Comparing the Supreme Identities of Captain America and Jason Bourne

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 9, 2014
There’s not a lot of critical love for the comic book genre, despite the box office status reached by mutant hordes’ and various avenging crusaders’ collective assaults.  

Filmmaker Denis Henry Hennelly Discusses Futility of Isolationism

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 2, 2014
A certain sect living in the modern world fantasizes about living off the grid, away from the pervasiveness of technology, what we perceive to be an inorganic way of life and the pettiness of human interactions.  

Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal Double Up for Head-Scratcher

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Director and writer Denis Villeneuve (the French-Canadian whose Incendies was a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee in 2011) arrived at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival with a double feature (Enemy and Prisoners) infused with its own moody concoction pairing doubles within doubles...  

The Tough and Tender Heart of Wes Anderson

1 Comment · Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest release from Wes Anderson, the precious stylist who seems intent on claiming the distinction of being the current iteration of early Woody Allen — meaning he’s adept at aggressively being himself.   

Coming to a (Movie) Theater Near You

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I love going to the movies, but I leave writing about them to others, especially my CityBeat colleague tt stern-enzi, who routinely offers a perspective worth reading. Nevertheless, I’m going to local cineplexes more often for digital transmissions of theater from around the world.  

Individual Stories Provide Ammunition in 'Generation War'

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Five young adult friends from disparate backgrounds living in Germany in 1941 meet — in secret, since one of them is Jewish and therefore subject to a curfew — drink, dance and dare to dream of a shared future and success for all.   

'Prime Ministers' Studies Israel From the Inside

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Richard Trank, the co-writer (with rabbi Marvin Hier) and director of The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, presents the history contained in former Israeli prime ministerial aide/speechwriter and ambassador Yehuda Avner’s bestselling book, The Prime Ministers.  
by Jac Kern 03.04.2014
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Movies, Music at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Just Can’t Get Enough…Oscars

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

And just like that, “Awards Season” comes to a close. Does anyone else think it went out with more of a bore than a bang? Sunday’s Oscars were preceded by the Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday. I was introduced to this indie movie celebration last year and was pleasantly surprised by the fun, fast-and-loose nature of the show in addition to its highlighting of lesser-known, smaller-budget films compared to the Academy Awards. Maybe it was due to Jameson no longer sponsoring the event/getting everyone wasted; perhaps it was the fact that many of the winners went on to receive Oscars in similar categories the very next day. Either way, I found this year’s show, hosted by Patton Oswalt, to be just a little blah. See for yourself here. Sunday night was not much of a departure from that feeling. I do love me some Ellen — she can always deliver consistently funny material everyone can relate to. She picked on stars without being too mean and rocked some fab suits, but it takes more than that to keep me awake through a 15-hour production like the Oscars. But there were plenty of both touching and funny moments throughout the night. Supporting actor and actress winners, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o, delivered thoughtful, emotional acceptance speeches (while looking freaking gorge). Leto — who I still can’t believe was the oldest nominee in that category — spoke about his mother’s inspiring perseverance, the conflicts in Venezuela and Ukraine and the victims of AIDS as well as discrimination (both central themes of Dallas Buyers Club). He also looked sharp in a cream tux with burgundy tie and the most coveted ombré locks of any human man. And, clearly, the 42-year-old gets his looks from his hot ass mother. But seriously, maybe we should consider the fact that Jordan Catalano is a vampire. Any thoughts, Pharrell?Speaking of, Pharrell performed his Oscar-nominated hit, "Happy," in what appeared to be a legit GAP ad circa 2003. Lupita Nyong’o, who won for her role in 12 Years a Slave, also gave a heartfelt acceptance speech. Everyone is crushing on Lupita right now, myself included, but let’s talk about her equally attractive brother, Peter. They’re basically the Kenyan Tegan & Sara in that they are super hot siblings with super cool androgynous hairdos. Fans of Her (which nabbed Best Adapted Screenplay) no doubt cried, rewound, and cried again as Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performed “The Moon Song” from the film, which totally got shut out by that stupid Frozen song everyone (including local weather guys) won’t shut up about. Broadway darling Idina Menzel went on to perform the Frozen's “Let It Go,” but not before John Travolta’s Thetin levels temporarily crashed, causing him to forget how to speak. This, of course, sparked a hilarious Adele Dazeem twitter account and John Travolta name generator. My Travoltified name is Jessica Kzing! Early in the evening, Ellen was kind enough to order a few pizzas for all the starving celebs in the audience, which led to what will be known forever as The Selfie* That Broke Twitter. The star-studded pic has more than 3 million retweets, the most of anything ever #sorryobama. *I just can’t with the term “selfie” anymore. I’m tired of the way newspeople say, “selfie” like they’ve coined some new generation-defining trend. Haven’t people been taking pictures of themselves via an extended arm since forever? Much like “hipster,” this term lives on thanks to the diligence of out-of-touch white people trying to be current. America’s bestie Jennifer Lawrence was nominated, so naturally she fell on the red carpet. Warning to JLAW: We love you. You’re a “real woman” according to people, which means you’re not a robot I think, but you don’t constantly have to flaunt that fact by tripping and talking about eating fries all the time. You’re bordering on the Zooey Deschanel “adorkable” territory that has forced me to despise the banged, blue-eyed beaut. I still love you, JLAW — you cited Caroline Manzo as your American Hustle character inspiration for Chrissake — you just don’t have to push the clumsy slob persona all the time.As far as winners go, 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club cleaned up pretty well with three wins each and Gravity dominated the technical and directing categories, garnering a whopping seven awards. The Academy essentially said, "And none for you, American Hustle," and people are still crying over Leonardo DiCaprio's continued Oscar losing streak. OK, that’s all the important stuff. Peep all the winners below. Best Motion Picture of the Year American HustleCaptain PhillipsDallas Buyers ClubGravityHerNebraskaPhilomena12 Years A SlaveThe Wolf Of Wall Street Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Barkhad Abdi, Captain PhillipsBradley Cooper, American HustleMichael Fassbender,12 Years A SlaveJonah Hill, The Wolf Of Wall StreetJared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Sally Hawkins, Blue JasmineJennifer Lawrence, American HustleLupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A SlaveJulia Roberts, August: Osage CountyJune Squibb, Nebraska Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Amy Adams, American HustleCate Blanchett, Blue JasmineSandra Bullock, GravityJudi Dench, PhilomenaMeryl Streep, August: Osage County Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Christian Bale, American HustleBruce Dern, NebraskaLeonardo Dicaprio, The Wolf Of Wall StreetChiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A SlaveMatthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club Best Animated Feature The CroodsDespicable Me 2Ernest & CelestineFrozenThe Wind Rises Best Cinematography The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins) Best Costume Design American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin) Totally blocked this one out of my memory.The Invisible Woman (Michael O'Connor)12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris) Best Directing American Hustle (David O. Russell)Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)Nebraska (Alexander Payne)12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese) Best Documentary Feature The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher)Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined) Best Documentary Short CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff)Facing Fear (Jason Cohen)Karama Has No Walls (Sara Ishaq)The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens) Best Film Editing American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten)Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa)Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker) Best Foreign Language Film The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)The Great Beauty (Italy)The Hunt (Denmark) I tried to watch this on Netflix but the subtitles were faster that the actual audio and video, which made it impossible to watch. Had to turn it off, but ILY MADS.The Missing Picture (Cambodia)Omar (Palestine) Best Makeup and Hairstyling Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Stephen Prouty) Jesus H, a Jackass movie is nominated for an Oscar.The Lone Ranger (Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny) I guess turning Johnny Depp into a fauxtive American deserves recognition? Best Original Score The Book Thief (John Williams)Gravity (Steven Price)Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman) Best Original Song “Happy” (Despicable Me 2)“Let It Go” (Frozen)“The Moon Song” (Her) ROBBED“Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) Best Production Design American Hustle (Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler)Gravity (Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard)The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)Her (K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena)12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker) Best Animated Short Film Feral (Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden)Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares)Possessions (Shuhei Morita)Room on the Broom (Max Lang, Jan Lachauer) Best Live Action Short Film Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me) (Esteban Crespo)Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) (Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras)Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson)Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari)The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill, Baldwin Li) Best Sound Editing All Is Lost (Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns)Captain Phillips (Oliver Tarney)Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)Lone Survivor (Wylie Stateman) Best Sound Mixing Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro)Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson)Inside Llewyn Davis (Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland)Lone Survivor (Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow) Best Visual Effects Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds)Iron Man 3 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick)The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier)Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton) Best Adapted Screenplay Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter) Best Original Screenplay American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)Her (Spike Jonze)Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

Dysfunctional Family Man: Luc Besson

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Take, if you will, a picture — or how about several motion pictures stretching back all the way to 1990, almost 25 years of pictures — from Frenchman Luc Besson. Take a close look at those pictures and a theme emerges, a variation on a theme.  

Untangling the Oscar Race

The Academy's top two prizes are up for grabs after an entertaining and engaging year of film

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 19, 2014
While I am not known for my Oscar handicapping capabilities, let me go out on a limb here and state that this year’s telecast will offer few if any real surprises in the four performance categories.