It's back to Neverland, and we seem close to wrapping up and heading back to Storybrooke. It can't be soon enough, if you ask me, as Neverland has been a dark and depressing place where story lines became clunky, Pan's motivations bent awkwardly in the service of forwarding Emma, Regina, Snow and Charming's stories and it all felt a little more claustrophobic than I imagined it would. But I'm not giving up hope yet, mind you. Anything is possible in Neverland, right?
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It's been quite the somber season in some ways: slavery and racial tension, piracy and health care, dementia-addled fathers and embittered folk crooners. Even the year's biggest spectacle achievement, Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity," ultimately takes its weightless heroine to weighty moments of emotion and catharsis (not that we're complaining). It almost feels like what the 2013 film awards season needs is a nice prestige-level dose of the outrageous, something bonkers, something to take the edge off. And Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" is here to answer the call.
The film isn't set to screen for the press at large for another week, but this weekend it began making its way through guild screenings, where plus ones and crossover memberships with critics and the film commentariat are just unavoidable. So it was Saturday afternoon that I made my way to the first of two SAG screenings of this absolutely unrepentant entry (hopefully that caveat saves the studio some disgruntled phone calls — over 100 people were turned away from the two screenings, which were filled to the brim). Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner, Cristina Milioti, Jon Favreau, P.J. Byrne and Kenneth Choi were on hand to discuss working with a master filmmaker and the life and times of a man, Jordan Belfort, who by anyone's measure should probably be dead by now.
The worst thing about dying young is the hole you leave in so many lives. Paul Walker's car accident tonight must have shocked and devastated the people he's worked with over the years, and I can't imagine how this feels for the people who are part of the "Fast and Furious" franchise. No one could have predicted that they would be shooting a seventh film right now when the first one opened a mere 12 years ago, and they certainly couldn't have predicted the way the franchise became a family affair over time, both onscreen and off. I can't think of any other action series that is so explicitly focused on the notion of the way we build our families, and I suspect that's a big part of the completely unironic appeal of the films.
More than anything tonight, I am haunted by the idea of someone having to tell his daughter about his passing. Meadow Rain is only 14 years old, and while there is no good age for lose a father, the pain of losing one right as you're entering one of the most confusing, difficult, emotionally turbulent times of life seems profoundly upsetting to me. Whatever reaction I'm having to Walker's passing tonight isn't about the movies he made or the movies he might have made or how I did or didn't feel about his work. It doesn't have to be. More than anything, it's that simple sharp pang of empathy at the thought of how his passing affects the community around him, both personal and professional.
Less eccentric than the Cahiers du Cinema list, and more representative than the awards of individual critics’ groups, the annual Sight & Sound poll is about the best monitor of international critical consensus at the year’s end – recent winners include David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” and Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master." But if those choices were easily seen coming, the 100-odd critics surveyed this year have thrown a collective curveball: Sight & Sound’s top film of 2013 is “The Act of Killing.”
We've reached a critical phase of the season, Oscar watchers. We're not talking about the shortened shopping season or families reuniting across the country for the holidays. No, Hollywood is heading into the high season. A time when we stop talking about who's going to get a nomination and who's going to actually win.
How cute are Fifth Harmony? So very cute. I caught up with "The X Factor" fivesome on the red carpet at the American Music Awards earlier this week, fresh off of singing "Better Together" in the AMAs pre-show.
Each took time out to say what their No. 1 jam of 2013 would be, with Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors," HAIM's "If I Could Change Your Mind," a Rihanna single and more.
Considering it was cold (at least for L.A.), I also asked if they'd be into ever recording a Christmas album. And just guess their answer.
Get your coffee ready, 'cause here's some sugar. Check out the vid. Fifth Harmony's EP "Better Together" was released in October.
Secrets are a funny thing in this business. When you work in a scoop-based economy, secrets are counter-intuitive. You don't keep a secret; you print it, right?
This summer, when we interviewed Andrew Garfield about his return for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," there was a spoiler that we discussed off-camera, and it was obvious that he believed it to be the film's biggest surprise. He really wanted me to keep the secret, and I was happy to oblige. I've erred plenty of times on the side of "Wait, you didn't want people to know that?" and I find it's a balancing act that I'm constantly trying to strike. I recently got called to the carpet by a filmmaker I've known since the early '90s who may well be done talking to me because of how angry he was at me for revealing details about his film before he was ready for them to be revealed, and especially because of the way I handled it.
Imagine my surprise this morning then when I logged on and saw a new triptych poster for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" that quite literally takes that spoiler and makes it the center of the image.
It's hard to believe that the Coen Bros.' "Inside Llewyn Davis" debuted at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival over six months ago. Now, after numerous festival screenings and events, its theatrical release is finally around the corner. Sure, it won't be anywhere near nationwide yet, but Coens fans will take it.
It is a cruel rule of thumb that extraordinary lives rarely make for extraordinary films. The more densely storied the personal narrative of its subject, the harder it is for dutiful screenwriters to resist tackling it whole, checking off every compelling accomplishment in thorough, linear fashion, even if such orderly diligence comes at the expense of more time-consuming character nuance. Critics have taken to calling this approach – not inaccurately – the “Wikipedia biopic,” though of course it dates back to the dustiest days of 1930s studio prestige drama, while Richard Attenborough effectively rebranded the genre in his own name decades later with the nobly dreary likes of “Young Winston” and “Gandhi.”
The long-form music video/short film for Broken Bells' "After the Disco" wielded a lot of star power, including fun sci-fi work from Jacob Gentry, Kate Mara in a pink uniform and the gifted melancholy of Anton Yelchin.