Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives," the follow-up to his 2011 genre thriller "Drive," ranked pretty high up on Guy's recent wishlist of Cannes entries. It wouldn't be outrageous to anticipate a bow there, seeing as "Drive" was so warmly received on the Croisette, translating to a Best Director prize for Refn. Pity, though, that the awards season yielded a mere single Oscar nomination for the film, albeit in the unexpected (though no less deserving) field of sound editing.
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There are very few pieces of art that I consider flawless. If anything, flaws are part of what makes art fascinating. Once in a long while, though, I see something or read something that I consider a perfect execution of an idea, and one of the examples I'd give would be "The Remains Of The Day," the 1993 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Adapted from the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, the film is exquisitely crafted, and that script is remarkable for the way it communicates volumes of material with a single gesture. Anthony Hopkins is one of those guys who can ham it up when you ask him to, but the challenge of this script was to keep almost everything internal, and Hopkins rose to the challenge with what I would argue is one of the finest examples of film acting I've ever seen. Yes, it helps when you have Hopkins and Thompson at the top of their game, but that script is something else. You could teach an entire class on adaptation just by taking that film and comparing it to the source material.
Oddly, that's the one time she was nominated for an Oscar without winning. She took home the award for both "A Room With A View" and "Howard's End," although she didn't show up to accept either award. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen her interviewed or really learned much of anything about her. She was simply a constant presence in the world of highbrown period films for adults, a name you would see on a poster that automatically suggested a certain kind of polished, contemplative drama.
The members of Daft Punk like to hold onto their relative anonymity, yet want to promote the hell out of their next studio effort "Random Access Memories." So now they've launched a video channel to feature the album's various collaborators. Problem solved.
Up first to bat: legendary dance producer, label founder and studio-starter Giorgio Moroder, who regales viewers with tales on the come-uppance of dance music, working with disco queen Donna Summer and mentions he's working on a little "rap" with Daft Punk on "Memories."
And like Daft Punk itself, the clip has a high production value, and is nicely educational! Pencils down.
Sometimes technical difficulties aren't such a bad thing. Thandie Newton and I had just started discussing her new DirecTV drama, Rogue (her first spin as the lead in a TV series), and the clock was ticking. I had so many questions and so little time, I babbled out my first question more than asked it (and managed to call "Missing" and "Red Widow" movies instead of TV shows). But then, the camera guy called for the interview to stop. Something had gone wrong with his camera, so we needed to wait. And wait.
One thing's certain: it's hard to forget James Wan after you meet him.
For example, I've never heard anyone who worked with him have a bad word to say about the guy. That's genuinely unusual in this business, and you can't overrate the impression it makes on people. For another thing, you almost can't believe how wildly "Crocodile Dundee" he gets when he speaks. I think that's what I love about Australian accents in general... you can't go too big when imitating them, because they are big accents to begin with.
The last time I spoke to him, he was joined by his writing partner Leigh Wannell at the Magic Castle, part of the press day for "Insidious," and he seemed happy with the reactions he was getting for that one. One of the things we discussed in this new interview is how he's finally become more than just "the director of 'Saw,'" and how hard it is to be defined by the success of your first film no matter what else you do.
I think Wan won't have to worry about that after "The Conjuring" is released in July. It feels like he figured something out a few years ago and refocused himself, and the result has been a new energy to his filmmaking. During the WonderCon panel, as the clips were playing, I watched him watching the crowd, and every time they jumped or reacted or anytime someone tried to break the nervous tension in the room, Wan looked delighted. He genuinely loves the emotional experience of scaring the holy hell out of people, and he's more in touch with that skill set now than ever before.
The-Dream’s “Slow It Down” offers up the absolutely most ludicrous Winnie The Pooh reference we’ve ever heard in a song (courtesy of guest Fabolous), but that’s just one of the questions we have with the new clip.
[More after the jump...]
“Thrift Shop” continues its run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 as the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis track, featuring Wanz, spends its sixth week at the top. Also making news in the top 10 are Imagine Dragons and Nickelodeon’s Ariana Grande.
“Thrift Shop” reclaimed the top spot last week after being pushed out of the pole position by Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” which drops 2-4 this week.
“Shake” switches places with Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” which rises 4-2. Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” featuring Jay-Z holds at No. 3. Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” featuring fun’s Nate Ruess climbs 6-5, swapping places with Rihanna’s “Stay,” featuring Mikky Ekko, according to Billboard.
Imagine Dragons' alternative hit “Radioactive” finally becomes a pop hit as the song leaps 15-7, giving the rock group its first Top 10. Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” slides 7-8, pushing Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment,” featuring Christina Aguilera down one to No. 9.
Grande, whose “The Way,” featuring Mac Miller, leapt to the top of the iTunes singles chart last week, makes a similarly grand entrance onto the Billboard Hot 100, bowing at No. 10. That gives the “Victorious” actress the first Top 10 entrance for a female lead artist in five years. The last one was Yael Naim’s “New Soul” in February 2008.
To tell you the truth, I wasn't all that interested in seeing "Jurassic Park" in the summer of 1993. The movie that had me riled? "Last Action Hero." No, seriously. (And I'm a pretty big apologist for that Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner to this very day.) So I didn't even see Steven Spielberg's dinosaur spectacle in the theater when it was released.
Of course awareness was high. You couldn't escape it. TV commercials, toy stores, fast food tie-ins, it was everywhere. And in short order, it became the second-highest grossing film of all time, behind "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," giving Spielberg the one-two punch atop the domestic chart. This was before "Star Wars" saw a re-release four years later, which would take George Lucas' space epic past both Spielberg films, before "Titanic" would come along later and blow everything out of the water.
But back to "Jurassic Park," I caught up with it on VHS. And of course, I fell in love with it. For those in my generation, it was a pretty undeniable element. For my part, I gave that tape a workout, watching it countless times over the years. And when a chance came to see it projected on 35mm in film school, I leapt at the opportunity.
Earlier this year, as we welcomed FOX's "The Following" and A&E's "Bates Motel" to a blood-soaked TV landscape that already included "Criminal Minds," "Dexter," "Luther" and other shows that at least dabble in the serial killer arts, I wondered if perhaps I was simply tired of the whole genre. We were a couple of decades removed from "Silence of the Lambs," and it seemed like every single trope of serial killer fiction had been explored, made into cliche, and rendered unpleasant.
Then I watched NBC's creepy, haunting, smart, utterly gorgeous new series "Hannibal" — yet another Hannibal Lecter project, no less — and realized that it's not the genre that had gotten tired, but the execution of it. I went into "Hannibal" (it debuts tomorrow night at 10) dreading it and came away five episodes later thrilled by it.
When I wrote about my always-evolving feelings towards spoilers last week, I got several e-mails from people asking if that means I'll never write about a movie during production again.
Of course not.
It just means that I am trying to be more conscious of what I say about something while it's being made, and I want to try to safeguard your experience with a film. I don't want to be the reason someone has to scrap an idea again, and I've put my foot in it enough times that I'm trying to figure out how to do my job better.
Now, when a studio decides to release a big sneak peek like Marvel did with the Phase One box set they put out, I consider that fair game. I would still warn that if you don't want to know anything, don't look at the gallery we've attached below, but if you don't mind being teased a bit, I think this is a great job of showing us enough to get fans talking but not enough to ruin anything they've got coming between now and "The Avengers 2."
Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" is getting the 3D treatment this weekend on the occasion of the film's 20th anniversary. We'll circle back later this week with some thoughts on the film and the conversion, but with it in mind, the HitFix team started pondering what other films we might consider seeing converted to 3D.