"Forty can suck my d**k!"
With that emphatic birthday-morning proclamation, Judd Apatow's "This Is 40" kicks off a rude, rowdy, occasionally brutal look at aging, marriage, family, and love, and while it may be the most personal thing he's ever made, it is also the most universal. It would be hard to not recognize yourself in some part of this film, and while your specifics may not exactly match what you see onscreen, this is as honest and observational as mainstream comedy gets these days.
Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) were first featured as supporting players in Apatow's "Knocked Up," and they stole pretty much every moment they were in. Part of what made them fascinating was how much further Apatow let their arguments go than what we're used to seeing in films where we're worried about "liking" the leads. They didn't have to carry the film, and so Apatow seemed free to push things with them as much as possible. Now that they are the leads, I was worried he would defang them, but if anything, moving them to the center of the film gives him more room to paint a painfully accurate picture of just how hard it can be to hold things together.
Latest Blog Posts
"Forty can suck my d**k!"
A review of tonight's "Tremé" coming up just as soon as I see myself as the flood control specialist...
A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I write a poem about the wreck of the Hesperus...
A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as we take a bunch of women to play at Augusta...
A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I run naked through the pages of the United States criminal code...
1. Taylor Swift: “Red” sells 1.2 million in its first week. It's the strongest opening frame since Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” 10 years ago. Can a duet between the two be far behind?
2. Blake Shelton: His win for CMA male vocalist of the year? A sure thing. His win for CMA Entertainer of the Year? A total shock—to him just as much as to anyone else. He is “The Voice.”
3. Bruce Springsteen: He proves himself a true son of New Jersey as he headlines a benefit for Hurricane Sandy along with Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel and that Englishman in New York, Sting.
4. Britney Spears: She makes it through the first live episode of “The X Factor.” Of course, all she had to do was not drool or face plant. And Sam Lufti's lawsuit against Spears and her parents is thrown out.
5. Kid Rock: He finally joins the new millennium and offers his new album, “Rebel Soul,” on iTunes. Welcome to 2004.
6. Rihanna: She will promote her seventh album in seven years by playing seven shows in seven days in seven countries. She’s no doubt traveling on a 777.
7. Eminem: His Eminence hints that a new album will be forthcoming in 2013... via the side of a baseball cap. Hey, it will probably turn out better for him than or the Tigers.
8. Tim McGraw: Finally unshackled from Curb Records, he announces the title of his first album for Big Machine, the not-so-cryptically titled “Two Lanes of Freedom.”
9.Alt-J: British quartet who’s starting to find favor on these shores grabs the the U.K.’s prestigious Mercury Prize for its debut album, “An Awesome Wave.”
10.Chris Brown: He dresses as an Arab terrorist for Halloween. Oh Chris...every time we think you may have turned the corner, you do something unbelievably stupid. When “Suburgatory” makes you a punch line twice within first two minutes, you are not yet forgiven.
The truth is something on the fringe is likely to win the Best Animated Short Oscar this year. "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" over "La Luna," "The Lost Thing" over "Day & Night," "Logorama" over "A Matter of Loaf and Death," "The Danish Poet" over "The Little Matchgirl" -- it happens. A lot.
That having been said, Disney's "Paperman," a delicate little love story that's greeting viewers of "Wreck-It Ralph" this weekend, is generating plenty of love and goodwill. It's a blend of hand-drawn 2D animation and 3D CG artwork. "The characters are modeled in CG and rendered in high contrast to create the modeling and shading, then merged with hand-drawn linework using a proprietary software program called Meander to create the final result," Jim MacQuarrie explains in a Wired piece, which also features an interview with the film's producer, Kristina Reed. "It looks like traditional 'classic' animation but with a sense of solidity and volume that’s more common to CG films." So maybe there's enough technical meat on its bones to grab the branch's collective brain in addition to its heart.
Following the International Documentary Association's breaking of the champagne on the hull of this year's documentary race, the Cinema Eye Honors have announced their list of nominees. "The Imposter" and "Searching for Sugar Man" led the way with five nominations each. Both are considered formidable competitors in this year's Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature. Check out the full list below.
I've been so tied up in my own little world this week, toiling away, working on this and that, closed up in the apartment for the most part (typical when you're at your busiest in this line of work -- and this has probably been the busiest week of the season for me), mainly aware of the horrors of Sandy via the news like most of you. Which is a trip. Out here, uptown, we're fine. We're lucky. Just a number of blocks this way or that, many people aren't.
So I feel like I really need to take stock of that. Lots of friends, whether they be in New Jersey, upstate, Long Island, wherever, are still stuck in a bad spot. I haven't had a chance to go downtown and take in the full effect of what's gone on down there, and I should. I will. My heart sank a little when I saw the cover of this week's New York Magazine. Then it was lifted again when I read the mag's editors' letter and all the resilience it reflected. And as resilient as New York is, it's a city in need of a laugh right now, to say the least.