Saturday, December 3, 2011
However, we can get something of an idea of what a Lee Rent might have looked like from his latest release, a thrilling, energetic performance film of the similarly vibrant Broadway musical Passing Strange. Unfortunately, Strange couldn’t match Rent’s killer box office; it only ran 165 performances (symptomatic of a Broadway environment where critical kudos are seemingly less important than big stars or recycling of material). Lee was taken by the show, however, so he and his cinematographer, the brilliant Matthew Libatique (Iron Man, The Fountain), took their cameras to the Belasco Theatre to capture the show’s final performances in July 2008.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Evil Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Fargo, not to mention a story of a similar group picked off in these very woods 20 years previous by killers who are still... out... there. You don't have to be a horror movie aficionado on the lookout for those homages and quotations to enjoy Tucker & Dale, but it sure does help.
Me and You and Everyone We Know) are so unlike anything we've seen before that we don't have a pre-conditioned response to them to call up. In seeing other movies, we respond fairly quickly to elements we recognize and like (or dislike), and that sets the table for the rest of our experience--which may or may not upset those expectations, but they at least provide a starting point. July's films defy categorization. We don't know what the hell they are. On the film's IMDb page, the recommendations ("if you enjoy this title, our database also recommends") are: The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the Robert Redford/Jennifer Lopez vehicle An Unfinished Life, the Meryl Streep romantic comedy Prime, the LGBT Muslim documentary A Jihad for Love, and the Ben Kingsley made-for-TV biblical drama Joseph. That's random even for IMDb recommendations. They can't figure out what box to put her in either.
Monday, November 28, 2011
No Strings Attached, Ivan Reitman’s fitfully amusing but formulaic and inexplicably overlong entry, featuring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman; now we have Portman’s Black Swan co-star Mila Kunis paired with Justin Timberlake for Friends with Benefits. This one is helmed by Will Gluck, the clever filmmaker behind last summer’s sleeper hit Easy A, a witty and knowing deconstruction of teen movie clichés and literary allusions, anchored by a star-making performance by Emma Stone. Gluck’s involvement (and a supporting turn by Stone) made one hope that lightning would strike twice. Alas, Friends is only marginally better than Strings; it’s a glossy, empty after-dinner mint of a movie, endlessly predictable and surprisingly short on real laughs. And Emma Stone is only in one scene—the first.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Horsedreams Is Addicted to Cliche
We’ve seen the anti-drug cautionary tale many times before, in prestige dramas and cheeseball PSAs and all points in between. Whether it can be done without simplification and sermonizing in the post-“Just Say No” era is a question left unanswered by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater’s new production Dale Orlandersmith’s HORSEDREAMS. It is an earnest work-—painfully, almost embarrassingly so. And it’s mostly free of nuance or complexity; the whole thing is about as subtle as a hammer to the head.
Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’: Will Kids Respond to Cinema 101?
The most surprising thing about Martin Scorsese’s new film Hugo (out Wednesday) is how much more there is to it than has been indicated in the ad campaign, which presents the picture—probably wisely, from a mass-market standpoint—as a standard children’s adventure with a dose of magic and a dash of slapstick, all in 3D (of course). To be clear: it is all of that, though done with a skill and intelligence that puts most “family movies” to shame.
A Look Back at Our Favorite Muppet Movie Moments
We’re going to do our best to keep from setting you up for a disappointment by overselling The Muppets (out in theaters tomorrow). Seriously, we’re going to try. But the fact of the matter is, it’s utterly delightful—a charming, witty, and frequently heartbreaking little gem. If we’re responding to it with more enthusiasm than it deserves, so be it; we grew up loving the Muppet movies, and this new effort somehow manages to summon up the spirit of (to borrow the Star Wars parlance) the “original trilogy” while also existing as its own wonderful addition to the Henson canon. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll leave singing "Mahna Mahna." So, in celebration of the franchise’s return to form, we’d like to pause and enjoy a few of our favorite moments from the earlier Muppet movies; add your own in the comments.
Flavorpill’s Zagat-Style Guide to TV’s Best Thanksgiving Episodes
Thanksgiving is upon us, and it’s high time to enjoy all of our favorite yearly traditions: the turkey, the stuffing, the pumpkin pie, the awkward family encounters, pretending to care about football… and, most of all, that venerable standby of episodic television, the Thanksgiving show. As best as we can determine, the first weekly series to do a Thanksgiving-centered episode was The Burns and Allen Show, back in 1951; Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy, and Mr. Peepers quickly followed suit, realizing that a Thanksgiving show offered plenty of fodder for conflict, resolution, and warm holiday cheer. We’ve selected ten of our favorite Thanksgiving episodes—and in the culinary spirit of the holiday, we present them in the ever-popular Zagat’s dining guide format, because why not? Check ‘em out after the jump and add your own in the comments.
Staff Picks: What Flavorpill Editors Are Thankful for This Year
I don’t often write about music here on the site, due to being grossly underqualified and hopelessly unhip (my big-dollar music purchase this fall was the 20th anniversary vinyl reissue of U2’s Achtung Baby, if that gives you an idea of how tightly I’ve got my finger on the pulse of what’s hot musically these days). But few things on this earth have given me as much pleasure this year as the utterly marvelous throwback video for Cee-Lo Green’s “Cry Baby.” Already my favorite song on the record (it runs circles around “Fuck You”), the Hi Records-style pop confection is given a candy-colored visual rendering, complete with backlot-style set design, retro group choreography, and Jaleel “Steve Urkel” White stepping into the role of Cee-Lo. It’s a beautifully executed, joyful clip with a sense of humor—a reminder of how great music videos can still be (if you can find them).
Trailer Park: Holiday Leftovers
Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. We’ve got five new trailers for your post-turkey consumption this week; check ‘em out after the jump.