A few weeks ago, I flew to Orlando to visit Harry Potter.
To be fair, I went to visit The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, part of the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure park, and to participate in the press day for the release of the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" Blu-ray release. When I was invited, I had no idea who would be there, but I wanted to go and participate in what may well be the last major press event for the Potter series.
Oddly, I've never interviewed anyone associated with the Potter series during the entire run of the thing. Since 2001, I've been an observer, and that's been fine. At Ain't It Cool, Quint was the Potter superfreak, and I didn't feel like there was any reason to fight him on it. And here at HitFix, it's been a matter of timing that's led to other people going to London for various Potter set visits and press days.
It's been okay, though, because it's one of those things that was fun to watch as a finished product all the way through. I saw the Potter series the same way the public did, and because I never walked through the sets, never sat down with the cast, never really peeked behind the curtain. Hogwarts is just as substantial to me as it was to any other viewer.
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A few weeks ago, I flew to Orlando to visit Harry Potter.
Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" might seem like it's been on the way for some time at this point in the season, considering an early-September world premiere, followed shortly by a UK theatrical release. But nearly three months later, the film is making its way to domestic theaters this weekend and everyone here will finally get a load of another Gary Oldman performance in a long line of versatile, chameleonic portrayals.
The occasion seemed an obvious one for dedicating an installment of The Lists to the actor's work. Indeed, this was the first list I jotted down as a must when preparing the season's coverage a few months ago; Oldman is easily one of my favorite actors, an impeccable performer who has managed to do something fresh with every new endeavor.
Roger Ebert once wrote of Oldman that "like a few gifted actors, he is able to re-invent himself for every role." If you can believe it, that was in his May 1987 review of Stephen Frears' "Prick Up Your Ears." And Oldman has proved the point over and over again in the years since.
Last year the Broadcast Film Critics Organization initiated a new award, the Music + Film Award, which went to Quentin Tarantino. The honor is meant to recognize filmmakers who have heightened the impact of films through the use of source or original music. Tarantino was a decent enough inaugural winner, but when you think of this kind of thing, how can you think of anyone other than Scorsese? The list of iconic scenes he has set to popular music is endless, and the synthesis of the two has been a hallmark of his work since day one. So good on the BFCA for going there this year. It's an obvious pick, but a brilliant one, nevertheless. Humble suggestion for next year's recipient: Cameron Crowe. [The Odds]
Welcome to tonight's very special "Taylor loses her damn mind" episode! But we have to build up to the full-bore craziness that breaks out at Brandi's ill-conceived beach party ("I thought I'd get all the girls together! In a small space! With lots of alcohol! It'll be FUN!). I mean, you can't just dive into this kind of mental breakdown without some build up. And "RHoBH" is nothing if not good at the slow burn. Still, strap on your straight jackets; it's going to be a bumpy ride to Crazy Town.
Poor punnery aside, some may say that this weekend’s box office returns indicate that “Shame” has overcome the stigma of its NC-17 rating, but it feels far more likely that Fox Searchlight made the right decision by rolling into the wave rather than fighting it. The studio embraced the rating, using it as a distinguisher, something to pull the film out from the pack. Journalists have utilized it as a talking point in interviews and editorial pieces about the film and the structure of the ratings system. I raised a question about the validity of the NC-17 rating in a piece last month and spoke with actress Carey Mulligan about her take on the decision during our interview.
Despite indications that the rating may damage "Shame," NC-17 in all likelihood has worked as a spotlight on a film that otherwise may have needed to fight for the attention of a viewership inundated with the end-of-the-year rush of weightier, adult-themed films.
Fifteen minutes really isn't enough time with a guy like Gary Oldman. I'm sorry, not for me. Only a douche bag would complain about ANY time with Gary Oldman, of course. I'm aware of the navel-gazing. But someone that good, that many times out, and in that many different ways just kind of demands a laundry list of queries per film.
I didn't get to do that. Fine, okay. The task at hand is discussing Oldman's nuanced, awards-flirting performance in Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," but I had to give myself some excuse to venture out. So I tried to tie it in.
The thing about Oldman -- which I'll get in to more in depth in my full interview later in the week -- is how much he has stood out despite being a part of so many esteemed ensembles. The roll call of actors he's worked with is massive, but just consider the casts of "State of Grace," "JFK," "True Romance," "Basquiat," "The Contender," "Hannibal," select entries in the "Harry Potter" franchise and Christopher Nolan's successful Batman triolgy. And yet he's always more of a cog in the wheel, whereas in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," he's fronting such an ensemble.
A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I earn the right to put the Vikings helmet on Baby Jesus...
Ahhh, the fine art of rumormongering.
Over the weekend, we got involved in a bit of a friendly back and forth with Latino Review over "Star Trek 2," or whatever the film's finally going to be called. They published the news that Benicio Del Toro was playing Khan Noonien Singh in the new sequel that is set to start shooting just after the start of the year, and we contacted JJ Abrams directly to ask him to comment. "Not true," he said.
Now it seems that Del Toro dropped out of negotiations to star in the film last Wednesday, and according to Vulture, Abrams is now looking to cast someone else as Khan. They claim they have a very highly-placed source and that, like Latino Review, they're hearing Khan is indeed the bad guy.
Technically, if negotiations broke down on Wednesday, then when I asked Abrams if Del Toro was playing the part on Friday, his "not true" is accurate no matter what the part is. After all, he didn't send a giant response detailing who is or isn't the bad guy he's using in the film, so he could very well have been playing by the rules, answering the question he was asked while volunteering nothing else.
Ke$ha is back and she wants to prove that she’s more than the girl who will vomit in your closet from drinking too much Jack and leave you to clean it up...as if that weren't enough.
On “Only Wanna Dance With You,” which has leaked all over the internet today, K-Dollar Sign-Ha sings the first portion of the bouncy, ‘80s sounding track for a good two minutes until she reverts to form and goes into a spoken bridge about “kicking it all night/hard-core making it until it gets light.” Listen to it here (courtesy of Perez Hilton).
Remember when Jesse James was just a guy who built cool stuff and not a philandering husband/boyfriend with issues? Flash back to the good old days tonight when James goes head-to-head-to-head with Paul Teutul Senior and Paul Teutul Junior on 'American Chopper: The Build-Off' on the Discovery Channel (9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.). See clips from the show below -- and, in the second clip, watch as Senior proclaims James a "genius" and predicts him beating his own son in the three-way competition. Ouch.
The Camerimage festival, to my knowledge the only international film festival dedicated specifically to honoring the art of cinematography, rarely gets much attention on the awards beat, but it's always an interesting event to follow. Based in Poland, the festival annually programs a selection of the year's most remarkably photographed films, ranging from mainstream awards fare to exotic obscurities, with an international jury judging the DP's work in each case.
Naturally, awards follow. "The Piano" won the festival's inaugural Golden Frog award in 1993, while subsequent winners include "Elizabeth," "Road to Perdition," "City of God," "Pan's Labyrinth," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "Slumdog Millionaire."
But if all those were high-profile lensing showcases than went on to receive Oscar recognition in the same category, the awards can just as often go in unexpected directions.