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EDINBURGH - Once touted as the UK’s answer to Sundance, particularly when positioned against the more glamorous autumnal offerings of the newly shortened London Film Festival, the Edinburgh Film Festival has quietly gone into reboot mode in its 65th year. Actually, that irritatingly fashionable verb may be better replaced with “rebuild”: after the commercial and PR debacle of last year’s edition, whereby last-minute switches in management and a particularly granola programme had some prophesying the death of the world’s oldest continually-running film festival, newly appointed director Chris Fujiwara was handed awfully little with which to work.
Wisely, he’s decided not to bite off more than he can chew. This year’s Edinburgh lineup is unapologetically small in scale—even compared to recent years, when the festival could still filch the odd Cannes title, the selections here feel modest—but there are pleasing flashes of daring and eccentricity in the programming that at least suggest some renewed curatorial conviction: a Gregory LaCava retrospective, for example, wouldn’t have happened last year.
FX decided to bring "Wilfred" back a week in advance of the rest of its Thursday premieres, and I have a review of tonight's episode coming up just as soon as someone gets this Tic-Tac from under my wheel...
When Casey Abrams appeared on “American Idol” in season 10, he was unlike any other contestant the show had seen: Bushy-bearded and thumping on his upright bass, he cast an immediately memorable figure.
In the year since, he’s been hard at work on his post- “Idol” debut. "Casey Abrams," out June 26, is a sunny mix of pop and jazz that feels perfect for a summer day from first single, “Simple Life,” to album closer, “Hit The Road Jack,” a remake of the Ray Charles standard with his “Idol”-mate Haley Reinhart.
Abrams calls from a sweltering New York, while on a promotional tour for the album. Despite the temperature, the 21-year old jokes that he may go out into the city streets and open his guitar case and see what he can earn. “I’ve never actually tried busking before,” he says. But first, he answers our questions about Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery, crafting a pop song, and his best buddy, Rocky.
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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.
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.
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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.