The history of Brian Wilson's mental state is no secret. And if you're looking to unearth any via Bill Pohlad's biopic, Love & Mercy, you're not likely to. Hailed as an innovative approach to the genre due to its bifurcated style, the film, co-written by Michael Alan Lerner and Oren Moverman (who also wrote the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There), relies heavily on the switching back and forth between two eras in Wilson's in life.

 The Brian Wilsons

The Brian Wilsons

Opening with a black screen and a barrage of Beach Boys' sounds, we're given an immediate glimpse into the importance of the auditory that will remain a constant throughout the film. Indeed, it was in large part because of Wilson's aural hallucinations that he stopped touring with the band at the height of their own version of Beatlemania. 

Instead promising his brothers and bandmates a barrage of sounds to record to when they returned, Wilson took to the studio to come up with masterpieces like "God Only Knows" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" that would appear on 1966's Pet Sounds. Working with the best studio musicians of the time, Wilson awed his fellow musicphiles, yet alienated his fellow band members--not to mention the constant invocation of disapproval from his father, Murry Wilson, who was very much a precursor to the Michael Jackson-type father, hating his son for his succes and talent, yet needing him desperately for money and to prove his own self-worth.

 Falling in love again

Falling in love again

As Pohlad devotes equal amounts of screen time to both epochs in Brian's life, the audience is left hoping that perhaps there will be a moment when the early and later periods meet in the middle--at the height of Wilson's despair and drug addiction. But alas, Pohlad never gives in to teetering too far on the dark side, only deviating truly from the conventional biopic structure when all of Wilson's selves encounter one another in the same bed they've each shared misery in their whole lives.

 Promo poster for Love & Mercy

Promo poster for Love & Mercy

As for Elizabeth Banks' angelic rescuing role of Melinda Ledbetter, the car saleswoman who hesitantly falls for Wilson in spite of the constant team of bodyguards he has put in place by Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti)--his caretaker and Svengali-like therapist--well, it proves Banks is very capable of taking on a serious film and holding her own. Melinda also plays into the unique ending of Love & Mercy, which is faintly reminiscent of Garden State in that the couple at risk of being apart decides to say "Fuck it" regardless of knowing only one thing: they don't know what's going to happen. It is also perhaps the first ending in which we don't get to hear what they're saying to each other--again appealing to the power of sound and silence that has been so all-consuming and significant in Wilson's life. 

Ryan Gosling has, at this point in his acting career, learned plenty about directing and producing. Perhaps this is what prompted him to finally take his fingers to the keyboard and write the surreal, dystopic Lost River

 The ominous club entrance of the burlesque club where Billy takes a job

The ominous club entrance of the burlesque club where Billy takes a job

With its eerie, Suspiria-like score (courtesy of the Italians Do It Better label), Lost River unfolds like a small town mystery with a Twin Peaks edge. After a bayou-looking town near Detroit is deliberately flooded to become known only as Lost River, Billy (Christina Hendricks) must find a way to make ends meet after her bank manager--as well as the father of her sons--is removed by the nefarious Dave (Ben Mendelsohn). Preying on Billy's desperation to pay off her house as a single mother of Bones (Iain De Caestecker) and Franky (Landyn Stewart), Dave suggests a job to her at a burlesque-like venue with a gory show starring Kitty Cat (Eva Mendes), who delights audiences with displays of fake murder and spewing blood. 

 Ryan Gosling, semi at ease behind the camera

Ryan Gosling, semi at ease behind the camera

On the way to taking Billy to her act, her cab driver (Reda Kateb) muses, "When I told my friends I was going to America, they said 'There's so much money there. You're going to have a big car and a big house and you're gonna catch the money on the floor.'" The irony is not lost on Billy, who is about to sell herself in a very weird way. In addition to honing her own act pretending to peel her face off, she is also introduced to the world of "the shells," where the most money can be made. All she has to do is stand inside a locked human-shaped shell and let the person paying do whatever they want outside of it.

Meanwhile, Bones has his own issues with moneymaking to contend with, invoking the ire of local bully, Bully (Matt Smith)--yes, quite a literal moniker. Stripping abandoned houses of their copper in order to make a bit of extra cash, Bones easily offends Bully, who has laid claim to the entire town. And how has he done so? By cutting off people's lips with scissors when they defy him (this is perhaps the most Only God Forgives element of all). Luckily, Bones has a cohort and comrade in Rat (Saoirse Ronan), his neighbor who is called such because she owns a pet rat named Nick. All alone except for her mute grandmother, Rat stays up most nights singing a lonesome sort of song called "Tell Me." She shows Bones a hokey "educational video" about the reasons why the town needed to have a reservoir, and tells him that the only way to break what she calls the curse is to take a piece of the town's land from the bottom of the water.

The creepiness in Billy's life begins to intensify as well, with her character's fate seeming to mirror Christina Hendricks' other alter ego, Joan Harris, in that she can't seem to go about her job without being sexually harassed, mainly by Dave. One night, after bringing Franky with her to work, Dave tells her its "not very sexy" and asks that she never does it again. Afterward, he gets on stage to sing, making his own salient comment that refers to the American dream: "There are some basic human needs. We try to cater to some of them, we can't get all of them." Though, in this case, he is making reference to his lascivious desires for Billy, it is still part of Gosling's underlying theme that there is something inherently flawed about American perception and expectation.

 Eva Mendes as Cat, scoring an easy role with the director as her husband

Eva Mendes as Cat, scoring an easy role with the director as her husband

Fighting to stay in a town that clearly doesn't seem to want them, Billy, Bones and Rat ultimately seem to come to the conclusion that, to quote Rat's educational film about the reservoir, "A family is what makes a home." Therefore, it's okay to let go of the one you've worked to make for yourself.

Noah Baumbach, who has never been afraid of exploring topics that are liable to make one extremely squeamish with regard to exploring the spectrum of human psychological trauma, has done the unthinkable with his latest film: toe the delicate line between representing both sides of the "old"/"young" panorama. 

 Dealing with aging

Dealing with aging

In While We're Young, his eleventh film in the role of "just" screenwriter, Baumbach explores the extremes of twenties adulthood versus forties adulthood. The former involves a free-spirited, rose-colored glasses outlook on life, whereas the latter is all about reconciling with the fact that you're not young anymore and that you haven't been for quite some time. To portray this contrast, Baumbach wields the couple foils of Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Jamie (the always vexatious Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried, a long way from Karen in Mean Girls). Josh, a 44-year-old documentarian who has been working on the same documentary for nearly ten years, finds renewed interest in work and his life upon meeting Jamie and Darby in a continuing education class he teaches. Soon, he finds himself at dinner with them and Cornelia, riveted by everything they have to say--the wide-eyedness with which they still seem to view the world.

 Imitation goes both ways in While We're Young

Imitation goes both ways in While We're Young

As an aspiring documentarian, Jamie seeks to absorb all the knowledge (and, ultimately, contacts) he can from Josh, who is just happy to have someone who looks up to and appreciates him. Cornelia, too, takes a liking to Darby in the wake of her best friend, Marina (Maria Dizzia), having a baby girl named Willow (telling of the Brooklyn location they all inhabit) and becoming consumed with what Cornelia calls the "baby cult." With Darby, she can simply go to hip hop classes and be (something of) herself. 

So intense does the connection between the four of them become that they even attend an Ayahuasca ceremony together. Upon telling Marina this, she asks Cornelia what exactly that is, to which Cornelia explains it involves taking drugs and cleansing your demons by throwing them up--all while dressed in white. At the ceremony, Darby takes the annoying hipster factor up an even higher notch by saying, "I was falling asleep on the L train and forgot what the shape of a pineapple looked like." Indeed, it seems that both Darby and Jamie are intended as a hyper-parody of hipster youth culture. They live in Bushwick, after all, and watch VHS tapes and make artisanal ice cream and go to the junkyard to find wood to build tables. This contrast is paired quite well against a montage of Cornelia and Josh trying desperately to remain current with their use of phones, computers and Apple TV. The irony is rather obvious: the young seek a return to the past, clinging to some nostalgia they never actually experienced, while the old wish desperately to fit in with the present. 

 Aspirational youth

Aspirational youth

The expectations of how the plot will play out gets somewhat turned on its ear by the end of Act Two, with Jamie revealing himself to be a wolf in sheep's clothing, of which Darby notes, "You know how when you see a couple on the side of the road hitchhiking, you're more likely to pick them up than if it was just one guy? Well, that's what I am for Jamie." The paradox of Jamie being this hungry-for-success, ruthless sort of fame-seeker is that it vaguely echoes another character Ben Stiller himself once played in Reality Bites: that of Michael Grates, a young TV executive in charge of reality programming for an MTV-like network. Granted, he was far more well-intentioned, perhaps a sign of the times (or is that just nostalgia talking?).

 Trapped in a sea of babies

Trapped in a sea of babies

Although Baumbach wavers a bit on the message he's ultimately trying to convey (which seems to be that both youngs and olds are flawed and must grapple with equally shitty circumstances at particular crossroads in their life), While We're Young fosters a belief in accepting oneself--age bracket be damned. It also promotes the notion that it is possible for millennials and Gen Xers to be friends--so long as Gen Xers watch their back at all times. It's like Josh says at the end of the film: "He's not evil. Just young."

The collaborations of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi have never been flawed, Flight of the Conchords being the most shining example. However, their newest masterpiece together, What We Do In The Shadows, may be the best of their career--no matter what else they put out after this. Taking the concept of the mockumentary to the next level with a spoof on the world of vampires, the brilliant humor of their script leads us on a, to borrow a 90s film critic phrase, "laugh-a-minute" journey through the supernatural underbelly of Wellington, New Zealand.

 Promo poster for What We Do In The Shadows

Promo poster for What We Do In The Shadows

From the moment of our introduction, the tone of satire is set by lead vampire Viago (Taika Waititi), age 317, turning his alarm clock off with his outstretched arm from within the bowels of his coffin. He then slowly and coyly elevates himself out of the coffin and welcomes us into his apartment, which he shares with three other flatmates/vampires. From oldest to youngest, they are: Petyr (Ben Fransham), age 8,000, Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), age 862, and Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), age 183. Being that Deacon is the younger, and therefore more rebellious vampire, he is less enthusiastic about performing house chores like washing "bloody" dishes.

 Swag

Swag

As we're given an all-access glimpse into their lives by documentarians wearing crucifixes and promised immunity from their necks being sucked on, it's clear that their carefree existence is about to be changed forever by a victim named Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), brought to them by Deacon's familiar, Jackie (Jackie Van Beek), who has been his slave for the past four years in the hopes that he will bite her and give her immortality.

 Family portrait

Family portrait

Instead of simply killing Deacon after performing the spaghetti/worms Lost Boys trick on him, they actually end up turning him. Nick's naivete about how to act in his new role within the household leads him to copy Deacon's style, declare to everyone in the Wellington club scene that he is a vampire (which backfires when he tells this to a vampire hunter) and subsequently get Petyr killed thanks to a "fatal sunlight accident," thus he is banished indefinitely from the flat--though his best human friend, Stu (Stu Rutherford), is given no hard feelings.

With all these events leading up to the annual Unholy Masquerade Ball, where zombies, vampires and other such creatures gather to celebrate themselves, tensions are running high among the flatmates, compounded by their frequent run-ins with a pack of werewolves helmed by alpha male Anton (Rhys Darby, another Flight of the Conchords staple). Vladislav further adds to the drama with his anger and sadness over "the beast" (his ex-girlfriend) being the guest of honor at the party. Meanwhile, Viago has been dealing with his own romantic longings, and finally decides to do something about it. What it all leads up to is a film that will forever change the way you view vampires and their day to day lives.

It’s that time of the year again. Not only are your tits freezing off, but you finally get to find out which films and TV shows from the past twelve months are going to be fairly and unfairly recognized. In general, the Hollywood Foreign Press has a tendency to be more experimental than the Academy (e.g. Madonna winning Best Actress in 1997), but it still isn’t without its insane moments. Then again, their selections are also a window into what the public is responding to. This year, the continued interest in Girls and The Big Bang Theory are among some of the most troubling. Those hypnotic globes.

Where the drama portion of TV is concerned, the Golden Globes are fairly on point, with nominations for Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, House of Cards and Masters of Sex. Clearly, Breaking Bad is going to win. But, in a bolder world, it would be Masters of Sex. In the comedy sector, which is the most disconcerting, you have The Big Bang Theory, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Girls, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation. Let me put it this way: Between Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Girls, the former should win and between Modern Family and Parks and Recreation, the latter should win. And The Big Bang Theory shouldn’t exist (in either sense).

That's pretty much all you can say about Girls.

Where Best Actress in a TV Comedy is concerned, the only person that matters is Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I will kill myself if Lena Dunham wins. Which she probably will. In drama, it’s all about Taylor Schilling for Orange is the New Black, even though she’s quite possibly the least likable character on the show. In the Best Actor category, Bryan Cranston should (and will) win. Where the boys of comedy are concerned, it’s between Andy Samberg and Jason Bateman, though it’s more plausible that James Spader will win for The Blacklist…because this is Stef from Pretty in Pink we’re talking about.

Spader.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t bother bringing up the miniseries or TV movie scene, but there were two notable efforts that make it impossible not to: Behind the Candelabra and Phil Spector. With both Matt Damon and Michael Douglas nominated for Behind the Candelabra, my only wish is that they will take the stage in Liberace garb and play two pianos side by side (just call me queenie, okay?). And then there’s the timelessly fierce Helen Mirren, who deserves the Globe for her role as Linda Kenney Baden in Phil Spector. Also a formidable contender for the Best Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Movie is Jessica Lange for American Horror Story: Coven. There might be riots if she doesn’t win.

Lange.

And now where it starts to get intense: The feature film categories. 2013 offered us a slew of contenders, including American Hustle, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska and The Wolf of Wall Street in the comedy category. Although I have no idea how Inside Llewyn Davis is a comedy except in the most sadistic sense, my vote is for this one to win. For drama, the competition is between 12 Years A Slave, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena and Rush (which seems arbitrarily thrown in because it's a Ron Howard movie). What I can basically say for this selection is: Gravity should not win. I’d even take Rush winning over Gravity.

Promo poster for Rush

The actors and actresses vying for the Best Actor and Actress award might be a close call this year. Personally, I’m all for Cate Blanchett winning for her role as a delusional former trophy wife in Blue Jasmine. Just please don’t let Sandra Bullock triumph for her hyperventilation skills throughout Gravity. In the comedy realm, the long shot I’m rooting for is Greta Gerwig for her performance in Frances Ha. And, even though Enough Said was pretty good, I can’t abide Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning purely because of all the annoying facial expressions she made during it. For the men, it comes down to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club and Oscar Isaac for Inside Llewyn Davis. Supporting-wise, it better be Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club or else I will deem the Hollywood Foreign Press eternally transphobic. And I’m sure Jennifer Lawrence will win if for nothing other than her “it-girl” status right now.

Slightly psycho.

In the director category, Alexander Payne deserves the gleaming ball of gold. Alfonso Cuaron does not. And so, alas, we’ve come to the end of all I want to acknowledge about the Golden Globe nominations this year. Stay tuned for my inevitably outraged reaction once the winners are revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the two cinephiles of the Behind the Hype staff, Smoking Barrel and Soot-Case Murphy give their take on the 2013 Oscars. While Smoking Barrel was horrified and full of vitriol (as per usual), Soot-Case Murphy was merely disappointed and uncomfortable--though hopeful about this new trend in male hairstyles: The long-haired platinum blonde look (a.k.a. "The Fabio").  Smoking Barrel: The self-congratulatory nature of Hollywood was at its finest at last night’s Oscars, with a lot of blotto actors and actresses (and Quentin Tarantino) plodding through the ceremony with an inability to act sober—an indication that good acting requires compensation. Of course, no one could top Renee Zellweger for drunkest and most absent from the planet, but we’ll come to that later. But first, let’s discuss the most glaring issue of the evening: The attempt at reviving the musical. Granted, it’s a noble attempt indeed, but there can be no denying that the denizens of the twenty-first century don’t have the mindset or attention span for it (especially the straight male).

No holds barred: MacFarlane spares no one at the Oscars.

Perhaps the Oscar producers and ABC felt that the only people who still watch the Oscars are those who remember when the musical was actually a bankable box office genre. And perhaps they thought that in getting Seth MacFarlane to deliver these musical performances, it would somehow seem more palatable. Unfortunately, the result was something closer to uncomfortable and drawn out. What I will say for Seth MacFarlane is that he has an innate and highly marketable ability to pinpoint weaknesses and get inside of people’s heads. Case in point being his preface of Salma Hayek, noting that she’s one of those people you can’t understand but makes up for it with her attractiveness. She later tripped up her words as she tried desperately to enunciate. And then there was his assessment of Ben Affleck as he dredged up the most permanent blemish on his record, Gigli, and remarked on his rapid rise through the ranks of sophisticated filmmaking, quipping, “In a few months, we’ll be calling him Benjamin."

Relieved/contrite for Gigli.

On the fashion front this year, the notion of style was paltry at best—with Jennifer Lawrence and Halle Berry seeming to be the only ones who have a grasp on quality couture. Nominee Jessica Chastain, on the other hand, looked as though she was wearing a Jessica McClintock dress. Gone, evidently, are the days of daring—as proven by Helen Hunt wearing a dress by H&M (though, admittedly, that’s daring in its own way). Even the designs of Prada disappointed as proven by Anne Hathaway’s basic bitch dress. We may never again see something as iconic as Bjork’s swan dress or Jennifer Lopez’s barely there Versace.

Jennifer Lawrence in a trip-worthy gown by Dior.

On the performance front, two aging icons—Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand—upstaged the overly lauded Adele. Though Shirley Bassey’s voice, at times, teetered on the crackly, it was one of the better Oscar tributes of the night (which also included Catherine Zeta-Jones performing “All That Jazz” from Chicago). And, as usual, Barbra reminds us that you’ll never escape The Way We Were. Her hand jewelry and the background behind her as she sang was possibly more memorable than the song. Adele’s performance, conversely, was in keeping with her usual plainness in terms of showmanship. On a personal note, I was obviously quite disappointed that they didn’t just get Madonna to sing “Die Another Day.” It would have seamlessly coincided with Halle Berry’s (who played the Bond girl in the movie of the same name) presentation of the tribute video.

Presenting in a frock by Versace.

Jane Fonda managed to stand out not for her age, but for her Dynasty aesthetic. I don’t even remember who presented with her as that lime green color outshone everything else. The only other true “highlights” were Jennifer Lawrence tripping, Daniel Day Lewis getting presented with the Best Actor award by Meryl Streep (his counterpart when it comes to the most Oscar wins), Quentin’s tie askew as he gave a self-aggrandizing acceptance speech and Jack Nicholson and Michelle Obama’s joint presentation of the award for Best Picture (a cameo that led me to believe Zero Dark Thirty might take the win—but no, it was the equally as political Argo). So I guess what the Oscars 2013 amounted to for me was the revelation that the current generation of Hollywood actors is looking a bit stale and that you have to be an alcoholic to deal with that many egos in one room. Oh yeah, and why the fuck is the Kodak Theater now the Dolby Theater? Is there no end to the decimation of Old Hollywood standards? Maybe we should ask Renee Zellweger to tell us--as long as it doesn't involve reading anything.

Soot-Case Murphy: Bite your tongue, SB! I can only speak for myself (and my brother, and the dozen-plus other straight males that love the musical and all its trappings), but I am a straight male that loves the musical and all its trappings!

I love the Oscars, too. As many negatives I can pull out of it, there are things I can absolutely adore about it. The Oscars are easy to pick on; they always have been. Much of what I see written about it in the day(s) after are full of snark and contempt, but it keeps people coming back year after year. Some of the faults have been tedious in the past (Dave Letterman's stint) but also wholly watchable (the entire Hathaway-Franco debacle).

Hathaway and Franco in one of the more watchable segments of Oscars past.

The awkwardness this time around was a little harder to swallow. And that line is a set-up only host Seth MacFarlane would greedily embrace. MacFarlane, both crude and sophisticated, was the right man for the job. Being an established theatre geek didn't hurt either, which makes me wonder if he'll host the Tony's anytime soon. Because that's the vibe the show was going for, in the end.

This year, the Oscars made a point of dedicating much of the show to The Musical. Considering how little attention the Academy has paid to Best Original Song performances in the past few years, they're making up for lost time...sorta. Seth MacFarlane's inspired number about boobs was warmly received, and who knew Charlize Theron could dance that well? But each subsequent number trickled more and more as thing's progressed. Billy Crystal's obligatory medleys, as well as those most recently tried out by Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris, have always given the Oscars that variety-show feel. This time it felt a little forced, and two examples of overkill came at the middle and at the very end: The Chicago reunion nobody was waiting for, and the grueling credits number by MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth.

Zeta-Jones performing "All That Jazz"

But again, that's what the Academy does at its worst: Taking an idea and running just a little too far with it. It's happened when they've dedicated shows to montages (though I can't get enough of them), had interpretive dance numbers to the Hurt Locker score, and placed Rob Lowe and Snow White together.

In the end, though, we want the Oscars to be good. I don't get mad at them, just disappointed. Usually I'm thrilled. Last night I was more attentive than I had been in recent years. MacFarlane is a magnetic personality, even if he is a little sexist. OK, maybe he's really sexist, and homophobic, and racist, but that Von Trapp joke alone was a lot more creative than the Alec Baldwin/Steve Martin pairing of 2010. The Bond tribute, too, was more than welcome. Shirley Bassey is eternally foxy, and the stage was hers (although I was praying for Chris Cornell to launch into Casino Royale's "You Know My Name"). Jennifer Lawrence's slip-and-slide (which made the New York Post cover today) was a genuine moment, showing that things can go wrong without seeming like a big thing.

Bassey performing "Goldfinger."

I almost forgot the First Lady's appearance, which I'm glad I almost did. I wasn't disgusted by her appearance as much as a lot of other people were (probably not as many as those who were suspiciously offended by the Chris Brown joke), because frankly, who can really be surprised at this point? A lot of talk has been made about the First Lady not deserving her celebrity, or that she has better things to do. I can't get behind either of these things. It's a 3 minute long segment on a Sunday night encouraging the act of creativity towards millions of people, even if its PR-scent lingers a little too strongly. Plus, the Academy Awards and the Presidential candidacy are almost equal in their political process (lots of old, rich, white involvement; use of gimmicks; lobbying, lobbying, lobbying) so it's nice to see them all getting along so well.

It's hard to peg which Oscars telecast is the most awkward. They all are, in the end, works in progress. There are always experiments. Many of them do not work. The annual Oscars water cooler conversation was underway this morning, and much of what was discussed was the aforementioned attempt at reviving the musical. Considering how the Oscars have cared very little for live performances of Best Original Song nominees in the past few years, last night's show was an attempt to make people realize that yes, they still care about the music, man. (It's always been about the music, dig? Now slap me five.)

Also, male filmmakers with long platinum hair - the world is yours.

The Golden Globes: Known as the only semi-just awards ceremony in Hollywood. It was a particularly momentous year for the Hollywood Foreign Press, especially since 1) Instead of one white man, two white women hosted (I guess proving that it takes two women to do one man’s job) and 2) It’s the seventieth year of the ceremony’s existence. While there were some wins that came as no surprise, others left us with our mouths agape. Here’s a look at the nominations, winners and who should have won. http://youtu.be/vmxBHtbAhoQ

In the drama category, Argo beat out Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln. The easy guess for this win would have been Zero Dark Thirty. After all, isn’t it just plain unpatriotic to not choose a movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden? But then, this isn’t the Academy we’re dealing with.  Django Unchained obviously didn’t stand a chance, but it is the film that should have won. I just don’t think the world is quite yet ready for such a loose version of the concept of drama.

In the comedy or musical category, Les Miserables beat out Moonrise Kingdom, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (which isn’t really comedic) and Silver Linings Playbook. Les Miserables’ win was more than likely fueled by its budgetary output, but the true winner here is Moonrise Kingdom. Wes Anderson’s minimalist approach to comedy actually makes me think that he could easily take on a musical.

In the director category, Ben Affleck beat out Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino. While Argo was a superbly directed film, the ideal winner would have been Tarantino for Django Unchained. His passion for the film is visible in every frame, not to mention the meticulousness of every shot. But at least Affleck has proven he’s fully recovered from participating in Gigli.

In the best screenplay category, Quentin Tarantino beat out David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Chris Terrio (Argo), Tony Kushner (Lincoln) and Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty). As you may have guessed from my previous zeal for Tarantino, I whole-heartedly concur with his win.

In the best actor (drama) category, Daniel Day-Lewis beat out Denzel Washington, Joaquin Phoenix, John Hawkes and Richard Gere. Clearly, no one was going to be able to take this award away from Day-Lewis as the troubled sixteenth president of this once fair nation, but a close runner-up would have been Joaquin Phoenix.

In the best actress category (drama), Jessica Chastain beat out Marion Cotillard, Helen Mirren, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz (quite a formidable list of competitors, I must say). If nothing else, Chastain deserved to win for the amount of effort and secrecy she put forth alone. Otherwise, I would say Helen Mirren as the strong, yet accommodating wife of Alfred Hitchcock, Alma Reville, had a fair chance at winning.

In the category of best actor (musical or comedy), Hugh Jackman beat out Bill Murray, Bradley Cooper, Jack Black and Ewan McGregor. Jackman's win seemed the most logical based on the films that the other actors were nominated for, seeing as how none of them were really all that comedic (except Bernie, which was much more on the dark comedy side of the spectrum).

http://youtu.be/6SSzoeLnSy8

In the category of best actress (musical or comedy), Jennifer Lawrence beat out such industry giants as Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Maggie Smith and Emily Blunt. In spite of battling against such titans, Lawrence's award was well-deserved as she so brilliantly played the role of the "damaged whore," so to speak.

http://youtu.be/AnPEM-Vicmc

In the category for best supporting actor (drama), Christoph Waltz beat out Tommy Lee Jones (much to his overt annoyance), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Alan Arkin. With Django Unchained offering up two actors for this category, it would have been a little insulting if one of them hadn't won.

http://youtu.be/Vfafj-g6uus

In the category for best supporting actress (drama), Anne Hathaway beat out Amy Adams, Sally Field, Helen Hunt and Nicole Kidman. While her performance and vocal stylings as Fantine were impressive, I feel as though Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy is the true winner here.

http://youtu.be/S1XithGOrc0

In the category for best original song, Adele's "Skyfall" of course beat out Keith Urban, Jon Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift and Hugh Jackman. As well she should have.

http://youtu.be/wSZ6H9YuA_M

In the category for best foreign language film, Amour beat out A Royal Affair, The Untouchables, Rust and Bone and Kon-Tiki. Hands down, Amour was the right choice.

In the category for best animated feature, Brave beat out Frankenweenie, Hotel Transylvania, Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph. Pretty much any other nominee save for Rise of the Guardians would have been better. Especially Frankenweenie--and not because it's Tim Burton, but because it was Tim Burton's very first labor of love.

http://youtu.be/avb8sx33n_0

In the category of best TV series (drama), Homeland beat out Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey and The Newsroom. Obviously, Breaking Bad or Boardwalk Empire should have been the victors.

In the category of best TV series (comedy), Girls beat out The Big Bang Theory, Episodes, Modern Family and Smash. With not much in the way of competition, it's understandable that the show won.

http://youtu.be/QmKpWO3tnSo

In the category of best actor (TV series drama), Damian Lewis beat out Steve Buscemi, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels and Jon Hamm. How Steve Buscemi, Bryan Cranston or Jon Hamm could have been denied in such a way is beyond me.

http://youtu.be/cyhI9Er-gTk

In the category of best actress (TV series drama), Claire Danes beat out Julianna Margulies, Michelle Dockery, Glenn Close and Connie Britton. Admittedly, Danes was the only real option. And honestly, who else could cry with their whole body?

http://youtu.be/sdO46xfn86Y

In the category of best actor (TV series comedy), Don Cheadle beat out Alec Baldwin, Louis CK, Matt LeBlanc and Jim Parsons. While House of Lies is a great show, Louis CK should never lose anything when it comes to comedy.

http://youtu.be/RqTXH9djQao

In the category of best actress (TV series comedy), Lena Dunham egregiously beat out Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Zooey Deschanel. Considering Dunham is barely acting in this role (though, the same goes for Deschanel and Fey), it seems a bit unfair for her to win. My vote would have been for Louis-Dreyfus or Poehler.

And voilà. There are all the major winners and nominees. It's not the most upset I've been after an awards show, but it's not the most elated I've been either. So, until the Academy Awards, I may be fine.

 

 

To celebrate the release of the new movie, "The Three Stooges," Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California has named April 1st - April Stooge Day.  Park visitors are encouraged to dress like Larry, Moe or Curly, and let their inner Stooge loose!  The first 500 Stooges to arrive will gain early access and exclusive ride time on Magic Mountain thrill rides, Scream and the Stooge-ified Curly's Colossus, a movie ticket to see "The Three Stooges" when it opens in theaters and the opportunity to get a front of the line pass if they're one of the first 10 Stooges to arrive.  Plus, there will be special contests and prizing throughout the day.  Magic Mountain is always fun, but April Stooge Day on April 1st is going to be crazy, silly fun!  
For April Stooge Day costume tips, to purchase tickets and further details, please visit:  http://www.sixflags.com/magicMountain/events/AprilStoogeDay.aspx
 
April Stooge Day attendees must purchase an admission ticket to the park.
 

 
 
From directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly ("Dumb and Dumber," "There's Something About Mary") comes a modern take on an a comedy classic: "The Three Stooges" in theaters on April 13th.  Left on the doorstep of an orphanage run by nuns, newborns Moe, Larry and Curly grow up finger-poking, nyuk-nyuk-nyuking and woo-woo-wooing their way to uncharted levels of knuckleheaded misadventure.   To save their childhood home, only The Three Stooges could become embroiled in an oddball murder plot…while stumbling into starring roles in a phenomenally successful TV reality show.  Starring as the Stooges are Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”), who portrays the balding, sour-faced, bushy-haired Larry; Will Sasso (“MADtv”) as the rotund funnyman Curly, whose trademark “nyuk-nyuk-nyuk” usually invites a physical outburst from older brother Moe; and Chris Diamantopoulos (“24") as Moe, the dark-haired leader of the farcical trio known for his distinctive bowl-style haircut and intolerant ire.  
Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Hudson, Jane Lynch, Kate Upton and Larry David round out the cast.                                       www.threestooges.com 

Okay, so we all know you can sue anyone for just about anything in the world of legalese, but lately, it seems like movies have been bearing a severe brunt of that burden. On the heels of Twentieth Century Fox being sued by some fucktard interns who worked on Black Swan for not being paid (reconcile that the film industry only employs people to work for free or, in exchange for sexual favors, they will give you a credit as a best boy), some clearly deranged ho named Sarah Deming of bumfuck, Michigan has decided to take legal action against the distributors of Drive and the movie theater she saw the film in for falsely advertising what the plot was about.

Now, I understand being upset over thinking a movie is going to be about one thing and then discovering in the theater that it's the last purchase you ever would have made, but we all have to move on eventually and perhaps use our zeal for other, more worthy causes--like making sure Starbucks never opens a chain on Italian soil. But Deming feels personally affronted that Drive was not "very similar to the Fast and Furious series of movies.” And wait, it gets more ridiculous.

Deming has added a further accusation to her lawsuit, insisting that Drive exhibits “extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith, and thereby promoted criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith.” Listen, if anyone was portrayed negatively in Drive, it was the pseudo-Italians (as usual). And if we can take it, so can you Sarah Deming.

If you want to know the truth, Deming is desperate to get Ryan Gosling to fellate her as recompense for the "trauma" she had to endure in watching his flawless carapace strut/drive the streets of L.A. knowing full well she could never have him. This is as close to him as she will ever get, the only form of sweet vindication she will ever know against the Rachel McAdamses and Eva Mendeses of the world. Enjoy it while you can darlin'.

It is safe to say that Madonna has conquered the music industry in a way that no other artist – male or female – has been able to. Every icon to come out before her seems tame in comparison and every zygote pop star to come out after her is a pale imitation of the tour de force. As Behind they Hype is especially appreciative of those who pursue different facets of pop culture, a camp that Madonna has been firmly ensconced in from the outset, we think that there is great potential in Madonna’s second directorial effort, W.E. The plot of the film revolves around the romance of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, the American divorcée he abdicated his throne for.

Madonna has been no stranger to the world of film, clutching to its orbit ever since 1985′s Desperately Seeking Susan, considered by most to be her only palatable movie. Other exceptions to malignment in Madonna’s acting repertoire are Truth or Dare and Evita. The only other times Madonna has been credited with film success is when the film in question incorporates the transmedia platform Madonna is known for, such as the Who’s That Girl Tour and the song “Who’s That Girl” to coincide with the release of the 1987 movie of the same name or 1992′s number one song “This Used To Be My Playground” to coincide with Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own, in which Madonna played the role of All the Way Mae. With the criticism that is invariably flung at her each time she stars in another film, it makes sense that Madonna would veer toward the behind-the-scenes role of director, a duty that is actually more suited to the hands-on approach she applies to everything she tackles. As Madonna herself has said, “To me, the whole process of being a brush stroke in someone else’s painting is a little difficult.”

While rumors of Madonna’s directorial methods being a bit too abrasive swirled throughout filming last year (a fact Guy Ritchie is undoubtedly smirking about), the post-production phase of W.E soldiers on after being picked up for distribution by The Weinstein Company. Though W.E has been on an arduous journey from the beginning (mainly in terms of casting; Ewan McGregor, Vera Farmiga, and Amy Adams were all attached to the project at one time or another), Madonna, shrewd businesswoman that she is, waited for the right distributor before settling. The chanteuse also directed Filth and Wisdom starring Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello and wrote and produced the 2008 documentary, I Am Because We Are. This pattern of consistent filmmaking over the past decade would suggest that, regardless of anyone else’s opinion, Madonna will not be stopped until she dominates the art of film.

Parkour is defined as a noncompetitive sport where participants run along buildings, rooftops and landscapes attempting to negotiate obstacles using only their bodies.

It's obviously quite dangerous, and for that reason it's quite exciting to watch. Imagine a guy running full blast and hurtling himself off the roof of some building, catching himself on a ledge with his hands, and doing it over and over and over, jumping across wider and wider gaps, at full speed. Yikes.

Objective Cinema, an online cinema website that streams exclusive films and documentaries about a wide variety of subjects, is currently featuring My Playground, a documentary by Danish filmmaker Kaspar Astrup Schröder chronicling the sport of Parkour and its sibling activity Free Running, and how they are affecting the concept of urban space.

From the press release:

My Playground centers on Team Jiyo, a Danish Parkour group, as they explore cities around the world from China to Japan , the US and Denmark and encounter the obstacles they present.

“It started in France in the 1990’s and has evolved to the whole world,” says Schröder. “I’ve seen videos from India to Africa to New Zealand; people are doing it every where and it is really growing. Especially in Denmark it is the fastest growing sport among young people.”

The film additionally looks at how acclaimed award-winning Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels became such an integral part of the film addressing the question of the future of urban space design. “My Playground is a film of course about Parkour, but is also very much about how public life and architecture are intricately linked,” says Ingels. “Life in the city is always evolving and it is our job as architects to make sure that our opportunities for expression aren’t limited, and that our cities match the life we want to live.”

Ingels’ involvement with the film and Parkour is a result of his fascination with Schröder’s initial footage. Claiming that he had never seen buildings from this perspective, he felt compelled to be part of the project. “After Bjarke came on board we began the discussion about preserving space, exploiting space, and you could show architecture in a film,” says Schroder. “It was a journey for everyone to make a film not only on Parkour but also on architecture that didn’t feel like a traditional architecture film.”

Here's a promo clip about My Playground:

MY PLAYGROUND WS TRAILER from Objective Cinema on Vimeo.

If this intrigues you as much as it should and you want to check out the film, here are the details:

For the month of March you can watch MY PLAYGROUND here in any country for only 99¢ ( a $2.00 USD savings) for 48 hours of unlimited viewing just enter coupon code: 11mp993 into the shopping cart .  DOES NOT APPLY TO DVD PURCHASES

All films at Objective Cinema can be viewed on mobile smart phones, IPADs, I Phones , home computers .  Additional discounts and promotions are being given away on Facebook and Twitter.

Sounds pretty neat. Cheap movies that you won't see otherwise, about cool crazy stuff like Parkour? Yes, please.

Posted
AuthorCheese Sandwich
CategoriesMovie News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:The City of Gardens Wraps Filming in Lima, Peru…Production Moving to Los Angeles. Dynamic ensemble cast, John Robinson, Alex Meraz, Johnny Lewis, Michael DeLorenzo, Deborah Unger, James Remar and Grant Bowler star in a story inspired by true events.

Produced by Four Fish Films/DragonTree Media Production is currently underway on the feature film The City of Gardens, which is the 1980s story of a young American surfer, wrongfully accused of cocaine trafficking and sent to prison. Production has wrapped photography in Lima, Peru and will continue in Los Angeles.

The intense action drama and coming of age story stars John Robinson (Lords of Dogtown, Transformers, Elephant), Alex Meraz (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and New Moon), Johnny Lewis (Sons of Anarchy, The Runaways, AVPR: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem), Michael DeLorenzo (A Few Good Men, Not Forgotten, Resurrection Blvd), Deborah Unger (White Noise, The Hurricane, Angel and the Bad Man, The Game), James Remar (Red with Bruce Willis, Gun with Val Kilmer, Pineapple Express, 2 Fast 2 Furious) and Grant Bowler (Killer Elite with Robert De Niro, Jason Statham, and Clive Owen, True Blood, Ugly Betty).  The City of Gardens is directed by Camilo Vila (18 Wheels of Justice, Resurrection Blvd), who wrote the script with Monty Fisher.  Monty Fisher and Alicia Rivera Frankl (Gettysburg, Babysitter, The Mask of Zorro) are producing alongside co-producer Rami Rivera Frankl. DragonTree Media president Rami Rivera Frankl is in discussions for Domestic and International Distribution. Production is currently casting the role of Wayne’s (John Robinson) mother.

The action drama, The City of Gardens, follows a blond Californian surfer, Wayne Montgomery (John Robinson), who is a fun loving beach bum escaping the influence of his wealthy and powerful father (James Remar). Wayne leaves his home in Beverly Hills for the enchantment of exotic Peru. Wayne’s carefree lifestyle and love affair with his beautiful girlfriend, Maritza, (introducing Anahi De Cardenas a Peruvian actress), ends when he is framed during a political uprising. Framing turns into extortion in the sadistic prison.

In the nightmarish prison, Wayne finds himself surrounded by a group of political activists and social misfits, including a schizophrenic who believes he is Jesus Christ (Grant Bowler) and an Icelandic devotee of Krishna, Jorge (Johnny Lewis). Wayne is forced to share a mattress with the animalistic beast that everyone calls Nicaragua (Alex Meraz) which leads to a confrontation between them.

In a desperate attempt to gain freedom, Wayne meets with Consul Powers (Debra Unger) whose hands are tied by the false drug charges. As Wayne's naivety dissipates, another nemesis, the power hungry Lt. Gutierrez (Michael DeLorenzo), moves to break Wayne´s spirit, torturing him to extort money from his family. Left with few options, Wayne adopts a new ethic – engaging the Peruvian activists, sharing his gifts with them and learning the importance of faith through his sympathetic friend, Jorge (Johnny Lewis). Wayne challenges Lt. Gutierrez’s authority, confronting the depravity of corruption and abuse with his newfound spirit and courage. Wayne´s confrontation with Gutierrez propels the story to its final climax.

Monty Fisher’s Four Fish Films endeavors to develop and produce feature films, focusing especially on the cultures of both North and South America.

DragonTree Media, founded by CEO Alicia Rivera Frankl and President Rami Rivera Frankl, specializes in developing successful entertainment properties for the mainstream market with a multi-cultural awareness. Rami Rivera Frankl is represented by Montana Artist Agency. DragonTree Media has several projects in development including Gitano, Dead and Kicking and The B-Let Report to name a few.

Websites:

http://www.thecityofgardens.com

http://www.fourfishfilms.com

http://www.dragontreemedia.com

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1652361/

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/cityofgardens

MYSPACE: http://www.myspace.com/thecityofgardens

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/thecityofgardens

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/user/thecityofgardens