We’re a long way from September 2007.
Remember when nearly every political pundit was frothing at the mouth to cover the inevitable Hillary Clinton vs. Rudi Giuliani presidential battle royale?
Well, some 13 months later, Hillary is campaigning for Barack Obama and Rudi is left to drop divisive, stereotype-laden cultural bombs (all the while being one of the East Coast elites he rails against) and to brood about the demise of his beloved New York Yankees.
Oh, and more than a year after I caught it at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, Cincinnati movie buffs finally have a chance to see Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park ... on DVD.
Picked up by IFC Films in late 2007 and distributed in many markets in early 2008, Paranoid Park never made to a Cincinnati movie house largely due to The Esquire/Mariemont theatres’ policy of not screening films available on pay-per-view TV, a format IFC simultaneously makes available in conjunction with its theatrical releases.
Business-based, behind-the-scenes details aside, Paranoid Park is the latest entry in Van Sant’s recent string of strangely poetic, curiously impressionistic films that includes Gerry, Elephant and Last Days. It’s also one of the best films of Van Sant's varied career — a thriller that subverts nearly every genre convention while still generating an odd, almost subliminal tension.
The setup, per the truncated press notes at Toronto, is simple: “Alex, a teenage skateboarder, accidentally kills a security guard in the vicinity of Paranoid Park, Portland's tough skate park. He decides to say nothing.”
Van Sant infuses this bare-bones framework with a hypnotic array of technical flourishes: the use of ambient noises, vintage Nino Rota score snippets and Elliott Smith songs; a non-linear, overlapping narrative technique; cinematographer du jour Christopher Doyle’s striking visuals; and non-professional actors that give Paranoid Park an extra layer of authenticity.
Curiously, it looks as though Van Sant will return to more conventional techniques for his next film, Milk, a look at the life of trailblazing San Francisco politician Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn), the first openly gay man to be elected to public office.
(Paranoid Park was released on DVD on Oct. 7.)
I got an e-mail the other day with the subject line: “Julia Roberts: not a top 5 movie hooker…” Curious, I opened it and found a list of the “Top Five Working Girls (and Boy) in Movies” as compiled by Spout.com.
(Note to eager publicists or enterprising ladies of the night: Please don't take this as an invitation to litter my mailbox with like-minded subject lines.)
The winning streak continues this week. In fact, it's shaping up to be the best slate of opening films in recent memory.
What’s up with the fuss surrounding Twilight?
Hundreds of multiplex sellouts for last night’s midnight opening? Fans camping out a day early to catch a glimpse of stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart as they arrive for the film’s Hollywood premiere? Hordes of screeching teenage girls going gaga over Pattinson during a recent promotional appearance at a mall in Pennsylvania?
Movies that populated theaters in the '80s and '90s are making a comeback. Some are better than others but since there is a built-in audience, Hollywood is cranking out remakes and reboots left and right.
This practice has been done for years but recently more movies than ever have been redone. March brought 21 Jump Street with skinny Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The buddy cop movie was actually funny and has made more than $90 million so far.
Other notable remakes over the last few years include Fright Night, Conan the Barbarian, Karate Kid, Clash of the
Titans, Footloose, Nightmare on Elm Street, Wall Street, Arthur and Die Hard. Out of the nine mentioned, only Fright Night and Die Hard were actually enjoyable (in my opinion).
The worst out of the bunch had to be Clash of the Titans. Cheesy acting and bad 3D effects plagued this Sam Worthington CGI-fest. Worthington did a better job in the ads for the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 video game.
Now an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is getting another look, and thank goodness it isn’t Junior.
The first trailer for a new Total Recall was released Sunday. No, this isn’t a late April Fool’s joke. The remake to the 1990 Schwarzenegger movie is a real thing, and fans of not only the original but of science fiction in general should be giddy with anticipation.
The remake stars Colin Farrell, coming off of his performance from the 1980s vampire remake Fright Night, with Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel taking roles of eye candy. Will there be another three-breasted woman? Fans of the original can only hope. AMC’s Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston plays the bad guy. The cast alone gives a lot more credit to this remake than most.
We will all have to wait to actually watch the thing to figure out if it’s worthy enough to be considered a decent remake.
In other movie news, the next American Pie installment hits theaters today. To me, this is going to be a paycheck movie. Meaning, the original cast of characters is only returning because they haven’t been in anything major in the last few years. Well, for the exception of Allison Hannigan who has been on the long running show How I Met Your Mother. Expect a lot of dick and sex jokes, which is essentially what the first movie was, but now the cast is much older.
The original American Pie was released in 1999 and was seen as a fresh take on the high school sex comedy. The second added on to that with more outlandish situations — like mixing up lube with super glue. American Wedding was thought to be the ending to Stifler and the gang’s stories — compared to the first and second, it was somewhat of a letdown. Then came the straight-to-DVD American Pie Presents movies. I will admit, though, American Pie Beta House was a hilarious college comedy; women might not want to watch because it focuses on a misbehaving fraternity.
Squeezing film stars for as much money as possible is the norm nowadays with movie franchises – just look at Pirates of Caribbean. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions with American Reunion, but the pie lost its flavor a long time ago.
Like any “awards” program based on so-called subjective judgments, The Golden Globes’ track record is all over the place. Yet a quick glance at this year’s nominees for "Best Motion Picture — Drama" reveals a list that will likely align nicely with the Academy Awards' more predictable, prestige-laden fare.
The third annual Oxford International Film Festival (OIFF) is moving south.
Previously held on Miami University’s Oxford campus and initially set to move to the Savannah Center in West Chester for this year, festival organizers announced this week that the majority of the screenings will now take place at the Esquire Theatre (320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton) July 24-30.
Now that Sunday night’s Oscars are over, the Internet is full of catty stories and tweets parsing every last second of televised coverage, from Angelina Jolie’s exposed leg to Adam Sandler’s participation in a taped segment in which actors discussed why they love movies. (If he really loved movies, he’d stop making them, some have said.)
It’s both understandable and sad that the Oscars — and movie-award season in general — ends like this, with far more interest in the telecast’s trivia than in the movies that win awards. Arguably, the news value of this year’s show peaked before it even officially started, when Sacha Baron Cohen, in costume as “The Dictator” for an upcoming movie, spilled an urn of faux human ashes (ostensibly Kim Jong-il’s) on interviewer Ryan Seacrest.
It’s getting worse, too, now that the Internet and 200+-channel cable television have educated us ad nauseam to the nature and inner workings of the Oscar campaign season. We carefully learn how a film builds momentum by moving through all the secondary award ceremonies from critics groups and the Hollywood professional guilds and associations.
As a result, the Academy Awards themselves have become anticlimactic, which partially explains the media devotion to dissecting the telecast. And the attempts by the Motion Picture Academy to build false enthusiasm by allowing up to ten Best Picture nominees have been a disaster, since we all now know how to “read” the nominations to distinguish the real ones (they also have Best Director nods) from the padding. Not all that long ago, few outside Hollywood insiders even knew there was a well-orchestrated “campaign season,” much less how to follow and handicap it.
Convention wisdom, and you hear a lot of it these days, would be to revive the Oscar telecast by de-emphasizing the importance of the awards, themselves. Reduce the number given out on TV, especially the more esoteric or niche ones, in favor of increasing the glitz, spectacle, star power and big production numbers. Do like the Grammys have done, where classical, jazz, folk, blues, opera, international and more are rarely ever presented on the show.
But I think the Academy should go the other way and try to increase public awareness of the importance of Oscar nominations. But maybe not for the Big Four categories – Best Picture, Director, Actor and Actress, which probably do suffer from overexposure by the time the telecast comes around (although The Artist, this year’s big winner, could use the help since many people have been scared off by the fact it’s a black-and-white silent film).
Click the jump for more on ways the Academy could draw more attention to deserving films such as A Separation, In Darkness, Footnote and Bullhead.
There were plenty of local mentions throughout the interview. Clooney briefly talked about his time at Augusta High School, where he played basketball (he claimed that the team was 1-25 his senior year) and was generally a great student. Just like myself growing up, every student who got As at his school received Reds tickets. Gotta love that Carl Lindner.
Just in time to rescue us from another week of safe, reheated Hollywood product (yes, I'm referring to you, Sex and the City 2), a locally produced film gets its local debut at 8 p.m. tonight at Cincinnati State's ATLC Auditorium (3520 Central Pwky., Clifton).
Meth, the latest short from Cincinnati filmmaker Michael Maney, centers its fast-paced 20-minute story on a meth addict (played by CCM-trained local actress Stephanie Brait) who, in an effort to score her habit of choice, crosses paths with a tweaked-out drug dealer (Dan Davidson), a pawn-shop operator (Nick Rose), a talking mannequin (voiced by Robert Pavlovich) and a guy who might be the victim of a conspiracy to exterminate wrongdoers via vigilante justice.