Max Headroom, Face Off, & Gitmo Spies: News Bites

In the words of Graham Greene: “Media is a word that has come to mean bad journalism.” Now some news bites:

Movie Tagline, “No Animals Were Harmed” Means Absolutely Nothing
Example: Bengal tiger used in Life of Pi – nearly drowned during production; The American Humane Association gave the movie its stamp of approval.

New Password App Recognizes Faces
Apple bought “FaceCrypt” – a password manager app using face-recognition technology. Looks like the making for a sequel to  the Nicholas Cage flick, Face Off.

Obama Confronts Heckler and Pushes Immigration

You have the power to stop all deportations!” the heckler yelled, to which Obama answered “Actually, I don’t.” The president then turned away from the camera and addressed the man directly.

Husband Broadcasts Drunk, Naked Wife On Playstation 4
Big Brother is watching you because he’s your douchebag husband.

Max Headroom Television Hack
Chicago TV station interrupted by appearance by the 80’s icon.

US Turn Gitmo Prisoners Into Double Agents

The program was called Penny Lane; Guantanamo Bay prisoners were offered freedom, safety for their families, and millions of dollars from the agency’s secret accounts – in exchange for becoming a double agent back home. American public and The Beatles should be outraged.

Trolling the Oscars: Why None of These Movies Deserve to Win Best Picture

Welcome to the internet, where all of my opinions are right. You know what’s so great about being able to log into a CMS account and self-publish my thoughts and ideas? No matter how I actually feel, everything I write online comes across as completely sincere and competent, even when the things I write are neither of those things! It’s a brave new world we’re living in, when tweets can be art and art can be criticized by any person with an idea for a clever hashtag. Naturally, it’s time to harness this power by showing you exactly why none of the nine nominees for Best Picture deserve to win a goddamn thing. Let’s go!

Amour

Oh, come on. You didn’t see Amour. You know how I know this? Because I didn’t see Amour. I didn’t see this movie because I could just call my grandparents and ask them to speak to me in French for two hours. At least the phone call would be free! And hey, maybe I’d get twenty bucks out of it or somewhere, whereas Amour would cost me at least thirteen dollars and bring with it a lot of emotional anxiety. Anyway, this movie should not win, but I kind of wish it would if only so I can quickly take screenshots of midwestern teenagers tweeting about how they don’t know what Amour is. That’s how blogging works!

Argo

Ugh, Argo. Argofuckyourself, indeed, Argo! The major point about Argo was that Ben Affleck can direct a movie, which comes as a surprise to literally no one because he has already directed two movies that people liked a lot. The other reason Argo was made was so Ben Affleck could take off his shirt in another movie. Oh, and you know another thing that sucked about Argo? The fact that none of the women in Argo were allowed to speak to each other on camera. Sorry, Clea Duvall; you get to be in a Big Motion Picture, but you may only open your mouth when in the presence of Victor Garber. And don’t you dare make eye contact with Ben Affleck! 

Beasts of the Southern Wild

I do love a movie with a precocious child as much as the next guy, but how awkward do you feel about the fact that some white people from New York City went down to New Orleans to make a movie about magical negroes? I’m surprised there weren’t any animated bears and foxes floating along the river, or that those giant titular beasts didn’t burst into "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." 

Django Unchained

This one is simple: Django Unchained should not win Best Picture because it is not Jackie Brown and Jackie Brown is the only Quentin Tarantino movie that deserves to win Best Picture. 

Les Misérables

A friend of mine described this movie with the following: "It was like in acting classes when one person started crying and then everyone else in class cried harder and louder and uglier." This is one of the few movies in which everyone was dead at the end and I thought, "You know what? I’m OK with this." That is until the ghost of Anne Hathaway showed up again with that chopped-off hair and sad dress, which made me depressed. I really hate that it’s a known fact that your apperance when you die is what you’ll look like in Heaven. Really sucks for people who get run over by trucks, huh? 

Life of Pi

Spoiler alert: Pi is the tiger, and the tiger is Pi, and the eggman is Paul, I think, and maybe we ought to remake Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band but with 3D CGI, but I’m getting distracted. Life of Pi is a cartoon movie for adults who are still making their way through Oprah’s Book Club.

Lincoln

Oh, I’m sorry, is this category called Best Way to Nap? Lincoln was terrible. Remember how fun TV miniseries used to be? They were long, yes, but they were campy as hell, had a lot of awkward sex not normally seen during primetime, and were stuffed with lots of recognizable people who were not really famous but still possessed a certain level celebrity that you’d still be excited if you saw them on the street. Lincoln was just a really expensive TV-miniseries, but without the sex. Or the fun. And with overwritten dialogue by Tony Kushner. I got a screener of Lincoln, and it’s best uses so far have been as a coaster and as a substitute for Ambien.

Silver Linings Playbook

I can’t for the life of me figure out why people love this movie so much. Is it because we’re so desperate to see Ben Stiller act in a dramatic performance that we could substitute in Bradley Cooper and just go with it? Is it because it’s nice to see Julia Stiles back in action? Is it because of Jacki Weaver saying "crabby snacks and homemades?" Is it because of Dancing With the Stars? Is it because As Good as It Gets was too subtle and we needed a subpar version of that to really hone in the idea of what mental illness is? Or is it because everyone is crazy? If everyone is crazy, no one is crazy. 

Zero Dark Thirty

JUST KIDDING! While you were all being emotionally waterboarded by the rest of what Hollywood had to offer, you guys completely missed the fact that this was the best movie of the year. Jessica Chastain! She could act circles around everyone else on this planet, and she wouldn’t be exhausted because she’s, like, a healthy vegan. And you know she’s on track for world domination. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE. it doesn’t even matter if this loses to, say, Argo, because Kathryn Bigelow will have her revenge on all of you. Especially you, Ben Affleck. 

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Rick Ross, Fiona Apple, and Eight Other Artists Who Deserved a Best Original Song Nomination

The category for Best Original Song is always a bit of a mess. The songs are rarely judged on how they sound; the importance is, of course, how the song fits into the film for which it was written. This year’s nominees are representative of the usual fare. There’s the popular choice (Adele’s "Skyfall," which will likely win, as it should), the new song for the big-budget musical adaptation (the unnecessary "Suddenly" from Les Misérables), and then there are the forgettable tunes (I didn’t even know what Chasing Ice was before today, much less the song from it). It’s a shame, really, because there were plenty of good tracks included in the list of 75 eligible songs. Here are a few that probably will have a longer shelf life than "Pi’s Lullaby."

Karen O – "Strange Love" (from Frankenweenie)

Fiona Apple – "Dull Tool" (from This is 40)

Rick Ross – "100 Black Coffins" (from Django Unchained)

John Legend – "Who Did That To You" (from Django Unchained)

Sunny Levine – "No Other Plans" (from Celeste and Jesse Forever)

Arcade Fire – "Abraham’s Daughter" (from The Hunger Games)

The Bootleggers feat. Emmylou Harris – "Cosmonaut" (from Lawless)

Florence + The Machine – "Breath of Life" (from Snow White and the Huntsman)

Katy Perry – "Wide Awake" (from Katy Perry: Part of Me)

The Black Keys / RZA – "The Baddest Man Alive" (from The Man With the Iron Fists)

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Director’s Guild Award Nominations Fall Short

Well, the Director’s Guild nominations have come in, and they’ve proved to be entirely predictable. Not a surprise in the house. And that isn’t to say the directors nominated aren’t deserving and that their films don’t merit acclaim but come on, there are so many brilliant films being made and so many talented people at work, that although awards don’t mean everything, it’s just slightly disheartening to see the scope of praise be so narrow.

The nominees are:
Ben Affleck, Argo
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

But aren’t we missing something? Sure, Django Unchained could have been about 40 minutes shorter, but Quentin Tarantino most definitely deserves accolades for his cinematic achievements. He knows how to craft something that’s universally entertaining while always staying true to his heavily-rooted obsessions and idiosyncrasies as a filmmaker, while coining his own take on an old genre. And what about David O. Russell? Silver Linings Playbook was a heartfelt and challenging film, and if we’re talking purely of directorial skill, he managed to get incredibly nuanced, passionate, and sincere performances out of his actors while crafting something wonderfully enjoyable. Um, not to mention P.T. Anderson for The Master, which was basically a master class on how to direct your actors and build a mise en scène.

I’m hoping the Academy Award nominations will provide a bit more excitement in terms of choices, but that’s always a toss up. The Director’s Guild Award winners will be announcement on Saturday, February 2nd at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

Check Out the Hour-Long Writers Interview Featuring Michael Haneke, John Krasinski, and More

The Oscars may still be months away, but award season buzz has been in the air for months. One of the perks of the season is always getting to watch some of the year’s best talent sit down together and talk cinema. These good ol chats bring together the most unlikely of folks, giving us a truly unqiue conversation that we perhaps would never see otherwise. For example, Jim from The Office and Michael Haneke just hanging out talking about Schindler’s List. Now obviously John Krasinski is more than just Jim—he’s a fantastic writer, actor, and director—but it’s still funny to think about. Brought together by The Hollywood Reporter for this year’s discussion, John and Haneke are joined by four other writers who have penned some of 2012’s most celebrated films.

Krasinski’s had a big year, between starring in Ry Russo Young’s Nobody Walks and, most notably, penning Gus van Sant’s new film Promised Land with Matt Damon. Michael Haneke’s emotionally devastating Amour took home the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year and has been praised by critics and audiences alike since. The other writers include: Judd Apatow who penned the much-anticipated sort-of-sequel comedy This Is 40, Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal for the enigmatic upcoming thriller Zero Dark Thirty, Chris Terrio for the Ben Affleck-directed Argo, and David Magee for his Life of Pi adaptation. Yes, this is a group of men whose films have stood out for the year, but these type of year-end round tables tend to always be very male-centric, continuing to beg the question: why aren’t any female writers involved?

Check out the hour-long full uncensored video below:

 

Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’ Adaptation Now Has A Trailer

After nearly a decade of talk and rumors of a host of directors helming the project, including M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, this summer, the first glimpses of the film adaptation of Life of Pi are upon us. The trailer of the Ang Lee-directed reimagining of Yann Martel’s Man Booker Prize-winning meditation on faith, survival and what to do when you’re on a boat and the only other passenger could rip you in half at any second. 

Suraj Sharma makes his acting debut as the titular Pi, a young man who, after being the sole survivor of a shipwreck, becomes stranded on a lifeboat with an assortment of animals—a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a Bengal tiger (eventually, it comes down to just him at the tiger)—as impromptu crewmates. The trailer focuses mostly on the lifeboat scenes, with Pi confronting his furry CGI adversary (that claw-swipe feels like it was made for the film’s 3-D release), with plenty of bright, sweeping sea and landscape shots that Lee does so well. 

Life of Pi, which also stars Irrfan Khan as the adult Pi, Gerard Dépardieu as The Chef and Tobey Maguire as Yann Martel, hits theatres this November. Have a look at the trailer below.