One of this pundit's biggest disappointments last awards season was how little traction Tilda Swinton received for her stunning turn in "I Am Love." That was partially due to the film's release date, the former Academy Award winner's unavailability to campaign for the picture in Nov. or Dec. and a limited push by U.S. distributor Magnolia Pictures. A year later, Swinton has another acclaimed performance ready for Oscar consideration in Lynne Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin."
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On Nov. 22, Guided By Voices will release their first album from the "classic" lineup in 15 years. The first single from the set "Let's Go Eat the Factory," "The Unsinkable Fats Domino," has arrived, and will be bundled with another track "We Won't Apologize" as a 7" single, to be released same-day.
"The Unsinkable Fats Domino" can be downloaded for free, via the band's label home Matador.
It most certainly sounds like a GBV song.
This blog post lasts about as long as the song does.
The 63-title list of submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is something of a lucky dip – for every abundantly creamed-over festival hit in the running, there are at least two far less known quantities that have either worked their way along the fringe festival circuit or simply been plucked from a small, little-travelled pool of local offerings by the relevant committee. As nice as it would be to say that hidden gems abound, such films are just as often under the radar for a reason.
The London Film Festival, highlight package of other fests that it is, is a handy opportunity to catch up on one’s homework in this category: thanks to them, I’ve brought my tally of seen titles up to 20. That’s still less than a third of the field, but the season (and the screener influx) is young. Among them is the film I covered in my first review for Variety, India’s entry “Abu, Son of Adam”; sadly, I don’t think it will, or should, make much of a dent in the race.
One hopeful that’s been much on my mind since viewing it at Cannes in May, and further provoked on a recent second viewing, is Oliver Hermanus’s “Beauty" (B+) a quietly candid, formally tight study of a subject hitherto foreign to South African cinema – repressed homosexuality in the conservative white Afrikaner community.
You may recall that when "Happy Endings" debuted last spring, I dismissed it as the last and least of that season's comedies about interconnected friends in their late 20s or early 30s. But I stuck with it for a while, and it grew on me quite a bit, and now it's part of my regular viewing/blogging schedule, and part of what's turned out to be a very strong comedy night for ABC.(*)
This single-shot video features the hot-stepping and lip-sycning of a man who is decidedly not the Black Keys. He, however, exhibits a familiarity of the tune as though he were.
Interestingly, the clip was shot by Jesse Dylan, an acclaimed media executive and the director of films like "Kicking & Screaming." He is also is the son of Bob Dylan. I'm not sure why the big guns were brought in for a video that looks like it was shot on your iPhone.
Eddie Murphy and Brett Ratner have been making the press rounds lately talking up their latest film, "Tower Heist." Which, by the way, well, let me address that real quick.
I quite enjoyed "Tower Heist." It's a diversion, and Murphy isn't in it to the extent that you might think (he doesn't really figure in until the second act rolls around -- more of him would have been great, actually). But the final action sequence is fun and gripping. Michael Pena should be tapped for comic relief in, like, everything. And it's worth noting that there is a zeitgeisty haves/have-nots article waiting to write itself in both the release of this film and "In Time."
But I digress. Naturally, Ratner and Murphy have been fielding a ton of questions regarding the Oscar telecast they will produce and host respectively in February. It's the usual light and fluffy chatter, nothing to really sink your teeth into. Murphy has been quipping all over the place that he'll be "the worst Oscar host in history," that kind of thing. Winks and nudges and "we don't have anything to say so let's give them something because they won't stop asking."
I saw Wim Wenders's "Pina," an intimately photographed celebration of the work of modern dancer Philippina "Pina" Bausch, at the Telluride Film Festival in September. It has been on the circuit since February and the Berlinale, where 3D came to the art house and Guy was transfixed.
I have enormous respect for the use of 3D in this endeavor, which was chosen as the official German entry in this year's Best Foreign Language Film race, even if modern dance is something I can't quite digest enough to be a true lover of the film. Certainly no one has filmed dance quite like this before, removing the audience from the role of spectator and putting them into the grace and movement of the form with skill and ease. It'll certainly make you forget "Step Up 3D" ever happened, if you haven't already. It was a bold pick by Germany and it could yet find its way into the nominated five in the category.
IFC Films has supplied us with the final trailer for the film, which isn't really that different than what's already out there, save a few bells and whistles and quotes and laurels, etc. Check it out below. The film will open in New York on Dec. 23rd to qualify, and will expand nationwide in January.
Showtime's "Homeland" has easily been the best new show of the fall season, comedy or drama. The only concern anybody seems to have with it is whether it can sustain its quality and keep its story - which to this point is a cat-and-mouse game between damaged CIA agent Claire Danes and potential terrorist Damian Lewis - going in an interesting, plausible manner for multiple seasons.
"Homeland" producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa insist they have a long-term plan for the series, and we're going to get a chance to see some of it, now that Showtime has renewed "Homeland" for a second season.
So. We all knew this was coming, right? "Shame," Steve McQueen's raunchy, penetrative (no pun intended), sexually charged, psychologically intense character study staring Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and their naughty bits has received an NC-17 rating. As we've already noted, Fox Searchlight has made the smart choice by getting out ahead of this and embracing it as a badge of honor. Take the MPAA to task if you must. Make the argument that we, as a society, are way too sensitive to images of sex while we are incredibly desensitized to images of violence. The fact of the matter is, the film won't play in a great many theaters as a result of the ruling. But it is no less a masterful piece of cinema from one of the most promising filmmakers of our age. [Box OFfice Mojo]
When "Beavis & Butt-Head" hit it big on MTV in the early '90s, it became the latest televisual thing that was going to bring about the end of Western civilization as we knew it. But we're still here, and if you want to argue that we're worse off as a people than we were back in the day, I can give you a whole bunch of more likely culprits. Hint: several of them air on MTV, and are being mocked by the two guys as the series returns tomorrow night at 10, 14 years after the last season aired, now titled "Mike Judge's Beavis & Butt-Head."
I have a confession to make. I genuinely think "Puss in Boots" is entertaining, funny and a significantly more original movie (even surreal) than what you'd expect for a "Shrek" spin-off. However, my judgement may be a tad clouded. As my friends have consistently remarked, I'm a male 'cat lady' in the making with two kittens under my wing (Phoenix and Sookie). Granted, you can only blame my parents for raising me amongst them. In fact, there is photographic evidence of our two cats (Charkey and Nutmeg) literally sleeping my crib when I was a newborn "protecting me" and no doubt cementing this lifelong feline bond (note to young parents: this is a big no, no). But, I digress…