November 29, 2005

Sundance Line-Up Revealed

Question: Is the utter coolness of the Sundance Film Festival selection committee for screening the film directed by Bob Goldthwait* canceled out by the inclusion of a movie writtend and directed by Joey Lauren Adams**? [Full line up available via indieWire.]

* aka the comedian formerly known as Bobcat.
** aka the actress with the squeakiest voice since Betty Boop.

Posted by karen at 2:02 PM |

November 28, 2005

No Day But Today (Or Maybe Tomorrow)


Sometimes Cinecultist thinks the reason we live in New York City is because we're a sucker -- a sucker for Unabashed Romanticism and Believing In The Dream. (It might maybe perhaps be because of all the movies we consume.) At times, we'd like to think that the music coming from our iPod is actually the soundtrack to our life and every emotional up or down a plot point towards our big beautiful happy ending. Chris Columbus' adaptation of the musical Rent preys on suckers like CC. We are its bread and butter.

In the media blitz leading up the release of this movie, CC's most cynical side lashed out against its treacle-filled sunshine. We honed our Rent joke -- as in, if we wanted to see dirt poor 20 somethings break into song in East Village walk ups, we'd not pay $10.75 for it. Or some such snide remark. But just as we wanted to do our best sneer every time the cast performed on the Today show or we saw the huge billboard at Astor Place, CC couldn't help but also be intrigued. How bad would it be? Last night, we went to the Union Square theater to find out.

With pretty good performances and darn catchy tunes, it's not an unpleasant 2 and a half hours spent at the movies, especially if you're a movie musicals person. However, like when CC saw Baz Luhrman's production of La Boheme a few years ago, this LB story brings up a bunch of issues. It seems to get most hairy during the "Viva La Vie Bohemia" song in the Life Cafe. The gang is all there; they've pushed a bunch of tables together and are now singing at the table adjacent which holds Benny and his investor friends about how great their bohemian life is.

Like that Billy Joel song, it's a mad dash to list all the things that are great about being young, poor and artistic in the late ‘80s like the Village Voice and masturbation. But all of this unabashed, wide-eyed belting of song and loving of life seems so incredibly unhip and dated. Not to mention the pervasiveness of AIDS and the need to act up, that feels so removed from urban life today. Do the young people LOVE like this anymore? Is life ever filled with such intense drama? Does the fact that we doubt this living for a dream make us even more bourgeois than the fact that we can afford the rent, eat three meals a day and even afford decadent digital cable service?

In the end, all of this second guessing and evaluation really cuts into one's enjoyment of the stirring pop rock songs and how short Rosario Dawson's skirts are. But if you're a real Chris Columbus kinda believer, maybe you won't be hampered by it. You'll be able to walk out of the theater thinking (and humming) that there is no day but today and really mean it.

Posted by karen at 11:32 PM |

November 20, 2005

Sexuality and Current Cinema

This wonderful article from Caryn James in the New York Times movies section today explores all of the ways sexuality, particularly homosexuality, are in this year's Oscar-ish films. Gotta love the cinema studies in mainstream newspapers -- or at least the Cinecultist does.

Posted by karen at 8:45 AM |

November 14, 2005

Trailer City: Population Cinecultist

A slightly hung over and bruised Cinecultist (high heel boots + a few vodka tonics + 5th floor LES walk up = bad scene and sore ankle) took ourselves to the movies on Sunday afternoon at Kip’s Bay. Sigh. Cineplexes sooth our savage soul. If you haven’t been to the mainstream movies lately, it’s trailer-polozza out there for the winter films, people. Here’s a few that piqued our interest:

Munich – When our buddy Michael begins waxing rhapsodic for an up coming Steven Spielberg release, CC tends to zone out just a touch. He did edit a whole special issue symposium for Reverse Shot on the guy. However, the trailer for Munich looks totally hott and we see now why many critics are holding out on top 10 lists until they see this historical action flick. Daniel Craig looks hot, as does Eric Bana and we realized while watching the trailer that there really aren’t enough movies that feature Golda Meir. Hollywood, get on that! CC wants more actresses playing Golda.

Aeon Flux – What’s better than ass-kicking Charlize Theron with an anime haircut? An ass-kicking Sophie Okonedo, of course. Seeing her in this trailer, plus the visuals and the promise of feminist auteur Karyn Kusama behind the wheel has CC itching for the release. But then again, we love David Lynch’s Dune, so our taste for this type of thing should be weighed accordingly.

King Kong – For some reason, a scary 24 foot silver back gorilla CC can accept. But 24 foot gorilla battling dinosaurs? This just seems too far fetched. After this preview, Peter “Ultimate Geek Boy” Jackson is going to have to work hard to earn our $10.75 for a screening of this remade epic. Also, doesn’t Colin Hanks look totally bloated here? What happened to him?

Syriana – How much are we loving fat, bearded Clooney? It’s like the fat Elvis/thin Elvis debate all over again. That guy can do no wrong right now. Plus, thriller/politics/Amanda Peet screaming? It’s how you spell awe-some.

Walk the Line – When CC caught an advance screening of this movie a few weeks ago, we happened to be chat with the security guard for the screening room who told us he’s watched this movie about 20 times so far and he still loves it. Between that regular dude’s recommendation and this trailer, you should be very, very excited for this movie. We know a few Johnny Cash purists and while we’re still waiting to hear their final judgment after it comes out, this trailer is surely whetting our whistle to watch the movie again very soon. “Baby, baby, baby, baby” indeed.

Posted by karen at 9:05 AM |

November 11, 2005

Cronenberg on HBO

the Dead Ringers operating room

Thrilling news today for people like Cinecultist who obsess over the programming on HBO and the film stylings of Canadian director David Cronenberg: Variety reports that he has plans with HBO to turn his delightfully twisted 1988 film, Dead Ringers into a series for the cable network.

If you don't recall, DR is one of the key films that makes Cronenberg both "fucked up and awesome" (as in the question CC would ask him ie. why is he, if we met him). Jeremy Irons plays twin gynecologist brothers who create baroque internal examining tools that seem like something out of Dune or The Handmaiden's Tale. Then the brothers, they go crazy. God, it's so awesome, CC wants to watch it right now. Imagine what Cronenberg could do with this material on HBO which airs like-minded ilk, as evidenced by shows like the incest-apoloza and animal sacrifice-tastic Rome on right now? The only fear would be the Jeremy Irons factor, as in, who could they get to fill his awesome shoes? This could be the tricky part, but surely worth the effort Mr. Cronenberg so get crackin'! [via Variety subscription req'd.]

Posted by karen at 8:23 AM |

November 10, 2005

A.O. on 50

Cinecultist didn't realize New York Times film critic, A.O. Scott was a hip hop fan. Having seen the mild mannered yet polarizing writer around at screenings, we'd never have guessed he could weigh in on say, the stylings of 50 Cent versus Kanye West, as he does in his review of Get Rich or Die Tryin':

As a rapper, 50 Cent has been an overachiever, selling boatloads of records in spite of his pedestrian skills. Lacking the verbal wit of a Jay-Z, the storytelling ability of a Biggie Smalls or the engaging personality of a Kanye West, he has gotten over through doggedness and a certain truculent charisma.

Should we start calling Tony 60 Cent for his use of such a great 10 cent word like "truculent" when describing Fitty?

* By the way, from Merriam Webster. tru·cu·lent. Etymology: Latin truculentus, from truc-, trux savage; perhaps akin to Middle Irish trú doomed person 1 : feeling or displaying ferocity : CRUEL, SAVAGE 2 : DEADLY, DESTRUCTIVE 3 : scathingly harsh : VITRIOLIC 4 : aggressively self-assertive : BELLIGERENT - tru·cu·lent·ly adverb

Posted by karen at 2:04 PM |

November 1, 2005

Harry Potter Count Down Begins. Again

wizard dating!

The supersneakytrickysmart part of this whole Harry Potter world wide craze? Anticipation, count down and then purchasing frenzy for the books can be interspersed with the same mania for the movies. Whew, lucky for us.

But as snarky as we'd like to be, knowing we're now in November means to Cinecultist that we're that much closer to the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie (ie. Nov. 18, baby). Triwizard! Quidditch Cup! Teenage wizards dating! If this means nothing to you, at least we know our 9 year old brother Mark is also counting down the days. We hear he's been watching the first one about five times a day. Nothing like a good repetition movie, if we do say so ourselves.

For more Harry Potter news, including details about the depiction on screen of the Weird Sisters -- only the coolest wizarding band -- and an mp3 of one of their songs, check out this post from Productshop NYC last week.

Posted by karen at 11:30 PM |