character to get him prepared for all the typical things we hear happen when you’re behind bars. Unfortunately, a lot of tasteless jokes are made at the expense of race and gay sex. Variety even goes so far as to call it “the most high-profile comedy ever made about the subject of prison rape.” But instead of being eye-opening, it turns out to be rather cringe-worthy and downright offensive.