Day: October 17, 2015

Impure Imagination: American Horror Story: Asylum – 2.11, “Spilt Milk”

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Left unchecked, Ryan Murphy can wreak havoc on a show, and not necessarily in a good way. American Horror Story as a property in and of itself is a test of balance for Murphy, and Brad Falchuk seems to be there to tip the scale so that their shows run more cogently, so they think. Murphy’s extremism in sentimentality and camp is supposed to be checked by Falchuk’s seemingly egalitarian approach, which has felt more exertion in Asylum than it did in Murder House. That seems to come off in certain aesthetic and formal choices: “Spilt Milk” presents its shocker of a beginning with a transaction with a prostitute that specializes in a fetish involving breast milk. That button pushing concept sounds like a Murphyism, but the camera angles, ostensibly chosen by AHS veteran Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, but the focus and concentration on Johnny (returning cast mate Dylan McDermott) feels more like Falchuk wanting to reign in the weirdness with mapped out nuance. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s to “Love”: On “From Russia with Love” and Bond’s Sophomore Bump

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At twice the cost of its predecessor Dr. No, the nearly $2 million budgeted From Russia with Love was the fuse that existed between Dr. No’s match and Goldfinger’s stick of dynamite, the explosion setting waves through cultural history for decads to come. The 1963 sophomore effort from producers Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman has an interesting place in Bond history: it’s one of the very few Bond films that is at once not married to the formula that Goldfinger  solidified and but features several of those prototypical elements without diluting it as a kind of standalone film. Read the rest of this entry »