Friday, August 22, 2008

He doesn't look like Nixon...

...but the movie looks good. The international trailer (ignore those subtitles...and its generally crappy quality) for Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, adapted from the hit play, dropped this week - but Universal says it's not quite ready for a real premiere, so don't be surprised if this gets yanked soon:

In that event, just YouTube "Frost/Nixon." The film opens this December.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

And it has Mos Def

Without question, Spike Lee is one my favorite filmmakers, and Bamboozled, flaws and all, is one of his most powerful films. Decidedly not Inside Man, Bamboozled was not a hit, and the AV Club's Nathan Rabin profiles it this week as one of his "My Year of Flops" cases.

While I understand the criticism, I'd venture to say that faulting a picture about a minstrel show sitcom for lacking subtlety misses the point. But Rabin rightly points out that the film has gained respect in the eight years since its release, and I suspect that - especially given recent debates over the nature and limits of satire - it will eventually find a revered spot in Lee's repertoire.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jamming for peace

International peace and educational program PeaceJam releases a new book, A Billion Simple Acts of Peace next week, along with an accompanying documentary (in conjunction with their upcoming, Peter Gabriel-narrated PBS series) - complete with a soundtrack featuring the White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, and Flobots...the latter of whom, longtime Denver mainstays, are currently breaking out with their early summer, Cake-ish hit, "Handlebars."

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Interview ends with impassioned monologue

Another short, interesting interview with a visionary: this time, it's GQ covering West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, on Obama, Tina Fey, and why Studio 60 failed, among other things. Via IMDB

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Monday, August 18, 2008

"Yes, this statue accurately reflects my neuroses"

On the heels of Vicky Cristina Barcelona's relatively strong critical and commercial opening this weekend - in the midst of what's arguably a comeback - Entertainment Weekly shares Woody Allen's fascinating, if brief, thoughts on some of his films (what, no Antz?).

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Say it ain't so, Harry

Some supremely lame news, care of Cinematical: Warners is reportedly pushing back the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from November 21 to July 17 of next year. 

Yep, that's the same movie for which the studio premiered a trailer a scant two and a half weeks ago, due to bow three months from now - meaning the thing is definitely in the can. Their only explanation, then? Thinking they could stand to make more money up against next summer's slated films than this winter's. Very uncool, especially since these are far from the first suspicions of WB milking the franchise for all it's worth. 

I've got to think they risk a serious backlash from legions of fans who no longer have new books in the series to look forward to. On the other hand, what are they gonna do - not show up, whenever it's released? Unlikely... 

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More "how far should parody go?" fun

Controversy continues to swirl around Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder (opening today) - not because of Robert Downey, Jr.'s white-character-playing-a-black-character, but rather its alleged degradation of the disabled.

CNN has an interesting point/counterpoint on the topic: one from Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver, who calls for a boycott of the film on the basis that it perpetuates stereotypes (especially its Simple Jack subplot); the other by Film School Rejects editor Neil Miller, who contends that protesters miss Thunder's Hollywood-lampooning point.

So, which is it? Have at it.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"My friends, let's all go see 'Mamma Mia'"

Blender tasks Randy "I've got a new album out" Newman and Girl Talk's "I'm crazy" Greg Gillis with evaluating Obama and McCain's respective favorite songs. See any potential official campaign theme songs among them?

Chief takeaway: as previously discussed, the favorite song of a nominee for President of the United States is by the Fugees. I'm with Girl Talk: "
If there’s a candidate with 'Ready or Not' on his list, I have to vote for him." (Not to mention Kanye.) The other nominee's first choice? "Dancing Queen."

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Part 3 pls, thx

From all my Dark Knight posts, you'd think I would've slapped a review up here the morning of Friday, July 19th. Rest assured, dear readers: I wanted to, but the thing is such an intense, complex epic that I felt I needed to see it more than once to register how I really felt about it. Turns out, I liked it (fancy that, huh?), and three weeks later, here are my thoughts...

First things first: in case you somehow haven't seen it (the movie's critical acclaim is topped only by its success at the box office, where it will likely go on to be the second or third highest grossing of all time), everything you've heard about Heath Ledger is true. He has truly created a film icon in his portrayal of the Joker; no small feat, considering how well known the character is -
not to mention how skeptical initial reactions to the casting were. And yes, he makes Jack Nicholson's equally iconic turn seem a little silly, if only because this is a decidedly different take on the story than Tim Burton's Batman. As dark as Burton's Batman flicks were, especially when compared to Joel Schumacher's, the Dark Knight is pitch black ("Why so serious?" indeed).

If director Chris Nolan's goal with franchise revival Batman Begins was to ground the series in gritty reality, the natural fulfillment here of the Caped Crusader's biggest and best archvillain, then, is not only to be terrifying, but to to be terror itself. And the Dark Knight is about terrorism: about chaos and injustice, heroism and sacrifice. If that sounds big (and lengthy), it is, and at times, the film threatens to collapse under its own, nearly unrelentingly bleak, weight. But the Greek tragedy-vein story is so intricate and complete - and, ultimately, hopeful - that it manages to do what other recent superhero franchise entries haven't by keeping its focus sharp.

The picture deals with Gotham City's violent escalation in response to its good guy's masked vigilantism,
as the closing scenes of Batman Begins promised. And, as with that film, the Dark Knight's greatest asset is how right it gets the character of Batman - from disappearing into the shadows, his cape gliding past skyscrapers, to the idea that Bruce Wayne is the real mask - and the role his symbol plays as a force for social good. Psychologically layered though it may be, the movie doesn't lose site of the fact that it's a superhero tale, and nearly every scene crackles with energy and adrenaline.

Non-fanboys may chuckle at just how seriously the movie (and the fanboys) takes its material, but the strength of characters like the Batman and the Joker is their ability to be generationally reshaped while essentially standing the test of time. Right now, the Dark Knight may not be the summer blockbuster the world deserves, but it's the one we need.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lewis drops Watson Twins, new jam

Jenny Lewis is premiering her single, "Acid Tongue" (from the forthcoming, sans-Watson LP of the same name), via phone. Call 1-888-717-ACID to check it out...

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reward for hosting the GOP: good music

More news on who'll be counter-rocking the Republican Convention in Minnesota: you can add locals Atmosphere to the (already solid) list, as well as Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, Billy Bragg, and Tom "The Nightwatchman" Morello, who'll all be protest-jammin' on Labor Day...not to mention that other project of Morello's you might've heard of, Rage Against the Machine, who just announced a show across town at the Target Center, two days later.

It's enough to make a homegrown Minnesotan proud.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Goonies never say die...

...which is apparently why there's going to be another movie. Yep, The Goonies 2 is reoprtedly underway, say the good ol' "unnamed sources." (Check out Cinematical for a nostalgically freaky look at the present-day original cast). A sequel to the seminal 80s kids adventure film...blasphemy or awesphemy?

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Friday, August 1, 2008

The Streets push things forward

Everybody's (well, a lot of people's) favorite English MC, Mike "The Streets" Skinner has a new single out, "The Escapist," from the forthcoming LP, Everything is Borrowed, continuing the chilled-out, production-focused bent Mr. Skinner's been increasingly on.

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