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Podcast - 1996 Cannes Competition Revisit

"Never forget Madonna (!!) beating Frances McDormand for the Golden Globe that year" - David

 "Watson/McDormand/Blethyn? I couldn't even choose. All so perfect - my favorite kind of Oscar category." -Mike

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Saturday
Feb082014

The Best "Let It Go" Covers

HELP ME!!!
I've fallen in a YouTube hole of "Let it Go" covers. And really, I have so many more important things to do and articles to write and encroaching deadlines. There are a lot of terrible off-pitch covers all over YouTube though "The Worst" of the covers is obviously Demi Lovato's. Many covers are kind of good but i'm not quite sure about them and there's even a drag version or two one with very hit and miss jokes (but the "the fears that once controlled me" bit in Dixie Lynn Cartwright's is priceless)

But these six I find impressive.

Elizabeth Saw with just the piano and played by ear... which is so cool because it's not exact but the flourishes feel right

Jun Sung Angh with just a violin

And the best vocals I've heard apart from Idina...

Sonnet Son - no mic, editing, no autotuning but very strong

Caleb Hyles has some impressive control of the vocal shifts between his higher register and normal voice

 

And the best mega-budgeted version is this Africanized Tribal Cover. Seriously someone spent lots of bank. Sets, a huge choir, costume changes.

And finally the best multi-voiced cover from the always delightful Christina Blanco who we've raved about before.

 

What was your last YouTube bender about?

Saturday
Feb082014

ACE Eddie Awards: "Captain Phillips" Surprises

The Ace Eddie Award is given by Hollywood's film editor's guild. It was a very good year for music, since three of the big winners (20 Feet From Stardom, Frozen, and Behind the Candelabra) are musicals or in bed with the genre somehow. But that's not the big story.

The big surprise has to be the win for Captain Phillips which was up against both Gravity and 12 Years A Slave, the two presumed frontrunners for the Best Picture Oscar. What a tight race this year is bringing us and BEST EDITING, when it's announced on Oscar night, will not tell us who's winning Best Picture. It's oft repeated that it's nearly impossible to win Best Picture without an Editing nomination. But it's VERY possible to lose Editing and still win Best Picture. In fact, nearly half of modern Best Pictures do lose that statue...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb082014

Jennifer Lawrence: The Comic Book!

Apologies if you've read about this elsewhere and a full week ago, too, but sometimes my inbox defeats me. So many press releases. Nevertheless, this seemed worth noting: Jennifer Lawrence is now so popular that she warrants her own comic book!

Bluewater productions has released Fame: Jennifer Lawrence.  It's a 32-page comic book about her life and career available in print, digital and as an animated interactive comic book.  Apparently it's not the first time the company has done an actress. They've also given La Liz, Angelina and Cher this type of comic.

But I do have one gripe about an issue so important that the very success of modern civilization hinges upon it. None of us should ever rest until the crime of the misrepresentation of Oscar dresses is wiped out. Here we see Jennifer at the 2010/2011 Oscars when she lost for Winter's Bone:


But Jennifer was not wearing a gray dress! Nor was she wearing a pearl necklace. (In related news: Nicholas Hoult wasn't with her.) This is what she wore to the Oscars, a va-va-voom red number that reminded everyone of Scarlett Johansson before Jennifer Lawrence was famous enough to not remind anyone of anybody but herself.

My work here is done. Never Forget (the Oscar dresses).

Saturday
Feb082014

Last Words: The Court of Public Opinion

I'm really looking forward to that time later this year and next year and the year after that when the new Woody Allen picture arrives and we have to do this all over again.

I'll be much briefer this time, I promise.  The Farrow/Allen debacle gave us a valuable opportunity to discuss important topics: child abuse, power imbalances, the value and imperfection of the law, family dynamics and mental health, the problems inherent in identifying with and/or revering strangers or celebrities, the art and the artist and where and when they cohabitat and divide, gender politics, etc. Maybe some good could come of this harrowing story? But mostly we wasted the opportunity on misdirected rage, name-calling, witch-hunting, woman-hating. When emotionally difficult topics are brought to the public table we should talk and listen, not insist upon idealogical purity. I don't have statistics but I suspect that no one in the history of civilization has ever had their minds opened by opposing views by being a) shamed into it, b) being out-yelled, or c) forced into declaring absolute allegiance. I said some things I regret this past week or, at the very least, that I wish I had phrased differently. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb072014

"Seasons of Bette" Coming Soon

Surprise! As a side bar series to Anne Marie's brilliant "A Year With Kate" project, I present to you "Seasons of Bette". Together with Streep, who we talk about a lot, Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis form the Holy Trinity of Oscar's Best Actress category, with 41 nominations and 9 statuettes between them. Streep is bound to have another big year in 2014 with The Homesman, The Giver and Into the Woods all arriving but we're finally giving the other two their due. 

"Seasons of Bette" won't be a comprehensive film-by-film study like Anne Marie's (Bette made 80+ features and a ton of television so, uh, no.) but I will personally be visiting each of Bette's Oscar nominated star turns, as they come up within Kate's timeline. When Anne Marie pitted them against each other in her last episode, I realized that they'd only squared off four times at the Oscars but that I had not seen all of Bette's nominated work. So join me. It's the perfect opportunity for us to fill in Best Actress viewing gaps together. Titles in red represent the years where Kate & Bette competed head on for Oscar gold. If you'd like to play along that means you've got to watch Of Human Bondage (1934) right away on Netflix Instant, Dangerous (1935) by February 24th, Jezebel (1938) by March 30th, Dark Victory (1939)  by April 14th, The Letter (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941)  by April 21st, Now Voyager (1942) by April 28th, Mr Skeffington (1944) by May 19th, All about Eve (1950) by June 30th, The Star (1952) by July 14th, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) by August 18th.

Join us?

 

Friday
Feb072014

Open Thread

We haven't done one of these in so long. Here's an open thread so tell us: What's on your cinematic mind?Any movie topic is welcome. I'm cooking up some things for you to take us through the Oscars and into March -- I think you're going to love March and April if you stick around so please do.

I myself keep fantasizing about this version of Frozen they were thinking of with a Bette Midler style Elsa. Just try to imagine it... Suddenly "Let it Go..." is a comic diva number of some sort and "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" gets turned into a bitchy retort duet.

Friday
Feb072014

Link Vision

Clothes on Film on the suits of The Wolf of Wall Street
The Playlist Snowpiercer directors cut will come to the US in limited release
Vulture guess the Mean Girls line quiz. I scored 12/12 and I only had to use a hint once. 
Variety six college students chosen to deliver Oscars to presenters as "Team Oscar" - Channing Tatum helped handpick them. If this had happened to me in college I would have died of joy. Possibly before the ceremony thereby robbing me of the experience. I hope they survive and love every second of it. 

Jimmy Kimmel Live celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves. My favorites are Sarah Silverman, Tim Robbins, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett
Empire Lots of Captain American Winter Soldier character posters
Coming Soon Johnny Depp and probably Tom Hardy for Black Mass, a true story organized crime drama. That worked terrifically (Donnie Brasco) and fine but not great (Public Enemies) for Depp in the past but at least it's not another cartoon character.  
Bent Philip Seymour Hoffman's key gay roles. I really thought he was awful inFlawless but good clip choice
Peter Knegt shares an awesome press conference moment with Greta Gerwig. Oscar fanatics will need to watch  

I made this and it's remarkably easy to transpose Bettany's face onto The Vision

And Finally...
Some superhero casting news I can actually get behind for a change. It looks like Paul Bettany will be The Vision to Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Too bad about Aaron Johnson as Quicksilver (although at least he's better than the looks-to-be ghastly interpretation of the character over in X-Men: Days of Future Past)  but one excellent choice, one fine choice and one questionable but better than it could have been choice in a trio of famous characters is a pretty good ratio for superhero casting! So well done Joss Whedon and team. 

P.S. for those who are unaware The Vision is the android husband of The Scarlet Witch (don't ask) who is the sister of Quicksilver who are the children of Magneto. At least that's what they were saying when I read comic books (but they love to rewrite histories).]