Ramin Bahrani's robust farmland drama "At Any Price" has been splitting the critics since its premiere at last year's Venice Film Festival, where it was greeted with scattered boos: some admire its command of old-fashioned melodrama, while others find it gauche and contrived. It's an unfamiliar position for Bahrani, who received pretty universal adoration for his microbudget features "Man Push Cart," "Chop Shop" and "Goodbye Solo" -- the late Roger Ebert, in particular, was a vocal proponent of his work.
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Yesterday, Kris posted the "teaser" for the teaser of David Gordon Green's Sundance hit "Prince Avalanche." Today, we get the actual teaser, which is still doubtless a slip of a thing compared to whatever trailers hit in the near future. Movie marketing -- even for the little guys -- sure is a peek-a-boo process these days.
Anyway, the one-minute tease is charming enough, understandably selling the film on its loopy comedy rather than its affecting undertow of mourning for an endangered American spirit. The film's certainly funny enough not to bewilder audiences seeking another "Pineapple Express," but it represents a more considered integration of Green's earlier indie melancholy and recent broader comic instincts than the trailer lets on.
Competition reality television can be a cruel mistress. The moments when you behave like a perfectly decent person end up on the cutting room floor while the one time you snarl at a competitor who richly deserves it, they put it on a loop. But this season of "Project Runway" had to be one of the nicest in recent memory. It was low on villains, high on little acts of kindness, and featured some pretty damn good clothing to boot. But maybe I feel that way because the competitor for whom I was rooting, Michelle Lesniak Franklin, took home top honors. Whoot!
For my money, one of the most unexpected but exciting developments in the Marvel universe is the upcoming TV series, "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.", especially since Joss Whedon's the man in charge. There are very few people working in the field today who know how to build a television season for maximum impact the way Whedon does, and when he assembles a group of writers and actors, he has a knack for building amazing teams.
Today, an alleged spoiler went up online about the "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, and specifically the fate of Agent Phil Coulson, played in "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "The Avengers," and even the "Ultimate Spider-Man" animated show by Clark Gregg. His death was a major turning point for The Avengers as a team, and it helped unite them against Loki and the invading aliens. /Film seems pretty confident that their report is correct, and it certainly makes a logical sort of sense.
Stephen Sondheim is a titan in the world of musical theater, and it would seem self-evident that you'd want to make movie versions of his brilliant and successful stage events. Even so, even as Hollywood has started to come around to the notion of the musical once more, Sondheim's work has been slow to make the jump in recent years. I'm not talking about "West Side Story" or "Gypsy" or any of his early successes. I'm talking about the last ten to fifteen years of Hollywood, where Sondheim's name just hasn't been the same powerhouse it once was.
Sure, we've got a movie version of "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street" from a few years ago, but I think most Sondheim fans had their issues with the adaptation, and rightfully so. Sondheim may be the most demanding composer working in American musical theater, and even the best singers who have tackled his material have found it to be a challenge. Casting non-singers (the kindest possible term for Helena Bonham Carter) in a lead in one of his productions seems like cruelty to both performer and audience.
The all-star Competition lineup for next month's Cannes Film Festival just got a little starrier. And sexier. "Only Lovers Left Alive," a vampire romance from veteran independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, was one of the more surprising omissions when the Official Selection was unveiled last week: Jarmusch has a long history with Cannes, after all, and the film was widely assumed to be ready in time. What was the problem?
Hmmm. I really don't know what else I can say about "Mud." I love the movie. There is no way it won't land on my top 10 at the end of the year. I've been over the moon since I saw it pre-Sundance and I haven't been too worried about over-hyping it because I think it will find and land comfortably with its audience.
We talked to star Matthew McConaughey. We talked to director Jeff Nichols. Guy had his less-enthusiastic say in Cannes last year and I offered my counter in Park City eight months later. Will we be talking about it at the end of the year, when the awards season takes hold? Time will tell. I certainly hope so. But for now, I'm encouraging all the film lovers I know to check it out this weekend, and that includes you. It's opening in limited release and I'll be eager to see how it's received, so when/if you get around to seeing it, head on back here with your thoughts. And as always, feel free to vote in the poll below with your reaction.
As promised yesterday, The Wanted has released a snippet of the British band’s new single, “Walks Like Rihanna” and the Dr. Luke-producer tune is pretty much exactly what you would expect: a uber-pop ditty with the chorus “She can’t sing/she can’t dance/but who cares/she walks like Rihanna.”
[More after the jump...]
Originally slated to play only four dates, Black Sabbath has expanded its 2013 North American tour to 20 shows, starting July 25 in Houston.
The tour will follow the release of Black Sabbath’s Rick Rubin-produced new album, “13,” out June 11, featuring the song “God Is Dead,” which was released last week. The album is the first to feature lead singer Ozzy Osbourne since 1978’s “Never Say Die.?
The band, which also includes Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, kicked off its 2013 world tour April 20 in Auckland, New Zealand.
7/25 Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (on sale May 4th)
7/27 Austin, TX – Frank Erwin Center (on sale May 4th)
7/29 Tampa, FL – Live Nation Amphitheatre (on sale May 11th)
7/31 W. Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre (on sale May 4th)
8/2 Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live (on sale May 10th)
8/4 Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
8/6 Detroit, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre (on sale May 4th)
8/8 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena (on sale May 4th)
8/10 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center (on sale May 4th)
8/12 Boston, MA – Comcast Center
8/14 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
8/16 Tinley Park, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (on sale May 4th)
8/18 Indianapolis, IN – Klipsch Music Center (on sale May 4th)
8/22 Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena (on sale May 4th)
8/24 Seattle, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre
8/26 San Francisco, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View (on sale May 4th)
8/28 Irvine, CA – – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/30 Phoenix, AZ – US Airways Center
9/1 Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
9/3 Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Sports Arena
A quick review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as I place an ad on Craigslist...
Before we get started, is anyone working on a song using the dialogue between Fitz and Olivia as the lyrics? "I cannot exist without you, I cannot breathe without yoooou!" Cue piano glissade! "I'm nothing and you are everything, and I need you to give me another chance!" I'm serious, it could work. But I digress. This episode wasn't about Fitz and Olivia, not really. This episode was about Huck and his sad, bad backstory that we had all expected to hear about eventually even as we kind of preferred being left in the dark. As messed up as Huck is, you knew it had to be bad with a capital B.
"You won't have that question for us after 'Captain America 2,'" Kevin Feige said. "You'll see. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been busy."
From the moment they sat down to the moment I left the room, Kevin Feige was smiling. Sometimes more than other times, but always smiling. And why not? Phase One of the Marvel Universe movies, one of the most ambitious commercial plans of all time, is in the books and up on the shelf and they pulled it off. They did what they set out to do, and they succeeded in a way that even the most generous best-case scenarios wouldn't have guessed possible.
In "Iron Man 3," Marvel has an enormously confident first step for Phase Two of the Marvel Universe films, and the hiring of Shane Black was a major part of making this such a strong and personal-feeling way to launch the next wave of character movies. When I asked them my enormously nerdy first question at the press day, I tried to keep it very short and simple and direct.