On Friday, Michael Bay will give us another 164 minutes of 3D-IMAX robots riding robots riding robots as they blow shit up in America—Detroit and Chicago—and China—also Detroit, actually—while Mark Wahlberg has to grapple with the fact his name is Cade Yeager. A fete of more than just Bay's extraordinary vision for setting General Motors vehicles and American military hardware against perfectly golden sunlight shining over a canyon as they race from one Optimus Prime death scene to the next, Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction is both the nexus and the prototype of a new kind of cinema-industrial complex that spans from Hollywood to Beijing.
That's the focus [...]
About ten minutes into The Room, a film that is considered the worst ever made, the actress Juliette Danielle has to make love to her fiancé, who is played by the film's writer and director, Tommy Wiseau. They are atop a bed of rose petals. Soft R&B plays. The camera lingers over Johnny’s pale bottom. Cascades of mermaid-length black hair spill over his back cleavage. As he thrusts into what seems to be Lisa’s belly button, she looks at him chidingly, as if he’s a soused comic who’s just told a fairly racist joke at an open mic.
Like most soft-core sex scenes, the love scene in The Room is [...]
David Denby wrote a mad-crazy review of Silver Linings Playbook in the New Yorker. Thankfully for his dignity, it was behind the paywall, and came after a lengthy review of that weird dead snoozer, Life of Pi (it's an effusive but cautious rave, but he does call Life of Pi "one of the great adventure films"). Here's a taste: "David O. Russell's 'Silver Linings Playbook' is pretty much a miscalculation from beginning to end," and he goes on to call it nothing more than an exercise for actors, that it "feels worked up." This is a point of view at least, if a wrong one, and artificiality is a [...]
• This is actually Nick Nolte's third Oscar nomination! (For Warrior.) He was most recently snubbed for his work in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
• While, as usual, women don't direct any films, because they can't, due to being women, and therefore they don't get nominated, two women actually at least somehow got nominated for Best Screenplay! That's Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig, who co-wrote Bridesmaids, which should totally win its category. And! A woman actually got nominated in the Adapted Screenplay entry! Co-nominated at least; husband-and-wife team Peter Straughan & Bridget O’Connor wrote Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which should completely and utterly win, because that [...]
"His film has no distinctly audible dialogue so doesn't need subtitles, and he doesn't move his camera during the first half-hour. There is no music, just the sound of bells, of the wind in the trees, of the bleating of goats." —Would you like to see a movie tonight? Le Quattro Volte is playing at MoMA at seven. Fair warning: you could perhaps achieve the same qualities of stillness and reverence by staring at your bedroom wall. It's only 88 minutes long—but my God, thirty minutes of unmoving camera! (Also, the title is not to be confused with the delicious four-cheese pizza. I'm hungry.)
"At the dawn of independent film, growing out of avant-garde culture, the movies reveled in their outsider status, portraying edgy misfits living on the cusps of society, in films like Stranger Than Paradise. Somewhere along the way, however, America’s self-styled outsider arts, the 'indie' movement in all its manifestations across film, music and fashion, not only made their peace with the capitalist hierarchy, but began to celebrate it. Across culture, the 'indie' world filed for emancipation from its downtrodden, protest-heavy forbears, and became something cloying, cutesy and simpering. Once upon a time, the sight of a man walking across the screen of an independent film in a $500 silk [...]