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Thursday
Jul242014

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray ♫

A topic worth thinking carefully over though this stream of consciousness must do for now.

Esquire claims that 1999 was the last Great Year of Movies. Several good points are made but OF COURSE the writer had to throw out that exhausting false equivalent "tv is better than film" argument again that actually has very little to do with the topic at hand. Stop people of the internet. Think before you type. The two art forms are not interchangeable - they have different strengths and weaknesses and the transcendent TV series are but a tiny sliver of the product on TV just as the most magical movies are a tiny sliver of films made. The best TV is not equivalent to cinematic blockbusters, what's equivalent to that if you must have your damn equivalencies are massively watched shows like The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Duck Dynasty and Modern Family and the like and anyone who thinks those shows are better than what's been at movie theaters in 2014 deserves to be slapped. Or at least be strapped to a chair and forced to sit through these pictures plus Boyhood and Love is Strange (which will be here soon).

The problem of abundance and people ignoring and not supporting that abundance is complicated. The truth is people are lazy and windows to home viewing are short which as only rewarded the laziness and people would rather just let stuff come to them. That doesn't in any way mean that "stuff" playing in movie theaters is lesser than it used to be.

Anyway the article is a good read and there are strong points made about just how creatively fertile that period at the movies and how influential versus the depressing sequel fanaticism of the now. And, what's more, we don't know what's going to be influential from the now. Maybe Under the Skin will have descendants. The lack of originality is not fully to be blamed on Hollywood's creativity or filmmakers but on us. We're the ones that pick the hits and the world wants Transf4rmers for some ungodly death-wish reason, you know? "Age of Extinction" is right!

 

But anyway, yes, 1999 was a great year for movies. Still, most of the best ones cited in the article were not enormous hits: Run Lola Run made $7 million; Go made $17 million; Being John Malkovich made $22 million, Fight Club made only $37 and was considered a financial disappointment, etcetera. Time has made these movies enormously celebrated but that time was not 1999.

My very longwinded point is this and it's always this and those citations help underline my point: there are always great movies. You just have to actually look for them because almost never do they fall in your lap on 4000 screens and make $200 million plus in the US. And, finally, to wrap all this up there has been at least one year since 1999 that was phenomenal all over your face - bam! -  and that was 2004 as recently discussed on the podcast. 

Thursday
Jul242014

Get On Link

Towleroad The Imitation Game (we just discussed the trailer) isn't the only Alan Turing focused artwork in the ether. The Pet Shop Boys just debuted their opera Breaking the Code (yes, opera) about the man.
Theater Mania there's a stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love in the West End. Here's a review
Vulture interviews True Blood's Nelsan Ellis on the lame actor who wouldn't make out with him on True Blood and his role in Get On Up


Kenneth in the (212) Ryan Gosling joins the waxworks at Madame Tussauds
MNPP freaks out for a John Waters retrospective this September. As well we all should.
Variety big weekend expected for Lucy. I guess this means Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow solo film will get a greenlight
Boy Culture Wonder Woman in Madonna drag. LOL
Awards Daily Heart of the Sea, the Ron Howard/ Chris Hemsworth post-Rush collaboration is test screening
/Film new poster for Mad Max: Fury Road 
Superhero Hype Batman's new costume displayed at Comic Con... but I'm sorry it looks so creepy without someone in it
AV Club Project Runway begins its 13th season tonight

And please to enjoy the Venice Film Festival Lineup. They're sharing some titles with TIFF like Good Kill, The Humbling, 99 Homes, and Red Amnesia. But ther opening night film Birdman is all theirs. Feel the envy. I'd do a whole post as with TIFF but I'm not going to Venice *sniffle* whereas I might be a TIFF and also as you read this I am fulfilling my obligations as a citizen via Jury Dutyzzz. No, for real. Feel for me as I sit in the rooms waiting for my name to be called or not.

Thursday
Jul242014

Live(ish) from San Diego Comic Con!

Anne Marie here, writing from the Big Daddy of all conventions, San Diego Comic Con! For the next four days, over 100,000 geeks and geekettes of all ages will take over downtown San Diego. Haters state that SDCC "sold out" and stopped being about comics long ago; I say that's a good thing. Studios, TV networks, video game companies, and publishers all vie for a place here.  Think of SDCC like an all-inclusionary media festival, if most of the media was made up of trailers, demos, behind-the-scenes panels, and free tchotchkes in the shape of Simpsons characters.

SDCC has been playing an increasingly large role in the pop culture landscape. As many as half of 2014's Top 10 Blockbusters had a presence at Comic Con last year. But it's not just about the lowbrow. The Academy Award-winning Gravity premiered its trailer at a panel last year where director Alfonso Cuaron discussed its now-famous technological challenges. The year before, Quentin Tarantino assembled the cast of Django Unchained to talk about his eventual-Oscar-winning film. But awards aside, SDCC is all about the fans.  

a detail from the first Ant-Man poster 
Each year, the studios vie for fans' attention (and social media connections), and two studios always loom large: Warner Bros and Marvel. This year, there are rumbles that WB will not only show off the new Batman/Superman film, but may give us a glimpse at the Justice League. Marvel, the crowned king of Comic Con, will not be overshadowed. They've been planting bread crumbs in the form of press releases leading up to SDCC, but will Saturday be when we finally learn what films are attached to that maddening set of release dates Marvel teased earlier this week? Will they redeem Ant Man after Edgar Wright's very public departure? A little panel can go a long way towards smoothing things over. 20th Century Fox and Legendary will also be making noise with everything from Batman '66 to a rumored Godzilla 2. And that's just what's happening in the movies!

 

For the next four days, I'll have my thumb on the pulse of pop culture, and I'll be sharing what I find with you. Follow me on Twitter for live updates, and stay tuned here for interviews, panel reviews, and more. Have something you want me to see? At Comic Con yourself? Tweet me or post in to comments below!

Wednesday
Jul232014

Tragically...

... this is the closest you will ever get to Jake Gyllenhaal's lips. 

Wednesday
Jul232014

A Year with Kate: The Iron Petticoat (1956)

Episode 30 of 52:  In which you’d think Katharine Hepburn would have learned to stay away from accents by now.

The 50s were a time of great growth for Kate. The studio system collapsed and stars became more autonomous (Kate had left MGM after Pat & Mike) and Kate used the opportunity to break out of the glamorous-but-dull mold she'd been thrust into. She pursued scripts, directors, and collaborations that electrified her onscreen and off. She toured in Shakespeare, worked with Oscar-nominated directors, and forged a career renaissance even as her contemporaries flailed. Yes, the films she made contained the dreaded "S" word, but if her ladies were single, they were also single-minded and smart. Kate could have been pushed to the side. Instead she found great roles and challenged herself with the opportunities a collapsing system afforded. If her films seem troublesome now, the craftsmanship and artistic growth of this period cannot be denied.

And then there's The Iron Petticoat.

Folks, I sprained my shoulder on Friday and ended up in the emergency room. Despite the pain, I would almost rather go through it again than re-watch The Iron Petticoat. It’s that bad. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul232014

Yes No Maybe So: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game trailer was released a few days ago, I think, but I'm just now breaking its code. If your patience has expired waiting for me to Yes No Maybe So this, that makes you Charles Dance. Nobody wants to be Charles Dance! He will never understand the importance of Yes No Maybe So but you do.

So join me for indecipherable gadgets, Keira's clipped sass, and elaborate hand gestures after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul232014

TIFF Lineup 2014

There's been a snafu with my TIFF credentials so I'm currently in limbo. Therefore today's listing is not an 'OMG Look What Prezzies I Get in September' humble brag, merely today's listing. Which of these 46 films hitting Toronto (not a complete list) are you most excited for? If I do go to Toronto I may well use you readers as film-picking guide.

TIFF Lineup So Far 
100s more films to come
(If we've already covered the film somehow, it's linked up) 

I demand custody of... your Oscar!

Black and White (Mike Binder) - Kevin Costner reunites with his Upside of Anger helmer for a racial custody battle drama. Octavia Spencer co-stars
Breakup Buddies (Ning Hao) - a "raunchy romantic comedy" 
Cake (Daniel Branz) directs Jennifer Aniston and other stars in this drama about a depression support group 
Coming Home (Zhang Yimou) - Gong Li doesn't remember her husband, returned from mail, in this drama
Dearest (Peter Ho-sun Chan) 
The Dead Lands (Toa Frazer) a New Zealand action epic. You don't hear that every day.

40 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...