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Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.
"American Hustle" star Amy Adams has been recognized by both the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Broadcast Film Critics Association this season. But in both instances she was relegated to designated comedy categories and it remains to be seen whether she can crack what has for months been a rather tight lead actress Oscar line-up.
With "Hustle" moving out into wider release this past weekend and scoring well at the box office, and as the film continues to find purchase with Academy voters, she might just find a foothold. She has her fans, but she also has her detractors, many of which highlight a flailing English accent as part of the trouble. But that can also be explained away as a character trait, and as the actress told HitFix in a recent interview, it was sort of freeing to not have to be a perfectionist on that particular detail.
Though not a Christmas movie per se, "Mary Poppins" shows up on TV schedules often enough at this time of year that it's come to be an unofficial seasonal staple -- and with "Saving Mr. Banks" now in theaters, more people than usual will be giving it another spin over the holidays. But does it merits its classic status? I'm firmly in the "yes" camp, but Kyle Buchanan is less convinced: "'The Sound of Music' is sturdily structured and well-cast down to its smallest roles; rewatching it now, there's really not a superfluous scene. Not so much with Mary Poppins, y'all ... The good parts are just as good as you remember — it's just that they've been overrun by so many boring parts that it's shocking. For every spoonful of sugar that Mary Poppins offers, there are two more spoons of medicine you've got to take first." Bah, humbug. [Vulture]
Here's what I don't understand about "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Every other episode or so, someone throws a fabulous dinner party or hosts a decadent weekend retreat, and for what? You can put out fine china and orchids and cute little appetizers, and you'll still get a gaggle of women squeezing one another's boobs, cackling about dead bodies ruining their scuba diving trips, whining about who got a heart on their place card and who didn't, and (in some cases) getting knock down, drag out, cheap sex in a dirty bathroom drunk. I mean, this week Yolanda should have just rounded up a few bags of Doritos, a party pack of Taco Bell burritos, and a plastic swimming pool of vodka Jell-O suitable for wrestling or inhaling. Unfortunately, instead it was peonies before swine.
This is the second "old guys doing young guy stuff" that Robert DeNiro has starred in this year, and it is by far the weirder of the two. That may be because it feels like a studio movie caught somewhere between two very different schools of comedy. The script is credited to Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman, which could account for the split-personality of the film. Kelleher is the writer of "First Kid," credited as a staff writer on "The Arsenio Hall Show" and "The Pat Sajak Show," while Rothman is a frequent collaborator of Nick Stoller's, one of the major creative voices on "Get Him To The Greek" and "The Five-Year Engagement," the author of the sharp and funny "Early Bird: A Memoir Of Premature Retirement," and the writer/producer of the crazy science-fiction comedy "The Something," which is in development at Universal. And just in case the script wasn't already struggling to fit these two very different voices, the film is directed by Peter Segal, responsible for such uneven efforts as "Anger Management," "Naked Gun 33 1/3," "Nutty Professor II," and "Get Smart."
So, "The Sing-Off" wrapped up the way all these types of competition shows do -- lots of singing, some cutesy-poo skits, some guest performances (Pat Benatar! 98 Degrees!), and then roughly three minutes of actual results. In this case, the whole of the two-hour season ender was considerably more entertaining than most of these shows, simply because the level of talent on the show is so phenomenal, the judges are plenty impressive as performers, and hey, there were Christmas songs!
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Great Quality TV Deluge of 2013 was how much of it came from brand-new series. It was an insanely good freshman class, not just from expected sources, like FX offering up another terrific prestige drama in "The Americans" or Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan's great partnership on "Masters of Sex," but from outlets that had never really made their own shows before. The year's most acclaimed new series was on Netflix — and it wasn't even "House of Cards," which got the most hype, but "Orange Is the New Black" — while channels like Sundance and BBC America alsogot in on the fun.
Ryan Murphy reveals how "Glee" would've ended had Cory Monteith lived
Here's an excerpt from Murphy's eulogy for Monteith: "Finn was going to have become a teacher, settled down happily in Ohio, at peace with his choice and no longer feeling like a Lima loser. The very last line of dialogue was to be this: Rachel comes back to Ohio, fulfilled and yet not, and walks into Finn's glee club. 'What are you doing here?' he would ask. 'I'm home,' she would reply. Fade out. The end."
Showtime announces "House of Lies Live"
An improv version of the Showtime series featuring its cast will air on New Year's Eve, with a preview going online the day before.
"Community" releases its "Mad Men" trailer
See Season 5 as the AMC series.
Rachel Zoe gives birth, names her baby "Kaius Jagger"
The Bravo welcomed her 2nd child on Sunday.
One of the weaker areas for Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" in the eyes of some is its story and screenplay. They cavalierly dismiss it as a ride without thematic substance, though of course they're dead wrong. It's a movie about — as Cuarón has breathlessly said since the beginning — adversity, yes, but also grief and, as cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki noted to me recently, how small we are despite our great personal drama (to steal an idea from Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life").