February 15, 2008

Includes More Girlish Squealing, Hugs and Denim

Screw the much anticipated Indiana Jones trailer—Cinecultist is super duper psyched to get a taste of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2! No official site yet but it's supposed to hit theaters on August 8. Yay.

Speaking of sappy chick movies you think you will be embarrassed to buy a ticket for, Cinecultist heartily agrees with A.O. Scott's assessment that in the sea of horrendous dreck passing for romance in Hollywood Definitely, Maybe is one of the most interesting romantic comedies we've seen in a long time. Page Lindsay: it actually has smart, interesting, culturally literate women characters! Isla Fisher's character April is introduced in a The Smiths t-shirt, travels the world on a lark and can express an opinion, while Rachel Weisz's character Summer unapologetically sleeps with her brilliant advisor, has a kid on her own but also knows the lyrics to a standard like Gershwin's "I've Got a Crush On You." The general adorableness of Ryan Reynolds plays a worthy foil to these rockin' chicks. Plus, the movie includes some choice New York locations like Cafe Gitane in Nolita and Odeon in Tribeca. The premise may be cribbing HIMYM (btwm new episodes Mar. 17), but all in all a cute little movie that's worth seeing over the long holiday weekend.

January 14, 2008

Looks So Bad, It's Gonna Be Awesome

Cinecultist can't tell which of the totally hackneyed lines from this trailer for The Other Boleyn Girl we like best. "Sisters, and therefore born to be rivals" is great and so is the use of the word "besotted." Maybe the ultimate is Portman's histrionic plea that ScarJo is her "only hope!" *Snicker* Regardless of the winner, describing this horrendous trailer the other night over dinner to Lisa, our partner in horrible movie watching, Cinecultist was practically giddy. Frankly, February 29 can not come soon enough. We can hardly wait to throw popcorn at the screen and giggle at Eric Bana's tights.

Posted by karen at 9:00 AM | trailers | Comments (0)

July 17, 2007

Jane Austen Redux

janeaustenpencilsketch.jpgCinecultist sometimes has a terrible memory. We know that we read The Jane Austen Bookclub a few years ago because it's sitting right there on the bookshelf and vaguely we recall enjoying it. But plot, characters and themes are all a bit fuzzy. There's a book club? They read Jane Austen's six books together? Romance, intrigue or something or other? Watching a trailer for the movie version which comes out on Sept. 21 rang a few distant bells. Oh well, with a cast this good (Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Hugh Dancy, Amy Brenneman, Kathy Baker, Jimmy Smits and Maggie Grace) we'll probably be seeing it regardless of if we can remember the finer points of the story.

Another Jane Austen reworking on the movie horizon is Anne Hathaway's Becoming Jane, a fictionalized biopic which imagines that Jane's spinsterhood sprung from a disappointed great love. It is out Aug. 3. While CC always finds Hathaway charming and thought this was also a good role for the on-the-cusp-of-stardom James McAvoy, it plays a little too fast and loose with what we understand as Jane's life story. To suppose that one of the greatest romantic comedy wits ever had some sweeping movie-style affair in her life is just a little too Hollywood convenient.

In case you couldn't tell, Cinecultist is very protective of Madam Austen. We don't want to see her too tinkered with, just to tap into a continuing trend from the '90s. We take appropriations of her work and her person oddly personally. If you're going to riff on her, ye puny novelists and filmmakers, we demand you be smart about it. To get into what Jane Austen's writing means to CC would probably take more than just one blog post but suffice it to say, she's the patron saint of all smart girls and we've read all her books (even the childhood ephemera) more than once. Going into a mild-mannered Hollywood movie with that much baggage and pre-conceived notions is never going to turn out well. Or could it? Will our decade plus obsession make Cinecultist the perfect critical audience these two movies, one highly tuned into the potential pitfalls and pleasures of the subject matter?

July 5, 2007

Mixed Feelings: Sex & The City Goes To Hollywood

"After much foreplay, the feature version of the long-running HBO series is gearing for a fall start, with New Line near a deal to finance and distribute," according to Variety today.

Frankly, Cinecultist is a little "meh" about it. We own most of the series on DVD, got HBO when we moved to New York in order to watch it, and even paid good money to go on the SATC tour while in graduate school. (CC wrote a cultural studies paper about the show and its branding of the New York City experience, so shut up about it.) In other words, we should be able to muster more excitement about the news.

Maybe it's because we can't imagine any sort of interesting plot line for the "girls" to explore. The series finale really wrapped it up pretty tidily. Besides, as everyone keeps pointing out with a tinge of evil gloat, the actresses are all getting up there in years. SATC was a product of its moment—financially solvent, sexually expressive 30-somethings living in New York during the booming '90s. But now those chicks have moved on, bought the co-op in Park Slope and retired the Blahniks. What's interesting or sexy about that? Frankly, the whole retread, been-there-seen-it-done-it-bought-the-tshirt aspect is depressing.

June 27, 2007

Finally, A Good Remake Idea

ivornlodger1.jpgIf like the Cinecultist you've spent any time discussing the MacGuffin or have any fondness for the Fat Man, you'll be equally excited about this news. Sony Pictures will be remaking one of Alfred Hitchcock's first films made in his native Britain, the 1926 silent thriller The Lodger, to be set in modern day Los Angeles and directed by documentarian David Ondaatje, according to Reuters today.

jonathan-rhys-meyers-1.jpegThree keys to a great Lodger remake, in CC's opinion, are a strong script, understanding chiaroscuro and thoughtful casting. As for the later, might we suggest tapping into the androgynous, sexy qualities of the original actor Ivor Novello by casting Jonathan Rhys Meyers? After Match Point we know he can do "cold-hearted killer" as well as "surprisingly sympathetic sex machine." Plus, look at those lips! Not to mention the epic cheekbones. Sigh. We'd definitely pay $11 to see JRM as a modern day Jack the Ripper.

June 19, 2007

To BitTorrent or Not To BitTorrent, That Is The Question

sicko_bigposter.jpgAs you surely have already heard on the Interweb, Michael Moore's newest documentary, Sicko, wherein the pudgy Michigander takes on the health care industry, has been leaked. Cinecultist has plans to see an advance press screening this evening and when we mentioned it to a coworker, he promptly IM'ed us a URL to download it. According to Brandweek, "One site, thepiratebay.org, lists at least roughly 2,000 downloads of the flick, and the Web site p2pnet.net, which tracks torrents, or P2P downloads, writes that the movie “is already thoroughly entrenched on the p2p networks.”

Not surprisingly, Moore has come out on the side of content sharing, as long as the folks passing his work around aren't making money from it. Or course, Lionsgate and Weinstein Co., the movie's distributors, may not be so happy with Moore's (public) live and let live attitude. It should be really interesting to see if the box office seems significantly lower than expected after the movie hits theaters on June 29. Or, on the flip side, if the increased internet buzz gets more butts into theaters, even if it is for a repeat viewing.

For CC, we'd much rather sit in a comfy theater seat watching a movie than be hunched over our laptop peering in on a free feed of potentially sketchy quality. Also, part of the fun of any movie, though particularly Moore's work, is being part of an enthusiastic audience. When we saw Fahrenheit 9/11 three years ago, it was a total event what with the highly vocal crowds and sold-out late night screenings. Frankly, seeing it with a press/industry crew for free tonight probably won't be as much fun as waiting in line late at night in the East Village in two weeks. Bear that in mind before you rush off to right-save-click.

June 18, 2007

Anyone Can Cook, Even a Rat Named Remy


On Saturday evening, Cinecultist caught a sneak preview screening of the new Pixar movie Ratatouille at the Union Square theater and was completely charmed by Brad Bird's newest flick. Bird and his team are geniuses. Seriously. Movie making magicians. With references to The Secret of Nimh, Willard and Rizzo the Rat's restaurant management technique in The Muppets Take Manhattan, the equal parts smart and sweet story was enough to make even this hardened New Yorker gaga for talking rodents. Oh, and the answer to the question everyone has asked regarding the Pixar track record: Ratatouille is leagues better than their last film Cars, even nearing the brilliance of The Incredibles.

The movie doesn't hit theaters for two more weeks (on June 29) but in the meantime whet your whistle with an extended clip from the official site as Remy the rat enters the restaurant kitchen for the first time to repair a botched soup. In this clip you can see two elements that we really loved in the movie. The way that it uses the character of Remy to evoke the magic of good cooking and the beauty of good eating. The choreographed moves of this tiny rat creating food in a people-sized kitchen in this scene looks almost like dancing. Also, the way the animators use facial expression and gesture throughout the movie as the humans and the animals try to communicate is really delightful. Just a tiny shrug from a modest cooking rat tells you so much about his character. Once again Bird et al. have created a fully formed, three dimensional animated universe and even after the credits began to roll Cinecultist didn't want to leave.

Posted by karen at 11:00 AM | Brad Bird, Pixar, Ratatouille | Comments (0)

June 15, 2007

Great Casting, Canned Laugh Track Not So Much

Cinecultist was excited to find some promo clips from the new Amy Sherman-Palladino series, The Return of Jezebel James with Parker Posey* and Lauren Ambrose. Watching all them on the official website, Cinecultist was buoyed by the ASP-ness of Posey and Ambrose's performances but the canned laugh track that seems to be a prereq for any show billed as a sitcom? Painful. We're keeping our fingers crossed for no clichéd lameness on this series. [via Jump Cuts]

*Not-so-confidential to Lisa: Posey's character is a children's book editor, how awesome is that? We'll expect a full review of believability once the show airs this fall on Fox.

April 4, 2007

This Potter-aphile Totally Stumped

Cinecultist has been a longtime fan of the Harry Potter books and movies, receiving the first book as a gift long before the hype even began, but the 50 question ultimate Harry Potter quiz in this week's Entertainment Weekly was really hard. Even the excerpt with only 12 questions posted on the website is tough.

Like, do you remember the answer to this one?
Q: In Half-Blood Prince, the Amortentia potion smells like all but one of the following:
A) Something flowery
B) A Chocolate Frog
C) The woody smell of a broomstick
D) Treacle tart

Or, Q: With what character does Rowling share a birthday? (Answers after the jump...)

Jeez, to know the answers to those lickety-split, now that's a level of fandom that you just have to admire. Test the rest of your wizarding mettle by picking up the April 6 issue on newsstands.

[The gang's all here: Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in the forthcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.]

- B) A Chocolate frog.
- Harry Potter.

April 2, 2007


Cinecultist read with interest Matt Dentler's (aka the programer for the SXSW Film Festival) impressions of Hot Fuzz which played down in Austin this weekend at a special cop/B movie fest. CC saw a preview of the cop comedy Fuzz last week and thought it was utterly hysterical, one of the best comedies, nay flicks, we've seen in ages. In fact, we disagree with Dentler to say that CC thought it was even funnier than the excellent Shaun of the Dead, a zombie spoof movie by the same creators.

What Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, the co-writers and director and star respectively, totally get about the genre is that cop movies are really about the love between two buddies. Straight man on man love is something that is expressed but not spoken about in mainstream films, particularly of this genre, and in a smart, delightful way Wright and Pegg bring it to the surface of their movie. They also figure out a way to be meta, yet not smug in their self-awareness. It's totally brilliant all around.

You can catch another preview of the movie (which comes out on April 20) at the Film Society as well as a conversation with Wright, Pegg and co-star Nick Frost on April 10. Should be a fun evening, especially for fans of cop movies and these hot Brits.

Posted by karen at 3:03 PM | Film Society, Hot Fuzz | Comments (0)

March 28, 2007

What To Do, What To Do?

Okay, so it's only Wednesday but Cinecultist is already thinking longingly of the weekend. There's something about being at mid-week that makes you itchy for a lazy Saturday at the movies, don'tcha think?

Manohla Dargis in today's NY Times reminds us that there are still some great choices coming up in the New Directors/New Films series at MoMA and Lincoln Center. [It runs through Sunday, Apr. 1.] CC joined in on drinks and general merriment at Josephina's this last Sunday night to celebrate the festival, so we'll feel extra guilty if we don't take in more of their excellent offerings.

Coming up this weekend, Cinecultist may also try to see a B Musical at Film Forum or an Edie Sedgwick movie at the Museum of the Moving Image. Singing and jazz hands or poor little It Girl—a tough choice, right?


Damn this recent gorgeous weather in New York. 70 degrees, woohoo! It makes it so difficult to focus on the real task at hand, ie. movie-watching, when all you really want to be doing is wandering around outside with an iced coffee in hand. Hopefully on Friday night it will be less lovely as CC has committed to spending three hours in doors for a sneak peak at the highly anticipated Richard Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double feature, Grindhouse at a neighborhood theater. Full opinions (namely if our annoyance at QT's pretensions still burns with the fires of a thousand suns) will be forthcoming, as soon as our butt regains some feeling from spending so long in a movie seat.

P.S. If you haven't checked out the movie's incredibly self-indulgent and unnecessarily complicated official website yet, please do. You can make things explode AND listen to the sound of faux old movie projectors. It's over-the-topness is both really admirable and yet frustrating. Sort of like how CC often feels about QT's movies, actually.

P.P.S. A happy birthday to the Cinecultist's sister, Laurie, today. We'll always be the Waldorf to your Statler. "It's good to be heckling, again. It's good to be doing anything again!"

March 8, 2007

Ken Loach, Can CC Adopt You?

Ken Loach at MoMALast night at the Museum of Modern Art, Cinecultist attended a special preview screening of Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a new movie about the Irish "troubles" which won the Palm D'Or at Cannes this year. Loach was in the house to introduce the movie and answer questions following (as pictured with a MoMA staff member), as well as cast members Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney and Mairtin de Cogain. It was unassuming English and Irishmen all around, with one more self-effacing than the next. Loach in particular is totally adorable, like a sweet grandpa you want to take home for a cup of tea and then debate the history of Western philosophy.

One thing all four panelists were incredibly passionate about though was this project, which Loach described as coming together quite naturally. The struggles for Irish independence was a topic he and writer Paul Laverty had discussed for many years off and on before deciding to develop it into a screenplay about two fictional brothers caught up in the fighting. Each brother represents a point of view and as the conflicts get more heated, their impulses to do "the right thing" gets harder and harder in the face of the horrible circumstances.

Like in Loach's previous films that CC's enjoyed Bread and Roses and Sweet Sixteen, he does an amazing job of illiciting nuanced and naturalistic performances from his actors. Cillian Murphy has had good roles before, but he's particularly wonderful here as a young doctor compelled to fight for his country despite his gentle conscience. Also, CC was pleased to note that in person Murphy's modest personality doesn't contain any traces of his creepy characters from Batman Begins or Red Eye. Apparently, Cillian is a nice guy who's just a really good actor. Go fig.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley hits US theaters a week from Friday.

February 28, 2007

Bring Extra Padding

Wherein Two Known Offenders Comment on Lengthy Movie Running Times...

sjff_02_img0663.jpgDavid Fincher:
"I do agree you can't just make movies three hours long for no apparent reason. For a romantic comedy to be three hours long, that's longer than most marriages. Sometimes, maybe filmmakers can fall in love with the story they're telling and maybe need to be more diligent in how they're telling it. There's stuff in the narrative [of Zodiac] that's not essential to the investigation, but if you start removing that stuff, it becomes even more of a dry police procedural.You need to have that characterization in there but not wear out its welcome. It's not my intention to be boring. The hope is you're able to walk a fine line."
Zodiac, 160 min.
Fight Club, 139 min.

Jerry Bruckheimer:
"[Pirates' distributor Disney] loved the film. They always would like things shorter to get more screenings in in a day, but they also recognized we made a very effective movie that held people's interest. When you walk out of that theater, you want to feel like you've had a complete meal."
Pirates: Dead Man's Chest, 150 min.
Bad Boys II, 147 min.


February 26, 2007

Cool Movie Chicks With Enviable Style

sarahpoleystyle.jpgIt's only the Monday after the Oscars but already the Cinecultist is looking ahead to what's coming next from the movies, especially work made by stylish women filmmakers. The New York Times Style section helps out in that regard with this lovely slide show of photos by Maciek Kobielski which includes pics of Mary Harron, Valerie Faris and Miranda July. Sarah Polley is also featured talking about her new movie Away From Her which she wrote and directed based on an Alice Murno short story. While it doesn't come out in wide release until May 4, CC is already totally psyched for it. So smart, so beautiful, and such an brilliant actress--Polley is the total package so we expect her movie making skills will be equally as excellent.

Speaking of admiring artists and the clothes they wear, Cinecultist went up to Pier 95 yesterday with our friends Josh and Jason to enjoy some of the spectacle of the Armory Show. This is an annual two day event that's primo people watching, in addition to being an exhibition of some the best current art from around the world. CC caught glimpses of some new Bill Viola video work, a giant portrait of Pete Doherty by Hedi Slimane broken down into multiple glossy panels and sipped a couple of comp mimosas. A tiring but fabulous Sunday, darlings...and now it's back to our regularly scheduled work week.

February 23, 2007

The Host Takes A Bite Out of Viewers

The Host
Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) knows that something wicked this way comes in the new Korean movie The Host.

Cinecultist likes monster movies with bite, the kind where you get goosed by something jumping out from the screen right after you've laughed uproariously at some witty, ironic aside. The two parts "goosing" and "laughing" have to go together, one without the other just devolves into Children of the Corn or the like. If you also appreciate smart scariness on screen, might we suggest checking out The Host, a newish movie by Korean director Bong Joon-Ho which CC saw at NYFF last year and is finally getting a theatrical release. The IFC Center here in New York is also hosting a mini-fest of his movies starting next Monday and culminating in a screening of The Host with Bong conducting a post-film Q&A on Tuesday.

Two things we heartily enjoyed about this movie, though there's a lot in it to endear:

1) It's a Godzilla for the 21st century, a seemingly innocent action movie that's actually fraught with intriguing paranoia about mankind's callousness towards nature coming back to bite us in the ass. The Japanese in '54 were freaked out by the prospect of nuclear disaster, while the Koreans seem to be more afraid of the mutations from pollution by chemicals. Either way, in both movies they know they've been co-opted by American expansionist greed and they sorta know they're screwed (ie. expecting a huge beast to emerge from the water and eat their people). It ain't gonna be pretty, but it makes for a darn entertaining movie.

2) In the face of scary nature rebelling against stupid mankind, you'd expect the movie's heroes to actually be heroic but Bong says, Pshaw that kind of simplistic characterization is for chumps. In every instance where various members of this one family could save the day with their unique abilities, they don't. It's failure and well-meaning fuck up all around, which as a movie's strategy takes some serious balls. Without giving too much away, Cinecultist really admires any film that can be both decidedly genre picture yet flout that genre's structures to the audience's face. Bong achieves this with grace and good humor, while keeping the suspense level high.

Posted by karen at 2:23 PM | IFC Center, The Host | Comments (0)

February 20, 2007

Does Jim Carrey Totally Add Up?


Jim Carrey, an actor the Cinecultist has enjoyed even when others didn't ie. in Man On The Moon, has a new flick coming out this weekend and is thus on the junket circuit. We caught him this morning on The Today Show clowning around with Matt Lauer during a jeans fit segment and so with chuckling anticipation sat down to listen to his interview with Meredith Vieira about his thriller The Number 23. However, it seems the wacko numerology premise of the movie has over taken Jim's ordinarily entertaining junket banter.

Between the beatific grins at Meredith and the shaggy page boy haircut he's sporting, Carrey seemed a little off kilter from the start. Then he begins spouting about how he's long been influenced by connections in his life to the number 23, even before he received the script to this movie, and proceeded to list for Meredith all of the important relationships in his life connected by 23. Apparently, Jim says it's all about getting reminders of how magical the universe is. If you take the number of letters in his name + his costar Virginia Madsen, it equals 23. Same with Jim and director Joel Schumacher's names. Just in case middle America couldn't keep up with all of this freaky counting, Today then flashed up a graphic of Jim's name plus Meredith's also equaling 23.

Doesn't this all seem a little too kooky Method actor, even for Carrey? Although maybe this is the beginning of trend for Numerology to become the next big Hollywood religion after Scientology and Kabbalah.

February 1, 2007

Icky Internet Over Share


Doing a quick scan of the Cinecultist archives, we noticed we're really kind of obsessed with Mandy Moore. As evidence, we discovered we've blogged about her movies How To Deal, Chasing Liberty, Saved! and American Dreamz. Now that's some serious (though admittedly juvenile) fandom, people. So of course, Cinecultist is intrigued by the release of a new MM movie this weekend, Because I Said So which includes Diane Keaton, Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo as her costars.

Poking around the official website, CC discovered their quiz to determine whether the guy you'd pick as your Mr. Right is the same choice as your mother's. Apparently this is a theme from the movie wherein Keaton meddles in Moore's love life trying to marry her off. It's probably not rocket science to describe these types of quizzes as always incredibly stupid, mostly because they often seem to offer three options none of which CC would ever pick. For instance the question, "On a first date you should never...A) Think about it, B) Talk about it, or C) Do it." Not to seem totally easy but if on a first date you're not doing at least A and B, you might be on a date with your cousin. This one is equally as perplexing, "Who's the best catch...A) Boring, Middle class, great in the sack, B) Exciting, broke, good in the sack, or C) Tolerable, rich, horrible in bed." Uh, totally none of the above? What kind of romantic compromise is this movie proposing for its easily influenced chick viewers? Finally, the worst question of the bunch: "Your man's favorite drink: A) Beer in a can, B) Red wine spritzers, or C) Brandy on the rocks." Seriously, we would ditch at a bar a dude ordering any of those drinks, let alone call him our man. Why would you drink beer in a can if you can have it on tap? Who ever makes red wine spritzy? Right?

The capper to all of this pointless quiz taking is that you're supposed to email your responses to your mother and then she'll take the mom side of it. That was the moment when Cinecultist seriously reconsidered investing our hard earned $10.75 in this movie. CC hearts our Mom, but we'd never ever in a million-zillion years discuss our romantic preferences in such detail with her, let alone via a cheesy website quiz. It just seems so wrong and crossing a line of movie promotion that should remain a firm divider. The idea of supplementary content to promote a new movie is one CC supports but come on people, use your brains. The movie may not be what we'd strictly call "realistic" but at least you can make this stuff not utterly laughable. Why waste your time as well as ours?

Posted by karen at 11:24 AM | Mandy Moore | Comments (0)

January 30, 2007

Norah Jones, Our Neighbor & A Natural Actor?

NorahJones.jpgSinger (and fellow East Village resident) Norah Jones has been on the talk show circuit lately because her third album, Not Too Late hits stores this week. Mostly Jones' music isn't our cup of tea (to put not such a fine point on it, it's total vagina music and we grew out of that stuff after attending the Lilith Fair in '97), plus her level of crazy run away success and her crankiness about bloggers mocking her secret glam band, sorta bugs. However, her return to the media glare reminded Cinecultist of one intriguing bit of No Jo trivia: she's starring in Wong Kar-Wai's English language debut, My Blueberry Nights. Co-starring Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, Jude Law, and Nathalie Portman, at least we can tell that Wong based casting on good looks punctuated by intense eye gaze skills. Actually in a recent EW article about Jones, it sounds like Wong had more of a plan than that.

"He cast Jones at their first meeting, but insisted the novice thespian not take lessons to prepare for the part of Elizabeth, "a woman who," Jones says, "is a little bit lost in life and takes a cross-country trip to find her way." Wong was beyond pleased with the results. "Crying in front of the camera is one of the hardest things for a first-time actor to do. She nailed it on the second take. After, she turned to me, her eyes still red, and asked, 'Do you want more?'" recalls Wong. ''At that moment, I knew this lady could act."

Intriguing, right? Of course we'll have to wait until June* to offer up our full assessment of Jones' emoting abilities in front of the camera, and obviously we'll be holding her to that high benchmark set by former Wong actresses like Maggie Cheung, Faye Wong, Brigitte Lin, Gong Li and Ziyi Zhang. Sorry for the tough company Norah, but you really kinda brought it on yourself.

*This is the date currently on IMDb but bear in mind that it's being released by Weinstein Co. who are notoriously bad about firmly setting their release schedule.

January 4, 2007

'Vengeance' Director Does A Rom Com

According to Reuters today, Park Chan-wook's next movie, I Am A Cyborg But That's Okay will be screening in competition at the up coming Berlin Film Festival in February.

The Korean official site, which does have an English version thank goodness, is incredibly complex with all kinds of crazy Flash animation in a pop-up book format. Check it out, Cyborg looks like it's going to be a little Benny and Joon meets Amelie, though with a very Park p.o.v. Cinecultist will be anxious to see it once they get a U.S. distributor.

Posted by karen at 2:10 PM |

January 3, 2007


* Cinecultist's DVR is itching for the opportunity to prove its mettle. It's lonely from excessive reruns and it can't wait for January when HBO premieres new episodes of Rome, and Extras (both on Jan. 14). In anticipation of more quality time spent inside the weirdo noggin of Ricky Gervais, there's a profile in the current issue of the New York Observer.

* Weinstein Co. announced today they're going to distribute Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan movie, I'm Not There. The cast alone has us salivating--Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Ben Whishaw and Marcus Carl Franklin, David Cross and Bruce Greenwood--but the six different stories, different actors playing Dylan depending on the era, has CC positively chomping at the bit. Positively 4th Street, that is.

Posted by karen at 5:13 PM |

November 30, 2006

Sundance! Sundance! Sundance!

Jeez, just when the Cinecultist was beginning to think about the 2006 award season contenders and to field questions from friends about our top 10 for the year, Sundance Institute goes and announces their line up for the 2007 festival. There's a title-dropping article in today's New York Times listing some of the potential highlights. Of note from our quick scan through the piece: there's a whole heck of a lot of politically-minded docs screening, 12-year-old Dakota Fanning is venturing into sexually dicey material (eep!) and Hollywood offspring Zoe Cassavetes (daughter of John and Gena Rowlands) finally stops just being on those "ones to watch" lists and actually made a movie. Color CC intrigued.

Posted by karen at 10:21 AM |

September 21, 2006

The Appeal of Jackass Baffles CC

While it's amazing that anyone would actually subject themselves willingly to such stupidity on camera, Cinecultist doesn't really "get" the appeal of Johnny Knoxville and Jackass Number Two, which hits theaters this weekend.

CC didn't see the first one or watch the TV show, so maybe a faithful reader can let us know. There's no plot or story right? Just guys stapling stuff to their nether regions? Why is that funny? Seriously, we want to understand.

Posted by karen at 10:36 AM | | Comments (1)

August 21, 2006

The Next Rocky Installment: This One's For The Boomers

The closing film tonight in Bryant Park's annual summer film festival is Rocky, a totally classic sports movie if there ever was one. This got Cinecultist to thinking about what the new Rocky installment would be about and fortunately, we stumbled on the above video clip of the trailer.

Fittingly, this time the fight is for the dignity of all aging baby boomers, who through the fountain of eternal youth known as the computer, makes Rock think the old dog still has some bite in him. What a totally fitting underdog story for our times. With apologies to the Cinecultist's parents, the boomers still think it's all about them, don't they? Can't you just sense the cultural studies term papers waiting in the wings on this one?

For more info (and the still stirring theme song coming out of your computer's speakers) visit the official site.

Posted by karen at 3:17 PM |

August 9, 2006

Hilary Remixes Some Madge

hilary_duff1.jpgBefore she became such a train wreck-orama, Britney Spears understood that associating her stardom with the original blonde bombshell, Madonna was good for her image. Now, the tween sensation Hilary Duff seems to be hoping for the same boost with her new movie, Material Girls which comes out Aug. 18. We don't know too much yet about Duff's project with her sister, Haylie, besides the floofy plot (celebutante sisters loose all their money but have to rise above it to win back their family's cosmetics company). Until we sought it out today, CC hadn't even seen the trailer. Obviously we're not regular readers of Hilary's blog.

But, we do find it interesting that Madge's production company, Maverick, is one of the producers on the film and that Hilary has recorded a cover of the '80s classic, "Material Girl," for the soundtrack. Between the rocker boyfriend, the djing at Misshapes and now this association with the star who made reinventing herself an art form, the Duff Duff seems to be trying to be more than just the Disneyfied pop tart of her youth. Cinecultist for one is staying tuned for further intriguing Duff-related developments.

Posted by karen at 3:08 PM |

July 28, 2006

Smoking Hot Trailers

One after another trailer this morning at the movies had Cinecultist practically hopping up and down in our seats. How hot do these movies look? Red hot.

! Borat (Nov. 3). Sacha, we heart you so damn much. Egad, CC's psyched!
! Children of Men (Sept. 29). In the future, no one can have any children. Looks creepy and exciting.
! Babel (Oct. 27). Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and some international incidents.

Also, potentially intriguing.

~ The Last Kiss (Sept. 15). Zach Braff in the American remake of the huge Italian blockbuster about late 20 somethings with commitment issues.
~ The Fountain (Oct. 13). Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz love across time in this sci-fi/fantasy/cancer story by Darren Aronofsky.

Posted by karen at 8:05 PM |

July 26, 2006

Shortbus Is Coming. Get It?

Ever since we heard that John Cameron Mitchell, the man who made musicals about German transsexuals hip again, was doing a movie with real sex, we've been intrigued. His new movie, which screened at Cannes this year, is called Shortbus and it follows a small group of New Yorkers through their various conquests and breakdowns.

Cinecultist actually already caught an advance screening of this flick and while we don't want to post too much yet about it, we will tell you we liked it quite a lot. Two of the best things in the movie are the soundtrack and this amazing detailed model of Manhattan which the camera swoops around onboth of which are featured in the teaser trailer above. It's clear from the film that JCM hearts NYC (in addition to graphic coupling on screen) and for that, Cinecultist can't help but love him back.

Posted by karen at 2:15 PM |

July 20, 2006

So Bad It Hurts To Mention

shadowboxerbig.jpgReading the profile of director and producer Lee Daniels in the New York Times by Lola Ogunnaike today, Cinecultist had our mouth open in disbelief. We watched a screener of his directorial debut, Shadowboxer, a few months ago and it ranks up there as one of the most painful movie watching experiences. After producing Monster's Ball (Halle Berry sleeps with her husband's executioner) and The Woodsman (Kevin Bacon plays a pedophile), Daniels is known as an "edgy" filmmaker to say the least, but Shadowboxer completely ignores the edge going instead for abominably poor taste and wash your eyes out with soap shock.

The sad thing is the movie has actors in it who've done brilliant, actually edgy past work (Helen Mirren, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and could do intriguing work in the future (Mo'Nique, Macy Gray) if given the right project. But what Daniels has done here is a muddled hodge podge of assassins, gangsters, crack addicts, cancer patients, and step-parent/child incest. In the first 10 minutes of the movie, gangster badass Stephen Dorff sodomizes an enemy with a pool queue. In the first 10 minutes! Please, please, please don't go see this movie. We beg of you.

But, you should quietly chuckle at this bizarro quote from Daniels in the Times profile regarding the casting of Mo'Nique as a crack addicted doctor's assistant and lover to JGL:
My sister was an obese crack addict, he said. She had a chicken wing in one hand and crack pipe in the other, and she had the finest white men lined up waiting for her. This is a real person to me.
Actually, maybe that quote isn't so much funny as soul-suckingly sad. Excuse us while we go cry our eyes out.

Posted by karen at 11:32 AM |

July 17, 2006

Don't Close Your Eyes At 'Night'


With the eminent release of M. Night Shyamalan's Lady In The Water this Friday, the Night Hype machine has roared to life. We read last week the excerpt from Michael Bamberger's book in Entertainment Weekly about the fraught making of this new film (Disney doesn't understand the genius of Night! Bad Disney, bad!) and more details about the super-secretive process ze auteur insists upon. Then today we caught Night's interview on the Today show and read the Caryn James piece in the New York Times. Over saturation alert!

There's just something icky about a still relatively young, working director so easily comparing his up coming fantasy tale to E.T.. Let others proclaim your genius after you've built up a considerable body of work. Toil quietly, make good movies, tell stories that matter to you--that seems to be the best path towards lasting cinematic importance. Cinecultist enjoyed The Sixth Sense because there was some buzz around this creative storytelling and suspense but there wasn't this overblown cult of personality around the director. Besides, no film critic is going to like seeing themselves depicted by a cranky-pants Bob Balaban, who plays a film critic character in Lady. You "kid because you love" Night, as you said on TV this morning? After that passive aggressive dig, critical consensus may really be showing Night who's the big bad wolf.

Posted by karen at 11:10 AM |

July 14, 2006

A Pairing To Get Excited For

gabrelle.jpgCinecultist knows we should probably be anticipating some overblown summer buddy comedy like You, Me and Dupree but between Manolha Dargis's review in the New York Times today and Reverse Shot's on Monday via indieWire has us all a-twitter for Gabrielle which is out this weekend. It stars Isabelle Huppert (one of our pantheon actresses, thusly distinguished because we could watch them read the phonebook on screen) and was directed by Patrice Chreau, who made one of our other obsessions, Queen Margot.

Dargis writes:

"As Mr. Chreau fluidly moves back and forth in time, using different color schemes and editing rhythms to express what the characters themselves cannot always say, he forces air into a story that in the writing and the subject can feel moribund on the page....Both actors keep you riveted, even when Mr. Chreau blows up passages from Conrads text, cutting away entirely from the performers (making you all the more anxious for their return) or obscuring their images with a well-chosen word ("Stay!"). Together with his extraordinary performers, Mr. Chreau breathes life into characters who long ago set a course for death."

P.S. Happy Bastille Day, our fellow Francophiles. Viva la cinema franais!

Posted by karen at 4:25 PM |

July 10, 2006

Tickets Available for New York Latino Film Festival

quinceanera_240.jpgThe New York International Latino Film Festival doesn't start for a few weeks yet, but Cinecultist has been checking out the line-up on their site. We're particularly curious to see their closing night film, Quinceaera, a movie centered around the coming of age ceremony for 15-year-old Magdalena (Emily Rios) who lives in Los Angeles. It won the Grand Jury Prize Dramatic and the Audience Award American Dramatic this past year at the Sundance film festival plus we've heard great things about newcomer Rios's performance. Roger Ebert seeing it at Sundance reported, "There is rich human comedy here, and sadness, and a portrait so textured that we get very involved."

The festival screening is on Saturday, July 29 and Quinceaera will get a theatrical release on August 4. Official trailer via Apple.

Posted by karen at 10:54 AM |

May 29, 2006

Meryl Wears Prada, But We Hear She's Quite Nice


Last week, Cinecultist and co-workers were having a bit of a trailer deluge in our down time and we surprisingly found the Devil Wears Prada preview quite amusing. This book was utterly dreadful -- one of those things that actually seems to make you dumber putting it into your brain -- but as the premise for a fluffy summer comedy, it looks kind of winning. The trailer seems to give you the best of the first 15 minutes of the film as an entr into the flick's fish out of water versus evil boss premise. Though of course our interest in this movie may just be our serious Meryl Streep-aphilia talking. Dear god, we do worship that woman. She's beyond brilliant. While we don't expect this to be another The French Lieutenant's Woman (if you've never seen that Streep-Jeremy Irons picture, rent it right now. Seriously.), Streep as the Devil in Prada should be diverting enough and she looks quite pretty in this production still we found. Consider us there on the opening weekend at the end of June.

Posted by karen at 11:21 PM |

May 26, 2006

Cinecultist's Real Mutant Power: Getting Caught Up In Promo Hype

Tonight, Cinecultist plans to indulge our fan boy tendencies with a 8:45 pm screening of X-Men: The Last Stand with the Movie Binge boys. Most of the crew are meeting up for a group outing to kick off our summer of crazy movie viewing. Please head over to that space as the summer continues to keep track of our progress and leave some snarky comments. CC and TMB hearts snark.

Amongst the six of us there's been some joking about mutant powers which got CC thinking about what we'd like our power to be if we were a mutant super hero. As a kid, we read this book The Girl with the Silver Eyes about a girl with the power to move things with her mind. After reading it, we'd sometimes stare long and hard at some object trying to will it to budge, even just a touch. Thinking about it now, we don't know why that one supernatural ability so struck our fancy but the idea of using your powerful intellect for superhuman tasks of strength does sound good to this self-professed smartie pants. So our vote is either for that or getting to switch bodies with Famke Janssen (see above with Hugh Jackman who plays Wolverine). She's total hotness as Jean Gray in the first two films, we're psyched to see her transformation to evil in this installment.

The weather is getting balmy in Manhattan (or muggy, if you're feeling glass half empty), there's a long weekend on tap and CC is ready to watch some stuff explode on the big screen. Let's bring on that blockbuster season, we're ready.

Posted by karen at 6:21 PM |

February 5, 2006

The Dahlia Blooms Again

This article in the New York Times today previewing Brian De Palma's adaptation of James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia has Cinecultist more intrigued than we expected we would be about this project.

Posted by karen at 6:03 PM |

January 12, 2006

When Geekdom Kicks In Like A Disease


Cinecultist has a problem -- we know when we look at the commercials for the vampire/werewolf actioner Underworld: Evolution that it's going to be bad. However the same geek tendency which made CC attend all the Matrix installments, the Star Wars prequels and not-so-secretly love David Lynch's Dune, is compelling us into the theater on Jan. 20th. To make matters worse, we saw the first Underworld and know how dreadful it was. Battles with bullets of silver and sunlight, goth looks like a bad Nine Inch Nails fan club meeting and Scott Speedman trying to emote* -- it wasn't a pretty scene folks. But there's something evil and compelling about Kate Beckinsale's blue blue eyes staring out at us from that poster, luring us into the cineplex.

Do you think there's a 12 step program for people addicted to bad sci-fi action flicks? Hi, we're Cinecultist and we like to watch geek boy movies with chicks battling demons in leather bustiers on Saturday afternoons.

*Side note: Is there a better over actor these days than Bill Nighy? Dude is beginning to rival some of the best over actors we have (William Shatner, Jeremy Irons) with his crypt keeper crustiness and fondness for gnawing the scenery in amulets.

Posted by karen at 10:35 PM |

November 14, 2005

Trailer City: Population Cinecultist

A slightly hung over and bruised Cinecultist (high heel boots + a few vodka tonics + 5th floor LES walk up = bad scene and sore ankle) took ourselves to the movies on Sunday afternoon at Kips Bay. Sigh. Cineplexes sooth our savage soul. If you havent been to the mainstream movies lately, its trailer-polozza out there for the winter films, people. Heres a few that piqued our interest:

Munich When our buddy Michael begins waxing rhapsodic for an up coming Steven Spielberg release, CC tends to zone out just a touch. He did edit a whole special issue symposium for Reverse Shot on the guy. However, the trailer for Munich looks totally hott and we see now why many critics are holding out on top 10 lists until they see this historical action flick. Daniel Craig looks hot, as does Eric Bana and we realized while watching the trailer that there really arent enough movies that feature Golda Meir. Hollywood, get on that! CC wants more actresses playing Golda.

Aeon Flux Whats better than ass-kicking Charlize Theron with an anime haircut? An ass-kicking Sophie Okonedo, of course. Seeing her in this trailer, plus the visuals and the promise of feminist auteur Karyn Kusama behind the wheel has CC itching for the release. But then again, we love David Lynchs Dune, so our taste for this type of thing should be weighed accordingly.

King Kong For some reason, a scary 24 foot silver back gorilla CC can accept. But 24 foot gorilla battling dinosaurs? This just seems too far fetched. After this preview, Peter Ultimate Geek Boy Jackson is going to have to work hard to earn our $10.75 for a screening of this remade epic. Also, doesnt Colin Hanks look totally bloated here? What happened to him?

Syriana How much are we loving fat, bearded Clooney? Its like the fat Elvis/thin Elvis debate all over again. That guy can do no wrong right now. Plus, thriller/politics/Amanda Peet screaming? Its how you spell awe-some.

Walk the Line When CC caught an advance screening of this movie a few weeks ago, we happened to be chat with the security guard for the screening room who told us hes watched this movie about 20 times so far and he still loves it. Between that regular dudes recommendation and this trailer, you should be very, very excited for this movie. We know a few Johnny Cash purists and while were still waiting to hear their final judgment after it comes out, this trailer is surely whetting our whistle to watch the movie again very soon. Baby, baby, baby, baby indeed.

Posted by karen at 9:05 AM |

November 1, 2005

Harry Potter Count Down Begins. Again

wizard dating!

The supersneakytrickysmart part of this whole Harry Potter world wide craze? Anticipation, count down and then purchasing frenzy for the books can be interspersed with the same mania for the movies. Whew, lucky for us.

But as snarky as we'd like to be, knowing we're now in November means to Cinecultist that we're that much closer to the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie (ie. Nov. 18, baby). Triwizard! Quidditch Cup! Teenage wizards dating! If this means nothing to you, at least we know our 9 year old brother Mark is also counting down the days. We hear he's been watching the first one about five times a day. Nothing like a good repetition movie, if we do say so ourselves.

For more Harry Potter news, including details about the depiction on screen of the Weird Sisters -- only the coolest wizarding band -- and an mp3 of one of their songs, check out this post from Productshop NYC last week.

Posted by karen at 11:30 PM |

September 9, 2005

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Until December


"I wish I knew how to quit you!" -- Jake Gyllenhaal's best line in the new Brokeback Mountain trailer on Yahoo!

"You don't go up there to fish." -- says Michelle Williams's character to her lyin' husband, Heath Ledger.

Awesome? Not enough? Jake and Heath drooling? Discuss in the comments. By the way, it's 91 days until December 9 if you wanted to set up a count down system.

UPDATE: Brokeback won the Golden Lion at this year's Venice Film Festival. Congrats to our Jakie G., Heath, Ang and the rest of the cast and crew!

Posted by karen at 3:24 PM | | Comments (1)

August 3, 2005

The Cloon and The News

Production photo care of Warner Bros. From left: George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr. and David Straithairn

Cinecultist hears that this year's New York Film Festival opening night movie will be George Clooney's sophomore directoral effort, Good Night, and Good Luck about the conflict between Edward R. Murrow and Senator McCarthy during the HUAAC hearings. More information via indieWire.

Posted by karen at 8:53 AM |

July 14, 2005

What's Up Next

Crap loads o' crap is coming out in theaters in another week which is really a good thing because as you may have noticed Cinecultist has been in the movies doldrums lately. For now, the haul is smaller. More like a trickle actually which is just fine. This coming weekend we have Johnny Depp's twisted impression of Michael Jackson as a candy entrepeneur (that's our guess anyway, based on clips and our understanding of how Depp's method works) in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory plus the Vaugh/Wilson goofballs in Wedding Crashers but other than that, it's pretty bare. Happy Endings, despite having our Jesse "Sexy When Brushing His Teeth" Bradford in it, looks like mediocre junk. And The Warrior is totally Miramax cast offs, like that last piece of pastry that just looks sad sitting in the box all by itself.

New York weather update: It feels like we had to swim home. Also, as we neared our place a bug the size of a small dog scurried past. And you know when we say "bug," we mean "cockroach" right? Yeah. File it under: ewwwww.

Posted by karen at 10:27 PM |

May 18, 2005

What's The Sith's Revenge?

Cinecultist isn't sure exactly what the revenge of those crazy Sith is yet, but it could very well be the complete and total domination of all movie theater screens in our galaxy. After reading this article in the New York Times today with the quotes from studio execs and Fandango.com employees being described as "giddy" about the box office potential tonight at midnight, CC headed over to Fandango to see the lay of the land.

At midnight and one minute tonight nine screens at the Union Square theater will be unspooling George Lucas's newest and then at 3:10 am, 3:20 am and 3:30 am, five more theaters will be available for screenings. That's nutso. That's Darth Vader fever. That's scarier than Jabba the Hut at a Vegas buffet. Of course all of this buzzy movie-going makes CC feel we should be there to be there. Staying awake at work be damned! We need to pull our plastic light saber out of storage and congregate with our fellow geeks! After all, we did the camp out for nearly all of the rereleased ones when CC was in college and we do so love going to movies where people are dressed up in the audience. It's so festive.

Previously: our comments following a late night screening of the Matrix: Revolutions and Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

Posted by karen at 2:10 PM |

March 28, 2005

Frank Miller! Robert Rodriguez! Sin City! This Friday!



Need we say more? Okay, one more thing -- Clive "mmm, stubble" Owens. Yeah baby. For proper drooling and jumping up and down in your seat like an excited puppy purposes, trailer action for you.

[By the way, that second picture which may seem a little random is a post-birthday present for our sister Laurie, a huge Alexis Bledel fan.]

Posted by karen at 9:01 AM |

March 11, 2005

The Geek Force Is Strong In This Young Padawan


Last night following the OC, they unveiled the new Star Wars Episode III trailer. It was a weird moment because it appealed to both the geek (lightsabers, woot!) and the girl (cutie Adam Brody playing with figurines, woot!) in Cinecultist.

Our impressions of the various bits of CGI explosions and scary Emporer makeup strung together to whet our Star Wars consuming appetite? When Hayden Christiansen talks now, his pitch always sounds like whining and we can't shake the feeling that he should be wearing Stephen Glass's spectacles while doing so. Look, Natalie Portman has a new hairdo! This time it's curly with a fancy headband! Samuel L. is just too darn "street" for George Lucas's world, despite the Billy D. legacy. Ho hum, explosion, explosion. We didn't know that the Emporer not only sounds like he's eaten lemons but he also has very, very bad teeth. Ewan McGregor is sporting the same facial hair as Yosemite Sam. And we still <3 Yoda. It's just a part of who we are, we can't deny it. Sigh.

We couldn't find a link to the actual spot online but here's a trailer of the trailer if you're curious. There's also an older version of the trailer, with about half of the footage coming from the previous films. Of course the studio hopes you'll buy a ticket to see the animated movie Robots this weekend if you really want to see the new one. For our part, CC thinks we've heard enough terrible puns about bolts from the advertisements that have been everywhere lately. No more Robin Williams! CC cries uncle!

Not really so related but it is if you follow the emo Adam Brody thread: the new Death Cab for Cutie live EP, The John Byrd EP has been totally rocking our iPod this week. Please purchase it, if only to hear Ben Gibbard's charming banter about how Barry Manilow thinks their band has a sucky name or that Ben wishes he'd followed his dream of becoming the Seattle Mariner's shortstop.

Posted by karen at 9:01 AM |

March 6, 2005

We're Just Here for the Previews

Seattle Maggie regrets our long absence from this hallowed URL, but we have been taking a little time off to get ourselves employed. That's right, even after our impassioned tirade about working in an office, we are back behind a desk; however, we find ourselves working in a place that makes books, so we feel that caving in to our weakness for health insurance might be forgiven. Also, toward the end of our "gentlewoman-of-leisure" period, we found that our dwindling bank account made it nigh impossible to actually go and see movies of which to write about. And so, with newfound cold cash melting sweetly in our hot little hand, we slipped gleefully back into the movie theater for a late matinee and found ourselves delighted by the novelty of previews. Seattle Maggie loves us some previews, and we ain't afraid to say so.

First up, Sin City. From what we can tell, it's about hot chicks who beat people up and get fondled by Bruce Willis. Shot in sepia tones with that weird fake hand tinting effect, it features several Model-T car chases and a truly eclectic cast including Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Hartnett, Mickey Rourke and even sweet little Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls (oh Alexis - we fully recognize that you are a Woman and are hearing you Roaring, but you didn't have to get all hardcore on us!) While we agree that Frank Miller is a certified comic book genius, this movie looks suspiciously like a train wreck. Rental?

Next, The Ring Two - Naomi Watts takes on the Scary Hair yet again, attempting to convince us that dripping water and television static are creepy. However, the director of the original Japanese Ringu, Hideo Nakata, is at the helm, so it may turn out to be a chill-worthy horror flick. Were on the fence with this one.

Batman Begins. Yeah. Batman. He's, like, beginning. Seriously, though, if director Christopher Nolan can bring back the brooding dignity of the Caped Crusader, we will come. Also, a pumped up (and plumped up) Christian Bale in a Batsuit is never amiss in our book.

Eh. Some Star Wars thing.

Here's a surprise - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, starring our favorite Fisher Price Man and The Office alumnus Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent. And zany yet adorable Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox? Are we totally crazy to be cautiously optimistic about this film? It looks pretty good. We do adore the books, but we aren't fanatical about them; perhaps this will allow us to enjoy the movie in relative peace. SPOILER ALERT! The answer is 42, and be sure to bring your towel.

Oh dear, House of Wax. Horny teenagers piss off a crazed redneck who traps them in a wax museum. A lot of screaming, running, and melty things. Well, one thing sure was scary - as soon as Paris Hilton's pinched little face flashed on the screen, our movie companion Alysha screamed aloud as Seattle Maggie attempted in vain to stifle a belly laugh. But what are WB crushables Chad Michael Murray and Jared Padalecki doing here? Please, please spare us the sight of Cute Dean exchanging bodily fluids with the dreaded Hilton heiress! Death by psychotic rural wax museum curator would almost be preferable.

And Constantine - Keanu Reeves is a hero with questionable morals battling to keep the balance of earth between the forces of Heaven and Hell. Oh wait, that was the feature. Well, it was a pleasant bit of eye candy to pass away a sleepy afternoon, although we could have done without some of the stilted pretentious dialogue and the cheesy CGI effects, like the unfortunate herd of cows dropping dead before the might of the Spear of Destiny. Doesnt the son of Satan have anything better to do than wipe out a bunch of cows? A few notable players were Tilda Swinton as a zealous Angel Gabriel and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale as a relic hunter in a bowling alley. And while we are in a confessional frame of mind, we admit that our main impulse to go see this movie was that we find Keanu mighty fetching in his black coat, stalking grimly about with his smoldering cigarette clenched in his teeth, smashing demons and angels alike, and giving Satan the proverbial (and literal) finger. Aw, hes pretty. Just as long as he keeps the talking to a minimum.

Ah, summer movies! Seattle Maggie is looking forward to 'em.

Posted by seattle maggie at 4:32 AM |

March 2, 2005

CC Feels Sick And It's Not Just From The New Releases

Cinecultist has the flu. Blech. We can barely lift finger to keyboard in the midst of our Theraflu and Advil haze. Too much tea. Too many aches and pains in our body. It's all pretty sucky. Though, surely not as sucky as the crop of new releases slated to hit our theaters in the next few weeks. It's enough to make you glad for an excuse to stay in the plaid flannel pjs all day.


Case in point, the follow up to the surprisingly successful genre pick Barbershop, which CC caught on DVD a while ago and didn't think was half bad, Beauty Shop. Wasn't anyone listening to Chris Rock's tirade about how Hollywood panders to the African American movie goer with plotless drivel? That these aren't movies, they're places? Doesn't the look on star Queen Latifah's face in the above production still just spell it out for you, plain as day? Watch the trailer for Beauty Shop and be afraid, be very afraid.

Though the white people ain't doing too much better really (see: The Jacket). Why Keira Knightley and Adrien Brody? Why?

We're going back to bed now. It's too much for us.

Posted by karen at 9:00 PM |

January 19, 2005

Mid January New Releases Blues

Sigh. There's not much good coming into the theaters this weekend, and that's because it's mid January. Assault on Precinct 13 versus Are We There Yet? Oy. You'd think that trying to traverse the frozen tundra that is Manhattan's city streets this week would be enough of a downer, but no! You've got to add the pain of no decent movie releases to the affliction of our vaguely frost bitten limbs.

To be honest, Cinecultist is mostly trying to catch up on our end o' year viewing, as we're sure you are as well. This weekend for us: Ray. We will brave the Quad Cinema, where we broke a seat one time, in search of Jamie Foxx's lauded performance. But that's not all that exciting, very un-news worthy, barely worth a report. The fact of the matter is, we'd love to spend as much of the next few days curled up under the duvet with a good book as possible. Sadly, as the new Day Job is currently on deadline, that's not to be.

Perhaps we'll just post this link to the Postal Service video directed by Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess, "We Will Become Silhouettes," courtesy of one of our new co-workers, Sarah, to pep ourselves up. If Ben Gibbard in acid wash jeans and a turned up collar polo shirt can't warm your toes through, then perhaps you have no feeling at all.

Posted by karen at 11:47 PM |

December 16, 2004

Feeling A Bit 'Lemony'

lemony.jpgSo very excited for Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events this weekend. So excited. Out theory: Any book wherein the author's photo (example seen at left) is taken from his back (?!) has to make for an awesome kid's movie. That's what Cinecultist hopes anyway. Further evidence, Jim Carrey in various get-ups wherein the adults never recognize him but all the children instantly do is potentially priceless. Also, two words: Meryl. Streep. Love her. She was a male Orthodox rabbi in Angel's In America. The woman can do anything. The baby, Sunny's main talent is that she bites things. Bites things! It's going to be awesome.

A big part of this level of fanatical excitement comes from our friend Lisa*. Children's book writer, part time nanny and zoo volunteer, she's has been psyching CC up for Lemony Snicket on the silver screen for ages now. It seems like nearly every time we get together the convo turns to either Lemony or Harry Potter (which may account for why we don't really have any other participants in these conversations), and then there's the obsessing. Full disclosure: CC hasn't read any of the books yet, but that's because Lis wants us to read them in order. It's a whole thing. Like most stories which you anticipate the telling of far before you actually read them or hear them, surely Lemony Snicket can't live up to this much hype. It's just not possible. And yet, it's the kid's book version of Tristam Shandy, which every English major worth their salt knows is a post-modernist masterpiece before they even had modernism, let alone po-mo.

*Last year from Halloween, Lisa went as Charlotte's Web. As in the whole book. She had tiny fake spiders in her hair, the web of words on her shirt, Templeton the rat was on her shoe and she carried a stuffed animal pig. My friends, she's hard core.

Maybe we'll hate the movie and have to print a retraction on this whole posting after the weekend. Or maybe we'll have a two thrilled kid's lit fans, CC and Lisa, leaving the theater cheering. Only the fates can tell us. The author would advise turning back now, this can only end in disaster.

[Note to LG: please let us know via one of the usual communication methods when we're going to the cinema this weekend.]

Posted by karen at 5:37 PM |

September 22, 2004

Presidential Progeny Smackdown


Apparently, there's a big fray brewing between Mandy Moore and Katie Holms with your poor Cinecultist caught in the middle. Pish posh, we jest it's only between their competing projects, teen rom coms about the fictional president's fictional daughter. Mandy's, Chasing Liberty, came out last winter and we dared to call it the Best Movie of the Year. Now Katie's, First Daughter, is set to hit the theaters this weekend. In anticipation, we bring you the above picture to oggle of Holmes and hunky Marc Blucas who was Riley Finn from "Buffy" and in I Capture the Castle, one of our top 10 from last year.

That's all really. CC just think they're both so preeety.

PS. Happy Birthday yesterday to two others we like to objectify in a platonic, non stalker kind of way, Jen and Aaron. Many happy returns from the Cinecultist.

Posted by karen at 9:03 AM |

September 17, 2004

Blue Screen = Green Scene?

Ever have that sinking feeling that the hype has taken you hostage? Perhaps that's why Cinecultist finds ourselves all skittish about the opening tonight of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. [Word to the wise, the official site has four separate audio tracks and you have to mute them all, individually, so as to not hear the soundtrack feed. Are these promotional websites getting totally ridiculous or is it just us?]

First off that Gene Shalit quote, featured prominently in the TV spots and in a pop up ad for the website, is unnecessarily hostile and almost threatening. "If you don't like this film, you just don't like the movies." Insert your own bass line here. We hate to discredit someone's critical opinion based on fashion alone, but have you seen this dude's facial hair lately? Scary. (This is an old image of him from his radio days, but we swear he still looks like this.) Why would you ever say something so categorical as this about a movie? Are we being completely contrary or does this make you want to just totally hate it too, merely to thumb your nose at them?

To be honest, CC's a little Sky Captain-ed out already and it's not even into the first weekend yet. All the ads and talk and hype, it's pretty tiring. And we usually live for this sort of thing, too. A few weeks ago, CC was in the Union Square Starbucks having a tasty little Frappuccino and stumbled upon a marketing survey in progress for the movie. A young girl with a laptop was accosting people while they enjoyed their corporation-approved coffees, showing them clips from the movie and asking them their opinions. People love offering their opinions about movies to authoritative strangers, no joke.

First the survey seemed to determine how entertainment savvy the participant was, asking them if they recognized the names of various actors like Jude Law or William H. Macy. Then they watched clips from the flick all huddled around the laptop and said what they thought happened in them. The girl asked CC if we wanted to participate, but we begged off saying we wrote about film. These PR people never want a film scholar or critic's opinions when polling the masses, it seems to skew the results or something. Though we guess that does seem a bit counterintuitive, since asking us these questions would illicit a hyper informed response. Anyhoo, after determining that CC was no movie layman she moved on, and we enjoyed our sugary coffee drink in peace.

The moral of the story? Come the weekend, Cinecultist will probably just go to see Wimbledon instead.

Posted by karen at 8:18 AM | | Comments (1)

September 9, 2004

Gael's Inner Drag Queen

Mmmm, yummy. Gael Garca Bernal is on the cover of this week's Time Out New York. So tromping around the city this week in the torrential rain, Cinecultist gets the pleasure of gazing on his lovely face from every newstand kiosk.

There's two Gael movies coming up that we're anxiously anticipating The Motorcycle Diaries on Sept. 24 about the journey of a young Che Guevara through South America with his childhood friend and Pedro Almodvar's newest, La Mala Educacin. The latter is the centerpiece for the New York Film Festival in early October and will be released wide on Nov. 19.

Following is a quote from Gael in David Fear's profile which seems to be Gael's running press theme: you didn't know it, but Lady Bunny lives inside us all.

"Yeah, before shooting started, several of us hit the town one night totally done up as women the heair, the makeup, the high heels, everything!...Being in drag is really liberating, actually. There's a sense of performance and fun to it that forces a person to let go of the tight-assedness or bullshit machismo they might carry around in their daily lives. It puts you in touch with the inner drag queen that everybody has but never gets let out."
Posted by karen at 8:35 AM |

September 8, 2004

Getting Ready to <3 David O. Russell Again


While at the movies over the weekend, as it happens sometimes, Cinecultist saw previews for things that looked better than what we were actually at the theater to see. What tingled our toes the most was the preview for David O. Russell's newest feature, I HEART Huckabees, whose trailer is on view here. Distributed by Fox Searchlight and in wide release October 1, Cinecultist is hard pressed to figure out what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks this movie is about exactly. No official site launched yet, just an adorable but incomprehensible trailer, so we quote for you the plot summary according to IMDB:

Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman), head of the Open Spaces Coalition, has been experiencing an alarming series of coincidences the meaning of which escapes him. With the help of two Existential Detectives, Bernard and Vivian Jaffe (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin), Albert examines his life, his relationships, and his conflict with Brad Stand (Jude Law), an executive climbing the corporate ladder at Huckabees, a popular chain of retail superstores. When Brad also hires the detectives, they dig deep into his seemingly perfect life and his relationship with his spokesmodel girlfriend, the voice of Huckabees, Dawn Campbell (Naomi Watts). Albert pairs up with rebel firefighter Tommy Corn (Mark Wahlberg) to take matters into their own hands under the guidance of the Jaffes' nemesis, the French radical Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert).

Well, that cleared it all up for us. But no matter because it has Isabelle Huppert, of the actresses CC could watch read the phonebook, and if we're not mistaken she's shown in bed with our celebrity husband, Jason Schwartzman. (We froze frame the trailer -- it's there.)

Our love affair with Jason began after seeing the trailer for Rushmore and continued through the joyous consuming of that flick. We even fantasized about the family barbecues and mentally promised never to make bad Ah-drienne jokes about his more or oggle any of the Coppola cousins, if only Jason would be ours. However, things ended on a sour note after Slacker. We dumped him hard after that, with no remorse. But now he's back, worming his way back into our heart, looking all goofy and hot. Is it the longish hair or the subtle shaping to the brows, or a new contour to the face? We're not sure but Cinecultist might be ready for a reconciliation. Our celebrity husband even has good taste in actual girlfriends, as he used to date Selma Blair and is now linked with Zooey Deschanel.

More googling also reveals a strange, and surely narrative driven, "corporate" website for Huckabees, a retailer that sounds kind of like Target. Be sure to click through to advertisements for extra bizarre spots featuring Naomi in brief clothing cheering for low prices.

Posted by karen at 8:15 AM |

July 26, 2004

Stormin' the White Castle

HaroldKumarGoToWhiteCastle-photo_04.jpgWhile we admit that we are getting a bit Harold & Kumar'd out at this point (scroll down to see Cinecultist's, er, Gothamist's take on it), we thought we would post this letter that has been filtering through the various Asian American Entertainment email lists that we have somehow gotten ourselves entangled in. From all the good press, Seattle Maggie would swear that Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was the greatest step for mainstream Asian entertainers since Tamlyn Tomita got to snuggle on film with the Karate Kid (in Part 2, of course). However, we are getting the feeling that all the feel-good vibes might be a little...well, too feel-good to be true. Since when do Asian Americans need to star in silly, frat-boy humor movies to feel normal?

As a practicing Korean American, Seattle Maggie sometimes wishes that more "normal" roles could be given to Asian actors, but we don't lose any sleep over it (we leave that our old high school chum, Angry Asian Man). A great example of this would be Canada's Premiere Korean Actress, our darling Sandra Oh. Indeed, she shines in the entertaining, yet predictable culture clash Double Happiness, but her merits burst into supernova brightness with Last Night, as a young woman facing the literal end of the world. Last Night never directly mentions her ethnicity, which somehow makes it all the more remarkable. She is just a face in the crowd, dealing with the same problems that everyone else is coming to terms with. We love that there are no tired chicken feet jokes, or tedious plotlines about old-fashioned parents, or gratuitous "uptight-Asian-girl-gets-drunk-and-cuts-loose" scenes. And so, we think that perhaps Harold & Kumar might offer the same kind of graceful transition, by letting young Asian guys just be young guys. Silly, yes. Asian, yes. Normal, a big yes. We are totally in line for the opening this weekend.

As for the whole "wacky tobaccy" aspect of the film, which has been discretely glossed over by mainstream journalists, Seattle Maggie remains both tolerant and mildly amused by those who pay homage to the Mighty Weed. While we hope this movie does not revive that ridiculous "Pot Promotes Terrorism" ad campaign, we do not enjoy the stuff ourselves. Most of our experience with the herbage comes from helping our college dorm neighbor to flush his stash down the toilet after he mentioned wanting to cut down on his consumption in a moment of weakness, much to his profound regret the next day when he realized what he had done. Ah, well, to each his own, and as long as no one loses a limb. And now, a word from Harold & Kumar:

Dear Friends, Fans, Haters, Players, and True Money Makers,

Hey! This is Kal Penn (aka Kalpen Modi) and John Cho writing to encourage you to go see our upcoming comedy from New Line Cinema, "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," opening nationwide on July 30th. This film marks the first time a major studio is releasing a project with two Asian American males as the leads. We don't have stereotypical accents, we don't passively tread through the story, we're not asexual or hypersexual, there are no martial arts scenes, one-dimensional cab driver segments. We play a couple of all-American guys who happen to be of Indian and Korean descent. Our characters (Harold and Kumar) are post-collegiate buddies who get the munchies and end up going on the adventure of their lives as they set out to satisfy a spontaneous craving for White Castle burgers. Ebert and Roeper just gave our movie "Two Thumbs Up"! We hope you will too. Read on.

The opening weekend for any film is extremely important. Studio executives (the people who make big decisions about movies) track the numbers from that first weekend's ticket sales and make all kinds of decisions based on that data. They decide if they will add more screens to show a film, if they will spend more money in promoting it, if they will start investing in a sequel... but most importantly, they decide if elements of the film work and whether they should do it again. In our case, that means they will be asking, "Will a strong script and story succeed or fail with 2 Asian American guys in non-stereotypical roles?". We personally think it will succeed, but we need your help! This film is our chance to prove that realistic, nonstereotypical depictions can make an audience have a blast, and take in enough money to make this happen in the future.

By buying a ticket to "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle", you aren't just gonna get to see a really funny movie with two dudes who look like you. Nope. You're also going to be saying to media outlets, "I support accurate representation of Asian Americans and would like to see more." You have the power to change things simply by buying a ticket to a film that we believe you'll have fun watching anyway!

Please go to the theaters on the weekend of July 30th, and watch "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". We look at this awesome opportunity like we do voting in an election. Every movie ticket someone buys is a VOTE, and the cool part is, you're allowed to vote as many times as you want. With your support of the film, we will show decision-makers in Hollywood that supporting movies like these is not only the right thing to do, but is also good business. We'll also show YOU what it's like to ride a cheetah, hang glide off a cliff, pick up a hitchhiking Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser), tell off a bunch of ignorant punks, get love interests, and sing Wilson Phillips at the top of our lungs.

So just hold on for one more... week, and check out the website at www.HaroldandKumar.com. This film opens the weekend of July 30th! Send this email to all of your friends. Throw parties. Order food. Make a night (or weekend) out of it and go see "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle"! This is a landmark opportunity for the Asian American community, and we are proud to be the faces involved. With your support and the success of this film, we hope that it's only the beginning of many more Asian Americans on screen...

Enjoy the movie,

Kal Penn and John Cho
"Kumar" and "Harold"
New Line Cinema's "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"

Posted by seattle maggie at 10:53 PM |

July 21, 2004

Calling Yourself the 'Supremacy', Evidence of a Superiority Complex?

frankeRemember last summer when there was nothing but sequels out and they all pretty much sucked? Notice how this summer the studios have done a complete about face on the whole "sequels = money in our pockets" thing? And yet, the big budget non-sequels this summer like Catwoman look totally lame and/or like I, Robot has had mixed reviews? Goofy, n'est pas? Almost makes you want to advise the studios to just, you know, make good movies and not worry so much about formular? Just a suggestion from a cinecultist.

Anyhoo, this is all a lead in to saying, Cinecultist is sort of surprised to be really looking forward to a Friday afternoon screening of The Bourne Supremacy with our friend Ilana, the ultimate target audience for all things big budget and explosion-y. (We bring you the still at left from the first film.) The hype on this one has actually hit us where we live, good marketing at work there folks. CC enjoyed the first installment, in particular the performance by Franka Potente as the most ordinary but believable girl caught in the cross fire of international espionage who gets to make-out with Matt Damon. Also suspect though in the new one, is the introduction of a new director as Doug Liman of Go exited the project after the first film because of reported problems with the studio. CC liked his frantic style, it added to the paranoia and unease. So we're officially excited but with a tinge of trepidation thrown in to counter balance it.

Posted by karen at 12:17 PM |

July 16, 2004

A Sucker For Stories With Pumpkins

Based on our track record in the "paying good money to see crap movies" department*, it might be fair to wonder if Cinecultist plans to see the Hilary Duff movie opening this weekend, A Cinderella Story. But Cinecultist has decided to make a stand. We're putting our foot down. We're saying no to Chad Michael Murray and his dandelion fluff hair. We're saying no to the talented Jennifer Coolidge underutilized in yet another inconsequential comedy. We're saying no to what looks like a ridiculous plot with text messaging on cell phones as a mistaken identity device, unfunny jokes about Botox and the premise that Hilary Duff is not the type of girl to get noticed in high school. Even the four fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes will not dissuade us from our resolution. (Who are these people?!?) Cinecultist will stand strong especially since our DVD rental of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen should be on its way soon.

*We did call Mandy Moore's movie Chasing Liberty the best movie of the year in this space, and we watched Gigli, Jersey Girl and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. It's a strong case against us and our "taste," that's for darn sure.

Posted by karen at 7:59 AM |

July 14, 2004

Elephants At Waterloo?

vanityfair.jpg Though it's quite early to be talking it up, the next movie on the summer release schedule that Cinecultist is really looking forward to is Mira Nair's production of Vanity Fair due out September 1. (Did you need to even ask if CC's already completely over and done with I, Robot and Catwoman? Well, we are. ZZZZ...) Put out by Focus Features (a detailed plot summary available in their coming soon section), adapted from the William Makepeace Thackeray novel and starring Reese Witherspoon, James Purefoy, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (swoon), Romola Garai, Gabriel Byrne, and Jim Broadbent, it looks like CC's favorite combo of great story with creative adaptors. We're speaking of course of all of the saris and elephants evident in the preview, which we don't recall at all from the novel's English and French countryside during the time of the Napoleonic Wars setting. But we trust Mira to steer us right and for now will have to be content with paparazzi photoes of Reese from the set and the trailer viewable here. Good news by the way for those who are Rhys-Meyers fans but don't know the book, he plays another sexy but mean character. CC likes it when he's evil (ie. Gormengast), it's so much more exciting than when he's supposed to be good (Bend It Like Beckham).

Posted by karen at 8:07 AM |

July 2, 2004

Choices at the Cineplex This Weekend

SpideyNothing says long holiday weekend like blockbusters, baby! Can't you feel the hype in the air? Inhale that smell of popcorn mingling with the musk of sweaty teenage geeks on line for the latest comic book adaptation or senseless actioner. Mmmm, smells like America.

Actually this weekend is surprisingly tame in terms of the big openings, save for Spiderman 2 which apparently everyone loves so far. But CC is most thrilled for Richard Linklater's newest Before Sunset which we're seeing tonight with some grad school buddies. Here's the geek-out schedule: leave work exhausted but exhilarated for the vacation, eat a take out dinner from Wogies Bar and Grill in the West Village (mmm, cheese-steak with real American cheese) while watching Before Sunrise on DVD, AND THEN go see Before Sunset at the Angelika. Sweet.

While this sounds like the ultimate in good time to CC, we do want to offer a plug for Robert Redford's new picture with Helen Mirren also out this weekend via our conversation with Ilana, organizer of the "Befores Marathon." When asked if she thought we should buy some tickets online for Sunset, she argued nah, most people would probably be rushing out to see Bob in The Clearing. "I really want to get back to Robert Redford," she told us. "But he's so old now," we argued. "Still, it's Robert Redford," she countered. And there you have it, the only reason we can think of to eschew either Tobey Maguire or Ethan Hawke or both, this long weekend. Enjoy the Fourth, cinecultists.

Posted by karen at 8:21 AM |

June 25, 2004

Before The Sun Sets (In Sonoma)

before sunriseAs the week of film-viewing and buzzing comes to a close, Cinecultist is off like a cheap prom dress to Nor Cal for the wedding of our dear friends, Greg and Vanessa. Greg, a F o' CC (Friend of Cinecultist) since our undergrad newspaper days when we snuck into bars underaged and called it "journalism," met the lovely Virginian Vanessa while we were all living abroad in England. In honor of their Continental romance and the eminent release of Before Sunset, Richard Linklater's new film, a follow-up to Before Sunrise set 10 years later with the same characters (July 2, baby!), we bring you the above picture from the first film. We should all be so lucky to find a life long traveling partner like these.

Posted by karen at 8:00 AM |

June 11, 2004

This Weekend

Lingering in the office on a June afternoon can be tough and that's why Cinecultist fully supports the implimentation of Summer Hours at the Day Job. Done at 3pm woohoo. Chatting with co-worker Pete yesterday, he wondered what CC was going to do with the afternoon. "The same thing we always do with a few spare hours strung together," we told him. "Go to the movies, of course."

A few things of note on this weekend in the cinema front in New York worth mentioning.

On Sunday, Village Voice critic and former CC instructor J Hoberman will speak to the hipster kids at Ocularis at Galapagos Art Space (70 N 6th St, Wburg, 718.388.8713) about the marketing of George W Bush's presidency. The illustrated lecture, GWB Superstar? begins at 7pm and costs $7. J Ho a term we fondly think of him as but don't ever call him to his face is one of those writers who's as excellent in person as he is on the page. Well worth the ride on the L to Brooklyn. [via Flavorpill]

To continue with the VV theme here, the Village Voice's Best of 2003 series continues at BAM and you'll have the chance to catch two luminaries from last year's release schedule. On Saturday, Goodbye, Dragon Inn the Tsai Ming-Liang CC caught at last year's NY Film Festival introduced by critic Dennis Lim (screening at 6:45pm only) and on Sunday, the French docu To Be and To Have about schoolchildren and one extraordinary teacher in rural France.

If Anthony Lane doesn't have any friends willing to head to Film Forum for an Ingmar Bergman double feature then he's got the wrong kind of friends in CC's book! Make it a party well, a party of identity confusion and Swedish alienated angst anyhow this weekend as a CC all time fav plays, Persona on Friday and Saturday.

Posted by karen at 8:34 AM |

May 19, 2004

Random Thoughts (While Watching Television)

1. The voice-overs for the trailer on tv of Jerry Bruckheimer's new movie, King Arthur pronounces the once and future king's name as Ah-tha. Not Are-thur. Is that because the cast is (primarily) English? Are the voice-over people/publicity people ashamed of our good old fashioned American accents? Does this matter to anyone besides Cinecultist? Does this pronounciation give the film ostensibly an summer action-er with hotties Kiera and Clive which CC is so rushing to see based on Keira's face make-up alone more gravitas? This picture's is out July 7 by the way, if you needed to mark the calendar or something.

2. The song used for the promo of HBO's new summer movies, the Von Bondies "C'mon C'mon" is a freakin' catchy tune. It makes Cinecultist walk around the apartment flailing the arms about in a mimic of that '50s dance, the swim.

3. The final bit in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban trailer where Daniel Radcliffe yells out "spector patronum!" give Cinecultist the arm hair goosebumps. 15 days left, baby.

Yay for Summer Movies! They make Cinecultist all stupid and we heart them.

Posted by karen at 11:44 PM |

May 14, 2004

Over The Weekend

Hey, That's My Bike! Through Sunday, May 16 Anthology Film Archives hosts the Fourth Annual Bicycle Film Festival. Featuring, "Film/Parade/Art/Music/Performance/Parties/Fun!" this is the festival devoted to the simple credo "bikes rule." One such interesting entry screening tonight Warriors: The Bike Race, a short film about the group of 400 bicyclists who decended on NYC in 2002 to recreate the cross-city bike ride depicted in the 'spoitation classic The Warriors.

No Half-Caf Here If like Cinecultist and our friend Pete, you missed the sold out screenings of Jim Jarmusch new flick Coffee and Cigarettes at the Tribeca Film Festival, have no fear. The collection of 11 shorts shot in black and white opens Friday in New York at the Landmark Sunshine. According to TONY critic Joshua Rothkopf, "Made for an audience of one, Coffee percolates with enough private obsession to make it more than a mere curio."

Turn The Beat Around The American Museum of the Moving Image begins a series through May 21 devoted to Japanese director, star, poet, newspaper columnist Takeshi "Beat" Kitano on Saturday called "Violent Lives, Fragile Beauty: The Films of Takeshi Kitano." This is to gear up for the release of his newest feature, The Blind Swordsman: Zatiochi, an updating of his samurai series that's sure to be brutal and awesome at the same time.

You Say It's Your Birthday! Sunday is the Cinecultist's birthday. We will be 27 years old. Cards, letters, eternal devotion and Criterion DVDs will be accepted. On Saturday night we'll be down at Plant Bar on E. 4th Street if you want to stop by and say hi. We'll be the one wearing the birthday tiara.

Posted by karen at 8:29 AM |

May 5, 2004

Pinnacles of Product Placement

Perhaps you've heard about or seen the previews for Steven Spielberg's new movie with Catherine Zeta Jones and Tom Hanks called Terminal? Cinecultist had noted that the romance is set in an airport, but had not yet got our mind around the product placement potential from shooting a movie inside a place that already acts as one big commercial. This article in Reuter's today, about all the chain retailers thrilled to be asked to spend thousands of dollars to replicate their stores for a mock up of JFK airport built in southern California on the chance that they'll get some face time in the movie, gave Cinecultist a fright.

The premise of the flick is that Hanks, through various political issues, ends up stranded without a country in JFK airport where he falls in love with an United Airlines stewardess, Zeta-Jones. Some of the stores they used to fill the space the set designers approached you know to give it that "authentic" corporate feel while other came to the movie makers asking to be included. Then "each of the brands had a team of store architects, merchandisers and setup managers on hand to ensure that the sets conformed to their standardized layouts and design." They even gave the extras playing, say a Starbucks barista, that corporation's training. So they'd look like real employees. Because that's where CC'd be looking for realism.

A particularly choice bit of corporate fawning:

One possible disadvantage of having so many brands appear in "Terminal" is that it might be difficult for any of the retailers to stand out, says Mark Workman, president and CEO of First Fireworks Group. But still, the film is likely to produce at least one or two magical moments that take place in a retail outlet and leave a lasting impression in consumers' minds, he says.

Posted by karen at 8:36 AM |

April 30, 2004

For Your Weekend Viewing

Many things to see this weekend, if you're of the movie going persuasion like Cinecultist.

Film Forum is screening High Noon (1952), the Gary Cooper western classic. Guy Maddin, the Canadian director who uses silent film grammar, has a new picture out with Isabella Rossellini called The Saddest Music in the World playing at Landmark theaters. Landmark will also be showing a rerelease of the Monty Python brilliant biblical satire, Life of Brian (1979). In addition, the midnight movie this week at the Sunshine is Shaft (1971). Can you dig it? As for general theatrical releases, depending on where you live you may see Josh and Uncle Grambo in line for Mean Girls the new Tina Fey scripted Lindsay Lohan film.

A little bit of book related reportage: CC went to see A.S. Byatt read last night at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in conjunction with the release of a new book of stories, The Little Black Book. (Yipee! CC <3 ASB.) When asked about Angel & Insects, the film adaptation of her 1992 novella, she mentioned that she's never found an audience member who didn't like this film. Then she asked us if everyone there had like it. When no one spoke up, because it was a moment like school only worse, she promised to report this back to the director. CC would've said we liked Kristin Scott Thomas in it, until we fell asleap half way through but we were standing in the back of the reading's audience. CC tries not to steal the thunder away from adorably English Booker Prize winning authors. It's just not nice.

She did not mention the adaptation of Possesion with Gwyneth and Aaron Eckhart by the way, probably because it stank.

Posted by karen at 8:34 AM |

April 13, 2004

Quotable Quentin

How is it that Quentin Tarantino's head hasn't become so big in the last 10 years of critical adulation that its just exploded? As everyone gears up for the release of Kill Bill, Vol. 2 on Friday, the media deluge begins. As our faithful readers know, QT's pretensions make the Cinecultist's skin itch. As a salve for the scratchies, we reprint the following worst offenders, mostly from this week's cover story in Entertainment Weekly (full interview online for subscribers and AOL members at ew.com/tarantino).

Uma On Quentin in the Associated Press (and other places, because CC thinks we've heard her saying this statement on the talk show circuit she's been running in the last week) "Quentin's work is kind of a genre unto itself," she said. "And it's an amazing thing to be intrinsically a part of that."

Quentin On His Own Potential Pretension "Where the tone changes at the beginning of the second movie? It happens exactly right there [in the script]. I decided to split it up because for the audience to get what I spent a year and a half writing, you have to see everything that's in 1 and 2. And there's something very pretentious about a four-hour exploitation movie."

If He Were Teaching QT101
EW: If you were teaching a class on your own films, what deficiences would you point out?
QT: The answer is none. I'm sure somebody else might find weaknesses, but I can't. If there's a weakness, I don't do it you'll never see the scene.

Quentin On Marty
"I really do think directing is a young man's game....If I say Martin Scorses's movies are getting kind of geriatric he can say, F--- you, man! I'm doing what i want to do, I'm following my muse, and he's 100 percent right. I'm in my church praying to my god and he's in his church praying to his. There was a time we were in the same church, and I miss that. I don't want to go to that church. If I was headed to that church, I would write novels."

Cinecultist On Vol. 1 A Bloody Blood Bath

Posted by karen at 8:21 AM |

April 9, 2004

What To Watch

Just think of Cinecultist as your New York movie viewing datebook for this holiday weekend. We've found at least one faboo repertory film for you every day into Monday, so don't say CC doesn't look out for your screening interests.

Friday: The Midnight Movie this week at the Sunshine Cinema will be Tim Burton's paean to B movies, Ed Wood (1994). What's not to love about Johnny Depp in mohair? Playing April 9 and 10 at midnight.

Saturday: At Anthology Film Archives on Second Avenue in the East Village, much French surrealist goodness. Jean Cocteau's Orphic trilogy, Le Sang d'un Pote (1930), Orphe (1950), and La Testament d'Orphe (1960) plays at 7pm, while at 8pm catch Entr'acte (1924), Un Chien Andalou (1928) and Land Without Bread (1932).

Sunday: At Film Forum, the Orson Welles series continues with a new 35mm print of Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949), screening April 9-13. Ah, that Harry Lime.

Monday: At BAM Cinematheque in Brooklyn, the Czech New Wave classic Daisies (1967) about two young girls pushing the limits modern independence and sexual liberty, just as the filmmaker Vera Chytilov pushes film's expectations with her irreverent style. Screened as a part of BAM's monthly Favorites series. [via Flavorpill]

Posted by karen at 8:25 AM |

March 26, 2004

Up In The 'Ville

Lars von Trier's DogvilleOne of the founders of Dogme95 the purist aesthetic cinema movement from Denmark and arguably one of the current international directors really pushing the possibilities of film, Lars von Trier's Dogville opens today in New York and Los Angeles. Nicole Kidman and an impressive cadre of co-stars inhabits a Depression era town where the walls and foliage are chalk outlines and stenciled signs. Intriguing, thinks the Cinecultist.

So says A.O. Scottin last week's Sunday NY Times:

"Dogville belongs in the company of other European dreams about America Kafka's Amerika, of course, but also Bertolt Brecht's plays set among the gangsters of Chicago and films like Wim Wenders's Paris, Texas and Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabrikie Point. To call these various works dreams is to caution against taking them too literally, and also to suggest that they may be most interesting for what they reveal about the dreamers."

Also see, Stephen Holden's review from when Dogville played as part of last year's New York Film Festival. Back in October, Josh also saw it and posted this insightful, concise review on Cultivated Stupidity:

"Holy shit Dogville. Holy shit I was 5 feet away from Nicole Kidman. Holy shit Dogville."
Posted by karen at 8:17 AM |

February 27, 2004

Coming Soon To Cinecultist

We hate to give things away but Cinecultist has a couple of things in the works to get you psyched about. These movie thoughts have been on CC's mind but there's not much more we can divulge because it's in the works.

CC saw Osama earlier this week, which we found parts beautiful and disturbing, but we don't want to say much more about it at this point as we had a conversation with Doug French of Filmington.com as a part of their Religious Zealotry Week! which will be up next week.

This weekend is a little annual get together called the Academy Awards, so there will surely be coverage of this next week, in particular of the fashionable variety in the form of a conversation with the always chic Ms. Megastyles.

And of course, most importantly Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights opens this weekend with our girl Romola Garai (from one of our top ten of last year I Capture the Castle). Though we are guessing that this classic line of dialogue is probably not in this remake/inspired by version, we just have to say in pre-viewing excitement -- Nobody puts Cinecultist in the corner! Happy Friday, kids.

Posted by karen at 8:06 AM |

February 6, 2004

Just In Case You Forgot

Nothing says the month of February with its President's Birthdays, Valentine's Day (confidential to the jewelry adverts on the tv, CC knows V Day is coming -- Shut-urp already about it) and winter mix weather (rain AND sleet, such a bad idea), like the release of Mel Gibson's religious epic, The Passion of the Christ. Hey, remember that movie? We've heard so much hype about it already, you'd think it was already come and gone, but not so. It hits theaters on February 25th people, and tickets are available now at Fandango. So you can buy your tickets ahead of time, beating the crowds and all. Cut in front of Pat Robertson for that center of the row seat, that sort of thing.

Posted by karen at 11:12 AM |

January 15, 2004

The Battle Rages On

Two Sixties film events in Manhattan worth an addition to your schedule:

Film Forum continues to screen The Battle of Algiers, the 1968 classic of cinema verite style from France. It's a new 35mm print of the film with newly restored subtitles and in case you didn't know, considered to be one of the big dogs for film studies. Its recreation of events in the uprising in the early '60s in Algeria contains "such gripping realism that the original U.S. distributor had to insert the disclaimer Not one foot of newsreel or documentary film has been used." The kind of picture that deserves a big screen for its emotional resonance, this print of Battle distributed by Rialto will also be appearing in a few cities besides New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.

Village Voice critic, former CC teacher and all around nice fellow, J. Hoberman discusses his new book The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties at Coliseum Books (11 W. 42nd Street) tonight at 6pm. He will also be signing copies, if you're the type who deifies film critics and heck who are we kidding? If you read this site with any regularity you're definitely that type. [via Flavorpill]

Posted by karen at 8:36 AM |

December 5, 2003

Thoughts For The Weekend

honey.jpgApprarently, no one told Jessica Alba's hip hop choreographer character Honey that midriff baring tops are so over. But Cinecultist doesn't really think that fashion faux pas is really going to stop movie goers from attending Honey as it opens this weekend. Especially not a certain Uncle Grambo who's been counting down to the release all week.

By the way, Tom Cruise as a sushi-eating, sword-wielding samurai will also hit screens. But there's been so much crazy PR on this flick, we almost hate to mention it. Just a query before you all rush off to boost its grosses, why is that the last of any ethnic minority is always some White Guy? That last of the Mohicans, the dances with wolves guy, etc. Suspicious.

Posted by karen at 8:03 AM |

November 27, 2003

Beginning To Feel A Lot Like...

It's official. After consuming the turkey today, we will now officially be in the Season -- the Holiday Movie Season. If you're as excited as Cinecultist about the final installment of hobbits, the ring and that all seeing eye, you may like to know that tickets for The Return of the King are now on sale over at Fandango.

There will also be screenings of the extended versions, previously only available on DVD, of both of the first two installments, December 5 - 11 for Fellowship and December 12 - 15 of Two Towers. Those tickets are available as well over at LordoftheRings.net. Plus, when you buy them now, you get a special limited edition poster suitable for framing and hanging up in the bedroom at your mother's house.

Happy Thanksgiving cinecultists! Gobble gobble!

Posted by karen at 11:51 AM |

November 20, 2003

The Weight of Your Soul

21grams.JPGAnother big release this weekend (besides the Cat That Will Not Be Named) that's been getting some very positive buzz is Mexican director Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu's 21 Grams with Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts. J. Hoberman in the Village Voice has given the movie as resounding a rave as he gives, comparing the elliptical plot to Alain Renais's Last Year at Marienbad rather than Irreversible or Memento. This is exciting news for Cinecultist because though we've heard wonderful things about Irritu's first feature Amores Perros (which we haven't seen), and 21 Grams did gangbusters in the acting awards at the Venice Film Festival, the nonlinear editing and some of the images from the production stills did seem sort of ponderous. The above image Entertainment Weekly captioned as "Do I look sad enough in this light?"

But to compare the movie to a classic of this magnitude, Marienbad is one of the Big 20 in the Cannon, implies that the movie is not bad-pretentious it's good-pretentious. Cinecultist likes good-pretentious. We did get a master's in cinema studies after all. Isn't it goofy how a little turn of a phrase in a review can sway our expectations and change our plans for the weekend's viewings?

Posted by karen at 8:00 AM |

November 14, 2003

Russell To Take Box Office By Storm

Cinecultist finds fascinating the way that the advertising campaign for Master and Commander has changed over the past few months leading up the release this weekend. As we reported earlier, glossy posters appeared in the Sunday New York Times and we also saw them being handed out on the street in front of the Union Square movie theater. At this point, the movie's p.r. seemed to be about Peter Weir as auteur director making an art film Oscar-contender with everyone's favorite cranky Aussie Russell Crowe. But now in the last few days, CC's heard the movie called both "Gladiator on the sea" and "A Movie for the Ages." There have even been comparisons to Pirates of the Caribbean -- because what moviegoers really look for in a film is whether there's a boat in it or not. Currently, it's all about the action element in the advertisements.

But we shouldn't expect an opening weekend of monstrous grosses like the Matrix saw last weekend no matter what the adverts do. As Variety points out in their e-mail newsletter today, all of these action/historical dramas that Master compares with (Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down et al.) all built over time. To be honest, Cinecultist is having a tough time getting excited for this movie. It has the longest title (and subsequent URL) of all time, and it sort of sounds like some S&M game. It's a shallow reason not to be into it, but there you are. Cinecultist indulges our shallowness when it comes to buying into the buzz.

Posted by karen at 8:03 AM |

November 6, 2003

Looks Elf-ing Hilarious

Ordinarily any X-mas hype pre-Thanksgiving gets Cinecultist's panties in a twist. Keep it in the month of December, people! But we have to say, CC is psyched to see Will Ferrell's new Christmas comedy Elf. Maybe it's passing the giant billboard of Ferrell's adorable mug peering out at us from Astor Place nearly every day or all those trailers on tv where he yells "Santa! Santa! I know him!" that appeals. Or perhaps it's just the giant green elf suit that's won our heart. Anyhow, the critical buzz is good thus far, so CC'll try to catch the Jon Favreau written/directed film ASAP. "Will" report back with pertinent comments.

The amount of Gothamist posts (How does that Jen Chung do it?) over the last few months regarding Elf almost makes blogging about the movie irrelevant. Almost.

Posted by karen at 8:05 AM |

October 24, 2003

Fanboys Rejoice

Let the brouhaha begin. Fandango.com, the ticket selling website, notified Cinecultist yesterday afternoon that tickets for the Matrix Revolutions is now available for purchase online. Also good news for Warchowski fanboys around the world, the new picture will open simultaneously on Nov. 5. In other words, the screening times will take into account time zones so that we can all watch this final installment together. It'll be a global love-in for wrap around sunglasses, latex and Keanu Reeves' prodigious acting talent. Can you feel the geek-excitement in the air?

Also of note: Doyoufeelloved.com celebrated three years of blogging yesterday with yet another lovely new design. If you're not a huge fanboy for Chris's unique take on all things comic book, U2 and pop consumption then hop to it kiddo! You're already behind the curve. Everyone's laughing at how out of it you are. Seriously.

Posted by karen at 8:05 AM |

October 12, 2003

How Do I Unfreeze the Ice Around My Heart?

coldmountainew.jpgHere's the newly released trailer for a film PCC has NOT already seen, Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain. If, for some unknown reason, PCC had caught a sneak preview of the Nicole Kidman/Jude Law historical drama/romance/epic, she would probably highly recommend it. Hypothetically.

Posted by jordan at 7:08 PM |

October 8, 2003

Not A Cold Mountain Review

Josh (aka CCC) did not attend a test screening of Cold Mountain where he a)promised not to publish anything about said film and b)attested he'd read the novel on which the film is based. He did not write up a mini-review over at Cultivated Stupidity. This is not our favorite excerpt [because it rips on Renee Z.]:

Nicole Kidman gave one of her most relaxed performances, Jude Law actually exuded sex in all the right places, and Renee Zellweger was spunky in a not at all unappealing or clichd manner (Jesus, that was painful to write). Cold Mountain was enjoyable. It was a little long at times, but it was quality Hollywood epic-ish filmmaking.

Josh is not obsessed with Nicole Kidman. Okay. Fine. That last one's a lie. We'll give you that one.

Posted by karen at 10:46 PM |

September 10, 2003

Down 'N Dirty Docus

"Reality" on the silver screen has been a big ol' trend this summer -- from Capturing the Friedmans, Spellbound, Cinemania, Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns and even American Splendor sorta kinda. If all of these movies have you itching for even more documentary goodness or if you're making one yourself, might we suggest checking out the Docu-Club's In the Works series. Taking a page from the Cine-clubs of the '20s and '30s with their informal gatherings of film lovers for an evening of screening and discussion, Docu-Club offers an environment for documentarians to screen their works in progress and receive feedback from a supportive audience. And then like many gatherings of movie folks, everyone whips out their cards and networks. Sounds like good fun to Cinecultist.

Yearly membership to Docu-Club is $40, though you can attend a screening for $5. The In-the-Works series takes place at Makor, 35 W. 67th and the next monthly screening will be held October 7. [via MUG]

Posted by karen at 10:19 PM |

September 9, 2003

What We All Lose Someday

21grams_poster.jpgPCC hopes she isn't the only one who get excited about trailers. Since she hears no complaints (or maybe she's just not listening...), here's the new trailer for Alejandro Gonzles Irritu's new film, 21 Grams. Enjoy!

Posted by jordan at 11:20 PM |

September 8, 2003

See Jane's Trailer...Really!

As promised, here is the new link for the trailer to Jane Campion's new film, In the Cut, starring Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo. Hopefully the trailer will stay put long enough for all to see it. Campion's film is being released October 22nd in New York, LA and Toronto, with a wider release scheduled for October 31st.

Posted by jordan at 9:32 PM |

September 7, 2003

Out of the Bell Jar and into the Fire?

Gwyneth Paltrow has emerged from hiberbation and can now grace your computer screen in the newly released trailer for her upcoming drama Sylvia, a biopic of the American poet Sylvia Plath. Costarring Tomb Raider's Daniel Craig as Ted Hughes, Plath's husband and English poet laureate in his own right, the film is due for release in mid-October. Convenient for another Gwynnie Oscar bid, perhaps? PCC is waiting to pass judgement on Paltrow's latest venture until after viewing the film. That's saying a lot, considering the actress' last starring vehicle was the abysmal View From the Top. Details, details. But we shall hold our tongues and wait until next month to decide if Sylvia is merely another bump on the way down the Oscar-winning has-been hellhole, or a step upwards towards a second date with that little golden man.

Posted by jordan at 1:40 AM | | Comments (2)

August 31, 2003

Ship Poster Anyone?

File it under creative but entirely useless movie promotional objects, this weekend's edition of the New York Times features a folded glossy two-sided poster for the Peter Weir and Russell Crowe movie, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. What the hell is CC, and the rest of the weekend paper subscribers, supposed to do with this thing? Hang it on our wall? Use it for wrapping paper on some unsuspecting birthday gift? Ponder the rugged manliness of one Mr. Crowe caught in a driving rainstorm but still joyful because he sails for God and Country or something? Baffling.

While this is not the type of movie CC would be first in line to see when it comes out on Nov. 14, we hear from our friend MD, who read all of the novels in the series that this movie is based on when he was but a wee lad, that they're some stirring stuff, so we're still reserving judgement. Also, a cover story on Russell in EW's Fall Movie Preview a few weeks ago, began to persuade us that he's not the obnoxious hot head diva we used to believe. Perhaps, he's just an ah-ctor. Method and Serious and Stuff. But sending us useless shiny unrecyclable poster paper doesn't make for a favorable first impression. Consider yourself forewarned M 'n C publicity people.

Posted by karen at 12:27 PM |

August 29, 2003

CCC Hates the Movie Industry

Is it verse or is it fiction? What a question. The most drulogies essential fact is that this vioxx is a story, a love story told ambien by poet and novelist Carson (Men in the Off Hours, 2000, etc.) in 29 brief, lyrical "tangos" (which are kind of like stanzas, only a lot more romantic) that have little

Posted by josh at 10:40 PM | | Comments (2)

Champion Campion

*PCC apologizes but www.comingsoon.net has yanked the trailer for Campion's film for some unknown reason. As soon as it returns, PCC will re-post the link*
As a loyal fan of Academy Award-winning director/writer Jane Campion (okay, we really wanted to like Portrait of a Lady- we liked it in theory!), PCC is quite excited about the newly released trailer for her upcoming film, In the Cut. Starring Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh, In the Cut tells the story of a New York professor (Ryan) who becomes entangled in a string of homicides that take place in her neighborhood, as well as the detective investigating the murders (Ruffalo). Is PCC a bit skeptical about Ms. Ryan tackling such a complex, psychological role? A bit. Do we secretly wish Nicole Kidman didn't have to pull out of the lead due to scheduling conflicts? Of course. But do we have faith in this astonishingly talented New Zealand director who brought us The Piano and Sweetie? Absolutely.

Posted by jordan at 12:15 PM |

August 22, 2003

Don't Tempt Me

As Gawker says regarding the tricky game of determining cultural "buzz", one reference may be an anomaly but now two references that's a trend. On that note Cinecultist decided to look into the oddly placed positive reviews popping up for Don't Tempt Me, a 2002 movie from Spain with Penelope Cruz, Fanny Ardent (8 Women) and Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien) now getting a release here in the States. Daily Candy likes it (yes, they occasionally take a break from touting miniscule Nolita boutiques to cover movies) as did a writer for Free Williamsburg (there's your hipster vote). Although the reviews according to Rotten Tomatoes are not super hot from the major sources, the movie still might be worth checking out for curiosity alone. Buzz buzz.

Posted by karen at 11:31 AM |

August 21, 2003

The EV, Baby

Cinecultist may not be able to jet off to Toronto, *sigh* but there's still loads of things to see in town this weekend, including a tribute to our nabe and its cinematic roots put on by the Federation of East Village Artists, Howl: the 1st Annual East Village Arts Festival. There's masses o' culture to be consumed at this fest, (including the infamous Wigstock on Saturday @ 4:30 pm) but Cinecultist is particularly looking forward to catching the Jack Smith Tribute (Friday, Aug. 22 @ 8 pm; Millennium Film Workshop, 66 E 4th St.) and Live from Shiva's Dance Floor (Wednesday, Aug. 20 - Tuesday, Aug. 26. @ 6 pm; Pioneer Theater, 155 E 3rd St.), a docu wherein "Richard Linklater follows Timothy Speed Levitch as he tours lower Manhattan and Ground Zero, musing upon how we as a city and a society can mourn yet move forward." Sounds sort of like Waking Life, but minus the animation.

The full schedule of films through Aug. 26. Prices vary for admission. Time Out New York (as one of the sponsors of the event) has a long article on East Village culture this week that's worth checking out, although sadly it's not online so we'll have to direct you to the newstand. The coverage in the Times.

Posted by karen at 2:25 PM |

August 12, 2003

Bring On The Kimchee

Here at Cinecultist, we love Asian cinemas. But sometimes, those Asian national cinemas that aren't the big guns from Japan or Hong Kong or Mainland China get the short shrift. This weekend you can broaden your eastern horizons by taking in a few of the eighteen Korean pictures offered at this year's New York Korean Film Festival: Secret Wonderland.

Eleven of these eighteen films are US premieres and all are brought to the Quad Cinema (August 15-21) and BAM (August 22-24) by a collective of New York based Korean film students and enthusiasts. We hear that LEE Chang-Dongs Oasis ("a powerful, often startling story which charts the romance between an ex-con and a woman with severe cerebral palsy in a painfully indifferent and cynical society") was a big hit at this year's Seattle International Film Festival but really all of the film's descriptions sound intriguing. Directors JANG Jin (The Spy) and JOO Kyung-Jung (A Little Monk) will be in attendance at the festival for brief Q&A sessions with the audience. Full schedule posted on the website. [thanks, Maggie!]

Posted by karen at 2:00 PM |

August 9, 2003

Craig's List: The Movie

We know that movies about the internet are so-very-2001 but Cinecultist has to say we're sort of excited about the idea of a docu on Craig's List. Produced by Zealot Pictures, the movie will follow a day (Aug. 4, 2003) in the life of people who use the site, including a posting for a flash mob(!). One thing's for sure, this movie has to be more compelling than Startup.com. Can we say "navel-gazing?" [via Gawker]

[Ed. -- we'd like to take this opportunity to direct our readers to Black Table's Week in Craig column, currently penned by Amy Blair. While not related to movies, this roundup of Craig's List postings is freaking hi-larious and CC is official addicted to consuming it every darn week.]

Posted by karen at 1:48 AM |

August 8, 2003

Vini Vidi Venice

venice film.jpg PCC recently wrote about Mystic River opening the New York Film Festival, so C3 decided to one up her with news about the 60th Annual Venice Film Festival.

At this year's 56th Annual Cannes Film Festival, the selection was reportedly so terrible (Dogville, Mystic River, Elephant, Swimming Pool, and The Barbarian Invasions were so terrible? Oh, right. Brown Bunny and The Tulse Luper Suitcases: The Moab Story.) that everyone was eagerly looking forward to the VFF. Evidence here and here.

Erm...keep on lookin', ladies and germs. Okay, okay, maybe CCC doesn't know who most (any) of these movies/directors are, but has there been any buzz about any of these? Yes, yes, C3 is excited about anything that Michael Winterbottom works on (the man is a machine! 14 films in ten years! many of them critically acclaimed! all made differently [that CCC is aware of]! madness!), but we haven't heard much about Code 46 (Samantha Morton, though, is enough to pique somethin'). And though we haven't seen anything by Mr. Beat Takeshi, we know the name, we know the respect, and we tremble at his imdb trivia page. As for the only 'American' film in competition, 21 Grams doesn't really seem that interesting, but it's by the director of Amores Perros and has Charlotte Gainsburg in it. And some unknowns or something. WINK!

As for the rest. Um..color us ignorant. But look at the Out of Competition! The Human Stain, The Dreamers (why, Jakey, why?), Once Upon a Time in Mexico, um..The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Intolerable Cruelty, Matchstick Men! It's a veritable cornucopia of..movies. By Americans. And a bad Woody Allen movie.


Posted by josh at 12:41 AM | | Comments (3)

August 6, 2003

Clint and Company To Open 2003 NYFF

1.jpgAs per a discussion this afternoon with CCC and CC on the lack of press about this year's New York Film Festival, PCC did some searching and discovered that Clint Eastwood's adaptation of Dennis Lehane's best-selling novel (which PCC is in the middle of reading) Mystic River will open the festival this year. PCC hopes to be first line!

Posted by jordan at 7:55 PM |

August 5, 2003

Meeting People in Greenpoint

Oh sure, Radiohead says that Meeting People Is Easy but they're an international pop sensation. Perhaps you should head down to the Warsaw in Greenpoint tomorrow night for this documentary on the band's 1997 OK Computer tour and pick up a few pointers.

Cinecultist remembers enjoying the film when we saw it with CM at UC Davis's excuse for an on campus theater, Chem 191, during its initial release. Thom Yorke spends most of the movie looking cranky and pensive indie rocker but the footage showing the making of the video where he sings from a diver suit as it fills with water is fascinating. Poor guy looks like he's about to drown before they yell cut on each take. Also, there's something delightful about watching the Japanese fans go nuts for the band, it is too cute. Just thinking about the movie makes CC nostalgic for those days when the design guys on the California Aggie newspaper made us listen to OK so many times we thought we might turn into a computer. *Sigh* college. [via Flavorpill]

Posted by karen at 3:13 PM |

August 1, 2003



CCC moved into his new apartment last week, and finally got his beloved cable internet back last night, prompting him to do the most logical thing. TRAILER BINGE.

Brother Bear: The saving grace of this trailer comes at the very end, and we have the feeling that the saving grace of the movie lies in the sharp claws of those moose. Grade: C+

Bubba Ho-Tep: Elvis and black JFK. Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. Old age homes. Creepy thing in a stupid hat. Clue as to what the eff is going on? No. Arousal? Mos def. Grade: A-

Cheaper by the Dozen: What the fuck is going on here? Why have Shawn Levy and Craig Titley (hee) ruined one of C3's favorite children's book? Why have they set it in modern times, without a hint of the actual storyline? Why is Ashton Kutcher in 60 percent of the trailer, when he doesn't appear to be one of the actual children? And, for God's sake, why doesn't Hotty McHottlestein Tom Welling appear (shirtless) in more of the trailer? Grade: D-

The Haunted Mansion: Sadly, CCC kind of liked this trailer, if only because Terence Stamp is kind of in it, and because Jennifer Tilly is actually spooky cool as the gypsy/ghost/crystal-head-thingie. Grade: B

The Human Stain: Okay Nicole, here's how you play it. What you want to do is plant the seed for a supporting role in The Human Stain and a lead actress role in Cold Mountain. Forget about Dogville, it's crizazy and out there. Play it straight, play it cool, play it sexy, and you'll be adding two more nods, and maybe a statue to join your lonely, lonely man. Grade: B+ (oh, wait, an actual analysis to back this up. In short, non-telling trailer that still seems interesting but is too fractured to be of use).

Intolerable Cruelty: Mmm..We love the Coen brothers. Their recent films make us happy. They're so smart and smooth and not silly or dumb at all. Their most recent trailer doesn't reduce us to tears or waste Catherine Zeta-Hot at all. It isn't lumbersome and un-funny and long in the very least. Grade: F

Master and Commander: Yawn. Why does this seem like such a boring movie? Maybe because Russell Crowe hasn't made anything interesting since L.A. Confidential (and before that, only a scant few [sorry, The Insider]). Maybe because no one cares about the high seas. Maybe because this seems to be as crappily sentimental as A Beautiful Crap. Only Peter Weir's name at the end implies potential. Whereas the full title, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, implies crapqeuls. Grade: C-

The Rundown: Please kill us and eat our body. Grade: B(+?!?!)

Timeline: This one's been around for a while, but Apple is a liar and says that it just appeared. Good for them, because I can only trash new trailers, and boy is this one a stinker. Let's fax people to the past! Let's "Virginia Woolf in The Hours decimating Richmond" the Middle Ages! Let's make France O'Connor really work for her crack money! Let's not take off Paul Walker or Gerard Butler's shirts! Let's give this trailer a D+!

Underworld: CCC had already seen a good trailer for this film a few months ago, but this newer, longer one is filled with even more hot vampire preening. And not much else excites CCC more than hot vampires preening their hot selves (maybe if Nicole and Jakey were in a hot vampire movie). Plus, Scott Speedman has sensitive eyes. Grade: A- (if we weren't filled with shame, we'd give it an A)

Wonderland: For all it's not-really-anything-we-haven't-seen-before-ness, this trailer is actually kind of cool, though it both tells you nothing and everything about the story. The bevy of stars could be more capitalized upon, though we get enough cameos to pique our interest. Plus, Dylan McDermott is in it, looking totally wacko and not his usually steely hot self. Curious. Grade: B+

Posted by josh at 2:25 PM | | Comments (1)

July 28, 2003

The Oscar Winners Are Coming...


For all those Nicole K. fans out there (and right here at Cinecultist), PCC felt obliged to post the link to the trailer for one Ms. Kidman's upcoming films, The Human Stain. Not only does the film feature NK, but fellow Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins and Oscar-nominess Ed Harris and Gary Sinise join the crowd. And of course the whole thing is helmed by Robert Benton, himself a three time recipient of the most golden of little gold men (Best Director 1980 (Kramer vs. Kramer), Best Original Screenplay 1980 (Kramer vs. Kramer) and Best Original Screenplay 1984 (Places in the Heart)). Can you tell that PCC is excited for September 26th to roll around?

Posted by jordan at 8:16 PM |

July 20, 2003

Once Upon A Time

Last night at a screening of Bad Boys II, Cinecultist found one of the explosion-heavy previews particularly thrilling, the one for Robert Rodriguez's newest Once Upon A Time In Mexico. With a cast filled with most of our favorite Latino actors AND Johnny Depp, it looks totally kick ass. And this was the consensus even after seeing the preview for S.W.A.T. again. In the meantime CC plans to watch El Mariachi and Desperado before Once Upon's release on September 12, to feel caught up on the saga and because there's something damn intriguing about that guitar case.

[Stay tuned for a conversation on Bad Boys II early next week, because here at Cinecultist.com, we ride together and we die together.]

Posted by karen at 3:28 PM |

July 19, 2003

Horses in my dreams

Silly us, here CCC thought Omar Sharif was dead (something we meditate on bi-monthly), when, in fact, he's starring in Seabiscuit 2: Seabiscuit's Revenge.

Posted by josh at 1:44 AM |

July 9, 2003

Still A Teenage Girl Sometimes

Pop chanteuse, teeny bop actress and avowed brunette Mandy Moore is freaking everywhere these days. No matter where we turn we see her little pink mug peering out at us, probably because her new movie, How To Deal comes out on July 18. She's on the cover of Lucky this month (unusual for the magazine which usually only uses models as cover subjects not celebrities), offering makeover advice on TBS's Movie and a Makeover program, and talking about her movie on the television commericials.

The official website has a few giggle worthy features you might want to check out on a slow afternoon. Cinecultist took the personality test and found out that she's "the Real Dealer" which means "we've got great balance... but should remember to go extreme once in a while to keep in fresh." Fascinating. We left the Relationship Report Card quiz for CCC to complete as the officially attached Cinecultist staff member. The site also loops two songs from the soundtrack that conspicuously lacks any Mandy Moore songs, but includes Liz Phair's Why Can't I, a track CC's sort of been obsessed with lately herself.

But after all this hoopla, will CC go to see this movie about a young girl who doesn't believe in love until she meets that certain guy? Still up in the air. CC consumes quite a lot of teen programming (former roommates have said too much) and in a bout of masochism over the holidays this year watched a double feature of On the Line and Crossroads. And since we're sharing here, CC likes the cross-over actresses, as evidenced by the alarming number (ie. more than zero) of J.Lo cds in her music collection. But we're not sure we hear the siren call of MM just yet, though it is true that she's a far better actor than Shane West in the weepy teen melodrama A Walk to Remember. It's petty to say this but the big deterent on How To Deal is the alarming similarity between Mandy and her co-star's hair cuts. We're all for gender bending but that's just creepy. They're like mopeing, angst-y, horny identical twins. In our universe that's an ick, thankyouverymuch.

Posted by karen at 6:42 PM |

July 8, 2003

Ack, It's Aki

aki.jpgBesides having perhaps the best rhyming name ever, Aki Kaurismki, the bad boy of Finnish cinema, also makes superlative pictures. BAM is doing a series on his films starting this weekend ("Kaurasmki Goes America", July 10-27) and if you've never seen at least one, Cinecultist urges you to head over to Brooklyn for a screening. Imagine the deadpan wit of Preston Sturges mixed with the social/class awareness of Ken Loach and you have a glimmer of the brilliant places that Kaurismki's films takes you.

Last fall at the New York Film Festival, CC was excited to both see Kaurismki's newest, The Man Without a Past, and to listen to him answer some pretentious New York film people's questions afterwards. Unfortunately, the director did not attend with his film, sending a letter instead which protested the US government's refusal to grant a visa to fellow director from Iran, Abbas Kiarostami. Wow, CC thought, a political activist and a great filmmaker. Later, CC heard from critic Dennis Dermondy of Paper mag that actually Kaurismki had been too drunk/hung over to get on the plane to come to New York and sent this mocking letter instead. Hilarious.

The above picture is of the director accepting an award at the San Sebastian film festival. Be sure to check out at least one film with his muse actress, Kati Outinen, she's particularly wonderful out of his cast of regulars.

Posted by karen at 6:47 PM |

July 5, 2003

I'm a Slave 4 U

nicole dog changed.jpg How excited are we about Dogville? Nicole Kidman and Dogma 95 terrible Lars von Trier in a film inspired by 70's televised theatre? A supporting cast to wet one's pants over? A shut out at Cannes? Yes, yes, and yes! Glory be the light of Nicole Kidman, C3 wants to build a time machine and fly to the future, to the currently undecided release of Dogville.

The film is about a woman, Grace (Nicole), on the run from the mob. She lands in Dogville, a small town in Colorado, where she's accepted by the townsfolk at first, only to suffer horrible consequences when they betray her. Hmm..woman under duress, backstabbings, death--could this be a von Trier movie?

While CCC (and the rest of the world, nay, the universe) waits for Dogville to come out, here are some essential films to watch from the N.K. oeuvre:

Dead Calm Nicole plays Rae, a woman recovering from the death of her son by taking a boat trip with her husband, Sam Neil. They're soon caught in a web of death and lies when sexy Billy Zane comes on board. Sexily directed by Phillip Noyce, of aboriginal Rabbit-Proof Fence fame (along with some other crap no one cares about). This one launched her career. Well, not really, but we can all sexily pretend it did.

To Die For Back when Gus Van Sant was still good (or before he had to work to be good again), he made this nasty little piece of work, wherein Nicole plays Suzanne Stone Maretto (though Stone is still her professional name). Mme. Stone will do anything to rise to the top, even if it means bedding both Matt Dillon and Joaquin Phoenix. Yowza.

The Portrait of a Lady Jane Campion's entry into the "How many Henry James novels can we make into movies?" competition (56 adaptations of various ones, says Imdb), this blue and black movie has Nicole playing Isabel Archer, an American heiress that runs into trouble, and John Malkovich, on the Continent. Slightly snoozey in CCC's opinion, it's such a beautiful looking film that micro-sleeps are an acceptable punishment for watching.

Moulin Rouge! If you haven't seen Moulin Rouge! yet, CCC may very well have to hunt you down and bitch slap you.

The Hours Nicole won by more than a nose, and proved herself a lasting actress in the almost-as-good-as-the-book adaptation of Michael Cunningham's marvelous novel. We could watch her eyebrows furrow for...hours.

Not only are those great, but C3 has high high high hopes for other upcoming Kidman releases. The Human Stain (how the hell was this adapted?), Cold Mountain (battle of the Oscar all stars!), and, ahem, Untitled Alexander the Great Project (bisexual conqueror fun for everyone). Don't let us down, Nicky. Please.

Posted by josh at 7:51 PM |

July 1, 2003

T3: Ah-nold Cubed

Tomorrow marks the return of another beloved sci-fi franchise. No, not Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or the Matrix, yes, teenage boys around the world rejoice as Terminator 3: the Rise of the Machines hits theaters. Looking at that short list, and contemplating the barrage of sequels in the theaters thus far this summer and still to come, making a new Terminator movie sounds like a good idea for the Hollywood money guys. But as A.O. Scott points out in his review today, the machinic dystopian age peddled by the T movies is sort of out moded. Been there, seen it, done it, bought the t-shirt.


Back in the day (aka '98), Cinecultist studied the Terminator, a film we'd never thought twice about, in the context of a feminist film studies course, how Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger represent different gender modes. When the film came out in 1984, or even in 1991 at the sequel, the idea that a woman could be pumped up protecting her son with the help of a machine man was completely innovative and exciting. But now, to see Claire Daines running around with Nick Stahl in fear, how is that any different from the Hulk or any other movie in theaters this summer? Or even the female Terminator, a tough chick in red leather and just so hair, she's such a millenium cliche. Ho hum.

But then again, who wants to innovate when you can just add to the already bloated grosses of the previous films. From the horses mouth --
"Terminator 3" has the same combination of big explosions, blasting guns, sci fi special effects and Schwarzenegger utterances that made the first two films huge hits. "I don't think the audiences' tastes have changed that much," said Vajna. According to the Reuters story about the collaboration between the producers.

PCC likes the Stahl but CC will be avoiding this flick for fear of adding to the hearing loss already suffered from the other noisy movies we've watched lately like 2Fast and Hulk.

The official site is good for a laugh and which clicks, whizzes and generally makes all sort of futuristic noises as you search.

Posted by karen at 10:40 PM |

June 25, 2003

Charlie's Angels Kicking Ass

Things look good so far for the new Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle movie. A picture courtesy of Reuters from the New York Post at the premier in Mexico City to whet the palette. CC's own "celeb" pictures to come soon (okay fine, it'll just be Cinecultist and friends posing in silly Angels poses) at the proposed screening on Friday.

Posted by karen at 2:56 PM |

June 19, 2003

Scary American Idol Fans

Back in the day, Cinecultist lurved Grease. It was the one that we wanted, ooh-ooh-ooh-honey. We also lurved Grease 2. Michelle Phieffer, we hardly knew ye. But now this American Idol movie, From Justin to Kelly, loosely based on the campy period teenage hormonal fun of Grease freaks us out. We just don't understand the hype. Fortunately, we have the Morning News writer, Sarah Hepola to explain things to us. Her photos and first hand account of a Kelly appearance at the movie theater where Kelly used to work in Burleson, Texas give an intersting insight into the phenomenom of these home-grown celebs.

You can also check out the movie's flash-tastic site, but don't expect any further information other than: Justin meets Kelly at Spring Break, they dance and sing and fall in love and stuff. Go greased lightening go!

Posted by karen at 5:10 PM |

June 18, 2003


alain.jpgHere at Cinecultist, we have a few actors that we love in *slightly* unhealthy way. Jake Gyllenhaal. Ingrid Bergman. Nicole Kidman. And of course, international superstar and serious hunk of a man, Alain Delon.

We just found out that Lincoln Center has a few lovely weeks in July programmed with a series of his films, and Cinecultist plans to be there with something to wipe up the drool. Though it's still early, we wanted to let you know the schedule's up so you can head over there to start planning your activities around the screenings. Not to worry, we'll remind you when it gets a bit closer too.

Posted by karen at 2:02 PM |

June 5, 2003

Homosexuals Make Movies?

What a radical concept! Some of Cinecultist's best friends are... oh, who are we kidding? Homosexuals making great movies is nothing new under the sun and this year's New Fest, kicking off this weekend, shows just how far we've come baby.

Peruse the entire schedule for all the events but CC wants to point out in particular an evening curated by two of her favorite film scholars, the incomperable Mai Kiang and the brilliant Zhang Zhen who have brought Hong Kong lesbian director Yau Ching to discuss some of her work, including her newest feature, Let's Love Hong Kong.

The Q&A with the director led by Kiang and Zhang will be Sunday, June 15 from 3-6pm at 721 Broadway room 656. The feature film makes its debut Saturday, June 14 at 10:15pm at the Tishman Auditorium of The New School, 66 W 12th St (between 5th/6th Aves).

Be sure to check this out, it promises to be enriching.

Posted by karen at 6:45 PM |

NYC Outside Venues

In honor of our partly sunny skies and increased humidity here in NYC, CC went to check out the schedule for one of her favorite summer activities -- outdoor movies.

Bryant Park, on 42nd street and 6th Avenue is a great locale for an evening under the stars at the cinematheque and this summer's schedule has some not to be missed flicks.

To kick off the series on June 23, a Western featuring some of the cutest cowboys to ever wear spurs, Robert Redford and Paul Newman star in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A few other worthy selections -- The Lady from Shanghai (oooh, Orson. June 30). A PCC Hitchcock fav Shadow of a Doubt (July 21), the previously recommended by CC Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 28). An Elvis classic Jailhouse Rock (Aug. 18) and a movie CC seen a few times 2001: A Space Odyssey (Aug. 25).

Check out the schedule for further films starting on Mondays at Sunset.

Posted by karen at 6:16 PM |

May 28, 2003

Rom Com Recycling

alexandemmaposter.jpgCinecultist has been seeing these ads for a new Kate Hudson/Luke Wilson picture, called Alex & Emma, that feels a bit like deja vu. In said film, opening June 20, Wilson plays Alex a novelist in trouble with the mafia who must finish his book in 30 days. He hires stenographer, Emma, to help him type the story he dictates but of course she's fiesty and stuff so her personality influences the characters and the story. Along the way the actors play both the imagined characters in the novel and the writers in various fantasy sequences. In the end, they fall in love.


This story sounded quite like an Audrey Hepburn movie, where Audrey plays a typist helping William Holden finish a screenplay where the actors play both themselves and the characters in the fantasy sequences from the resulting fictional movie. CC went to look it up on trusty IMDb, who informed us the movie is called Paris When It Sizzles, from 1964. On the official website, Alex and Emma's screenwriters, Jeremy Leven, Adam Scheinman and Andy Scheinman say the story idea came from Dosteovsky having to finish The Gambler in 30 days under threat from the mob and in the process falling for his typist. Dosteovsky, hmm?

Any Russian lit experts out there who can confirm or deny this story?

(Don't get CC wrong, I'm still going to go see the film. CC loves rom coms. But it all sounds a little strange.)

Posted by karen at 1:41 PM |