January 30, 2008

Best Picture Quint Feature, Marjane Satrapi comic-terview and some music news

* No more complaining about not being able to see all the top films of the year. At AMC movie theaters around the country on Feb. 23, watch all five of the best picture Academy Award nominees back to back for only $30. Your pass allows you to come and go, plus you get free popcorn all day. It's time for a movie binge, baby.

* Reading alert: Mike Russell from CulturePulp interviewed graphic novelist/filmmaker Marjane Satrapi and then drew it. The medium and the subject, both super cool.

* Last night, Cinecultist caught the pre-backlash-to-the-backlash, record release performance of Vampire Weekend at Bowery Ballroom. We trotted out our snarkiest remarks and our most cutting observations about the super enthusiastic 16+ crowd, but the fact of the matter is this young foursome plays a catchy, danceable tune. The nostalgia for Paul Simon's Graceland pulled strong on our heart strings and their earnest rocking made us want to cut class and lay out on the grass on the Quad. Expect to see VW freakin' everywhere really soon.

January 24, 2008

The End of an Era

"Sischy, Brant Resign at Interview" from Women's Wear Daily.

Rumors and speculation had been swirling that the company was up for sale, so Cinecultist is not surprised to see both women step down from running the magazine. It's still a little sad though, oddly enough. We'll be very curious to see Ingrid's next projects. She's a smart (albeit unconventional) cookie.

For an older, but still intriguing, look at Ingrid's career and relationship to the art world, track down a copy of Janet Malcolm's brilliant New Yorker essay, "A Girl of the Zeitgeist." You can find it in her collection, The Purloined Clinic.

Who Says You Can't Report on Sundance from the East Village?

Not the Cinecultist, that's for darn sure. Our report on how the New York contingency is faring out in Park City at this year's Sundance Film Festival is up on Metromix.

Thanks should go to fellow bloggers from MTV's Movie Blog, the Reeler, Matt Dentler, and Tom Hall for their perspectives and excellent reporting on the festival. Hopefully next year, we'll be wading through the snow banks with them.

July 30, 2007

Cry A Little Black & White, Existential Tear: Ingmar Bergman Dies

Swedish director Ingmar Bergman passed away this morning at 89 years old. Cinecultist blogged about it over on Gothamist and GreenCine Daily has a nice round up of links.

CC's only recently become more acquainted with Bergman's movies. After muscling through Persona while working on our undergrad film studies minor, we always thought his work would be too "art cinema" for our taste. But in fact, his movies are often quite funny, sweet and bracingly humane. Only a few months ago, we rented the miniseries version of Scenes from a Marriage and even recommended it to our mainstream-minded mother as a Must See. Bergman filmed some shockingly honest interchanges between characters. You can hardly believe anyone could admit such naked and brutal things to another person, let alone film them. As we learned from the docu Bergman's Island, Ingmar had a pretty tumultuous personal life, but what a film artist. Very sad news indeed.

Posted by karen at 1:02 PM | Ingmar Bergman, obits | Comments (0)

July 15, 2007


Oooo, exciting Dylan buzz: a clip from the new Todd Haynes movie, I'm Not There. Have you looked at the cast list for this thing? It's a cinephile's damp dream. In the aforementioned clip we get to see a bit with Cate Blanchett and David Cross as Allen Ginsburg. Our downtown compatriot looks good; CC hardly recognized him in that Howl-ish beard. Sept. 21 (now known as "BD Day" on our calendar) can't come soon enough. [Via]

Happy Birthday (yesterday) Ingmar! Looking good for 89, baby.

Sienna Miller says the darndest things to reporters like NY mag's Logan Hill.
"I’m not too skinny—definitely not at the moment." AND "I have told the paparazzi to fuck off—that sounds like something I’d do."

July 12, 2007

Putting the DVR on Notice: Car Talk on TV

"Car Talk, a popular car advice talk radio program hosted by mechanics Click and Clack, is being made into an animated television show, the Public Broadcasting Service said on Wednesday. The show will launch with ten, 30-minute prime-time episodes in summer 2008 and will be named with the help of fans." [via Reuters]

Although to be honest, news and jokes about cars are slightly less funny when you live in New York City and primarily ride the subway or the bus or walk. However Cinecultist used to love listening to Tom and Ray Magliozzi (aka Click & Clack) laugh at their lame puns. They think their shtick is heee-larious and thus, it is.

Posted by karen at 11:54 AM | DVR, NPR, PBS | Comments (0)

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 25, 2007

Dear Lord, It's Like Out of An Episode of Entourage

"Brett Ratner is set to direct Playboy, the Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment film about the life of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner. Brian Grazer is producing," according to Variety. [via Defamer, who is positively gleeful in anticipation.]

P.S. Did you know that Brett Ratner has an official website which hosts a blog that monitors all of Brett's appearances in the media? He does.

Be A Part of Potter Mania

Are you a British kid between the ages of 15 and 18? Do you long to be in the movies and know a bit about the wizarding world invented by J.K. Rowling? Well, then get your butt down to the Earls Court Exhibition Center in London on July 1, this could be your chance to be a part of the Harry Potter legacy. Producers will be holding an open casting call for the roles of Tom Riddle and Lavender Brown in the next film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The parts of Luna Lovegood and Cho Chang in Order of the Phoenix were cast with an open call.

BTW, Cinecultist already has a plan to see a midnight screening of Order of the Phoenix with Matty and Zack on July 11. We have not however pre-ordered our copy of Deathly Hallows but we're intended to attend some sort of midnight release party on July 21. Hopefully the local guy who dresses as Dumbledore and rides a Segway will be out and about too. Now that's a Potter superfan.

Posted by karen at 3:27 PM | Harry Potter mania | Comments (1)

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 15, 2007

Guess This Is The Kind of Stunt You Can Pull After You've Won Cannes

Director, fine artist, hotel interior designer and Jeff Bridges look-alike Julian Schnabel has unveiled the facade of his West Village town house and the sucker is hot damn pink.

As Andrew Berman, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s director told the Villager, “I don’t know for sure — but my fear is that this will be the color. I think virtually any other color would be more acceptable.”

But hey, Julian just won the best director prize at Cannes for his most recent movie Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), he's entitled to his hideous day glow effrontery, right? [via Curbed]

June 13, 2007

Chillax With A New Remake

According to Variety today, Regina King will be producing and starring in a remake of Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill. The movie will be updated to today and feature an African American cast. (Just as a reminder,
The Big Chill
is that '80s paean to baby boomer touchy-feely navel-gaving as a group of 30-something college friends get together for a funeral, reminisce about where it'd all gone wrong and boogie to Motown hits.)

A few actors Cinecultist hopes the producers and casting director are considering:
Sanaa Lathan
Omar Epps
Taye Diggs
Anika Noni Rose
Larenz Tate
Gabrielle Union
Mekhi Phifer

Movies with a very specific niche cast are so the new hottness and Cinecultist is psyched to see how this project develops.

Posted by karen at 2:12 PM | Regina King, remake | Comments (0)

June 12, 2007

But They Were One of Those Cool, Un-Hollywood Couples...

A moment of silence please, for the marriage of actors Catherine Keener and Dermot Mulroney. If those two crazy kids couldn't make it work, then what's that to say about the chance for the rest of us?

June 11, 2007

Items On the Cinecultist Mind

...CC was happy to contribute our $11 to the $37.1 million dollar take for Ocean's Thirteen this past weekend. The boys are back and the nose does play. Also, our love for the Cloon and the Pitt grew even deeper with this exchange in their Entertainment Weekly cover story interview.

You guys have been buddies for a while. When did you first meet?
CLOONEY: The baths.
PITT: On Pico Boulevard. That's right. I forgot about that.
CLOONEY: You wouldn't have recognized me with the leather hood on. [Laughs]
PITT: [Makes a disgusted face] I'm eating here.

...We enjoyed some brisket, sausage and sweet pickles at the Big Apple BBQ in Madison Square Park on Saturday. Brisket outdoors is enough to put anyone in a satisfied summertime mood.

...We're still working on the New Yorker's summer fiction issue but are finding the cryptic summer movie personal essays by such literary stars at Dave Eggers, Miranda July and Jeffrey Eugenides odd but intriguing. Best line award so far goes to Gary Shteyngart for his recollection of ogling young Tahnee Welch in Cocoon: "The fact that my sexual awakening peripherally involved Steve Guttenberg I have gradually accepted."

...On two sad notes for world cinema, African director Ousmane Sembène and French actor Jean-Claude Brialy recently passed away. We added Xala, Black Girl, A Woman Is a Woman and Claire's Knee to our home viewing schedule in memoriam. [via John, thanks.]

...Season premiere of Big Love tonight! Backstabbing, freaky religious types and sexual secrets in suburbia, wahoo.

...Just in case you hadn't noticed, The Movie Binge crew is back to their glutenous summer viewing ways. Last week CC wrote a long rant about how much we hated Mr. Brooks. If we hadn't seen this movie for free at an advance screening, we'd be writing a threatening note to Kevin Costner demanding our admission plus pain and suffering back.

May 18, 2007

Ice Cream Melting Into Pie Shot? Only Wong Kar Wai

While the Cinecultist has been enjoying a birthday in Manhattan, Mr. A.O. "Fancy Pants" Scott has been in the South of France soaking up the sun and cinema at the Cannes Film Festival. He reports today in the Times about the scene on the Croisette and his early, albeit self-aware, opinion about the much-anticipated English language Wong Kar Wai starring Norah Jones, My Blueberry Nights. Scott declares Wong's newest is self-indulgent, but with more adjectives:

"One of the more annoying tics of the kibitzers at Cannes (including this correspondent) is the habit of rendering authoritative, often hyperbolic snap judgments before the final credits are done. Thus, while the soundtrack music from My Blueberry Nights... was still echoing in the Palais des Festivals, you could hear dyspeptic grumbling about Mr. Wong’s American venture, along with a certain amount of defensive praise. There will be plenty of time to sort it out. My initial impression is of a sweet, insubstantial movie that might have been more exciting — more meaningful — to make than it is to see."

The part that troubles CC, a fan of Wong's work but not an unequivocal one, is that the characters emoting in English seems to have rendered them more breezy and less neurotic in Scott's opinion. A breezy Wong Kar Wai character sounds like a contradiction in terms. What could our obsessive auteur be doing if he's not making every mere gesture and costume change hyperbolic? CC is increasingly skeptical but still curious about the Blueberry.

May 3, 2007


Not Rory and Lorelei! Don't take them now, Lord.

From Variety today: 'Gilmore Girls' canceled. CW, WBTV wrap production on show

March 2, 2007

"May I Have My Prophylactic Back, Dame Diana?"

Good news Potter fans, Daniel "I'm getting older but I totally have a sense of humor about myself" Radcliffe has officially signed on to appear in installments VI and VII of the Harry Potter films. Number V, Order of the Phoenix comes out this summer, VI begins shooting this fall and in case you haven't marked your calendars yet, volume VII of the books, The Deathly Hallows, comes out in July.

Many years ago, an impressionable young Cinecultist saw a community theater production of Equus and was mighty shocked by the nakedness and the simulated horse sex. Eeep. If Danny boy is savvy enough to involve himself in both edgy, psychological theater and something written by Ricky Gervais where he flings a condom at Dame Diana Rigg, it's pretty safe to bet he'll become more than just a former child actor. Cinecultist is looking forward to what you do next Daniel, make us proud.

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 19, 2007

Anticipation, Internet-Style

Some things to look forward to while Cinecultist still tries to cope with the frigid New York winter weather. Oh April, where are you dear spring-time friend?

* David Fincher's new movie Zodiac. Love that Gyllenhaal and love that grey/green palate. The New York Times reports.

* One week to go until the Oscars. Web coverage has really increased this year, as per this NYT trend article. CC's looking forward to continuing with our liveblogging tradition with fellow Gothamist and Oscar telecast junkie Jen Chung.

* CC has already read it, but you should be looking forward to getting your hot little hands on Lisa Graff's very excellent kids book, The Thing About Georgie. We interviewed Lis (aka our favorite Mandy Moore movie going partner) as part of her blog tour on Gothamist.

Posted by karen at 3:50 PM | NYT, Oscar race, Zodiac | Comments (0)

February 16, 2007

Links and News, Friday Edition

* Turns out DVR may not necessarily equal the imminent death of television commercials because Nielsen discovered "people who own digital video recorders, or DVRs, still watch, on average, two-thirds of the ads." Durr.

* Money making scheme of the week: Make some extra bucks by listing your home on a movie locations website. Though the Cinecultist probably won't be doing it anytime soon, our Eee Vee residence is barely big enough for us and our DVDs, let alone a movie crew.

* Stuffmagazine.com spends some time thinking about iconic songs from movie soundtracks and have included imbedded YouTube clips for some quality procrastination time. Unfortunately their list is missing Carly Simon's "Let The River Run" from Working Girl but that could be because Stuff is more of a dude publication.

* Cinecultist Viewing Tip: Iraq In Fragments, one of our favorite documentaries from last year and an Oscar-nominee, begins a run at Cinema Village this weekend.

* Ben Sisario stood in a lot of lines in the bitter cold for free TV show taping tickets. Check out his New York Times article for tips on that very New York experience. P.S. For the music-minded, we hear 50 highly coveted Arcade Fire tickets at each Judson Memorial Church show are available via a stand-by line. Hypothermia, shmypothermia.

Posted by karen at 11:42 AM | DVR, Iraq In Fragments, NYT | Comments (0)

February 8, 2007

A Few Thursday Afternoon Links

* Bizarre, Anna Nicole Smith died. We'll probably need a whole miniseries to understand what happened in that woman's media saturated life.

* The Chinese Communist Party says in an editorial Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower is too excessive. Morality, shmorality, this movie is just bad. Is it too much to ask that Party officials just object to the badness?

* This week in New York movie going is officially East German Secret Police themed. All Stasi, all the time. J. Ho liked The Lives of Others (as did CC) as well as the Film Forum docu, The Decomposition of the Soul. Make it a double feature! Then rejoice that we don't live in a totalitarian regime! Yet.

* Ian Buruma's great essay in The New York Review of Books reminded CC that we still need to see Flags Of Our Fathers, since we loved Letters From Iwo Jima so much. Maybe when we're not watching Stasi movies this weekend. It is on DVD now.

Posted by karen at 5:39 PM | DVD, Film Forum, Zhang Yimou | Comments (0)

January 24, 2007

Those Crazy Drunk New York Bloggers

This New York Observer article probably only amused Cinecultist as much as it did because we went to a drinks thing just last night hosted by Krucoff. Fortunately, it was not at the Magician. Also, thank god CC only lives in the suburbs of the blog ghetto (aka just north of "Hell's Square") and thus never get asked to comment in such faux-ironic, self-aggrandizing trend pieces.

Posted by karen at 3:48 PM |

January 19, 2007

Center Of Movie World Moves West

Sigh. It seems like most people in the movie universe are in Park City, UT this week for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Unfortunately, the Cinecultist is home in the East Village enjoying a few vicarious snow flakes today and the bounteous web coverage of said festivities. It's not the same, but CC was never really the puffer jacket and ear-covered headband wearing type anyhow.

Some other spaces to visit for vicarious thrills:
Our dear editor at Janemag.com, Julie is out there as is fellow NYC movie blogger Stu VanAirsdale of The Reeler.

Also, we were sad again reading today in the NY Times David Carr's article about slain filmmaker Adrienne Shelly. He describes her movie, Waitress which stars Keri Russell and has its premiere at the festival as, "A tragicomic mash-up with a high/low music score, it ends in a very significant hug, one that in light of subsequent events could be easily mined for allegorical meaning."

Posted by karen at 5:01 PM |

January 17, 2007

Kirby Dick Does The 'Ha Ha, Told You So' Dance

When Cinecultist saw the Sundance fave from last year, Kirby Dick's documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated we could hardly believe how bizarre the MPAA's governing practices are. Between secretive review boards, seemingly fluctuating standards and a Byzantine appeals process, it hardly seemed possible that this secretive organization could wield so much power over the movie distribution industry. Interestingly, and at this year's Sundance no less, Motion Picture Association of America chairman Dan Glickman and Classification and Ratings Administration chairwoman Joan Graves will sit down at a breakfast with producers, directors and filmmakers to discuss changes to the rating's board policy, according to Reuters.

Some of proposed modifications to be announced officially at ShoWest:
- Expand the appeals board membership
- Allow filmmakers to cite precidents when appealing a rating decision
- Reveal more information about the board's demographic
- Identify the senior raters
- Formalize the rules of who can be on the board and for how long
- Formally train the raters
- Explain more to the public about the MPAA's role and standards for ratings

But the real question is did the docu, wherein Dick interviews filmmakers censored by the board and tries to reveal the board members identities with the help of private detectives, directly cause this announcement? Glickman says no, that "he began reaching out to the independents as soon as he took over from Jack Valenti, the lobbyist who came up with the ratings system, in September 2004. 'There was a feeling of detachment and alienation, and I wanted to open a dialogue with them,'" he told Reuters.

We're skeptical of this denial but still excited for the movie industry that they're own self-regulating body will be more responsive to the changing cultural tastes of America and the artistic envelope-pushing of moviemakers.

[Pictured (from left): Director Atom Egoyan interviewed by Kirby Dick in This Film Is Not Yet Rated]

Posted by karen at 11:54 AM |

December 5, 2006

Another One of Those Bergman Kind of Days

This article in Variety today announcing that the totally brilliant English comedian/writer Jennifer Saunders (one of the minds behind Absolutely Fabulous!) will be producing two new series for BBC America inspired Cinecultist to click around on YouTube for classic French and Saunders episodes. We found the above Bergman parody which features Death asking for a Hob Nob. Ridiculously funny, you must admit.

By the way, CC has also had Ingmar Bergman on the brain lately because the documentary Bergman's Island will be screening at Film Forum starting tomorrow. Bergman is such a cute old coot reminiscing about his career from his home on Fr Island. Did you know he was married 5 times, had 9 children and that sequence from Scenes From A Marriage where the husband comes home only to announce he's leaving his unsuspecting wife for another woman, Bergman really did that to wife number two? The film is quite a tribute to the amazing life of a true cinema artist.

Posted by karen at 3:01 PM |

November 13, 2006

Monday Links, Of The High and Low Brow Variety

* If you missed the Simpsons last night (or if like our friend, Brian, you've taken an ethical stand against sub-par, late era episodes of the long running cartoon) they aired a teaser for the feature length Simpsons film during a commercial break. The nature of a teaser is that there's no actual plot of the movie involved, just planned imagery and mood, thus the segment was pretty sparse on actual news about the movie. However, hope springs eternal when it comes to something as beloved as Matt Groening's work. CC is still holding out that something this long in the works will have some early Simpsons caliber smarts behind it.

* Oscar-winner and on-screen gunslinger Jack Palance (pronounced PAL-ance, not pa-LANCE, according to the New York Times obit) passed away over the weekend. News you can use courtesy of the NYT: In addition to being able to do one-arm pushups, Palance also wrote poetry and did pen-and-ink drawings.

* One of our favorite essays so far on Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette is David Mendelsohn's analysis in the current issue of The New York Review of Books. Mendelsohn nicely picks out the running thread through all of Coppola's work ("spirited young women chafing at social restraints") and the autobiographical nature of preoccupations in his article.

"The final silent image in this movie, so filled as it is with striking and suggestive images, tells you more about Coppola, and perhaps our own historical moment, than it could possibly tell you about Marie Antoinette. It's a mournful shot of the Queen's state bedchamber at Versailles, ransacked by the revolutionary mob the night before the Queen and her family were forced to leave, its glittering chandeliers askew, its exquisite boiseries cracked and mangled. You'd never guess from this that men's livesthose of the Queen's guardswere also destroyed in that violence; their severed heads, stuck on pikes, were gleefully paraded before the procession bearing the royal family to Paris. But Coppola forlornly catalogs only the ruined bric-a-brac. As with the teenaged girls for whom she has such sympathy, her worst imagination of disaster, it would seem, is a messy bedroom."
Posted by karen at 12:09 PM |

November 6, 2006

Monday Linkage About The Ladies (and Barney)

* Yick. Maya Rudolph had bedbugs at an apartment she rented in SoHo with her boyfriend and is now suing the condo management company plus their broker for damages. (Related: Did you know Maya and director Paul Thomas Anderson have a kid together? Where the hell has CC been on that one?)

* Lindsay Lohan continues to insist upon an association between her and Liz Taylor by starring in a previously unproduced Tennessee Williams screenplay called The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond. Guess who plays her aunt? Ann-Margret, LiLo's other purported muse, of course.

* Becca Thacher (or Kellie Martin, as the actress from one of our favorite pre-teen dramas, "Life Goes On," is also known) gave birth to a daughter on Saturday.

* Speaking of sitcom stars, HIMYM's Barney only plays a womanizer on TV, in real life he came out to People magazine! Good for Neil Patrick Harris. This announcement makes him look a) look someone who's quite well-adjusted and comfortable with himself and b) a really, really good actor. Suit up!

Posted by karen at 4:19 PM |

November 1, 2006

Begging, Thinly Veiled, From Blockbuster

If you're like Cinecultist and peacefully enjoying your total conversion to a red envelope way of renting DVDs, you may have completely forgotten about movie rental chains like Blockbuster. Going to an actual store to pick out a film, then bringing it back there? It's behavior that's become very alien.

However, your local video clerk has become quite lonely, and to counteract their ebbing subscriber base Blockbuster announced a new initiative today called Total Access. According to this Reuters article, Blockbuster customers can now return DVDs rented online to a stores with a free in-store rental bonus. Also, Blockbuster says when you return in-store that your next rental in the online queue will get to your home a day faster.

But, the beauty of online rentals in our mind is the ease of returning by mail. It's like have a friendly video drop box on every corner, a completely genius concept. While CC does still have our membership to Kim's, because it can be fun to visit a specialty shop with obnoxious well-versed employees, for new releases we just wouldn't bother with Blockbuster anymore. Best go back to the drawing board B-buster folks. Maybe a free snacks with every rental initiative?

Posted by karen at 9:32 AM |

October 30, 2006

Monday Linkage About The Fellas

* Caryn James hearts Leonardo DiCaprio and his goatee in Blood Diamond.

* Borat is going to be on less screens than originally projected by 20th Century Fox, but Universal Pictures is still feeling the Sacha Baron Cohen love to the tune of 42.5 million.

* Shocking: Ryan Phillippe is single again. He and Reese were one of those Hollywood couples you couldn't help but love. And this comes just when he's finally appearing in a well-reviewed film too.

* Getting to know fellow TheMovieBinger Matty's taste in burgers on A Hamburger Today.

Posted by karen at 4:02 PM |

September 12, 2006

'Death of A President' On Its Way To Theaters Near You


After a subdued but charged screening one of the major buzz movies from Toronto, Death of A President has been purchased by Newmarket for distribution, according to Reuters. The "fictional documentary" takes footage from three visits by President Bush in Chicago and through the magic of CGI constructs a "realistic" assassination of him by a sniper followed by a flowery eulogy by Vice President Cheney. Director Gabriel Range told Reuters after the screening, "I hope people will see it as a balanced film and compelling drama. It is an oblique look at the ways the United States has changed since 9/11. We use the lens of the future to explain the past."

It's set for an airing on Britain's Channel Four next month and a U.S. theatrical release sometimes this fall. No word yet whether the plot implication that Cheney would become our Commander in Chief will lead the flick to be classified as a horror film.

Production still via Channel 4 Television/Handout/Reuters

Posted by karen at 11:25 AM |

September 6, 2006

Film Fest Fever

With September comes word from the hinterlands regarding screenings of big fall releases getting their try outs at film festivals. Cinecultist always salivates a little over these reports, making little mental tally lists of what audiences liked what. It's obsessive we know, but fun.

From Venice: folks on the Lido are loving The Queen with Helen Mirren but sort of luke warm or mixed on The Fountain, Children of Men and The Black Dahlia according to Garth Franklin's wrap up on Dark Horizons. La Mirren just got an Emmy for her portrayal of the first Queen Elizabeth, could this be her year to finally Oscar it too?

Out at Telluride, there was a strong launching of Fur, The Last King of Scotland and Little Children. In his dispatch for indieWire, Eugene Hernandez reports favorably about the Idi Amin biopic and talked with Shainberg about how his Diane Arbus movie, which interestingly was not picked up for the New York Film Festival.

Toronto starts tomorrow and they'll have "the most star wattage and premieres in its whole 30 year history," according to Reuters. Cinecultist will be curious to hear what their viewers think of All the King's Men and Babel as well as Infamous the "other Capote movie" with Daniel Craig. Seriously, worst unintentional tag line ever for this movie's marketers. We feel for those guys.

Posted by karen at 5:05 PM |

August 31, 2006

Italian Cinema Smackdown


Cinecultist has been getting a real kick out of this bickerfest going on between the established Venice Film Festival and the young upstart Rome Film Festival. When Rome first announced that they'd be starting a fest this year, Venice made a big show of supporting their efforts and not competing. But those feelings of Italian brotherly cooperation have broken down since Rome announced the other day that Fur will be their opening movie. Don't you be taking Nicole Kidman from the Lido, or out the claws will come!

Also, there's kerfuffle about how close the dates are to each other (Venice opened yesterday, Rome in October) and whether funding will be government supported or private. "If I find out that Rome is getting state funding for its festival, I'll go for my gun," Venice's mayor Massimo Cacciari, a center-left philosopher, said in a recent interview. Ha. It's all going to get ugly over there, we can just tell.

CC's particularly interested in this whole thing because we recently bought our plane ticket to be under the Tuscan sun in mid October. Now we're thinking we might head down to Roma for a day or two to catch some cinema. Or maybe this will be our trip when we finally visit Cinecitta, we've wanted to do that for years.

Posted by karen at 11:38 AM |

August 29, 2006

This Program Brought To You By A Marty Movie

matt-damon-departed.jpgCinecultist's interest, though guarded, continues unabated for Martin Scorsese's new movie The Departedespecially since we read about this interesting advertising twist they're using from Variety. The film will be the solo sponsor on the pilot for a new CBS program, Smith starring Ray Liotta.

The pilot's running time would ordinarily need to be stretched into a 90 minute schedule block but with Warner Bros., The Departed distributors, paying for the sole 4 minute block of ad time, the show can run in a 60 time slot. According to Variety, "At the start of the Smith premiere, an announcer will let auds know that the episode is being sponsored with limited commercials by The Departed. It's likely Warner will then split its four minutes of ad time into a pair of two-minute pods, each offering an extended look at the pic." Both parties involved get an oddly sweet deal, Smith can run nearly uninterrupted and The Departed gets a buzz boost with the commercial's exclusivity and unusualness.

There aren't any other major connections between the projects (other than both stories center around career criminals and Smith was produced by Warner's TV division) but if Ray's show turns out to be cool, it could only mean better associative word of mouth for The Departed. Good work CBS, Marty Scorsese and Warner Bros., you're a crafty bunch of old dogs with your synergy, your product placement and your one hand washes the other. Oh wait, that's another underbelly that doesn't really involve TV advertising.

Posted by karen at 5:42 PM |

August 23, 2006

In The News: Cruisin' For A Bruisin' & Netflixology

Paramount tells Tom Cruise to take his things and go. Or is that Tom was already thinking about breaking up with the studio for ages? Here's what Cinecultist knows: TC needs to finally acknowledge that his behavior is Not Normal. Up until now it seems that he's been exhibiting what most of us think are errant actions, yet playing them off as "part of his religion," "because he's in love," or whatnot. Now the cat is out of the bag. Big name businessmen are telling the New York freakin' Times that Tom's acting crazy town and it affects their million dollar business relationship, regardless of whether this is the actual reason for the split. That's a seismic shift in attitude towards the ultimate A Lister.

Netflix told Blockbuster to stop being such a copycat. Now Blockbuster has said Netflix just wants to have all the marbles for themselves, and that's totally not fair. The judge hearing these claims from both corporations are allowing the two suits to be tried together, which is pretty interesting. It really will be Netflix versus Blockbuster in a (sorta metaphorical) cage death match for DVD by mail supremacy. Goes to show that this movie rental business is really big bucks in the making. Cinecultist is still reserving judgement to see who will get out of the cage alive, but we're mostly rooting for da 'Flix. They're our boy.

Posted by karen at 4:50 PM |

August 22, 2006

Ocean's Fourteen: Yay or Nay?

thirteenposter.pngThank goodness Steve Soderbergh has come to his senses. The director told an audience at the Edinburgh Film Festival the other day that he has no plans to do an Ocean's Fourteen. Some might argue that the installment Twelve was taking it too far in terms of sequels, and to be now in production on Ocean's Thirteen is hardly a case of restraint against the demands of box office success. But Soderbergh explained, "George wanted to go out strong" and that they "wanted the series to return to its comedic roots this time."

Fine, if it's what George wanted. The Cloon surely knows what's best.

Posted by karen at 10:53 AM |

August 21, 2006

Don't Bring Your Serated Knife to The IFC Center

Cinecultist doesn't often say this about a report on a late night in the West Village but OMFG. A sound mixer from Queens was hanging out in front of the IFC Center on Sixth Avenue over the weekend when a group of attractive young women passed by. A comment about one girl's hair led to insults thrown, slapping, spitting and finally a group melee between the man and the group of women resulted in him getting stabbed! With a serrated knife! In the West flippin' Village! Guess it's time for erstwhile movie types to rethink their late night plans to "hangs out in front of the I.F.C. to chat with film people, to watch life in the Village." [NYT via Gawker]

Posted by karen at 1:09 PM |

News Flash: Snakes Can't Fly

The numbers are in this morning and it looks less than promising for the "bloggers enthusiasm molds studio policy" trendlette. While Snakes on a Plane was the number one movie for the weekend, it did not hit the $20 million mark for distributors New Line as they hoped. The flick cost only $30 mil to make, which is quite slight for a summer action/horror film, but so far the numbers for the past three days only added up to $15.3 million and that's including the $1.4 from Thursday late night.

Here's what Cinecultist has said all along about the idea that public opinion can change the outcome of big studio filmmaking: Awesome, but it'll only be a success if that final movie is actually good. We're living in an age of audience participation with comment sections, text message voting and amateur blogging run rampant. More power to the people, we say. But really all of this feedback only works if the product is worth seeing. A segment of the movie going public will plunk down $11 bucks for camp fun and screaming at the screen, but not everyone. If the word of mouth after Thursday or even Friday was that Snakes on a Plane is fun AND a good movie, we'd be seeing something different in the numbers. Which leads Cinecultist back to the Captain Obvious point that New Line refused to screen this movie to critics before release. They knew it still wasn't good, despite adding after the first wrap more violence and more cursing. Critical opinion, and the notion of absolute merit, still holds true.

The moral of the story (one which the studios still won't get from this experience but oh well): Make good movies. All the rest shall follow.

But of course in the face of bad movies, bring plastic snakes to throw at the screen and hiss every time Samuel L. Jackson appears. [P.S. Cinecultist was out of town this weekend and missed this movie. For a fun review plus a video clip of cheering audiences check out Matty's review on The Movie Binge.]

Posted by karen at 10:19 AM |

August 18, 2006

Teenage Stupidity Fells Another Kid Star

Drew Barrymore. Gary Coleman. Danny Bonaduce. Now, Haley Joel Osment has entered their hallowed company.

[Insert some lame joke about seeing drunk drivers or paying it forward with that joint. Poor Haley.]

Posted by karen at 12:06 PM |

August 17, 2006

More Product Placement And It's Your Fault

We're about to get even more advertised to, so get ready cinecultists. According to this article in Reuters today, by 2010 advertising embedded in tv shows and movies will have tripled. The culprit for this spike in subversive product placement? The rise in commercial skipping technology like DVRs, downloadable shows on your iPod and internet video like YouTube.

Recently Cinecultist was chatting with our friend Ryan who works in advertising. One of his clients is PowerAde and while watching Talladega Nights he was literally having conniptions calculating how much his client earned (with no cost to them, by the way) during Will Ferrell's PowerAde sponsored dinner time grace.

While this scene, and in fact most of the movie, was a hilarious send up of the pervasiveness of sponsorship in certain entertainment, it's a pretty scary thought to imagine it increasing so drastically. In a few short years, the cast of The O.C. won't just be quietly drinking Diet Coke in a diner scene, but they'll be working for the company as an after school part time job while driving cars emblazoned with their logo. The potential for icky consumerism in the movies and on TV is infinite. Drat. And Cinecultist does so love the fast forward feature on our DVR, we knew it would come back to haunt us eventually.

Posted by karen at 5:54 PM |

August 11, 2006

Terry Gilliam: Genius or Deluded?

You're Terry Gilliam. You're a former Monty Python-ite and have directed movies like Brazil, that are entertainment and art. But lately you've thought some good ideas included a $90 million dollar creepy fairy tale with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger and a Man of La Mancha adaptation that died on the vine with a star who was too aged to ride a horse. Frankly, Cinecultist is worried about you, Terry, especially now that we've heard about your new project.

Tideland features a 10-year-old prepping her father's daily heroin dose, her fervent religiosity and her fantasies about having a baby with an older simpleton she's seducing. He told Reuters, "I just felt we are constricting the way we look at the world and the way we think, particularly about children. I knew full well when we were making it there would be a lot of adults who would really squirm and be very uncomfortable, but that's because of what goes on in their heads, not because of what children are about."

Yeah that's it, Terry. It's the other adults who are messed in the heads.

Tideland is scheduled for an October US release.

Posted by karen at 12:26 PM |

July 25, 2006

Less Money, Mo Problems

Oscar winning film, Crash

Watching Vincent Chase get handed a $1 million check on Entourage a few weeks ago, it's easy to assume that this is the beautiful way Hollywood works when producers have a box office and critical hit on their hands. Not so, says today's New York Times article about the slow pay off dribble for folks associated with last year's Oscar-winning film, Crash. Writer/director Paul Haggis plus eight of the principal actors have yet to see much in the way of compensation and it seems like from the article that a lot of this has to do with business practice by producer Bob Yari.

"In Hollywood it is not unusual for squabbles to erupt over dividing the spoils when a small film becomes a very big hit. But part of what is creating bruised feelings with Crash is the sense among the starring cast members that their initial sacrifice has not been acknowledged with a gesture, whatever the precise state of collection accounts.

Youd think that for a movie that won best picture, what you would do is write the actors a check against their profits, or you give them a car, or something, said a representative for one of the leading actors, who spoke on condition of anonymity because his client had barred him from speaking on the record. That would be the classy thing to do. He added: The money is dribbling in. Its almost offensive how little money it is.'"

This is sad news for anyone who likes to root for little movies that could but who also have to pay the mortage.

Posted by karen at 2:00 PM |

July 24, 2006

Even More Love For Richard Donner

One of the most interesting things to come out of the hype and hoopla around Bryan Singer's Superman Returns this summer is the film and its director's admiration of Richard Donner. Donner directed the 1978 Superman movie with Christopher Reeves and began work on a sequel when he was given the boot in favor of Richard Lester. However, Singer has said in numerous interviews how influenced he was by Donner's movie and now that unseen Donner Superman II will get the DVD treatment from Warner Bros. at the end of November, according to E! Online. Apparently there's a bunch of great Marlon Brando as Superman's father and also a totally different opening and ending, as well as less jokiness from Gene Hackman as Lex Luther.

It always tickles the Cinecultist when questions of taste change. What was so very bad in '78, is now worth saving according to superfans like Singer. Another point on the blackboard for movie obsessives.

Posted by karen at 9:42 AM |

July 19, 2006

Rule 1: Don't Call Him A Drama Queen

culkin.jpgCinecultist doesn't claim to completely understand that lovely, mysterious figure that is "the boy," but we'd guess it's probably common sense not to call them "drama queens" especially when they are being shelled by rocket fire from Lebanon. Actors Macaulay Culkin and Mila Kunis were on vaca in the beachy part of Northern Israel until the recent heightened unrest in the region.

"The couple were enjoying a relaxing holiday when rocket fire hit the Israeli town of Haifa, where the couple was staying. Culkin insisted the pair immediately leave the country, but Kunis was reluctant to end her holiday early, telling the Jerusalem Post, 'He's a drama queen.'"

Granted CC has been in an Israeli town while a nearby one was being shelled and it wasn't as traumatic as you'd imagine, but still. Isn't it the fastest route to completely emasculating your man by calling him any kind of queen, let alone a dramatic one? Think the next news we hear about this cute couple is that they're kaput? [Via WENN on IMdb]

Posted by karen at 10:57 AM |

July 11, 2006

Kitano Kicks Ass, Also Writes

Takeshi Kitano's collection of stories, Boy will get an English language release by Vertical, Inc. The translation will be done by Alfred Birnbaum who worked on a number of Haruki Murakami's early works. Think the pages will turn in hyperstylized slow motion with fountains of blood spurting out? Because that'd be kinda sweet. [via GalleyCat]

Posted by karen at 3:45 PM |

R.I.P. June Allyson


Actress June Allyson passed away at 88 on Saturday. She was born in the Bronx, she taught herself to dance after being crushed by a tree branch, and she appeared in 25 MGM films over 11 years, many of them musicals. She also fell for married fellow actor Dick Powell who left his family for her, a little shocking biographical detail from a primarily second tier studio actress known for playing the nice girlfriend or nice wife.

Women identify with me, she said in a 1986 intervew, and while men desire Cyd Charisse, theyd take me home to meet Mom.

Allyson played heroine Jo March in the 1949 version of Little Women with Peter Lawford, Margaret O'Brien, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh and Mary Astor. Her obit from the New York Times.

Posted by karen at 10:17 AM |

June 21, 2006

File This Under 'Not Really Sure It's A Good Idea'

- Apple is in talks to make full length films available for download through iTunes. The part that gives us pause: in the New York Times article yesterday, the author suggests that someone might want to watch the Godfather on their iPod. Not to be one of those annoying movie purists but the article further goes on to point out that the resolution quality on an iTunes download is really best suited for watching the video on an iPod screen. Most movies, particularly shot in the scope of Francis Ford Coppola's flick, shouldn't be seen that small. It's just not right (says Cinecultist in our best Chris Rock voice).

- Motherfucker: the Movie. The part that gives us pause: that filmmaker David Casey had a "vision" before making the mere trailer for his documentary about the famed New York party. "While in the pit, directing our steadicam operator, I experienced the most intense emotion - looking through a viewfinder, yelling for him to tighten the shot, and holding up the barricade behind me (the audience was going insane!) - people were being crushed: screaming, euphoric. That morning, while sleeping, the trailer came to me - literally. I saw everything, set to Cosmic Dancer, image and emotion completely united . . . .within." Hyperbole of this magnitude shouldn't be rewarded. But what the hay, add the movie's MySpace page as one of your friends, we're not stopping you.

PS. The only time Cinecultist has ever seen anyone actually get punched in the face was at the Motherfucker party that featured Bloc Party. Does this further recommend the parties or freak you out? Could be a good litmus test to determine whether you should see the film.

Posted by karen at 5:50 PM |

June 6, 2006

Ziyi Zhang And Her Seven Samurai


Ah, it's a different cinema world than 2002. Those were the days when Cinecultist heard reports about Zhang Yimou, a Chinese director known for his sweeping and artsy historical epics, and his new martial arts action film, Hero. Apparently it was the biggest thing since the dumpling in China and Miramax had bought the rights, yet they had no concrete plans to release it. Even after the popularity of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for that studio, it was not until Quentin Tarantino had a hit on his hands for the po-mo hodge podge Kill Bill that those Weinstein brothers seemed to think that the American public was hungry for all things Asian. We could've told Bob and Harvey that Hero would be a hit, but they don't listen.

Though now it seems that they're whistling a new tune and this one is accompanied by an erhu. According to Variety today, the Weinstein Company is in final talks with adorable actress Ziyi Zhang for a three picture deal including a live action version of the folk legend, Mulan and a remake of Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. This is both exciting but a touch perplexing. Mulan for Ziyi we get -- as long as we don't loose the talking dragon character called Mushu -- but Samurai? It's been a few years since we watched this movie but we don't recall there being any big women parts in the film. Aren't samurai almost always men? And that production still pictured above looks like all dudes to you too, right?

Anyhow, we have faith in the pocket sized Ziyi, especially after her more complex turn in 2046, even if we don't trust those Weinstein's further than we can throw them, and we're cautiously intrigued by the idea of a new DVD label from the company called Dragon Dynasty which they announced at Cannes.

Posted by karen at 10:16 AM |

May 24, 2006

They Booed, But Did They Throw Cake?

marieantoinette.jpgAt the Cannes Film Festival press screening for Marie Antoinette, Variety reports today that members of the French press booed Sofia Coppola's new film. Apparently, some of them were cranky about the way their former queen was portrayed on screen.

What is this about exactly? Were they afraid that this new movie will make being an indulged, teenage dictator look too glamorous? Is the French Revolution really in danger of being spun by Hollywood to make the peasants look bad in comparison? This seems completely bizarre to us.

Still, despite this cultural-disconnect weirdness Cinecultist's fascination with this movie and our intense devotion to Sofia (she's muse to Marc Jacobs, come on!) continues unabated. Now we want to find a copy of Antonia Fraser's biography which Sofia's script is based on. She made such interesting adaptation choices with The Virgin Suicides. Sorry kids, you will probably have to continue reading about this level of obsessing between now and October, when the film comes out. Brace yourselves.

Posted by karen at 4:19 PM |

May 23, 2006

Some Things To Think About

Here's a couple of items rattling around in the ol' Cinecultist noggin today:

- On the WTF? front: Wong Kar Wai is planning to do an English language feature. And it'll be a romantic comedy. And it'll starring the Grammy-winning singer, Norah Jones. And it'll be called My Blueberry Nights. Wha? WKW, what are you thinking? In what universe of possibility would this be a good idea? [via Variety]

- Sofia Coppola's new movie, Marie Antoinette screens at Cannes tomorrow and folks are on pins and needles to see the Kristen Dunst flick. While US audiences will have to wait until the fall to see it, it'll open to wide French release this week from Pathe as well as the festival screening. The editor of Cahiers du Cinema, Michael Frodon said: "It's very elegantly and generously directed and it has an energy that goes beyond the obstacles that hinder and slow down most historical films." Could this news instigate a weekend jaunt to Paris for the Cinecultist? [also via Variety]

- Manohla Dargis is such a darn good writer. That was our thought while reading her Cannes dispatch today. Regarding Oliver Stone's new 9/11 film which was excerpted at the festival, she writes:

He noted that the special effects looked like something out of a Japanese science fiction film (they didn't) and that "the truth must exist in some way to confront power and extremism." These words were followed by 20 unnerving minutes in which we follow a Port Authority officer, played by Nicolas Cage, from his predawn rise to when the second tower collapses on him. It would be both impossible and unfair to say more, other than that the footage looked good and was very upsetting to watch, primarily because it includes images of the actual burning towers. (That said, Mr. Cage's mustache does elicit concern since bad hair sometimes portends a bad film; witness Mr. Stone's "Alexander.") Like "United 93," this clip made me wonder why Hollywood seems so eager to turn this raw national wound into entertainment.

Eeep, Nic Cage with working class facial hair? That does sound freaky. [via the NY Times]

- The Subway Cinema festival is coming up really soon (June 16 - July 1) and we're psyched, especially as the fest organizers keep sending CC press releases with hilarious descriptions of their films. Will there be anything as good in the line-up as last year's fest winner, The Taste of Tea? Dear lord, we hope so.

Posted by karen at 3:20 PM |

May 17, 2006

The Midnight Cowboy Wants You!

Jon VoightFor entry level administrative and errand running work, that is. This is someone's dream job, somewhere, right? And we're not just talking about Angelina fans. Somebody must still secretly worship Jon Voight, no? Even though he's nearly 70 and starred in Anaconda. [via Gawker]

Posted by karen at 8:45 PM |

May 11, 2006

"Othercott" Isn't A Word


The controversy and general mouth-frothing begins to heat up as we near the May 19 release date for The Da Vinci Code, the movie version of Dan Brown's behemoth of a best seller. In the NY Times today, they discuss all of the evangelical Christian's potential strategies against the film. They are three-fold:

1) See it, but "teach" others that the plot details about Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene are wrong. Maybe try to see it with a non-believer.

2) Don't go see it. "I don't have to see 'The Devil in Miss Jones' to know it's pornography, and I don't have to see 'The Da Vinci Code' to know that it's blasphemous," said [Robert H.] Knight, [director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, a conservative Christian group based in Washington].

3) Go see something else instead, aka an Othercott. "The idea was dreamed up by Barbara Nicolosi, a former nun who now directs Act One, a program in Los Angeles that coaches Christian screenwriters."

But could all of this brouhaha really be an evil ploy by Sony Pictures publicity to make us talk about the film further? A conspiracy, even? "Talk of 'the movie being an opportunity for evangelism is a line completely concocted by the Sony Pictures marketing machine,' said Ms. Nicolosi. 'All they care about is getting the box office, and if they don't get the red states to turn out, the movie tanks.'"

This mystery sounds like a job for a dour Tom Hanks in need of a haircut and his trusty sidekick Audrey Tautou. To the Hollywood mobile, Amlie!

Posted by karen at 12:41 PM |

April 20, 2006

Cannes Do Attitude

The complete line-up of the Cannes Film Festival (May 17 - 28) came out today and it seems to be a pretty similar kind of mix from the past few years. There's some very mainstream American fare (The Da Vinci Code, Over the Hedge), some indie US (Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, Richard Linklater's Scanner Darkly and Fast Food Nation, Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette) and some highly anticipated new features from established international directors (Pedro Almodovar's Volver, Aki Kaurismaki's Lights at the Edge of the City and Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley).

Variety points out in their run down of the list that there's only one South Korean feature The Unforgiven by Yoon Jong-bin which is a surprise considering how strong Korean cinema has been in the international market for the past few years.

For our part, we'd love to be a fly on the wall in the jury room during deliberation, it's a pretty eclectic bunch: Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong director (president); Monica Bellucci, Italian actress; Helena Bonham-Carter, English actress; Lucrecia Martel, Argentinean director; Zhang Ziyi, Chinese actress; Samuel L. Jackson, American actor; Patrice Leconte, French director; Tim Roth, English actor and Elia Suleiman, Palestinian director. We sense that things might get pretty heated between Wong and Roth, then Bonham-Carter will start screeching and Jackson will have to punch a wall or just yell "Snakes on a Plane!" restore order. It'll be crazy, we're sure.

After the jump we've cut and pasted the full list of films in and out of competition.

"The Da Vinci Code," U.S., Ron Howard (non-competing)

"Transylvania," France, (non-competing)

"The Weakest Is Always Right," Belgium-France, Lucas Belvaux
"Summer Palace," China-France, Lou Ye
"Lights at the Edge of the City," Finland, Aki Kaurismaki
"Flandres," France, Bruno Dumont
"Selon Charlie," France, Nicole Garcia
"Quand j'etais chanteur," France, Xavier Giannoli
"Days of Glory," France, Algeria, Rachid Bouchareb
"The Wind That Shakes the Barley," Ireland-U.K., Ken Loach
"The Cayman," Italy-France, Nanni Moretti
"The Family Friend," Italy, Paolo Sorrentino
"Pan's Labyrinth," Mexico-Spain-U.S., Guillermo del Toro
"Youth on the March," Portugal, Pedro Costa
"Volver," Spain, Pedro Almodovar
"Climates," Turkey, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
"Red Road," U.K.-Denmark, Andrea Arnold
"Fast Food Nation," U.K.-U.S, Richard Linklater
"Marie-Antoinette," U.S., Sofia Coppola
"Southland Tales," U.S., Richard Kelly
"Babel," U.S.-Morocco, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

"United 93," U.S.-U.K., Paul Greengrass
"X-Men: The Last Stand," U.S., Brett Ratner
"Over the Hedge," U.S., Tim Johnson, Karey Kirkpatrick

"Election 2," Hong Kong, Johnnie To
"Silk," Taiwan, Su Chao-pin
"Shortbus," U.S., John Cameron Mitchell

"Zidane, un portrait du 21e siecle," France, Phillipe Parreno, Douglas Gordon
"These Girls," France, Tahani Rached
"Avida," France, Benoit Delepine
"Ici Najac, a vous la terre," France, Jean-Henri Meunier
"Bamako," France-Mauritania, Abderrahmane Sissako
"Volevo Solo Vivere," Italy, Mimmo Calopresti
"Boffo: Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters," U.S., Bill Couturie
"An Inconvenient Truth," U.S., Davis Guggenheim

"Cronica de una fuga," Argentina, Israel, Adrian Caetano
"Ten Canoes," Australia, Rolf de Heer
"Surburban Mayhem," Australia, Paul Goldman
"Luxury Car," China, Wang Chao
"La tourneuse de pages," France, Denis Dercourt
"La Californie," France, Jacques Fieschi
"Meurtrieres," France, Patrick Grandperret
"Paris, je t'aime," France, 24 directors (opener)
"Bled Number One," France-Algeria, Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche
"977," France-Russia, Nikolay Khomeriki
"Re-cycle," Hong Kong, Oxide Pang, Danny Pang
"Taxidermia," Hungary, Gyorgy Palfi
"Serambi," Indonesia, Garin Nugroho
"The Wedding Director," Italy-France, Marco Bellocchio
"You Am I," Lithuania, Kristijonas Vildziunas
"El violin," Mexico, Francisco Vargas
"Uro," Norway, Stefan Faldbakken
"Hamaca Paraguaya," Paraguay, Paz Encina
"Z odzysku," Poland, Slawomir Fabicki
"Cum Mi-am Petrecut Sfarsiful Lumii," Romania, Catalin Mitulescu
"The Unforgiven," South Korea, Yoon Jong-bin
"Salvador Puig Antich," Spain, Manuel Huerga
"Bihisht Faqat Baroi Murdagon," Tajikistan, Djamshed Usmonov
"A Scanner Darkly," U.S., Richard Linklater

Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong director (president)
Monica Bellucci, Italian actress
Helena Bonham-Carter, English actress
Lucrecia Martel, Argentinean director
Zhang Ziyi, Chinese actress
Samuel L. Jackson, American actor
Patrice Leconte, French director
Tim Roth, English actor
Elia Suleiman, Palestinian director

Andrei Konchalovsky, Russian director (president)
Sandrine Bonnaire, French actress
Daniel Bruhl, German actor
Souleymane Cisse, Malian director
Zbigniew Preisner, Polish composer

Andrei Konchalovsky, Russian director (presi-dent)
Sandrine Bonnaire, French actress
Daniel Bruhl, German actor
Souleymane Cisse, Malian director
Zbigniew Preisner, Polish composer

"Primera Nieve," Pablo Aguero
"Banquise," Claude Barras, Cedric Louis
"Poyr," Belma Bas
"Ongeriewe," Robin Kleinsmidt
"Conte de Quartier," Florence Miailhe
"Film Noir," Parker Osbert
"Sniffer," Bobbie Peers
"Sexy Thing," Denie Pente-cost
"Nature's Way," Jane Shearer
"O Monstro," Eduardo Valente

"The Water Diary," Jane Campion
"Les signes," Eugene Green
"Stanley's Girlfriend," Monte Hellman
"Sida," Gaspard Noe
"Un lever de Rideau," Francois Ozon

Posted by karen at 3:00 PM |

April 18, 2006

We Looked At the Look Book And All We Saw Was Layers

Today, our friends at Gawker asked us to contribute to their weekly feature, Looking at the Look Book wherein contributors make fun of New York magazine's man/woman-on-the-street-and-their-wacked-out-fashion-sense feature. It was a fun little diversion and you should read our responses post haste.

Did you go outside today? It was the most gorgeous day in New York. Even though Cinecultist is a slave to our day job, we did have to go on an errand around 2 pm and walking up Park Avenue and then back down Madison, we marveled at the sun dappled through the blossoming trees. Is there anything more lovely than springtime in New York?

Posted by karen at 7:54 PM |

March 24, 2006

Randy Quaid is an Instantly Recognizable Household Name

randy_quaid.jpgRandy Quaid wants to see some of those Brokeback dollars, according to an article in Variety today. "Randy Quaid has filed a lawsuit against Focus Features alleging that Universal's specialty arm duped him into deferring normal pay for his role in "Brokeback Mountain" by falsely representing the project as a low-budget indie pic with no prospect of making money." Apparently, when Quaid was in salary talks with sweet little Taiwainese director Ang Lee, Lee characterized the film's monetary prospects in much more modest terms than what the Oscar-winning film ended up doing at the box office.

The best part of this article is two fold: That "defendants were engaging in a 'movie laundering' scheme designed to obtain the services of talent such as Randy Quaid on economically unfavorable art film terms" and that "Randy Quaid is an instantly recognizable household name and much-admired actor on the world's stage with a worldwide box office total of nearly $2 billion. His likeness, talent and name are worth millions of dollars and are solely his property." Hehe, lawsuit speak is the best ever.

Quaid wants Universal Pictures, the owners of Focus Features, to show him the money to the tune of $10 million. Stay tuned to see if the star of such pictures as The Paper, Caddyshack II and The Adventures of Pluto Nash is vindicated.

Posted by karen at 6:06 PM |

February 1, 2006

This Time The Puppets Get Swords


Probably only Cinecultist and three of our geekiest readers will be excited about this news, but here it is: Jim Henson Co is working on a sequel to the 1982 children's classic, Dark Crystal! This is very cool, but it gets even better. And! It's going to be directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, the brilliant creator behind the animated series Samurai Jack. Everything's going to be puppets but puppets with CGI backgrounds according to an article in Variety today. [subscrip. req.]

Set hundreds of years after the first pic, sequel follows a mysterious girl made of fire who steals a shard of the crystal in hopes of reigniting the dying sun.

"The original 'Dark Crystal' was the pinnacle of puppetry; they created characters that were as believable as the ones you see in animated films," Tartakovsky said. "There is a limited budget here, and this will be more artsy, in a 'Sin City' fashion, with characters performing over greenscreen and great backgrounds behind it," he said.

We never thought we'd be so excited about a movie about a shard. Again. Now if only they'd do something to update the Secret of Nimh...

Posted by karen at 4:11 PM |

January 31, 2006

Oscar Noms Provide A Few Surprises

As per usual, the announcements this morning of the 78th annual Academy Award nominations were primarily what was to be expected. It is Hollywood after all, not avant garde performance poetry. However there were a couple of moments during Mira Sorvino and Academy president Sid reading of the list that had Cinecultist gasping aloud either in excitement or puzzlement.

And they are (envelope please):

- Amy Adams' nod for supporting actress in Junebug = wahoo!
- Terrence Howard for best actor in Hustle and Flow = wtf?
- Nominations for Phillip Seymour Hoffman as best actor, Catherine Keener as best supporting, Dan Futterman's script, Bennett Miller's direction and best picture for Capote = wahoo, wahoo!
- Crash as best picture = wtf?
- Howl's Moving Castle's nom for best animated feature = wahoo!
- Only best actor and best actress noms for Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line = wtf?

Posted by karen at 9:02 AM |

December 8, 2005

Harold Pinter: Curmudgeon of the World

Reading this article today in the New York Times about Harold Pinter's acceptance speech of his Nobel Prize, Cinecultist couldn't help but be pleased by his politically-aware, old man routine. Give em hell, HP! So articulate and yet so crusty, it sounds like a very uncomfortable or exhilarating moment, depending on your leanings. [HPs entire speech is available in video form.]

CC loves two particular HP and movies moments: his brilliant adaptation of one of the most unadaptable novels ever, The French Lieutenants Woman starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons and Pinter's performance as Sir Thomas Bertram in the 1999 Frances O'Conner starring Mansfield Park. He's so bracingly English and ostentatiously opinionated. It's like the splash of cold sea water on your face -- refreshing but a little painful.

We salute you, good sir on your well deserved win of such a covetable (and lucrative - $1.3 mil. no less) award. Kudos!

Posted by karen at 8:39 AM |

November 29, 2005

Sundance Line-Up Revealed

Question: Is the utter coolness of the Sundance Film Festival selection committee for screening the film directed by Bob Goldthwait* canceled out by the inclusion of a movie writtend and directed by Joey Lauren Adams**? [Full line up available via indieWire.]

* aka the comedian formerly known as Bobcat.
** aka the actress with the squeakiest voice since Betty Boop.

Posted by karen at 2:02 PM |

November 11, 2005

Cronenberg on HBO

the Dead Ringers operating room

Thrilling news today for people like Cinecultist who obsess over the programming on HBO and the film stylings of Canadian director David Cronenberg: Variety reports that he has plans with HBO to turn his delightfully twisted 1988 film, Dead Ringers into a series for the cable network.

If you don't recall, DR is one of the key films that makes Cronenberg both "fucked up and awesome" (as in the question CC would ask him ie. why is he, if we met him). Jeremy Irons plays twin gynecologist brothers who create baroque internal examining tools that seem like something out of Dune or The Handmaiden's Tale. Then the brothers, they go crazy. God, it's so awesome, CC wants to watch it right now. Imagine what Cronenberg could do with this material on HBO which airs like-minded ilk, as evidenced by shows like the incest-apoloza and animal sacrifice-tastic Rome on right now? The only fear would be the Jeremy Irons factor, as in, who could they get to fill his awesome shoes? This could be the tricky part, but surely worth the effort Mr. Cronenberg so get crackin'! [via Variety subscription req'd.]

Posted by karen at 8:23 AM |

October 26, 2005

Another Reason To Visit Paris Soon

Not that one really needs an excuse right? But the opening of the new Cinmathque Franaise in a Frank Gehry building is enough to make the Cinecultist pull out our beret and jaunty neck scarf and make a break for the next flight.

Through Jan. 9, is "Renoir/Renoir," presented with the Muse d'Orsay, which draws parallels between the work of the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and that of his son, the great director Jean Renoir. Some of the parallels work: Renoir's "Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre" hangs beside a screen showing similar night-life scenes from his son's "Elena et les Hommes."

Anyone out there interested in taking us away for a weekend, before it gets too cold? [via The New York Times]

Posted by karen at 12:27 PM |

October 25, 2005

We Could've Told Variety That

File it under Durr, We could've predicted these audience numbers from last weekend with a broken calculator:

North Country's aud was 62% female and 68% over 30.

Doom auds were 69% male and 61% under 25. Indicating strong appeal to the core aud, 59% had previously played the vidgame. [via Variety]

And the delicate gender balance at the movies is upheld for yet another week. Whew.

Posted by karen at 11:30 PM |

October 11, 2005

File Under Major Ooops

If only there were a way to "back up" clay.

Wallace & Gromit' Archive Ruined in Fire [via the AP]

Posted by karen at 8:29 AM |

June 29, 2005

Run! It's Aliens! And TomKat!

Though it's important to take anything said by A.O. Scott with a grain of salt, we found this sentence from the end of his War of the Worlds review intriguing:

"All of which serves as a reminder - perhaps superfluous - that this is only a movie, and a lesser Spielberg movie at that. But "War of the Worlds" also succeeds in reminding us that while Mr. Spielberg doesn't always make great movies, he seems almost constitutionally incapable of bad moviemaking."

More of the primarily positive critic's round up via Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps you recall that Reverse Shot did a Spielberg symposium, which you might want to refamiliarize yourself with pre-WotW viewing. Also completely adorable and hilarious, Trent of Pink Is The New Blog attended the LA premiere and snapped some papparazzi style pictures.

Will all of this buzz propel Cinecultist into the theater this weekend? We're on the fence about it, to be honest. Dakota Fanning's little screams and Tom's weirdness seems to be overwhelming our usual curiousity. Stay tuned for further details.

Posted by karen at 9:02 AM |

June 26, 2005

A Pulitzer, A TV Show and Now This?

Last week, Cinecultist was feeling a tad low and jealous to read that film critic Roger Ebert received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sure, we haven't coined a movie rating system that's permeated the culture (yet) but heck, where's our love? That was until our boss pointed out that Ebert had to pay for his own darn star. Yes, that is correct. Upon nomination and an accompanying letter from one's representation, a star made of terrazzo and brass will only cost the celeb $15,000 out of their own pocket (click on the FAQ and scroll for more info). Sure, you have to beat out the other 200 plus applicants in one of five categories in June during the voting process and then write the fat check but then immortality is yours, just like the Rog!

Now, if only we can figure out how he rigged that Pulitzer...

[BTW, do you think Tom Wolfe knows Ebert stole his suit for the ceremony, as seen in the wire image?]

Posted by karen at 9:18 AM |

June 14, 2005

A Few Things Of Note

The IFC Center at the old Waverly theater in the West Vil opens on Friday with the New York run of Me and You and Everyone We Know. There's going to be a restaurant with fancy pub food in it too! And a back garden! Excitement! [full report via Curbed].

Caryn James on that fickle mistress that is movie celebrity in today's New York Times. [thanks Ilana!]

Essential reading (from a few days ago, sorry we just noticed this piece): Manohla Dargis on Jonas Mekas.

T-minus three days to Subway Cinema. OMG. So psyched.

To do very soon: Find your summer outdoor movie sheet. That's because Monday kicks off the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. "Memories, like the corners of my mind..." "Your girl is lovely, Hubble." [Note to Jori: See you there Barbra fan! Save us a spot.] Here's a little track for zee personal soundtrack to get you in the mood:

The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand

Posted by karen at 11:20 PM |

June 13, 2005

Ease On Down, Ease On Down The Road


The Scarecrow returns to his home with the chimps and "the Jesus Juice" on Neverland Ranch. "He's the Wiz and he lives in Oz."

"Jackson Not Guilty: Jurors acquit pop star of all molestation charges"

Posted by karen at 9:20 PM |

June 9, 2005

Breaking News From The Eee Vee

From Cinecultist's source on the mean streets of the Eee Vee (ie. whose job does not require him to be in an A/C'ed cube all day) --



I was in Kim's on St. Mark's this afternoon looking for the new Casino dvd. The place was buzzing. It seems that yesterday at around 1pm, the cops showed up, kicked all the customers out, and arrested the cine-geeks behind the counter. Something about trafficking in bootleg dvds and cd. The raid was conducted by the NYPD -- with logistical support from some suits in the employ of the copyright gestapo. A hip village chick showed up to visit her Kim's employee boyfriend only to be told the he'd been busted yesterday, spent the night on ice, and was still at Guantanamo Soho waiting for a judge to spring him.

Well, Casino wasn't on the shelf yet (but The First Amendment Project was*).

*This is NOT a shameless plug by our tipster. No way, no how. Photo courtesy of him, as well.

Posted by karen at 6:40 PM |

June 6, 2005

CC Knows Someone In The NYT

BREAKING NEWS: Our buddy Fiona is so totally famous and in the New York Times today. Sure today, she's famous for being a weenie handler at the BookExpo America, but tomorrow, who knows? Lizzie Grubman or someone famous for being a book publicist better watch out, Fiona Lee is in town! Here's a picture of Fi with the giant weenie.

Posted by karen at 10:59 AM |

Russell Crowe: Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

phone.jpgJust when you were thinking to yourself, "Hey, we were all wrong about Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe. He's not some crazed, over-grown hoodlum with anger management issues -- he's a family man, who owns a sheep farm, sings in a rock band and is dedicated to the craft of acting." He goes and gets arrested for throwing a telephone at a Mercer Hotel employee. Seriously, are they handing out crazy pills at the airport these days to those exiting from First Class? "Welcome to the Big Apple various celebs, feel free to assault our citizens." Don't the bold face names know they can't get away with that behavior here? Don't they know we New Yorkers have Page Six on the speed dial?

Pictured above is not a facsimile of the actual phone thrown by Crowe. The Mercer is much too hip to have such old school technology for their posh guests. Crowe is in town promoting his boxing movie, Cinderella Man. No joke necessary.

Posted by karen at 8:57 AM |

May 31, 2005

When Former Teen Idols Go Bad

We really should've seen this coming. As reported by our anonymous tipster last week, we knew Christian Slater likes to frequent the Upper East Side watering holes. But apparently, he's also into the ol' "grab and dash." But dearie, that don't fly in Yorktown. No, sir.

The only thing lingering in the Cinecultist's mind: in the era of limelight relationships and well-timed gadget thefts, we really hope this isn't a pathetic promo tool for Mindhunters.

Posted by karen at 8:56 AM |

May 29, 2005

Stone: Busted!

The saddest part about this story, wherein director Oliver Stone was arrested for DUI, again? That they nabbed the Stone-ster in a routine Memorial Day traffic stop. At least Mickey and Mallory Knox would've gone down in a blaze of glory. Or Jim Morrison would've gotten into a tussle with the fuzz. And even Ron Kovic might've at least picketed or something. Oh, how the mighty fucked up have fallen.

In not entirely unrelated news: the director's cut of Alexander will actual feature less of a homosexual subtext. Boo! Hiss! (Here's where CC throws virtual tomatoes and lettuce heads in Stone and co's general direction.)

Posted by karen at 12:52 PM |

May 16, 2005

You Say It's Your Birthday

Today the Cinecultist, aka the writer otherwise known as Karen, turns 28. And this blog just completed it's second year of existence. And our tenure in New York is nearing the four year mark, so it's a time for celebrating and neurotic reevaluations.

According to our friend Jen, 28 in Chinese is a lucky number because it sounds similar to a phrase about becoming wealthy. So we figure, this is the year where we really cash in on this film critic stuff.

By the way, not tonight because CC is a slave to the man, but on Saturday there will be drinking in the Lower East Side. In the meantime, please show us some birthday sugar in the comments. Because as we said, being this much closer to three-oh is praying on our nerves and we need as much reassurance as we can get.

Posted by karen at 9:09 AM | | Comments (6)

May 7, 2005

Man Slut

And Cinecultist thought that seeing Tom and Katie canoodling [was there ever better call for this word?] in Roma would be the #1 thing to turn our stomach this week. Thanks Colin Farrell, you big skank. Leave it to your prolifigate, greasy Irish ways to show us where new bottoms are. Cheers!

[Dame Eileen] Atkins revealed the Irish lothario spent nearly three hours begging her to sleep with him, but despite his stunning looks, she turned him down because he is 42 years her junior. She explains, "Three weeks before my 70th birthday, a simply stunning, gorgeous big film star came into my hotel room for sex without strings. I spent two and a half hours saying no, but it cheered me up fantastically."

Previously: Cinecultist on C.F.'s need to grope entertainment journalists. (It's sort of a given that we kinda secretly hope someday we should be so lucky, right?)

Posted by karen at 12:00 PM |

April 20, 2005

Crazy Town; Population, Everyone

File Under: Arrrghh -- The best part of this Associated Press article about a DVD piracy bust in Shanghai of two Americans is the pay differntial for being a criminal mastermind ($159,000) versus a tech lackey ($1,450).

kimjongilKim Jong Il Hearts National Velvet -- He just loves movies, [South Korean director kidnapped by the dictator] Shin [Sang Ok] went on. He likes all kinds of movies. But his favorites are adventure movies, like Indiana Jones. He has a fondness for Elizabeth Taylor, too.
[via the New Yorker's Talk of the Town]

Posted by karen at 3:17 PM |

March 14, 2005

'Oh,' The 'Payne!'

CC was going for a New York Post-ish headline to signal the dissolve of our favoritest director/actress coupling, Alexander Payne and Sandra Oh. Sigh. Everyone's breaking up these days and it just makes us sad.

Like our tipster, Kristi of ArtFlickChick, we were hoping for some Oh starring Payne directed picture, ala the collaboration between Assayas and Cheung or something. But as Kristi pointed out to us, the end did seem inevitable. "I knew it! At all those awards shows, they looked so distant, and I kept waiting for Alexander to thank her, just once, in his numerous winning speeches." So there's a free tip for other celeb couples, if your spouse stops thanking you, think about the therapy.

[PS: The first hit when you Google "Assayas Cheung" is our essay for Reverse Shot last year, so feel free to read it again.]

Ah well, even Godard and Karina didn't last forever, eh?

Posted by karen at 5:13 PM |

March 7, 2005

Random Monday Notes

Thank you Danny Boyle for the mental image of Ewan McGregor with those Bliss Spa lotion booties on hand and foot: "Actors like to put out the PR that they're living a wild life in night clubs, but really they're tucked up in bed early with their moisturizer on," Boyle said. [via Page Six regarding a potential sequel to Trainspotting, maybe a few years down the road. In other words -- No news to report, just random photo/quotage.]

If you live in the New York area and love movies, please think about volunteering for the Tribeca Film Festival. There's an event tonight at the Tribeca Cinemas from 6:30-8 pm, so you should head down there. Just think, potentially free movies and maybe even a Bobby DeNiro sighting in it for ya! More info via the official festival site.

After watching a luminous Joan Allen on the Today show this morning plugging her new movie Upside of Anger, CC wondered what the early buzz was on Rotten Tomatoes. Surprisingly, it has a 100% fresh rating as of this morning. Sure, that's only with 6 reviews logged in but still, it is an intriguing sign. Peter Travers in Rolling Stone liked it and he was the critic of record in the 14 year old CC's world, along with Pauline Kael and Mick LaSalle of course. Does Travers have any clout any more? Is he becoming a sad, formerly rock n' roll version of Gene Shalit? Cinecultist hopes not. If any of our readers have Travers gossip, please shoot us an e-mail.

In the apropos of nothing department: Cinecultist has lived in New York for nigh on 4 years now and only just decided to take advantage of the drop off your laundry and pay to have it washed, dried and folded this weekend. If our stoic Central Valley California grandparents knew their first born granddaughter succumbed to such decadent city ways, they might disown us. Shhh, don't tell.

Posted by karen at 9:03 AM |

March 6, 2005


The New York Times asks, "Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New M.B.A.?"

Discuss amongst yourselves.

[thanks William for the tip!]

Posted by karen at 1:22 PM | | Comments (3)

February 28, 2005

Oscars, The Morning After

jake_gyllenhaal130.jpeJust a little gratuitous Jake Gyllenhaal with shaved head on the red carpet picture action for all of you fans out there. CC still hearts Jake but this shaved head thing is not not working for us. Grow back those lovely locks soon, Jakie. [via Yahoo! photo galleries]

A full list of the winners, in case you needed something more official than our spotty list in our live blog of the event.

Also, Defamer live blogged the telecast from the west coast. Try not to cry from laughing while reading it, this behavior looks suspicious at work.

Regarding the Sideways win for Best Adapted Screenplay and the novelist's struggles while writing the book:

[Rex] Pickett's financial situation was so dire that he often faced eviction from his apartment as he struggled with the aftermath of the breakup of his marriage and the deaths of his mother and agent. So he decided to write a novel about himself, a failed novelist who retreats to wine.

"Miles' story really is my story," Pickett admitted recently. "At one point, the landlord was going to evict me because the rent was three weeks late, and I told him I couldn't pay it because my mother had died. He said, 'That's what you told me six months ago.' " [via Variety]

Yay for the literary underdog having his day at the Oscars!

Posted by karen at 12:18 PM |

November 16, 2004

Bay-yone, Baby

This one goes out to our former roomie, the original Jersey Girl, Lauren who taught us all we know about the fair state on the other side of the river. The NYT has an article today about the War of the Worlds production, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, which is shooting in Bayone.

Please enjoy the following quote from resident Marie Folger who was pretty psyched to make coffee for Tom Cruise. We understand Marie, as a barista in a previous life, we would be too. There's a picture of her too, holding up a portrait of herself with Mr. Cruise if you click through to the article.

"I had taken the day off, and my husband was in the store," said Ms. Folger, an outgoing 51-year-old. "He called me and said: 'You better get your butt down here, because Tom Cruise is here. I'm steaming his milk right now, but I'm taking a looong time.' "

"It's just something positive," Ms. Folger said. "You're always hearing the negative. That's what I said to Tom Cruise when he was leaving: 'We get a bad rap here. This is a nice town.' "

" 'This is a really nice town,' " Ms. Folger said Mr. Cruise responded.

Posted by karen at 3:41 PM |

November 2, 2004

Don't Forget To Vote


Happy Election Day Cinecultists! Don't forget to leave the movie theaters long enough to stand on line at your local polling stations and cast your vote. Who knows what bud of a presidential cinematic archetype as imagined by our collective unconscious is waiting to sprout? Guess we'll just have to wait with baited breath to see what comes, in the real and imaginary White House.

Is it still too late to nominate Jon Stewart? We'll be watching his live election day coverage tonight starting at 10 pm.

Posted by karen at 8:00 AM |

October 20, 2004

Nick Denton, Film Distributor?

Amongst friends, and at few parties, Cinecultist has joked about the burgeoning growth of the Nick Denton/Gawker Media "evil" empire. The Man's Plan to take over the world, one domain name at a time continues, now with the distribution of impossible to find blue movies under the imprint Fleshbot Films.

Their first release is the long lost Ed Wood picture, Necromania, a pornographic film made at the end of the B-film director's career. Fleshbot Films has now made it, along with two other titles to be released soon, available on newly mastered DVD via Amazon.

More details via the New Yorker Talk of the Town piece in this week's issue. Make like the Cinecultist by reading this on the bus on the way home, then snickering audibly while muttering "that Nick Denton" and making people move down the seat from you. It's fun!

[Confidential to Mr. Denton or those in his hire who add people to lists: If there's a star-studded premiere of Necromania can we be on the list? Or maybe just get sent a screener? CC hearts Ed Wood, bad '70s porn and Gawker, of course.]

Posted by karen at 10:21 PM |

October 11, 2004

Shedding A Tear

Is it just too weird to do a double feature of Superman with Derrida sometime this week in homage?

Thanks for the memories Christopher Reeve (52) and Jacques Derrida (74), we'll miss you. Kryptonite, deconstructionism and the love you felt for your families, will live on here with us.

Posted by karen at 8:47 AM |

An Open Letter From The Cinecultist

Dear Litigious Former High School Friends of Director Richard Linklater,

Hi there! How's it going? We don't know each other, but I read about your case on the AP and I wanted give you some advice. Not from a legal source, because lord knows we have no expertise in that area, but from a cinematic one.

My friends, your time has run out.

Rick made his (apparently) autobiographical paean to '70s high school cruisin' and hang out in suburban Texas in Nineteen Ninety Three. It is now Two Thousand and Four. We've passed the opportunity for a director's edition tenth anniversary DVD release of Dazed and Confused, so it's certainly too late for you three to sue for any kind of defamation on your likeness. We don't think you're going to be able to collect much even if you were for some whacked out reason awarded "damages."

Sure, Rick's transitioned into some more mainstream Hollywood directing lately, what with last year's School of Rock and CC certainly liked Before Sunset though we don't think it did such big box office. Cinecultist thinks he's a director who'll have a lasting impact on the cinematic landscape but a Steven "Money Bags" Spielberg he is not. Now dudes, if you had gone to high school with that guy and he made a movie that had characters with your names in it, then you might be able to make some serious change.

And another thing, if you're still calling yourself Randall 'Pink' Floyd and you're now (let's think here 18 in summer of '76 + 29 years later) 47 years old, people are going to think you do drugs. It's a given, working at car dealership in Huntsville, TX or not. And really, you're being played by Jason London in a movie version of your life, man. That's not too shabby. He's been on the WB and everything.

That's all, we guess. Good luck then with your future endeavors and enjoy your few moments of fame while you can.

the Cinecultist

Posted by karen at 8:25 AM |

October 6, 2004

Jake Gyllenhaal as Toby Young? Say Wha?

Ever have that weird coincidence feeling, wherein certain people keep popping into your brain based on the strange convergence of references in the ether? That happened for Cinecultist recently in regards to writer/hack/impresario Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, his roman a clef about working for Vanity Fair. Apparently, Miramax has optioned the rights to the book and is planning to make a "dick lit" flick about it. Even better (and when we say better, we mean stranger) still is that according to the Sunday Times Jake Gyllenhaal will be playing the bald, portly, 40 year old English writer. Say wha?

CC had Young on the brain, strangely enough, because we'd just finished reading the essay in Peter Hyman's book, The Reluctant Metrosexual, about Hyman's own tenure at Vanity Fair during the Young years and their occasional drunken interactions. Gothamist Interview just recently did a Q & A with Hyman if you're curious, as we were, about how his bad with love/good with disposible income schtick transfers over to his actual life. Anyhoo, picking up Hyman's book randomly a week or so ago because it sounded like the kind of blog we'd like to read, reminded us of why we picked up Young's book. It's all about viewing the nitty gritty of the enviable Manhattan lifestyle in letters.

And so it then makes sense to do a movie about this lifestyle, just like Candace Bushnell hit it big with Sex and the City, one could imagine that the Miramax folks hope Toby might be the new silver screen Carrie. But how could they cast Gyllenhaal? He's 24! And totally American! Maybe it's a typo? Then there's the bit in the article about casting Catherine Zeta Jones as his love interest that he met while in the States? That makes no sense what so ever.

Either way though, we look forward to picking apart this potential production. And the good news, especially say if you're Gawker, is that perhaps Graydon Carter might be persuaded to play himself. Hell, he's in the remake of Alfie coming up. It could be a good career move for the erstwhile editor.

A mediabistro interview with Young from last year, including his nearly naked photo from the New York Observer, if like CC you had no idea what he looked like before.

Posted by karen at 8:39 PM |

October 4, 2004

RIP Janet Leigh

leigh2.jpgGoodnight Ms. Leigh, thanks for everything. Something about the death of old Hollywood figures cause Cinecultist to break out the maudlin language, forgive us. The AP reports today that actress Janet Leigh died Sunday at the age of 77 in her Beverly Hills home.

"Born Jeanette Helen Morrison in Merced, Calif., on July 6, 1927, she was a college student when retired star Norma Shearer saw her photograph at a ski resort. Shearer recommended the teenager to talent agent Lew Wasserman, who negotiated a contract at MGM for $50 a week." CC loves those kind of AP details, if only we had such a romantic rags to riches tale to recount in our obit.

Ok, so Janet Leigh wasn't the best actress to ever grace the silver screen, but we pour out a bit of our proverbial 40 in honor of Touch of Evil, The Manchurian Candidate, Bye Bye Birdie and of course, Psycho. Perhaps it's time to rewatch a few of those.

You always knew Cinecultist liked the high and the low. Today, you can also see CC over on Low Culture, getting all Shallow in their space while writing in the first person about movies. Our brief by the way, was to not try be funny, just in case you wondered.

Posted by karen at 8:43 AM |

September 20, 2004

Questions Answered, thankyavedymuch

When you put passive aggressive questions out into the blog ether, answers will come back to you, we've found. Even if Cinecultist hadn't received a friendly and informative e-mail from Remy Stern regarding the A Dirty Shame blog last week, we still could have caught this article on Reuter's this weekend and found all of our questions answered.

The big answer to our query of what is the point of a production company sponsored blog? Access baby, access. Promised content includes interviews, factoids on the stars and insider information on the set plus coverage of the premieres and information about fetishes, since this is Waters' topic-A for this new picture after all. All that content sounds much more exhaustive than the usual flash heavy, sonic-overloading promotional website and well worth a click through. So there you are. Cinecultist asked. Cinecultist is convinced. Our work here is done.

Posted by karen at 10:14 PM |

August 11, 2004

More Work For Hottie Director Richard Kelly

darko.jpgSome industry news about Cinecultist's favorite filmmaker to objectify, Richard Kelly (He's 29! He went to USC Film School! His favorite movies are Road Warrior and Empire Strikes Back! He's like a real life Dawson Leary!). New York magazine reports Richard is "teaming up with director Tony Scott on a new film called Domino." Keira Knightley will "star as Domino Harvey, the Ford model and daughter of original Manchurian Candidate star Laurence Harvey, who made headlines by rejecting her luxurious life to become a bounty hunter. Shooting starts this fall."

Keira as a bounty hunter? Brilliant! Will she get to kick down doors in skimpy clothes yelling obscenities at brutish fleeing cons? Consider us so there.

Posted by karen at 2:55 PM |

July 26, 2004

This Time There Will Be Revenge

The Associate Press reported yesterday that George Lucas's camp announced the new title for the third installment of the Star Wars prequel series as, "The Revenge of the Sith." Announcing the news to the sci-fi fans at this year's convention, according to the AP the Star Wars geeks cheered for the title seeming to be more pleased with this than previous prequel titles. They also had t-shirts ready for sale at the announcement, a picture of which you can see following the next link.

Our question -- how do we really know that the fans are happy about the new title? Is the guy inside this storm troopers suit in this AP photo from the convention smiling as he holds up this t-shirt? No imperical evidence in this photo, is there?

(Self Promoting) Remainder: Our friends at Daily Gusto interviewed Cinecultist for their Day Jobs Interview Series and it's up today. Find out the shocking details about what CC does from 9 to 5! Actually it's not shocking, we just want you to click over. So click already, okay?

Posted by karen at 8:06 AM |

July 9, 2004

CC's Vacation Week (AKA Why CC's A Lazy Git)

Apologies loyal cinecultists for our lackluster posting schedule this week, we'd like to blame the now concluded week of paid vacation from the Day Job. It's been great vacationing here in the Eee Vee but it has made us a little lax on the posting front and for that we're sorry. However! It doesn't mean we haven't been up to stuff, some of it cinema related no less.

Highlights included

Volunteering for the up coming Asian American International Film Festival beginning next Friday, July 16. If you haven't ever had call to visit the Asia Society on 70th and Park Avenue, the festival is a great opportunity as they'll be screening a whole host of shorts and features from Asian filmmakers in their beautiful space here and at the new ImaginAsian Theater on 59th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues as well. The non profit Asian Cinevision has the whole skinny on their website, including a full schedule of screenings and ticket reservations. More detailed info from us as well, as the fest nears.

A (non-cinema related) posting on Daily Gusto regarding NYC humidity, Lush products, and the brilliant idea of freezing bath gel into ice cube sized servings. Try it! Brilliant!

Attending a Thursday early afternoon CC matinee in Times Square of Antoine Fuqua's new King Arthur, produced by the evil?-evil-genius-more-like Jerry Bruckheimer. We wanted to post a big ol' picture of Keira Knightley and maybe a smaller but still prominent one of Clive Owen but those marketing minions have made the site stills un-Right-Click-Save-able. But let CC rest assure you Keira fans out there, girlfriend is gorgeous and fierce in this film heavy on the liberties with historical accuracy front. And we mean "fierce" not in the gay definition way (thanks, Jason!) but in the sooner shoot you with an arrow while wearing Celtic tattoos and woven leather straps on her breasts, than look at you sort of way. Brilliant!

Drinking free drinks with a few bloggers in the LES, hearing a little gossip and discovering there are actually two girls who are in fact bigger Ben Gibbard fanatics/stalkers than ourselves. Crazy! This evening was a preface to further postings CC will be doing for other venues, but more on that when it comes to pass. Vague, vague, etc.

To come before the return to actual work on Monday some serious dental work (insert sad face) but also David Cross with Tinkle performing at Southpaw and the release of Anchorman in the theaters (very happy face)! Silver lining, cinecultists, silver lining.

Posted by karen at 7:15 PM |

July 6, 2004

Goodnight Marlon

Cinecultist really shouldn't begin the week without acknowledging the passing of one of our great actors, Marlon Brando who died on Friday at 80. An obituary and complete coverage of his career (including reviews of his work on their release) ran in the New York Times over the weekend, though for our taste, CC wouldn't have stressed from the get-go in the obit his later life deterioration to Fat Crazy Marlon. Like the whole Elvis stamp issue (wherein we voted for the young Elvis), we prefer to remember him as the daring, svelte Marlon in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) or the larger-than-life Marlon in the Godfather (1972), or the enigmatic Marlon of Apocalypse Now (1979) or the witty, self-referential Marlon from The Freshman (1990) or maybe even all of the above. In Memorium, we've added On the Waterfront (1954) to our Netflix queue because CC's never seen it but we know we should. We probably won't get around to seeing it for months because of the Netflix build-up, it feels right to have it on there. Goodnight Marlon, r.i.p.

Posted by karen at 11:48 AM |

June 1, 2004

Oh, Baby

Cinecultist's first thought upon hearing that Julia Roberts is pregnant and set to give birth to twins in January? Julia's down to earth. Julia doesn't need to flounce around in poncy accents, pretending to be silver screen legends and whatnot. Julia has played working class. We can trust her not to give her kids some weird-o, fruit-theme names that induce the giggles. However, let's also hope this doesn't slow down the production of Ocean's 12 because we find even that no pictures of the stars trailer clever and charming. By the by, Full Frontal, Steve Soderbergh's hand-held DV indie project post-O11 is worth a rental. The whole cast is lovely and the extras on the DVD worth a view too, but in particular Julia is quite great playing two roles and Blair Underwood is s-e-x-y.

Congrats on the buns in the oven, Jules and cutie cinematographer husband!

Posted by karen at 8:09 AM |

May 17, 2004

The Four One One On '9/11'

There's been quite the buzz around the release/unrelease of Michael Moore's newest documentary, Fahrenheit 911, one of the official selections at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The New York Times reports today about the growing controversy over whether parent company Disney will allow Miramax to distribute the potentially polarizing film.

Cinecultist's initial reaction to all this was that the idea that any distribution company wouldn't want to cash in on the follow up to such a highly grossing docu as Bowling For Columbine had to be great PR from a persecution-happy Moore. But the Times article rather implies that Disney never intended to allow Miramax to distribute the film, and its only just recently that Harvey & Co. realized that da Mouse intended to stand firm on the decision. While CC still thinks someone will end up funding this picture so it can hit US screens, because certainly it will make money not just from the curiosity ticket buying alone, we're not entirely sure it will be Miramax. Has Mike gone too far this time with his vocal politics? Are the Iraq scandals tailor making an eagerly anticipating anti-Bushie audience for this movie? We'll keep you posted as all this develops.

Posted by karen at 11:18 PM |

May 12, 2004

The Day After That

Cinecultist doesn't often get the chance to comment on politics and its intersection with cinema, though now that we think about it, with the amount that Hollywood and Washington are in bed together, it should come up more often. Just when you thought poor Al Gore was running out of things to do, what with his busy schedule of growing beards and reading his daughter's chick lit manuscripts, he's offering comment today in the New York Times about the growing controversy over disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow and how it may or may not influence environmental legislation.

In a telephone news conference on Tuesday former Vice President Al Gore compared the exaggeration of the film's premise to the approach of the Bush administration to global warming. "There are two sets of fiction to deal with," Mr. Gore said. "One is the movie, the other is the Bush administration's presentation of global warming." He accused the White House of "trying to convince people there's no real problem, no degree of certainty from scientists about the issue."

This seems like a lot of hullabaloo over nothing to Cinecultist. In a nutshell: the environmentalists are cranky because they think that the producers of the film are distancing themselves from any involvement with any actual information about global warming (the cause of the big ol' disaster in the movie's plot). But the filmmakers, including schlock king Roland Emmerich, say the movie is a fiction. Correct CC if we're wrong, but isn't there something essentially conservative about disaster movies? Even when they're not funded by Rupert Murdock's money. Save for perhaps Godzilla with its nuclear fall out/effects on the bombed Japanese cities commentary but that was removed from the original US release anyhow. We think the real issue here is that these invitations were extended, retracted and then offered again to the environmentalists. CC doesn't like being uninvited to stuff either.

To ask this movie to offer real debate about our country's current policies on the ecosystem seems to be asking too much from a summer disaster popcorn flick. Disaster flicks post-release can be interesting historical artifacts to use for examining our thoughts at the time of their making (like Independence Day as a metaphor for terrorism) but to ask for impact on their release is a bit pie in the sky to Cinecultist.

Posted by karen at 8:47 AM |

April 28, 2004

Sundry Comments and Announcements

Posted by karen at 11:44 AM | | Comments (1)

April 19, 2004

Manhattan Girls Who Watch Movies

So this is what Cinecultist has been doing wrong the last three years as we've sought to become a real New York girl, if not a Park Avenue Princess. According to the main character in Plum Sykes's new book, Bergdorf Blondes, which CC spent the weekend reading and then posted about today on Daily Gusto, we've been watching too many movies.

"I have well-founded moral and social objections to DVD players: there is nothing more depressing than a single girl in New York, a DVD player, and a pile of watched DVDs it's an admission of worryingly low popularity levels. if you get as many invitations as a girl in Manhattan should get, you barely know where your apartment is, let alone have time to watch movies in it."

And yet, the main character "Moi", a fashion writer for a New York glossy living in the West Village, ends up with an up-in-coming movie director/landed English lord at the romantic conclusion. Hmmm, interesting advice to take home on this Monday morning: don't stay home watching movies and godforbid thinking about them, just go out and kiss some of those filmmakers! Perhaps CC will be doing a bit of lurking around the green room at the TriBeCa Film Festival in a few weeks to try to put our new strategies to the test.

Posted by karen at 8:11 AM |

April 7, 2004

Pirates Without The Eyepatch

An article in today's New York Times on the apparent epidemic of pirated DVDs in Russia has Cinecultist thinking about our changing attitudes towards copyrighted material. As MPAA president Jack Valenti, one of the biggest advocates for harsh strictures against pirating, retires will the American attitude towards unlicensed material go the way Russia's has? It seems to CC it comes down to an issue of math -- according to the article, 9 out of 10 DVDs sold in Russia are copies but with the average monthly income set at $200, and the cost difference between licensed version versus pirated at $20 to $30 versus $4, it makes sense. Even CC won't pay $30 for a mass market DVD, except for the occasional Criterion box set, and we make a touch more than $200 a month.

The article also argues that the Russian attitude towards artistic production, wherein the artist is paid a salary and their product belongs to the state with no Intellectual Property issues, allows for the government's laxness towards the massive CD and DVD bazaars. Here in the States, we even think it important to remind you not to steal licensed material after you've paid $10.25 to watch the latest Angelina Jolie with those guilt-inducing commercials before the previews. That poor stunt man, he needs his paycheck from The Man, don't download movies from the internet damn you!

Thoughts on pirated material, Jack Valenti, those don't download commercials or why you wouldn't even pay $4 for a copy of the Brother Bear DVD? Leave them in the comments.

Team Gallery in Chelsea is currently showing work by Jon Routsen, a Baltimore artist who exhibits his pirated videos, capturing "the raw material of the original projected film, a second skin. One that was there all along but which we never noticed." Through May 8 at 527 W. 26th Street.

Posted by karen at 8:25 AM | | Comments (1)

March 23, 2004

In The Face of Tragedy : Le Cinema

Browsing the movie news this morning, Cinecultist found the following lead graf in an article about last weekend's international box office receipts from Variety.

After mourning their compatriots who died in the March 11 terrorist bombings in Madrid, Spaniards sought solace in escapism last week by catching "Hidalgo," an exotic adventure where a U.S. cowboy beats comic infidels, and feel-good comedy "Along Came Polly." The weekend B.O. dropped by 20% to its lowest level this year as cinemas shuttered during the day March 12, when 12 million Spaniards took to the streets, and on the evening of March 13, but exhibs had feared a much worse falloff.

There's something sort of unsettling about this business as usual attitude to the obvious financial concerns following a disaster, that CC can't quite put our finger on. Though granted, following the World Trade center attacks CC does remember quite a bit of talk about whether people still wanted to go to the movies and what they might want to see. Of course people always want entertainment and some escapism, there's nothing frivolous about that. But still. Maybe it's the idea that Spaniards saw Along Came Polly and Hidalgo as that needed respite. We haven't seen either of these ourselves but they seem to represent to CC all that sucks about Hollywood's cultural imperialism. All those empty costume extravaganza and hairy nipple sight gags hardly seem like salve to the aching soul.

Posted by karen at 8:07 AM |

March 11, 2004

Gossip And Detritus

Elf 2 Congratulations to Will Ferrell and wife Viveca on the birth of their son, Magnus Paulin Ferrell 8lbs 12 ounces Sunday. Dare we hope for a comedy dynasty? [via the AP]

Who'ffleck, What'ffleck? Ben "Back Peddling" Affleck is trying to reconnect with what made him a stah-r -- Miramax, Harvey and Kevin Smith. Making a statement last night at the premiere of his new movie, Jersey Girl, he apologized for agreeing to be involved in Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures, the expos on Miramax. In addition according to the Post, "spies said he met up with several women in a West Village bar last Saturday night, "bought them all rounds of shots and then took them back to Matt Damon's apartment where he is staying." Affleck himself did not drink." Ah, to have been a fly on the glass at that Da Silvano-ish place.

Saliva Swapping In the "Apparently This Counts As News" category, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have both been getting lots of colds on the set of their new movie, Mr and Mrs Smith, where they play married assassins trying to kill each other. According to the Post and its sources, "part of the problem apparently stems from extensive shooting of love scenes where the two share saliva." That clears it all up for us.

Posted by karen at 8:13 AM |

March 1, 2004

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

Usually Cinecultist is all over the full Oscar coverage and finds all the jokes about the length of the show unnecessary whining but not this year for some reason. Was it the predictability of the decisions? The (much deserved) sweep of the Lord of the Rings in all of their nominations? Or the fact that CC hadn't been to bed the night before until 4 am? But either way CC was in the pajamas by the time Blake Edwards and Jim Carrey were joshing around on stage and somehow fell asleep right after the award of best original screenplay to our girl Sofia Coppola. We woke up again with a start at 1 am, the television still blaring and all the lights on, with the deluded thought that perhaps the show will still going on.

The two scariest moments of the evening that we caught -- the cut away to Marcia Gay Harden in the monstrous bee hive and electric blue cleavage bearing caftan during the award of best supporting actor to co-star Tim Robbins. She looked like a very bad Elizabeth Taylor impression. Jack Nicholson passing on his "magical cool" sunglasses to host Billy Crystal in the opening montage. Does he look more and more like the crypt keeper to anyone else in these public appearances of his? Is someone just dehydrating him a bit at a time like a piece of beef jerky? Runner up: Michael Douglas wearing wrap around sunglasses in doors. Granted, this is in La La land but on a February evening at an awards ceremony? Why? Why?

Looking totally hot -- Angelina Jolie in that satiny white goodness with the arm tattoo. So scary and so very smoking at the same time. Renee Zellwegger, also in white, looking well-fed and utterly pleased to have won finally. Her acceptance speech was neatly folded inside her sparkly purse which CC found utterly charming.
Looking not so much -- There's Jim Carrey! He has no hair! He's speaking in gibberish! Wha? Peter Jackson, so much talent and so much shlubby geekiness oozing from him even his surely expensive suit couldn't cover it up. We love the guy but he's no fashion plate, that's for darn sure.

The fuller coverage than Cinecultist's in the NY Times today, probably because they didn't fall asleep on the job. The full awards listing is also available on Oscar.com.

Posted by karen at 8:10 AM |

February 12, 2004

Changes A Foot

Josh at Cultivated Stupidity comments on the news [via IMDb] from the Director's Guild of America that they may change the specifications for qualifying for the "A Film By" credit at the start of movies. Shortly, a first time director will not get the distinction of labeling their master opus as "A Film By", this will only be available to directors with at least three credits to their name. At film schools everywhere coming from the pits of editing rooms, you can hear those howls of anguish.

Once, Cinecultist received a bit of a smack down on this very issue, from our undergraduate documentary teacher, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, director of Conceiving Ada ,an odd little indie starring Tilda Swinton. CC made a little docu for this course, a searing feminist look at body image or something along those lines, and added the triumphant title on the front credits. When screening it for the class during workshop, it was one of the first things Lynn pointed out to CC, that this project was only A Video not actually A Film. Ah, the embarrassment, the ignomy! Shortly after, CC decided criticism was really the place to contribute our talents, and perhaps a dressing down of this manner to all first time directors may be in order. If only to keep the self-important dreck that spools out on our screens just that much less self-important.

Posted by karen at 8:25 AM |

January 28, 2004

For Your Consideration

Yesterday as Cinecultist checked in on the Oscar nominations from the desk of The Day Job, we were a bit flabbergasted to say the least. SEA-F*CKING-BISCUIT??? FOR BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR???? Wha? And CC's not the only one surprised, Cultivated Stupidity was also beside himself, although that's partly because he is a one gay man Nicole Kidman fan army. The slight against Cold Mountain is a slight against CS. But seriously people, what happened here? It was as though the spirit of Harvey entered the publicity department of Universal spurring them on to complete media saturation for their horsey picture.

And House of Sand and Fog is dominating the acting noms, now compelling CC to go see the freakin' thing. This happens to us every year, one particular film we've let slip through our ordinarily obsessive viewing schedule (last year it was the Pianist) gets all of this critical accolade. Why does it matter? Because then, Cinecultist can't weigh in on the picture with the verve and certainty we like. And that makes us cranky. We like to alienate and offend with our movie opinions whereever we go, it's part of the CC shtick. So damn that Academy and their off the wall nominations!

Posted by karen at 10:37 AM |

January 27, 2004

And The Nominees Are...

oscar.jpgToday the Academy of Arts and Motion Picture Sciences will announce their nominees for their annual awards, the Oscars. They've moved up the awards night from its usual mid-March to late February (the 29th to be exact, Sunday at 8pm Eastern time/5pm Pacific), supposedly to try to cut down on the production companies campaigning. But instead it seems that the speculation is flying faster and more furious this year and the names batted around seem to be on a steam roll from one awards group to another.

Everyone loves to look at the Golden Globes (awarded last weekend) as an indicator of who'll be on the lists of 5 nominees but we've already discussed how fawning the Foreign Press Association can be for the Hollywood machine. We'll update further as this thrilling entertainment world news comes in. Director Blake Edwards (Breakfast at Tiffany's) will be awarded the career achievement award and Billy Crystal will host again the ABC broadcast.

Posted by karen at 8:24 AM |

January 25, 2004

Golden Guesses and Predictions

With the Golden Globes coming up this Sunday, PCC thought she would indulge in a bit pre-award guessing and predicting. While she doesn't have the best track record, it's always fun to take a stab at these things. See the official site for a list of the nominees.

Best Picture- Drama
PCC's Choice: Mystic River
Sean Penn's performance alone would secure PCC's vote, but when he's surrounded by, among others, the quiet pain of Tim Robbins and the cool, calculating Lady-Macbeth-in-training Laura Linney, Clint's latest film should triumph.

Likely Winner: LOTR: Return of the King
Peter Jackson's final installment has everything the closing chapter of a trilogy should: epic physical and psychological battles, true friendship, amazing visuals and top-notch acting. PCC would have no problem if this film finally got its precious.

Best Picture- Comedy
PCC's Choice: Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola's film is gorgeously filmed, emotionally moving and truly funny. Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson are perfectly cast as the aging actor and his new friend. The scene where they whisper goodbye is made even better by Coppola's choice to exclude any actual dialogue. Even though PCC loved Pixar's Finding Nemo, she will reserve her fish vote for the Oscars when Nemo will surely be in the running for Best Animated Feature.

Likely Winner: Lost in Translation
Coppola's sophomore feature was one of the best-reviewed films of the year and there is a strong Oscar buzz for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Actress. Both of these are excellent indicators for a "golden" evening come Sunday.

Best Actor- Drama
PCC's Choice: Sean Penn for Mystic River
Penn's performance is amazing. Enough said.

Likely Winner: Sean Penn for Mystic River
Remember the "amazing" part?

Best Actress- Drama
Likely Winner: Charlize Theron for Monster
Not only was her physical transformation amazing, but the character she created elevated a simple narrative into a gut wrenching saga.

Likely Winner: Charlize Theron for Monster
Beautiful women + weight loss/gain and/or prosthetic appendages = golden

Best Actor- Comedy
PCC's choice/Likely Winner: Bill Murray for Lost in Translation
First Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, now Coppola's masterful second feature: we're seeing a whole new side of the extremely talented Mr. Murray.

Best Actress- Comedy
PCC's choice/Likely Winner: Diane Keaton for Something's Gotta Give
Almost 30 years after Annie Hall, Keaton's chances for a golden year look more than promising. She outshone Jack, was courted by Keanu and still managed to make the audience feel as comfortable with her as she appears to be in her own skin.

Best Supporting Actor
PCC's Choice/Likely Winner: Tim Robbins for Mystic River
Robbins' shy, broken Dave was a perfect counterpart to Penn's angry, vengeful Jimmy. Hopefully they can both walk away with a statue.

Best Supporting Actress
PCC's Choice: Patricia Clarkson for Pieces of April
Clarkson is long overdue for some recognition for her amazingly varied resume. Her performance in Pieces of April is touching and funny without ever falling to the sappy trap.

Likely Winner: Renee Zellwegger for Cold Mountain
This is always a hard category to call, since the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy lives to throw a wrench in prediction lists everywhere. Even though PCC isn't a fan of RZ, she has to admit that her performance in Cold Mountain was wonderful.

Best Director
PCC's Choice/Likely Winner: Peter Jackson for LOTR: Return of the King
Is there even a need to explain?

Best Screenplay
PCC's Choice/Likely Winner: Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation
From touching kareoke scenes to whispered goodbyes, Coppola's script deserved all the kudos in the world. Jim Sheridan could also walk away with a statue for his touching account of growing up Irish in America.

Best Original Score
PCC's Choice/Likely Winner: Howard Shore for LOTR:Return of the KingAn epic trilogy needs an epic score and Shore delivered.

Best Original Song
PCC's Choice: Time Enough For TearsIn America (lyrics by Bono and Gavin Friday)
There's nothing like a touching song written by Ireland's premiere musical export for a touching movie written and directed by one of Ireland's great film directors.

Likely Winner: Into The WestLOTR: The Return Of The King (lyrics by Howard Shore and Annie Lennox)
LOTR: ROTK seems destined to rake in the statues and this song is no exception.

Posted by jordan at 1:04 AM |

January 24, 2004

Brits Add Another List to the Pile

This year's BAFTA nominations have been announced. Sometimes called the British Academy Awards, they will be announced in the UK on February 15th, two weeks before the Oscars are announced here in the States. The nominees are as follows, courtesy of Premiere Magazine.

Big Fish
Cold Mountain
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Jude Law, Cold Mountain
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
Sean Penn, 21 Grams
Sean Penn, Mystic River

Scarlett Johansson, Girl with a Pearl Earring
Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation
Anne Reid, The Mother
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill: Volume 1
Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

Supporting Actor:
Paul Bettany, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Albert Finney, Big Fish
Bill Nighy, Love Actually
Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Tim Robbins, Mystic River

Supporting Actress:

Holly Hunter, Thirteen
Laura Linney, Mystic River
Judy Parfitt, Girl with a Pearl Earring
Emma Thompson, Love Actually
Rene Zellweger, Cold Mountain

Tim Burton, Big Fish
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation
Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Anthony Minghella, Cold Mountain
Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Original Screenplay:
21 Grams
The Barbarian Invasions
Finding Nemo
Lost In Translation
The Station Agent

Adapted Screenplay:
Big Fish
Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Mystic River

Foreign-Language Film:
The Barbarian Invasions
Belleville Rendez-vous
tre et Avoir
Good Bye Lenin!
In This World
Spirited Away

British Film:
Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
In This World
Love Actually
Touching the Void

British Director/Producer/Writer Debut:
Sergio Casci, writer, American Cousins
Jenny Mayhew, writer, To Kill a King
Peter Webber, director, Girl with a Pearl Earring
Emily Young, director/writer, Kiss of Life

Film Music:
Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Kill Bill: Volume 1
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation

Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

21 Grams
Cold Mountain
Kill Bill: Volume 1
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation

Production Design:
Big Fish
Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Costume Design:
Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Cold Mountain
Kill Bill: Volume 1
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Special Visual Effects:
Big Fish
Kill Bill: Volume 1
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Makeup and Hair:
Big Fish
Cold Mountain
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Animated Short:
Dad's Dead
Dear Sweet Emma
Jojo in the Stars

Short Film:
Brown Paper Bag
Bye Child
Sea Monsters
Talking with Angels

Posted by jordan at 12:33 AM |

January 15, 2004

Another Piece of the Oscar Puzzle

The Screen Actor's Guild nominations, another step on the road to little golden man ownership, were announced today, with more than a few surprises.

In the best ensemble cast category, National Board of Review favorite Mystic River will compete against LOTR: Return of the King, In America, Seabiscuit and the surprise indie choice, The Station Agent.

Mystic River also picked up a nod in the best actor category for Sean Penn's riveting performance as a grieving, vengeful father. His competition includes Peter Dinklage for The Station Agent, Bill Murray for Lost in Translation, Johnny Depp (!) for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Ben Kingsley for House of Sand of Fog.

One of PCC's new favorite actresses, Patricia Clarkson, is nominated for both best actress (The Station Agent) and best suppporting actress (Pieces of April). In the best actress category, she'll face stiff competition from another of PCC's favorite actresses, Naomi Watts, in one of PCC's favorite performances of the year, Watts' turn in 21 Grams. Also nominated are National Board of Review winner Diane Keaton for Something's Gotta Give, Evan Rachel Wood for Thirteen and Charlize Theron for Monster.

In the best supporting actress category, Clarkson will face competition from Maria Bello (The Cooler), Holly Hunter (Thirteen), Rene Zellweger (Cold Mountain) and the phenomenal Keisha Castle-Hughes in her debut film, Whale Rider.

Mystic River's Tim Robbins picked up a much-deserved best supporting actor nomination for his searing performance as a past abuse victim and struggling father. His fellow nominees include Alec Baldwin (The Cooler), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), Chris Cooper (Seabiscuit) and Benicio Del Toro (21 Grams).

Notable omissions, justified or otherwise, include Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation or Girl with the Pearl Earring), Nicole Kidman and Jude Law for their performances in Cold Mountain, Jennifer Connelly and Shoreh Aghashloo (House of Sand and Fog), Tom Cruise (The Last Samurai), Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney (Big Fish), Russell Crowe (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) and any of our hobbit, elfish, human or wizard friends from Middle Earth.

The SAG Awards Ceremony will be broadcast from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles February 22nd at 8 pm on TNT.

Posted by jordan at 11:27 AM |

January 5, 2004

Boycott Called For 'Cold'

Cinecultist received the following e-mail forward this weekend from one of our "sources" in the "film industry" who's still sort of new to the whole electronic missives thing, and thus still thinks we'll be friends with her even if she sends us forwards. The e-mail, allegedly from Erik Todd Dellums originally (an actor who's fan site worthy apparently), requests that viewers boycott the Miramax release and Oscar-hopeful Cold Mountain because it does not contain enough depictions of blacks, despite the story being set in the South during the Civil War. We quote below some of their beef (you can read the entire e-mail posted here):

It is also a sham; a slap in the face of African Americans everywhere, whose ancestors gave their lives in the Civil War, fighting for true freedom (Sorry, President Bush!) from the most heinous slavery system known to modern man: the American Slavery System. How could a 3 hour film depict life in the heart of Virginia and North Carolina during the Civil War use 30 seconds of Black people picking cotton as its total reality of slavery during this period?

The thing which gets tricky towards the end of his complaint is the way he compares the proliferation of Holocaust movies to the lack of slavery movies. Hollywood would never make a Holocaust movie without the real depiction of the horrors of the Holocaust, so how can they do they do less than depict the "truth" in a movie about the Civil War, according to Dellums.

No offense intended to those fans of Dellums or his tv show Homicide, but this e-mail is obviously a hoax masked in anti-Semitism intending to draw attention to a legitimate concern like race representation but it an utterly inane way. Sure, we didn't see a whole lot of black people on screen in the course of Cold Mountain but that's because Jude Law and Nicole Kidman's heads looking longingly into the distance takes up most of that screen space. This movie, and we're guessing the book though we haven't read it, is not about race or Southern slavery even. It is about ill-fated romance and getting golden statues for its actors. It all smacks of anti-Miramax Academy Awards campaigning to Cinecultist, but we'd appreciate any e-mails from readers telling us we have this all wrong.

Posted by karen at 8:14 AM |

December 18, 2003

On The Road To The Oscars

Later today, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will announce their nominations for the 2004 Golden Globes, generally considered to be the first major step to determining the makeup of the Academy Awards line-up.

We'll have more commentary in this space after seeing the full list but for now, click over to the tribute page to Michael Douglas, this year's receipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. There's something so freaking creepy about that guy, even if you remove the robotic evilness of his wife CZJ from the equation. Maybe it's that group picture from Fatal Attraction showing him posing with the wife played Ann Archer and Glenn Close, the lover. Or perhaps the one where he looks like he wants to lick Sharon Stone's face. Ick-ick-ick.

UPDATE: The Reuter's recap is now available on Yahoo, and Cinecultist can't really say we're surprised with any of the nominees, except maybe Evan Rachel Wood for Thirteen. We didn't know that buzz got beyond the IFC channel circuit. Basically, our theory is that the HFPA is a bunch of Hollywood-happy hacks who spend their days humming "That's Entertainment!" and thumbing through the critics pages of People magazine. They're the Larry Kings of the awards season, they just love everything. And yet they're wildly influential. So maybe this year we'll see Oscar number 2 for Billy Bob Thorton for his performance in Bad Santa and a 4 category sweep for Seabiscuit. The saints preserve us.

Posted by karen at 8:04 AM |

December 16, 2003

'Tis The Season For Shunning

There are winners but mostly there are losers. Or at least, those who are passed over. And then we laugh in their faces. As IndieWire covertly seems to be pointing out in their coverage of the New York Critics Circle's awards is that the real story is in who they left out, not who they included. Lost In Translation, okay sure, we all want to live a life of alienated passionate detachment while wearing the Marc Jacobs fall line, old news. But Clint and Sean and Tom and such being shunned? Juicy news. In addition, this news regarding the critical praise being heaped on Return of the King makes Cinecultist wonder if this is going to be the year for a Geek Best Picture? It has been said they will inherit the earth, maybe that first step is in dominating the Academy. Thought provoking indeed.

Posted by karen at 10:59 AM |

December 9, 2003

Make Your Opinion Heard

Corey Feldman needs your help. He's started a grass-roots campaign to garner fan support for a sequel to his 1985 kiddie adventure movie the Goonies. From his website, coreyfeldman.com of course, he is soliciting e-mails hopefully up to 100,000 to get the attention of Warner Bros. for the project. According to a short article in Entertainment Weekly's News & Notes section this week, director Richard Donner has confirmed that he and Steven Spielberg have a script idea in mind for the follow-up that includes "the oringial cast + new teens + peril."

Cinecultist does not necessarily endorse said campaign with this posting, nor have we submitted our own e-mail [full disclosure and all] but the concept of fan desires leading directly to studio decisions is such a strange little thing, we had to pass this along. Studios seem to like to think they make movies with fans in mind (see the disgusting proliferation of sequels this past summer) but this whole thing with fans soliciting for studio support as though it were a democracy not a business seems to be ass-backward to CC. Anyhow, bon chance Corey we wish you well in the revitalization of your career through a rehash of your childhood triumphs.

Posted by karen at 8:06 AM |

December 4, 2003

Gossip Mongering

How to pep up the doldrums of a cold Thursday in December? With meaningless gossip from LaLa land of course! Here Cinecultist goes a-mongering (always fun for the Google keyword search results)...

Gwyneth and Chris will be proud parents soon, according to World Entertainment News Network, the schills on Imdb.com. Bouncing blonde babies for the It-just-this-side-of-indie-culture couple are in store and CC couldn't be happier for them. Except for the whole damnation in out of wedlock procreation thing, as CultivatedStupidity points out. Tough that.

Uma and Ethan are doing Christmas together for the kids, also according to Imdb yesterday. CC can't believe we're mentioning them again, because those Googlers are fascinated with Ethan's infidelities and wrecked havoc on our site traffic last time we mentioned them, but there you are. Happy holidays to be had for the Hawkes. Hopefully.

In further shocking news, Lenny Kravitz admits to friends that he's just using AFI-honored actress Nicole Kidman for her fame. According to the Post, Len "is spending a lot of time with her partly because her fame helps raise his profile and sell records." How fuckin' romantic.

A sort of gossip related aside, the sale of New York magazine has CC a little nervous. We need our weekly Deborah Schoeneman and Lizzie Spiers fixes for their Intelligencer and the Kicker columns, so when the mag moves, please please keep them around. We kinda have girl-crushes on them and their ascerbic writing. All the bitchy that's fit to print. Awesome.

Posted by karen at 8:27 AM |

One More List to Add to the Growing Pile

Here is the complete list of IFP Award nominees. An interesting mix, to be sure, but isn't that the point of IFP?

Posted by jordan at 1:48 AM |

And the Race is On!

MR1.jpgThe National Board of Review, the first leg in the long race towards the Oscars, named Clint Eastwood's Mystic River as its top film of the year, with Best Actor honors going to Sean Penn for his performance in Eastwood's film as well as in 21 Grams. Since Cinecultist makes no qualms about having certain filmic biases, PCC will come right out and say it: Give Sean Penn an Oscar. Please. And now, back to some unbiased reporting. Diane Keaton picked up the Best Actress nod for her performance in the new Nancy Meyer's comedy Something's Gotta Give, while Alec Baldwin and Patricia Clarkson received the Best Supporting acting honors for their work in The Cooler and The Station Agent/Pieces of April, respectively. For other honored films and special awards, see the link above. Let the Oscar parade begin!

Posted by jordan at 1:42 AM |

December 2, 2003

Who's Filling The (Sun)Dance Card

Not that we're planning a trip to Park City, Utah any time soon but for the curious, IndieWire.com reported on the Sundance Film Festival preliminary line-up yesterday and the full one today. We heard it from Variety.com first, but as they want nearly $300 bucks from us for a subscription (yeah, right! don't they know this a not-for-profit film blog?), we're linking to good ol' IndieWire for the buzz. 2,426 independent cinema lovers wanted to see their works showcased in this "America's Most Important Festival" (okey dokey, whatever you say), which is up considerably from last year.

Though it must be frusterating to those rejected (another year at the Kwikee Mart for you, Mr. Smith-wannabe) it still sounds like good news for innovation in film. Jacob Kornbluth's new film is in the list, which CC would like to see at some point having enjoyed Haiku Tunnel, a underrated love story for the life of a temp. Now would be a good time to attend Park City (if some pub wants to send us, hint hint) because though it's not as decidedly uncommercial as Telluride tries to be, it's not quite the circus Cannes seems to be now -- paparazzi and silicone with no real cinema at its heart. Bobby Redford seems to be trying to keep it real with Sundance, despite the best intentions of his promoters/backers. CC still thinks the fest must help some struggling artists come into their own, and we'll continue to do so -- until we get some ranting e-mails from former workshop participants.

A bit closer to home, today marks the beginning of a festival at BAMcinmatek devoted to Russian director Boris Barnet, "The Extraordinary Mr. Barnet," (Dec. 218). An actor and director of comedy who worked in the silent era and in sound from the 1920s through the mid-'60s when he took his own life, Barnet is one of those filmmakers who you may not have heard of now, but with the wider circulation of restored prints of his works at festivals like this one, he's up in coming in cinema studies circles. And CC says this not just because we enjoy making absolute statements about the direction of CS, but the likes of opinion maker scholars such as our boy Tom Gunning and David Bordwell say so.

Posted by karen at 8:05 AM |

November 24, 2003

Excitement in the Eee Vee

In East Village movie news, the American leg of the Alfie production has hit the mean streets of Cinecultist's neighborhood to shoot exteriors. A remake of the Michael Caine movie set to be released in 2004 and starring Jude Law had been filming in England, but just recently moved to New York and having painted a building green on East 7th Street to make it stand in as Alfie's house, will be around for the next few weeks. CC first caught sight of the brouhaha on First Avenue Saturday morning around 7:45 am as she headed off for some overtime work for The Man.

The blocks from Ninth Street down to about 3rd Street were packed with RV's and trailer trucks filled with equipment, as well as a fire engine (filled with firefighters) idling on Fifth Street. Later in the evening around 6:30 pm as CC headed out for the evening, we saw a quite sizeable crowd milling around East Seventh watching a cherry picker shining spot lights on the street for night shooting. Unfortunately, no Jude or fellow co-stars Nia Long, Omar Epps or Susan Sarandon sightings, we didn't catch anything more thrilling than lots of cranky PAs and teamsters standing around earning obscene amounts of money (ya gotta love those unionized teamsters!). But those trailers did look very plush, and we wondered if Jude sent one of the peons out for a brownie at the Sticky Fingers Bakery since the dressing room was probably one of those right across the sidewalk from it. Hopefully, a taste of the Eee Vee culture was enjoyed by our former Mr. Sadie Frost.

Critics everywhere can't help but pan The Cat in the Hat -- in rhyme! A must read (outloud if your place of viewing permits), Marc Savlov's brilliant review in the Austin Chronicle.
[via Defective Yeti & GreenCine Daily]

Your favorite movie star or upcoming blockbuster as a tradeable commodity? The Sunday New York Times business section reports on an online trading game which predicts the marketability of Hollywood product and its potential impact on box office forecasting.

Posted by karen at 7:46 AM |

October 28, 2003

Petey J In The Big Bucks

A new development in the way deals get done for directors that's sure to further inflate ego posturing all over Hollywood, the Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson will get "20/20" ($20 million up front and 20 percent of the grosses) for his remake of King Kong for Universal. Cinecultist's favorite quote in the Times article about it has to be this one from an unnamed studio exec:

One studio chief said she was in a state of shock when she heard about Mr. Jackson's deal. "No director has ever made more than $12 million" on a single film, she said. "It's going to have unbelievable ramifications. It's insane."

We can so hear this exec yelling at the reporter "In-Sane!!!!" But really, CC's not sure exactly what's so shocking or insane about this development. As people (we're talking non-cinecultist here) become more apt to recognize the names of movie makers as they are to be familiar with the stars, those same moviegoers will want to see the new Peter Jackson movie. Hence, Peter Jackson wants to be paid accordingly. What's really shocking is the list of other directors (slash writers slash producers -- as though this makes them more "hardworking" or something) that the article lists will also be poised to ask for pay raises. The Warchoski brothers? Ok, maybe. But M. Night Shyamalan? Hack. Chris Columbus?? Uber-hack. Jerry Bruckheimer!?! King of Hacks.

Posted by karen at 8:53 AM |

October 21, 2003

Speedy Recovery

1-3.jpgIMDB reports this morning that one of PCC's favorite acting greats (and you know he's got talent when one can disregard almost all his films in recent memory and still love the guy) Robert De Niro has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Luckily, his spokesman reports that the disease was spotted in the early stages and doctors expect a full recovery. Get well soon, Bobby!

Posted by jordan at 9:13 AM |

October 20, 2003

Screener Brouhaha Continues

MPAA President Jack Valenti, the man with the plan, had the "brilliant" idea to remove the use of screener tapes this year in the awards ceremonies. Entertainment Weekly reported last week that this development was certain to hinder the Oscar campaigns of independent films that Academy Award voters living in the hinterlands wouldn't be able to see these smaller films. But, godforbid that these screener copies should get out to the masses in the form of bootlegs, that's the real detriment to the film industry these days. That's the evil we have to nip in the bud.

Now Mahnola Dargis and friends in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association have decided to suspend their awards this year unless the MPAA allows encrypted VHS tapes to be distributed. This is not good news for the usual progression of things in the awards season. The interplay between the critics and festivals around the world this critic likes this performance but this fest prefers this picture leads up to the final assessments. Though Cinecultist often doesn't agree with the final outcome, this is the way of things. If critics can't see all the product, how can they make a real judgement? It seems like basic basic to us.

Posted by karen at 7:57 AM |

October 8, 2003

Oy Vey Ah-nold

Yep kids, it's true. The state of California has elected the popular jock as president of the student council Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor elect. As Cinecultist's Dad (a member of the voting electorate in the Golden State) pointed out, it's not a good sign for his intellect level that the guy's been living in this country for as many years as he has and still has that accent. When CC's Daddy-o graduated from law school, the other actor politician was the governor and so his signature is on his diploma. As a kid, CC always found that fascinating. The only consolation to all of this? Knowing that Ah-nold has to live in Sacramento now. Man, there ain't nothing to do in that town. Do they even have a Planet Hollywood there? CC doesn't think so.

Posted by karen at 7:45 AM |

September 29, 2003

The Board is Set. The Pieces are Moving

new1.jpgPCC was so excited to not only find the trailer for the final Lord of the Rings installment, Return of the King, but to also be spared the agony of having to see Secondhand Lions, the recent New Line release that had the brand-new trailer attached. This is what the internet was made for: avoiding a voice-cracking Haley Joel in favor of an amazing two minutes of hobbits, elves and men duking it out in the ultimate battle of good versus evil. Only 78 days left...

Posted by jordan at 5:28 PM |

Bye Bye Elia

They're dropping like flies. It seems like those who follow the entertainment industry and its insiders need to be constantly in mourning. The newest loss is Elia Kazan, the Oscar winning writer director who figured so prominently in the McCarthy hearings of the '50s, who died yesterday at age 94.

We'd imagine that Turner Classic Movies will stage a tribute in the next day or so, as they just screened On The Waterfront last night as part of their series The Essentials. Cinecultist watched A Streetcar Named Desire recently and was quite blown away with the performances therein. Marlon Brando and that ripped t-shirt. Zowie. The Vivien Leigh in this movie is no Scarlet O'Hara, she's all kind of crackers. You can't take your eyes away. Kazan certainly knew what to do with his actors. Further coverage on IMDB.com.

Posted by karen at 7:58 AM |

September 28, 2003

You Made Us Laugh

Singing_Rain.jpgPCC would like a pay a quick, but by no means unfeeling, tribute to Donald O'Connor who died yesterday at the age of 78. As Cosmo Brown, Gene Kelly's sidekick extraordinare in Singin' in the Rain, Mr. O'Connor was a joy to behold as he spun, flipped and sang himself around various movie sets. His amazing gift of physical comedy will be remembered every time PCC watches Singin' in the Rain.

Posted by jordan at 5:11 PM |

September 22, 2003

Lost in Marriage?

SCSJ.jpgPerhaps PCC is falling down on the job of keeping up with the latest (pertinent) celebrity gossip. Perhaps she was the only one surprised at the little one-liner IMDB snuck in today's news, telling us that Lost in Translation's Sofia Coppola is estranged from director husband Spike Jonze. The point of the blurb was actually to speculate as to whether or not the ditzy actress character in Lost was based on Cameron Diaz, but PCC was much more interested in the implied break-up. Lost viewing compatriot K8 astutely wondered if perhaps the Scarlett Johansson/Giovani Ribisi relationship in Coppola's film was a thinly veiled reference to the director's own marriage to the Adaptation helmer. Hmmmm...

Posted by jordan at 12:02 AM |

September 15, 2003

Here At J-Lo Evil Chip Central

JerseyGirl.jpgWe figure we'd be remiss without commenting on the BREAK-UP OF THE CENTURY of the new Liz&Richard, Bennifer, we know we know already old news for those not living under a rock. (Remind Cinecultist when we're in a bold face name couple to not allow for combining of our names? Its just too tacky for anything.) We direct you to the coverage over on whatevs.org because as per usual on the celeb ridiculous front, Uncle Grambo keeps it real. And he's right, this only makes us even more excited for the upcoming release of Jersey Girl. The press junket alone promises to be break-up awkwardness par excellance.

Cinecultist's review of their previously released bomb, Gigli.

Posted by karen at 6:27 PM |

September 12, 2003

The Man in Black Won't be Back

Yes, PCC realizes that cinecultist.com is a film-related blog. We're not dumb, you know. That said, she still felt compelled to post a small tribute to Johnny Cash, who passed away today at the age of 71. Even though the Man in Black doesn't have an illustrious acting career, his music has appeared in numerous films (Frailty, Dead Man Walking and A Gunfight to name a few of the better known ones). So, we stop for a moment to salute the man who has recorded with, and covered, everyone from Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan to U2 and NIN. Farewell, Mr. Cash.

Posted by jordan at 9:29 PM |

September 11, 2003

Three Cheers for Robert

1-4.jpgThere are few times that PCC wouldn't lead a round of applause for Mr. Robert Redford, but after reading IMDB today, she feels an extra cheer is in order. Redford is known for encouraging independent filmmakers and artists in general, especially through his annual Sundance Film Festival (yes, we know, it's become a commercial stampede of late but we can't (or won't) blame that all on the Sundance Kid). Redford is now urging President Bush not to cut any more money from the arts. Yes, those of us who have any brain at all realize that cutting the arts from schools is a bad, bad thing. But it can't hurt to have the message come from one such as our friend Robert, right?

Posted by jordan at 10:55 AM |

September 9, 2003

Riefenstahl Into The Great Beyond

Like those family members whom you have to invite to Thanksgiving even though you'd never choose to have drinks with them on a Friday night, there are certain figures in filmmaking that one must give props to, despite their sketchy personal life or politics. Leni Riefenstahl, director of Triumph of the Will, the docu about Nazi Germany at the height of its influence who died today at the age of 101, is one such figure.

Riefenstahl created a masterpiece about a monster with her lush black and white images of perfect Nazi marching formations. In many ways, her fascination with patterns can't help but bring to mind similar obsessions by photographer/directors like Stanley Kubrick with his beautiful atom bombs at the end of Dr. Strangelove or Busby Berkeley and his camera diving through the legs of thirty identical smiling girls all in a row. Such beautiful pictures and such complicated subject matter. Is it possible to respect Riefenstahl as an artist, even in the face of her implicated association with the Hitler and his fascist agenda? Cinecultist thinks so, but also thinks its terribly uncertain ground, one that should be left open for extended debate and discussion. Until then, Au Weidersein Frau Riefenstahl.

Posted by karen at 6:21 PM |

September 7, 2003

Golden Lions in Venice


The Venice Film Festival, the longest-running film festival in the world, handed out its 60th annual prestigious Golden Lion Awards Saturday evening. The top prize of the night went to first-time Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's Vozvrashchenie (The Return). The film tells a father's story as he tries to reconnect with his sons after 10 years apart. The story is especially tragic since one of the young actors recently drowned in a Russian lake where some of the film was shot. The runner up was The Kite from Lebanese director Randa Chahal Sabbag. The best director award went to Japanese director Takeshi Kitano for his film Zatoichi, the story of a blind swordsman in 19th century Japan. Sean Penn also picked up the best actor prize for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 21 Grams, costarring Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro, which is scheduled to close this year's New York Film Festival.

Posted by jordan at 3:41 PM |

September 1, 2003

Things Learned From Summer Season

Let us hope that those responsible for the barrage of sequels this summer was reading the Times business section today.They report what Cinecultist has been saying all summer -- just 'cause the first one made some cash, don't mean it's a good idea to make a follow up. Also, big names stars don't necessarily equal big grosses. The guarantee for a large return on a movie studio's investment, wait for it kids, make a good movie. "I think what a lot of people learned is that if you make a good movie, people will come," said Rick Sands, the chief operating officer of Miramax Films. "It's funny when you say that, but it's hard to do."

Eureka! The answer to all of our problems, better movies!

Posted by karen at 11:52 PM |

August 28, 2003

Clive Alert


For all of you Clive Owen fans out there (remember him? the best part about Gosford Park?), PCC felt obliged spread the word about his latest film, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. This is Owen's second collaboration with British director Mike Hodges, who brought us the wonderful Croupier. The film focuses on the life of a London mob boss (Owen), who has 'retired' to the country for a simpler life. But, as is always the case, he's pulled back into his old life, returning to London following his brother's mysterious suicide. Joining Owen is a truly amazing cast, including Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Malcom McDowell. What causes Hodge's new film to stand out, argues Stephen Chinball of the British film journal Sight & Sound, is the fact that the catalyst for the narrative is male rape, and the subsequent rape revenge. Chinball argues that "though several Hollywood scenarios have tackled male rape (notably John Boorman's Deliverance)...this subject has never before emerged in British cinema" (from the Sepetember 2003 issue which PCC would gladly link, except that she is reading a hard copy).

Sadly, US audiences will have to wait until April 2004 to see Hodges new film in theaters. It premiered at the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. Also be on the look out for Mr. Owen in September's Beyond Borders, with Angelina Jolie, and next year's King Arthur, with Pirate queen Keira Knightley.

Posted by jordan at 3:07 PM |

Sondheim At Telluride

Every year, the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado (which runs every Labor Day weekend) invites a guest to curate some of the festival's films and in today's Times Elvis Mitchell talks with Steven Sondheim about his involvement this year. Telluride began this tradition after festival co-founder and NYU Cinema studies prof William K. Everson retired.

Cinecultist is particularly fond of anything Everson related because we've been working on organizing and cataloguing his monstrously huge book collection for the last year. The man collected books on everything from Bollywood and classic Westerns to catalogues of Swedish cinema and trashy star biographies up the ying yang. Everson had incredibly ecclectic taste in movies, so it seems fitting that a movie lover with self-avowed equally goofy taste like Sondheim should be assuming his duties this year. As he tells Mitchell in the times:

"I just thought I'm being invited as a freak of nature, as someone who's from another profession who happens to love movies," he said. "I am always stunned when anybody under 50 knows what I do. Because the theater is, as we say, not the province of young people. Movies are."

Posted by karen at 2:33 PM |

Celebrity Backlash


That's right kids, the MTV Video Music Awards are tonight and that means all sorts of sundry celebs and movie stars are in town. Gothamist's posting has links to where the hot after parties will be, if you're feeling a little gawker stalker-y. Unless, of course, your opinion of celebrity falls closer to that of the sticker artist who defaced the advert pictured above (which ironically, CC took just across the street from the Loew's movie theater on Third Ave).

Posted by karen at 12:18 PM |

August 22, 2003

Seriously Dude, Say It Ain't So

NOO!!! Ashton Kutcher, he of the oh-so-lean and delicious bod, has said that Seriously Dude, Where's My Car, the planned sequel to his smash hit, Dude, Where's My Car, is "not likely at the moment."

This is such a giant disappointment for all of us here at Cinecultist. This was one of our most anticipated films of 2004! We LURVE Dude, Where's My Car ("a dadaist masterpiece," says Ms. Cinecultist herself) and not even ironically! So, to mourn this never going to be, we present Ashton Kutcher, flagrante delicto:

hot bod!!!!.jpg

Ok, he's not boffing someone. But still, hot.

Posted by josh at 12:22 PM | | Comments (4)

August 21, 2003

Another Festive Update

Following close on the heels of the NYFF, IMDB reports today that the Toronto International Film Festival has announced its lineup for the 2003 event, taking place September 4-13. If PCC were a bit closer to Toronto, she would very much like to attend screenings of the Isabelle Adjani/Grard Depardieu film Bon Voyage and Jane Campion's latest venture, In the Cut, starring Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo, who was wonderful in Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count on Me. PCC might even be persuaded to check out the new Richard Linklater/Jack Black film, The School of Rock, since trustworthy K8 gave it a thumbs up. But alas, PCC will have to attend the festival another year...perhaps with a film of her own? One can always dream.

Posted by jordan at 12:05 AM |

August 19, 2003

2003 NYFF Line-Up!

On Monday, Variety ran a small feature on the films submitted to the 2003 New York Film Festival, being held from October 3-19. While the actual schedule is not set as of yet, the opening and closing night films have been announced. PCC apologizes for not including the link to the aforementioned article, but she is reading it in a physical copy of Variety (for free), rather than online (for hundreds of dollars). But without further ado, here are the films submitted to the festival:

Mystic River USA Dir. Clint Eastwood (opening night)
21 Grams USA Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (closing night)
The Fog of War USA Dir. Errol Morris
The Barbarian Invasion Canada Dir. Denys Arcand
Bright Leaves USA Dir. Ross McElwee
Crimson Gold Iran Dir. Jafar Panahi
Distant Turkey Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Dogville Dennmark Dir. Lars Von Trier
Elephant USA Dir. Gus Van Sant
The Flower of Evil France Dir. Claude Chabrol
Free Radicals Austria Dir. Barbara Albert
Good Morning Italy Dir. Marco Bellochio
Goodbye Dragon Inn Taiwan Dir. Tsai Mingliang
Mansion by the Lake Sri Lanka Dir. Lester James Peries
Mayor of the Sunset Strip USA Dir. George Hickenlooper
PTU Hong Kong Dir. Johnnie To
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine Cambodia/France Dir.Pithy Panh
Since Otar Left France Dir. Julie Bertuccelli
A Thousand Months Morocco/France Dir. Faouzi Bensaidi
Young Adam Scotland Dir. David Mackenzie

Posted by jordan at 11:19 AM |

August 16, 2003

Bombs Away

70m.jpgWhile perusing her junk mail-filled Hotmail.com account, PCC came across this amusing article from MSN entertainment. It lists the ten biggest film flops of all time, accompanied by snide comments and a bit of useless trivia that might impress someone, someday...maybe. PCC is glad to report that she has seen only a few of these duds (Michael 'The Deer Hunter' Cimino's sophomore feature, Heaven's Gate, unfortunately being one of them). Are your favorite cinematic turkeys missing from this list? Tell us!

Posted by jordan at 2:05 PM |

August 13, 2003

He Says He's Out of Town...

But perhaps our own CCC has been spotted taking in a little shopping with a certain Australian redhead. Guess this is how rumors start. Or we can hope anyway. Drive up that site traffic. [via Gawker]

Posted by karen at 11:43 AM |

August 7, 2003

Carnivalesque California

Just what Cinecultist's hometown state California needs -- another movie star governor. As you may well know, Ah-nold has thrown his hat into the gubernatorial ring along with various other odd duck celebs like Gary Coleman, Arianna Huffington and Larry Flynt. For now, read the coverage in the conventional news sources (LA Times, NY Times, CNN, USAT) but CC promises a report from the streets, told from mouths of the real people (aka the Wilsons/Dalzells/Deans), as we're heading out to San Francisco this weekend. Boy oh boy, you leave a state for a few years and it all goes to hell in a handbasket...

Posted by karen at 11:13 AM |

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 |

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 3, 2003

Those Pesky Adverts

An article in today's Times comments on the increased profitability of the Regal theaters around the country resulting from renovations in older theaters, such as the advertising opportunities before the film. The article also links the disposible income of teenagers to movie theater profits because kids are more apt to spend $4 on a gi-normous soda. Towards the end of the piece though, some of those rich teens talk about their creative responses to the 2wenty, that pesky series of conversation-killing advertisements that has been really bugging CC lately.

For their part, the teenage girls attending "Pirates of the Caribbean" with Sara Fanning were unimpressed with Regal's 2wenty showing. "It was pretty irritating," said Nina Simons, a 14-year-old from Denver who tried not to pay attention to the ads while chatting in her seat with friends. The group was even less appreciative of the free mini-CD's, featuring the singer Rachel Farris, that were attached to soda lids. Most of the girls put the CD's in their microwaves, Nina said. "They come out kind of crackled and melty. It's pretty nifty."

Posted by karen at 12:30 PM |

August 2, 2003

Jesus Freak

See what can happen when you give somebody an Oscar? The Times reports today (on the front page, no less) that controversy regarding Mel Gibson's new Jesus movie, The Passion is heating up as Mel begins screening the rough cut to friendly audiences. One such hand-picked person made the following statement, sure to be a pull quote on the movie's publicity poster:

"Mel Gibson is the Michelangelo of this generation," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Why is this story so newsworthy months in advance of the release of a movie rumored to be screened in Aramaic and Latin with no subtitles (nothing says good popcorn flick to CC like dead languages)?

Mr. Gibson's vision "pays tribute to Judaism," Mr. Lauer said, by underscoring Christianity's roots. The controversy, he added, has built a considerable buzz about the movie. "You can't buy that kind of publicity," he said.

And why would Mel need to, when he has the Times and Matt Drudge for that?

Posted by karen at 5:59 PM |

July 31, 2003


C3's friend Jason knows a girl whose brother went to a party at the house that Tom Cruise bought his gay lover. Speaking of gay lovers, one source tells us that Ricky Martin is a mo and another that he's into scat. And this girl we met who went to school with Jake Gyllenhaal set him up with one of her friend. A boy(!).

For a (dubiously) more reputable source of gossip, please to go here, where, as Gawker (link provider) pointed out, you can kiss the next four hours goodbye. This site is absolutely mind-numbingly fascinating, because CCC learned that all male celebrities are at least bisexual, all older women are lesbians, and any female under the age of 45 turned tricks when they were younger, most for Heidi Fleiss. And why does CCC lurve this site? Because CCC likes knowing dirty secrets. Especially those of famous people.

Back to our plebeian life.

Posted by josh at 1:33 PM |

July 29, 2003

Great White Hope

Sunday evening, consumate entertainer and the celebrity most associated with the USO show of yester-war, Bob Hope passed away in his Toluca Lake home. He was a very impressive 100 years old. Cinecultist knows he's a figure who inspires much nostalgia and reverance for movie-goers of a certain age, but when racking the brain for classic Hope movies to comment on, we could only muster up White Christmas, a sort of passible Americana infused song and dance fest. Which on further research, stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, not Hope. Okay, so we got nothing in terms of Hope memories.

hope.jpgIn search of a more expert opinion, we fired off an e-mail to the original Wilson cinecultists, Phyllis and Red (aka CC's grandparents). Phyllis responds:

We just watched a piece on Hope on PBS. We liked him best in his repartee with Crosby. He wasn't a good actor but good in Beau James and the first Road picture Road To Singapore. I listened to him every week on the radio when Grandpa was overseas for a year and 1/2, and then I'd write his jokes to My love where ever he was.

Isn't that too cute for words? CC feels all buoyed up by the thought of youthful optimism, Hope in the face of hardship and red lipstick paired with seamed stockings.

For the full NY Times coverage, including an audio slide show. TCM offers their obligatory day of Hope movies. Walter Reade has a series already planned, to commemorate Hope's century. that starts Aug. 8. A list of Hope jokes from the Washington Post suitable for sending to your love.

Or, you could rent a CC fav, the Muppet Movie which features a Hope cameo. A true legend understands its important at some point in the career to act with puppets.

Posted by karen at 10:36 AM |

July 28, 2003

Does Johnny Have a Golden Ticket?


IMDB reports this morning that Johnny 'Captain Jack Sparrow' Depp is now the front-runner to play Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's 2005 remake of one of PCC's favorite childhood films, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based on one of PCC's favorite childhood books, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now, usually when PCC loves a particular movie (and especially when it's an excellent adaptation of a beloved book), she's in no mood to hear rumors about a remake, especially in this age of Hollywood recycling. But, since PCC's a fan of Mr. Burton's work, and, after seeing Pirates, has a newfound appreciation for Johnny, she doesn't mind the whispers of 'remake!' in the air. Of course, no one will ever replace Gene Wilder as THE Willy Wonka, but PCC gives Burton and Co. permission to come as close as possible.

Posted by jordan at 9:02 AM |

July 23, 2003

Nicole Kidman is a Poopy Head

nicolekidman_supergirl.jpg Oh, Nicole, Nicole, what hast thou done now? Imdb reports that Nicole Kidman may drop out of Mr. and Mrs. Smith due to scheduling conflicts.

NICOLE! WOMAN! Learn to turn down the bad movies and make sure you get the freaking plum roles! As if that weren't bad enough (ok, the movie ["the story of a bored married couple who discover they are both assassins" -- ahem] doesn't sound too great, but Brad Pitt is hot), right on it's heels comes the news that Nicole has to drop out of Lars von Trier's Manderlay because of more "scheduling conflicts". Let's pretend that all these scheduling conflicts are actually a ruse to cover the sick fact that Nicole is actually (bum bum bum) HELEN SLATER!!!!!!! Star of radio, stage, and screen, Helen is busy with post-production on Seeing Other People, which, unfortunately, does not allow her to take on projects as "Nicole Kidman". Could this be the real reason behind the "recurring knee injury" that kept her out of Panic Room (good move, Hel). Or maybe why Nicole couldn't play Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator? Seeing Other People best be a damn good movie for Helen Slater to pass up working with Martin Scorsese. Though with a plate full of movies like Birth, The Stepford Wives, and Emma's War, Helen Slater's judgment on what makes a worthwhile movie might not be trusted.

Not that CCC won't hop on that shit like white on rice.

Posted by josh at 1:10 PM |

July 21, 2003

Gossip-y Monday

After a really lovely weekend in New York, with sunny skies and not too much humidity, the only thing to soothe the tired Cinecultist soul upon returning to work this Monday is Page Six.

As the hype for Gigli intensifies, we bring you the idle contemplation that if uber-couple Jen and Ben met on the set of a film, what's to say, godforbid, they couldn't fall for another of their co-stars? Ben is currently shooting a movie with Uma Thurman (of whom the Post feels compelled to publish the worst possible picture) and Jen is in Winnipeg doing that American version of Shall We Dance, the Japanese romcom hit. So in other words, far apart = disaster for their pink-diamond filled love affair.

File under scary thought: Michael Douglas and CZJ starring in a vanity romantic comedy project. And it was to be called Monkeyface. We will tell you right now, that's perhaps the worst title for a movie we've ever heard, let alone a romcom, since Seabiscuit. And that's at least the name of a horse. Stephen Frears (of Dirty Pretty Things) will direct, but the news is Warner Bros./Franchise will no longer produce. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Isn't this a porn plot? Page Six reports that Halle Berry was shooting a naked prison shower scene with 30 other women on the set of her new movie, Gothika, the other day. To thank all the women "of all shapes and sizes" (huh? this is relevant how?), she bought them gift certificates to a day spa. For further visualization research purposes, rewatch Monsters Ball or Swordfish.

Now then, don't you feel refreshed and ready to face the day?

Posted by karen at 3:41 PM |

July 18, 2003

Reclusive Malick Contemplates Staying in Sight


Terrence Malick, acclaimed director of the wonderful, though widely spaced apart, films Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978) and The Thin Red Line (1998) is considering helming the Benecio del Toro vehicle, Che, chronicling the life and death of Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara. Originally thought to be directed by Steven Soderbergh, it seems as if Mr. S and his Section Eight Films will produce instead. PCC, for one, is excited at the possibility of not having to wait until she's 40 to see a new Malick film!

Posted by jordan at 12:14 AM |

July 17, 2003

Not Under a Tarantino Rock


CC supposes we might have seemed as though we were trapped under something heavy by not posting yesterday about the Big Movie News: That Quentin Tarantino's new film, Kill Bill will be released in two parts according to Miramax the film's distribution company. For the record, we knew, we thought about it and frankly we couldn't give a care.

We weighed in with the twittering masses at Gothamist but as Mark on whatevs.org points out, this has to be all about the lucre. First it's the unsubstatiated reports last winter that Harvey edited Scorses's Gangs of New York to fit his tastes and now this, it must be serious Svengali time over at the house of ben Miriam & Max. But allinall, that's neither here nor there. Tarantino's film is still going to be the same revisionist low-brow Uma vehicle it always meant to be two-parter or no. CC's saw Tarantino speak two years ago at the Seattle Film Festival and while he knows his stuff when it comes to obscure B releases and many find his pictures entertaining, he still bugs. Thus, the not giving a care.

Posted by karen at 5:16 PM |

July 15, 2003

Good News From the Village

Excellent news for fans of historic movie theaters like Cinecultist, the Waverly on Sixth Avenue near Bleecker is set to reopen, now as an outpost of the Independent Film Channel. This may mean some homogenization and "brand-extension" according to the Times who details the theater's history as an independent film outlet in the Village, but c'est la vie kids, it's the sign of the times. We'll just happy to see the boarded up facade removed and that syntactically irksome sign "Clo ed for Reno ation" taken down (what exactly is Reno-ation? To be made like Reno, NV? Adding second rate slot machines and third-tier dancers?).

To add CC's own personal connection to the space, we attended a screening of American Pie 2 there the night we moved into our first New York apartment with our new roommate, S. A screenwriter in the Dramatic Writing program at Tisch, S and CC hit it off like gangbusters and wandered around the new nabe, eating some Thai before stopping in for a flick. We bonded over laughing at how terrible the movie was and how much the two people behind us seemed to be actually enjoying it. A friendship based on the snarky evaluation of other's substandard taste and Asian take-out was born.

[congrats to Cinecultist.com and its contributors, this is our 101st post. Who knew we had that much to say?]

Posted by karen at 1:12 PM |

July 14, 2003

So Very Indie

Filmmaker magazine names their 25 new faces to watch in Indie Film, and surprise surprise a bunch of them are graduates of Tisch's film program. Besides the excitement of that alumni connection and the desire to memorize these faces so that when they're HUGE on the scene we can say, "oh yeah, I'd heard of that dude ages ago," we noticed a director who's film we've actually watched. We saw Steven Tsuchida's short, A Ninja Pays Half My Rent, before the screening of Infernal Affairs at the New Directors/New Films fest this year and thought it was very clever and charming. We posted the following comment on Gothamist before exploring all the links discovering that you can watch it streaming through Sundance's site. Rawk-star.

[via Gothamist]

Posted by karen at 6:17 PM |

July 11, 2003

Forgotten Obits

Seeing as we covered the passing of Kate Hepburn and Gregory Peck, it seems sort of remiss for Cinecultist not mention the sad demise of two other moving picture institutions, Buddy Hackett and Buddy Ebsen. Fortunately, the better weekly paper in Seattle, the Stranger covered the ground for us in their usual irreverant but very smart way.


[via The Stranger]

Posted by karen at 12:59 PM |

June 13, 2003

Headlines -- Hollywood Style

In honor of actually being in a place where there's SUN, aka Los Angeles, (watching the Today show this morning for a few moments, Cinecultist only felt a little sad for those saps watching Annie Lennox in the rain. In June. Damn Mother Nature), CC thought would scope out the news in some Left Coast publications.

Hollywood Reporter reports today that Chicago director Rob Marshall is first in line for helming the adaptation of the best selling novel Memoirs of a Geisha. CC read Memoirs a few years ago, and liked it but was worried about rumors that Spielberg was set to helm. The film should be beautiful, with all the swirling kimonoes and graceful tea houses, which Steve might have been able to carry off, but CC worried about it not having the novel's slightly bitter edge of objectified women screwed by this ancient system. Marshall could be good, he knows how to photograph spectacle and from his background as a theater director has a visual sense of flair.

Mel Gibson told Variety today that "To be certain, neither I nor my film is anti-Semitic," which is a relief to Cinecultist. Since the Times had reported that Gibson's father has beliefs not endorced the Roman Catholic church and is a Holocaust denier. Eeep, that's not good. There was worry then, that Mel's new film The Passion, about the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus, would place blame for the crucifixion on the Jews. But Gibson assures everyone, he doesn't hate anyone and certainly not the Jews. His hatred of the British, though, after Braveheart's smearing, is still up for discussion.

And in the LA Times, Manohla Dargis answers questions about movies from readers in a weekly column. This week's weighs in on a few important issues, Dargis's feelings about Marnie (likes it, but likes it less than North by Northwest, Vertigo and Shadow of a Doubt), why she panned Eddie Murphey's newest (things are down for Gumby but she liked Bowfinger) and how to go about being a film critic.

The best advice I can give you is to watch as many movies as you can - the more you watch, the more you learn. But don't limit yourself to new American stuff; get beyond the 1970s and make a study of the golden age of Hollywood (roughly 1930 through the 1950s). Just as important, watch every type of movie from every corner of the world, from traditional hot spots like France, Italy and Japan to the newer must-see cinemas of Iran, Taiwan and the People's Republic of China. Watch a lot, read a lot, keep an open mind and never worry what other people (especially other critics) think about movies. They're usually wrong.

Solid advice, CC thinks. Thanks to the City of Angels for the new perspective.

Posted by karen at 9:02 PM |

June 12, 2003

Gregory Peck Dies, Women Everywhere Mourn


As Cinecultist flew high over the "middle states" today, en route to Los Angeles (yes, we're a real bi-coastal site) we discovered via DirecTv on Jet Blue that acting legend Gregory Peck died today, at the age of 87.

Looking back at this amazing actor's filmography, it makes CC sad and happy at the same time. Sad that he's gone but so happy that he bestowed upon us so many wonderful roles. Perhaps we should all take a moment of silence, (*sigh*) and then start planning the retrospectives.

Some pictures that must be included:
To Kill A Mocking Bird -- voted just recently by American Film Institute as the greatest hero of all time, Peck plays Atticus Finch, the idealistic lawyer from the South based on the classic novel. A phenominal performance in a truly compelling film.

Roman Holiday -- Audrey Hepburn's debut as a princess let loose on Rome would not be the cinematic milestone it is without Peck, as the slightly corrupt journalist on the make who falls for Hepburn's innocence and charm. The scene at the Mouth of Truth is one for the ages.

Peck also starred in a version of Moby Dick and a number of westerns, war films as well as The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, the original Cape Fear (as well as a cameo in Scorsese's version) and horror classic, the Omen.

Eldred Gregory Peck is survived by his wife, Veronique, his children, and mournful women (and men) everywhere.

Posted by karen at 10:48 PM |

June 11, 2003

Renee To Gain Weight

One of the biggest publicity aspects of the push to promote the film Bridget Jones's Diary was the story on Renee Zellewegger's battle to gain weight for the role. This really gets Cinecultist hoping mad, and she can't believe the brouhaha has begun again.

First off, in Chicago and then in Down with Love, the allegedly "normal sized" Renee looks literally emasciated. CC walked out of DWL and wanted to find Renee so she could force feed her a baked potato. Girl needed some carbohydrates, and STAT. Following the release of the first Bridget movie, Renee posed in an elaborate spread for Vogue magazine, where she wore a variety of couture outfits made especially for her prior to that year's Fashion Week. As though to prove to the world of fashion and celebrity that objects may appear larger on the silver screen. Since then, she has seemed to be the incredible shrinking woman.

The reasons all of this media posturing irk CC so much are two fold. One) it goes against all that Helen Fielding's creation of Bridget Jones stands for. Bridget is against all the fuckwittage that revolves around women being told to be a certain size by society, and though she stresses out about it, she comes to realize she shouldn't when achieving her ideal weight means she has less fun. Two) CC used to like Renee, back when she was this indie actress from Texas. She was down to earth, talented and cute despite being compared in looks to Jewel one too many times. Now she's all about free meals at Nobu and making faces like a constipated Marilyn Monroe. Doesn't she know Marilyn was a size 16?

Edge of Reason is a pretty funny sequel to a wonderful character and CC really doesn't want to see it tarnished by Renee's lame behavior. Shape up girl, that's all we have to say about it.

Posted by karen at 2:05 PM |

June 10, 2003

Salma & Ed?

Just in time for the release of Frida on DVD, Salma Hayek and Ed Norton are gracing the exalted Page Six but apart. Rumor has it that Norton has been seen on the town without his Mexican lovely.

This sort of saddens CC, even though as Norton points out to Page Six, his private life is his own business. CC thought they looked really cute together when she watched them interact on Saturday Night Live from the plebian bleachers in March. Ed's very tall and Salma's very short but if he'd be willing to wear a bad '80s hair band wig as well as fake an English accent for an openning monologue schtick, this seems like love to CC. Good luck kids, CC hopes you can work things out.

Posted by karen at 11:27 AM |

June 4, 2003

Gallo v. Ebert: Saga Continues

Sorry folks, CC's a little behind today on the gossip news. We've been trying to keep up on the growing snaps-fest between director Vincent Gallo and critic Roger Ebert but the lame come-backs have been flying 2 fast and 2 furious for us.

Here's the latest links for those so inclined.
Ebert calls Gallo dumb and the video of his colonoscopy better than Brown Bunny.

Gallo calls Ebert a "hamhock" and challenges him to an IQ contest.

Stay tuned for more sad sad breaking news. [via Gawker]

Also of interest: the Village Voice's Mark Peranson weighs in on Gallo's film with a thoughtful review/report. Ok, so Gallo's nuts, but he's artistic nuts. Does this make him less dangerous? Or more?

Posted by karen at 1:55 PM |

June 2, 2003

Gallo Gets Nasty

Just when you thought gossip about Cannes might die down... Page Six reports today that director Vincent Gallo has taken off the white gloves re: Roger Ebert and his report that Gallo apologized for his film panned at Cannes (he.he. that rhymes!), Brown Bunny.

Gallo calls Ebert "a fat pig" (as evidence Page Six prints a picture of the critic to accompany the story? Ouch.), claims he was very pleased with the final product, says his quotes were made up, and apologizes for not being a "minority." Can we say, Cashed-the-Distribution-Rights-Check-Already? Gallo has the right to be provocative and/or a jerk but doesn't he have some sort of publicist counciling him not to piss off one of the widest-read critics in middle America? If I were Ebert I would not conscience this flagrant name calling. I see a serious throw-down on the horizon here. [via Gawker]

Posted by karen at 12:50 PM |

May 27, 2003

Gallo Apologizes for Film

CC promises this is the last mention of Cannes. CC is sick of Cannes but this is just too good to not mention.

Ebert reports on Vincent Gallo's apology regarding the existence of his new film, Brown Bunny.

"I accept what the critics say," Gallo told Screen International, whose panel gave the bunny its record low rating. "If no one wants to see it, they are right. I apologize to the financiers of the film, but I must assure you it was never my intention to make a pretentious film, a self-indulgent film, a useless film, an unengaging film."

Yeah, right, no one is going to distribute this film. I expect to see it in theaters in time for Christmas.

Posted by karen at 2:24 PM |

May 26, 2003

'Elephant' Wins d'Or

The final results: Gus Van Sant's new movie about a Columbine-esque high school murder spree, Elephant wins the big prize. Congrats to all.

Elvis Mitchell reports.

Full awards list.

Posted by karen at 1:20 PM |

May 25, 2003

More News from Cannes

J.Ho's article this week in the Voice features his report from the festival in France.

Here's why I love Jim, (as a critic) and think that his writing is always worth reading, whether I agree with him or not: He uses a reference to The Matrix: Reloaded (a big premier, it sounds like, at Cannes this year) to contextualize an Afghan film that he really liked. In other words, to really get his meaning, the reader needs to be versed in the mainstream to understand his assessment of the obscure. Wonderful.

Also worth reading, is the tail end of the review when he describes Dogville. Damn, psyched to see that, especially as he says the feature has similiarities to Breaking the Waves Lars van Trier's breakout film with Emily Watson. Nicole Kidman has been doing no wrong lately with her choices in roles, she seems to understand that its most important to work with these serious directors since she wants to be considered a serious actor. I think someone needs to set up a coffee date for Nicole and Gwyneth, where the hell has she gone lately? Oscar award does not give one carte blanche to punish their viewers with View from the Top. ANYHOO, Dogville = psyched.

CC is thinking of J. Hoberman lately because his summer class at NYU begins next week and CC told him she would be attending a few lectures as an auditer again this summer. Will report back soon on the screening list for "Dawn of the Digital" (the title of this year's course).

Posted by karen at 3:58 PM |

May 22, 2003

Can you cannes cannes?

Spring has sprung and that means movie time in the sunny South of France. Film festivals, like Cannes, are an opportunity for films without distribution to show their wares and hopefully get bought by a big studio who can promote them like they should. But increasingly more festivals, especially State-side ones like Sundance or Telluride, have become these insane media circuses where the celebs flock to be photographed and the movie-goers flock to see the celebs and who really remembers they are there to look for some good movies? Today Elvis Mitchell in the New York Times argues that Cannes is the kind of festival where by nature of it's International-ness it still offers an opportunity for some serious movie watching. His evidence? That he saw Memento there and that back in the '70s they screened Bruce Lee's breakout Fists of Fury. Sigh.

But I am excited about Dogville coming out. With the fervor surrounding Nicole, that film doesn't have to worry about being bought.

Posted by karen at 12:23 PM |

May 20, 2003

In the Beginning...

As today is the first day of publication for CC, we think this merits an entry in the category of News and Gossip. Because the final launch of this brave site, devoted to cinephilia and consumption of the media variety, is certainly newsworthy to us.

We firmly believe that new publications need manifestos, because a good manifesto connotes commitment and a little bit of healthy zealotry, two things we prize here at CC. Here's a few entries in our MANIFESTO:

CINECULTIST devotes itself to the pursuit of movies. We will chronicle our New York based viewing activities, offering first person accounts and opinions.

CINECULTIST is not afraid to be snarky about movies, even though we deeply love cinema. Isn't it true that you can make fun of your family, but no one else can? What is cinema? Film is art. But film is also a business, an industry, a cash-cow. As someone snarkier than CC said about pop culture web publishing, "We're just in the tall grasses taking pot shots at Katie Holmes." And so what?

CINECULTIST strives to be part of community of writers, smart writers who are contributing thoughtful commentary on our hectic media saturated world. CC is all about the shout out.

CINECULTIST understand that fandom is just as important as erudite criticism. CC will whole heartedly embrace both tactics.

Posted by cinecult at 4:54 PM |