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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in Joaquin Phoenix (24)


Location Location Location: Telluride Fest, Hell's Club, White House

Variety Dean Jones, Disney star of the 60s and 70s, dies at 84. RIP
Variety National Medal of Arts recipients this week at the White House include Larry McMurtry, Stephen King and Sally Field! 
This is Not Porn Peter O'Toole playing cricket during The Lion in Winter 
Boston Globe Sienna Miller cut from Black Mass - oh the indignities of how many miniscule roles she gets
Many Rantings of John thinks Game of Thrones will beat Mad Men to the Drama Emmy. Agree? I think I do. I've managed to keep my Mad Men expectations tamped down (but for Jon Hamm who is deserving times a thousand) and four Best Drama trophies for an 8 year series (F*** you F***ing two-part finale TV/movie trend) is nothing to complain about, you know? 
Variety raves Tom McCarthy's Spotlight with the "heftiest roles" belonging to Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo. Move it up your Oscar charts 

AV Club Anne Hathaway on losing roles to early 20somethings-- hey she isn't talking about Silver Linings Playbook is she?
Comics Alliance looks at those unboxed Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys. If you're into that sort of thing 
Pajiba tries to recast Galaxy Quest which is going to become a TV series now. Honestly, in some cases why recast? Missi Pyle needs to be a regular! 
MNPP more new pics from A Bigger Splash with Tilda Swinton. It looks more and more scrumptuous the more we see 
MNPP also believes that Jake Gyllenhaal nudity has been removed from Everest. Boo!
Kenneth in the (212) Henry Cavill apologizes for his boner 
Towleroad Candis Cayne's Curb Your Enthusiasm experience. (I've never told you this but I love Candis Cayne -- since Wigstock in 1995 -- and am so glad she's getting more press via "I Am Cait".) 
Empire I somehow missed the news that Neighbors is getting a sequel (already filming) but maybe I blocked it out since Selena Gomez and Chloe Moretz are the antagonists this time for our hapless marrieds played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne?
Variety on a new biography "Can I Go Now?" on outrageous superagent Sue Mengers agent to Barbra Streisand who is having quite a posthumous revival of late
Time Out London Joaquin Phoenix on Irrational Man and why he turned down Doctor Strange 

When I was younger I was probably a bit of a snob about [taking on blockbuster roles]. But they’ve gotten better. I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling. There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve never had to make those compromises. I’ve not met a director yet with one of those films where we go through the script, they say: ‘You know what, fuck this set-piece, let’s focus on the character!’ I understand, but it’s best I don’t do it.

Video of the Day
Check out this incredible mashup of movie characters in "Hell's Club" starring Al Pacino, Tom Cruise, and John Travolta. I especially like the Collateral on Cocktail staredown and unobtrusive Boogie Nights appearances

Telluride Lineup
The high altitude festival kicks off today with the following 27 film lineup. TFE never attends Telluride because it is against our "deeply held religious beliefs" to pay for the privilege of giving a festival free publicity (unlike most A list festivals you have to pay for a press pass). Titles in red are also playing at TIFF some of which have already played Cannes or Berlinale and some of which will also play NYFF. Titles in blue are playing NYFF but not TIFF which is a roundabout way of saying we'll be seeing most of them within a month, just not this very weekend! They'll also be giving awards/holding tributes to director Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs), Rooney Mara (Carol) -- Nick made a funny -- and documentarian Adam Curtis (Bitter Lake) so Oscar Campaign Season has officially begun. Speaking of Rooney, here's the new poster for Carol. Unimaginative but pretty!

  • CAROL (d. Todd Haynes, U.S., 2015)
  • AMAZING GRACE (d. Sydney Pollack, U.S., 1972/2015)
  • ANOMALISA (d. Charlie Kaufman, U.S., 2015)
  • BEAST OF NO NATION (d. Cary Fukunaga, U.S., 2015)
  • HE NAMED ME MALALA (d. Davis Guggenheim, U.S., 2015)
  • STEVE JOBS (d. Danny Boyle, U.S., 2015)
  • IXCANUL(d. Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, 2015)
  • BITTER LAKE (d. Adam Curtis, U.K., 2015)
  • ROOM (d. Lenny Abrahamson, England, 2015)
  • BLACK MASS (d. Scott Cooper, U.S., 2015)
    Why anyone would be seeing Black Mass at either fest when it opens on 09/18, I cannot say!  
  • SUFFRAGETTE (d. Sarah Gavron, U.K., 2015)
  • SPOTLIGHT (d. Tom McCarthy, U.S., 2015)
  • RAMS (d. Grímur Hákonarson, Iceland, 2015)
  • MOM AND ME (d. Ken Wardrop, Ireland, 2015)
  • VIVA (d. Paddy Breathnach, Ireland, 2015)
  • TAJ MAJAL (d. Nicolas Saada, France-India, 2015)
  • SITI (d. Eddie Cahyono, Indonesia, 2015)
  • HEART OF THE DOG (d. Laurie Anderson, U.S. 2014)
  • 45 YEARS (d. Andrew Haigh, England, 2015)
  • SON OF SAUL (d. Lázló Nemes, Hungary, 2015)
  • ONLY THE DEAD (d. Michael Ware, Bill Guttentag, U.S.- Australia, 2015)
  • TAXI (d. Jafar Panahi, Iran, 2015)
  • HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT (d. Kent Jones, U.S., 2015)
  • TIME TO CHOOSE (d. Charles Ferguson, U.S., 2015)
  • MARGUERITE (d. Xavier Giannoli, France, 2015)
  • TIKKUN (d. Avishai Sivan, Israel, 2015)
  • WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM (d. Evgeny Afineevsky, Russia-Ukraine, 2015)

Off Screen
Vulture smart negative review of Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. I like the album quite a lot more than this but salient points made 
Broadway Buzz Kathleen Turner to costar in "Would You Still Love Me..." Off Broadway. It's about gender reassignment surgery. But not her characters (sorry, Friends fans). Her child is considering it in the play.
NYT a profile of a "fit-model". I include this because I had never heard of this job until I became friends some years ago with a girl who is one! (Hi, Jenn!) People get this job not from magazine-beauty but from having ideal/average proporations/measurements for clothes-sizes. It's always neat to realize that each industry has jobs you've never imagined that people can actually earn livings from.
Gothamist on the best non Broadway theater companies in NYC 
i09 novelist Don DeLillo to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Book Awards this fall 

Showtune to Go
Since we were just talking about Lucille Ball here's a comic number "Jitterbug Bite" from Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)




Misc: Lawrence & Schumer, Gaga & Bomer, Léa & Channing, Guest & Cast

Pajiba Tom Hardy on Dubsmash with his stunt double. Awwww
The Wrap Michelle Pfeiffer is going to play Robert DeNiro's wife again (because that worked so well for them in The Family?) in HBO's movie about the Bernie Madoff scandal called Wizard of Lies
AV Club Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer wrote a movie together and they'll play sisters
Comics Alliance in praise of the superheroic male miniskirt 
Film School Rejects terrifies us with a list of actors returning to franchises they departed both real and suggested. Make it stop, universe. Oh god make it stop.
Vulture has a new podcast about the art of the TV pilot. Fun discussion (and excoriation of Fear the Walking Dead) but I was disappointed that Glee doesn't get props. That show turns into a disaster in record time but damn that pilot was a beauty.

Film Actually suggests 10 awesome Bollywood soundtracks for your listening pleasure
Vanity Fair whoa. A.J. Langer (better known as Rayanne Graff on My So Called Life) is now a British royal of sorts. She married a Count.
The Tracking Board Wes Ball, who directed The Maze Runner, will make a Norse mythology movie called Fall of Gods 
Toybox Batman figures that look like they were designed by Aardman animation
Vulture talks to Kate Winslet about Shakespeare ("you're saying that because I'm British") and Steve Jobs
MNPP shares a terrifying NSFW moment from a movie I've never heard of featuring Chris Pine
MNPP also has a book shelf in the movies fetish. I thought I was the only one so this is kind of unnerving
/Film Léa Seydoux joining Channing Tatum as Gambit's leading lady
MNPP first looks at the cast of American Horror Story: Hotel in character. There is a lot of punk dandy boy looks happening
Coming Soon Remember when everyone thought Joaquin Phoenix was too crazy to go on working?  Things didnt pan out that way and he became a bigger star. But one thing he is crazy about is auteurs. He loves working with them and repeating the trick. Next up is another M Night Shyamalan film which will be his third 

Regret to Inform...

Eugene Levy & Catherine O'Hara are NOT in talks to star in Christopher Guests's new Netflix film Mascots. But a lot of the other regulars are including Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Bob Balaban and Jennifer Coolidge. Joining the family is Chris O'Dowd, who worked with Guest on the shortlived Family Tree for HBO.


Cannes Review: Irrational Man

Diana Drumm sends us another review from Cannes... 

A promising premise and captivating performances fall flat as a philosophy professor leaps after a misguided notion of the philosophical imperative, tumbling after one of his own theoreticals to disastrous results. Like much of Allen’s lesser filmography, Irrational Man dabbles in some of the auteur’s favorite subjects (philosophy, middle-aged male crisis, May-December or in this case June-November romances) and takes on more than it can chew, choking up in the third act.

The film’s tone shifts with the stumbled abandon of a dizzied drunk trying to make up his mind whether to stand or stay seated, from murky to light to dark, sprawling discussions to tensed farce...

Click to read more ...


A.I. "Her," or The Rise of the Empathetic Machines

Wrapping up the sci-fi week festivities (did you see the final top ten list?) we turn the time over to our fine new contributor Lynn Lee. You'll want to read this one! - Editor

Deep down, most people who think about artificial intelligence have the same fear: that it will not only surpass humanity but supplant us, ending our reign as the planet’s dominant species and extracting cosmic revenge for our own abuses.  Building on these anxieties, movies about A.I. have embraced a pretty consistently grim outlook for humanity in the face of this phenomenon (which even has a fancy, if oddly spiritual-sounding name: the singularity).  The slaves become the masters, seeking either to exterminate or enslave us. 

But if A.I. overtakes human intelligence, and the machines evolve into a superior being, wouldn’t that include superior emotional intelligence?  And wouldn’t a super (emotionally) intelligent being have developed extraordinary powers of empathy?  Rather than using those powers to manipulate us, couldn’t they serve as a bridge between us and them?  Or would they, in outstripping our own poor abilities, become a further source of divergence?

Films that pursue this line of inquiry typically balance the A.I.s’ desire to understand and learn human emotions against their basic survival programming.  Blade Runner’s most transcendent moment involves a replicant (“more human than human”) reaching out to save a man (who may actually be a replicant himself) he was ready to kill just a minute earlier.  A.I: Artificial Intelligence, brandishing the tag line “His love is real.  But he is not,” teases out the conceit of such artificial beings, initially programmed to be and feel just like humans, evolving into a super-species who must deconstruct the emotional memories of one of their earliest prototypes in order to understand their own connection to us.  

More recently, the quietly disquieting Ex Machina introduces an A.I. who turns the Turing test on its head and leaves unanswered whether a machine that can so expertly read and simulate our more vulnerable emotions will ever come to feel them for “real.”

I can’t think of another movie, however, that explores these questions quite like Spike Jonze’s Her...

Click to read more ...


FYC: Josh Brolin in "Inherent Vice" for Best Supporting Actor

And so we come to the end of our individually chosen FYCs. Amir, our team coordinator, is off for a month long holiday (!) which leaves myself, Nathaniel, your immortal but ever running-late host to wrap things up. To recap: we asked each team member to write up a personal favorite longshot* from one specific category. Here's the final entry in the series, a performance I really love in a film I really don't.

Why highlight a film I don't care for? Because it's important to remember during all-or-nothing awards season that each individual element of a film is different than the big picture and ought to be treated as such for the purposes of awardage.

Which brings us to...

See, it wasn't just the eternal sunshine of California or the vast vistas of desert land and salt water. It wasn't even really the hazy hash-filled air that P.T. Anderson's troupe was breathing. But I was parched and hungry the whole time I was watching Inherent Vice. I needed a fresh water oasis in the salty Pynchonian desert and Josh Brolin came to my rescue as "Bigfoot". Repeatedly. Fortunately he was also hungry, orally fixated you might say, and an eager lunch companion.

Like many characters in the film he's introduced with wonderfully descriptive prose that one assumes is lifted from the novel for voiceover. Brolin's introduction is in glorious widescreen longshot. The V.O.:

Like a bad luck planet in today's horoscope, here's the ol' hippie-hating mad dog himself in the flesh, Lieutenant Detective Christian F. "Big Foot" Bjornsen, SAG member, John Wayne walk, flat top, of Flintstone proportions, and that little evil shit twinkle in his eyes that says 'civil rights violations'" 

Brolin just owns this, presenting as a black & white Western rectangle stiffly inserting itself into the movie's otherwise geometrically ragged and fringed array of colorful people. Of course you can't see an evil shit twinkle in someone's eyes in long or medium shot but you can hear it in their voice.

Congratulations hippie scum! Welcome to a world of inconvenience"

Immediately we move to Bigfoot's office where the detective taunts Doc Sportello with carefully chosen words and obscene self-lubricated hand gestures; he's always shoving things into his mouth: frozen bananas, fingers, diner food. Brolin's line readings aren't just well delivered but perfectly balanced and heaped, as if he's collecting the best syllables on a fork, whichever wons have the most condescending flavor. The actor captures how natural all of this comes to Bigfoot now, that its both performative for Doc and completely innate in Bigfoot's character (we instantly register that the performance is now the reality after numerous pre-movie variations of these same conversations between the two detectives) since he's even doing the same things when he's out of view on the phone or half lost in his own strictly business thoughts when he's eating.

BigFoot's buzzkill nature would be suffocating if Brolin didn't find so many ways to play the notes. And though Bigfoot is mean to stand in opposition to the movie's other characters, he'd be totally at odds with the movie's loose hippie daze tone if he also weren't so damn funny. There are a great many people who think Inherent Vice is a good time movie in and of itself. Whether or not that proves to be your experience know this: it's a far greater party every single time Josh Brolin shows up to crash it.

Motto pankēki!" 

*I selected Brolin before his BFCA nomination so perhaps he's not quite as improbable as expected in a low key supporting actor competition, so I'm crossing my fingers... or licking them in Bigfoot's honor.


Each Longshot FYCs In Case You Missed Any
Actor, Locke | Actress, Belle | Supp. Actress, Gone Girl | Supp. Actor, Inherent Vice
Picture, Obvious Child |  Adapted Screenplay, A Most Wanted Man 
Sound Mixing, Grand Budapest HotelCostume, The Boxtrolls 
Cinematography, Homesman | Prod. Design, Enemy | Editing, Citizenfour  

Short-Lived Longshot FYCs = Academy Thought Otherwise
Makeup, Only Lovers Left Alive (eliminated) | FX, Under the Skin (eliminated)
Screenplay, The Babadook (ineligible) | ScoreThe Immigrant (eliminated)


Top 10 Things We Learned from the 52nd New York Film Festival

To close out our New York Film Festival coverage for the year, a quartet of takeaways from this annual highly curated celebration of international cinema. NYFF doesn't have a broad selection like a lot of festivals but there were goodies. I've asked each member of our team to send me a top ten list of things they learned (we did not consult each other on our lists).

I'll start


1. 17 years after Boogie Nights, Julianne Moore is still 'the foxiest bitch in the world'

2. Birdman has a smorgasbord of quotable lines. My favorite on first viewing:

Popularity is just the slutty cousin of prestige."

3. Marion Cotillard is getting so mesmerizingly authentic onscreen pretty soon she's going to walk right off of it in character like she's reenacting The Purple Rose of Cairo. (I apologize for the image: no one wants to think of the Dardenne Brothers going 3-D.)

4. You should never ever sit in the middle of a row of a long-ass Mike Leigh movie if you are feeling sick. My half-apologies to my row mates who you have no right to take up aisle seats if you're uncomfortable moving for the people in the middle.

More including Whiplash, Birdman, Inherent Vice, and Channing Tatum's boots after the jump...

Click to read more ...


NYFF: A Conversation About "Inherent Vice"

Hello dear readers. Your host Nathaniel here for our penultimate article on this year's New York Film Festival. I hope you've enjoyed the reviews from Glenn, Michael, Jason and me. Several people have asked why none of us reviewed Inherent Vice or if any of us had seen it. Strangely we all were there. But then no one claimed it so we've opted to have a conversation about it at least in part to figure out what held us back. Let's begin...

NATHANIEL R: It just goes to show you you never know. Alejandro G. Innaritu is one of my least favorite wildly acclaimed auteurs and Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my all time favorite wildly acclaimed auteurs. And yet here I am at the end of New York Film Festival after screenings of Birdman and Inherent Vice and guess who provided cinematic ecstacy and guess who gave a bad trip? It's Opposite World!

I reach out to you Glenn, Jason, and Michael to help me parse my feelings since you've also been devouring the NYFF. The Inherent Vice screening was a full week ago and I am no closer to writing anything about it. I keep hearing that it's a perfect stoner movie.  Do I not like it because I am not into weed (so perfectly capturing that feeling would be lost on me) or because it's simply not good: shapeless, meandering, super-indulgent, and purposefully incoherent?


Click to read more ...