Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

I’ve been putting off writing this because I’ve not been sure how much I want to share about what this man meant to me. But it’s late, I’ve had a few beers, and I’mma just say what I want.



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Blog post for RL work on the Best Picture nominees here.

Will try to be tweeting a bit during the broadcast, but there’s wine and food and most importantly The Girls, so I’ll be focused on that rather than on my phone.

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The trailer makes this look disturbingly Juno-esque, i.e., chock full of jokes and too clever by half. The difference being, Chris Colfer was 20 when he wrote this, while Diablo Cody was in her 30s.

….Yeah, I’m still probably going to see it.

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The Cloons had two films at TIFF last fall, and before the festival opened it sure seemed like this was the one with the buzz. Yet The Ides of March disappeared from theatres relatively quickly and The Descendants is still out there, I guess ’cause people like seeing George Clooney cry and Hawaii’s real pretty.

It’s sure not going to appear in the pantheon of great political films, but Ides is a lot stronger and subtler than Good Night and Good Luck, Clooney’s last examination of political/media incest. The beats are pretty obvious: young ideologue (Ryan Gosling) joins up with Obama-esque campaigner (Clooney), gets disillusioned, and becomes what he beheld. And, of course, there’s a chick complicating things (Evan Rachel Wood) – naturally, she’s an intern who might as well walk around in a red dress the whole time, so clearly does she spell “Trouble.” (That’s “Trouble” with a T, which rhymes with P, and that stands for “Predictable.”)

So, no, the notion that political candidates have feet of clay isn’t going to shock anyone over the age of, like, 10, and when everything falls apart it all happens a bit too quickly (Jack Bauer never had such a crappy 24 hours). But the script, for which Clooney and his writing partners are nominated, is smart and punchy, helped along by the presence of the always-awesome Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti as rival campaign managers. (Note: a film about and starring these two would be at least five times as interesting, but probably would have tanked even faster at the box office. C’est la vie.) Given that it’s up against The Descendants and Hugo both of which have more nominations, an adaptation of a Le Carré novel, and the always bet-on-able Aaron Sorkin, it probably doesn’t have a chance at winning, but it’s the kind of movie you’re glad to see get made and recognized, so increasingly rare are thoughtful movies made for grown-ups.

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Ugh, it’s been ages. Between deaths in the family and work crises and moving (which is still not over) I’ve had almost no time to write anything, and even less inclination to do so. But I’m making a Summer Solstice Resolution: write every day, even if it’s so crap it should be burned for kindling. (Um, six months from now. ‘Cause it’s really friggin’ hot at the moment.) Also to come, a belated review of Glee Live! (the show, not the movie) and I think I’m going to attempt the 30 Songs in 30 Days that I stole from Pam on Facebook, with a bit more explanation than status update boxes will allow. Looking forward to the final Harry Potter film, to the doc about Conan O’Brien, and to getting to my new place so I can have the time to catch up on all the HBO and Showtime series I haven’t had a chance to watch yet.

What prompted this post, though, was that my TIFF reminder package arrived today. Two years ago I had a press pass, last year I was just a fan – this year I’m likely going to be volunteering, for the first time in half a decade or so. While I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the perks a press pass provides, it’s still a thrill to be involved in the festival in any way possible. I’m hoping to get back in at Roy Thompson Hall; the remarks from the directors are usually fascinating, and getting a glimpse of the pretty people is a nice bonus. The TIFF Lightbox has got a Fellini exhibit going on right now and there’s a Grace Kelly retrospective coming up — of all the reasons to live in Toronto, TIFF has got to be at the top of the list.

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The weirdest thing about The Social Network is the fact that Aaron Sorkin wrote it. This is the man who famously wrote his disdain for Television Without Pity – and by extension, all internet message boards – into a season three episode of The West Wing. The film has been getting raves left and right, and I certainly plan to see it this weekend – but I keep getting left with the impression of a bunch of 19-year-olds who’ll profess their love of Gilbert and Sullivan before the first act is over.

The clip shown on The Colbert Report tonight didn’t do much to allay those fears. True, no one used the phrase “I am never, ever sick at sea,” or “I’m in the tall grass; I’m in the weeds,” and no one was pedeconferencing, but there was an awful lot of the patented Sorkin lather-rinse-repeat dialogue that sounds smart when you encounter it for the first time, and comes off as incredibly lazy when you realize every single thing he’s ever written sounds like this.

I give Colbert a lot of credit for the questions he asked. Aaron Sorkin has a sharp mind, but his verbal fencing skills don’t match those of his characters, and sometimes it felt like Colbert was just talking over him, which tends to be more Jon Stewart’s style. (Not that Stephen won’t run roughshod over guests sometimes, but they usually give way to him; this felt very much like a Stewart interview [except for the fact that Stephen was obviously more prepared than Jon usually is for his guests.])

But Stephen got to a couple of pertinent points, including the treatment of women in the film, which is often a weak point in Sorkin’s work, and he honed in on his guest’s dislike and distrust of the film’s subject. Sorkin actually said that internet relationships are to face-to-face relationships what reality television is to reality, which earned him a somewhat startled, even shocked, silence from the audience. Whether or not The Social Network‘s box office reflects its pre-release buzz remains to be seen, but I’m not sure the studio’s going to want Sorkin doing much more publicity for them.

Finally, c’mon, Aaron, you couldn’t have joined Stephen in his little Sondheim rendition? Way to be a stick-in-the-mud, dude.

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Amirite?Or amirite?

Oh, it’s been awhile. But I got inspired to write tonight after coming back from The Girl Who Played With Fire. Please read my review here!

I maintain the point that got published in Entertainment Weekly a while back, that Kristen Bell should play Salander in the American version. She’s done nothing but crappy romcoms since she was killed off Heroes, but Veronica Mars, Deadwood and even the electric psycho she played on that crapfest are all proof that she can handle dark material. Plus, she and Noomi Rapace look a hell of a lot alike. To the point of distraction, almost.

My friend Pam and I were discussing who else we’d put in the film, now that Daniel Craig is confirmed as Kalle Fucking Blomkvist. Craig’s a good choice – he’s in better shape than Blomkvist is supposed to be, but he’s got that craggy, weatherbeaten face, and a sense of both world weariness and passion about him that will work in the role. For Berger, I am hereby suggesting Vera Farmiga. I’m not a huge fan of hers, but again, she’s got a toughness that the Berger character needs, and she’s about the only actress I can think of who’s of even a vaguely appropriate age whom men will still want to see naked onscreen. (Diane Lane, who is more appropriate age-wise, for whatever reason just doesn’t have enough depth for me.)

Also, Salander is my new hero. There’s a lot of frustrating things about Steig Larsson’s books, and about Salander herself, both as a “person” and as a literary creation. I’m hoping to do a “book bundle” (sorry Deborah!) review of them once I’ve read them all again. But goddamn, can Salander kick some serious ass. She’s so tough, and so smart, and her particular method of revenge is incredibly appealing. Short of having a magic wand, having a Salander on one’s payroll might be the most satisfying possibility offered by pop lit in some time.

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