The 48th Karlovy Vary Film Festival closed over the weekend with a handful of juried awards for its premieres. I'm afraid I didn't see the winner of the festival's crowning Crystal Globe prize, Hungarian director Janos Szasz's WWII drama "The Notebook." I can, however, endorse the shared Best Actress award for the strong female ensemble of Lance Edmunds's painterly but ponderous US indie "Bluebird": Amy Morton, Louisa Krause, Emily Meade and Margo Martindale. Less so: a Special Jury Prize for British director Ben Wheatley's vastly disappointing "A Field in England." I caught up with the film in the UK on its unconventional multi-platform release (cinemas, DVD, VOD and terrestrial TV, all on the same day) last Friday, and will discuss it further at a later point.
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I saved this one for last.
After all, you don't often witness chemisty as immediate and as just plain weird as whatever's going on between Charlie Day and Ron Perlman. In "Pacific Rim," Charlie Day stars as a scientist who has devoted his life to the study of the kaiju, the giant monsters that have been pouring out of a hole at the bottom of the ocean. I love Day's work in the film, and I think they made some sensational choices in terms of his look. I love that he's got tattoo sleeves that are all kaiju that have fallen in battle. His character is trying to contribute something to the war efforts that is totally different from what the Jaeger pilots do, but just as valuable.
It's because of his efforts that he comes into contact with Hannibal Chau, played by Ron Perlman, who is such a brother to the film's director at this point that Perlman could probably get away with changing his last name to Del Toro. Chau runs the black market for kaiju organs and anything else they can salvage when these giant monsters fall. Even thought Day is playing a kaiju expert working for the military, he still have no choice but to reach out to Chau. There is something he needs that only Chau can provide, and from the moment they meet, there is this great tense mood of near-violence between them.
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One of the things that surprised me after I took my sons to see "Pacific Rim" is how certain details landed for them.
For example, there's a moment in the film where Charlie Hunnam's character, Raleigh, is trying to make a point to Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), and he grabs his arm. Elba turns around, surprised that anyone would consider grabbing his arm a good idea, and says something to Hunnam. The line he says has become a permanent part of Allen's vocabulary, and it was an immediate thing. He cackled in the theater, and I've heard him quote the line about twenty times now in different situations.
When I asked him why the line entertained him so much, he told me, "Because, daddy, he's awesome."
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Being a repo professional is stressful, but being an airplane repo professional has to be far worse. Once a plane has been taken into possession, getting it back on the ground in one piece is by no means a given. Add to that the usual problems faced by repo pros (gun-toting owners and cops) and this is not a job for the weak. Watch these two clips from "Airplane Repo" (debuting Thurs. July 11 at 10:00 p.m.). In the first, one unlucky repo guy discovers the plane he's just climbed into is possibly more trouble than it's worth. In the second, repo pros talk about the troubles they've faced -- and arrests are by no means the worst.
We're right in the middle of the blockbuster movie season. Some think it's been a lackluster summer slate. I haven't had major expectations for much of anything so I guess I'm okay with merely being satisfied so far, but with Guillermo del Toro's massive-scale "Pacific Rim" hitting theaters this coming weekend, it seems now would be a nice opportunity to look at the race for Best Visual Effects.
Between "Gravity" and his directorial effort "The Monuments Men," George Clooney -- who, lest we forget, shared the Best Picture Oscar for "Argo" a few months back -- has what may be another busy awards season lying ahead of him. Even if his on-paper prospects don't pan out, however, he'll be accepting at least one award before the year is out, as BAFTA's Los Angeles division has named him the recipient of their Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
It isn't often that I watch "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and think, hmm, that's a conundrum. Most of the time, it's pretty clear what the right decision would be for these women as they just do the exact opposite. Heard an ugly rumor? Blast it from the rooftops! Wish you hadn't invited someone to your party? Uninvite them or embarrass them publicly! Having an argument? Throw wine at the other person! Your kid doesn't want you to date the jerk you've been seeing? Do it anyway and whine about how much you sacrifice! Part of the fun, when and if there is fun, is watching these women run higgleldy-piggledy into the car wreck.