Steven Spielberg… Daniel Day-Lewis… you gentlemen have your work cut out for you. Fair warning.
Common sense may tell you otherwise, but the rumors are true. There is indeed a movie called "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter." It is a real thing that really exists. I have seen it. And even now, almost two days later, I find it hard to believe that really happened. Timur Bekmambetov has made a fever dream that plays like the supercharged imagination of a 21st Century XBOX junkie raised on 20th Century pop culture, jacked up on Mountain Dew and ADD medications, asleep during a lecture about Abe Lincoln in history class, dreaming this crazy alternate history and getting some real biography mixed up with the most hilariously insane gore and action you'll see in any studio effort this summer. It is deranged. And I am here to testify that I laughed from beginning to end and had more fun than should be allowed in public.
It's the sort of film that I want to own because there are about five scenes I want to slow down and take apart just to figure out what Bekmambetov actually did. He is a madman. He has a remarkable sense of how to destroy time so he can capture some hyperexaggerated burst of violence. He has a great knack for geography and composition that has never been better indulged than it is here, and all the technical acumen he's been picking up on his last few films, including "Wanted," pay off here with a liquid reality that he is in complete control of, start to finish, in a way that is truly impressive.
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Steven Spielberg… Daniel Day-Lewis… you gentlemen have your work cut out for you. Fair warning.
Below is my interview with Shaw, on purposeful dichotomies, sci-fi and "Twilight" soundtracks.
Green Day’s “Uno,” “Dos,” and “Tres” albums are going to come in rapid succession so it makes sense that we’d get the teasers for the three sets in similar fashion.
Last Thursday, we got the trailer and cover art for “Uno!,” which featured lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong grinning blithely with red Xs over his eyes in front of a green swirling background. Today, we get the teaser and the cover for “Dos!,” which features Mike Dirnt in a similar fashion, though he looks a little frightened. (Can you guess which member will be on the cover of “Tres?” We bet that you can). The three albums will be released two months apart, starting with “Uno!,” which streets on Sept. 25. "Dos!" comes out Nov. 11.
[More after the jump...]
I had no plans to write anything in advance of the return of FX's "Wilfred" tonight at 10:30, since I already have a review of the first episode ready to go at 11. But then I realized that, like me, many of you may be surprised to realize that A)FX is airing a new "Wilfred" episode a week before its other heavily-promoted premieres ("Anger Management," "Louie," Russell Brand's talk show), and B)FX is airing this new episode outside of the usual 10 p.m. "Wilfred" timeslot.
I go into some speculation as to why that is in my review of the episode — which FX is referring to as a "sneak preview," even though, story-wise, it picks up after the events of last season's finale, and before the events of next week's episode — but for those of you who don't follow me on Twitter but like the show, consider this a public service to reduce the number of "But I didn't know it was back yet!" comments tonight.
Here's a trailer for this "sneak preview" — which I've been reminded is already up on Hulu (but please refrain from any plot-specific comments until tonight's post goes up) — including a glimpse of guest star Robin Williams:
Time for part 4 of our look at the Emmy nominations process for 2012. As always, Fienberg and I are going to approach things in two ways. I'll pretend that I have an Emmy ballot and make my picks for the six actors or shows I would put on my ballot, while Dan will rank the potential nominees from most likely to least. And, as always, we are working off of the actual Emmy ballot, so we can't consider people who didn't submit themselves, nor can we reassign anyone to a more suitable or easier category.
Having covered the drama supporting actors last time, we move onto Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Dan's predictions are here, and my preferences are coming right up...
With the news today that Andrew Sarris has passed away, it seems like a fair moment to reflect on the state of film criticism in general. After all, it was Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael who I would argue made film criticism into a free-standing art form worth practicing with the work they did during the '60s and '70s. I grew up reading both of them, and while I wouldn't say either of them had a direct influence on my voice, they both taught me that it is important to have a voice and to understand why you react the way you do to a movie.
Here's the thing… I don't think real criticism should serve as a consumer reports piece, because I don't think it can. I don't believe I can tell you whether or not a movie is worth your time and money. Instead, what I can do is try to describe a film, examine how it accomplishes its goals or doesn't, and set it into a context regarding genre, subject matter, thematic content, or filmmaker's career. My job, if I do it properly, is to write a piece that stands as a separate experience from the film itself, something that should read the same a decade from now as it does this week. Anyone who presumes to be able to tell their entire readership "You will like this" or "You will hate this" does not think very much of their readership. I know that you guys have a wide range of perspectives, and no two of us have identical taste. Sarris, like Kael, was one of those critics whose work remains a pleasure to read now because he was willing to dig deep into a piece of material, and his command of language allowed him to craft compelling reads, week after week, piece after piece.
"Brave" opens on Friday, June 22.
Every couple of weeks, I get an e-mail asking me if I can send someone a copy of the "Jurassic Park 4" script that was co-written by John Sayles and William Monahan, and every time, I have to write back to explain to the person that I never had a digital copy of it. Sure, Sayles accused me in print of hacking Steven Spielberg's personal computer to steal the file, but that just suggests to me that Sayles has little or no idea just how many people have their hands on a script over the course of the development process.
One of the reasons so many people remain so curious about that proposed version of the sequel is because of just how crazy it sounded. I still wish Universal had gone ahead and made it, because even if it turned out to be completely insane, it would have been the sort of insane that you can't stop watching, sort of like this summer's "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter." There are some films that you can't believe exist, even after you see them, and I think it's safe to assume that "Jurassic Park 4" had the potential to be one of those films.
With the way Hollywood churns through material these days, we thought it was worth taking a look at the various sources they're pulling from and discussing what they might make from these books, games, TV shows, or whatever else they use. For today's column, we look at Don Winslow's "Savages," a crime novel that is the inspiration for Oliver Stone's new film.
Chon and Ben are friends. They grow marijuana. No, scratch that. They grow the very best marijuana. They have a successful distribution network that has made them both very comfortable. Ben travels the world doing philanthropic work that makes him feel good about how he earns his money. Chon stays at home and tends to the nastier details of their trade. It's a pretty great arrangement.
And then there's O. She's the girl who loves them both. They share her in every way. Sometimes in explicit detail.
When the Baja Cartel decides to expand its reach into Southern California, they put pressure on Chon and Ben to join them and allow them to take over operations. All they want is for the guys to keep growing. Ben and Chon try to quit the business, at which point the Baja Cartel kidnaps O.
I haven't been to Las Vegas for a long time.
But you know who is in Las Vegas? The "So You Think You Can Dance" hoofers.
It's time for the most intense Vegas Week ever. Or what I assume will be the most intense Vegas Week ever. Because reality TV shows rarely pimp episodes by saying, "Next week... Our most exciting Vegas Week in a couple years... since at least Season 4 or something."
Pity that. Click through for my recap of the toughest cuts of all...
Paul Verhoeven is determined to make a film about Jesus Christ.
In related news, Paul Verhoeven is determined to get himself shot by someone who can't handle any discussion of Jesus as anything less than the literal Son Of God.
While I love "Robocop" dearly, I am convinced that Paul Verhoeven ruined his career by making that film. Before that, he was an interesting, provocative European director whose sensibilities were resolutely art-house. Anyone who has ever spoken to Verhoeven can testify to his keen intellect and his almost innate desire to push buttons. I think that's the way he attacks any subject. He loves to ask questions because he is fascinated by human behavior, particularly at the polar extremes of good and bad.
His Hollywood career has seemed like one long misuse of his talents, and it's been painful watching him try to turn garbage like "Basic Instinct" or "The Hollow Man" into something worth his time and his skill. At least with "Black Book," it seemed like he was working on material with some weight to it again. It was a huge step in the right direction.