It's hard to believe that "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was eleven years ago.
If you don't remember what it was like when that film was coming out, let me take you back. Sony Pictures Classics took Ang Lee's Chinese language masterpiece that was my favorite film of the last decade and turned it into a genuine box-office phenomenon. A movie with subtitles. That's supposed to be impossible. Anyone will tell you that audiences simply don't want to read a movie, and any movie with subtitles is doomed to a certain size audience and no more than that. But Tom Bernard and Michael Barker bet on "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and more than that, they strategized. They made a big play with that film, and it paid off and paid off and paid off for them. It's still one of the biggest foreign-language releases of all time.
Barker and Bernard have been around since the dawn of man, of course, and they've been adventurous distributors longer than I've been a film fan. I've met both of them many times over the years, and they're exactly what I would have hoped, smart and still engaged and always looking. They really do love that moment where they get to present something exciting to the general public.
Latest Blog Posts
It's hard to believe that "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was eleven years ago.
Third Man Records released John C. Reilly's music singles today, and the label is streaming two of those four covers tunes in full now.
"Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar" with Tom Brosseu and "I'll Be There If You Ever" with Lavendar Diamond's Becky Stark are up on the Third Man homepage. Jack White made contributions to both songs, and both singles.
As previously reported, Third Man is also releasing and reissuing several White Stripes rarity records, on Dec. 6.
Don't say we didn't warn you.
Looks like Mastodon is up for a little collaboration magic with Feist, and are planning to release a split 7" record with the Canadian singer-songwriter for Record Store Day next year. MTV Canada caught up with bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, who said they were going to try and knock out recording one of her songs -- throw a little "hair and dirt on it" -- in the month of December in time for the indie record retailer holiday.
In our interview last month, Leslie Feist had told me she and Mastodon had created a little mutual appreciation society during their respective guest spots on "Later... with Jools Holland."
“So backstage I’m thinking about letting these two worlds collide, how they should collide, so I’m like ‘How about ‘Metals’ meeting metal?’” Feist said, explaining how she'd proposed a potential collab with Mastodon's Brent Hinds. “Brent was like, ‘Well, I do like that “Bad in Each Other” song, I could see that.’ Maybe now I will look into learning to cover 'Oblivion'… or anything off [‘The Hunter’]. That album’s amazing.”
One of the things that happens when you write about entertainment all day every day is you tend to get caught up in minutiae, and it leads to some editorial decisions that I would call questionable. When you're writing breathless headlines about Pez dispensers, you may be working too hard to find relevance in the irrelevant. Getting hung up on the micro often prevents us from focusing on the macro, but I'd like to take the opportunity to take a step back from time to time in a column that we're calling "The Bigger Picture."
Right after our own Alan Sepinwall went to see "The Muppets" with his family, he hopped on iChat to share some thoughts as he was writing his review. He said something to me that he also included in his review, and it really struck a chord with me. "'The Muppets' is, to put it simply, the greatest work of fanfiction I've ever seen." In that one line, he explained something that I've been struggling to articulate for a while now, and I think it explains exactly where we are in pop culture.
This is the Age of Fanfiction.
More good news for cable TV fans: a day after FX announced the January premieres for "Justified" and "Archer," HBO announced that "Eastbound & Down" will be back on Sunday, February 19 at 10, followed at 10:30 by the new mockumentary series "Life's Too Short."
You know "Eastbound" by now: Danny McBride is the profoundly stupid, yet confident, relief pitcher Kenny (Bleeping) Powers, trying to make his way in the world after his career ended. The third season will be 8 episodes.
"Life's Too Short," meanwhile, is the latest collaboration between Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who have already given TV "The Office" UK and "Extras." This one's much more in the "Extras" vein, with Warwick Davis (Wicket from "Return of the Jedi" and Professor Flitwick from the "Harry Potter" films, among many other fantasy/sci-fi roles) playing a down-on-his-luck version of himself, trying to hustle a way back into the spotlight. The 7-episode season will feature cameos by Johnny Depp, Sting, Steve Carell and even Gervais and Merchant themselves.
Lady Gaga has been setting up the arrival of her “Marry The Night” video as if it were a new album. She gave us a preview last week and "The Prelude Pathetique” clip the week before, as we previously reported.
Now we’ll finally get the full clip on Thursday on E!, according to a tweet from Momma Monster.
[More after the jump...]
It's a date, literally. Lifetime has finally released a 2012 debut date for "Project Runway All Stars." The show featuring favorites like Mondo and Sweet P (and less beloved designers like Kenley) will take a bow on Thurs., Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET.
Viewers will have to brace themselves for some new faces, however. The show will be hosted by supermodel Angela Lindvall, designers Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman as judges and fashion mentor Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles. The designers must also show off their fashion prowess to guest judges such as Miss Piggy, supermodel Miranda Kerr and musician and producer Pharrell Williams, among others throughout the season. The All Star designers set to take the Runway once again are:
Kenley Collins (Brooklyn, NY) Season Five, Second Runner-up
Michael Costello (Palm Springs, CA) Season Eight, Fourth Place
Gordana Gehlhausen (San Diego, CA) Season Six, Fourth Place
Mondo Guerra (Denver, CO) Season Eight, Runner-up
Mila Hermanovski (Los Angeles, CA) Season Seven, Second Runner-up
Kara Janx (New York, NY) Season Two, Fourth Place
Elisa Jimenez (New York, NY) Season Four, 10th Place
April Johnston (Savannah, GA) Season Eight, Fifth Place
Rami Kashou (Los Angeles, CA) Season Four, Runner-up
Austin Scarlett (New York, NY) Season One, Fourth Place
Jerell Scott (New York, NY) Season Five, Fourth Place
Sweet P/Kathleen Vaughn (Pasadena, CA) Season Four, Fifth Place
Anthony Williams (Atlanta, GA) Season Seven, Fifth Place
Prizes include an exclusive designer’s boutique in select Neiman Marcus stores and on NeimanMarcus.com, $100,000 dollars in technology and office space to help grow their business from HP and Intel, $100,000 cash from L’Oreal Paris, a feature spread in Marie Claire (for which he or she will serve as a guest editor for one year) and a sewing and embroidery studio provided by Brother International.
While Cameron Crowe directed “We Bought A Zoo,” he and his team juggled completing this fall’s “Pearl Jam Twenty” documentary and “The Union,” his film about the making of Elton John and Leon Russell’s 2010 album of the same name, which comes out in January.
“They all fueled each other,” Crowe says, noting that he’s hardly the first moviemaker to multi-task. “To me, the best documentary certainly in the last 25 years was [2005’s] ‘No Direction Home,’ and I heard [Martin] Scorsese did that while he was doing ‘The Departed’.”
For “We Bought A Zoo,” which had a sneak peak this past weekend (read Drew McWeeny’s glowing review here) and will open nationally on Dec. 23, Crowe knew that for the first time in one of his movies, he wanted to focus more on a score than licensed music (although “Zoo” features a number of songs). “I just had the feeling that this was the movie where we could do more score than ever before,” Crowe told me when I interviewed him recently for a piece for Variety (this article includes a few comments from that piece, but primarily is previously unpublished material).
[More after the jump...]
Much more interesting to me this morning was Film Independent's list of nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards. Any slate that features multiple tips of the hat for "Drive," "Take Shelter" and "Beginners," love for Woody Harrelson in "Rampart" and recognition for Corey Stoll in "Midnight in Paris" is fine by me.
The announcement was made via Film Independent's Twitter feed. No online stream or TV announcement. The economy route. Which made things kind of hairy if you were also following the New York Film Critics Circle's feed at the same time. But it also brought a smile to my face to see, say, Albert Brooks winning a Best Supporting Actor prize for his work in "Drive" while at the same time receiving a nomination for same at the Independent Spirit Awards. Ditto Jessica Chastain and her work in "Take Shelter."
Still, let's not do this again, okay? Too much at once.
After all the extraneous stuff surrounding the New York Film Critics Circle and their vote, the organization finally sat down and painstakingly settled on its list of award winners for 2011 this morning. They were lapped by Film Independent's Independent Spirit Awards announcement (more on that in a moment), which was revealed via Twitter, just as the NYFCC announcement was. But when the dust finally settled, it was an ode to silent cinema that walked away with the goods.
Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt were each cited for their work in "The Tree of Life," alongside other projects they have in play this year, while Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady") and Albert Brooks ("Drive") rounded out the acting honors. "Moneyball" also did quite well, nabbing Best Screenplay and getting cited alongside "The Tree of Life" for Pitt's award.
If you didn't keep track in real time, you can read my commentary on all of the award winners below. From here, the National Board of Review takes the baton on Thursday and the circuit marches on.
Film Independent announced the nominees for the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards this morning and "Take Shelter" and "The Artist" received the most nominations with five each. "The Descendants," "Drive" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" received four respectively. Surprising nominations came for internationally financed "The Artist" in the best feature film category and George Clooney and Kirsten Dunst not receiving nominations in the lead actor categories.