How did a tattoo turn a press day encounter into pure magic?
It is not every day that I am offered a sit-down interview with Vanilla Ice.
And, to be honest, I would not have expected it to go quite the way it did. After all, I remember the release of "Cool As Ice." I remember his pop culture moment and how absurd it was, and I can't claim to have been a fan.
In "That's My Boy," Rob Van Winkle shows up, once again transformed into Vanilla Ice, playing an exaggerated and ridiculous version of the persona that people know. It's one of those jokes that could easily fall flat, except he's actually very good at tweaking the public perception of him.
As we were waiting to do the interviews, my sons asked me who I was going to be talking to over the course of the day, and I listed the various people who were participating. When I mentioned "Vanilla Ice," they were immediately entertained by the name, and they started asking me questions about him.
How does improvisation play into this tender little film?
One of those moments when I realize how absurd my job can be took place during this year's Sundance Film Festival. I was waiting for my cameraman to set up for the interview we were about to do and standing in the lobby of the building everyone was using for interviews. I realized that Christina Hendricks was standing next to me, while in front of me, Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie were chatting, and Teresa Palmer was at the bar on the other side of me.
And when I walked away? It was so I could sit down with Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt.
Yes, I am aware that is preposterous, and that I should count myself lucky.
Sitting down with the female leads of "My Sister's Sister" was a pleasure because (A) one can never spend enough time talking to Emily Blunt and (B) "My Sister's Sister" is kind of awesome. It's a small, tender, brutally honest movie that features great performances from all three of the leads. Playing sisters, though, requires a special sort of bond that you need to somehow communicate to an audience, and that's what I wanted to talk to Blunt and DeWitt about when we spoke.
Without the social weight of 'Hairspray,' Shankman serves up pure souffle
- Critic's Rating C+
- Readers' Rating B-
Musicals are one of the most unusual genres in all of film, and I am fascinated by any attempt to create one, especially in a modern age where filmgoers do not have them as part of their daily cinematic diet.
There is a moment early on in "Rock Of Ages" where Julianne Hough, playing Sherrie Christian, is on a bus on her way to the big city, ready to make her dreams of music stardom come true. She begins to sing "Sister Christian," and while the song choice may have made '80s survivors smile, it wasn't until the rest of the passengers on the bus also begin to sing that the audience around me started to laugh. It's that moment where any musical makes the leap from reality to the world of the movie, and if your audience is willing to go with you, you're gold.
Justin Theroux and Allan Loeb are credited with the adaptation here, along with Chris D'Arienzo who created the piece for the stage, and it's painting in big bright primary colors. There is not a subtle moment in the movie. The entire thing is pitched at this sort of full-volume level, everything spelled out with the most literal interpretation of song lyrics and the most exaggerated character types, so there's no chance you're going to miss anything. "Prometheus," this is not.
Plus what happens when Adam Sandler meets Film Nerd 2.0?
My wife is in school these days, which means there are many moments where I am the only person available to take care of Toshi and Allen, even if I've got work that needs to get done. It can make for some exciting schedules on certain days, and a recent Saturday was a perfect example of that.
We were up early for Toshi's final baseball game of the season, and then we had his end-of-the-season party at his coach's house with all the parents and players, a great group of folks. And almost immediately after that wrapped up, we had to head down to the Four Seasons so I could do my interviews for "That's My Boy," Adam Sandler's new comedy.
Walking into a room with kids in tow totally changes the dynamic. In the case of Sandler and Samberg, the last room we did that afternoon, as soon as we walked in, Sandler was up on his feet.
He stood in front of the boys, looking down at them. "I'll bet I can guess your ages." He pointed at Toshi and guessed correctly. "Six, right?" Then he pointed at Allen. "And you're three."
"No," said, Allen. "I'm four. I turned four on my birthday!"
We're just a few weeks away, so Sony's pulling out all the stops
We're in the home stretch now, with only a few weeks left until "The Amazing Spider-Man" arrives in theaters.
The film screened late last week for people doing interviews at the New York press day, and I assume we'll see it here in LA in the very near future. I'm looking forward to it, and to make sure I don't carry the Raimi movies into the theater with me, I've made sure not to re-watch them or refer to them at all. The last time I saw any of them was when "Spider-Man 3" was released, and at this point, I've got my general impressions of them, but that's about it. Whatever Marc Webb and his cast and crew have done here, I'm going to judge it as its own film.
This is, of course, a key moment for Sony Pictures. They've got a lot riding on this film. In order to remain in the Spider-Man business, they need to keep producing films at a certain pace, and they are gambling big here by rebooting. They had a proven creative team and a well-liked cast in place, so scrubbing all of that and starting over is about as risky as making a Spider-Man movie can be at this point. Sure, the character is well-known around the world, and ultimately, the character is what they're selling, but if this is going to work, all the moving pieces have to come together.
The year's most beautiful movie is also the most frustrating, but why?
The moment I posted my review for "Prometheus," I knew we would have to run a second piece that asked more questions about the film and that tried to offer a deeper analysis of it.
Greg Ellwood also followed up with me, asking if we were going to do a piece about the unanswered questions. The thing is, the questions that people are talking about when they discuss this film range from the easily answered to fundamental confusion about the nature of the story being told. I don't have any special inside knowledge, but at this point, I've read enough from the people who made the film and from other people who have watched it that I have questions, I have comments, and I have observations and frustrations. All in all, I have mixed feelings about "Prometheus," and it drives me sort of crazy as a result.
Any time you watch something a second time, it's going to be a different experience, especially when it's something that arrives with the sort of expectations and hype that "Prometheus" had. I'd honestly seen as little as possible before seeing the film. After the first one or two trailers, I checked out. I haven't seen the last five or six trailers or the TV spots, so I didn't have every image in the movie already in my head by the time I walked in the door.
Plus the single worst Ray Bradbury tribute you'll ever hear
I promised two podcasts this weekend, and sure enough, we've got two podcasts this weekend.
We don't do a ton of game coverage on the site, primarily because there just isn't enough time for us to do every single thing we'd like at this point. There are moments where film and games are starting to overlap though, and when you've got a guy like James Gunn writing a game that looks as strange and as stylish as "Lollipop Chainsaw," that seems like a good moment to sit down for a conversation about that cross-over in disciplines and how things are starting to get very blurry for people in this business.
Of course, "sitting down together" can be a figure of speech when you're trying to schedule an interview in the middle of an event like E3. I wasn't at the convention center, and on the day I was set to talk to James, I had a company meeting in Century City. At the end of it, the rest of team HitFix took off, and I turned on the recorder, took the call on my cell phone, and did my best to record the ensuing conversation.
One of two podcasts for this weekend, this one with the director of 'Kill List'
You've got not one but two episodes of the podcast due to you, and so you'll get one today and one tomorrow.
This first one was recorded not long after I walked in the door from the Cannes Film Festival this year, and one of the last films I saw there was Mark Wheatley's "Sightseers." Wheatley was the director of "Kill List," which many critics embraced, and which helped cement my opinion of Wheatley as a fascinating director who is willing to take big creative risks as he builds his films. His new one is a comedy, something I wouldn't have expected from "Down Terrace" or "Kill List," and he has a great feel for the material.
I sat down with Wheatley about two hours after I saw the film, and we had a great, quick conversation about his work and where he's headed. That interview is included here, and in addition, we chat about a whole bunch of trailers that were released while I was away. Which ones convince Scott to go to the theater and which ones look like home video rentals? Even I am surprised by his answers on a fairly consistent basis.
An unusual movie inspires an unusual campaign, but will it work?
One of the things I've seen people commenting on after catching "Prometheus" theatrically last night and this morning is the unusual promotional clip for "Life Of Pi" that 20th Century Fox has attached to all 3D prints of the film.
More than anything, what I'm reading is confusion. I haven't seen how the clips are formatted, but evidently it's just a scene from the film, played without any real introduction. It's an unusual tactic for the studio to pursue, but "Life Of Pi" is the sort of film that's going to require Fox to try some unorthodox measures to convince audiences that they've got something special planned for them.
According to quotes from Tom Rothman in the New York Times, the decision to handle the clips this way resulted from the response they got when they screened footage for exhibitors during CinemaCon this spring. The response there was certainly positive, and it even led to some Oscar talk among those who love to kick off the awards season about nine months too early.
He helped define '80s action movies and the Marvel Movie Universe
Last night, I got home from a long day of running around, and I decided to throw on something from the stack of Blu-rays while I worked. I ended up settling on "Lethal Weapon 2," and as I watched the film, I was also checking e-mail and seeing what was going on in the world of film. That's when I stumbled across the news that production designer Michael Riva had passed away. At first, I thought it was a coincidence that I was watching a film Riva had worked on when I got the news, but when you look at his filmography, the odds seem somewhat stacked, because this is one of those guys who worked on everything.
His final film will end up being "Django Unchained," and creating a pre-Civil War south as filtered through the sensibilities of Quentin Tarantino sounds like one of those jobs that would be a dream for a production designer. He's also still got "The Amazing Spider-Man" coming out, and I'm curious to see how he's remagined the world that Sam Raimi established on the first three films… especially since Riva was the production designer on "Spider-Man 3." You could also make the case that as the designer of "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2," he set a template for the larger Marvel Movie universe that other people will be following for many years to come.