Cate Blanchett Will Spoof Marina Abramovic in ‘Documentary Now’ Season 3

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Cate Blanchett will appear in the upcoming third season of the mockumentary series Documentary Now on IFC.

Blanchett will portray a parody version of performance artist Marina Abramovic in an adaptation of the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival audience-award-winning documentary, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present. The film documented Abramovic’s famous MoMA retrospective, where she sat and made eye contact with each individual attendee.

The parody episode, titled “Waiting For The Artist,” will see Blanchett joined by Izabella Barta and Fred Armisen as fellow known names in the art world. The show is hosted by fellow Oscar-winner Helen Mirren.

The series, created by SNL’s Armisen and Bill Hader, spoofs a different famous documentary each episode: past films parodied have included Grey Gardens and VICE News docs. Seth Meyers also helped create the show, which is directed by Rhys Thomas and executive produced by Lorne Michaels.

Documentary Now returns to IFC on February 20.

‘Calling All Earthlings’ Explores the Mid-Century Obsession with Space and Alien Life

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With the advent of NASA in 1958 (along with the corresponding Soviet Space Program), Americans became veritably obsessed with the idea of space travel – and also the possibility of making contact with alien beings. Pop culture latched onto to it to such a degree, that even a cartoon about the Stone Age, The Flintstones, introduced in 1965 a “spaceman” character named The Great Gazoo (who may or may not have been gay).

Now, with Planet Earth in a critical state, and with President Trump’s comical proclamations about launching a “Space Force,” our interplanetary state of mind has been decisively resurrected. Perfect timing, then, for the enthralling new documentary Calling All Earthlings.

Directed by Jonathan Berman, the film follows the efforts of Howard Hughes associate George Van Tassel, as he, beginning in 1954, attempts to build his “Integratron” near Joshua Tree, California. The aircraft mechanic turned visionary claimed that in the previous year, he was taken on board a spaceship from Venus, and gifted with a special technique for rejuvenating the body. The desert dome was meant to become a research center on the extension of human life, and a place where the technique could be performed.



The riveting narrative for the doc comes by way of interviews with relatives, scientists, historians…even legendary musician Eric Burdon, a resident of the area. Paranoia and government conspiracy, naturally, factor into the story.

There is a further zeitgeisty frisson to the proceedings, considering our current quest for body healing through meditation and wellness – as well as the much-buzzed-about commercial space ventures of the likes of Elon Musk and Richard Branson. But mostly it is a fascinating glimpse back to a thrilling moment – the excitement that came with the possibility of discovering alien life – in our early modern history.

Screenings and special related VIP events will take place in New York City this week, August 1 – 7. Buy tickets here.









Hillary Clinton & Steven Spielberg Are Making a Show About Women’s Voting

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Steven Spielberg is optioning the rights to the acclaimed novel The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, by Elaine Weiss, as a television series – and Hillary Clinton has signed on as an executive producer.

The book documents the history of activists fighting for the 19th Amendment, to grant women the right to vote, over a decades-long civil rights battle. While a writer and cast are not yet attached, Spielberg’s Amblin TV are shopping the project around to premium cable networks.

It was recently announced Clinton would guest star on season 5 of CBS’ Madam Secretary. But this project marks her first in the producer role. Let’s not forget that she has won a Grammy – one step closer to her EGOT!

Pussy Riot Unveils 2 New Music Videos & Songs

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Today, feminist punkers Pussy Riot unveil two new songs and accompanying videos, “КОШМАРЫ/NIGHTMARES” and “PONG!” – which both directly challenge the Russian police and state.

The first track is in part a cover of Dina Vierny’s “Nightmares.” It calls for the immediate release of Olog Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director and political prisoner, and emphasizes the corrupt prison system in Russia.

The second song reimagines “Punk Prayer” – when Pussy Riot filmed themselves protesting inside a Russian Cathedral and ended up with global support, jail sentences and having  their video banned – as a video game.

Four members of Pussy Riot were arrested after rushing the field of the World Cup Final on July 15. Soon after, they released the new song “Track About Good Cop.”




Tom Hardy Is A Monster In The Latest ‘Venom’ Trailer

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Tom Hardy is back in the latest trailer for Venom, Marvel’s new film about an evil, slimy, larger sort of Spider-Man creature that infects Hardy’s Eddie Brock like a parasite.

The hunky actor appears to be really going through it in the new film, which sees him saving (and taking) lives at the beck and call of this oily, vicious tapeworm, that has complete control over his entirety of bodily functions, it seems.

He’s joined in the cast by Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed, who plays the equally dangerous Riot. The film is directed by Ruben Fleischer, and is due in theaters October 5.


The Lady Gaga ‘A Star Is Born’ Will Premiere at the Venice Film Festival

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Lady Gaga’s upcoming remake of A Star Is Born has locked in its premiere, at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival.

It is reportedly set to screen on August 31, in a lineup that includes other awards season juggernauts like the Emma Stone / Rachel Weisz vehicle The Favourite and Damien Chazelle’s First Man, which will open the festival.

The film has already screened to a select group of executives in Hollywood and early buzz suggests that it is fantastic, with Oscar nominations predicted across the board.

Barbra Streisand, who starred in an earlier version of the film, told Deadline that “I’m really proud of him [director / star Bradley Cooper] – he did a great job on this film.”


Toronto International Film Festival Announces Lineup

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The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled its upcoming roster of films, which includes the North American premiere of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born.

The festival, which takes place in September, will also see the debut of Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation If Beale Street Could Talk, as well as Damien Chazelle’s Ryan Gosling-led First Man, marking both directors’ followups to their Best Picture hot contenders (in Jenkins’ case, winner) from two years back.

Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carrell’s drug addiction drama Beautiful Boy will also premiere. Robert Pattinson will be seen in High Life, Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo and Michelle Rodriguez will appear in Widows, and Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges in Ben Is Back, making it quite the star-studded affair.

Here’s the full lineup:


Gala Presentations

A Star Is Born, dir. Bradley Cooper
Beautiful Boy, dir. Felix Van Groeningen
Everybody Knows, dir. Asghar Farhadi
First Man, dir. Damien Chazelle
Galveston, dir. Mélanie Laurent
Hidden Man, dir. Jiang Wen
High Life, dir. Claire Denis
Husband Material, dir. Anurag Kashyap
Life Itself, dir. Dan Fogelman
Red Joan, dir. Sir Trevor Nunn
Shadow, dir. Yimou Zhang
The Hate U Give, dir. George Tillman, Jr.
The Kindergarten Teacher, dir. Sara Colangelo
The Land of Steady Habits, dir. Nicole Holofcener
The Public, dir. Emilio Estevez
What They Had, dir. Elizabeth Chomko
Widows, dir. Steve McQueen

Special Presentations

Ben Is Back, dir. Peter Hedges
Burning, dir. Lee Chang-dong
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, dir. Marielle Heller
Capernaum, dir. Nadine Labaki
Cold War, dir. Pawel Pawlikowski
Colette, dir. Wash Westmoreland
Dogman, dir. Matteo Garrone
Giant Little Ones, dir. Keith Behrman
Girls of the Sun, dir. Eva Husson
Hotel Mumbai, dir. Anthony Maras
If Beale Street Could Talk, dir. Barry Jenkins
Manto, dir. Nandita Das
Maya, dir. Mia Hansen-Løve
Monsters and Men, dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green
MOUTHPIECE, dir. Patricia Rozema
Non-Fiction, dir. Olivier Assayas
Papi Chulo, dir. John Butler
Roma, dir. Alfonso Cuarón
Shoplifters, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
Sunset, dir. László Nemes
The Front Runner, dir. Jason Reitman
The Hummingbird Project, dir. Kim Nguyen
The Old Man & The Gun, dir. David Lowery
The Sisters Brothers, dir. Jacques Audiard
The Wedding Guest, dir. Michael Winterbottom
The Weekend, dir. Stella Meghie
Through Black Spruce, dir. Don McKellar
Where Hands Touch, dir. Amma Asante
White Boy Rick, dir. Yann Demange
Wildlife, dir. Paul Dano

Altice One: The New Binge-Watching Culture Gets a New Technology

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Westworld, HBO


With the 2018 Emmy nominations being announced last week, surely binge-watching will be at an all-time high – as everyone tries to catch up on those shows that will be in contention for the biggest awards.

Of course, all this television fervor would have been nearly impossible to imagine even just fifteen years ago. At that time, HBO and Showtime went head-to-head with a handful of groundbreaking shows (remember Six Feet Under?), each that were challenging the primacy and dominance of the major networks. There was even a zeitgeisty slogan: “It’s Not TV…it’s HBO.”

Yet for the most part, it was still a wasteland of cheesy reality TV, dull cooking shows, and clichéd sitcoms and dramas.

But with the rise of Amazon, Netflix and Hulu – and with cable networks like AMC and FX producing must-see series’, we’re now all officially obsessed with the small screen. And we are indeed staying in, binge-watching, rather than going out on the town. So it’s probably time we reconsidered the technology we are using to view it all.


Killing Eve, BBC


Enter Altice One, from Optimum – a little black box that tidily combines cable set top, WiFi, router and streaming service device – especially great if you’re a neat freak who hates all those sloppy, bulky devices. (And of course, those dreaded ugly wires.) Even better, if you find yourself perpetually at odds with the labyrinthine nature of Verizon Fios pricing, it’s a great time to consider a change.

What do you get? 4K Ultra HD video; faster broadband; a centralized “command center” with voice activation (nicely futuristic, right?); Cloud DVR, so serious TV junkies can record 15 shows at once (though don’t forget to feed the cat); the ability to hook up high quality audio, especially urgent if you’re a fan of action films and epic series’ like Game of Thrones; and improved functionality and better organization all the way around.

If you haven’t marked it on your calendar already, the 2018 Emmys ceremony will take place September 17. So you have two months to catch up on the likes of Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale, Killing Eve and The Crown – and thus be able to smartly make your own predictions. (For the record, we’re pretty confident of ours.)

Thankfully now, there’s a better way to do it.


The Crown, Netflix

Capital Punishment is Back! This Was Ben Stiller’s ’80s Industrial-Punk Band

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When the Brit version of The Office started to blow up in the middle oughts, it didn’t take long for the show’s newly famous star Ricky Gervais to be “outed” as a former New Romantic, well, ponce – with photos and videos of his early 80’s duo Seona Dancing surfacing, showing the comedian in full flamboyant makeup. (For the record, they had a couple of great songs, especially “More to Lose”.)

Now comes the news that Ben Stiller, prior to a spectacularly successful three-decade acting career that shows no signs of slowing down, was a bit of a punk. Indeed, his provocatively named band Capital Punishment released an album in 1982, unfortunately titled Roadkill (surely, they could have done better than that) – which is now being reissued in remastered form by Captured Tracks.

But this was no four-chord-adolescent-anger cliche of a punk band. Rather, Stiller and associates Kriss Roebling, Peter Zusi and Peter Swann (now an Arizona State Supreme Court Justice) dug deep into the avant-garde-industrial scene of time, drawing on such unsettling, atonal influences as Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle. The first “single,” the actually kind of brilliant “Muzak Anonymous,” is very much a paradigm of that Sheffield-by-way-of-Berlin aesthetic, with its spasmodic beats, over-flanged guitars, and aloof, deliberately detached vocals. (Plus some obligatory military-style shouting.)

We’re not really expecting it to tear up the charts – but have to admit to having it on endless repeat.