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by Steven Rosen 02.29.2012
at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Oscars Give Short Shrift to Foreign, Documentary Categories

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. 

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by Jac Kern 02.01.2012
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Clooney Gives Local Shout-outs on Bravo

George Clooney was featured on Inside the Actor's Studio with James Lipton Tuesday night. The local hero talked about growing up in Kentucky, making it in Los Angeles and many of his famed performances on the oft-spoofed show.

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.

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by Jason Gargano 12.07.2011
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Know Theatre Screens Sundance Documentary Tonight

'Miss Representation' looks at how woman are protrayed in mainstream media

There's been a lot chatter in the vast, ever-opinionated movie blogosphere about the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's recently unveiled slate of films. Locally, the inclusion of Cincinnati native Todd Louiso's third directorial feature, Hello I Must Be Going, in the U.S. Dramatic competition is the most intriguing development.

But there's also another noteworthy local Sundance connection this week: Know Theatre is giving a 2011 Sundance film its Cincinnati premiere with a one-time screening 7 p.m. tonight (Dec. 7) in its space at 1120 Jackson St. in Over-the-Rhine. (Tickets are $10.)

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by Jason Gargano 12.02.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: Sundance Lineup Edition

I haven't done an exhaustive study, but it seems for the first time since I've been writing the words that appear in this space, there are no new movies opening in theaters this week. Zero.

But that's not to say there aren't plenty of worthwhile options currently residing in local theaters.

As I pointed out last week, there have been an uncommon number of strong movies released of late, including four last week: The Descendants, Hugo, The Muppets and My Week with Marilyn. That quartet follows the recently released Martha Marcy May Marlene and Like Crazy, which means a half-dozen movies in the last three weeks have garnered an A- or better from CityBeat's typically stingy crew of critics.

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by Jason Gargano 11.30.2011
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'The Artist' Wins Best Picture Award

The awards season is upon us.

In just the first of a coming avalanche of groups that will unveil their various movie awards/prizes/best lists, the New York Film Critics' Circle, considered one the more discerning groups of critics in the country, yesterday announced its 2011 award winners. Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist — a silent, black-and-white drama about the silent, black-and-white era of 1920s Hollywood — won Best Picture and Best Director.

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by Jason Gargano 11.23.2011
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Wednesday Movie Roundup: Sweet Holiday Bounty Edition!

After months mediocre movie options, recent weeks have give us a plethora of worthwhile offerings in a variety of genres — from art-house-leaning fare like Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Skin I Live In, Like Crazy, Take Shelter,The Interruptors,Senna,The WayandThe Guard to higher-profile multiplexers like Moneyball, Drive, 50/50andThe Ides of March.

The winning streak continues this week. In fact, it's shaping up to be the best slate of opening films in recent memory.

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by Jason Gargano 11.18.2011
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Friday Movie Roundup: 'Twilight' Mayhem Continues

Movies must be able to stand on their own two feet; they can't rely on their source material for viewers to understand what's happening onscreen, which is a sin the Twilight series continues to make over and over again. Of course, when millions of females — the overwhelming majority of whom make up its rabid fan base — the world over have read the books, I guess that's less of a concern than it would be otherwise.

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by Jason Gargano 11.16.2011
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Last Chance for 'Margin Call'

Wall Street meldown drama closes Thursday

The economic meltdown of 2008 has now yielded a decent amount of feature-length films on the topic — from mediocre fictional dramas (Oliver Stone's Wall Street 2 and John Wells' The Company Men) to an effective, semi-tangential documentary (Alex Gibney's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) to a solid docudrama (Curtis Hanson's HBO-backed Too Big to Fail).

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by Jason Gargano 11.11.2011
at 03:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Lighten Up, Leo, Edition

When willLeonardo DiCaprio lighten up? It doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon.

Asked recently if he would consider doing something besides the heavy dramatic lifting of recent years (see Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Departed, Body of Lies, Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island, Inceptionand now J. Edgar), the 37-year-old actor responded with this to-the-point rebuttal: “Why would I want to do something I would consider a profound waste of time?"

Alright, then.

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by Staff 11.11.2011
at 03:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Join 'Take Shelter' Discussion Saturday Night

On Saturday night (Nov. 12) after the 7:30 p.m. screening of Take Shelter at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton, CityBeat contributing editor Steven Rosen will lead a discussion into the film's meaning — and what really occurs at the mysterious ending.

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