If you want a taste of what's ahead on this Thursday's "Project Runway," here's a clip that promises drama a-plenty. As you may have heard, the designers get what seems like a straight-forward (and glamorous) challenge -- but soon discover it's not so obvious or easy when they learn who they'll be dressing. I expect our remaining designers will be put to a test that's actually (gasp!) somewhat relevant to their futures, as dressing up difficult people is, at least for any big name designer who dresses a celebrity, is just part of the job.
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I was already excited for Toronto. The Midnight Madness selection this year just pushes that excitement into a low-grade sustained mania that is going to make August seem very, very slow no matter what.
With this morning's announcement of the Midnight Madness line-up, I now have a pretty good picture of my September firmly in place. Even the film I've already seen from the line-up has gone through a serious post-production process since the Sundance premiere, and I'm excited to see how "John Dies At The End" has come together.
It's a very diverse schedule this year, and I remain impressed with the breadth of what Colin Geddes programs each year. He's determined to give audiences a wild ten-day ride that they can't predict, and looking at this year's slate, I'm guessing it will be another amazing experience. In today's press release, Geddes said, "Audiences clamouring for this highly anticipated lineup can expect wild rides and crazy adventures into the most chimerical and wicked worlds imaginable.”
He went on to add, “Expect everything from outrageous horror comedies to mock-doc eco- apocalypse thrillers, featuring trans-dimensional bugs, lewd Catholic priests, meat monsters and dog-napping psychopaths that will animate the Ryerson Theatre when the clock chimes 12.”
The Avett Brothers’ new album, “The Carpenter,” has song titles sure to intrigue fans. The North Carolina group released the track listing for the Sept. 11, Rick Rubin-produced album, as well as the cover artwork.
With songs like “Paul Newman Vs. the Demons” and “Down With The Shine, “ it sounds like they have some more interesting stories to tell. The band has already revealed a few songs from their sixth studio album, including first single, "Live And Die," embedded below.
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And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Happy Tuesday, folks, and time for our second press tour-themed Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. Dan and I recorded the bulk of it on Sunday afternoon, but wanted to wait to post it until Dan had seen "Breaking Bad" and we could find a time in our schedules to discuss it. As I head home on Thursday, this will be our last (largely) in-person podcast for quite a while, so we hope you enjoy the different kind of bickering that happens when we're in the same room.
Nicki Minaj is certainly doing her part for tourism for her native Trinidad and Tobago. In her video for “Pound the Alarm,” it’s carnival 24 hours a day in Port of Spain as Minaj and a bevy of beauties in feathered headdress and bejeweled bikinis fill the streets.
When the scenery isn’t of the local lovelies and their various body parts, it’s on Trinidad’s natural beauty, including the miles of beaches.
[More after the jump...]
At the end of our interview, I had a chance to talk to Matthew McConaughey for a few moments with the camera off, and I told him how I tend to judge his movies first and foremost on the inclusion of a whole-hearted "Alright, alright, alright." When I hear that, I know I'm in for something special, and hearing it in "Magic Mike" earlier this summer almost made me applaud in the theater.
"I only use it when I feel it's appropriate," he said. "Sometimes I only manage to work in an 'alright,' and I have to be content with that. But going back to 'Dazed and Confused,' that has always been something that feels right for certain characters, and I do… I like to break it out."
He must be walking around the house repeating it over and over and over this year, then, because McConaughey is having one of the very best years he's ever had as an actor. His work in Richard Linklater's "Bernie" earlier this year not only reunited him with a director he loves, but it also gave him a great eccentric supporting role to play.
Tomorrow night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will vote through a new president as Tom Sherak takes his leave after three years on the perch. The presumed favorite for the spot is producer Howard "Hawk" Koch, though Phil Alden Robinson and Gale Anne Hurd are strong possibilities, too. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, here is Sherak's farewell to the membership:
Dear Academy Members,
I am writing to you as I approach the end of my final term as president of our Academy – a position that I have been honored to hold for three years.
I remember how excited I was when I wrote to you back in 2009, as I neared the end of my first 100 days in office. Now I am humbled – humbled by what we have accomplished, by all that we represent, and by everything that we are.
So, what did you watch this weekend? I'm betting that, for many of you, it wasn't anything in the cinema. By and large, US and UK distributors (and I expect many others besides) steered clear of the dark Olympic shadow, knowing that the biggest release of the week may have come from a major filmmaker, but it certainly wasn't a movie. Given the scale of the occasion, Danny Boyle's opening ceremony for the London 2012 Games would have been deemed appointment viewing even if he'd done little more than plonk One Direction on a stage to mime for three hours.
As it was, he did rather a lot more than that. So much more that viewing parties around the world -- a greater total audience, one presumes, than has been enjoyed by all Boyle's feature films combined -- were left open-mouthed: some with bewilderment, some with delight, many more of us with both. Eschewing the kind of regimented, choreographed float-spectacle that is par for the course at such events -- and was mastered pretty much to the point of unimprovability by Zhang Yimou at the 2008 Bejing Olympics -- Boyle took a more avant-garde approach, wittily crafting an extravaganza that celebrated difficulty, damage and imperfection in place of the standard Olympic virtues of serenity and supremacy.
When I was on the set of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," I had a chance to talk to Jon M. Chu about his approach to the sequel and to the world of "G.I. Joe" in general. While that set visit remains embargoed, probably forever thanks to the post-production convulsions the film is going through, I think it's safe to report that Chu struck me as an '80s kid through and through, sincere about his love of everything involved in a "G.I. Joe" movie.
It's also probably safe to say that any kid who grew up with "G.I. Joe" as a regular part of his diet also was well aware of "He-Man" and "Transformers," the other two corners in the '80s afternoon cartoon pyramid. I was too old for all three, but it seems that they marked the kids who watched them deeply, and at this point, it goes beyond nostalgia. It's just part of their pop culture DNA, and so it makes sense that you'd want an '80s kid to come in to direct "Masters Of The Universe" for Sony and Escape Artist. You want someone who's going to take this seriously, who has a love of the characters and the world already firmly in place, and who can find the right tone for what could easily be straight-up ridiculous.
When I sat down to speak with Bryan Cranston on Friday, I told him that, based on the comments I hear from everyone else who does this same video interview circuit, he may well be one of the most universally liked interview subjects out there today.
And why not? Here's a guy who was a working actor for decades who is finally having that moment where he is getting near-universal praise for his work and who is in demand in a way that few actors ever experience, and he seems genuinely grateful for the experience and, beyond that, aware of just how unusual it is. When you sit down with Cranston, you can count on a real interview. You can count on real answers. You can count on a guy who wants to be in that chair, who actually thinks about what he's going to say instead of just spitting out a stock answer.
Cranston was at the press day to talk about his work as Cohaagen, the main antagonist in the remake of "Total Recall" that opens on Friday. In the Paul Verhoeven film, the role was played by Ronny Cox, and I love that Cranston goes out of his way to talk about his regard for Cox and his work in the film. That's one actor paying lovely tribute to another actor that he obviously thinks highly of, and it's just one more reason to like Cranston.