So, as we all know, Sheree is off "The Real Housewives of Altanta," and with one battle-tastic housewife out of the mix you might expect a more peaceful, Zen-like season this year. But wait! When old crazy walks out the door, new crazy opens a window, and to that end we have Kenya. Kenya Moore is a new housewife (Porsha Stewart, who isn't in this episode, will also be joining the cast), a former Miss USA, a movie producer and a card carrying lunatic, if the season premiere is anything to go by. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Our previous cast of crazies and put-upon eye-rollers is still in play, so let's review what's happened since last season's catfighting hijinks.
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One can be blind and still be a "Lover of the Light": that seems to be the moral to the story in the Mumford & Sons' video of the same name, which features the directing and acting talents of "The Wire" star Idris Elba.
Co-directed with Dan Cadan, "Lover" sends a man who cannot see into the stunning landscapes of Pembrokeshire, Wales without his dog or cane. I'm moved by the details and pauses inside the man's house, as he converses with himself, and selects a tie to wear as he takes himself on a date to the forests, cliffs and the beach.
For a producer of such lush and exquisite work, cinematographer Roger Deakins is often a man of select words. Thoughtful, yes, but never of a mind to over-think it.
Responsible for some of the most stunning images on film in our age -- "Kundun," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," to barely scratch the surface -- he shook the landscape of his field a bit two years ago when he went digital for Andrew Niccol's "In Time." And this year he's back in the form with "Skyfall," the first James Bond installment to eschew celluloid for the progression of digital filmmaking.
"Right now I don’t see a reason to go back and shoot film," Deakins says. "And probably if I leave it much longer then I won’t have the opportunity, because it just won’t exist anyway."
Maybe we only wanted George Bush to narrate a Kanye West concept album.
The trailer to "Cruel Winter" that was widely distributed last week -- purportedly for a short film by Austin Christianson via West -- was merely a concept pitch from Christianson. The director told Fuse of the vague plan.
"Without getting into many details, I will say that the trailer was independently made and the video is essentially a concept trailer," he said. "It's used for pitching an idea and/or concept to a client. With that said, the video was being used for pitching purposes and it's naturally intended only for the client to see."
The sample used in the trailer is from George W. Bush's "Address to the Nation Announcing Allied Military Action in the Persian Gulf," which has an easy-going apocalyptic feel.
And so how does something like that end up into mainstream circulation via YouTube, huh? Just sounds like Christianson had good intentions as a professional, and even used the copyright attribution to DONDA (West's creative/film component to his empire) and maybe is a little embarrassed especially after Def Jam claimed no ownership and the clip was pulled down.
The existence of a "Cruel Winter" album is still in question. Something called "Cruel Winter" -- perhaps a companion to "Cruel Summer" -- is in the works. Waiting, however, is still cruel. Is West soliciting pitches for such a thing? Because I hear that George Lucas is interested in making little films now.
The box-office headlines from the weekend have understandably been dominated by "Wreck-It Ralph," whose healthy opening gross (the highest ever for a Disney animated effort) helps its chances in a crowded Oscar race. But the runner-up on the chart, "Flight," made no less noteworthy a debut, taking just over $25m, despite a relatively modest release in 1884 theaters. That puts it roughly on pace with the last Denzel Washington starrer "Safe House," which took $40m from a wider release, though "Flight" has considerably more room to build. It's also considerably outpaced the $13m gross box office pundits predicted for the film, and nearly recouped its tidy $31m budget. Paramount distribution head Don Harris reckons the film's adult target market will be more in the mood for going to the movies once the presidential election and Hurricane Sandy are behind them. [Reuters]
Last year, the British Independent Film Awards -- the UK industry's answer to the Spirit Awards, though the chasm between independent and studio product here is a narrower one -- made the most of a banner year for British cinema, with citations aplenty for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "Shame," "Tyrannosaur," "Weekend," "Kill List" and the like.
2012 has been a bit less bountiful, and that's reflected in a slate of BIFA nods that reads a tad repetitively, with a small handful of films dominating the list. "Broken," a debut feature from acclaimed theater director Rufus Norris that was rather indifferently received at Cannes in the spring, leads the field with eight nominations, while "Berberian Sound Studio," "Sightseers" and "The Imposter" are close behind with seven apiece. Lest that field strike some as a little too niche, meanwhile, crossover smash "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" holds up the more mainstream end of the independent spectrum, nabbing five nominations, including Best Film -- a showing that bodes well for its BAFTA chances in a few months' time.
Hurricane Sandy is still sadly the focus of the Northeast (as well as that of family and friends from those areas affected) and the 2012 election is finally coming to a merciful end Tuesday. And what that really means is we're about to enter eight weeks of very intense Academy campaigning. Technically, contenders have been holding screenings and Q&As from Los Angeles to San Francisco to New York (although it's been tough the past week) for months. Beginning Thursday, the always awards-friendly AFI Fest began and the pressure cooker got a wee bit busier. With that in mind, here's a snapshot of one pundit's busy award season weekend.
"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.
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...