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Tuesday
Nov182014

Podcast: A Most Violent Citizen Four Theory in Selma, Alabama

Hooray!

It's a new festive and festivalish episode of the podcast. Since Oscar fever has begun to spread we refer to it even more than usual as we discuss the AFI premieres, Ava DuVernay's Selma with this podcast's boyfriend cinematographer Bradford Young, John Goodman's scene stealing in The Gambler, Jessica Chastain clawing her way into Supporting Actress, Citizen Four's competition for Documentary gold, and split reactions to The Theory of Everything

The podcast features Nick Davis, Joe Reid, Katey Rich, special guest Anne Marie Kelly, and your host Nathaniel R

38 minutes
00:01 Premieres: A Most Violent YearSelma, The Gambler
13:20 Jessica Chastain's fingernails
15:24 Sophia Loren's hips
18:10 Citizen Four 
28:17 The Theory of Everything


You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments! 

AFI Memories, Citizen Four, Theory of Everything

Tuesday
Nov182014

Interview: John Carney "Begin Again"

Jose here. When I learned I would be talking to Begin Again director John Carney, I had to promise myself that my interview wouldn't just consist of me begging him to reshoot that scene where Greta (Keira Knightley) and Dan (Mark Ruffalo) put on their headphones and walk through NYC, using me and Keira... 

...because as magical movie moments go, that one takes the crown this year. You'll be relieved to hear that I did talk to him about other things when we spoke about Begin Again, which is now out on DVD. We even get the last word on which songs will be campaigned for Oscar nominations. 

JOSE: Begin Again is actually the only film that I paid to see more than once in movie theaters this year...

JOHN CARNEY: Sorry, can you say that once more, I didn’t hear you.

JOSE: Yeah sure, I was just saying your movie is the only one I bought tickets to more…

JOHN CARNEY: [Laughs] That’s fantastic and I was joking, I heard you the first time, but wanted to hear you say it again.

I really meant it. The last time I went, I had literally just been dumped by someone, so in trying to make myself feel better, going to see Begin Again seemed like the only option.

I’m sorry, but I’m glad you went again, that’s very sweet!

Keira Knightley and John Carney

This mostly made me wonder if you intended to make the film as the equivalent of “listening to your favorite record” when you’re feeling blue for example?

Oh that’s interesting and it’s funny you say that. Mostly I think that musical films are more like albums in the way that they make sense anywhere, you don’t necessarily have to follow the plot each time to just tune into that bit you love, like an album.  [More...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov182014

P.T. Pinups

 


I'm not a fan of Inherent Vice much but it will inspire lots of fun fan art and/or official stuff... like this banner poster starring Katherine Waterston as "Shasta Fay". (Her hair is filled with secrets characters.)

I wish P.T. still wrote memorable female characters (sigh) even the kind of vacant bimbos like Rollergirl used to be awesome. With There Will Be Blood he basically left them behind altogether. Inherent Vice has a dozen or so female roles and only two of them are halfway interesting (Yay, Jena Malone and Jeannie Berlin cameos).

Uh-oh... I feel a list attack coming on. It can't be stopped 

Female Characters in P.T. Anderson films from Most Fascinating to Least
(not comprehensive but the major ones) 

 

  1. Amber Waves (Boogie Nights)
  2. Linda Partridge (Magnolia)
  3. Rollergirl (Boogie Nights)
  4. Gwenovier (Magnolia)
  5. Lena Leonard (Punch-Drunk Love)
  6. Peggy Dodd (The Master)
  7. Clementine (Hard Eight)
  8. Jessie St Vincent (Boogie Nights)
  9. Becky Barnett (Boogie Nights)
  10. Elizabeth Egan (Punch-Drunk Love)
  11. Claudia Wilson Gator (Magnolia)
  12. Hope Harlingen (Inherent Vice -cameo)
  13. Aunt Reet (Inherent Vice - cameo)
  14. Rose Gator (Magnolia)
  15. Xandra (Inherent Vice)
  16. Helen Sullivan (The Master)
  17. Petunia Leeway (Inherent Vice)
  18. Penny (Inherent Vice)
  19. Japonica Fenway (Inherent Vice)
  20. Sortilege (Inherent Vice - great voice that Joanna Newsom has, though)
  21. Shasta Fay Hepworth (Inherent Vice)

 

Tuesday
Nov182014

Foreign Oscar Watch: Iran's "Today"

[This post is part of our continuing series on this year’s contenders for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. We're aiming to review (gasp) half of them. Here’s Amir with the Iranian entry, Today. He has also interviewed the director and discussed the film on his Iranian cinema podcast "Hello Cinema". - Editor]

Reza Mirkarimi is probably overdue for an Oscar nomination. Sure, his name doesn’t ring a bell for a lot of cinephiles and doesn’t carry the same weight as internationally renowned Iranian auteurs such as Kiarostami, Panahi or Asghar Farhadi, but consider this: He is the only filmmaker to have had his films shunned by both the Academy and the Iranian committee that submits them!

His first try for gold came back in 2005 with So Close, So Far, a meditative and moving portrayal of a broken father-son relationship. It was far stronger than all five of the eventual nominees but that was before voters in this category had begun to vote for what is actually best. Still, he had every reason to be hopeful in 2012 with A Cube of Sugar, a distinctly Iranian film with a regional flavor that surprisingly won awards at every festival it played at. Coming on the back of A Separation’s win, it was reasonable to expect the raised profile of Iranian cinema to help the film along the finish line. Yet, the Iranian committee submitted the film and boycotted the Oscars later on the same day! Remember that strange story?

So, two years on, Mirkarimi is back with Today, a consensus option that wasn’t exceptionally well received in its home country, but saved the committee a whole lot of political trouble compared to their other choices...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov182014

Curio: Coin Characters

Alexa here with your weekly art break. Brazilian-born, Frankfurt-based graphic designer Andre Levy uses his free time from his job in advertising to create more personal work.  One of these projects has gotten a lot of attention on the internet: entitled "Tales You Lose," the project has Levy transforming coins into portraits of pop culture icons. 

Amelie, Bride of Frankenstein and more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov172014

The legacy of The Little Mermaid, 25 years later

Tim here, to celebrate the silver anniversary of one of the most important films in the annals of American animation. 25 years ago today – some of you are going to have to brace yourselves, because you’re about to feel very old – Walt Disney Pictures released The Little Mermaid, in one fell swoop rewriting the landscape for family entertainment and animation alike.

As hard as it is to believe now, once upon a time, Disney was an embarrassing underdog, whose theme parks were solely responsible for keeping its saggy movie division propped up. 1989 was only four years removed from the disastrous release of the pricey The Black Cauldron, and the takeover of the company by executives Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, who managed to stabilize the live action filmmaking division, while putting the animation studio under the command of Peter Schneider.

It was Schneider who managed an ambitious and terrifyingly foolhardy plan, concocted by Jeffrey Katzenberg  to restore the luster of Disney animation after a generation or more of mismanagement, by releasing a new animated feature on an annual basis. The first film produced on that model was 1988’s Oliver & Company, a rock-solid hit, but hardly the triumphant return of Disney animation that everyone was hoping for. That came with the second film in Schneider’s plan, The Little Mermaid, and the rest is history.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov172014

New Trailer: 50 Shades of... Prada?

Manuel here offering an off-beat theory on that new 50 Shades of Gray trailer.

The worldwide phenomena got a Beyoncé-scored trailer that debuted during last week's Scandal which suggests the marketing team at least know who they're courting. "Haunted" really is a great trailer song & when paired with (intentionally?) campy dialogue like

My tastes are very... singular.
Enlighten me then...

it makes for quite the breathy, pulpy trailer, but am I the only one noticing that this trailer makes the film look like an oddly humorless gender-bending fan-fiction of The Devil Wears Prada?

Between the Runway-looking office reception, Jamie Dornan's teased "gird your loins" entrance, and Dakota Johnson's Andy Sachs-esque outfit, I half-expected Dornan's Gray to give us a sibilant monologue on cerulean fabrics. Alas, despite its gorgeous London skyline shots and a "getting ready to meet Mr Gray" setup scene that might as well be scored to KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See," this trailer doesn't seem to be aiming for the fun and flirty sensibility of that other best-selling novel adaptation. So many moody shots seem right at home in a horror flick (is he stalking her at a... hardware store?) suggest this film will try to battle its sudsy image by wearing a self-serious smoldering scowl. To be fair, Dornan wears those well (anyone else watch The Fall?) and despite an odd accent and a lack of his usually gorgeous facial hair, his Gray is sure to be the most ogled male film lead since the Magic Mike boys dropped trou. Of course, now I'll just keep imagining what Gray would've been in the hands of Streep; might that have netted her her fourth Oscar? I kid, though it does seem odd that this trailer would so openly (if unconsciously) crib images from that 2006 flick, or am I just imagining things?

Check out the full trailer below and tell me you weren't sad when there were no Emily Blunt or Stanley Tucci one-liners to buffer the self-seriousness of it all:

Enlighten me readers, does this new trailer whet your apetite enough to buy a ticket? Are these just words you're scrolling through in hopes I saved a shirtless Dornan shot at the end of the post?