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Entries in MTV (12)

Monday
Aug252014

The Best Film of 1989 That Wasn't

Glenn here to discuss a lil something from 1989, but first a divergence to the modern day.

Last night’s MTV Video Music Awards were like stepping into a pop culture gulag. It’s easy to get misty-eyed thinking about VMA ceremonies of years past, when the network actually showed music videos and the form felt truly like art. Despite being aware of last night’s winner, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus the icky Terry Richardson, I don’t claim to have near enough knowledge of modern music videos to truly complain. It does seem harder to imagine Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, or Pearl Jam winning these days though, doesn’t it? Are there brilliant works that just aren’t being recognized?

It’s been some time since videos were genuine pop culture moments and the internet certainly doesn’t help. Beyoncé appears to be the only one who’s been able to recreate the buzz of sitting around to watch the premiere of a new Michael Jackson or Madonna video. Most importantly, however, formative years are no longer spent watching music videos hoping to find our new favorite song and reveling in visual genius, rather we leave that to YouTube, iTunes and Spotify while we binge-watch sitcoms on Netflix instead.

Which brings me to 1989. If it weren’t for 1989 we wouldn’t have David Fincher. The future Oscar-nominated director had successes before ’89, but his two collaborations with Madonna that year – “Oh Father” and “Express Yourself” – as well as “Vogue” a year later feel like true moments of breakthrough genius. Whenever I tell fans of David Fincher that they should thank Madonna they balk, but isn’t it kind of true?

“Express Yourself” lost the video of the year award to Neil Young’s “This Note’s For You”, but much like a lot of Madonna’s music career, time has proven that she wasn’t just a momentary flash in the pan spurred on by a public wanting what’s new and shiny. Fincher’s video took liberal inspiration from Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fi classic Metropolis and gave it a slick and sexualized make-over (before blue filters were over-used). For mine, it remains the best thing David Fincher has ever directed – although, ever the contrarian, I don’t quite know if his maturing directorial instincts are for the better. Rather I find myself getting less excited for each new Fincher film and the very insular heterosexual male worlds they appear to inhabit. Will Gone Girl will change that?

Madonna has always been obsessed with cinema, old and new. She and Fincher would prove that again most famously one year later with “Vogue” with its recreations of the Golden Age of Hollywood as well as Isaac Julien's Looking for Langston. Every cent of Express Yourself's then record-breaking $5mil budget is on screen and it’s heightened, boldly stylized aesthetic is the exact kind that Baz Luhrmann was recreating with Moulin Rouge! over a decade later. From the rain-soaked underclass below to the sensual art-deco with modern twist of Madge’s world up top, “Express Yourself” surpasses even some of the work nominated for art direction and cinematography Oscars that year. Who remembers the sets of Driving Miss Daisy, you know? In a neat twist, Tim Burton’s Batman won the former category, itself also inspired by Metropolis. And remember when they went via satellite to present awards in England? Yikes!

The overt homoeroticism. The power of the pussy. The rally cry of the woman. It’s certainly a video that informed my early years a lot, and would go on to inspire my predilection for excessively stylish cinema as well as bold interpretations of eras. The “Express Yourself” video holds up better than most films of 1989, but perhaps works best of all as a beacon not only for Fincher’s career, but as an encapsulation of where cinema could and eventually would go in the following decades from Quentin Tarantino to endless remakes and reboots. By repurposing Metropolis, everything old was new again. Something we still see the effects of today.

Monday
Apr142014

Links: MTV Movie Awards and More...

The Guardian asks a really good question. Had James Dean lived would he have been a Newman or a Brando?
Nerd Approved swapping the genders on Disney characters
Comics Alliance one minute of the opening battle from X-Men Days of Future Past. Looks exciting
The Guardian an interview with the disfigured actor from Under the Skin
Vox 21 Times Stephen Colbert has dropped his satiric character and been himself 
Telegraph an unusually candid confession: Pierce Brosnan doesn't think he was good enough as James Bond
Empire Harrison Ford talks Bladerunner sequel 

MTV Movie Awards
I "forgot" to watch. But the internet provides the highlights anyway. Like Zac Efron getting his shirt ripped off. The masses have now seen his chest approximately in everything but it still excites them (More is more?)

Comics Alliance one minute of the opening battle from X-Men Days of Future Past. Looks exciting
Towleroad Jared Leto's AIDS focused speech. Yes he won another award for Rayon "Best Transformation"
YouTube they aired a commercia lfor A Million Ways to Die in the West. Charlize Theron's look is very Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead, right? Only with humor.
In Contention has a best and worst list from the night
Variety has the complete winners list which were awful... Mila Kunis terrible terrible villain in Oz: The Great and Powerful won (there were such better options like my Best Villain Nominees). Yikes. For what it's worth Hunger Games: Catching Fire won Best Movie and both lead actor prizes. Yes, Josh Hutcherson too! Since this is, you know, MTV and Twilight no longer exists.

This Weekend's Miracle
Michelle Pfeiffer left the house!

click to embiggen

We always have to report on it since it's so rare. She was at Coachella in California this weekend with an undetermined friend.

Today's Watch
Awesomely talented Laura Benanti explains the current Broadway season. (I don't understand why a great TV series doesn't snap her up. She was so good on the short-lived Playboy Club and in The Sound of Music: Live and surely she deserves better than a Law & Order franchise. Especially since the bitch can sang.)

Thursday
Mar062014

MTV Movie Awards: Katniss vs. ...uh...Solomon Northup?

The MTV Movie Award Nominations arrive hot on the heels of the Oscar ceremony. This awards show happens on April 13th. MTV, even moreso than the Globes is all about nominating big stars they think we'll give them ratings even if they stick out like sore thumbs in their category. That's why I have to admit shock that 12 Years a Slave shows up repeatedly in their nominations.

I thought it far too sober, artistic, and adult for the awards show that kept holding the Twilight franchise up as some kind of pinnacle of filmmaking. It's hard to consider them being nominated for the same prize, much less existing in the same universe. Gravity, which weirdly isn't up for "Movie of the Year" would have been a far more MTV like choice. Honestly I can't figure it. 

In some way this is a bit more like the MTV Movie Awards of yore which would give prizes to Wes Anderson before he even had a fanbase to speak of. But maybe it's all merely a happy accident that two of the most Oscar nominated movies of the year (American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street) are also "fun" and so MTV responds in kind. 

MOVIE OF THE YEAR

• “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
• “American Hustle” (Columbia Pictures)
• “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Lionsgate)
• “The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount Pictures)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec302013

The Secret Year of Spike Jonze

[Editor's Note: Tonight's guest column comes from Andy Hoglund, previously featured in reader spotlight. Here's his choice for "Entertainer of the Year"]

Spike on the set of "Her"

As we sign off on the final moments of 2013, the same names have repeatedly been uttered as defining this year in entertainment. From Miley twerking, to Kanye’s limitless ability to stimulate conversation, to Sandra's space solo, and so on, they've all had their moments. Overlooked thus far is 2013’s quintessential utility man in pop culture—the equivalent of Chone Figgins (versatile infielder/outfielder who finished 17th in American League MVP balloting in 2005). This all-around talent has worn multiple hats this year in film and music, some of them unsung. Spike Jonze may still not quite be a household name in 2013. He should be.

The deep impact Jonze achieves with a project as ambitious and heart-wrenching as Her should be no surprise. After all, his first feature length film, Being John Malkovich, was a touchstone of one of Hollywood’s most audacious years. Rather than pursue a work schedule along the lines of the prolific Steven Soderbergh, Jonze has released only three films since that impressive debut in 1999.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug262013

Lady Gaga's "Applause"... In Which She Won't Stop Encoring

This will likely be the only post on the VMAs... and it's barely that. Yet the opening performance by Lady Gaga last night at MTV's annual fundraiser for the eradication of old people (anyone over, say, 28?) reminded me that I hadn't written about her "Applause" video yet and I wanted to.

But first a truth: As it turns out, a big white singing nun's outfit with giant square head is not a good look for anyone. Who knew?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun192012

True Blood 5.2... Or, Nahhh,... TEEN WOLF Top Ten!

previously on True Blood

After a disappointing return to Bon Temps I was all primed for something closer to satisfying from the second episode of this storied show's fifth season but instead of excitement the True Blood team offered more set-up as if this were part two of the season opener rather than a stand-alone episode or a compelling stakes-raiser. When will this season actually begin? Any movie that hadn't begun after 1 hour and 30 minutes would be universally shunned but unfortunately TV series can get away with doing nothing for hours on end, everyone assuming (generously) that "something will happen next time." 

In a complete dereliction of duty, and a complete absence of self-awareness, True Blood refuses to de-clothe Chris Meloni in "Authority Always Wins"

As far I can tell there are 5 major story threads going on...

  • The Authority vs. Russell (Denis O'Hare) who they thought was dead. Starring Bill & Eric.
  • Tara is now a Vampire after we thought her dead. Starring Tara, Sookie, Pam & Lafayette. 
  • Werewolf PackPower Struggle once their pack leader is found dead. Starring Sam, Luna, & Alcides.
  • The love between Jessica ♥ Jason has died and now everyone in Bon Temps is lovelorn and lonely... particularly the plain ol' human characters and solo girl vamps who used to always hang with their makers. Starring Jason & Jessica & Hoyt & Reverend Newlend & Sheriff Andy & Holly & Pam.
  • War vet buddies are haunted by a dangerous loose cannon among them. Starring Terry & Arlene.   

Within these five general stories are (presumably) little minor stories starring only one or two of the characters bringing us to the very obvious conclusion that there are too many characters is not enough of a show-running directive / understanding that "ensemble" actually means 'a large group of characters' rather than 'abundant solo acts.' Frankly, I'm losing interest. It's like a very mild (hopefully tentative) version of that time a few months back when Glee returned from hiatus and I suddenly and violently knew I simply Could Not anymore with that show. Ugh.

the only emotionally engaging thread in "Authority Always Wins" took place a century ago!

Draining the Episode Dry
Body Count: 2 (Humans in Pam/Eric flashbacks); Sex Scenes: 0; Fresh Meat: The sickeningly sexy Chris Meloni joins the cast of the most naked show on television... completely clothed. Which tells you everything you need to know about the catastrophe that season 5 is threa... you know what? I CAN'T. I CAN'T.

Today I'd much rather talk about Teen Wolf.

Ten Best Things About Season 2 Teen Wolf (thus far)

10 Even when the relationships make you groan/giggle  -- almost always --  you can still care about them. Maybe because they're teenagers and you can forgive teenagers a lot. Maybe because it's only been 1 Season and they aren't replaying the same drama for years on end (yet). Maybe because the show doesn't take itself too seriously but genuinely seems to be fond of its characters.

09 Season 2's supposed edict "more emotions, less clothing" is so far totally true.

eight more bests after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May022012

Link Roll Call

Gold Derby has the complete list of MTV Movie Awards. As per usual it's a Harry Potter/Twilight party, crashed this time out by The Hunger Games. So YA.
Movie|Line interviews smashing Mark Ruffalo on playing The Hulk and Dance Dance Revolution with his castmates.
Hero Chan "The Birth of Venus Black Widow"
Incredible Suit massive difference between old and new Spider-Man movies demonstrated
My New Plaid Pants "do dump or marry?" The Royal Tenenbaums edition

Pajiba 10 actors who will never be nominated for Emmy no matter how much they deserve it. 
Guardian because all franchises refuse to die, they're thinking of resurrecting Dracula to star Tom Cruise as Van Helsing. Won't the vampire craze be over by the time they're finished? It has to be on its last legs now.
The Envelope Oscar is staying put in the same theater for another couple of decades. It is "Kodak" no more but now "Dolby" I believe. 
Cracked great behind the scenes photos that break the movie spell
Vulture April's best celebrity portraiture from Michelle Williams to Adepere Oduye
Awards Daily first photos of Nicole Kidman on set of Railway Man. Ugh, I hate when they make my fav goddesses frumpy for movie roles 

Finally, I heart this new poster for Snow White and the Huntsman. Oh please let the evil queen win!