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Entries in Detroit (7)


Women's Pictures - Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides

Welcome to Sofia Coppola month! Over the course of this series, I’ve noticed a pattern. So far, the first films our directors made have been smallish, personal movies; unpolished films that carry the seeds of themes and images that will grow as the directors do. The Virgin Suicides is not that movie. Sofia Coppola’s 1999 first feature film is neither small nor unpolished. While the film carries themes of isolation and adolescence that Coppola will continue to explore throughout her career, this is not the unpolished or underfunded first film of someone still learning the business. Starring two stars on the cusp of breakthrough (Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett), as well as several well-loved actors (Kathleen Turner, James Woods, Danny DeVito), and shot by a cinematographer with 20 years of experience (Edward Lachman), this may be the most well-varnished first film we’ve seen.

Adapted by Coppola from Jeffrey Eugenides’s novel, The Virgin Suicides is a nostalgic suburban gothic. Set in 1970s Detroit, an unnamed narrator reminisces on his high school crush on the girls next door, five sisters who committed suicide for reasons he still can’t understand:

Everyone dates the decline of our neighborhood from the deaths of the Lisbon girls.

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Boyhood Trophies. Nightcrawler Sweeps. Plus: A Bunch of Oscar Chart Updates

Pro Boyhood. Meh on Gone GirlAs you have undoubtedly heard by now even President Barack Obama has boarded the Boyhood train, declaring it the best of the year... that he has seen (it might surprise you to hear that presidents don't have a lot of time for moviegoing). FLOTUS, who helped hand out the Oscar for Best Picture to Argo if you'll recall, offers up no "Best" opinion to People Magazine but randomly shares that she didn't think Gone Girl was all that and preferred the book.

Where were we? Oh yes. Regional critics groups are feeling a tiny bit friskier than usual. No, they really are. Oh sure there is a lot of hive mind action happening (Boyhood, Arquette, J.K., Citizen Four etcetera) but it's not quite as lockstep as it has been in recent years.

Since we last spoke a few more cities have weighed in and it's semi-interesting at least to see a range of Best Actress choices (Reese & Rosamund) and how about San Diego's total unblinking obsession with Nightcrawler?

Lou Bloom must have given them the hard sell. Lou Bloom got that job. [More...]

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Links: Feat. the Totally Awesome 80s

Movie Mezzanine 'History of Film: Best of the Sixties.' They polled lots and lots of film critics including me. And you can see our individual lists. I appear to be the only person who listed West Side Story but some of my other choices are appropriately snooty if you need that.
THR most tweeted tv shows and events. Naturally the Oscars are #1 for specials (Golden Globes in #3 behind the Grammys).  
VF Hollywood celebrates the 25th anniversary of Dead Poets Society (1989) by getting all up in preppy nostalgia

/Film Whaaaaa? The War of the Roses (1989) is getting a sequel. Pity that we can't have Kathleen Turner back but that would be impossible. Unless it's also a supernatural sequel
Serious Film how many of these Eternal Sunshine details have you noticed on your multiple views? 
/bent blog Kyle Turner looks at the roles of mothers in the films of Xavier Dolan
Hero Complex Sigourney Weaver reminisces about her time as Lt. Ellen Ripley in the Aliens franchise
Michigan Live Detroit gets its official RoboCop bronze statue today and RoboCop will also throw the first ball at the Detroit Tigers game tonight.  He's come a long way since his 1987 debut.
Variety The next Woody Allen film (with Joaquin Phoenix - who is really getting around with the auteurs! - and Emma Stone) starts shooting in a couple of months. In Rhode Island. More cast tba very soon.

Stage Door
Can you believe the Tonys are on this weekend? So fast. 
Adam Shankman announces his cast for Hair at the Hollywood Bowl in August. Given the names (Kristen Bell, Benjamin Walker -- yaasss, and various TV stars) I'm guessing they don't do the big 'entire cast gets naked for one song' thing that most productions do.
Boy Culture Crazy story about an audience heckler at a California production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof unfortunately leads to actors departing the show and bad blood with producers. As a regular theatergoer, I would have applauded the actor who left the stage to handle this. An unruly audience member can really ruin a play.

Today's Watch
And this is unexpected but delightful. Bianca Del Rio, the Queen of Mean, wants to star in a feature film comedy about a teacher who is fired for being gay. For revenge he returns to the school as a mean "lady" and gets hired again. Shades of Tootsie only without the you know, Oscarworthy acting or depth.

But still! As a huge fan of Bianca, I approve of this becoming a movie though in truth I was hoping for a sitcom. I guess I should've dreamed bigger. 


Review: "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me"

This review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad

I saw Elaine Stritch’s famous one woman Broadway show “At Liberty” in the last days of 2001 a couple of years after moving to New York. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was nothing short of spiritual ecstasy but then showbiz is my religion and actresses are my only gods. You might then justifiably say that I am predisposed to love the hell out of the new documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and you’d be right. But I can still tell a peak performance from a Wednesday matinee and the last doc I saw on Stritch, which shared its title with “At Liberty” was significantly less stellar. Shoot Me is a must-see, even if you only know this Broadway legend from her hilarious guest appearances as Jack Donaghy’s impossible mother on 30 Rock

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"12" It Is For Detroit (Short Term) & the AAFCA (Years a Slave)

The Detroit Film Critics Society should really grant me honorary membership given that I'm a Motown export. Although, had I never left home I probably wouldn't have ended up where I am today as a *cough* wildly successful internationally reknowned superstar film blogger (shut up) so I won't press the issue. I'm feeling Michigan pride at the moment because the DFCS has given Brie Larson not one but two of their acting prizes for her work in Short Term 12.

Detroit's favorites and more awards hoopla after the jump...

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10 More Critics Prizes: "Argo" & "The Master" Fight For "Zero Dark" Scraps

I haven't done the math but why count with my fingers when The Wrap is a born calculator and reveals that as the critics prizes have shaken down Zero Dark Thirty leads the race with 8 while Argo is in second for Best Picture prizes with half as many triumphs thus far. The Master is the only other film that's managed multiple "Best Film" gongs (3) in this thankfully divided year. Licking the crumbs off the critics awards plate we have Amour, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and... Safety Not Guaranteed? Well, ok, Indiana! You go your own way.

Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, and The Master are the critics win leaders

Les Misérables is the only film from Oscar's presumed big five that hasn't managed a Best Picture win from a critics group though it's surprising to realize that Lincoln hasn't done much better in terms of taking the top prize. Another casualty is Beasts of the Southern Wild. That gloriously original moving indie has recovered from its first weeks in the precursors where it couldn't win "first film" or "breakthrough performer" prizes with the unexpected strength of How to Survive a Plague and Middle of Nowhere blocking its pathway with critics or at the Gothams respectively. It's won a few things here and there. But I'd argue it's the biggest casualty of the critics weeks since it hasn't managed even one Best Picture win. It deserved and needed them so it's no surprise that it's outsider shot at a Best Picture nomination which once seemed totally doable now looks like a true long shot.

Supporting Actor Disappointments and more after the jump...

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Cross Country Critics Champs

To some extent I've lost my taste for covering the critics awards -- at least in depth -- since there are more each year and more which do that coy "nominations first!" thing to try to drum up publicity (it works since the web always needs content... even if the content is the same as the day before as so many of these awards prove!). I'm not trying to be a killjoy -- I'm really not! -- but I guess I have anger issues with my fellow critics since they are all so willing to abandon anything they loved during the year once the year end Oscar movies hit. I challenge everyone to go back and read what critics wrote about Michael Fassbender when Prometheus premiered and then wonder why they can't be bothered with them now... even when they go so far as to announce nominations ?!? Oscar has a bias against genre performances but unfortunately many of the same media voices who complain about this share the same bias in their own year end honors! Someone will have to explain to me how Alan Arkin in Argo and Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook for example are more exemplary examples of Great Film Acting than Fassy in Prometheus. I'd wait but I fear the wait would be longer than the running time of 25 historical epics combined  since who in their right mind would try and justify this verbally even if they votes say differently?

But look at me flying way off track!

So grumpy, me, I apologize! All that said, this year has had a bit more variety in critical winners than some recent years and I do some love reading awards lists. So let's hit four cities and one multi-city stop after the jump and see what they liked most this week... The results are not uninteresting. MORE

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