The inauguration of the fall gala season hits New York like a force of nature. It’s a furious sprint for gowns, coveted caterers, gilded event spaces and access to wealthy denizens’ purses. “I’m a size zero—way below the average size of most of these ladies who lunch—and I still can’t snatch my first pick at Oscar or McQueen,” bemoaned one outspoken Uptowner. “I paid a fortune to preorder an Elie Saab gown.”
In today’s frenzied atmosphere of zombies, vampires and people floating aimlessly through outer space, the deceptive simplicity of Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, the measured pace and the fact that it was filmed in glorious black-and-white, are possible reasons why it might not be every moviegoer’s cinematic bromide. But woe be the fool who misses it. Bruce Dern won the Best Actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why. As Woody Grant, a grizzled vestige of a fading era of calloused, pioneer American spirit that has all but vanished, he is focused, three-dimensional, fully realized and mesmerizing.
This morning, thousands upon tens of New Yorkers are realizing they have to go see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, as that film was announced as one of nine Oscar Best Picture nominees.
Big surprises of the morning included that film’s nomination for Best Picture, the inclusion of Best Actor nominees Demian Bichir and Gary Read More
Tomorrow morning will bring that early-morning announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees–with the attention-desperate wrinkle that no one knows how many nominees there will be. Herewith, our predictions, for last-minute entries into your office pool (if yours is the sort of office at which Oscar nominations are the subject of a pool. Ours is not, Read More
The Descendants is a soap opera with Hawaiian shirts. It’s worth seeing for the sharp but uneven human observations in the script and direction by Alexander Payne (Sideways), and sometimes it’s fun (but mostly exasperating) watching George Clooney trying to act as he struggles through the role of a man trying to raise two needy daughters while grieving over the loss of his wife in a boating accident. Clichés ensue. Clooney fans may be pleased to see their hero in a sentimental tearjerker, but the fawning and gushing of so many astute critics who have greeted this plodding melodrama with raves on the film-festival circuit mystifies me. The Descendants has moments, and I give it high marks for making literal sense at a time when few movies do, but it isn’t original or revealing enough to merit a running time of just under two hours. To me, it doesn’t come close to this year’s other George Clooney potboiler, The Ides of March.
We found ourselves kinda stunned by what happened on television last night. No, not that Republican congressman Joe Wilson heckled the president of the United States during his address to the joint session on Congress—seriously? “You lie?” This isn’t a town hall meeting in South Carolina, buddy!—but that we really found ourselves falling Read More
Since Breaking Bad went all dramatic and biblical during its second season, the closest thing we’re going to get to a male version of Weeds might be Hung (premiering Sunday at 10 p.m.). The new HBO series from executive producers Dmitry Lipkin and Colette Burson (FX’s The Riches) takes the core Read More
Put down the merlot! Alexander Payne, director of wine-snob favorite Sideways, has signed on to direct HBO’s dark comedy Hung. Apparently the main character is, um, well-endowed. "Think of him like Spider-Man," show creator Colette Burson told Daily Variety last month. "He’s an average guy who gets in touch with his innate superpowers." Okay, wait Read More
The opening-night film of the 40th New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center was Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt , from a screenplay by Mr. Payne and Jim Taylor, based ostensibly on the novel by Louis Begley (I’ll have more to say about the movie’s official literary provenance later). First I should note that, having seen Read More