Quantcast

Video of the Day

Masthead

Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.
Friday
Jun232017

In Which We Seriously Miss Megan Fox At This Time

Operation: Enduring Freedom

by ELEANOR MORROW

Transformers: The Last Knight
dir. Michael Bay
149 minutes

There is a scene smack-dab in the middle of Transformers: The Last Knight where Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is sitting in a room opposite Oxford professor Viviane Wembley (Laura Haddock) for around two minutes. That is how long it takes for him to refer to her attire as "stripper-wear" because she was showing maybe an inch of her breasts. That no one has thought to arrest Michael Bay and put him in jail for this is a testament to the enduring freedoms possible in our country.

In all other ways, Mr. Bay informs us at length, Dr. Wembley is a piece of shit. Even though she appears to be a tenured professor, she also gives tours at a local museum. She informs her tour group that the Knights of the Round Table probably never existed, which is quite the statement. Dr. Wembley is proved to be an academic fraud shortly after she was objectified by a man she did not even know. Subsequently, we learn her only purpose for being in the film is that she is the only one able to grip a long wooden shaft.

The rest of Transformers: The Last Knight makes a lot more sense, except the parts that don't. Take one subplot involving Seymour Simmons (John Turturro). Simmons appears in two scenes in Transformers: The Last Knight. Both of these scenes take place by telephone – Turturro literally got paid to stand next to a phone and talk to Anthony Hopkins for a few minutes. Why was he in Transformers: The Last Knight? I don't know, is it weird every single woman in these movies is a carbon copy of Megan Fox at different ages? Yes.

At the beginning of Transformers: The Last Knight, Cade Yeager finds a fifteen-year old Peruvian girl (Isabela Moner) in the wreckage surrounding Wrigley Field. He calls her "bro" and allows her to stay in his house. Much later, she hides aboard a dropship, unnoticed by a platoon of soldiers in order to follow Cade Yeager into the upper atmosphere. And that's it. That is her entire role in the movie. I don't know, is it weird that the way we are introduced to Dr. Wembley occurs when she careens into a bunch of bicycles with a car because she can't handle the challenges of an automobile?

In another scene, Anthony Hopkins is trying to evacuate an old Navy submarine that is held in a museum. He screams, "Get moving fat boy!" when one of the tourists does not vacate the premises as quickly as he would like. But why stop there? Why not just bring racial slurs back into vogue, Michael Bay? It certainly would have livened up the proceedings. Without ever having met Michael Bay, is it not terribly hard to conclude he is the dumbest piece of shit of all time. Transformers: The Last Knight features the long awaited return of the ghetto Transformer, who speaks in an African-American dialect siphoned from landmark films like Do the Right Thing and Scary Movie.

Cade Yeager and Dr. Wembley pilot a submarine into a ship buried off the coast of England. Although it is at the bottom of the ocean, there is no depressurization whatsoever as they return to the surface. I don't know why, but this bothered me more than anything else in Transformers: The Last Knight. The cast heads from underwater to Stonehenge, where they have learned the Earth's ancestral name was Unicron, and that the Earth's crust conceals a massive organism beneath the surface. Despite teasing this early on, Bay saves this plot development for a future movie he has promised not to direct.

The worst part of Transformers: The Last Knight, besides the lack of plot of any kind, is the humor. Since the characters have zero pre-existing relationships, it is painful to hear them joke with one another. Particularly cringe-worthy is a transforming butler voiced by Jim Carter responsible for the major comic relief. He is more like a physical manifestation of Michael Bay telling us what we should be laughing at in each scene of the movie. After Anthony Hopkins dies at Stonehenge, the butler explains that of all the lords he served, "you were by far the coolest." Michael Bay hasn't changed since the moment he walked out of The Goonies in 1985.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording.

Thursday
Jun222017

In Which The Bank Was In Serious Trouble

Monaco Story

by ETHAN PETERSON

Riviera
creators Neil Jordan & John Banville
Sky

Julia Stiles is an actress who spent her twenties relegated to a variety of smaller roles. She was never really suited to being a young woman. In Riviera, as the widow of a prominent European banker, she inhabits middle age with a comfort and assurance that turns her in a completely different person than the agreeable girl she once was. Stiles' character, an art dealer named Georgina, married her wealthy client Constantine Clios (Anthony LaPaglia) a year before his death from a fiery explosion on a yacht.

Georgina is rendered shaken by the events that follow her husband's murder – a will held pending a criminal investigation, a secret apartment in Monaco and a safe in the basement of her house, an ex-wife who is about as wholesome as a cigarette. The children of her husband also occupy a central focus in Riviera. One is a compensating boy addicted to heroin and sunglasses; another is a lesbian teenager with a predilection for stripping; the last and most sinister is one Ramsay Bolton.

Neil Jordan sets much of Riviera in Monaco. This seaside metropolis is both overwhelmingly white and gorgeous, and yet sinister in its flimsiness. On the intensely saccharine walls of every house, the Clios family keeps photographs of themselves as they were. Having their family as witness to their indiscretions diminishes the individual guilt: Riviera is as heady an indictment of the fabulously rich as you are likely to witness.

Georgina's main friend in the art world is Robert Carver (the incomparably talented British actor Adrian Lester). He reveals several of her husband's various double dealings, and when an Interpol investigator named Jukes (Phil Davis) goes after Georgina, he protects her. Meanwhile, the naturally sinister Lena Olin plays Clios' ex-wife with a devastating aplomb. "I want my life back," she informs a co-conspirator, as the odds against Georgina continue to mount.

Riviera gives us a nuanced and unique perspective on the vagaries of the art world. He uses work by Egon Schiele and others that seems to reflect the basic dysfunction at work in this community. There is a serious cruelty and evil accommodated in this part of the world, and those who were not born into this strata of wealth seem to resent and fear being excluded by it.

In one harrowing scene, Georgina is forced to spend a single night in jail. In any other movie, this would be a quick shot and no more. Jordan gives Stiles' character such a sustained and believable history that we recognize what a nightmare even a moment of imprisonment is for her, even as we are forced to admit she may in some part be complicit in her husband's crimes, to whatever minuscule extent.

Jordan has always been really in tune with how the tangible things we keep for ourselves reflect who we are. Chains and handcuffs play a consistent role in the drama; even a single locked door might be the difference between exoneration and incarceration. A local detective (Igal Naor) attempts to help Georgina, but she is no more trusting of law enforcement than she is of the husband who unintentionally or intentionally abandoned her to this fate.

Jordan's last venture in television was the dreary The Borgias, which never had any of the playful fun of his best cinematic work. Riviera never gets too bogged down in its somewhat intricate plot, humming along with a lively electronic-hip/hop soundtrack and relentless pace charted by a sensational group of directors.

Despite the rapidfire plot and eclectic cast of characters, Riviera is at its most enjoyable when we discover we don't quite know Julia Stiles' character as well as we thought we did. In private moments, in the rooms of her massive villa, she explores a depth of personality we have never seen before. Smashing her husband's watches with a ball-peen hammer, a glint of malice takes over her normally steely countenance. We might never know exactly who we are.

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.

Wednesday
Jun212017

In Which We Consider This All New Territory

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

I recently moved into an apartment with my boyfriend Edward. Neither of us have ever lived with a significant other before, and it has been challenging. I try to keep the lines of communication open, and solve problems in a respectful way.

I realized that Edward had obsessive compulsive disorder in the year we dated before moving in together, but I don't think I fully realized the extent of this illness. When he is a passenger in a car, he holds his hands up in the air to ensure he is not touching any part of the car. I think of myself as being a very clean person, and it is hard to feel like I am not living up to an unimaginable standard. Edward tries to make me feel better about it, but it is hard not to be drawn into his delusion. 

Do you have any ideas on how to deal with this or am I just in a minefield?

Rana G.

Rana,

The reason it is a good idea to live together with someone is to see how it goes. We can infer from some of the struggles you are having that it is not going well, at all. While it is all very well and good to be accepting of someone's illness, this does not change the challenge on offer. It can not just be you who is dealing with Edward's extreme behavior – he also has to be addressing it in a clinical setting, or this will never become a tolerable situation. 

You also could consider strengthening the relationship outside of the concept of cohabitation. There is no shame in admitting you made a choice you wish to undo.

Hi,

My girlfriend May recently purchased a pet on the spur of the moment. It is a cocker spaniel puppy she has named Large. I had dogs when I was a kid and I know how to care for them, and how much responsibility they require. Large is May's first pet of any kind and she is kind of clueless about how to train him or take care of him.

I did not want a dog because of the responsibility, and although he is a very cute puppy, I worry that she will grow frustrated by him, as she already has, because she cannot get him to obey her in any way. She has already begun asking me to do things for him and spend time with him. I don't mind an hour or two a week of this, but as I said, this is not my dog.

What should I do?

David S.

Dear David,

When your girlfriend gets a dog, you now have a dog. Congratulations.

If you train Large correctly, he will become obedient, but he will never truly achieve the level of obedience that you yourself will perfect in the weeks to come.

It is better to embrace your fate than stray from it. Large is now the most important thing in your life, perhaps even more important than yourself. Since you say you know how to make him a good dog, make him a good dog.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.