Cutting Room for November 30

  • Aksarben Cinema (aksarbencinema.com) must want to join Dundee Theatre (dundeetheatre.com) on the nice list this year, as the theater has also added Santa’s Cool Holiday Festival to their lineup for Dec 15-18. Chock full of quirky goodness, including the hallucinatory holiday cookie that is Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, this exciting blend of merriment and puzzlement is sure to become an annual ritual more fun than hanging stockings and less fun than chugging near-expired eggnog.
  • Actions speak louder than words, but numbers speak louder than verbs. So here’s some eye-popping stats provided by a recent study published by USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Women bought more than 50% of domestic movie tickets in 2009, but represented only 32.8% of speaking roles in those movies. Yipes. Even worse, women made up only 21.6% of producers, 13.5% of writers and an astounding 3.9% of the directors. The study is jam-packed full of depressing info like that, all of which begs the question: when will Hollywood knock it the hell off?
  • Technically, this is more TV news than movie news, but I’m invoking an executive order that gives me jurisdiction over all Muppet-related information. The Jim Henson Company has just sold NBC a new human/puppet show called “The New Nabors.” It’s a single-camera comedy about a human family who gets puppet neighbors. This in no way takes the sting and shame away from NBC’s decision to bench the best show on television, “Community,” at midseason, but it is a nice first attempt an apology. Now, put these shows on back-to-back, and all is forgiven.

Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@thereader.com. Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (movieha.libsyn.com/rss), catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 (cd1059.com) on Fridays at around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 (KVNO.org) at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).


entered on 11/30/11 at 06:11 AM | read comments »


Cutting Room for November 23

  • As someone who still giggles at the arc of Ice Cube’s career, you’ll find me chortling in the corner over this news: he’s gonna write and star in another Friday movie, possibly with Chris Tucker coming back. Tucker hasn’t made a non-Rush Hour movie since the Clinton administration, while Cube has been busy switching from “keeping it real” to “keeping it real…obvious how much I love Coors Light!” Who knows if they’ll recapture the magic of the original, but they will capture some cash.
  • Amy Adams must have really loved her work in The Muppets. Why else would she agree to star in another film with an oddly assembled character with ridiculous eyebrows, saggy facial features and a strangely gruff voice? That’s right, Adams will appear with Clint Eastwood in, Trouble with the Curve, about a baseball scout going on one last trip with his daughter. Eastwood said he was done acting after Gran Torino. Then again, he also says he likes Herman Cain for president, so I suppose we have to consider the source.
  • After much deliberation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has made what I believe to be their first correct decision: They’re bringing Ricky Gervais back to host the Golden Globes. Despite having savaged such legendary icons as Tim Allen, Gervais has been given another chance to make an awards show actually entertaining. In related news, Billy Crystal is hard at work penning a Monica Lewinsky joke for the Oscars.
  • After nearly five decades, the world is finally getting a big-screen Dr. Who movie. Set to be directed by David Yates, this is news that sure to leave die-hard fans of the phonebooth enthusiast and people who have never heard of the character saying “Who!” or “Who?”

Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@thereader.com. Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (movieha.libsyn.com/rss), catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 (cd1059.com) on Fridays at around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 (KVNO.org) at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).


entered on 11/23/11 at 11:21 AM | read comments »


Netflix Random Five: Thanksgiving

What's a thanksgiving movie? I've been wondering that myself. Though I was raised in one of those few Nebraska families that didn't watch football all day, I'm struggling to remember the sort of things we did watch after refrigerating the sacrificial bird's remains.

The simplest answer to the question, for my purposes here, would be movies that take place during thanksgiving – of which there are few – or, stretching just a little, movies about food.

I found a couple that fit that bill well enough, but after perusing the massive Netflix Instant Watch library, I realized there there were also several things I'd really hate to see while in the throes of a food-coma.

The Good

Fine, food-related film. And they all, in one way or another, take a crack at the indispensable and frequently frustrating other half of the holiday: family.

Gosford Park (2001) – Robert Altman's sprawling murder mystery/comedy is set in a huge English mansion. The characters are divided among the wealthy guests upstairs and the help toiling downstairs, but the whole cast is made up of some of Britain's finest (Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Gambon, etc). Food plays a part, but its the sense of barely contained chaos that might ring most true on turkey day.

Jack Goes Boating (2010) – Philip Seymour Hoffman ends up being the best actor-turned-director in recent memory. Go figure. He also stars here as Jack, a reggae loving limo driver (see hilarious image above). Heartbreaking, beautiful performances from all involved (Amy Ryan and John Ortiz, particularly). And it's on this list because a pivotal emotional point revolves around one labored-over homemade meal.

The Trip (2010) – Not about thanksgiving, and not really even about food, although the premise is this: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, English comedians playing skewed versions of themselves, tour the finest restaurants in the north of England. Rob is happy and well-adjusted; Steve is far from it. Funny, moving and probably the most quotable movie released in the states this year (especially if you do a good Michael Caine impression).

The Bad

Perfectly fit for streaming on Wednesday or Friday or any other day. But on thanksgiving: avoid!

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise (1972) – In one of Luis Buñuel's best films, a group of really awful people sit down to dinner but constantly find it impossible to eat. Sort of a nightmare vision of thanksgiving.

Food, Inc. (2008) – Unless your extended family keeps well-worn copies of “The Omnivore's Dilemma” and “Diet for a Small Planet” on their bookshelves, you probably don't want to know how your turkey spent its last days.


entered on 11/22/11 at 05:45 AM | read comments »


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Frank

A band that has a lead singer with a fake head will win your heart.

GRADE
A-


The Trip to Italy

Another affable outing with two British comedians.

GRADE
B+


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Still a fun place to visit, provided you're not a woman.

GRADE
C


The Giver

This adaptation of Lois Lowry's beloved award-winning classic will be none of those things.

GRADE
D


Boyhood

The only coming-of-age story anyone ever needs to make. 

GRADE
A+


Guardians of the Galaxy

A gleeful space opera that is as visually stunning as it is hilarious.

GRADE
A


Lucy

A girl ingests a drug that makes her God. For real.

GRADE
C+


Bro-man Holiday

First things first: The Trip to Italy, the sequel to 2010’s surprise hit The Trip, may be the whitest movie ever made....

more »


Bleak and White

Celebrated narcissist and Freddy Krueger look-a-like Frank Miller gives the women he writes a plethora of career choices....

more »


Take It Back

Fail gloriously, if you must fail. Go down swinging for the fences, punchdrunk and confident you’re making something truly...

more »


Cinéma Very Tame

A few quick confessions: Because we now have cameras, modern photorealistic paintings have always been, at best, modestly...

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