It’s time for the Golden Globe nominations, and with some of the more satellite awards pulling for early frontrunners (Gotham, Film Critics from New York, LA and Boston, etc.,) we’re starting to see some movie trends confirmed. Everyone loved 12 Years a Slave! Unsurprisingly! And Breaking Bad and Girls and Nebraska and American Hustle and Spike Jonze and Martin Scorcese movies that aren’t even out yet!
But there are some surprises…Brooklyn Nine-Nine, anyone? Rush? The Butler gets no love? Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha? That movie was great and all, but Lena Dunham is already representing the affected Brooklyn 20-something constituents with her Girls nominations, are you telling us that the portrayal of overly self-involved young women trying to “make it” in New York is going to start being a thing? Is already a thing?
See the full list of nominees below.
More bitter, bleak lives of American mill workers without a compass and no place to go if they had one are showcased in the pessimistic drama Out of the Furnace. It’s getting to be a dismal film director’s obsession bordering on cliché. The hopeless losers this time are working-class brothers from the steel mills, caught between crime, drugs and bare-fisted boxing. But it’s the opening scene that sets the tone. A brain-damaged, coke-sniffing redneck named Harlan DeGroat, played by a miscast Woody Harrelson, vomits through his car window at a drive-in movie, slugs down a bottle of rotgut whiskey, sadistically shoves a hot dog down his girlfriend’s throat, beats the man in the next car senseless and drives away, leaving everyone on the ground for dead. It goes downhill from there.
Standing in a Manhattan event space with cocktails and views of the Hudson, Chen Guangcheng was far removed from the countryside house that confined him for over a year and a half, before he captivated the world in April and May by escaping from house arrest in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong, being taken in by the American Embassy in Beijing. Blind since childhood, Mr. Guangcheng climbed and felt his way past the guards posted around his home by the local authorities, who had imprisoned him for 51 months on charges largely considered to have been fabricated, before releasing him to his home. A self-taught, or “barefoot,” lawyer, he had irked the local authorities by legally challenging their unlawful land seizures, treatment of the disabled, pollution and incidents of forced abortions and sterilization to enforce the one-child policy.
The Chinese activist was surrounded by fellow lawyers on Wednesday night, though they were less likely to be from his village than from The Village, where, after some diplomatic tension between the U.S. and China, he now attends NYU Law School as a visiting scholar. Human Rights First, an organization that advocates the government for greater American leadership in fighting for global human rights, honored Mr. Chen at its annual awards dinner, held at Chelsea Piers’ Pier 60.
The Dark Knight Rises
“Get with the program!” scolds another letter from a brainwashed fan of the Batman-as-seen-through-the-pretentiousness-of-the-Christopher-Nolan trilogy, “You are a dinosaur!” He’s probably right, and I probably would—if I could only make one lick of sense out of what this nonsense is all about. Silly pop-culture comic book cinema about grown men in rubber masks and Styrofoam jock straps is bad enough, but incomprehensible gibberish to boot is just plain unacceptable. Halfheartedly, I give The Dark Knight Rises—the third and final Batflick in the Nolan trilogy—one star for eardrum-busting sound effects and glaucoma-inducing computerized images in blinding Imax, but talk about stretching things. That’s all most immature audiences require for their hard-earned money these days. The rest of it should not be reviewed by anyone over the age of 12.
As caped crusaders go, I prefer Superman, Spider Man and, above all, Captain Marvel, who has been criminally ignored by the movies so far. (Can’t you just see Michael Fassbender staring into the camera hissing “Shazam!”?) And as Batman goes, I had a lot more fun when he was fighting off Catwoman and The Joker at the Saturday afternoon double features of my youth in his campy bat cave with his jailbait roommate Robin. Drat! Christopher Nolan sent Bruce Wayne to a shrink and Batman lost his mojo. I like one caption writer’s description of the Batman epics as “car porn for geeks and gearheads.” But that doesn’t make The Dark Knight Rises any better. Trash is trash, but when it costs an estimated $250 million (bat food compared to The Amazing Spider-Man’s $137 million), the charges turn criminal and someone should subject the garbage man to a citizen’s arrest.
Since the tickets sold out in January for the July 20th premiere of Christopher Nolan’s third Batman installment, Warner Bros. probably doesn’t have to hype The Dark Knight Rises any more. We mean, obviously they will spend a billion more dollars on advertising and marketing tie-ins, but for once we’d like to see a big blockbuster just completely stop all promotions one month before it hits theaters.
Although that would probably lead Copyranter or someone at Ad Age to claim this as the most ingenious viral marketing stunt ever. And then everyone would do it. And then movie trailer editors and distributors would be out of business in months. We need this hundredth The Dark Knight Rises trailer. For the good of Gotham, and all its residents.
A selection of celebrities who have recently attended Cirque Du Soleil and been summarily featured in press on People or Us Weekly‘s web sites or PerezHilton.com, placed in ascending order of desperation for publicity:
Since we first saw Christian Bale prancing across dusty Manhattan streets belting “Santa Fe,” we’ve held a torch in our heart for the 1992 Disney live-action flop Newsies. We don’t even care the Roger Ebert once likened the film to “warmed-over Horatio Alger,” since deep down we knew that one day, we’d have the chance to audition for a stage production of the show. (In our fantasy, we weren’t Christian Bale/Jack Kelly’s love interest, Sarah, because she was a goody-goody. We were always Ann-Margret‘s brassy saloon singer, Medda Larkson.)
Now our dreams are that much closer to coming true, as the New Jersey production of Newsies at the Paper Mill Theater has just announced the full line-up for its Broadway debut on March 15th.
In the dark history of human atrocity, one savage, inhuman chapter that is always missing from the textbooks in courses about the Pacific conflict in World War II is the Rape of Nanking. Except for the occasional documentary, this harrowing event has gone largely unexplored by filmmakers, yet it surges with historic value and the elements of heartbreaking drama. Ask history majors about what the Japanese did to freedom-loving civilians to alter the world and all they know is Pearl Harbor, Bataan and the Death March. Now the great Chinese director Zhang Yimou has made a valiant and compassionate effort to enlighten the ignorant. The Flowers of War is his best film since Raise the Red Lantern. It is emotionally shattering.
In the grand tradition of adaptation films reviled by Roger Ebert into musical productions (see also: Flashdance, The Wedding Singer, Xanadu) 1992′s musical extravaganza Newsies will be making its stage debut at the Paper Mill Theater in New Jersey September 25th.
Newsies–a (financial) bomb of a Read More
The Fighter is the gravel-kicking true story of boxer Micky Ward; his wasted, battered, has-been older brother, Dickie Eklund, who threw away his career in the ring on booze, drugs and whores; and the scabby, loudmouthed trailer-trash family of creeps who drove them both to success and destruction, in equal doses. It’s a boxing comeback Read More