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100 Best of the 21st Century?

"Carol >>>>>>>>>> most of these movies" - Clarence

"The more I see these snooty lists, the more I get turned off of by film critics. What about Lord of the Rings, The Hours, The Devil Wears Prada..." -Jono

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - The movie you're hoping to see every time you go in the cinema" - Jeremy

 

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Entries in JGL (14)

Thursday
Mar032016

Link Becomes Her

Anya Taylor-Joy photographed by Gregory HarrisThe Washington Post interesting visual analysis of Tom McCarthy's Oscar winner Spotlight
Interview M Night Shyamalan interview Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch
Pajiba Agent Carter in limbo after second season finale. (Is limbo the new code word for cancelled? I've never seen a network burn off that many episodes that quickly if they weren't going to cancel something)
My New Plaid Pants "I would like to talk about... Madeline Ashton." YES. Death Becomes Her is getting a special edition BluRay next month
Kotaku Ghost in the Shell finally adds a famous Asian actor to its cast list, Beat Takeshi. 
Playbill This is cool 15 ambassadors from the UN saw a special performance of Fun Home The Musical. Can we please get a film version? That show is sublime
Film School Rejects looks back at Oliver Stone's The Doors (1991) for its 25th anniversary
NY Times profiles Sarah Paulson who talks about her Marcia Clark role, her romance with Holland Taylor, and why she's drawn to older people in her life. 
The Playlist Matthias Schoenarts will star in Kursk, a Russian submarine survival drama 
MNPP on Kenneth Lonergan's new play Hold on to me, Darling starring Timothy Olyphant 
MTV briely, with wit, on Leo's Oscar win 
Tracking Board Joseph Gordon-Levitt developing a movie called K Troop, about a US Army division assigned to take the Ku Klux Klan down during their rise. 

Finally...
By know you've probably read that Amy Adams has confirmed what those  leaked Sony emails suggested that she was quite unhappy on the set of American Hustle. It was her second film with David. O. Russell but I suspect there won't be a third given what she told British GQ.

Photo by Norma Jean Roy

I was really just devastated on set. I mean, not every day, but most. Jennifer [Lawrence] doesn’t take any of it on. She’s Teflon. And I am not Teflon. But I also don’t like to see other people treated badly.. It’s not ok with me. Life to me is more important than movies. It really taught me how to separate work and home. Because I was like, I cannot bring this experience home with me to my daughter.

 

 

Saturday
Nov282015

What a Link. What a Lovely Link

BFI Check out the Sight & Sound poll for 2015. Not pleased that The Assassin topped the immeasurably finer twofer of Carol & Mad Max Fury Road but it is what it is. Perennial critical darling peculiarities abound like Blackhat placing about Ex Machina. Oh please. I didn't hate the former like some but one must assume that's solely on Michael Mann's reputation, the way some filmmakers get a competition spot at Cannes simply because they directed something.
HuffPo Reid Ewing from Modern Family talks about body dysmorphia and getting frequent plastic surgery
The Guardian on a Carol gift-wrapping promotion - it breaks my heart that people keep thinking this is a watch it on DVD film. It's SO breathtakingly cinematic. GO TO THE THEATER.
/Film Gremlins may take a page from Jurassic World/Creed and continue the story decades later

 

Coming Soon latest Star Wars The Force Awakens news & rumors if you're into that sort of thing. We made a very conscious choice not to watch anything beyond the teaser or to cover it until ti opens. We want to preserve the mystery and thus the possible joy.
Antagony & Ecstasy reviews the original Star Wars trilogy
MNPP Matt Bomer may play The Last Tycoon for Amazon
Vanity Fair Ryan Gosling may play Neil Armstrong for Damien Chazelle
In Contention how the critic awards can boost players in the Oscar race
/Film there are competing Evel Knievel movies on the way one from (possibly Martin Scorsese) and one from Channing Tatum. Do kids today know who Knievel is?
AV Club Michael B Jordan is up for another Creed movie. The movie is set to make back its budget this Thanksgiving weekend
Serving Cinema in defense of Angelina Jolie's By the Sea
Lip Sync Battle Anthony Mackie "2 Legit 2 Quit" versus Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Rhythm Nation"
New York Times ABC actually cancelled a show! But this is a rare with TV's new ratings math
Towleroad two Brazilian actors share a kiss on live tv to combat homophobia. Our Brazilian readers should tell us if these two are as famous as this article implies.
The Hollywood Reporter has an articles about LGBT cinema losing its edge. That's a topic that can be argued about certainly but Carol is an absolutely terrible example since Todd Haynes hasn't lost one iota of his power or daring and the "frostiness" that people complain about with that movie is hardly pandering, you know.
Kevin O'Keefe skewers the article with one well placed barb.

 

 

"Category Fraud" Has Gone Mainstream
I can't remember if I coined the term -- let's just say I did -- but I've been preaching against its evil like an obnoxiously pious mad prophet the entire time I've been Oscar blogging... which is quite a long time now. I've been seeing articles about it everywhere this year including this new one from The Hollywood Reporter. You know how when you love an obscure band and then everyone "discovers" them after the fact and you feel kind of betrayed? That. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad people are paying attention now -- perhaps we reached some sort of peak fraudulence where it became impossible to deny the problem anymore? But I also do not like that articles about this never address the media's own hand in creating this monster. (For this next sentence you'll remember that Nathaniel is playing the role of a mad pious prophet in this story and forgive his superiority complex). Other than The Film Experience practically every awards pundit /  site has actively encouraged this 'all fraud all the time / end justifies the means world we're living in by regularly rationalizing leading roles as supporting in articles and actively encouraging studios and publicists to pursue fraudulent campaigns for "better Oscar chances"

Weekend Watch
Jake Gyllenhaal discussses his progressive upbringing and Brokeback Mountain. I love this. Yes, we'll be celebrating the movie soon for its 10th anniversary in December.

Sir Ian McKellen talks Dame Maggie Smith and Oscar good luck charms from his stage show in Los Angeles last weekend "Women I've Filmed With"

 

Friday
Feb212014

Your Daily Linkage

Huffington Post a live-blogged review of critical punching bag Pompeii
Pajiba on Lupita Nyong'o on Ellen. We already knew Ellen was a perfect talk show host but Lupita is a natural at talk show guesting as well
Gurus of Gold top threes in each category from the Gurus. Looks like I'm way off consensus on Adaped Screenplay and Editing
Slate Turns out "Chivo", cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, has an instagram feed and Slate is crazy besotted with it
Pop & Hiss P!nk added to performers list at the Oscars. We're guessing aerial acrobatics but they already had those really recently at an Oscars ceremony... like I think just two years ago, right?

NY Times Manohla Dargis delivers an impassioned ode to Jennifer Lawrence's huge career... and thinks she's going to win Sunday night
/Film reports on the Live Read of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction in LA. Lizzy Caplan did the Uma/Amanda parts and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did Vincent Vega and, yes, they got up and danced
NY Times honestly I take issue with this report that Oscar nominations didn't do much for the box office of the nominees. While I agree that the expanded Best Picture field has seriously diluted the marketing pull of "Best Picture!" a lot of these movies would not have done even half of what they did without Oscar buzz. I'm talking ALL of the non-star driven ones
Culture Monster was 2013 really a great year at the movies or does social media just exaggerate all the love?
Playbill oh dear. Lea Michele hasn't given up on starring on Funny Girl on Broadway just yet. Her #1 accomplice Ryan Murphy aims to help her
Keyframe have you seen the video essays on who deserves the Oscars. I thought Best Actress was fairly interesting 
In Contention talks to the sound team on All is Lost
Awards Daily talks to Steven Price about Gravity

Finally, in case you haven't heard The LEGO Movie will be getting a sequel 1190 days from now on May 26th, 2017. Everything will probably not still be awesome -- I loved the movie but it seems like the perfect one-off rather than anything sustainable --  but franchise culture, Lord Business, and the grosses demand it. 

 

Saturday
Nov172012

Who is Hotter?

"Robert Todd Lincoln" (by way of Joseph Gordon-Levitt) or Robert Todd Lincoln?

Usually when Hollywood does biopics every actual person gets hotter by way of movie stars. But Robert Todd Lincoln was kind of a looker, yes? Anyway... I know who My Daguerreotype Boyfriend is voting for. 

Sunday
Sep302012

Review: "Looper"

An abridged version of this review was originally posted in my column at Towleroad 

"Time travel hasn't been invented yet," Joseph Gordon-Levitt warns us from 2042 in LOOPER's voiceover. "But in the future it will be." In 2072 crime lords send their victims back in time to be killed by "loopers"  like Joe since it's the only way to get away with murder. (Apparently infallible forensic science has also been invented in the future!). 

Loopers dispatch their prey unceremoniously with a crude descendant of the shotgun called a  "Blunderbuss" which is useless at long distances but impossible to miss with up close. When each Looper's contract expires, his older self is sent back to his younger self for execution which is called "Closing the Loop". In this case that's Bruce Willis sent back in time to meet his death at the hands of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Bruce Willis drag. (Joe's makeup effects, though extraordinarily non fake-looking are initially distracting -- JGL doesn't look like that!

Nothing kills genre films quicker than exposition. When you have to pass out glossaries to the uninitiated or explain the rules over and over again, a story can sputter and die or, at the very least, bore you stupid the second time throughLooper, however, is a wonderfully nimble exception given the size of the learning curve. More...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep022012

No Exorcisms Ever Rid the Box Office of Its Demons

If there's a sure way to hit #1 at the box office with minimal effort, it's this: make a demonic possession flick. Someone should do a study because it seems to me that they're the most profitable subgenre ...of anything. They always open well even if they feel virtually indistiguishable from the last one. Even if the last one was super recent. Even if they aren't innovative with f/x. Even if they have no stars. It makes you wonder if The Exorcist, discussed robustly recently here, is the most influential movie of the past 40 years rather than Jaws which usually gets the credit in building the foundation of our current cinematic culture.

Chart adapted from Box Office Mojo

This makes me wish exorcism flicks would go extreme mash-up. Let's take some genres which the mass public are weirdly averse to despite their entertainment value, say the screwball comedy or the musical or the adult romance (non comedic) and revive interest in them by throwing a little demonic possession in as a subplot. Imagine the setpieces!

What did you see this weekend? Or, since the weekend isn't officially closed until Monday night (Happy Labor Day!) which movie are you planning to see? I saw Lawless (review later tonight) and I almost made it to Premium Rush because I'm anxious for Looper. It made a kind of impulse item sense but I was thwarted.

what's in the bag?

Maybe the studio would have pushed it harder if a demon-possessed baby was in JGL's courier bag?

Saturday
Jul282012

Belated Review: "The Dark Knight Rises"

Though it's normally best to get straight to the point with reviews The Dark Knight Rises (hereafter refered to as TDKR) presents something of a quandary. How do you jump right in to speaking about this particular film when Christopher Nolan's last Batman film has so long ceased being "just a movie". So we begin with a three part preface... 

What?!? Nolan can blow seven reels of a non-origin Batman film before Bruce suits up and you object to me blathering on for three paragraphs before I review the movie? Double standards!

First, I believe that Michelle Pfeiffer's performance as Catwoman is one of the greatest performances of the 1990s, the very definition of what an actor can do when they understand their auteur's vision, get the heightened play of specific entertainment genres, and are capable of imaginative stylization. It pissed me right off that people tried to pretend that no one before Heath Ledger had ever delivered Oscar worthy work within the comic book genre. So Batman Returns is my favorite Batman movie (yes, I know it has flaws. Shut up) and I entered the movie naturally resistant to Anne Hathaway's Catwoman.

Second, I saw the movie alone on Saturday, the morning after it opened. I failed to convince any of my friends to go with me and wasted my second ticket. To my great shame even though I think it's stupid to let fear change your routines (I was on a plane exactly a week after 9/11 as scheduled) I did briefly find myself thinking about where the exits were* against my will and flinched at the frequent gun battles in the movie. When I returned from the movie a friend snarkily asked me "So was is worth risking your life?" and I wanted to punch him. In a non violent way. See, every movie is worth risking your life for because movies are totally safe. Movies do not kill people, people do. People with access to firearms especially which is a lot of people given our nation's embarrassingly pro-tragedy gun laws.

*I'm super happy to report that I've been to the movies twice after this and never once thought of this.

This is a LOT of baggage to take into a movie already. I get that. And then there's the small matter of my teflon resistance to understanding the genius of Chris Nolan and residual frustration with fanboy culture that demands that I do. I was discussing the push and pull between mandated blockbuster movie culture and blogging demands last week with Rob, a reader, on facebook who paid me the nicest compliment:

I like the balance you strike. Sorta: this is here, can't ignore it, we're all gonna see it, Christian Bale is gonna sound funny, and we move on.

Rob nailed it. Yes. Yes. Yes. Hee. And we move on... finally, to the [spoiler heavy] review

Click to read more ...