The more I think back to David Gordon Green's "Prince Avalanche," which I saw at the Sundance Film Festival where it made its world premiere, the more charmed I am by its unexpected charisma, its personal flourishes and its central performances. It popped up as one of our under-the-radar films for the summer movie season, and indeed, when it hits theaters in August, it will be a nice change of pace for those looking for as much after the blockbusters have had their way.
Jim Carrey is backing out of supporting his new film "Kick-Ass 2" due to its depiction of violence, the actor said in a pair of Tweets this afternoon.
"I did 'Kick-Ass ' a month before Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence," he wrote. "My apologies to others involve[d] with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart."
One would expect, however, for the actor to have a contractual obligation to promote the superhero sequel, in which he stars as Colonel Stars and Stripes, an ex-mafia member turned masked vigilante. This is often worked out prior to shooting, and especially with someone as mercurial as Carrey. Universal did not respond to a request for comment. Last week it was announced the studio would be making "Dumb and Dumber To" with the star after Warner Bros. passed on the project.
Bookended by Pedro Almodovar's "I'm So Excited!" and Fox Searchlight's starry Sundance comedy "The Way, Way Back" -- which closes proceedings tonight -- the Los Angeles Film Festival may boast its share of big names, but when it comes to its competition sections, it juries tend to throw the spotlight on lower-profile fare.
Since scoring widespread acclaim (and an Oscar) for "Lost in Translation" a decade ago, Sofia Coppola has become a distinctly divisive figure in the auteur ranks: "Marie Antoinette" and "Somewhere" drew as much praise as criticism for their high-style studies of privileged ennui, and "The Bling Ring" has followed much the same pattern since its Cannes debut. I've never felt let down by a Coppola film, and am once more firmly in the pro camp on her latest, an outside-in take on her favored celebrity milieu that may be her chilliest, most formally structured film to date. After opening in New York and LA last week, it goes wide today, and with critical opinion all over the map, I'm curious to read your thoughts. Have your say in the comments, and vote in the poll after the jump.
Marc Forster's embattled production "World War Z," based (though not really) on the book by Max Brooks, finds its way to theaters today. Heavy rewrites and reshoots sent the production budget soaring and Paramount is hoping a whole bunch of "it's not THAT bad" reviews, as well as a Brad Pitt tour, will help get them closer to the black on it. I've been pretty hard on the film on Twitter, but let me start with something positive: Marco Beltrami's score is really awesome.
Now, despite some legitimately jarring moments and one sequence in particular that I thought was fantastic (on an airplane), I thought the film failed, limping its way through dubious set-up on the way to a weak climax. Wrote HitFix's Drew McWeeny, "A movie like 'World War Z' ends up being a passable way to spend a few hours, but forgettable, and to me, that's the greater sin." But why don't you be the judge and tell us what you thought when and if you see it in the comments section below. And as always, feel free to vote in our poll, too.
Next week brings a return to our film festival coverage: on Monday I'll be traveling to the in-progress Edinburgh Film Festival for four days, followed immediately by a five-day trip to the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Both are obviously lower-key affairs than the exhausting whirlwind of Cannes or Sundance, and I'm looking forward to them: these are the festivals where I can either dig around for undiscovered gems or catch up with previous festival highlights at a civilized pace. In festival-going terms, I consider it my summer vacation before the heavy work starts up again at Venice in August, kicking off the fall festival season. And while Venice currently seems a safe distance away, those 10 weeks will go faster than you think.
It's a good year to be Quentin Tarantino. The middle-aged enfant terrible of American cinema won his second Oscar back in February for "Django Unchained," and this autumn he will receive a career achievement award at the Lumiere Film Festival in Lyon, France -- a festival devoted to classics, restorations and reissues, headed up by veteran French auteur Bertrand Tavernier and Tarantino's good friend (and current Cannes festival director) Thierry Fremaux.
As regular readers will know, costume design is one of the below-the-line disciplines I find most fascinating, while Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" is one of my favorite films of all time. So I'd trade a lot to be at the Los Angeles Film Festival for tonight's "Iconic Moment" event, in honor of the Academy's newly separate Costume Designers' branch.
As the name suggests, the evening will look back on iconic moments in film costume, with Laura Dern moderating a discussion between five leading designers: Academy branch head Jeffrey Kurland (an Oscar nominee for Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway"), three-time Oscar winner and Tim Burton favorite Colleen Atwood, Mark Bridges (last year's winner for "The Artist"), Michael Kaplan (unjustly never Oscar nominated, despite landmark contemporary designs for the likes of "Fight Club" and "Blade Runner") and Ellen Mirojnick (whose recent work in "Behind the Candelabra" should net her an Emmy nod). It's a formidable lineup of some of the most creative artists in the field right now, and I'd love to hear what their favorites and inspirations are.
Let’s say my favorite show is "Mad Men," and I tell people as such. They’d probably think, “Good show” or, “I like when Don Draper smokes that cigarette.” They’d probably not think, “Well clearly you love period television and shows about advertising.” Because TV has the power to present layered, nuanced character studies no matter the setting. Showrunners, with multiple seasons at their disposal, have plenty of time. We all know this.
Imagine that same conversation, but instead of "Mad Men" I say "Battlestar Galactica." The new one, not the original. I bet most people would have the same thought: “Neeeeeeeeeeeerd!” Why? The answer is the core of a larger trend in Emmy voting.
I finally met James Gandolfini last year. It was Paramount's Christmas party at Spago in Beverly Hills and he was there with his "Killing Them Softly" director Andrew Dominik. He was, in a word, imposing. I shook his hand and it engulfed my own. He seemed incredibly unwilling to suffer a fool and I loved that about him, as I do people like Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, etc. But he was willing to engage, willing to give a glimpse of that soft-center.
Now, suddenly, he's dead. A heart attack in Italy. Too soon doesn't begin to say it, but as the news makes its way across the wires I find myself, as we always do at times like this, thinking back on the work. And Gandolfini had a wealth of it. You see, he wasn't always this star, this "name." He made his hay as a character actor in film after film, always leaving a deep impression, long before "The Sopranos" came calling.