Radiohead versus "Seven," heh. An amusing little video apparently put together for Rhead's November webcast. Dunno, we didn't watch it. Maybe it's old, but it's worth watching for a brief chuckle. The track is "15 Steps," from In Rainbows.
Radiohead versus "Seven," heh. An amusing little video apparently put together for Rhead's November webcast. Dunno, we didn't watch it. Maybe it's old, but it's worth watching for a brief chuckle. The track is "15 Steps," from In Rainbows.
Eddie Vedder Shoots Video For 'Wild' Soundtrack Song; Wrote Aggresive L.A. Punk Song To Get Sean Penn Off His Case About Acting
So husky-voiced grunge rocker Eddie Vedder is shooting his first video - the track "Guaranteed," a song he wrote for Sean Penn's "Into The Wild" film and a song that's been nominated for a Grammy, a Golden Globe and will be eligible for an Oscar nomination if the Academy deems it worthy enough.
According to Billboard, the clip has been directed by Marc Rocco and will premiere Jan. 7 at 6 a.m. ET on VH1.com. The video was shot in three short hours and like most-dreaded soundtrack related spots, footage from "Into The Wild" will be interspersed throughout. Can't wait to see the simultaneous juxtaposition of Vedder and Emile Hirsch howling at the moon in the woods.
Of more note and interest (and basically the reason for this post) is the fact that Sean Penn once doggedly pursued the Pearl Jam singer to act in a script he had written. According to a sidebar not online from a Billboard Q&A conducted late last year, as their friendship deepened in the mid-late '90s (Penn and Vedder both worked on "Dead Man Walking," Penn began pursuing Vedder to work on a "special project" (what that project was the piece never said)
"I had written a script that I wanted him to act in," Penn said.
Niceguy Eddie, would invariably agree only to quickly recant by phone and change his mind, but Penn was relentless and kept chasing him, insisting he'd be perfect for the role. Vedder did the only thing he could - write a punk song in protest blasting the message loud and clear: I can't!
"Every time, I'd say, 'I hate to do this but i just can't. Somebody will do it better. [Penn would] say, 'You can and you will, and I'll get you through the big waves.' So the song was called 'I Can't'." he laughed. "It was an aggressive song, kind of L.A. punk-scene aggressive. It took that to finally get through to him."So yeah, there you have it, Sean Penn is stubborn, go figure and Eddie Vedder could have starred or at least acted in a Sean Penn film. If you've ever seen his laborious Rock N' Roll Hall induction speech for the Ramones, you're thanking your stars that the ability to write aggressive L.A. punk songs is within Vedder's reach.
Download: Eddie Vedder - "Guaranteed" (from "Into The Wild")
Our hope of never having to blog about anything American Idol related is now officially gone.
Lowest-common denominator box-office holiday tripe "National Treasure: Book Of Secrets" was rendered slightly-less odious recently when a song composed for the film by Chris Daughtry was axed at the last minute according to Variety.
The virile, former-American Idol contestant had written the original song, "Feels Like Tonight" specifically for the film and the track was meant to be placed in the Nicolas Cage sequel's closing credits.
"Creatively, it just didn't seem to go with the film," said Mitchell Leib, president of music and soundtracks for Disney. "It's a great song, and probably could have been a good marketing tool, but when we put it up with the movie, it just felt wrong."
Really? Really? Dunderheaded red-state rock side by side with insipid blockbuster idiocy? Sounds like a match made in heaven to us.
Apparently not any song will do anymore and the days of filler soundtracks are over (fat fucking chace) according to Leib. Evidently it's all about fiscal responsibility as the price for songs used in films is skyrocketing (naturally) cause of the festering shit-hole state the music industry is in. Not any song will do, cause it'll fucking cost your ass.
"The use of end credits songs is not over," he said with a straight face. "But the shamelessness of it existing in the film purely for marketing is. The song has to be a creative, musical extension of the film."
Someone alert the media. In other news: Hey, shitty filmmakers, there's a new Daughtry song that's for the taking!
'National Treasure' completely owned at the box-office this season, once again reaffirming Americans dedication to worthless dogshit films. If that's any indication of the population's overall take on things, give up hope on the election now and save yourself the tears.
Spiritualized Frontman Composing Score For Harmony Korine's Long-Awaited 'Mister Lonely'; Sun City Girls OnBoard As Well
Spiritualized devotees will be ecstatic to hear that a new, and long overdue, album by the space-rock outfit is ready to go; the band (Pierce essentially) is just waiting for its label Universal to get their "shit together," according to a blog post on the bands official website from mastermind J. Spaceman (née Jason Pierce).
However, for us, the true pearl gleaned from this post is the fact that Spaceman has contributed to the long-overdue feature-length by American indie enfante-terrible Harmony Korine.
Titled "Mister Lonely," the surrealist and extremely odd-sounding film stars Diego Luna and Samantha Morton as Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe lookalikes living in some fantasy world that also stars magician David Blaine (Korine directed the illusionists 2003 documentary "Above The Below"), director Werner Herzog and something about falling nuns from the sky (it's been a while, Korine's last feature was 1999's Julian Donkey Boy"). From Spaceman's blog post:
Sounds like Spaceman composed some original score, right? Why it's not completely clear from his post, some digging around and we found the film's press notes online (remember the film debuted at Cannes in 2007 and also played at the Toronto Film Festival) where Korine himself is a little more definitive and also revealed the participation of the Arizona experimental rockers Sun City Girls who also contributed some orignal compositions (The film's music credits read: "Music By Jason Spaceman & The Sun City Girls)."Also this year, Harmony Korine's truly beautiful "Mister Lonely" film is released to cinema with an o.s.t. to follow on Drag City Records. It was an honour and trip to work on that one and probably one of the things that was most instrumental in me finally finishing the Spiritualized album so we all got Harmony to thank for that one. Go see his film."
"The music was a combination of score and source," said Korine. "The Spaceman 3 [Pierce's original band] are one of my all-time favorite bands so I asked Jason Spaceman to make some music for the film and he obliged. I had also been speaking to the Sun City Girls for several years about working together.. I have always loved the song "My Life." There is something special about it."If you believe cobbled sources from different message boards (buyer beware...sorta), the soundtrack also features songs by Spank Rock, A Silver Mt. Zion, Sun City Girls, the Silver Jews, Aphex Twin (from Drukqs apparently) and the John Jacob Niles song "The Maid Freed From The Gallows."
Sounds dubious? Not really. Korine is credited as "replicant engineer" on the Silver Jews album Tanglewood Numbers, released by Drag City in 2005 and of course Korine himself already mentioned the SC Girls which lends some credence to the overall posts; plus a scene below features some Spank Rock. Some basic googling essentially confirms Silver Mt. Zion and John Jacob Niles (the character Red Riding Hood apparently sings his 1965 folks song) as well (their songs below).
According to IFC.com, "Mister Lonely" is due April 30 (IFC FIlms is putting out the movie). The trailer features Bobby Vinton's classic "Mister Lonely." Late last year J.Spaceman performed dates on their "Acoustic Mainline" tour which featured acoustic gospel renditions of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3 classics. If they happened to play your city and you missed it (we caught their amazing New York Apollo show), you should probably just kill yourself now.
Whatever Happened To Baby Korine?
So whatever happened to Korine, right? Eight years is a long time between films. Well, basically he went off the rails. In a 2003 article with the New York Post ex-girlfriend Chloë Sevigny basically admitted the formerly straight-edge Korine had become a heroin junkie. "Slowly it all fell apart. He was much less productive. It just depleted him of so many things." Earlier, around 1999, Korine tried to make "Fight Harm" with aforementioned buddy David Blaine, a film project that involved the scrawny little director engaging random people in actual street fights. Korine said he had hoped to make "a cross between a Buster Keaton vehicle and a snuff film," but he was soon hospitalized by various beatdowns and the project was wisely abandoned. In 2002 he released the photobook "Pass the Bitch Chicken," so he wasn't exactly unproductive all those years (a few shorts were made too including an unfinished one with Gus Van Sant).
Korine's always had one foot just outside the music scene too. He's directed videos for Sonic Youth ("Sunday"), Cat Power ("Living Proof") and Will Oldham ("No More Workhouse Blues"). He also sang on Oldham's Ease Down The Road and contributed lyrics to Björk's "Harm of Will" from the album Vespertine (2001).
Download: John Jacob Niles - "The Maid Freed From The Gallows"
Download: A Silver Mount Zion - "13 Angels Standing Guard 'Round the Side of Your Bed"
Download: Spank Rock - "Backyard Betty"
Watch: "Mister Lonely" trailer
Watch/Listen: Spriritualized - "Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating In Space"
Watch: Scene from "Mister Lonely" featuring Spank Rock
Speaking of Michel Gondry and his new film, "Be Kind Rewind," its soundtrack, its inventive marketing and all that (like we did today and the last few days). The film is being pushed. That's right, originally due January 25, the film has been bumped back to February 22 according to our soundtrack sources (and Slashfilm has the same bit of info).
Does this mean 'Rewind' won't play Sundance? Hard to tell and probably not, but it doesn't bode well for the film that's been bumped back numerous times (it was originally due in '07) and late January is generally dumping-ground season for mediocre films not really worth the big-bucks marketing effort.
Also being bumped backwards is Katherine Heigl's "27 Dresses," a wretched-looking romantic comedy that we want to see only because we have a major crush on Heigl. Yes, occasionally we make poor cinematic choices too. At least we're aware of them. The film was originally scheduled for January 11 and now it will be set for Jan 18. Not a major bump. The film probably can't be worse than it already looks.
Next in our ongoing, but very infrequent series of "Indie Rockers : They're Just Like Us!" (although this case, we just went with "musicians," rapper and pop star seemed too wordy) where we closely follow and enthusiastically chart indie-rock publications utter fascination with their idols' mundane and bromidic everyday lives. This ridiculous installment features Kanye West and Beyonce.
Apparently Kanye hasn't blogged in a few months now (since his mother's death?). Well, never fear he's back at it and guess what? He's playing connect four! And losing to Beyonce!
Simply Incredible and quite moving.
Both Stereogum and Pitchfork have devoted posts to this amazing turn of events. Brooklyn Vegan
is surely only moments behind on this breaking development is all over it like a fake Sufjan Stevens album.
What we're sort of incredulous about is that none of the sharp-eyed indie-rock triumvirate has posted about Kanye's choice of lumber jacket. Maybe they're sensitive to the fact that he's still grieving and his fashion choices might not be on point for a few months. Call it a freebie.
All Things 'Blood'; Film Wins Voice Critics Poll, Breaks Record For Per Screen Average; DDL Character Impotent?
Paul Thomas Anderson's oil epic "There Will Be Blood" is eating up accolades like a starving kid at fat camp.
The film just won the Village Voice/L.A. Weekly annual critics poll (thanks for inviting us, guys; analysis by esteemed VV critic J. Hoberman) and it just broke the record for per screen average of 2007.
Daniel Day-Lewis: Furiously Impotent?
The film also topped the Lesbian Gay, Bi and Transgendered Community list. Wait, why? Oh, they say it's just an overall good movie, however the nerdlingers at Cinematical are positing that the Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) has an impotence problem (not that that has anything to do with LGBT), which might have something to do why the character is so wretched and miserable?
Apparently it's in the original script (which we have, but haven't yet read), but was cut out of the final movie (we won't post the excerpt for fear of spoiling the film, the link is above or here).
Shooting Difficulties and The Replaced 'Blood' Actor
A detail that passed us by when we originally wrote about the actor (Kel O'Neil) who was replaced in the film by Paul Dano, has come to light. To briefly recap: O'Neil was originally cast as the fervent preacher Eli Sunday, but was too intimidated by Daniel Day-Lewis furious method acting to keep up. Anderson has address this explicitly and implicitly most recently in an Onion A/V Club interview where he mentions the first few weeks of shooting being a waste (though he doesn't mention O'Neil by name and to be fair, the implication is everyone was off their game).
We had the most horrendous beginning of a film, for two weeks, just completely off of the mark. We got it together finally, but it was hilarious. We had been cooped up for too long.What we didn't note in our original Replaced 'Blood' Actor piece was Paul Dano had already been cast as Paul Sunday (the brother who originally hipped DDL's character to the fact there was oil on his father's ranch; see our review). When O'Neil didn't work out, PTA asked Dano to take both Sunday brother roles and decided to make the characters identical twins (which if you've seen the movie is an accidental/serendipitous masterstroke of genius as it adds a amazing level of effective confusion and mystery to the story that's never really explained and better for it).
AVC: So did you have two weeks of wasted film?
PTA: A little bit. There was some stuff that was salvageable. There was some stuff that we got that was good, really good, actually. But mixed in was some stuff that I wouldn't show to anyone—the most embarrassing, off-the-mark kind of stuff.
Magnolia Too Long?
An interesting admittal that PTA recently made was conceding to the fact that the masterful, but very flawed "Magnolia" was too long. "' 'Magnolia' needed it, and I certainly wish I could take 15 or 20 minutes out of that film," he told the Associated Press. "I don't miss scenes at all the way that I used to miss them when I was younger making a film. It's actually quite fun to get rid of them now."
Studio Pissed At PTA's Initially 'Blood' YouTube Leak
Dude's finally growing up and it shows with the expertly executed 'Blood.' The other funny thing about the AP interview was the discovery that the studio shit their pants when PTA himself uploaded the first, unofficial 'Blood' trailer back in the day (it was mid-summer).
"The studio went nuts," he said. "We put it up on Friday and I remember they called on Saturday morning at 6 a.m.: 'Do you know there's this thing on YouTube?' I said, 'Yeah, we put it there.' They were like, 'What the hell are you doing? Are you mad?'"
Of course this clip went majorally viral and set the ravenous thirst and buzz for 'Blood' in first gear. Never listen to the suits.
At least Jason Lee had the good sense to take the pay check and shut the fuck up. Not comedian David Cross however.
The alt-comic has drawn attention to the fact that he was actually even in "Alvin And The Chipmunks" (did anyone even fucking know before this?) and is bitching up a storm attacking fellow comic Patton Oswalt who made snide remarks on his myspace blog about Cross' participation in the film. Patton's post:
"ALVIN AND THE CHIMPMUNKS is a blatant, soulless, money-grab -- the only reason it even got MADE was because there was an family-movie-shaped-hole in the release schedule. Oddly enough, both Brian Posehn and I were offered the part of Ian, the agent. We both threw the script across the room in disgust. David Cross caught it."The worst part of it all is Cross doth protest too much and vomitted up an extremely lengthy and tedious defense that we couldn't even bother reading all of (the worst part of it all is he admits to having a Google Alert for himself!). It goes on and on and on with tons of excuses, but the first part is this:
"Hello, David here. I’ve internally debated the merits of addressing my appearance in, (and thus tacit condoning of) “Alvin and The Chipmunks”. I am not stupid nor unobservant. I knew going into this movie that I would be eating a lot of delicious shit for it. Usually I wouldn’t give a shit about what everyone’s feelings are about it, but I wasn’t prepared for the level, or amount I should say, of vitriol that’s been flung about like so much monkey poo. But then I read Patton’s snide comment in his blog about how he and Brian were offered the part and how they then chucked the script in disgust only to have it hungrily intercepted from it’s intended trajectory into the incinerator by me, a money hungry whore sell out, (I’m paraphrasing). That got under my skin and I stewed a little and because I stupidly (and vainly) have a “Google Alert” for myself, got to read various blogs, and posts questioning my integrity and talent, specifically because I chose to do the movie. The posts would range in varying degrees of anger from mild disappointment to seething outrage!! So now I will speak my piece and move on (I will move on, I can’t speak for the rest of you. You might harbor ill will towards me for a lifetime, or at least until you have kids who actually enjoy the movie)We recommend a chill pill and a reminder that Cross' first album was titled Shut Up, You Fucking Baby. Oh Mr. Tobias Funke, where's your sense of humor? Patton has since hit back on his myspace blog again, which we won't excerpt here and you can read yourself, but the battle of the whiny alt-comics has officially begun.
[ed note. he does not move on and writes about another 3000 words]...
Oh, he might be wing-dings/gremlin-characters challenged, but Patton has tried to apologize (good luck reading this post). He calls it all an non-issue. And dude, "insufferable."
Ok divorce isn't funny or pretty, but you've obviously heard that Sean Penn is calling it quits with his wife of ten years, Robin Wright Penn.
On the plus side, this frees up Penn's schedule which will be needed when he heads the 61 annual Cannes Film Festival Jury later this year (May 14-25).
The festival, which has already been accused of having left-wing leanings (see the Palme D'or top prize for "Fahrenheit 9/11" in 2004 for a recent example), will likely receive more flack for putting in a pink0-commie like Penn in charge of the festival (often this is code for: why no love for mainstream American movies and all this fondness for foreign art films? The answer is fucking easy: it's a cineaste's festival, not the Leonard Maltin fun-time movie festival).
Last month, Penn's "Wild" topped the list of nominees for the SAG Awards (Screen Actors Guild), which is often a strong bellwether for the Oscars (more on that in another post, we're behind). So yeah, despite only decent critical praise, this could be another year where the Academy ignores the buzz and goes with their own, more populist fare. We'll see. Either way, strong indication for a Emile Hirsch nomination (which most of us expected).
Yet Another Into The Wild Sountrack
Couldn't get enough of Eddie Vedder's throaty 'Wild' yodelling on his soundtrack album? Well if you're one of this films devotees (we're not), you can go over to Itunes to pick up the "Into The Wild" original score by composer Michael Brook (it came out quietly in mid December). Currently only available digitally (physical plans are up in the air so far) the album features 36 tracks of Brook's rustic instrumental score, which we actually liked better than Vedder's music (especially within the film).
Penn and Hal Holbrook BFF?
And finally, apparently 'Wild' co-star Hal Holbrook (whose Oscar nominations hopes seem to have cooled off lately, at least until the SAG's were announced) hearts Sean Penn and the feeling is mutual. Apparently Holbrook shot a TV movie with Penn nearly 30 years ago and the upstart's acting caught his eye immediately. The elder statesman was so moved he made a point of letting Penn know he was impressed. Which led Penn to send him a letter months later thanking him for the encouragement and how much it meant.
"It was so beautifully written. I have never forgotten it," Holbrook said. Aww, such a nice and surprising feel good moment. Let's all hug.
Michel Gondry, Mos Def & Jean-Michel Bernard To Perform 'Be Kind Rewind' Soundtrack At Sundance; Film Gets Inventive Marketing Campaign
So you all know about Michel Gondry's new movie "Be Kind Rewind" which stars rapper Mos Def and comedian Jack Black as bumbling video store clerks that accidentally erase their entire catalogue and then re-make all the films in a misguided, but hopefully funny attempt at not losing customers.
The film is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival later this month and according to a small pearl of info in a recent L.A. Times profile of 'Rewind,' Gondry, Mos Def and composer Jean-Michel Bernard (who wrote the score) will be on hand to perform songs from the soundtrack at the festival.
The Times article talks about the "fun" ways the studio is trying to sell the film. One of the marketing tricks being trying involve fans to "swede" their own films ("Sweding" being known within the film as the technique of re-making films; 'Rewind' features crude remakes of '2001', "Ghostbusters," "Boys N' The Hood," "RoboCop" and many other cinematic pop culture touchstones). The other being the highly-interactive 'Rewind' website which operates under the conceit that the internet has accidentally been erased, and features 'Easter Eggs' and other related ephemera (on the site, Google becomes "Goolge," Myspace is "MyFace," and users can also swede themselves onto VHS covers of other New Line films).
Rewind Goes Arty With Deitch: Shoot Your Own Film
As you've probably read already, the 'Rewind' marketing campaign doesn't end there. On January 24, (the day before the film hits theaters) the New York Deitch Projects will host an interactive 'Rewind' installation that will see Gondry recreate the video store in the gallery, complete with a backlot of movie sets where visitors can make their own renditions of films. It's a pretty inventive idea.
"Groups of people walk in and will have access to a workshop," Gondry explained to the L.A. Times. "There is a very simple protocol: You shoot in camera, edit while you shoot -- which means you stop the camera when you want to go to the next scene, you don't edit. Story lines last five to 10 minutes. And most of the exhibition will be a mini back lot with 15 little sets."
Gondry enjoys the idea of progressive marketing for the film, but turned downed a pitch by Blockbuster because he felt their corporate video chain was antithetical to the idea of the mom n' pop indie video store of 'Rewind.'
To add to all the meta-ness? New Line has been reaching out to some of the directors whose films are being sweded in the film -- Robert Zemeckis, Brett Ratner and Ivan Reitman among them -- offering them the chance to swede Gondry's film. Nutty, right? Will it happen? Even New Line is unsure what will happen, but their willing to give it a shot.
As previously reported here first, the "Be Kind Rewind" soundtrack CD is due January 22 on Lakeshore records and features Billy Preston, Booker T and Jack Black among the already aforementioned performers. You can preview songs from the 'Rewind' soundtrack at the above link via its myspace page.
Watch: "Be Kind Rewind" trailer
Why are we blogging about this film? Why do we even care? Mostly because of our perennial distaste for George Lucas who has time and time again proven himself to being one of the biggest, loathsome boneheaded jackasses in the history of cinema (see destroying Star Wars Pts. 1-3 among the many dubious revisionist moves he's made over the years).
Vanity Fair has a pretty great preview piece on "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and there's tons of little, characteristically asshole anecdotes about Lucas supplied by others and himself.
First off it was Lucas' way or the highway, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford (another crusty jackass), the director and fucking star, be damned:
Lucas supervised The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, a TV series which ran first on ABC, then on the USA Network, and won 10 Emmys. While filming a 1993 episode in which Ford made a cameo appearance, Lucas happened on something that gave him the idea for a fourth movie installment. He mentioned it to [Ford], who wasn’t too impressed. Lucas later told Spielberg about his new concept, only to find that the director wasn’t so hot on the idea, either, although generally warm to the notion of a fourth film.Anyone who knows Lucas well enough won't find this a huge surprise, but it is sort of amusing. More.
But Lucas was adamant. It was this idea or nothing.
When Ford and Spielberg both rejected the idea, Lucas dug in. He hired screenwriter after screenwriter to make his MacGuffin the linchpin of a new Indy story. “So this went on for 15 years,” he says. “And finally we got to a point where everybody said, ‘Look, we’re not doing that movie.’ And I said, ‘Well, look, I can’t think of another MacGuffin. This is it. This works. I know this works.’ And then we stopped. I just said, ‘O.K.,’ and that’s about the time I started Star Wars again. But then Harrison was kind of interested. And I said, ‘I won’t do it unless we can have that MacGuffin. Without the MacGuffin, I will not go near this thing.’”A MacGuffin by the way, popularized by Alfred Hitchcock, refers to an object or goal that kicks the story into action and drives it to the third act (and the way Hitch did it, it was usually a side-dish to the story's real narrative - see "Psycho" and the bag of stolen money that starts the story, but has nothing to do with the film's outcome).
Ford can now (repeat "now") laugh at Lucas' asshole obdurateness.
“He’s a stubborn sucker,” the actor says, “and he had an idea that he kept pushing into script form, and then they’d run it by me, and I’d usually rebel, and, finally, you know, one script came along that really struck me as being smart, not working too hard to give reference to the other films, but that carried on the stories we had told so far in a logical way. The character was allowed to age, and we found ourselves in a different period of time, and what I read was a great script, so I said, ‘Let’s go, let’s make this one.’”Well, at least if it sucks donkey balls (which it probably will), everyone in the universe knows who to blame. We'd like to think that the reason Sean Connery couldn't be coaxed out of retirement for this thing was his contempt for Lucas.
Spoilers and More Revisionism
Apparently Indy 4 won't have the supernatural twist everyone was expecting and instead it will move towards the realm of science-fiction.
Oh and the best part of Lucas revisionism idiocy? Apparently "Raiders of the Lost Ark" has now been renamed. It's new title? "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark." Cause you know, at this point if there were no Indiana in the title, no one would know what this movie was about. Retarded.
'The Wire's Omar: Just Wants To Dance; Loves Janet Jackson & Weeps At Every Season Finale - HBO OnDemand Launches Premiere Early
When one thinks of Omar Little, the ruthless, but moralistic gun-toting gay thug of HBO's "The Wire" (the best show on television, bar none), one thinks of out-of-nowhere stick-'em ups, a criminal's ethical code and a man not to be fucked with.
However, the real Omar (Michael K. Williams) is actually a softie according to an interview with New York magazine's Vulture blog.
You were a professional dancer and choreographer before you started acting. How did you initially get into dance?Whodathunk Omar was so sentimental? "The Wire" season 5 is supposed to debut this Sunday, January 6, right? Wrong. HBO subscribers turn to your OnDemand now. The season 5 premiere has been available since Sunday (we watched it last night). What's in store for this fifth and final season? Williams gives a foreboding hint. "Keep your eyes on the children. Watch those kids. They’re gonna really take it to another level this year. But all I can really say is, brace yourself."
I was always dancing. I came out the womb dancing. But before I became a professional dancer, I was 23 years old, working for Pfizer pharmaceuticals and going to BMCC — a.k.a. the thirteenth grade. I had a very turbulent teenage life — drugs, rehab, all that crap — and that was my way of getting my life together, going to school, getting a job. And then here comes Janet Jackson flashing her ass across the screen, talking about Rhythm Nation — I went crazy. I set off to become a Janet Jackson dancer. I wore the tour jacket, the Doc Marten boots, all that. She inspired the shit out of me.
As for the commraderie that brings tears..."Yeah, I always say I’m not going to, but I cry every fuckin’ season finale — every time a season wraps."
Sounds great, right? However, Baltimore's own, The Baltimore Sun is panning the 5th season (though it just might be too close to home for the Sun since they are the subject therein). We don't even want to link to it, but Time Out New York's review of season 5's first half has some McNulty spoilers if you feel like reading them. We already did (d'oh!), so it's too late for us, but they're their if you're truly curious.
Well for one it's a short disguised as an ad for the Spanish Freixenet sparkling wine, which makes it pretty lame (and perhaps has Hitchcock rolling in his grave), but one assumes the funding for the project came from the wine company.
The second point is to further Scorsese's film restoration/preservation aims and raising awareness by preserving a film that has never been made (until now). Call it a complex art project with a purpose (and a schill to back it). The unfilmed short shot the way Hitchcock would have executed it, was only four pages long and one page was actually missing. "It's one thing to preserve a film that's been made, it's another to preserve a film that's not been made," Scorsese says in the clip. He of course doesn't mention Freixenet at all. Also, the "Birds" homage at the end is about as subtle as the closing rodent shot in the "Departed."
"Atonement" The short answer review for Atonement is this: Stupid, nosy and privileged brat ruins every ones lives. The end. The longer version is, god this film was laborious and overdone and we're sure the book it was based on was the same thing. So basically this aforementioned brat (the overrated Saoirse Ronan) sees Keira Knightley and James McAvoy's character fucking and because she's misinterpreted an ealier sex-filled accidental note that McAvoy sent Knightley (which the brat fucking read), she think he's some kind of sex monster that has taken advantage of her. Shortly thereafter a friend of the rich, privileged family is raped and Ronan assumes the man she's barely seen commit the act and flee must be the "sex-crazed" McAvoy. He goes to jail and is only released when he is offered the chance to fight for his country in WWII as the only alternative (yes, the film is typically grand and sweeping with a few lavishly orchestrated camera moves). From there, the film recounts the lovers reunion. Only (spoiler warning) we find out that they're actually never reunited (they both die during WWII) and this is a guilt-ridden fabricated tale from the now-older and dying Ronan who's only pitiful excuse for separating these two people is to write a fictional book about them growing old and in love together. We're sure this lame attempt at redemption was reassuring to the ghosts of both these people who were fucked over by this incredibly stupid, meddlesome child. Thanks for nothing. [-B]
The Kite Runner: Like "Atonement," this film is also about shame and the life-long attempts at redemption (albiet via willful evasion of said shame initially). 'Kite Runner' should have been a bittersweet and wonderfully tearful story of complicated friendship and it is, but it's not without flaws. Set in Afghanistan right before and during the Russian invasion (see "Charlie Wilson's War" below), the story centers around the friendship of two kite-flying enthusiast boys: the well-to-do Amir and his live-in-servant best friend Hassan. The boys are thicker than thieves; Amir is a budding storyteller/novelist and Hassan is his admiringly loyal friend and champion. The same can't be said of Amir, who turns cowardly and then shamefully distant when he witnesses Hassan's rape at the hands of an elder bully, spiteful and racist towards Hassan's Hazara background. Sure, it's what children do when they're confused, but it's achingly painful to see the privileged boy betray his doggedly faithful friend - and these agonies are deftly conveyed and this is where the film shows its strength. But things go wrong two-fold: One the story is told by feel-good fauxteur Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland") who has done good work ("Monster's Ball"), but who can't seem to resist putting a Disney-like smile and sigh at the end of each of his films ("Stranger Than Fiction"). Two: The Russians invade Afghanistan and Amir and his father flee to the U.S. which robs us of more time with the children. The elder Amir, trying to forget the shame of abandoning his friend literally and figuratively, never quite connects the same way the first half of the story does. Then the film becomes a thriller as the now well-to-do novelist goes back to the homeland to face the Taliban and save his best friend's son from further rape and hardship. It's just too many tones and moods to handle. The nice-ribbon wrapped ending does give you some full-circle redemption and closure, but the bumpy 2nd half make the overall feel slightly unsatisfying. Blame it on the original story? [B+]
"Charlie Wilson's War": The main repetitive defense one hears about Mike Nichols MOR fauxlitical '80s Afghan War film is, "But dude, Phillip Seymour Hoffman is amazing." And sure he is, but when isn't this the case? First off Aaron Sorkin is grossly overrated. Yes, it's nice to see Tom Hanks not playing the perfectly, noble everyman. In fact, he plays quite the ignominious opposite - a sexist, drunkard with loose morals but all this does not a great movie make. Based on "a true story," CWW tells the tale of the seemingly innocuous democratic Texas senator Charlie Wilson who apparently single-handedly helped the Afghani's fight back the Russian invasion that started at the end of 1979 by supplying the Afghan Mujahideen insurgents with a shitload of weapons. Nichols and the script can't help paint Wilson as the patron saint of the poor Afghan's while everyone knows the motivations were anti-communist/pro protecting U.S. territorial interests and not altruistic (yes, these topics come up, but Wilson's saintliness takes precedence). Unlike most political films, 'Wilson's War' thankfully doesn't lecture, but the whole implied point of the film - the Mujahideen's training and weapons eventually became the extremist Taliban that led to 9/11 - is really glossed overlooked and likely too subtle for most Americans that actually felt no shame in paying to see 'National Treasure.' The film's ending quote is Wilson saying we won the war, but we "fucked up the end game" (meaning didn't provide Afghanistan with money to rebuild and educate and left them for dead once they had fought the Russians for us). Well, the same can be said for the movie. [-B]
Sweeney Todd: The Barber Of Fleet Street: Ok, first off Stephen Sondheim sucks and his songs are so... grossly ghey Broadway. Tim Burton hasn't made a decent film in years (last one was the fantastic "Ed Wood") and his fascination with goth and all things macabre has long become tedious and overbearingly predictable. Yes, Johnny Depp is always good, yes, it's nice to see Sascha Baron Cohen (his short appearance might be the film's sole delight), yes, Helen Bonham's pendulous bosoms spilling out of her dress are nice to look at, but the film is just rather ridiculous (as is the story it's based on). 'Todd' tells the story of a happily married barber who's family and love is torn asunder by a jealous judge who wants his girl. The barber is imprisoned on bullshit charges and his family life is then finito. Years later, he returns to renact vengeance on the people of Fleet street by subjecting them to horrendously atonal and poncy British-y musical numbers (oh yeah, and slitting their throats wide open under the guise of a close shave). There's lots of blood and lots of singing, repeat, rinse, repeat. Most of the redeeming qualities of this film is that it's so preposterously over-the-top that it's ridiculousness becomes rather amusing in the same way that an annoying buffoon repeating the same gaffe eventually becomes funny. If this scores any major Oscars we resign. [C]
Why not start out the year with the classiest of posts, yes?
Here's a prime example of where movies and music meet. We have a movie star, Penelope Cruz (and her lookalike sister Monica), and a wanna be music star, Eduardo Cruz (their brother) who recruited his hot Latin sisters to play actresses dubbing scenes from a lesbian porn film into Spanish.
In the clip for Cruz's song, "Cosas Que Contar" (translation: "Things To Tell") watching the saucy footage gets the two sisters and hot and bothered and in mood for some similar naughty behaviour.
There's a lot of lesbian intimating and then a bit of lip biting, but it's actually kind of tame. Still that doesn't mean the Cruz sisters aren't catching a lot of heat and bad PR for the move. Lesbian incest? Not that popular with the conservative media. But it's for family and a good cause, right? Watch for this move to not tank anyone's career and get a trillion hits via YouTube. A star is born? Oh Eduardo you canny dog, you.
[The Sun via The Daily Swarm]
Watch: Eduardo Cruz - "Cosas Que Contar"
Annnnnd, we're back. We wanted to make a quick note to thank all those people that kept visiting our site over the holidays (30% increase in traffic while we barely posted? Umm, ok). Hope everyone had a happy holidays and a fun New Years night.
If you're wondering about out Top 10s of the year (you're probably not), well, they're coming. We don't necessarily feel obliged to rush it and or run it just cause it's within the year of 2007. It'll be here soon; plus we wanted to watch everything and catch up on all the outstanding 2007 films. Watch for some reviews of "Atonement," "Sweeney Todd," "The Kite Runner" and "Charlie Wilson's War" in the next couple days - we'll be playing catch up for a while.
Oh and while we're at it, rent Sarah Polley's early '07 film "Away From Her" starring the very-amazing performance of the estimable Julie Christie. It's a fantastic little debut film. Anywoo, Happy New Year all. Oh and an reminder. The fifth season of "The Wire" has started. Get on that shit now. Oh and we resolve to be that much more awesome in 2008.
Watch: Abba - "Happy New Year"