Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Generic Titles, Specific Films

Day 4~6 IIFF
Nathaniel reporting from the Indianapolis International Film Festival
I'm spending today (day 6) mostly comatose in my hotel room. When my eyes are open (not often) I'm catching up on various "to-dos" and reading. I needed a break from sitting in dark rooms staring at the screen. But here's the cinematic stuff from the past few days.

True Love One of those 'hyperlink' films we were just talking about. This comes from writer/director Henry Barrial and is set in Los Angeles. There's three separate romantic couples ...all eventually connected, yes. There's no official site and unfortunately the IMDB synopsis and its title make it sound just stiflingly clichéd. But it isn't and it works. The characters were compellingly flawed and in not immediately recognizable ways, either. Best in show is Val Lauren (pictured left) who plays an unceasingly aggressive self-made man. If this film gets distribution I expect it'll do major things for his heretofore minor career (lot of TV guest spots and the like) This movie also answers the question that none of you have been asking: What has Randall Batinkoff been up to? Remember him? He got Molly Ringwald pregnant in the 80s in the film For Keeps and in this new film he's desperately trying to get his wife pregnant. All things come full circle I suppose. He's good in the film too... didn't mean to sound snarky. B/B+

After the Fall This documentary is about two sets of fathers and sons and their relationship to the Vietnam war: one father was a draft dodger who moved to Canada, the other a marine. The movie gets a bit bogged down in the minutae of an admittedly interesting plot twist --- the documentarians run into trouble with the government in Ho Chi Minh city (formerly Saigon) --but whenever the narrative focuses on the fathers and their sons it's a keeper. The intergenerational angle proves a compelling an accessible hook for looking at the Vietnam war and also contemplating America's current wartime nightmare. Iraq is mentioned often by the fathers, without any noticeable pushing on the part of the filmmakers, which says a lot I think.

World Cinema
I'm on this jury so just nibbles, no grades. Burn the Bridges (pictured right) is from Mexico and is about siblings trying to make their way into adulthood. They've got considerable baggage to lug around with them on this emotional journey in the form of unfulfilled sexuality and a dying mother. This Beautiful City, an award winner from Canada, deals with a gentrifying neighborhood where rich couples end up intermingling with addicts and hookers. It's yet another 'multiple characters who are connected in ways you don't realize' drama. That genre is getting so popular with filmmakers. It's Better If Gabriela Doesn't Die (Mexico was popular with the selection committee at the IIFF apparently), is a comedy about a telenovela writer and a cop who is obsessed with his show. It's got an outlandish melodrama overlay (by way of telenovelas) and thriller elements too. It works better than its disparate elements suggest it will. I laughed heartily at one joke that played right into a pet peeve of mine about the overreliance of shot / countershot filmmaking from today's directors.

Dan Butler Double
Dan Butler is still best known for his "Bulldog" Briscoe role on Frasier and for being one of the first known television actors to come out of the closet (before the days of Ellen, Rosie, TR Knight, etcetera) but he's been working steadily in films since the 80s. He showed at the festival (he's a native of Indiana) to support a film he stars in and co wrote and co directed called
Karl Rove, I Love You which he and his directing partner are calling a "fictional documentary". The sometimes hilarious and ocassionally disturbing faux doc is about Butler's search for a dream role that will elevate him from the supporting actor ranks. The dreaming leads to an unhealthy obsession with the "ultimate supporting player" George Bush's puppet master Karl Rove. Long story. I got a chance to sit down with Dan and his co-director Phil Leirness so I'll have that interview for you later.

Dan also has a medium sized supporting role in the Alaskan-set feature Chronic Town. His name in the credits is "Blow Job" --quite something to have on your resume. But the film is about a frequently stoned cabbie named Truman and his similarly wayward friends. The cinematography was affecting and the film is blessed with a welcome humanity --it's filled with disreputable types but none of them are approached with much in the way of typical movie judgments even when narrative punishments occur. JR Bourne (pictured left), a Canadian actor with striking eyes and physicality, gives an extremely winning performance of a total loser. Like Val Lauren, discussed above, bigger things could happen for his career if this film could find a wider audience. B

Lunchtime Poll: There's So Many of You

The multiple character/ interlocking dramas storytelling device dates further back than Robert Altman though Altman was probably best known for it, deftly weaving multitudes of characters together for one dramatic or thematic or other effect. I'm beginning to think that there are too many of them being made now in the post Crash (2005) days. Or maybe that's just because I just finished watching one and did not like it.

Q: Which multiple interlocking characters film is your favorite? Do you like this subgenre of movies?

Please have at it in the comments.

Pfeiffer Working Through Her Birthday

I remain elated and shocked that Stephen Frear's adaptation of Cheri (see previous post for more on the project) is actually happening. But it is. Michelle Pfeiffer hasn't appeared in a prestige drama with a major director since Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence (1993). If the results are similarly strong, we shall all be blessed.

<---I'm not sure if this is the first we've seen of La Pfeiff on set (one previous paparrazi pic was released but it doesn't look a thing like her to me) but better photos will surface. The Face has the short video in which the paparazzi shout "happy birthday" and as Pfeiffer ducks into her car you can hear her unmistakable American nasal responding with a "thank you!". You're welcome, Michelle.

I'm not sure who the costume designer is (no one is credited yet on IMDB) but this is probably lovelier up close when you can see detailing. The film costars Rupert Friend, Oscar winner Kathy Bates and rising newcomer Felicity Jones (Brideshead Revisited).

"Who is He Niobe" (that's a cute username that only true Pfeiffer pfanatics will get a big kick out of) has posted a lovely video on YouTube celebrating Michelle's entire career. It's chronological so you can watch her age as it goes. Not that she ages in the way we mere mortals do.

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

History repeating itself: Quad posters for the sophomore efforts from Bat auteurs.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Links 'R Us

I Don't Like You In That Way Jennifer Tilly is still hot
Blake Snyder the 3 most important movies of the past 40 years?
A Socialite's Life Jim Carrey and Rodrigo Santoro on the set of I Love You Phillip Morris. Oh dear. I do not trust these two with gay comedy. Ewan McGregor can stay.
MTV Movies Blog I follow Uma Thurman's career and somehow I never knew this: a great role that fell through
Moviehole the original magic twins will be doing a cameo in the remake of Witch Mountain. Yay! (on the cameo not the remake...okay so maybe it's not a "remake" but a franchise relaunch. But ewwww)
Vanity Fair celebrates many years of Madonna worship in their pages

Low Resolution a different kind of summer movie preview. The "I Ain't Seeing It" kind
Correct Opinion on the Lakeview Terrace trailer.
"Terminator Kama Sutra" (scroll down once you get there) --probably NAFW
speaking of metal...
Project: Rooftop a costume design contest for an Iron Man upgrade. Fun winning sketches.
Variety loves the quality and rock and roll spirit of Iron Man.

To Michelle on her 50th Birthday

My personal screen goddess Michelle Pfeiffer turns the big 5-0 today. Though Julianne Moore is more directly responsible for the start of my film writing career and other favored greats like Daniel Day-Lewis and Uma Thurman also share this birthday, Michelle is the patron saint of my cinephilia. She led me to deep movie loving in the late 80s and in many ways I've never been able to let go of her or the cinema since. Two years back I hosted a blog-a-thon in her honor. This year I have to keep it simpler if not small. In lieu of the regularly scheduled "tuesday top ten" I thought I'd share 50 reasons why I love Michelle Pfeiffer and why you should to. How do we love her? Let us count the ways.

50 Reasons To Love Michelle Pfeiffer
Links to movie titles go to their Netflix page for this post. Queue them.
It's my way of saying: see all her damn movies you pfool

okay 53... I lied
53. That amazing accent in Russia House (1990)
52. She's always better than her films. Even when her films are good.
51. The best Pfeiffer website is probably The Face. That that title is not an overstatement is a testament to her legendary beauty. (Plus: I need to give them a shout out since I am away from my home computer and nearly all the pictures in this post are borrowed therefrom)
50. You can tell from her very first movie Falling in Love Again (1979) that she had greatness in her. It's difficult to spot (as it often is first time out) until you get to one completely ravishing eroticized closeup ---the eroticism coming only from her. "The Face", indeed. She was barely 21.
49. She's fierce. No, let's say "ferocious" (see previous article: The Ferocity of Pfeiffer)
48. A good sport: a voice cameo as "Mindy Simmons" in The Simpsons and a surprise cameo on Picket Fences for her husband, TV powerhouse David E Kelley
47. That time she hosted the Muppets Tonight.

46. Queen of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999). Who else as magical could they have cast, really?
45. Val Kilmer once wrote a poem about her "The Pfeiffer Howls at the Moon" (previous post) and she's the type of woman one writes poems for, surely.
44. That hypnotic circling of the birdcage in Batman Returns (1992)
43. "Huge" Michelle gone blue in The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
42. We know she's perfection in Armani. But it doesn't matter what she wears. She looks great in everything from denim to drag.

Told ya so.

41. So fetching while brushing her teeth, newly aglow in Frankie & Johnny (1991)
40. For all her fame she's often a modest undervalued performer. Watch I Am Sam (2001) if you dare and notice how afterwards her performance is the only one that makes any sense or rings completely true. Naturally then, she's also the only actor among the leads who wasn't recognized for her work.
39. She can parody Hollywood bitch goddesses with the best of them: See Sweet Liberty (1986)
38. "I want a divorce!" -Married to the Mob (1988)
37. Visible nerves as she approaches a date with her estranged husband Bruce Willis in The Story of Us (1999)
36. She reliably adds a touch of reserved movie star glitter to the Emmy Awards, on her husband's arm while they're in his realm. Ocassionally she gifts other red carpets with her divine class.
35. That free range anger in A Thousand Acres (1997) and Scarface (1983) among several other films. It's a Pfeiffer specialty.
34. "So?" that unsophisticated inquiry puncturing the spell cast by her own audition in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

33. Boinked Mel Gibson in a hot tub in Tequila Sunrise (1988). Back when he was worth boinking.
32. Her paralyzed fear in the bathtub in What Lies Beneath (2000). She can act with her whole body but she really only needs her eyes. Bonus points: Gives credit where its due. Cited Drew Barrymore for inspiring her with her palpable terror in Scream (1996)
31. Made Claire Danes cry in To Gillian on her 37th Birthday. Claire Danes used to cry so well, don't you think?
30. Lacerating her family over the holidays in Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
29. She is a celebrity photographer's dream.

28. The way she spits out "Tracy" each time she has to use the name in Hairspray (2007)
27. She introduced Vonda Shephard to David E Kelley making Ally McBeal that much more memorable for having its own signature voice.
26. Her lovely breathy singing voice used to great effect in Fabulous Baker Boys, Hairspray, Grease 2, and The Prince of Egypt. We're not counting Up Close and Personal since it's terrible and because she sang off key on purpose.

25. That dripping wet swimming pool seduction with Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick (1987) or maybe the way she writhes on the bed in lingerie or eats cherries? So many choices when she's playing Sukie Ridgemont.
24. Her chiaroscuro cool in the video "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio. Yes, I prefer it to Dangerous Minds (1995). It's shorter.
23. Martin Scorsese, Jeff Bridges, Emma Thompson and Jonathan Demme all love her. That's good company to be in.
22. One could argue she's the American Deneuve.
21. The way she turns to the camera, her face bathed in moonlight, framed by a black hood in Ladyhawke (1985). Breathtaking.
20. Getting ready for her date with George Clooney in One Fine Day (1996). Yummy.
19. "Cool Rider" in Grease 2 (1982). Sheer guilty bliss. And also: tight tight pants.
18. Lurene Hallet in Love Field (1992). See previous guest post by Nick.
17. We imagine she's a great mom.
16. A recent triple comeback triumph: delicious comic evil in both Hairspray (2007) and Stardust (2007) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Finally!

15. Her silly abandon on that first date with Matthew Modine in Married to the Mob (1988), her finest comedic performance.
14. Those bookish glasses she favors in real life. Endearing.
13. Reliably great chemistry with co-stars whether they're playing her children, siblings, friends, rivals or romantic interests.
12. "10 cents a dance, that's what they pay me..." Michelle rising from the cabaret floor after collecting herself and her cheat sheet song lyrics in the fabulous The Fabulous Baker Boys
11. Though her Hollywood persona often leans toward the ice goddess she's versatile. Watch those closeups in One Fine Day for a lesson in effortless movie star warmth.

10. "I am sorrow" as expressed in Ladyhawke. And amply prophesying many future roles.
09. Speaking of sorrow... Countess Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence (1993)
08. She's the very picture of erotic submission in Dangerous Liaisons (1988): "Her eyes are closing" ... indeed.
07. Making a glamorous entrance, back exposed, in the descending elevator in Scarface (1983)
06. Coke-addled Elvira telling Tony what's what in a swanky restaurant in Scarface (1983)
05. That unblinking predatory stare in White Oleander (2002). Spooky.
04. "Makin' Whoopee" and everything else about Susie Diamond in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
03. Those line readings in Batman Returns (1992) are to die for. Every last one of them. "meow"
02. The promise of new films. Personal Effects (2008) is next to be followed by a reunion with her Dangerous Liaisons director for the period romantic drama Cheri (2009). Cross your fingers and pray for more.
01. She's one of the most beautiful and talented women who ever lived. Still.

I left many things out. I wrote it quickly. The list is too short.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Before You Die, Uma Thurman's Career Flashes Before Your Eyes

Having never had a near-death experience, I have no idea how true it is that your life flashes before your eyes before you die. But given my actress, um, proclivities I wouldn’t be surprised if before I die, Uma Thurman’s life flashes before mine. She’s long been a divisive actress but whatever her flaws, she’s easy on the eyes.

Uma Thurman, even prettier than flowers. Well done God.

If one were feeling generous one could say roughly the same thing about her latest showcase, the drama The Life Before Her Eyes. It doesn’t want for surface beauty. But let’s set generosity aside, beauty being skin deep.

The Life Before Her Eyes is based, faithfully I hear, on the acclaimed novel by Laura Kasischke. It’s the story of two teenage girls whose lives are interrupted by a high school shooting. This might read like a spoiler but it’s early in the picture: the girls are trapped at gunpoint by a murderous classmate and asked to decide who should live and who should die. It’s a Sophie’s Choice moment but since it’s the kick off point to the story it lacks the potency of that wrenching reference point. The story splits itself in two, following one of the girls (Diana) as both an adolescent in the days before the shooting and as an adult still suffering survivor’s guilt and depression as the 15th anniversary of the shooting approaches...

Read the Full Review @ Pajiba

Minnie, Mexicans, Meanderings and Murder

IIFF Day 2 & 3
Nathaniel reporting from the Indianapolis International Film Festival
It's going to be tough to top Famke Janssen (day 1). And that's not a play on her Bond Girl name "Xenia Onatopp". That's just the facts.

The Movies
Young @ Heart - is already playing in several of the big markets but when you're in the Midwest you sometimes wait and wait and wait (I grew up in Michigan. I know), hence the festival showing before its actual opening in these parts. This documentary, about a choir of 70-90somethings who sing contemporary songs (some even on key!) as well as rock and roll classics is nearly impossible to resist. I found myself grinning and rarely note-taking. As such it's critic proof though critics are human too and will shove both thumbs as high up as their rotator cuffs allow. That said this doc does want for a little more range, as it's relentlessly upbeat even when it should dig deeper. Its taste for repetition also squeezes out the opportunity to paint a broader picture of the history and inner workings of this organization that seems to be a beautiful and beneficial one, both in concept and longevity. On a final note: I have no idea how cool or uncool it is to love Coldplay these days but, damn, "Fix You" is just a gorgeously moving song.

Take , which is also playing at the Tribeca Film Festival now, tells us two parallel flashback stories: one concerns an overworked mom (Minnie Driver) with an unruly handful of a son and the other a blue collar gambling addict in serious financial trouble (Jeremy Renner). We know from the earliest sequences that tragedy will strike as their paths converge. We just don't know how. The journey then is waiting to see how it happens and how the two will be reunited for the finale. Minnie and Jeremy both have fine moments if at first curiously blank characterizations. Take plays mostly like a confident debut for writer/director Charles Oliver but the structural conceit (I won't spoil it for you though it isn't exactly a twist) is awkwardly handled and little of the final impact that's probably intended comes through. I hope he gets the chance to make a second film (you never know with indies and debut directors)

Here's the trailer...

Munyuranagabo (Rwanda) and Cochochi (Mexico) were two world cinema pieces with surface similarities. Both are leisurely paced cultural snapshot films about two young boys travelling their homeland together. In the former, set post-genocide in Rwanda, two best friends (a Hutu and a Tutsi boy) travel together with disparate agendas and shared naivete on their way to avenge a murder. But after stopping to visit one of their families, their easy friendship is tested by long standing cultural anger, sorrow and prejudices. In the latter film, the first to be shot in the Tarahumara language (it also played in the Discovery section at Toronto) two brothers lose their father's horse on a trip to bring medicine to an old woman. Unfortunately I can't tell you yet which I preferred since I'm on the jury.

Also in the World Cinema section: Magazine Gap Road (Hong Kong) which is about two former escorts (Tawainese model Jessey Meng and Chinese actress Ying Qu) trying to leave the world of prostitution behind. One has become a successful curator and the other is a junkie. It's a crime drama essentially, and despite the lurid subject matter, quite tame in its onscreen depictions.

The only one of these three I can see as a possible Oscar submission in the foreign language film race (based on the size of their respective film industries) is the film from Rwanda. But, given Oscar rules and Rwanda's lack of submissions in the past, that might be a hard sell. Munyurangabo has an American director but the rest of the cast and crew is from Rwanda. If Rwanda decides to submit it, will it be considered indigenous enough?

Other Shenanigans
Inbetween screenings Nick and I talked Oscar (you know how we do) and as soon as he took off --I'm on my own now-- I ran to Borders to buy the book he was raving about: Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of New Hollywood (by Mark Harris, Tony Kushner's husband). How he pitched it to me was describing it as one chapter of Inside Oscar but as long as we always wished every single chapter to be. Sold! The book is about the Best Picture nominees of 1967 and the various threads in the overall cultural landscape and Hollywood narrative that they represent (intentionally or un).

We also talked Battlestar Galactica... or watched it rather (shards of season 1). Nick is teaching a course at Northwestern on gender and sexuality in contemporary science fiction so he's got to get caught up in case any of his students decide to write papers on BSG. I'm guessing several of them will.

Happy Birthday, Mary McDonnell

JA from MNPP here, momentarily guest-blogging for Nat while he's in Indy.

Today marks the fifty-sixth year that Mary McDonnell has been here on the planet known as Earth, so say we all. McDonnell's been great in many, many roles over the years, plenty of which I've personally loved her in in the past, but - as my opening sentence there makes obvious - to me she'll forever and always be President Laura Roslin.

For those of you unaware - and I am aware that that's probably many of you, since the ratings aren't as sky-high as they ought to be - Roslin is the character McDonnell has brought to life on Battlestar Galactica. School-teacher turned president when the rest of the world exploded save 50,000 or so human souls, Roslin is sort of what would happen if Laura Bush ate Karl Rove, but were actually a likable person at the same time.

But as I said, McDonnell's had a sturdy career, coming at me every few years or so with another role to etch itself into my consciousness. For good (Donnie's mother Rose in Donnie Darko, baby-crazy Claire in Grand Canyon, Mary-Alice in Passion Fish) or for evil (The floundering First Lady in Independence Day, "Stands With A Fist" in Dances With Wolves), she's always sort of been around, making me smile. And now, thanks to BSG, she's earning the accolades and awards she's so deserving of... wait, what's that you're saying? BSG doesn't own the Emmys ass year after year? Out the airlock with 'em!!!

Share in the comments any McDonnell love you might have.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

April Showers

Linkup on South Street

Rob Scheer loves those actors but still hates Deception
The Hot Blog quotable Ang Lee @ Ebertfest
GreenCine Daily The Lola Awards in Germany. Fatih Akin wins big
Thompson on Hollywood anticipating Synecdoche New York (production still!)
Filmmaker Directors Fortnight at Cannes heavy on French film. One from the US.
Victim of the Time on Happy Go Lucky and Son of Rambow
Coming Soon Tilda Swinton to star in an Italian film
Guardian Unlimited on the British reaction to the Cannes lineup

StinkyLulu's "Supporting Actress Smackdown"s are my favorite thing about the last Sunday in each month. Today he and his rotating team of actress freaks (I couldn't participate due to my trip) take on Grace Kelly  in Mogambo, Geraldine Page in Honcho, Marjorie Rambeau in Torch Song, Thelma Ritter in Pickup on South Street and Donna Reed in the best picture winner From Here To Eternity, the supporting actress field of 1953. They dismiss Oscar's eventual choice (Donna Reed in From Here To Eternity ... I'm fond of her performance and the film) but their imaginary winner results are a true nail biter. If Charlie Parker..., participates unknowingly in this Smackdown delivering a photo of Grace Kelly preparing for a role.

And while we're on the actress front: Here's a video about Julianne Moore's mermaid shoot for Disney

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Now Playing: Helen Hunt by Helen Hunt for Helen Hunt

I'm too busy festivaling to see anything opening now. But please do share in the comments if you have or will...

Then She Found Me -Helen Hunt wrote, directed, starred and also-- just see for yourself --designed the poster. I'm guessing... but Bette Midler forced to kneel before a glowing benelovent Hunt? The religious implications --the pop cultural implications! It's enough to sap my will to live. But if I don't go on then the Helen Hunt has already won.
Deal -Burt Reynolds is back. Not that you asked for him. He's playing a gambler.
Rogue -Was it my imagine or did the trailer (ages ago) used to hide what the killer was in this movie and now the poster has a huge freaking crocodile head on it. From the director of Wolf Creek and that apparently means something to some people. Here's a question for the ages: How does Radha Mitchell get so much work? I have nothing against or for her for that matter... but it's curious, don'cha think?
Standard Operating Procedure -Errol Morris investigates the Abu Ghraib photos
A Plum Summer -This has something to do with a kidnapped puppet and two young brothers and the FBI and it's also a true story and family film. What?

Baby Mama -Tina Fey gets Amy Poehler preggers. Will hilarity follow? Well Mean Girls and 30 Rock sure bust me up
Deception -Hugh Jackman is a bad bad man. Ewan McGregor (and everyone who watched the trailer) finds out! Meanwhile, how sexy does Michelle Williams look? Very
Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay -What Would Neil Patrick Harris Do?

Famke, Who Turns Rivers

IIFF Day 1
Operating on just 2+ hours of sleep (early morning flight) I hit Indianapolis, caught up with Nick, braved a food court (blech -- the bane of dining out), caught a few movies and then met Famke Janssen for a lengthy sit down. I didn't want to bury the lead... figured I'd cut to the chase. I knew you were waiting for her.

The Star
Famke Janssen, as striking in person as on screen, was all sharp and dark lines. I'm not talking about just her familiar angular beauty or the black asymmetrical dress and sleek hair she wore to this festival premiere. She was also smart and unsentimental about her career and character creations in our interview. I had a wonderful time meeting her and discussing her characters, old (Jean Grey --I had to ask you know) and new --she's very good in Turn the River (trailer), ably carrying the drama of a pool shark who can't get her life together and desperately wants custody of the child she lost. Loyal Film Experience readers will be delighted to hear that I even got Famke using the phrase "deglam" as we talked. I couldn't help myself!

The lounge where we chatted was too noisy for a podcast, but I'll have more of the interview for you in a week or so. I also met the amiable writer/director Chris Eigeman who you film buffs will know as an actor from those wonderful Whit Stillman movies (Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco) and Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming. We didn't have much time to talk but more later hopefully.

If you'd like to read more about the movie, I am pleased to let you know that Nick of Nick's Flick Picks wrote an actual review after our screening. Nick with new material. Yay!

The Movies
Psycho Hillbilly Cabin Massacre! (short) Mildly amusing and twisty. Gross but horror fans will really enjoy I'll bet.
World Builder (short) CGI heavy. A man is building a holograph city for purposes we don't learn until near the end of the overly sentimental film. The effects aren't groundbreaking but they're very professional and they work well in context and are hypnotic to watch.
Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (doc, US)
This was worth seeing for some film history that I was heretofore unaware of. Learned a few choice snippets about exhibition and double features in the 50s and a lot about Castle's career of making horror programmers like 13 Ghosts and House on Haunted Hill. My favorite parts where on The Tingler and Straightjacket (with Joan Crawford!). Asides to Rosemary's Baby and Hitchcock's Psycho (two of my favorite films ever) were also welcome --but I can't say that I thought it was well a put together doc. A puff piece surely. And if I never see another documentary that moves photos around and colorizes them (very The Kid Stays in the Picture) I will be quite pleased.

In the City of Sylvia (feature, Spain)
This feature by José Luis Guerín is about an artist who is still hung up on a woman he met six year prior. This played the major triple of Venice, Toronto and New York last year. It's in my jury category so I can't discuss it now.
Turn the River (feature, US)
Famke's vehicle. More on this when when it opens in May.

Cannes is Coming. Sean Penn Proclaimed Chief Opinion-Maker

Having served on a film festival jury and about to again, I'm always interested to know who will be taste-making for the Cannes festival. (Or course my duties and Cannes duties are dissimilar. Perhaps it's like neighborhood junior league to the World Series but I don't know sports so my analogy is surely wanting. Shut up!) To be on the jury at Cannes you generally have to be world reknowned or heavily awarded in the arts ...preferably both. If you're a beautiful famous actress, sometimes they let awardage slide and err on the side of fame. Here's who will be deciding who wins the Palme D'Or and other career-making honors this year...

Head of the Jury

actor/director/activist/next year's best actor Oscar winner?
"Is that my Palme D'Or winner in there? is that my Palme D'Or winner in therrrrre?"

Jury Members

Pictured from left to right: Actresses: Natalie Portman (USA) who you all know and (presumably) love, Alexandra Maria Lara (Born in Romania / Raised in Germany) who we recently saw in Control. Directors: Alfonso Cuaron (Mexico) Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men mark him as one of my favorite working directors, Rachid Bouchareb (France) who was nominated for Oscar's Best Foreign Language film recently with Algeria's Indigenes (Days of Glory), Actor: Sergio Castellito (Italy) who recently moved into directing with Don't Move (Italy) and Director Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul of Blissfully Yours and Tropical Malady fame (Thailand).

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hugh Jackman Pinches Himself. In a Manly Way!

Hugh Jackman's adamantium claws won't be onscreen again till 2009, but watch more and more Wolverine news litter the internet while we wait and wait... and wait. Here's a good snippet from Moviehole. Hugh doesn't want the kid who plays Wolverine as a youngster (Kodi Smit-McPhee) on the web because it's too full of pre-release speculation and movie expectations. Um, Hugh... he's 12. He's already running rampant online.

Wolverine, pinstriped @ 12 (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and @ 39 (Hugh Jackman)

The quote on Australia is also of note and goes like this
Recently I saw another five minutes, and I just pinch myself I'm a part of it. It's an amazing moment for Australian film. Fingers crossed we can pull off the ambitions being set
Aside from the visual of Jackman touching himself (OK, pinching isn't that sexy but it's Jackman -- shut up!) it's nice to see some honesty in sound bite interviews. There's both excitement, pride and a little worrying in there. As well there should be.

Yes, I'm too obsessed with Australia. Help me!

Incidentally, the apparently pin-stripe loving Kodi Smit-McPhee already played son to Eric Bana in Romulus My Father (for which the young actor won big raves) and before Wolverine (or after depending on release strategies) you'll see him as Viggo Mortensen's son in the upcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Quite a collection of father figures this kid is amassing with just three years in the biz.

Nathaniel and Nick Hit Indy

Not Indy as in Indiana Jones (he'd hit back) but Indianapolis as in the Indianapolis International Film Festival

Mobile post sent by nathanielr using Utterz. Replies. mp3

Linkrise: A Post of Too Many Links

Self Styled Siren "In Defense of Melodrama" Tom O'Neil's diss of Sunrise just won't die on the internets, but the Siren is always a great read. If you haven't seen the film in question, queue it. I'd devote a whole week to silent movies if I thought any of ya cared enough.
Egotastic More Julianne Moore in Paris Vogue. Too bad she doesn't get this naked in the movie she's promoting
Village Voice's Tribeca coverage includes an interview with the quotable Guy Maddin on his film My Winnipeg
Empire on the upcoming (still) DVD release of the Kill Bills fused together. I'd like that to come out as much as anyone but it actually angers me to read about all the extras QT is writing/making for it. Make another film damnit! Quit jabbering away to anyone who will listen and make some damn features. So freaking slow that man. So much talent going to waste
Flick Filosopher one of my Manhattan movie buddies, enjoyed Comic Con more than I. She has abundant photos to prove it. Speaking of Comic Con, here's a pic I took that I forgot to post. I promise it's my last superhero reference until Iron Man opens. Here we see bitter enemies Emma Frost (The White Queen) and Jean Grey (Dark Phoenix) hangin' together like old friends

Why do I have this inexplicable desire to show this photo to Famke Janssen when I meet her @ the Indianapolis Film Festival? Or bring along my X-Men: Dark Phoenix compilation for her to sign? (She can't be scribbling on the original issues but I got those, too)

Where were we... yes, yes, more links
StinkyLulu is planning a Madeline Kahn Appreciation Day. Mark your calendars.
My New Plaid Pants Adrian Barraza (so great in Babel) goes back to hell
Boy Culture on the Broadway adaptation of Cry Baby
Crazy Days and Nights on Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman's son Conor making his movie debut. Snarky but there's a choice LOL line about sunscreen
If Charlie Parker... Almodóvar helps his mom with her knitting
Vanity Fair David Poland and Elizabeth Hurlbut discuss the peni' in Apatow films

and finally
<--- Bauer-Griffin takes a well timed look back at Robert Downey Jr & Sarah Jessica Parker in the 80s. My how things have changed (and changed ... and changed) for both of them and their careers since. Should be a big summer for them, separately of course. (Calm down, Matthew!) Unless Iron Man is cameo'in' for Sex & The City too! Could you imagine? Methinks the haters would be happier if it was The Incredible Hulk who tore through the cosmo-logged metropolis of the four sexy/funny ladies, though.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Julianne Moore as Ariel for Disney

In Julianne Moore's ongoing efforts to win me back, she has definitely struck gold. I am hereby renewing my vows. She did it by serenading me under the sea
...under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me....

What better way to renew our long time love than by portraying Ariel from The Little Mermaid (one of my all-time fav' films) for Annie Leibovitz. This image is for thatDisney Dream series which has featured Whoopi Goldberg as Aladdin's genie, Jessica Biel as Pocahontas (er...), Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella and Mikhail Baryshnikov as Peter Pan in the past]

Julianne and I are officially back together! May we never have a trial separation again. "What about Next with Nicolas Cage?" I hear you asking... "You hated that!"

"Never heard of it!" I reply forcefully before singing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' whilst covering my ears to block out any more of your evil and petty reminders of dark times I've put behind me.

P.S. 1 Here's Julianne to your left taking her daughter Liv to the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid. Oh the synergy. [image from obviously]

P.S. 2
the Liebovitz photo I got from Towleroad who buried the lead by making this photoshoot all about Michael Phelps as a merman. What?! It's freaking JULIANNE MOORE. Respect! I can't find a better copy of the image for now but I shall search. Oh yes, a sparklingly clear version shall be mine.

Dr. FilmBlog. Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Gay

navel gazing averse readers please ignore this post. I beg you. Thank you, -the management.

Is the blog too gay to function lately? Too superhero clogged? I tend to follow my moods but I worry that the film experience is a bit schizophrenic when my mood swings wildly from week to week, day to day... hour to hour? Next week: various film festival offerings --they're not exactly filled with homoeroticism and superheroes (unless the press notes are wildly off target)

Lately --was it those Disney hunks, the new Madonna video, the Savage Grace screening, all that showering? -- I've felt like TFE was getting even lighter in the loafers than usual. I worried, not in a self-loathing way, but in an all inclusive movie-loving way. I love the diverse readership I've built thank you muchly but you can't be all things to all people. What's more, I highly doubt that movie blogs written by straight men ever worry that they're being too narrow in their focus as they cover their cinematic interests. But such is the life of a navel gazing movie obsessed writer who loves actresses and superheroes and talky dramas and foreign films and a bunch of other things (as Gemini moods shift and strike) and who happens to be gay.

But this morning I breathed a giant sigh of relief. It's only a phase! Unbeknownst to myself I've merely been building up to the absolute gayest day of the year and had completely forgotten about. No, not gay pride... though in my opinion they should at least move National Coming Out Day to April 24th. For you see, today is the combined birthday of Shirley "It twirled up!" Maclaine (73), Barbra "Hello Gorgeous" Streisand (65) and flamboyant designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (55), he of the Milla Jovovich bandage dresses, Bruce Willis backless orange Ts, Madonna cone bras and Gael García Bernal in Bad Education costumes or lack thereof (among many other riveting accomplishments).

T'were a lot of gay birthed on this day.

I thought my blogosphere experience couldn't get any gayer this week and then, magically (but unsurprisingly) Planet Fabulon managed to up the homo ante with a video of Liza Minelli covering Donna Summer's Bad Girls. It's not Liza Minelli's birthday today but it really should be. That'd make this day complete. To get the Gay up front and center and therefore perhaps out of my system for a few posts (it's like totally singing along and out loud to that song that's stuck in your head. It's the only way to be free of it), here's a menage-a-cinque (is that an orgy?) of abso-fabu-lutely gayish vids. The aforementioned Liza number, Babs doing "My Man" (the Oscar was richly deserved) from Funny Girl, a hypnotic Jean Paul Gaultier perfume commercial, John Barrowman (Torchwood star) singing "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles and finally, a really well edited film montage. YouTube has a lot of poorly edited clip reels but this one, promoting the book '101 Movies Every Gay Man Should See', is really well done and features a pleasingly diverse group of films: documentaries, foreign films, American Indies and classics. Can you name them? How many have you seen?

That's a whole lotta gay. That's enough gay even for today, which is gay-gay-gay. Peace out.