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Review: Ready or Not

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Yes Not Maybe So: Bombshell

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
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Entries in Sucker Punch (6)


Links: The Wife, Anika Noni Rose, Kiss the Boy

Oscilloscope Musings Interesting piece about Zach Snyder's Suckerpunch and how it reflects various old movies, especially the musical Gold Diggers of 1933
Cartoon Brew on the making of a new animated feature Big Fish & Begonia, now in select cities
Deadline Jumanji (2017) broke a long held record just barely toppling Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (2002) to become Sony's all time biggest domestic hit

lots more news and entertainment tidbits after the jump including Omar Sharif, Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy, Anika Noni Rose and Keiynan Lonsdale...

Click to read more ...


The Razzies Are Coming, The Razzies Are Coming

Hey everybody. Michael C here. Can you feel the suspense? Not the Oscars, that’s going to be The Artist. No, I mean that we are only one week away from The Razzie nominations, where we can get a little retribution for the cinematic crimes of 2011.

Without M. Night Shyamalan, the Stanley Kubrick* of the Razzies, in the race it’s a little more challenging to predict the nominees for worst film than usual, but I'll give it a shot anyway. Full Disclosure: I haven't seen most of these and unless someone backs an armored car full of gold bars into my driveway it’s gonna stay that way. I am judging strictly off their public and critical reception

*True Fact: At their first ceremony The Razzies nominated Kubrick for worst director for The Shining.

The Front Runner

Suicide as mercy killing?

Adam Sandler's brother and screechy voice sister opus Jack and Jill is the King’s Speech of this year’s race, a vehicle specifically designed to win Razzies. Megastar completely phoning it in? Check. Super-thin premise that quickly dissolves into a series of fat and fart jokes. Check.  Orgy of whorish product placement culminating in Al Pacino rapping about Dunkin’ Donuts while a guy in a giant donut suit dances next to him? Che- Wait. What?

Jack and Jill has got that rare “Are you effing serious?” quality like The Love Guru and Catwoman that tends to win Razzies. Most people I know believed this movie was a joke Trey Parker and Matt Stone cooked up on South Park until the horrifying image of Sandler in drag started squishing donkeys in commercials.

The Spoiler

If Jack and Jill is the King’s Speech of this year’s Razzie race then Sucker Punch is the Social Network, totally up to the minute and cutting edge in its awfulness. Zak Snyder has synthesized comic book, anime, and video game culture into one completely incoherent package of steam punk gobbledygook.

Of all the titles in contention Sucker Punch is one of the few that deserves the designation of "so bad it’s good". Snyder doesn’t fail lazily drinking a coffee surrounded by old SNL buddies like Sandler. Sucker Punch goes down in a madly ambitious wreckage of CGI automatons, zombie Germans and PG-13 masturbation fodder so spectacular you want to stand and applaud.

The Blockbusters

It’s no fun to only pick on the little guys. The Razzies always devotes a few spots to big stars, bloated egos, and cynical cash grabs. Were talking past nominees like Wild Wild West and Alexander. Michael Bay has put up three nominees including winner Transformers 2 (Pearl Harbor was no match for Freddy Got Fingered) This year there is a wealth of big-budget Summertime crap to choose from. Pirates 4, Hangover 2, Transformers 3, Green Lantern, Zookeeper, The Smurfs. Last year Twilight: Eclipse was the big money-maker on the list but I doubt Breaking Dawn has the buzz to repeat. Ditto the even sillier-looking Twilight knockoff Red Riding Hood.

My hunch is that all the action blockbusters cancel each other out and New Year’s Eve takes the spot. Gary Marshall’s schmaltz-fest takes down too many big name stars with it to be ignored.

The Wild Cards

I’m discounting the chances of the otherwise clear favorite Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence simply because it seems to be begging for this prize, and I think the Razzies prefer their choices not to be in on the joke. Ditto Shark Night 3D. Even if Bucky Larson didn’t have an unheard of 0% rating at Rotten Tomatoes it will still demand a spot for making people look at Nick Swardson repulsive buck teeth and Prince Valiant haircut for a month last fall.

After Bucky I’m betting on the inclusion of under-the-radar contender Atlas Shrugged Part 1. First, it appears to be truly, atrociously bad. The most boring series of board meetings since Phantom Menace. Second, it has the added bonus of being a bizarro right-wing infomercial whose makers imagine they will change the public discourse via endless scenes of plutocrats sipping wine and talking about steel. Unfortunately this will probably overshadow Sarah Palin’s own unhinged campaign ad, the hilariously titled The Undefeated, although I would not be surprised to see her turn up in the Worst Actress category. The Razzies aren’t sticklers for classification like the Oscars.


  • Atlas Shrugged Part 1
  • Bucky Larson
  • Jack and Jill
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Sucker Punch

 Quick closing thought: I think the Razzies need a category for Oscar bait, don’t you? Iron Lady and J. Edgar are way too good to be included here, but someone needs to be held accountable for making me sit through endless scenes of a senile Margaret Thatcher chasing her ghost husband all over the apartment.

 The Iron Leaden J. Oscar

Feel free to tee off on your own worst cinematic experience of 2011 in the comments and to get into all the other categories. Larry the Cable Guy for Worst Actor in Cars 2, am I right? You can follow Michael C. on Twitter at @SeriousFilm or read his blog Serious Film


Links: Sand Pitt, Snow Trilogy, Leonardo Faces

<-- Look it's Brad Pitt on the set of World War Z in Malta. Is he trying to keep sand out of his eyes or faking tears? You decide. (I vote for sand since he's quite a good cryer, don't you think? Has anyone read this novel? I tried and admired the structure but couldn't quite get into it.) Speaking of Brad... let's start the links.

Shortlist 30 Facts about David Fincher's Se7en (1995)
Icelandic Cinema a new website offers on demand Icelandic classics like the Viking epic The Raven Flies and Noi the Albino. They also have free downloads of short films.
Cinema Blend ARGH. The televisionization of the movies continues. Turns out that Snow White and the Huntsman -- the one with Kristen Stewart and Thor -- now thinks it needs three movies to tell its story. In the past few years I have come to respect television more than I used to but they are two different artforms. Why this constant push to make them the same? It's so disheartening. There is much to be said for stories with beginnings middles and ends which you can absorb in one two hour sitting.
Grant Land interesting take on the lack of male movie stars and the real and manufactured cases of Will Smith and Ryan Reynolds. Very sports-analogy filled for those of you who are into that.
The Many Faces of... Leonardo DiCaprio "how to freak out and go crazy!" (as Jorge pointed out to me this is kind of a sequel or a spiritual cousin to my "dead wives club" and so I just love it.

IFC musical sequence from Sucker Punch restored for its blu-ray release
Your Movie Buddy best of 2011 thus far... in Oscar categories. Definitely some surprising choices and omissions here. Yes, yes, I'll do one soon.
Stale Popcorn on the poster for Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur. It is arresting.
In Contention Kris on his ten year relationship with A.I. Artificial Intelligence (which I just mentioned but alas... my obsession with Gigolo Joe doesn't seem to be shared by many)

Off Cinema
DHARBIN "Some Common Fears" I love this guys comics. I've been so into web comics lately. I appreciate referrals if you know of good ones. 
Towleroad Cher takes on the Bachmann anti-gay crazy on Twitter. Cher = forever fierce.
Boy Culture Matthew proposes the best callsign for Mr. Bachmann I've yet heard proposed "Lady Bird Bachmann" -- PASS IT ON.
Some Came Running on the politics of David Mamet now and Demi Moore then


Take Three: Carla Gugino

Craig here with Take Three. Today: Carla Gugino

Take One: Snake Eyes
Gugino was underused as the social worker in The Lookout, underdressed and all too briefly seen as the parole officer in Sin City, and under De Niro as a delectable detective in Righteous Kill. But one of her earlier roles as the mysterious ringside blonde in Brian De Palma’s Vegas boxing noir Snake Eyes gave her plenty of room to make a dent. There’s a killing about to happen at a big boxing match but is she in on the missile-based murder conspiracy? She’s certainly the focus of maniacally charged Nicolas Cage’s attention – and, by association, ours. Snake’s tricky structure and multiple viewpoints (especially the famous opening tracking shots) allow Gugino to play fast and loose with her character, Julia Costello, who ultimately, like all desperate women of noir, isn’t quite who we think she is.

Gugino’s evasive vixen is a ‘90s variant on the femme fatale or the ‘mysterious blonde’ (aroused via De Palma’s acknowledged love for Hitchcock). Julia Costello should perhaps be filed alongside the likes of Melanie Griffith in Body Double, Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct and Annette Bening in The Grifters as revisionist takes on old noir staples. Gugino brings  sly, slinky qualities and a perfectly deceptive approach to the part. Later on in the film she offers nicely-conveyed and unguarded emotion. It’s a key role in the movie, and she has the ideal voluptuous physique and versatile acting skill to carry it off. Outside of Cage’s OTT presence and De Palma’s bravura camerawork, Gugino was the one to keep your (snake) eyes on.

See also this 8-minute 2010 short, Tell-Tale, where she does actually play ‘Femme Fatale’.

Take two: Sucker Punch (2011)
Outside of its central gang of delusional madhouse girls, Sucker Punch had a few notable faces peppering the supporting cast list.

Click to read more ...


BOB: Sucker Punching Dead Horses

Today's Box Office Blather is short, though hardly sweet. The weekend had only two wide openings which fought it out for two markets: the family and the fanboys. Though girls ruled and boys drooled on Friday when Sucker Punch triumphed, family-market films always grow over opening weekends rather than fade like normal movies.

Carla Gugino, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Emily Browning, Jamie Chung and Vanessa Hudgens at the Sucker Punch premiere

So the weekend went to Wimpy Kids rather than Violent Girls.

01. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules $23.7 new
02. Sucker Punch $19 new
03. Limitless $15 (cumulative: $41.1)
04. The Lincoln Lawyer $10.7 (cumulative: $28.7)
05. Rango $9.7 million (cumulative: $106.3)

Limitless and Lincoln held well in week 2 indicating that people who saw them last week maybe didn't regret their ticket purchases. Rango is now the top grosser of 2011, a title it seems likely to hold until the end of May when Johnny Depp will overthrow himself by way of Pirates #4. (Sigh) Unless Thor gets deified by general audiences or Jane Eyre busts out of her bodice on a record breaking 6,321 screens... all of them sold out for the rest of the summer. (Sorry, fever dream on account of the feverishly Fassbending podcast. But wouldn't it be great if box office were THAT impossible to predict? Hypothetical question. The answer is yes.)

What did you see this weekend? Besides Mildred Pierce, I mean.

Finally, in Shamelessly Beating Dead Horses news: the PG-13 version of The King's Speech opens this Friday. Begone naughty fuck word, you have no power here! The King's Profanity has been redacted. Oscar campaigns don't pay for themselves, people. Although, the $15 million dollar budgeted film has already earned $361 million worldwide so now they're just being greedy fuckers.


This & That: Pixar Classes, Taylor Animation, and Simulated Sex

The Film Doctor has nine notes on Zach Snyder's Sucker Punch.
Inside TV EW describes a truckload of new pilots. Which will make the cut for fall. Lots of movie peeps willing to say goodbye to movie stardom if their shows get picked up including Kerry Washington, Kat Denning, Zooey Deschanel and Patrick Wilson. Others like Anjelica Huston and Angela Bassett are less surprising since the film roles have dried up (Stupid Hollywood!)
Serious Film
offers up Lawrence of Arabia in the Line Reading Hall of Fame.

Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, post coital in DON'T LOOK NOW

Twitch has doubts about Simon Kook becoming the new Thai action star in light of Tony Jaa's problematic career trajectory.
Cartoon Brew want to learn about animation and story development from the Pixar folks? You can for $500 during their upcoming New York seminar.
Movie|Line As the weekend began they followed up with the suddenly in-the-news again story about the infamous sex scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in Don't Look Now. Love the ending of the article.

Besides, what better way to spend a Friday than by trying to figure out if two movie stars had sex 38 years ago?

As for his denial, Peter Bart's new book, and Julie Christie's 38 year old refusal to answer the question... Trust no one. The only thing that makes these stories fun is that you really can't trust anyone. Only the director and the stars know for sure. But I'll say this: it looks just as convincing as the sex scene in Lust, Caution but in both cases, who knows? Editing can be deceiving. Especially when the editing is rapid fire and jaggedy as it it in both films.

And here is one of those freaky Taiwanese animated news renditions this time on Elizabeth Taylor's passing. I know some people will consider this disrespectful, but it's of a piece with what they do.

They always manage to come up with a few visual gags that show a certain amount of perverse creativity and actual thought. (Remember Jake Gyllenhaal's fruity penis from that SXSW news bit?) Plus I bet Elizabeth herself would guffaw as she had a great bawdy sense of humor about herself and everything else, too.