Daily Dump for Tuesday (February 1)

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE? I lost a whole month of 2011. I mean, sure, it was January, which is so barely a month it may as well be February, but still...it can't seriously be 1/12th of the year in the tank already, can it? Man, I've got a get my act together. Speaking of getting one's act together: What's worse, Snowpocalypse 2011 or the COVERAGE of Snowpocalypse 2011? I have heard this called "an historic" storm, but until Jake Gyllenhaal fights off CGI wolves and outruns "the cold spot," how am I supposed to really weigh the meteorologic significance here? I mean, I haven't even heard one peep from John Cusack regarding neutrinos or the shifting of the earth's crust. (Fun fact: I have to look up John's name every single time to see if it has a C in the last name. I care that little about committing it to memory. Oh, what, act like I'm supposed to still care about him after 2012.)

Before we get into what I deem worthy of repeating to you today regarding movie news, here's a few tidbits I'm NOT sharing in detail: Hugh Jackman is "excited to do another Wolverine movie" and was told to use steroids by a blogger I admire (if Jackman isn't jacked enough, I must make Olive Oyl look Olympian). James Cameron wants to shoot the next two Avatar movies in some wicked frame rate, with even more betterer 3D (no word if he's just skipping straight to the fifth dimension). They may or may not be making not one but TWO more Final Destination movies, officially confirming the franchise's status as "most ironically titled." And, finally, Allison Brie has a cameo in Scream 4. Okay, you caught me, given my "Community" obsession (it's my new desktop background...giggle, giggle), you know I have to show you that image.

Oh, to be the man who gets to pat her on the head...

Now on to the news I DO deem worthy of talkity talk and bloggity blog.

Wait, but Joaquin Phoenix said he retired...he wouldn't lie, would he?

Actor retirements are like comic book character deaths. When it was finally revealed that Joaquin Phoenix's meltdown was a fake-out for a documentary that three people saw (meaning it was really worth it), we all knew it was just a matter of time before he decided to do some acting again.

He needed to come back with something that reminded everyone that as eccentric as he may be, he's a hell of an actor capable of some intensely intimate work. So, yeah, Phoenix may star in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as Abe's vampire mentor. Right now, this is just an offer that's out on the table. And anybody can make an offer and put it out there. Like, I offer Allison Brie the role of "Girl who sits on my couch while we watch her star in 'Community' together," but that doesn't mean she's considering the role. Sadly, unlike Brie who is likely filing a restraining order as we speak, it wouldn't surprise me if Phoenix was signing on the dotted line.

We're all gonna die...again.

I got Abbie (my wife) "The Stand" for Christmas. She loves postapocalyptic survival books to the point where we readily discuss our plans and strategies for that inevitable day when the zombies emerge. It's adorable. Her addiction, not the zombies. She had never read the standard-bearer for postapocalyptic writing and is now slogging her way through the mountain of pages. Turns out, she's got a strict deadline of a year or two to finish, as they are now going to make a new The Stand adaptation for the big screen. Not that the miniseries from 15 years ago isn't still etched in our minds. It starred...um...I do not remember. It's no surprise that this property is being revisited. What's surprising is that I like the idea. It can work well in 2 hours, provided they don't worry about fan outcry over each and every minor incident and subplot. Those work in books. That's the thing that kill me about people and adaptations. I was far more pissed about them making web shooters organic in Raimi's take on Spider-man than the loss of any minor subplots. Why? Well, that was a major character thing that showed how smart Peter Parker was. But if they have to trim fringe characters and extra scenes, that's fine with me. If you like all the extra filling in there, all the dense stuff...it's called reading and nobody is stopping you from doing it. The point is this: I hope they make a 2-hour, awesome movie out of this material and not a 3-hour opus to get every minor pit-stop in.

Let's settle this Diaz thing once and for all

I have shifted from finding Cameron Diaz a pretty distraction to pretty much loathing her existence.

Her name in a cast list is pretty much the kiss of death these days. So let's see what happens in Gambit. Aside from Diaz's inclusion, the only other knock is that it's a remake. But it's written by Joel and Ethan Coen, and Diaz will star opposite Colin Firth in a heist movie. I mean, that's probably the best shot she's going to have to get off my "Doody Actress" list, right? The Coens' pens are among the best in the biz, and Firth is so charming I probably won't throw things for his impending Oscar win despite it being totally unwarranted. I don't know if it will be good, but it's the last, best chance Diaz has in my book. And I know my opinion of her keeps her up at night.

Okay, that's it for today gang. See you tomorrow, when hopefully some cooler stuff happens.

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entered on 02/01/11 at 10:06 PM | read comments »


Daily Dump for Monday January 31

Sorry I've been gone. Things are busy, busy, busy right now, and honestly nothing other than Sundance sales were happening much last week. Also, did I mention the busy? Because I was crazy with the busy. And I don't mean things like "watching great television like 'Community' all day" busy. I mean "Dear God, grant me the opportunity to pause this madness long enough to void my bowels" busy. I far prefer the former kind, but the latter kind does make for some great personal drama.

So why did I return to you now? It's neither the turning of the tide nor the hour of your greatest need. I just a little breather is all. Oh, did I mention my computer died last week? Yeah, I like to think right now Heath Ledger is up there typing a letter to Chris Nolan on my old laptop. It begins "F**king BANE?" That brings us to the biggest news of the day, along with other smaller things of note.

Super-fop

In what can only be interpreted as an act of revenge for the poaching of Sherlock Holmes, a Brit has been cast as Superman. One can only hope this doesn't escalate and leave us with Mickey Rourke playing Princess Diana. Here's the bloke who is going to don the red undies.

K. He looks like a brunette that has ripply-dipply abdomen parts. Presumably he can speak in ridiculously obvious platitudes and looks good in slow motion. With rumors that Superman himself will appear as all CGI, I can only suggest that any blockhead considering it looks at the eyeball abortion that is the Green Lantern costume. If you look at that green and black monstrosity for more than 30 seconds in a row, your sperm count drops in half and you lose 52 IQ points. I doubt they're going that route, so we'll likely see Cavil's bulging boy parts in the spandex we love so much. Dude was in a show on Showtime (which is like Burger King to HBO's Mickey Ds) and was actually semi-cast in McG's would-be version of Superman that JJ Abrams wrote. Thank god that didn't happen, as the things that have leaked about that draft are almost as bad as McG's direction. I don't know what else to say about the casting of a generic white boy who looks like Joe Q. Average (sorry, he's British...what's the British for "John Q. Public?" Gaylord S. Foppington?). Yay for accent suppression?

Bond may have a new friend-o

Pleaseohpleaseohplease let this work out.

That may be Blofeld. Okay, maybe not Blofeld (please be Blofeld), but someone close to Blofeld. Rumor has it that the offer is out to have Javier Bardem (currently taking some time rearing the seed of Penelope Cruz, whom he totally impregnated) play the big, bad Bond baddie. Ever since the last two movies gave us the epic villains of What's Hisname and Someone Else, I've been drooling at the thought of an A-list actor taking on Daniel Craig's bad-ass Bond. This would totally fit that bill. As much as I was hoping for an out-of-left-field casting choice (Will Smith, for example), Bardem more than has the chops to do this and he fits an awesomely interesting aspect: He's charming as shit. I mean, those attracted to dudes are going to have a field day with this one, with the uber-suave Craig muscling up against the foreignly drool-worthy Bardem. Hell, I like chicks and this is getting me all worked up. Point is: We may finally have a perfect foil for a damn-near-perfect Bond, which was the ONE thing this new installment of the superspy had been missing.

I don't want to hate The King's Speech...but I now kind of hate The King's Speech

The King's Speech is a perfectly inoffensive way to spend two hours. For history buffs or those with a big ole Colin Firth addiction, I highly recommend injection into your eyeballs. But facts being facts, it's just an okay movie. It does nothing particularly great, offers no new insights or takes on anything, and has all the punch of a muppet's high-five. It's milquetoast. It's tapioca pudding. It's something that award shows can reward ad nauseum because it SEEMS better than it is. It's the sports car with the Minicooper engine. I saw it less than a month ago and struggle to remember individual scenes. Whole storylines are dropped (like Geoffrey Rush's character's acting career), big moments are presented placidly (his final, titular speech has all the grandeur of a shitty local radio show), and the exchanges between the two skilled actors fall so far short of something like Frost/Nixon that it's insulting...and that was a damn Ron Howard movie! Still, it's harmless. It means well. And I don't want to hate it. But I do.

Why? Because by virtue of Tom Hooper undeservedly winning the DGA award, the movie has all but wrapped up the Oscar sweep. Yeah, it's going to be an uneventful evening of celebrating something with less punch and pizazz than Crash or Shakespeare in Love, two other movies that weren't the best movies of their respective years but resembled them enough to fool everyone involved. The King's Speech is destined to be an answer you stretch to remember while playing Trivial Pursuit. The King's Speech is going to be the movie you can't remember when someone asks "What won best picture last year?" It's mediocrity at its finest, and championing it pisses me off. I don't mind that you like it if you do. I get it, in fact. Just don't tell me it's better than Inception...or Black Swan...or Toy Story 3...or The Social Network...or True Grit and so on and so on. This is the movie I end up despising even though it's just okay because I loathe the celebration of middling works. Enjoy your brief reign of memorability, The King's Speech. We're going to have forgotten you exist by this time next year.

And on that thoroughly grumpy note, Happy Monday to ya and I'll see you tomorrow!

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entered on 01/31/11 at 10:45 PM | read comments »


Cutting Room for January 26

  • If it’s hard to keep a good woman down, imagine how hard it is to stop a “Wonder Woman.” Answer: Really hard. When Joss Whedon’s pitch for a new big screen version was treated with all the respect of a Joss Whedon project, David E. Kelly stepped in and took it to TV … where everyone initially passed on it as well. But it all worked out when Kelly remembered that NBC is still technically in existence. That’s right, the people who brought you “The Cape” are going to bring you “Wonder Woman.” I wonder if they’ll rename it “Bracelets” or just “Boobs.”

  • Speaking of where movie and TV news intersect: Steven Spielberg is getting his motorcycle ready and is loading it on the ramp backed up to the ocean. Why? I can only assume that the new hour-long musical drama (called “Smash”) he dreamed up and will be producing for (you guessed it) NBC may represent the actual moment that this nation’s passion for musical dramas jumps the shark. I was going to make a Jaws joke here, but let’s keep that good movie away from this bad idea.

  • When I heard Will Smith was spearheading the attempt to rework the musical Annie into a vehicle for his hair-whipping daughter Willow to star in, I thought: this is the continuation of his plan to have his offspring inherit the world. Then I heard Jay-Z was in talks to redo all the music for it, and I thought: “Well, if we have to cede the world to the seed of Smith in order to get a Jay-Z musical, I think I’m good with that.” Sorry future generations who will inevitably bow before Jaden and Willow as though they were royalty, but I need me a Jay-Z musical version of Annie.

Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Check out Ryan on the radio on CD 105.9 (Fridays at around 7:30 a.m.), on his blog at thereader.com/film/C19 and on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).


entered on 01/26/11 at 03:36 PM | read comments »


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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The epic conclusion to the most epic of epics.

GRADE
A-


The Babadook

A terrifying tale of an ooky pop-up book and motherly love.

GRADE
A


The Tale of Princess Kaguya

A water-colored take on a Japanese folktale that is prettier than it is interesting.

GRADE
B-


The Theory of Everything

"Out of this world" performances buoy a sub-par script.

GRADE
B+


Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Half of what promises to be an epic conclusion to a fabulous series.

GRADE
B+


Birdman

A delirously fun satirical send up of artistic pretension. 

GRADE
B+


The Overnighters

"The Grapes of Wrath" in documentary form set in North Dakota.

GRADE
A-


Interstellar

If this was humanity's last hope, give up.

GRADE
D


Happy, Little Clouded

Actual human beings made The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and you can tell. A water-colored rebuke of the robots who...

more »


No Big Bang

In 1965, Stephen Hawking wrote his first ground-breaking thesis and wed Jane Wilde. His paper argued that if a star can...

more »


Leni Riefen-stalling

On the one hand, any film subtitled “Part 1” is a naked cash grab. On the other hand, shut up and take my money, Hunger...

more »


Oopsie Genius

I know two things for sure: (1) Birdman aims to relentlessly drive home one singular point, one thoroughly expressed thesis...

more »


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