Latest Blog Posts

<p>Deborah Mailman and Chris O'Dowd in &quot;The Sapphires.&quot;</p>

Deborah Mailman and Chris O'Dowd in "The Sapphires."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Feelgood Aussie musical 'The Sapphires' brightens Cannes

Do the Weinsteins have another crossover hit on their hands?

You have to feel for any film appearing under The Weintein Company's banner at this year's Cannes Film Festival. After last year, when The House That Harvey Built picked up "The Artist" -- and, in doing so, made the wisest long-term purchase of the festival -- everything else they touch is going to be scrutinized for similar potential to Michel Hazanavicius's improbable Oscar sensation.

Saturday, then, was a big day for the company, as they presented two of their Cannes babies to the world. But while their widely publicized, star-studded Competition entry "Lawless" made a respectable debut, reaping much critical goodwill if few outright raves, it was a far lower-profile, more recent acquisition, premiering safely out of competition, that set the Croisette whispering. That film would be "The Sapphires": a modest, good-natured musical comedy from Down Under, spinning the semi-true tale of an all-Aboriginal, Supremes-style girl group and their adventures entertaining US troops in Vietnam.

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<p>Joaquin Phoenix comes out swinging in the first look at Paul Thomas Anderson's new film 'The Master'</p>

Joaquin Phoenix comes out swinging in the first look at Paul Thomas Anderson's new film 'The Master'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

First look at Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' arrives online

Fascinating first clip promises a nice rebound for Joaquin Phoenix

CANNES - In a few moments, I'll be leaving my apartment to go to a special cocktail party that the Weinstein Company is throwing to debut footage from several of their new films.  However, I don't even have to put my pants on to get my first look at Paul Thomas Anderson's highly-anticipated "The Master," since the film's first teaser trailer just appeared online.

I spotted it when Megan Ellison, one of the film's producers, tweeted a link to the film's official site, and all that they have there right now is the trailer.  I've watched it twice, and the first thing I take away from it is that I'm thrilled Joaquin Phoenix is back on his game.  I wasn't crazy about his Tony Clifton phase, and I think he is a very interesting actor.  He's totally different than his brother River was, but they do share an ability to lay themselves emotionally bare if they get hold of the right material.  It's exciting to see Phoenix in a film that looks like it may be something very special.

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<p>Rutger Hauer expresses his displeasure with his agent over being cast in 'Dracula 3D'</p>

Rutger Hauer expresses his displeasure with his agent over being cast in 'Dracula 3D'

Credit: Film Export Group

Review: Silly and stupid 'Dracula 3D' is career nadir for Dario Argento

One of the most oft-filmed stories in film falls flat in latest incarnation

CANNES - Dario Argento made his directorial debut the same year I was born. He has literally been making horror films as long as I've been alive, and his first nine horror features are arguably one of the best runs any filmmaker in the genre has ever had.  I consider "Suspiria" to be one of the towering accomplishments in all of horror, a true nightmare that makes almost no literal sense but that manages to wrap the viewer in a perverse and pervasive sense of dream.  His influence can be felt in hundreds, if not thousands of films at this point, and it would be impossible to overstate how good he can be when he is at his best.

"Dracula 3D" is pretty much the direct opposite of his best.

My first and perhaps most fundamental issue with the film is that Bram Stoker's novel has been adapted so many times and in so many ways that any new adaptation really should find something to add to the conversation.  Why else would you want to make a Dracula film?  The character has been portrayed in any number of settings, and there have been adaptations both faithful and almost completely reinvented.  The bare bones of the Stoker novel have been so thoroughly stripped of meat at this point that it seems almost pointless to return to it as source material.  Still, the right filmmaker and the right cast could make it seem fresh, and the right take on things could convince me that I'm wrong about the property.  It's certainly happened before.

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<p>Daniel Craig arrives at a Shanghai casino in Sam Mendes' &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig arrives at a Shanghai casino in Sam Mendes' "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Analysis: First 'Skyfall' trailer is gorgeous and brutal

007 looks like he's going to be an unstoppable force this time around

Yes, even though I'm at a film festival, I still feel compelled to weigh in on the first trailer for "Skyfall," the new James Bond film.

As a lifelong fan of the series, one of the things I find most interesting is watching the way the aesthetics of Bond have shifted over the years to reflect wherever mainstream film has gone.  You can look at a Bond film and get a sense of what was going on culturally at the time it was made.  They are reflections of their moments, time capsules with a body count.

Hiring Sam Mendes for this 50th anniversary edition of the series was an interesting choice because of how different James Bond is than anything he's shot before, but just based on this teaser trailer, I'd say it looks like that gamble has paid off handsomely.  This is a gorgeous introduction to the new film, and I love the word association opening.  Daniel Craig's Bond is wound tighter than any previous incarnation, and that's one of the reasons I love him in the role.  HIs Bond takes full advantage of that license to kill, and not just so he can make a pithy joke and move on.  He is a cultured ape, a brute who just happens to look good in a tux, and he is dangerous.

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<p>Emmanuelle Riva gives a harrowing and beautiful performance in Michael Haneke's heartbreaking 'Love,' one of the films in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.</p>

Emmanuelle Riva gives a harrowing and beautiful performance in Michael Haneke's heartbreaking 'Love,' one of the films in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Credit: Sony PIctures Classics

Review: Michael Haneke's 'Love' expertly charts the dissolution of self

In what may be his most human film, Haneke captures a couple in their twilight

CANNES - For the vast majority of his career, Michael Haneke has had a well-deserved reputation as a master of cinematic cruelty.  His best films have felt like cruel pranks on his audience, underscored by a deep contempt for human weakness.  I have always had an uneasy relationship with his work, admiring him on a technical level but afraid of each new film and the razor's edge contained within.

"Love," his new film, made its debut today in competition at the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival, and while it is unmistakably his, this may be the single most humane picture he's ever made.  Beautiful and sad, the film is essentially a two person piece, with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva playing a French husband and wife in their twilight years.  The film opens with police breaking down the door of their apartment.  Covering their mouths and noses to protect from a smell, they search the apartment, finding one bedroom door sealed with tape.  When they finally get it open, they find a body on the bed, dead and covered in flowers.  With the next scene, Haneke takes us back in time to the beginning of the process that ended in that room, and it is a crushing experience he has crafted.

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Jacqueline Laurita in 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Jacqueline Laurita in 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Credit: Andrei Jackamets/Bravo

Recap: 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' - 'Spoiled Sports'

What happens when childish adults have to deal with an actual child behaving badly

Last week "Real Housewives of New Jersey" was all about ongoing battles between Teresa and her brother Joe.

This week's aftermath isn't quite as heated, but the episode's drama comes from a surprise source -- someone a lot younger than the usual suspects.

Let's just hope this doesn't get anyone thinking about a "Real Housewives: The Next Generation" spinoff. We don't need that. Seriously...

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<p>Don (Jon Hamm)&nbsp;and Joan (Christina Hendricks)&nbsp;in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

Don (Jon Hamm) and Joan (Christina Hendricks) in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Mad Men' - 'Christmas Waltz'

Don takes Joan for a drive, and an old friend returns with a new look

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as you find a way to define those pronouns...

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<p>Lena Dunham and Lou Taylor Pucci in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Lena Dunham and Lou Taylor Pucci in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Girls' - 'The Return'

Her parents' 30th anniversary shows a different side of both Hannah and 'Girls'

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I am from New York, and therefore just naturally interesting...

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An Appreciation of The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb and his magical musical gifts
Credit: AP Photo/Tracy Brand

An Appreciation of The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb and his magical musical gifts

Will anyone ever sound as heartbreaking as on 'I Started A Joke?'

Robin Gibb, who died today at 62 after a long battle with cancer, had a unique voice so filled with trembling, pure beauty that it had the ability to pierce your heart and break it in half.

As a third of the Bee Gees, and twin to Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb and his other brother Barry, shared lead vocals in the group that started in their native Australia in the late ‘50s, but it is Robin’s voice that dominated those early singles that so clearly set the brothers on their path to superstardom.

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<p>Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in &quot;Sherlock.&quot;</p>

Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in "Sherlock."

Credit: Courtesy of ©Hartswood Films for Masterpiece

Season finale review: 'Sherlock' - 'The Reichenbach Fall'

Moriarty attacks everything Sherlock cares about most

A few quick thoughts on how "Sherlock" season 2 wrapped up just as soon as I pose as your hostage...

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<p>Rose Leslie as Ygritte in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Rose Leslie as Ygritte in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'The Prince of Winterfell'

As we get close to the finale, is the show moving quickly enough?

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I marry for a bridge...

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<p>Daniel Craig as James Bond in &quot;Skyfall&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig as James Bond in "Skyfall"

Credit: Sony Pictures

License to brood: James Bond and Batman wrestle internal and external demons

What will 'Skyfall' and 'The Dark Knight Rises' say about the contemporary hero?

Earlier today I was pursuing the Interwebz for something to jump out and scream “write about me” when I was struck by the image of the new “Skyfall” poster beside a still from “The Dark Knight Rises.” The first teaser trailer for the new Bond film is set to go online early Monday morning and there have already been several “previews” of said trailer released via the journalists who were treated to a glimpse at this year’s CinemaCon.

There is a slight trailer spoiler ahead so if you’d prefer to avoid that please click through and skip to the paragraph following the one below.

According to Cinema Blend’s description, 007 is in the midst of a revelatory word association game throughout the teaser. When presented with the word “Agent,” he responds with “Provocateur” (which indeed provokes a number of theories about his meaning). The most revealing and fascinating bit of word play, though, happens when the prompt “Murder” is met with the terse “Employment.”

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