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TWO OPINIONS ON MAPS TO THE STARS
Nathaniel's Julianne Spazzing & Glenn's Cronenberg Finger Wagging 

"There is a great movie in Maps of the Stars and that is the one Moore stars in, not the one the screenplay insists in bringing to the front." - Mr Goodbar

"If I had to guess why Cronenberg went with a largely "invisible" or even non-style style, I'd say it has to do with his approach to the narrative, which is kind of a bait and switch, setting us up for a hollywood satire and then giving us a final act that plays more like a myth or a fairy tale." -Roark

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Entries in music videos (37)

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
Aug042014

Linkbusters

HitFix Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) may well remake Ghostbusters with a female cast. I'm normally against do-overs unless you significantly reinvent so best wishes to all
Roger Ebert the Jacques Demy collectio. WANT
MNPP Lee Pace & Matt Bomer went to high school together. Awwww
MNPP which is hotter, Dick (1999) anniversary!
Guardian Christina Hendricks interviewed about Mad Men and more. Her original agency dropped her when she took the Joan Harris part. D'oh!
Gothamist funny Julie Klausner on Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense
Shortpacked! a webcomic for everyone like me who feels totally alone in not liking Guardians of the Galaxy very much 
Coming Soon a boring onset shot of Daredevil's altar ego Matt Murdock in his lawyer drag from the new Netflix series
AV Club talks to Brendan Gleeson abouv Calvary, Harry Potter and more
Cinema Blend they're making Richard Linklater's School of Rock into a TV series
Nick's Flick Picks Nick and Joe have completed their choices for the "best of" the year's first half with leading performances and Best Picture. Good smart read with lots of love for Blue Ruin, Only Lovers Left Alive, Edge of Tomorrow
Coming Soon James Gunn teases work on Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Whew, already?
Comics Alliance Comparing Guardians to The Last Starfighter, an 80s sci-fi flick
Boy Culture reviews Oscar winner Lee Grant's autobiography "I'd Still Say Yes" 
Slant Magazine reviews a biography on Joss Whedon 

Cast This! It appears that there's going to be a movie called Russ & Roger Go Beyond about the making of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970). Who should play that infamous movie's celebrated writer Roger Ebert?

Finally...
Why did no one tell me about Vance Joy's "Riptide" which is now as far as I can tell like a year old. Love the emphatic fantasy of this lyric, duh!

 

I just gotta, I just gotta know
I can't have it, I can't have it any other way
I swear she's destined for the screen
Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen, oh 

Wednesday
Jul162014

These Actresses Are Just One of the Guys

abstew here. This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the my favorite movies growing up, Troop Beverly Hills. (I mistakenly thought the woman with curly red hair on the VHS cover was my beloved Bette Midler, but when I realized it wasn't, I loved the movie too much to care and made my parents rent it at least once a month.) But all those times I watched those Wilderness Girls singing about the virtues of Cookie Time, I never thought that the actress playing Shelley Long's daughter, Hannah Nefler, would grow up to be my absolute favorite singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis. She writes the songs that make me remember that I have feelings. If you opened my chest it would be in the shape of Jenny Lewis.

KStew, singer Jenny Lewis, Brie Larson, and Annie Hathaway

After a brief stint as a child star (even appearing on an episode of The Golden Girls and, more importantly, in the film that introduced the world to Super Mario Brothers 3), she later became the lead singer of the indie band Rilo Kiley. Even though the band broke up in 2011, she hasn't stopped making music and her new album "The Voyager" comes out on July 29th. For the first single, Just One of the Guys, she even enlisted some famous actresses to appear alongside her in the video, which she also directed.

Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway, and Brie Larson appear as themselves as her all-in-white back-up band, but then also hilariously take on the personas of some track suit-sporting bros. Annie plays a sensitive, rat-tailed break dancer. Brie actually kinda looks like a cute boy that every girl in middle school would have a crush on because of his non-threatening, vaguely feminine demeanor. And the MVP of the video has to be KStew who seems to be enjoying herself more here than I think I've ever seen her before. I hope some studio executive is watching this video and already casting her as a young rapper in Michigan living on 8 Mile. Or the Justin Beiber story. Cause I've never seen her so free and loose. It's fun to see.

Question #1 These three ladies in drag: Do, Dump, or Marry?

 

 

Lewis probably enlisted Hathaway to appear in the video as she, along with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice (who appeared as Roy Orbison in Walk the Line), composed the music for the indie musical film starring the Oscar-winner, Song Onethat debuted at Sundance earlier in the year. Lewis can also be heard at the movies this summer as she wrote the music for the coming-of-age indie Very Good Girls starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen, available now on VOD and in limited release later this month.

Question #2: Which 3 actresses would you cast in your own music video (cross-dressing optional)? 

Wednesday
May212014

Sashay Away? Bianca, Adore, Courtney

Another May, another round of goodbyes to RuPaul's Drag Race finalists. Bianca Del Rio, one of the best and certainly funniest contestants in the history of RPDR took the crown on Monday night and the onehundredthou$anddolla. Now all three will sashay away...

Or will they?

Click to read more ...

Friday
May162014

We Exist

Always up for movie stars headlining music videos. Here's Andrew Garfield in Arcade Fire's "We Exist"

 

Thursday
Feb132014

Take My Link Away

Shadow Play Shirley Temple in Fort Apache
Shoshi Games 2014 HA HA. A must for fans of Zosia Mamet on "Girls" and the Winter Olympics
In Contention Karen O to perform "The Moon Song" at the Oscars. So now all the songs will be represented including...
EW IDINA MENZEL doing "Let It Go" so we got our wish
The Wrap Drake is pissed that PSH's death robbed him of his Rolling Stone cover 

 

Keyframe The fall of Roman Eye Candy in sword and sandal epics
BAFTA last day to vote on the Rising Star award. I chose Lea Seydoux though Lupita Nyong'o was tempting, only because Léa has been great several times already in short succession. Let's hope Lupita gets a fair shot at a big career!
LA Times Gravity dominates the Visual Effects Society awards (as if anything else would have occurred!)
Variety on Disney's very smart hands-off approach to the viral Frozen celebrations happening online
Marvel Comics it's the 50th birthday of the Black Widow today. (Remember how Emily Blunt was going to play her and we were all excited and then it was Scarlett Johansson instead and we were like "ummm..." and then she was terrible in Iron Man 2 but suddenly great in The Avengers. Happy endings!)

Re: This Regurgitated Weekend
Dave Holmes at Vulture wisely (and with great humor) looks back at the box office of 1987 the weekend the original Robocop debuted. I bring this up because this weekend's wide releases are ALL THREE OF THEM 80'S REMAKES: About Last Night (1986), Robocop (1987), and Endless Love (1981). (Has this ever happened before? Probably but if it has please to remind me)  

The piece is really funny and also has one of the best lines ever uttered about The Witches of Eastwick:

Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer — the closest thing to an all-Beyoncé Destiny’s Child we’re ever going to get...

 

And speaking of the 1980s...

Exit Music
Readers of a certain age already know and love the awesome 80s bad Berlin (so many classics like "The Metro" "Masquerade" "No More Words") but younger movie-mad readers should also familiarize. For somewhat obvious reasons it's oft-forgotten that Terri Nunn, the lead singer was an actress before joining Berlin and was in the running for Princess Leia before George Lucas decided on Carrie Fisher! Berlin's biggest hit was the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun... but they didn't write it so no Oscars for them. Anyway, they have a new record coming out called "Animal" and the lead single's video co-stars my personal favorite RuPaul's Drag Race diva, Raven. Raven loves the 80s -- remember her "I was giving Michelle Pfeiffer Bitch" on the show? She's a perfect fit to face off with Terri!