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Interview: Alex Gibney on exposing the Catholic Church and giving voice to the deaf in 'Mea Maxima Culpa'
From misplaced questions to accidental transcription errors, interview fumbles are obviously to be avoided under any circumstances, but you particularly want to be on your game when the subject is one of America's preeminent documentarians – someone whose own profession is built on a level of journalistic expertise. So you can imagine my mortification when my iPhone recently took it upon itself to wipe its own memory clean – deleting, among other things, all aural evidence of my face-to-face conversation with Alex Gibney at last month's London Film Festival.
The prolific filmmaker, an Oscar-winner in 2007 for his devastating legalized-torture study “Taxi to the Dark Side,” was in town for the European premiere of his superb new film “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” which would win him the festival's Best Documentary award the very next day. The film, which hits US theaters today, is not the first to examine the horrific history of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, but it is arguably the most penetrating, methodically tracing a dense network of crime and cover-up all the way from Milwaukee to the Vatican itself. It could well earn Gibney a deserved third Oscar nod.
If today felt slightly more funeralesque than any usual Friday, it might be because of the new music video from the now-deceased R.E.M. About a year and a couple of months after the legendary rock troupe called it quits, they've unleashed a clip for "Blue," off of final "Collapse Into Now," directed by human hallucinogen James Franco and troubled star Lindsay Lohan.
Zip up your pants and get ready for a litany of cross-fades, a bleating mass of L.A. landscapes and characters, all over top the spoken-word, sad-sung mixture of Michael Stipe and Co.'s Lou Reedian nightmare. Franco can't help but insert himself into some shots, and Lohan's image fades inas she's being photographed by Terry Richardson (whose pervy, contemporary stylings have erupted this week for Lady Gaga's "Cake" promo-erection).
So Lohan's in a frame within a frame, as she struggles with fame. I see what you did there, Franco, but I'm still wary of that "Great and Powerful Oz" trailer.
Jose Padilla is an enormously talented filmmaker. Let's just get that out of the way up front. I want to believe that he's going to take "Robocop" and make something special of it. I want to believe that he's going to successfully navigate the Hollywood system and make something that is worth his time.
Earlier this year, I unintentionally stirred up a fair amount of noise when I commented on the script for the remake while I was reading it. I was on Twitter one night and having a hard time believing what I was reading, and I may have been unkind about the project. But as even the licensing reel that showed up online today notes, the original still regularly shows up on lists of the best of the genre, and for good reason. The alchemy that went into that film has proven impossible to reproduce with any of the sequels or the TV shows, and it seems to me that they're making some big weird choices in trying to get "Robocop" right.
Nicki MInaj and Lil Wayne don't use the term "High School" like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa did for their grass-loving film, but instead use it as a touchstone for maturity. No, this ain't like high school, Minaj declares on her new track "High School," right before laying out a detailed narrative in her rap verse then launching into sexy-time talk. She's still finding that nice balance of pop and rap, of flirtation and provocation, and her words reflect that.
Lil Wayne's turn on "High School," on the other hand, doesn't show much progression. Did you know Lil Wayne likes oral sex? Oh, then spoiler alert.
I finally got around to watching "Nicki Minaj: My Truth," the star's E! feature, last night. In "Part 2," Tunechi shows to the studio for his verse on this track, and apparently takes eight hours to dole this one out. The show is a good reminder of just how many handlers entertainers need (or feel like they need) but also just how the "creative" process works when there's only a day of available time. What I'm trying to say is, Wayne could do better than this, but this is what we got, perhapsbecause he only had one day to do it.
Minaj has promised more rap that her pop persona on the deluxe reissue of "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded - The Re-Up." "High School" is just one of the five new songs, and between that, excellent "The Boys," there's some improvement. She's busily promoting the Nov. 19 arrival of "The Re-Up" re-release, plus her forthcoming season of "American Idol" as a new host and launching her first fragrance. I'll give you three guesses as to what her perfume is named, but you'll only need on.
Promotions for each below.
I have not read "The Mortal Instruments," mainly because there are only so many hours in the day and there are now roughly 100,000 different Young Adult series that deal with romance and the supernatural, and I have to sleep and eat occasionally.
Screen Gems is gambling on this as a new franchise that can put them into the same sort of business that Summit has so beautifully managed over the last few years with the "Twilight" franchise and which every studio in town has been chasing as hard as possible. Lionsgate managed to pull it off with "The Hunger Games," but there are plenty of examples of where it's gone wrong, the cinema landscape littered with the corpses of "City Of Ember," "The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising," "Eragon," and more. At first glance, I'm not sure what sets "The Mortal Instruments" apart. It looks like a riff on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," with Lily Collins starring as Clary Fray, a girl who learns that she is not a mortal, but is instead a powerful being born to hunt and kill demons on Earth.
Oh, I see… Friday is trailer day. Lots and lots of new trailers, and they're all over the map in terms of genre and tone.
I had no idea Paul Rudd and Tina Fey were making a film together, and I always enjoy it when a trailer shows up out of nowhere like this. It's a Paul Weitz movie, so I'm going to guess it falls somewhere between a traditional comedy and a traditional drama. It features Wallace Shawn, Michael Sheen, Gloria Reuben, and Lily Tomlin, and it's aiming for a March 2013 release.
Here's the synopsis for the film:
Straight-laced Princeton University admissions officer Portia Nathan (Fey) is caught off-guard when she makes a recruiting visit to an alternative high school overseen by her former college classmate, the free-wheeling John Pressman (Rudd). Pressman has surmised that Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), his gifted yet very unconventional student, might well be the son that Portia secretly gave up for adoption many years ago. Soon, Portia finds herself bending the rules for Jeremiah, putting at risk the life she thought she always wanted — but in the process finding her way to a surprising and exhilarating life and romance she never dreamed of having.
Here's the trailer, via Yahoo! Movies:
LOS ANGELES – If LA film lovers are looking for something to do this holiday, look no further than the Stanley Kubrick exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A touring treasure trove of artifacts from the famed filmmaker's career that has already made stops all over the world, from Frankfurt to Berlin, Melbourne to Ghent, Zurich to Rome, Paris to Amsterdam, it has set up shop in LA through June 30, 2013 and is well worth the $20 admission price.
As soon as you walk through the giant glass doors you're met with a career spanning three shorts and 16 features, including the uncompleted "Napoleon" and "Aryan Papers," as well as the Steven Spielberg-directed "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence," which Kubrick developed. A pair of video walls in a dark room greet you first, with clips from a number of films to get you in the right frame of mind. Then the journey really begins.
Ke$ha's trying to corner the current market on low-brow pop tartalage, having started with party anthem "Tik Tok" and bringing her up to Hooters and Budweiser name-checking on "Come On," released today. Even as single "Die Young" continues to ascend toward the top of the Hot 100, her label is obviously eager to get more of a party going by time her new album "Warrior" drops on Nov. 30.
Stopping here: If there's anything to be learned from Morrissey is that if you're only going to sing three or four notes ever, you'd better sing them well -- or at least make them yours. "Come On" may be one of the least imaginative melodies to come from Ke$ha's camp (camp being operative), sung by a still-rising pop star who I think has traditionally good instincts for a hook. But of the four notes that she really sings, she makes them all her own.
Despite her marketing efforts to align her with Hollywood trash, I like to think of Ke$ha's voice as the Midwestern accent of the singing world. It's all hard consonants and dipthongs, and the over-emphasis on mispronounced words like your mom saying she's going to get her herr done. The "yum" lyrics in "Come On" nod heavily at Salt-N-Pepa's "Shoop," as generic "carpe diem" all-nighter messaging hits on par with Katy Perry's "T.G.I.F." It's all pretty safe stuff from a self-sworn member of the Illuminati (go watch "Die Young's" video).
If you want more hard edges from "Die Young," Dr. Luke has just released a remix of that track with rap cameos from Juicy J, Becky G and Wiz Khalifa. Check that below, too.
Zoe Saldana, Anna Kendrick and rapper-actor Common will present the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Award nominees.
The three presenters will unveil the nominees in a press conference at 10:00 am PT on Tuesday, November 27 at The W Hollywood.
Co-Presidents Sean McManus and Josh Welsh jointly made the announcement today.
Last week, I told you all about my new book, "The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever," and said that it would go on sale around the week of Thanksgiving. As it turns out, the Kindle and Nook editions of the book were released much earlier than expected, while the paperback has come out slightly ahead of schedule today. (Other digital editions, for the iBookstore, Sony Reader, Kobo, etc., should be coming at some point in the next few weeks. The distributor I use for those sites works on a different schedule from everyone else. But if you want to read it on an iPad or iPhone, the Kindle app is really good, and is what I use for eBooks.)