Movie fans and media types always groan about the never ending string of "floating head" movie posters, but there's a reason Hollywood keeps churning them out: they work. Your latest example? Two similar posters for Clint Eastwood's new biopic "J. Edgar."
LONDON - For first time feature director Sarah Smith a five year journey into animation is finally about to peak on the big screen. Smith is the director and co-screenwriter, along with Peter Baynham ("Borat," "I'm Alan Partridge"), of "Arthur Christmas," the first collaboration of legendary animation studio Aardam and Sony Pictures Animation. It's early Monday morning and Smith has less than two weeks to finish the picture.
If you're looking for a little unexpected sass at the movies on Friday you may want to check out Abe Sylvia's energetic debut "Dirty Girl." The coming of age story meets road trip premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival and is finally hitting theaters this weekend in limited release.
"Dirty Girl" stars Juno Temple ("Atonement," the upcoming "Dark Knight Rises") as Danielle, a sexy, sexually promiscuous, foul mouthed and generally misunderstand Norman, Oklahoma teenager who is in dire need of finding her long lost father. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she's thrown together with Clarke (newcomer Jeremy Dozier), an overweight gay classmate who is being mistreated by his out of touch father (Dwight Yoakam). When Clarke's dad goes too far one night, the new BFF's steal his car and head to the shiny hills of Fresno in hopes of finding Danielle's dad.
Sitting down to talk to both Temple and Dozier last week, the young actors gave Sylvia a lot of credit for the film's vision, but the daughter of famed British director Julien Temple admitted she's always had a little bit of a "dirty girl" in her waiting to come out.
"It was definitely my fantasy of being a girl like that," Temple says. "I would love to be Southern. I am fascinated by the South. I mean, she was like something that needed to be released like this firecracker that, y'know, doesn't really give…a flying [expletive] about what people think. And she takes the hits and is an inspiration to people in that high school as someone who is very different, but she doesn't change. She's not gonna change herself to fit in with that crowd. She's gonna be who she wants to be."
The now 25-year-old Dozier admits he had his share of dirty girls in his own high school growing up, but think it's the film's message about acceptance which is more memorable than Danielle's over-the-top antics.
"With Clark I think his story it's everybody's story," Dozier says. "It's trying to find who you are and who you want to be and everybody wants to be loved, accepted and heard, so I think what's great about the two characters is that they bring out the best parts about themselves and they really learn a lot about themselves and each other."
You can hear more from the duo including their fears about singing "Don't Cry Out Loud" in front of the song's original vocalist Melissa Manchester (live no less) in the video embedded at the the top of this post.
"Dirty Girl" opens in limited release on Friday.
For year round entertainment commentary and awards season news follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) made a surprising announcement tonight that should bring the long awaited Academy Museum to life. On Tuesday night, the Academy's Board of Governors agreed with LACMA leadership to work in "good faith" to establish the Academy's movie museum in the historic May Company building which is currently known as LACMA West. According to a joint release, this is the first step in the Academy "developing plans for fundraising, design, exhibitions, visitor experience, and modifications to this historic site." Basically, movie fans, cinephiles and tourists will finally have an Oscar museum to visit sometime in their lifetime.
Things just ain't the same. At least, that's the mantra for studios attempting to play best picture game this year. After two years of expanded play after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences increased the number of nominees from five to 10, the org made news by putting in a complex rule it sees as validating each nominee. Instead of a guaranteed 10 nods, a film must qualify by receiving at least 5% of member first place votes. The weighted system that previously allowed members to rank their top 10 (or five before that) will only be used if 10 potential nominees receive more than the 5% (or approximately 250) required votes.
LONDON - George Smiley is a loyal man. A gentleman who has served his country's spy apparatus for decades. Not only has he been loyal to the United Kingdom, under the stressful burden of the Cold War mind you, but to his fiery boss who simply is known as Control (John Hurt). But, within the first 10 minutes of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Smiley finds himself without a job as he takes the fall after a mission in the Eastern Bloc goes terribly wrong. Moreover, Control, who also resigns, doesn't give a reason why Smiley is being forced to depart let alone bother to say "thank you" or "goodbye" for all their years of service together as they depart. And yet, Smiley doesn't rage. He doesn't complain. In fact, he doesn't say a word. He just tries to move on with his life even as his wife, Ann (purposely only seen in shadows), has left him. That is, of course, until he's brought back to MI6 by a government minister (Simon McBurney) concerned that there may be a Soviet mole at the top of what they refer to as the "Circus."
Like politics or business, the best picture race is dictated and many times identified by trends. One year it can be all the contenders opening in December. Another year it's about debuting in October for the long haul. And some years -- well, many years -- the winner is pretty much decided before the public even knows a race is going on. The 2012 season is a "wait for the big kahuna" year. Or, to be frank, "waiting for the big kahunas" year.
Surprising few, the China Film Bureau announced that Zhang Yimou's "The Flowers of War" will represent China in this year's foreign language film Oscar race. The picture is notable not just because it's from the director of "Hero" and "Raise the Red Lantern," but because it stars last year's best supporting actor winner, Christian Bale.
The prevailing wisdom of this year's best actor race is that it's "The Descendants'" George Clooney and/or "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy's" Gary Oldman's to lose. And while that may be true, there are a number of potential late candidates ready to crash the party. Oldman is one of the most glaring of an acclaimed actor who hasn't even received a nomination, but Liam Neeson is an example one of the most acclaimed actors of our time who hasn't won. If Open Road Pictures sticks to its rumored plan, Neeson may get a chance at Oscar once more.
You may not agree with every decision Kevin Fiege makes as head of Marvel Studios, but for the most part he's got an excellent track record. Many questioned the inexperienced Jon Favreau and Kenneth Branaugh (for blockbusters at least) helming "Iron Man" and "Thor" respectively. Or, Joe "I'm almost in movie jail" Johnston taking the reigns of "Captain America: The First Avenger." Needless to say, critics, audiences and the box office validated all of those decisions. And for future Marvel films, Feige and his team have continued to make unconventional choices.