I've always considered myself a skeptic. I've written about con artistry, I know the basics of sleight of hand, and I'm all too familiar with the tricks so-called psychics use to read minds and "conjure" the dead. I've always figured that, if Houdini's spirit never returned to deliver that secret, agreed-upon phrase to his widow during one of her many seance attempts, it was probably a pretty good indication the master magician had been right about psychics and mediums all along -- they were no more magical than, well, magicians.
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Tony Bennett has been rolling out clips from his “Duets II” set and today’s treat is the 85-year old warbling through “The Way You Look Tonight” with the long-absent Faith Hill. This video is much more stylized than the previous ones we’ve gotten from his sessions with Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse (and certainly more restrained than Bennett and Gaga). It replicates the recording session, but it’s on a larger, beautifully lit stage. Five things jumped out at us that made us love the feel and sound of the video.
[More after the jump...]
I'm really bummed I'll be out of town next Thursday, October 20, because the live read of John Hughes's "The Breakfast Club" script, directed by Jason Reitman as a part of Film Independent's LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) film series. Reitman is serving as the first guest artist for the inaugural program.
Reitman announced via Twitter that Patton Oswalt will read the part of Brian Johnson, portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall in Hughes's 1985 original film. The rest of the "surprise cast" will be unveiled by Reitman throughout the week. I'm privy to a few of them, but I'll say no more. It promises to be a very Reitman-esque event, I'll just put it that way.
"The Breakfast Club" is easily one of my favorite films of all time. I've always been drawn to its insight and melodrama with equal measure. I used to own a ratty VHS copy of the film and I'd watch it a couple of times a month. I still consider it to be something of a minor masterpiece. Relive the magic with the trailer below.
SANTA BARBARA - It was a lovely evening on the beach last night as the Biltmore Four Seasons of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Film Festival played host to an evening in honor of actor Michael Douglas. Douglas was on hand for the sixth annual presentation of the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film.
"In my opinion, this event tonight is the pinnacle of the Santa Barbara Film Festival's 27 years," festival director Roger Durling said before introducing Kirk Douglas to present the award. "It's definitely the highlight of my tenure."
The elder Douglas gave a truly wonderful speech, sharp as a tack, funny, charming, just wonderful. "I was walking down Sunset Boulevard and a young lady ran up to me all out of breath," he recalled. "She was beautiful. She looked up to me with lovely eyes. I reached back to grab a pen to give her an autograph and she looked up to me and said, 'Michael Douglas's father!'"
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
Anne is back from the New York Film Festival today, where she saw a handful of films, including two key premieres. That dominates the bulk of today's podcast so let's take a look at what's on the docket today...
Boy is there nothing out there. It's quiet. Really quiet. Today's round-up was a scraping the barrel kind of thing. Yikes. The media blitz for "Martha Marcy May Marlene" is really picking up steam, though, as the film is set for release next week. I'll be chatting with some of the talent today and look forward to it. It's still one of the most accomplished films of the year, with a stellar performance from Elizabeth Olsen -- one of the great screen debuts. Steven Zeitchik recently sat down with the ingenue. [Los Angeles Times]
Let's see what else is going on in the Oscarweb today...
A review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I tell you about the Goat Package...
If you've not yet heard of Steve McQueen's "Shame," chances are you've been asleep through the entire fall festival season. The "Hunger" director's sophomore feature was the talk of Venice, where it won a no-brainer Best Actor award for Michael Fassbender, and maintained that buzz through Toronto -- where the sexually explicit moral drama was rather adventurously picked up by Fox Searchlight. If any studio can get Fassbender's startling performance into the Oscar race, Searchlight can -- the challenge lies in getting conservative actors' branch voters to watch this severe, presumably NC-17-rated film. (If you ask me, Carey Mulligan deserves equal attention for a career-high turn.) As you know from my Venice review, and Kris' Telluride reaction, we're both fully on board.
"Shame" has its homeland premiere tonight at the BFI London Film Festival; to coincide with that, The Guardian just unveiled the first trailer, which gives a pretty accurate impression of the film's overwhelming sensory qualities. Check it out after the jump.
It's not likely that this episode will end well, as we've been slowly inching toward Elena accepting the incontrovertible truth that Stefan is, despite his best efforts, not going to be able to ensure that love conquers all, at least in the short run (I suspect many a plot twist will ultimately bring these two crazy kids back together). Still, it isn't going to happen soon, and certainly not before Elena grieves and possibly moves on. It's going to be a hard lesson for Elena to learn, but it's probably for the best. Loving an addict, I mean, a vampire is always going to be a struggle for her, and now that Stefan's dealer, I mean Klaus, has taken over, even Stefan's best efforts aren't going to amount to much. I'm hoping that Katherine's plan to off Klaus comes to fruition, as that's looking like Stefan's only path back to Elena. That is, if Damon doesn't block his way.
We're down to the final five, and I'm guessing all the hugging and loving of past episodes is about wrapped up, no matter how much Anya tries to keep things positive. It's getting down to the wire, and God knows that Josh M. is nothing but a big, pouty baby when he hasn't won a challenge (and a haughty bully when he has), so there's simply no way to keep the tension out of the workroom this week. But let the games begin -- we can only hope Josh M. gets his walking papers at last.
Hey, remember “Nowhere in Africa?” Sure you do. The Caroline Link movie about Jewish WWII refugees in Kenya? Not ringing any bells? Oh. Well, what about “The Counterfeiters?” The Nazi banknote forgery film. Yeah, you know the one – though perhaps you had to think a moment. Never mind. Let’s move on to “Departures.” Everyone loves that one. The Japanese one about the cello-playing mortician… what, you never saw it? Whatever.
Many of you might remember, perhaps more clearly than you do the film themselves, that these titles all won Oscars in the past decade for Best Foreign Language Film. I suspect fewer of you will remember feeling that they were the finest non-English films of their respective years – a position that can’t have gained many subscribers in the intervening years, either. They’re hardly freak examples: from “Mediterraneo” to “Tsotsi,” from “To Begin Again” to “Character,” the 55-title list of winners in the category (plus a few special award winners from pre-competition days) is littered with films that few audiences or cinephiles really care about these days… or ever did. If the Best Picture award somehow confers a lasting patina of memory upon most of its winners, well-received or otherwise, its foreign-language counterparts offers no such insurance.
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I Google those rat tumors...