Until this year's SXSW film festival, I'd never spoken to Joss Whedon.
It didn't really strike me as odd until after the fact. I mean, I've been writing about this guy's work for the entire time I've been online, and we have many overlapping friends. Even if I hadn't had the opportunity for a formal interview, it seemed like we should have at least run into each other at some point. Even my Twitter icon sort of perfectly sums it up, a photo of the two of us standing about eight feet apart that I never even realized happened.
The SXSW chat went really well, I thought, and then I saw "The Avengers" and just flipped for what he pulled off. Sitting down with him again at the press day for the film, it was hard to know where to start the conversation because there's so much that's worth talking about when someone's having a creative moment like the one Whedon's having right now, not to mention the body of work he's already accumulated.
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Until this year's SXSW film festival, I'd never spoken to Joss Whedon.
There's a lot of talk about lists lately. Just the other day we chewed on Roger Ebert's inclusion of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" in his personal top 10 films of all time as part of the 2012 Sight & Sound critics and filmmakers poll (which Guy is agonizing over currently as he was asked to participate this time around -- Friday's the deadline).
Meanwhile, HitFix's own Drew McWeeny offered up his personal list of 20 last night as a lead-in to a feature Film School Rejects managing editor Scott Beggs (aka Cole Abaius) has been working through for a few days now. I was also asked to participate in that poll, which was largely net-based in focus and therefore younger in demographic. So I might as well offer up some extended thoughts, too.
I've been doing this in one form or another for 12 years, going back to college and, really, my teens. I'm 30 now. And one question I've been asked frequently over that span of time is, "Hey, what are your top 10 films of all time?"
When he saw that the two were releasing sets back to back, Lambert says, “I was like ‘Wow! OK. Here we go!,” he told Hitfix with a good-natured, bemused tone.
Though the pair couldn’t be more different musically or stylistically, they have maintained a mutual respect and admiration society for each other since appearing on the show, so it comes as no surprise that Lambert has very positive things to say about Allen’s current single, the positive “The Vision of Love”: “I’m so excited for him. I heard his new single and I think it’s beautiful and I think his voice sounds great on it,” Lambert says. “It’s a great melody. I know he helped write it. He’s a really talented guy so I’m excited to hear how the rest of the album turns out.”
We’ll post our full interview with Lambert this Friday and watch for our interview with Allen to run next week. In the meantime, here’s a teaser from our sit down with Allen that we ran a few weeks ago
I know what you're thinking. B.o.B. O.A.R. Together at last. And for an Olympic theme song, to boot.
The corporate sponsored-song "Champions" has an accompanying video interspersing sports clips with the two artists in the studio and their entourage nodding in the control room.
O.A.R. is already known for their songs-with-a-message. It's just that so few of those end with a saxophone line, a la Clarence Clemons. Otherwise, this song seems to have been crafted in a lab, so be inspired at least by the science of entertainment. My favorite part is where Bobby Ray puts his fists up in the air like a boxer and ad-libs "yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah."
We've already won.
The director: Cristian Mungiu (Romanian, 44 years old)
The talent: A number of first-time actresses pepper the cast list of Mungiu's latest, including his two leads, Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur. Keen followers of the Romanian New Wave may recognize (if not necessarily be able to name) the odd face in support, including a number of bit players from "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days." The biggest name here, relatively speaking? Luminita Gheorghiu, who won an LA Critics' award a few years back for "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu."
Mungiu wrote and produced the film himself. It's interesting, however, to see Belgian brothers (and two-time Palme d'Or winners) Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne on the list of co-producers, just in case its Croisette cred needed any beefing up. "4 Months" cinematographer Oleg Mutu is also, invaluably, back on board -- as mentioned yesterday, this is one of two Competition entries this year shot by him. That film's production designer Mihaela Poenaru returns, joined by Calin Papura, who did some striking work on Francis Ford Coppola's "Youth Without Youth." Editor Mircea Olteanu (who also doubles as sound editor) makes his feature debut here.
Nelly Furtado is definitely taking the lyrics of her new song, “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)” literally in the tune’s official video.
The attack of this 10 foot woman takes place as she strolls nonchalantly down the street, totally oblivious to her shorter minions gawking up at here in awe and/or terror.
[More after the jump...]
When someone contacts you and asks if you want to see Gary Busey bloopers from the sequel to "Piranha," the answer is ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION "yes."
All I needed to hear was "Gary Busey" and "bloopers," because I can only imagine what it looks like when he gets something wrong. The performances they cut together of his these days look like outtakes in the first place, barely sane collections of reaction shots that only loosely relate to what's happening around him, so bloopers? Please. As many as possible.
Busey is a big personality, and at this point, you know what you're getting when you cast him. I give him credit for holding together this sort of niche he's carved out, finding films that can make use of his particular presence and his box-office percentages in the overseas financing game. Thanks to some of the hits he's been in, Busey can help get a film made. He is a vital piece of the chess board, and I seriously respect any working actor who figures that out for themselves. Lots of people appear in movies. Not many people do it for forty or fifty years in a row.
You can’t talk about Sara Watkins without dropping some big names. The former Nickel Creek member produced her first, self-titled 2009 album with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. She’s spent the years between now and then as a touring fiddler and backing singer for the Decemberists, as performer and occasional guest host for “Prairie Home Companion” and continuing the foundations of the Watkins Family Hour at L.A. mainstay Largo with her brother and Nickel Creek cohort Sean.
Yes, I know Roger Ebert recently wrote a piece about struggling to define his ten favorite films of all time. He was doing so as part of the "Sight & Sound" critic's poll, and it was a typically great Ebert piece, even if I disagree strongly with some of the titles on his list.
Disagreement is, of course, part of the point. And since I wasn't asked to be part of the "Sight & Sound" poll, and neither were any number of interesting online voices, it was immediately appealing when Cole Abaius from Film School Rejects asked me to contribute my list to a piece he's doing this week. I decided it would be a fun exercise and opened up a file to start writing and…
I've taken a shot at a similar list before, almost in passing, and I've certainly got a running short list in my head of my favorite movies. But actually quantifying what my ten, or in this case twenty, favorite films are, without cheating, without including trilogies, without padding the list out… that's tough. And by the time I was done, I realized this needed to be a stand-alone article here on the blog.
One film you won't see on my list? "Citizen Kane." I might include it on the list of the ten most significant films of all time, and I certainly think much of what we consider modern film language evolved from choices that Welles and Gregg Toland made on that film, but as far as personal enjoyment? It's not in my top ten or even my top twenty. I just don't feel compelled to revisit it often, nor do I feel there is much more I can ever take from it as an experience.
The AMPAS is set to honor Gene Kelly, the icon of the golden age of the elaborate Hollywood musical, in a two-night celebration hosted by his widow, Patricia Ward Kelly. The event will feature film clips, personal remembrances and a look at the radical impact Kelly had on the way dance was filmed.
Kelly's on-screen presence as a singer/dancer and behind-the-scenes work as a director and choreographer altered how musical numbers were conceived and executed both in his day and beyond. He is remembered for his indelible self-directed performances in films such as "An American in Paris" and "Singin’ in the Rain," and his innovative use of settings such as rain-soaked sidewalks and props ranging from umbrellas to mops to sheets of newspaper and roller skates invigorated the expansive musicals of the day.
Kelly was buoyant, muscular and full of vibrant charm. He was the quintessential 1950s archetype of what the United States wanted people outside and inside its boundaries to believe Americans were: attractive, confident and good-natured, with a witty sense of play.