Category: Movies

Connie Britton Is Great

The headline of this post is almost too obvious, because of course Connie Britton is great. I mean, is there a person out there who is both (a) aware of Conne Britton’s existence and (b) not a huge fan of hers? Of course not. Of course there is no such person. (The best part about this argument is that it’s so steeped in data and research that it is clearly bulletproof.) Anyway, the New York Times Magazine profiled Connie Britton, so feel free to read that if you would like to read about how she was probably too tall for the Renee Zellweger role in “Jerry Maguire.”

First trailer for “Inside Llewyn Davis”

We all woke up to a lovely surprise today: The first look at “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the latest film from the Coen Brothers. The highly-anticipated movie, in the way that all of their films are eagerly awaited (but also in a way that their movies since “No Country for Old Men” have been particularly hoped for), is about a 1960s folk musician in New York City.

Oscar Isaac (“Drive,” “The Bourne Legacy”) stars as the titular Davis, while the film also includes Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake (sigh), John Goodman (in his first Coen Brothers movie since “O Brother, Where Art Thou” in 2000) and F. Murray Abraham.

This is a terrific trailer:

Last year, New York took a peek at the set, demonstrating how the Coens transformed modern-day New York into the Village of the 1960s.


Oscar nominations: Were you nominated? I bet you were nominated

The 2013 Oscar nominations are out, and they are…mostly fine? They’re mostly fine. The Oscars are always this weirdly infuriating thing, in that they are meant to celebrate the very best in cinema, but they often wind up just celebrating the least offensive elements of a very particular type of cinema. Movies like “Crash” and “The Artist” seemingly exist just to remind us that yes, great movies come out, and yes, sometimes lesser films (or directors, or performances, or screenplays, or visual effects, or anything else) go home as Academy Award winners. Continue reading

Trailer for “To The Wonder”

It’s nice to see Terrence Malick tackle a nice, straightforward romantic comedy:

Look: I recognize that Malick is not everybody’s taste. I get that! But personally, I cannot wait to see this thing. It looks so gorgeous, so luminous, so…Malick-y. The world rarely looks quite so beautiful as it does through Malick’s lens.

And we’re getting our second Malick film in as many years. TWO Malick movies! In back-to-back years! And he has a few other movies already in the pipeline! Between 1973 and 2005, Malick made just four films. This alone is cause for celebration.

New trailer for “Man of Steel”

Here’s the latest trailer for “Man of Steel.” The Superman reboot, due next summer, is directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch”) and produced by Christopher Nolan (duh). The Nolan involvement, in particular, gives us hope that the latest attempt at forcing a Superman movie will finally prove worthwhile.

Remember, the last decent Superman film (“Superman II”) came out in 1980. Since that movie came out, we have seen two crappy sequels, one so-so sequel/reboot (“Superman Returns”), 14 seasons of live-action television (“Lois and Clark” and “Smallville”) and at least two aborted cinematic nightmares (the Kevin Smith/Tim Burton version and the J.J. Abrams version, both of which would have been SO BAD in SO MANY WAYS, if the scripts are to be believed) (and that doesn’t even account for all of the other Superman film ideas/projects that went nowhere, by the way). That is a long, long, long time without what can be accurately described as a high-quality caliber of live-action Superman.

Superman is an unusually hard nut to crack, at least in terms of superheroes. The character is inherently disinteresting, or at least less interesting than Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the other top-tier comic book heroes. The first “Superman” movie, released in 1978, worked at the time (and still operates as the inspiration for every single superhero origin movie released since), but we have entered an era where that doesn’t cut it. Making a decent comic book movie (see: “The Amazing Spider-Man”) doesn’t rev anyone’s engines or rake in jaw-dropping numbers; you need to deliver something different, something special (“The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” “The Avengers”).

Superman, the godlike guy with so many powers it becomes dull and the vanilla main story, is not that intriguing of a central character. But as “Iron Man” proved, the comic book character doesn’t need to be tremendous for the movie to work. All it takes is an interesting take. Nolan seems to have brought his trademark seriousness and realism to this project, and he and Snyder have assembled a stellar cast around Henry Cavill (Amy Adams plays Lois Lane, Michael Shannon is the bad guy, Russell Crowe is his birth father and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play his adopted human parents). I’m still not convinced Superman is an essential big-screen character, but this trailer shows a lot of potential. It looks like it could finally make the strained efforts at rebooting the franchise worthwhile.

“Heaven’s Gate” Considered

Would the Internet have saved “Heaven’s Gate,” the notorious Michael Cimino disaster that effectively locked the door on the 1960s/1970s auteur cinema boom in the U.S. (and napalmed the entire neighborhood just to be safe)? Probably not, because four hours is still four hours. But Richard Brody ponders just this question as he looks back at the movie (on the occasion of a new Criterion release landing on Nov. 20).

Of course, cult movies still existed in 1980, so audiences could find a movie if they were interested. But I think Brody’s point about an online audience of critics (with a broader, more diverse set of backgrounds, cinematic educations and writing styles) is an intriguing one. He’s not just saying that moviegoers in the 21st century would be more interested in Cimino’s rambling, inchoate narrative; he’s saying that three decades later, criticism is not merely the enclave of people writing for the Times, the Village Voice and, yes, the New Yorker.


Disney bought “Star Wars,” will make more “Star Wars” movies

I’ve been mildly busy with all things Hurricane Sandy (by which I mean “reporting on Hurricane Sandy,” and also not having power, and so obviously I hope everyone suffering to whatever degree from the storm is doing as well as possible) (I am sure you are now 100 percent okay, now that someone wished you well on a blog), but anyway I had to note this craziness: George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 billion dollars.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

There are three major components to consider here. First, the “Star Wars” angle, which I will return to in a moment, which in hindsight makes it kind of silly that I listed it first but whatever, moving on. Also, there’s the ILM/Skywalker Sound angle, which means Disney just acquired the visual effects goliath responsible for the spectacle you saw in “Jurassic Park,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and, obviously, the “Star Wars” films.

The “Star Wars” thing is the biggest part of this whole story, because of this: Continue reading