In the history of serious documentary film, there are two strains, it seems fair to say. One has been on the recent upswing: the advocacy documentary, propelled along by Michael Moore and that Al Gore-with-a-deadly-PowerPoint movie, which, TL;DW. (Really, I remember thinking when that came out: The planet's going bad? Just send me a position paper, and if I want to watch Al Gore I'll turn on C-Span 2 or whatever, and, no I probably won't, I'm just being polite.) The advocacy documentary is probably good for the world, as with all kinds of advocacy projects, whether they be litigation or burning cop cars on Rue d'Whatever in favor [...]
I have seen the last four Paul Greengrass movies and the latest, "Green Zone," which I've finally watched, made me want to give up consuming fiction entirely. This is a story that in its key points intentionally sticks close up front to some very real, very serious issues-the great political lie of the invasion of Iraq, the falsification or at least very extreme inaccuracy of military intelligence regarding the Hussein regime's weapons and also the outrageously damaging involvement of major newspapers in spreading that misinformation. One of the most important topics of our time, right? And Paul Greengrass took those facts and made a lone hero cowboy shoot-em-up.
Somehow, we ended up at this movie over the weekend, just us and some girls who were really lonely. And a few really angry boyfriends. You guys. Little Kristin Bell, barely there. Josh Duhamel, a lunk with a nice brow. A plot (magic love fountains!) that not even Annie Hathaway could paste together with her face. And, what's more, a ghostly drive-by from Judith Malina. Born in the 20s, the daughter of German rabbi who emigrated to America in 1929, the twice-widowed avant-garde theater superstar has not had a film or TV role since the 69th episode of The Sopranos, broadcast in April of 200-as Paulie's nun-aunt who reveals [...]
Flicked Off, with Kia Matthews and Natasha Vargas-Cooper: 'Precious,' or, Can a Movie be a Social Act?
'Precious' has been in theaters for a week now, but since it's Mo'Nique's birthday today, we feel it is now time to finally get to it!
Natasha: Girl, how did you feel about going into this movie?
Kia: Well. I didn't even want to see it. The trailer made me cry, so, I wasn't really looking forward to a full length version of that. It looked like that emotional porn? You know, downtrodden person going through trails, tribulations, strife, set to uplifting music and/or a gospel song, etc.
Natasha: I wanted to see it for two reasons 1. Oscars, natch. 2. I wanted to dislike it. BUT GURL I [...]
Flicked Off: Alex Pareene and Natasha Vargas-Cooper on 'The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans'
Natasha: Can we talk about the motherf'ing Bad Lieutenant??
Alex: Yes. Yes we can.
Natasha: Pareene, tell me why this is a great movie.
Alex: Well. I think, first of all, that it is indeed about a Bad Lieutenant. I think that while Abel Ferrara's original movie was about a bad person who happens to be a Lieutenant, Nic Cage, in this film, was just not ever very good at being a Lieutenant. And I admired that, making a police procedural where none of the policing is ever very competent.
Maurice Sendak said it first: "I thought it was never going to end." If you've ever been through family therapy, you've had the same thought. And this is what director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Dave Eggers have reduced Where The Wild Things Are to-a glum ninety-minute session where emotions are projected onto big fuzzy creatures who look like nested Russian dolls bleached of color, blown up and covered in hairy mildew. The creatures serve therapy, not dreams or fantasy. They embody the vexations of a boy named Max, but none of his desires or imagined ecstasies. And if you've read Where The Wild Things Are, you probably think it [...]
GI Joe is a movie about an ugly girl who is mechanically brainwashed to hate her dumb boyfriend. The ugly girl is played by a former model. The dumb boyfriend is sooo dumb. She is brain-washed by a snooty downtown actor named Joseph Gordon Levitt who used to have a huge art-school hipster attitude and I wonder if he still can pull that off after appearing in this sweating trash heap of a dirty catbox of a movie. This film made me yearn for the forthcoming masterpiece called Viewmaster. But most importantly, beyond issues such as the Speed Racer level of characterization, what happened to Sienna Miller's face? She [...]
"The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don't want to do."
Wall Street 2, better known as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, was the top-grossing film in the nation this past weekend.
The hero of the original Wall Street, Bud Fox, was torn between siding with the unionized "working man" or the corporate-raiding embodiment of capitalism. The sequel no longer even bothers with the question, its hero a trader fully invested in working within the system of finance as our savior. The ostentatiousness of the first Wall Street film was found in the characters' ideals. The ostentatiousness of the sequel is all [...]
Now that he is tasked for real with directing the adaptation of The Emperor's Children, we must take Noah Baumbach for serious again. And so….
Natasha Vargas-Cooper: What was it like for you to go on a Bromotional journey into Ben Stiller's Acting cred? How was it spending 2 hours with a character you HATED?
Julie Klausner: It was better than dating one! But I did like the movie.
Natasha: Have you dated a G-berg?
Natasha: Ok, Explain what a G-man is.
Julie: Somebody who thinks honesty is not only a value, but THE MOST IMPORTANT VALUE. But honesty should be a [...]
This movie makes me emo. Thinking about it makes my nose do that chloriney thing you get right before you start crying. I am SO GAY for this movie that I can't stand it. And you know what? Having finally seen it, I don't even care what the haters have to say. I am a happy meniscus that your spite sauce slides off of. I'm lifted.
I waited three hours in July San Diego sun to watch 27 minutes of this movie. I had to cross the street from the convention center to where the line serpentined to the water by the Hilton to catch the Cameron panel at [...]
You should know that this exchange on the topic of 'A Single Man' contains vague but vigorous discussions of the endings of both the film and the book on which it is based. This semi-spoilery stuff, if it can be called that, is noted below in bold, before it occurs. There are also vague discussions of some plot points. (If they can be called that.)
Choire: Dear Dan, I have asked you here to discuss with me the issue of the new Tom Ford movie, "A Single Man." Actually, I'm lying! You totally asked me here!
Dan: Nay, I DEMANDED it! This movie made me so angry that I needed [...]
Of the three important movies opening today, our coverage of one of them will be handled elsewhere, by Mr. Joe MacLeod of the Baltimore City Paper: Do you like Nicolas Cage? He ate a bug once, for real, in a movie. Do you think Nicolas Cage is a fucking weirdo sellout who maybe used to be an actor who could have done something with his career other than make movies such as Con Air or that piece of shit Ghost Rider? Do you ever find yourself wondering about Nicolas Cage's physical appearance or the provenance of the hair on his head? Remember Nicolas Cage in that remake of Kiss [...]
At least 180 people were laid off today at Conde Nast, the magazine company with $3.5 billion in revenue last year. More will be laid off as the Christmas season grinds its way towards us. At the height of Tina Brown era, the New Yorker's editorial budget was $30 million a year. If that astounding number were still true, which it certainly is not still that monster, and every magazine there were as insanely expensive, which they are not, then it would cost $510 million a year for editorial on 17 magazines. Triple that (an excessive estimate!) to pay for the business side: congratulations, you are still making [...]
Last night, at Castle Clinton, I saw a bit of John Kelly performing as Joni Mitchell, a trick he rarely does these days. This weekend, I am thinking about attending an exhibition called "Maurizio Cattelan is Dead: Life and Work, 1960 – 2009," a fake retrospective exhibition of a non-deceased conceptual artist. And this week I went to see Julie and Julia, a movie about a sad young girl desperately casting about among substantial, acclaimed, meaningful figures of the past for a structure to lend meaning to her meaningless, inward-looking, self-obsessed, awful, drab, over-analyzed life.
Julie Klausner: I am under the impression that you loved the new Nicole Hosen-feffer Incorporated movie, "Please Give."
Tyler Coates: I did! I also knew going into the movie that I would love it, as Nicole Holofcener is the BEST.
Julie: "Please Give" me your take on it, har har.
Tyler: (I see what you did there, right there.)
Julie: I, too, am a big fan of Mizz Hoffasenna. How did this one compare to her/their past movies for you? [Oh and there are spoilers ahead, for sure.]
Now I'm not a huge Tim Burton stan, but I thought that Alice In Wonderland was pretty good! The strengths were exactly what you would probably think them to be: visually it was very nice to look at-the landscape design was done by Robert Stromberg, the same guy who did Avatar's. The characters were all very charming and amiable with all of their British accents (and what not!), especially the lead girl Mia Wasikowska who was very crushable by the end. And while the plot/story seemed simple, I was okay with that because it's supposed to be palatable for children, but also because it was really positive and [...]
Nine, directed by Rob Marshall, opens in limited release tomorrow. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, PenÃƒÂ©lope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren, and Stacy Ferguson.
There's so many different reasons to see a movie! Sometimes, you will be walking by a theater, and it will be playing A Serious Man, starting in fifteen minutes, and you'll think "What the hell!" And then, 110 minutes later, you'll be like, "Hey, that was a kickass, awesome godamned movie, why did I not see it before?" Or sometimes I, like many people in America, will go to a film just see an actor (which is why I have seen every Julianne Moore and Frances McDormand and Holly Hunter movie ever). By those standards, Up in the Air is a damn fine bit of bait. George Clooney, at 48 [...]
You know who I love? I love anyone who hated this movie because I would like to fight them to the death for being wrong as balls. Fuckouttahere. I wanna be on the 2012 thrill park ride, playing 2012 on my Nintendo DS, eating the 2012-branded chocotaco and watching this movie at the same time because I am greedy for this brand of INCREDIBLEBANANASINCREDIBLE. Everyone who says otherwise may as well have written their reviews on their faces in marker because they are obviously batshit crazy and should be ignored. Seriously, will somebody tell me what people expected other than 158 minutes of apocalypse BUKKAKE? Roland Emmerich knows how to [...]
Here are my only two beefs with District 9, the new Peter Jackson-produced scifi apartheid-invoking epic stealth blockbuster opening this weekend. One is that I do not approve when a film switches seamlessly between faux-documentary and omniscient styles. Just conceptually speaking. But it's not a problem if you don't notice it! And no, Will Leitch, I do not think in any way that the last half hour is lazy, though I agree it is slightly conventional. And yet conventionality brings narrative satisfaction! So my two beefs are minor and here I will join the crowd and be all OMG IT IS SO SUPER-GOOD I CANNOT WAIT TO GO [...]