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A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I need a chocolate shake...
PITTSBURGH - The last thing you'd expect to see in a Christopher Nolan movie is a football game. Certainly, not an NFL American football game. Visiting the set of "The Dark Knight Rises" last August delivered exactly that, however. The Pittsburgh Steelers' Heinz Field was subtly transformed into the home stadium for the Gotham Rogues as the faux franchise took on the rival Rapid City Monuments. If you're curious about the final score, I couldn't tell you. The villainous Bane (Tom Hardy) appeared, literally destroyed the football field and made a big speech letting everyone know his plans.
PITTSBURGH - It's never easy playing a villain on the big screen. You have to avoid cliche's and over-the-top camp, but be memorable enough to raise the stakes for the film's hero. And, nine times out of 10 you end up getting killed at the end. Now, imagine how difficult Tom Hardy's shoes, er, mask is. In Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises," he's only following a legendary performance by the dearly departed Heath Ledger.
PITTSBURGH – Let's be honest, the past 18 months publicly haven't been the best of times for Anne Hathaway. A year ago, the acclaimed actress was coming off co-hosting arguably the worst Academy Awards show of all time and had the “no, it really doesn’t work” drama “One Day” had been sent to the art house dumping ground of mid-August. And while those tough events might have been stewing around in the back of her mind, in actuality Hathaway was leaving out a dream; portraying the iconic character of Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” Of course, whether she thought that once in a lifetime opportunity would take place in the relatively unglamorous confines of Pittsburgh is still unclear, but when she sat down to talk about her experience on set she was beaming with pride.
It’s early August 2011 and Nolan’s “Dark Knight Rises” production has settled in Western Pennsylvania for a few weeks shooting exteriors in the Steel City. On this day, a major stunt is about to go off – literally – in Heniz Field during a game between the Gotham Rogues and the Rapid City Monuments. Hathaway plays Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) in the picture, but she’s not required on set today. In fact, she’s stopped by to chat with visiting press about her dream role before quickly flying to New York to take part in some press for “One Day.”
Contextually, Hathaway’s Catwoman had just been revealed to the world in a still image released by Warner Bros. a few days before. The studio and the filmmakers had been concerned that the first image of the character would be captured by the public during a major set piece downtown and it would feature Hathaway’s stunt double and not the Oscar-nominated actress. It was a very smart move.
PITTSBURGH – The last time I saw Christian Bale with black smudge under his eyes was on the Chicago set of “The Dark Knight” in the summer of 2007. The black makeup is used to make the actor’s eyes pop through Batman’s headgear and he sheepishly wore sunglasses during our entire interview likely out of embarrassment over it. Four years later a more confident and relaxed Bale stopped by to chat on the set of the highly anticipated sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and sunglasses were nowhere to be found.
A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I reduce you to a subculture and then fail to accurately name the subculture...
Welcome back Wes Anderson.
After strong reviews following its debut as the opening night film at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" ruled the box office in New York and Los Angeles this holiday weekend. The Focus Features release grossed $509,000 on just four screens in New York and Los Angeles for a remarkable $127,500 per screen. That breaks the art-house record for another Focus Features classic, "Brokeback Mountain." The Ang Lee phenomenon averaged $109,485 in Dec. 2005.
So, it was the favorite all along. Michael Haneke's "Amour" looked, on paper, the film to beat before this year's Cannes Film Festival started. The rapturous critical reception that greeted its unveiling solidified its position as the frontrunner. Only concerns like "too obvious" and "he already has one" prevented some pundits (myself included) from predicting it for the Palme d'Or, and we were clearly overthinking matters.
Tonight, Nanni Moretti's jury handed Haneke the Palme, making him the seventh filmmaker to win the award twice -- and only the second to win for consecutive films. Between the predictability of the decision and the director's existing laurels, there's a temptation to complain that the jury has made a safe choice here, an anticlimactically conservative one. (And not just with the Palme: all five of the Competition filmmakers rewarded by the jury tonight have won at Cannes before. It's a members' club, all right.) The ideal way to ward off such petty feeling, however, would be to take an immediate second look at "Amour" -- to remind oneself of its immaculacy of construction, its delicacy of performance, its simple strength of feeling.
We're only a few hours away from hearing what Nanni Moretti and his motley crew of jurors have decided is the best of the Cannes Film Festival, but in the meantime, a slew of smaller awards announcements have dropped -- some more surprising than others.
The most significant of these are the selections of the FIPRESCI jury, a rotating panel of international film journalists whose awards effectively represent the critics' choice of the festival lineup. As such, their Competition pick tends to fall in line with the established festival buzz that has, by and large, been created by critics. (Sometimes, however, they surprise: "On Tour" wasn't a critical darling of the fest two years ago, but took the prize anyway.) Rarely, however, do they tap the eventual Palme d'Or winner: they last time they did so was with "The White Ribbon" in 2009, while last year's FIPRESCI pick, "Le Havre," received nothing from the festival jury.
Though John Mayer’s performance wings have been clipped due to his current vocal issues, they won’t stop him from soaring into the top spot on the Billboard 200 next week by a wide margin.