So, it's time for our double elimination. Is this really necessary? I think that the producers of the show have determined that the all-stars season just isn't exciting enough for some reason, so they need to throw a hella lot of spaghetti at the wall. A double elimination! Paula Abdul! Puppies! Okay, no puppies. Yet. But honestly, there's only so much drama I can take, ABC.
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I feel like a guy who has been hunting Bigfoot for a decade who finally, absolutely, completely has proven the existence of Bigfoot, and beyond that, was shocked to realize that Bigfoot is pretty much just a smart, funny couple of science-fiction nerds from Chicago.
After all, at the start of 2012, Andy and Lana Wachowski were a complete mystery to me. They are currently more high-profile and front and center than ever before as they prepare to try to open their most invigorating gamble so far, "Cloud Atlas," which they co-directed, co-wrote, and co-edited with "Run Lola Run" director Tom Tykwer. They raised the money independently and are releasing the film through Warner Bros. on October 26th in the US following a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in early September and a secret screening at Fantastic Fest at the end of the month.
So right now, that mystery is not nearly as much of a mystery as it used to be, and in the course of that happening, I've gotten a chance to talk about the new film, their previous work, and even what we can expect from "Jupiter Ascending," their next science-fiction film. I have, in essence, come face to face with Bigfoot and gotten every answer I might have wanted and then some.
People should listen when these guys are excited about something they've made. I think "The Matrix" remains one of the great pure pop movies ever, a huge punch landed dead center, and I respect the way they built out the world they created in games, sequels, and animation. I've written about those movies and about "Speed Racer" and "V For Vendetta," and during all of that, they managed to stay fairly low-profile. The work speaks for itself, and the Wachowskis were just names on the screen to the vast majority of their audience.
Like anyone who is familiar with their work, I knew certain things about them. Obviously, there are the films which I've seen, and I've read many of their unproduced screenplays like "Carnivore" and "Plastic Man" and "Assassins," which was radically different on the page than it was onscreen, and even before they had one of their scripts produced, I just plain liked their writing. I read a lot of screenplays, and they've always been entertaining as a read, no matter what the subject. It's a case of voice being more important than the story being told.
On the personal side, I knew that they were intensely private and notoriously press-shy, and I had to guess that at least part of that was because of Lana Wachowski's gender transition over the last decade. Looking at how some of the press has handled any and every mention of the two of them during this process, I understood why they would make the decision to simply avoid doing press of any kind, and at the same time, furious that the actions of the worst of the press kept other people from just being able to have a conversation with the filmmakers about the work itself.
When I was at the Cannes festival this past May, I caught wind of some buyers-only screenings of "Cloud Atlas," and I did everything I could short of fist-fighting a security guard to get in to see the movie early. While I had to leave France disappointed, my efforts were not unnoticed, and in June, I was asked to come see "Cloud Atlas," which was pretty much locked as a cut, although not mixed at that point.
At that point, after seeing what they'd done, I redoubled my efforts and I sent a long, impassioned e-mail to the studio making my case. This is a big film, full of big ideas and big performances, and I felt like there was a real conversation to be had here if they were at all open to it. I didn't hear anything for months, and I was starting to suspect it would be business as usual this time around.
Then at the start of the festival, just after I touched down in Toronto, I got the official word. A general time and a specific place.
Finally. Bigfoot would pose for a photo, and all I had to do was show up with my camera.
Gemma: "Not a lot of grey in this life sweetheart. Extremes become average."
Tara: "I'm not sure I find that comforting."
Gemma: "You're not supposed to."
"Sons of Anarchy" certainly went to extremes this week. From a jaw-dropping bit of stunt casting so ridiculous you had to love it, to a tragic burst of violence too predictable by half, "Orca Shrugged" wasn't lacking in big events. But the problem of making a show that lives on extremes is that those extremes can become average. And while this episode was an improvement over last week, it still wasn't anything special.
As I've mention in my reviews of the band before, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have a man-child wilderness about them. In the video for "Child" off of their latest "Here," they go full indulgence mode of this guiltless, youngster embrace, as an old man rises from his hospital bed to go on a slow-motion journey.
It's actually very sweet and totally in earnest. Bubbles, mimes, farmers markets and cloud-staring abound in this strong tea of memory.
There are times where I sound a bit like a broken record regarding a new film that's coming out, and that's because I want certain movies to do well. I am far more interested in the art of movies than in the business, but one of the ugly truths about being a film fan is that if you want to see more films like the things you enjoy, those things do well enough that more things like them are produced. It's that basic. And so if I need to, I will occasionally beat the drum repeatedly because I love something.
For example, I sincerely hope Martin McDonagh has a monster hit with "Seven Psychopaths," his new comedy starring Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, and Tom freakin' Waits. I love the film, and so today I've got two different things for you.
First, we've got my final interview from the batch of "Seven Psychopaths" conversations I had during the Toronto Film Festival, and this last one is McDonagh himself, joined by Colin Farrell. Obviously, the two of them worked together previously on "In Bruges," which has built a healthy cult following over the years since it was released, and there is a natural easy chemistry between them that is obvious from the second you sit down to talk to them.
Previously unreleased early concert footage and demos will be among the highlights of “XX,” a box set commemorating the 20th anniversary of Rage Against the Machine’s debut.
Out Nov. 27 in various incarnations, including the standard remastered debut album with three bonus tracks, or the debut CD with a DVD or a box set with the above and several extras including original demos and the band’s free Finsbury Park 2010 concert, according to the band’s website.
The reissued debut includes new liner notes penned by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, according to Rolling Stone. Other highlights include early footage, including from the band’s first show at at Cal State Northridge in 1991.
No concert dates have been announced in conjunction with the anniversary.
With "Here Comes the Boom," Kevin James proves he's more than the delivery guy we know from "King of Queens." In the movie (which he co-wrote), he plays a burnt-out biology teacher who finds himself pulled into MMA fighting to scare up enough money to save the job of a fellow educator, Marty (Henry Winkler), and the school's music program. It's a feel-good movie with lots of punching, slugging and body slams, as James has to take the brunt of the beatings.
Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band and Toby Keith will headline Stagecoach 2013, which takes place, April 26-28. A helpful countdown clock on the official Stagecoach site reminds us that is only 198 days away.
Also among the nearly 50 acts on the Goldenvoice-produced, three-day fest at Indio, Calif.’s Empire Polo Grounds are Dierks Bentley, Dwight Yoakam, Darius Rucker, Jeff Bridges (yes, that one), Roger McGuinn, Thompson Square, Lonestar, Jerry Lee Lewis and Hank Williams Jr.
Eleven days from now, tickets will go on sale. General admission for all three days is $239, including fees, taxes and shipping. There are also tickets for reserved seating by the stage that sell for up to $1099 (complete with a commemorative laminate).