The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Kelly Lynch (“Magic City”)

“Olga (Kurylenko) and I like to think we’re just as terrifying together as Ben Diamond and Ike, with their guns and their gangsters and all of that. We know that when two girls decide that they really aren’t fond of each other, it’s a whole other level of cat-fighting.”


Read the rest after the jump...

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Hidden Netflix Gems: Bottle Rocket

It’s Saturday night and you need something to watch. Never fear, Hidden Netflix Gems is a weekly feature designed to help you decide just what it should be, and all without having to scroll through endless pages of crap or even leave the house. Each choice will be available for streaming on Netflix Instant, and the link below will take you to its page on the site. Look for a new suggestion here every Saturday. 

This week’s Hidden Netflix Gem: “Bottle Rocket” (1996)

Before Wes Anderson was a household name (at least among movie buffs), before receiving Oscar nominations for The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom, before The Darjeeling Limited, Rushmore, and The Life Aquatic, yes, before all of that, he and Owen Wilson co-wrote the screenplay for Bottle Rocket. It was based on a short film of the same name they’d made in 1992 and released in 1994. Bottle Rocket was Anderson’s directorial debut and marked the first appearances of Luke and Owen Wilson, as well as their lesser known older brother, AndrewLeslie Mann, now famous for her many roles in husband Judd Apatow’s films, even had a small part, though it was eventually left on the cutting room floor.

Anderson’s first film is an interesting look back at the development of filmmaker’s now signature style: the methodical cinematography, with its bright coloring and compulsive need to center-frame the actors, along with humor so dry you’d better pack a canteen. Though a commercial failure, Bottle Rocket served as a launching pad for the careers of all those names above, so easily recognized here in 2013. But the film is worth a watch on its own merits, even for those who aren’t intrigued by the idea of taking a look at the early work of a couple of future A-listers. Thanks to Anderson’s burgeoning style and its innocent, humorous characters, Bottle Rocket has been certified fresh and holds an 80 percent rating on the TomatoMeter. If that’s not enough to sway you, Martin Scorsese named it his seventh favorite movie of the 1990′s. Yes, that Martin Scorsese.

Alright, enough blabber, onto the film itself. Bottle Rocket is a caper comedy about a couple of twenty-something Texans (just like Anderson and the Wilsons were when they made the film) determined to become master thieves. It begins when Dignan (Owen Wilson) aids his best friend Anthony (Luke Wilson) in “escaping” from a mental hospital. In truth, Anthony checked himself in voluntarily and it happens to be the last day of his stay, but he goes along with the charade to please his friend. Dignan, who is both endlessly optimistic and endlessly naive, then shares his “75-year plan” for a glamorous life of crime. Hopefully you’re beginning to see the style of humor the film employs.

Dignan’s scheme includes a few small-time heists before meeting with a Mr. Henry (played by James Caan, perhaps best known for his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather), whose landscaping business Dignan worked for (and was fired from). Dignan seems to believe Mr. Henry is some kind of criminal mastermind, though whether or not that’s the case remains in question for much of the film, and the truth of the matter is best left unspoiled. Anthony goes along with the idea for much the same reasons he allowed Dignan to “rescue” him from the mental hospital—he doesn’t want to disappoint his friend, who’s oh so excited, and hey, he’s got nothing better to do.

Along the way, the two recruit Bob Mapplethorp (Robert Musgrave) as a getaway driver, because he’s the only person they know who owns a car. Although in fact, the car belongs to Bob’s wealthy parents. The eccentric trio endures a great deal of mockery from Bob’s brother, John Mapplethorp, aka Futureman (Andrew Wilson), whenever he crosses their path.

After they rob a local bookstore (in hilarious fashion), the guys hide out in a cheap motel near the Mexican border. There begins another major plotline, as Anthony falls in love with a Paraguayan maid named Inez, though she speaks little English and he no Spanish. That alone is a fantastic indication of Anthony’s character, and it makes it all the funnier that he’s the voice of reason in the film’s merry little band of thieves.

Bottle Rocket is great entertainment whether you’ve heard of Wes Anderson or not. Dignan, Anthony, and Bob are lovable misfits, and their interactions make for a great deal of subtle, witty humor. If you’re familiar with Anderson’s work and aren’t a fan then this one may not be for you. However, I recommend you check it out nonetheless. He’s the type of director that can take some time and understanding to appreciate. If you’ve put that time in and still don’t like his work, well, there’s no accounting for taste. I mean, anyone who disagrees with Marty freakin’ Scorsese on the subject of film is probably missing the point. Anyway, watch the damn thing and see for yourself.

Check out the trailer below and follow the writer on Twitter @NateKreichman.

  

Interview with Jesse Jane, porn star and actress in “Middle Men”

To use the Hollywood pitch technique, “Middle Men” is “GoodFellas” with porn, an amusing story of a businessman (Luke Wilson) who helps two guys with a great idea make millions of dollars by giving customers a way to purchase pornography online discreetly. The more he gets involved in the business, though, the harder it is for him to stay clean, as the job frequently forces him to deal with gangsters and scumbags. Fittingly, to promote the DVD release of “Middle Men” (it comes out tomorrow), the studio recruited porn star Jesse Jane, who’s in the movie for a good two to three seconds (no joke), to do interviews. A scheduling snafu relegated the chat to email-only (let’s just say that porn stars are very busy the week of the Super Bowl), but Miss Jane answered our questions within an hour of receiving them. You’ll forgive us for cleaning up the text speak, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to put ‘lol’ in an interview.

Bullz-Eye: So what events do you have planned in Dallas?

Jesse Jane: I have 3 different Super Bowl parties at the Manhattan Lounge, and Iniquity. I also have a store signing, and a bunch of radio and I’m shooting a cable thing and something for HD Net.

BE: I saw the movie, and the sequences with the porn stars are cut pretty quickly, but I’m sure I saw you in the Vegas scene posing next to Luke Wilson, and getting a couple of lines. Did I miss anything else?

JJ: No that was it, just a small cameo part which was fun to shoot.

BE: How many days did you spend on the set?

JJ: I literally flew into Vegas, shot that day, and left the next morning.

BE: Did you have any personal dealings with the people the movie is based on?

JJ: No. The Internet thing started when I was still in school, so I’ve never met any of the guys that this movie is based on.

BE: Is there any of yourself in the Audrey Dawns character?

JJ: Actually no, I didn’t sleep with people to get ahead. I was just good in bed (Laughs), but I’ve never mixed business relationships with my personal relationships; that just never ends good.

BE: Talk about the differences between the Hollywood set and the ones you work on at Digital Playground.

JJ: Well, honestly, there’s just a lot more people on the mainstream set, and on my sets we have sex. (Laughs)

BE: Is acting in mainstream movies something you want to explore further?

JJ: I would love to get little parts here and there, it’s so much fun. But I’m not looking to cross over. I’m a sex symbol – I’m known for being a sex star.

BE: How do you feel about the adult entertainment industry’s steady move into mainstream culture? Do you think it’s great, or do even porn stars find it a little strange?

JJ: I think it’s amazing. People are realizing we are just people too, and some of us can act. Just because we have sex for a living doesn’t change us as people. It’s never going to completely cross over, so people need to realize that, but it’s fun they’re experimenting with it

BE: What are your thoughts on what I call the amateur/reality circuit of porn (Note: we listed the name of a few sites here as examples, but will not print them here), where you have full-fledged porn stars pretending to be first-timers? Is that good for the industry because it means more work for everyone, or is it bad because of the cheap production values and for forcing professional adult actors have to pretend to be reality stars? (Forgive me if this is a ridiculous question; I’ve never interviewed a porn star before.)

JJ: I guess it’s fine. I don’t shoot that stuff, but it helps other people, so that’s a good thing. It’s not my type of thing; I’m used to shooting higher quality films

BE: Adult films by nature are made on the cheap, but you’ve made some pretty elaborate ones. Tell us which one had the most big-budget effect or set.

JJ: Well, Digital Playground movies are huge budgets, and not cheap. Take “Pirates” and “Pirates 2,” for example, over million dollar budgets. We put money into our films to provide something that makes you want to watch.

BE: If a 16-year-old girl came up to you and told you that she wanted to be a porn star when she was old enough, what would you tell her?

JJ: To wait a few years – she might change her mind. If [she decides to go ahead with it], you need to not be embarrassed about it because people will find out. You can’t hide it, and you must enjoy sex, because people that do it just for the money won’t last.

BE: What are your plans once you decide to stop making movies?

JJ: I’m launching my own tequila in March – Diosa tequila launches March 7-9 at the biggest nightclub and bar convention in Vegas.

Click to buy Middle Men from Amazon

  

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