Songwriter Doc Pomus Featured at ReelAbilities Film Festival

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 4, 2015
It’s been a long, slow journey for Doc Pomus — who died in 1991 without being widely known by the public — to become recognized as one of Rock & Roll’s greatest songwriters ever. But his cause has gained much momentum recently.  
by Jac Kern 02.24.2015
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Movies, Fashion at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can't Get Enough…Oscars

Recapping the 87th Academy Awards

Neil Patrick Harris hosted the 87th Oscars Sunday night. Let’s talk about it! Having hosted multiple Emmy and Tony award shows in the past, quadruple-threat NPH (he sings, dances, acts and does magic) was well suited — cue Barney Stinson high-five — to the task. He did in fact sing, dance, act and do magic all while poking fun at the nominees, recreating significant movie moments and ad-libbing on the fly. Great job, NPH! As far as the night’s trends, there were a few: Using the acceptance speech as a bigger platform While some folks stick to the traditional “Thank God, the Academy and my manager” speech, others used the time in the spotlight to address other issues. This is nothing new — Marlon Brando famously boycotted the 1973 Academy Awards for Hollywood’s treatment of Native Americans, arranging for Sacheen Littlefeather to attend in his behalf and decline the Best Actor award (for The Godfather). This year’s acceptance speech shout-outs ranged from appreciating parents (J.K. Simmons) and supporting ecological sanitation and women’s rights (Patricia Arquette) to empowering the LGBTQ community (Graham Moore) and discussing immigration (Alejandro González Iñarritu). Play someone with a disease, win awards Again, this trend is far from new. The Academy — and audiences — love to see an actor transform, and portraying someone with a mental or physical condition can certainly do the trick. It’s not a surefire way to win an Oscar — just ask poor Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator) — but the Oscars have looked favorably on roles like this in the past. And present: Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; Julianne Moore was awarded Best Actress for her role as a woman with early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice. Ladies in White Whiteness wasn’t just the hilarious subject of NPH’s first joke in the monologue (see below), it was also a prominent dress color for many attendees, nominees and performers. Patricia Arquette, Reese Witherspoon, Carmen Ejogo, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o, Julianne Moore, Lady Gaga, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman and others all rocked white, channeling the snow that many of those not in L.A. were knee-deep in. Now for a play-by-play recap of the event. Neil Patrick Harris opened the show with a theatrical song, but not before making a joke about celebrating the “best and the whitest” – err, brightest film stars. I like how the Oscars always start with the supporting actor award to get people excited, only to spend the following hour busting out all the technical awards and best picture nominee previews.Best Supporting Actor Ethan Hawke, Boyhood Edward Norton, Birdman J.K. Simmons, Whiplash Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher Robert Duvall, The Judge Yay! Simmons has been in the acting game a long time and killed it in Whiplash. Totally deserved.He used the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly thank his wife, kids and parents and urged viewers to do the same. “Call your mom. Call your dad.” Adam Levine continues to take over the world/every television program. He performed a song from a movie he was in (???). Costume Design The Grand Budapest Hotel Inherent Vice Into the Woods Maleficent Mr. TurnerMakeup and Hairstyling Foxcatcher The Grand Budapest Hotel Guardians of the Galaxy Makeup, hair and costume design awards went to the visually delightful The Grand Budapest Hotel. Costume designers always wear the best stuff, obviously Exhibit A: Milena Canonero’s sequined pants. Oscar lobby boys officially became weird when they held Channing Tatum's hand down the stairs. Best Foreign Film Ida Tangerines Leviathan Timbuktu Wild Tales I love director Pawel Pawlikowski’s style — he just talked though the Oscars’ STFU Music Cue until it finally stopped playing! All bets are off now that we know the truth: Just. Keep. Talking. The (not nominated) Lego Movie had its moment in the sun with an over-the-top performance of “Everything is Awesome.” Best Live Action Short Aya Boogaloo and Graham Butter Lamp (La Lamp au Beurre de Yak) Parvaneh The Phone CallBest Documentary Short Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 Joanna Our Curse The Reaper (La Parka) White EarthSound Mixing American Sniper Birdman Interstellar Unbroken Whiplash NPH recreated Birdman undies scene: Sound Editing American Sniper Birdman The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Interstellar Unbroken Jared Leto showed up in Dumb and Dumber cosplay to present Best Supporting Actress; he also had a heavenly moment.Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette, Boyhood Emma Stone, Birdman Meryl Streep, Into the Woods Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game Laura Dern, Wild Yay again! The Boyhood actress had this one in the bag. During her speech, Arquette promoted the organization GiveLove and gave a call to action to all the country’s mothers. Visual Effects Captain America: The Winter Soldier Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Guardians of the GalaxyInterstellarX-men: Days of Future PastBest Animated Short The Bigger Picture The Dam Keeper Feast Me and My Moulton A Single Life Feast director Patrick Osborne is a Cincinnati native and gave us a little shout-out. Best Animated Feature How to Train Your Dragon 2 Big Hero 6 The Boxtrolls Song of the Sea The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Star T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley) was literally in the last row of the theater, but still managed to get the camera's attention as he celebrated in the nosebleed seats. Production Design The Grand Budapest Hotel The Imitation Game Interstellar Into the Woods Mr. Turner Best Cinematography Birdman The Grand Budapest Hotel Ida Mr. Turner Unbroken Film Editing American Sniper Boyhood The Grand Budapest Hotel The Imitation Game Whiplash Idina Menzel finally got her revenge on Glom Gazingo John Travolta. Yet he still managed to act like a fucking weirdo. Best Documentary Feature Citizenfour Finding Vivian Maier Last Days in Vietnam The Salt of the Earth Virunga Best Original Song “Glory” (Selma) “Everything Is Awesome” (The Lego Movie) “Grateful” (Beyond the Lights) “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me) “Lost Stars” (Begin Again) John Legend and Common won this right after giving a powerful performance of the song. Best Original Score Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything Hans Zimmer, Interstellar Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner Lady Gaga gave the most “normal” — for lack of a better word — performance of her career with a tribute to The Sound of Music, proving that beyond the meat dresses and famous fiancés and 9-inch heelless platform monstrosities, Gaga is a talented entertainer. Best Original Screenplay Birdman Boyhood Foxcatcher The Grand Budapest Hotel Nightcrawler Best Adapted Screenplay American Sniper The Imitation Game Inherent Vice The Theory of Everything Whiplash In his acceptance speech, director Graham Moore revealed he tried to kill himself as a teen because he felt different. “Stay weird. Stay different,” he encouraged. Best Director Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel Richard Linklater, Boyhood Alejandro González Iñarritu, Birdman Bennet Miller, Foxcatcher Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game Best Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game Michael Keaton, Birdman Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything Steve Carell, Foxcatcher Bradley Cooper, American Sniper Best Actress Reese Witherspoon, Wild Julianne Moore, Still Alice Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night Best Picture American Sniper Birdman Boyhood The Grand Budapest Hotel The Imitation Game Selma The Theory of Everything WhiplashIñarritu dedicated the award to, among others, Mexicans and immigrants. While I was rooting for Boyhood (a movie I will probably never stop talking about and encouraging people to see), I’d be remiss not to say Birdman deserved all the accolades it received. Overall, many of the year’s best films got some deserved recognition on a night that was entertaining for movie makers and lovers alike. Also, did this year's show break the record for tighty whitie references?

Paul Haggis Keeps ‘Third Person’ a Remote Exercise

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 9, 2014
“Watch me.” The line of dialogue is whispered during a couple of key sequences in Third Person, the new film from Paul Haggis, the Academy Award-winning director of Crash (Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay). As you might imagine, the phrase insinuates itself dramatically into the hearts of the characters who hear it, as they attempt to heed the call.  

The Future Is Now: A Sneak Peek at the Year

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2015
As a critic or cultural commentator, you are required to turn the page, flip the switch, or do whatever you have to do as quickly (and as smoothly) as possible when it comes to year end/new year coverage.   

Hailed ‘National Gallery’ Documentary Comes to CAM

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The year 2014 has been such a good one for feature films about the visual arts — both fictional and documentaries — that its offerings just won’t end.  

A Year When Film Tested the Courage of Our Convictions

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The most apropos summation of 2014 came to me as I was prepping my final lecture of the semester for my University of Cincinnati Journalism course (Writing About Film).  

Tommy Lee Jones: At Home on Either Side of the Camera

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 12, 2014
The Homesman sets out to show us that the West was not won with blazing gun battles. Who is to say the West was “won” at all?  

The Technical Virtue of Andrea Riseborough

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) poses several perplexing challenges.  

Local Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett Harnesses Deep Human Magic

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 24, 2014
As a film critic, every time I settle into a theater seat I prepare myself for an experience that I liken to tapping into memory. The images that unspool before me may not be lived and processed  

The 2014 TIFF Alternative: Managing High Expectations

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I find myself — a full four days into the festival — attempting to rationalize my tepid response thus far.