Oh, hello there. I’m just here sitting back in my smoking jacket and enjoying a nice whiskey on the rocks (my third). You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about 2012. It really sucked, didn’t it? Stop and think about it for a minute, did anything good happen this year to anyone but Psy? Not really. However, it certainly was a wild, memorable ride. Perhaps it was the looming threat of the end of the world. It could be the heavy buzz I’ve got going, but I feel like looking back on the biggest stories of this year. Grab a drink and join me, won’t you?
Marianne Gingrich made her ex-husband, Newt, look even worse by dropping the bombshell that he wanted to have an open marriage. Apparently this is worse than asking your wife for a divorce when she’s recovering from cancer treatments in the hospital. Mitt Romney didn’t see what the big deal is–you can have more than one wife, right?
Also, they battle Hitler
In a story that can only end well, scientists in New York made “supersoldier” ants. I’m not really sure why this was so important to do, but now there are ants with really large heads. Their heads are so large that they are able to block the entrances to their nest when it comes under attack. Also, they do this really cool shield-throwing trick.
Equal time rule A year away from inauguration day, and President Barack Obama was out on the campaign trail. He was raising funds, and he’d do just about anything for your money. At The Apollo, he noted that Rev. Al Green was in the audience, and did his own version of “Let’s Stay Together,” well a few bars of it, anyway. And he’s got the chops for it, too. The American public got to hear his pipes more along the campaign trail when he sang “Red Solo Cup” in Missouri. Continue reading You Missed It: End of 2012 edition
Let’s say this upfront: The American is not an audience movie in the generally recognized sense of the term.
It is not an action movie.
It is not a thriller in any conventional sense.
Forget about the TV commercials and theatrical trailers that make it look like George Clooney is playing some Jason Bourne-like character, mowing down every bad guy who gets in his way. It’s not that movie. Instead, it’s an art film. Anyone who goes in expecting it to be in any way a typical Hollywood product will be sorely disappointed. If Robert Bresson, the French minimalist, had directed a James Bond film, it might have turned out like this. Though Bresson favored nonprofessional actors, director Anton Corbijn has secured George Clooney to play the title role of a top-of-the-line professional assassin. But it’s a very different, more removed Clooney than audiences are used to seeing. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The American’
Wes Anderson’s latest film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic novel of the same name. Dahl’s novels, which have helped usher many a disgruntled kid through childhood, don’t condescend to the young, but there’s an element of whimsy that makes readers want to live in his world. Wes Anderson’s movies, on the other hand, can be hit-or-miss for most people, though if you’ve read the past few weeks for me, you know that they’re hits with me. His films tend toward the pretentious, with hints of the war of mid-life crisis and he uses a broad cast of actors repeatedly in his movies. Understated line delivery, artfully composed shots, and a focus on dysfunction alienate some viewers while drawing ardent fans from the other end of the spectrum. Nonetheless, the combination of Dahl and Anderson proves a winner in this film, with Dahl’s fanciful novel providing a great backdrop for Anderson’s regimented directorial style. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’
You may have noticed that there were Academy Awards this weekend. Hopefully you weren’t too disappointed by the results.
(Sorry, Clooney fans. He can’t win for the same role every year.)
(Oh, and to people who just discovered science fiction through Avatar and can’t believe it only won special effects awards: get used to it.)
But, now that we’re in the aftermath, we can reflect on Hollywood’s choices. And when Sandra Bullock says she “didn’t aspire” to win the Oscar for Best Actress–or ever win an Oscar at all–we mean it from the bottom of our hearts when we say, “Yeah, we could tell.”
You know what irks me? Having to apologize to myself whenever I watch a movie starring Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, John and Joan Cusack, Martin Sheen, Darryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Christopher Reeves or any other politically-involved actor.
The same internal dialogue happens during the opening credits:
“OK, Rick. You’re just watching their movie. You’re not really paying them, more like paying their producers who only want you to see explosions and sequels.
“Just pretend you didn’t accidentally read how they’re really into environmentalism, peace or walking again. (Thank god the ‘Superman’s Grounded’ hoopla is over and done with!) All you wanted to do was find out they were voted ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ again or made a sex tape to Google later.