Now this is more like it. Finally, a movie outrageous enough to make people stand up and boo. The honor goes to Only God Forgives, 90 minutes inside a barrel of Nicolas Winding Refn's subconscious sexual nightmares. All the slicing and hacking makes it obvious: Refn is scared someone wants to take away his penis. It's true that some of the audience came to the film's rescue with applause. But after the final pair of limbs had been slashed off, you knew what the jeering was all about. Some of us were hoping Refn would top the flamboyant brooding of Bronson or the neon ecstasy of Drive. We got instead a work of regressive junk.
Ryan Gosling returns, this time as some kind of Refn surrogate. He's a drug dealer and the owner of a Bangkok muy thai boxing gym prone to walking very slowly down corridors lit, like most of the movie, in emergency-exit red and dreaming of reaching for a door and having his arm slashing off. This guy is seeking revenge for the murder of his brother — even though the brother is a psychopath who raped a teenage girl and bludgeoned her to death. Gosling is once again horny, silent, and deadly, but because this is a Western movie in Thailand, the only woman a man can find is a prostitute.
You thought Hollywood would run through at least a few more reboots of dystopian '70s flicks and graphic-novel adaptations before recycling the oeuvre of Jean-Claude Van Damme? You thought wrong! THR is reporting that Universal has put into play a reboot of Timecop, The Muscles From Brussels's 1994 hit. The original "was set in the near future where time travel is regulated by a police force. One officer (Van Damme) runs afoul a crooked politician (played by Ron Silver) using time travel to further his political career." This one this one'll be the same thing? It's out to writers right now. Sounds reasonable enough, right? One HUGE problem. JCVD is, at this point, not involved. How are you gonna remake Timecop and not throw Jean-Claude a cameo at the very least? If I didn't know any better, I'd say the producers of the new Timecop actually like getting roundhouse kicks to the face.
The first thing I said to Rooney Mara was so wrong, it turned out right.
It’s the Sunday midpoint of the Cannes Film Festival, and I’ve just sat down in a subdivided hotel ballroom across from Mara and Casey Affleck, costars of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, the moody, Malick-esque criminal lovers odyssey from young American writer-director David Lowery. The stunning Saints, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, had reemerged the evening before in a streamlined new cut, as the big Saturday-night screening of the Cannes sidebar Critic’s Week. A massive crowd had huddled in one of the worst downpours in recent Cannes memory in hopes of getting into one of the festival’s smallest venues to see the film. Most of those people were turned away; those who did get in mobbed around the stars before the movie with cell phones aloft; the amateur paparazzi attack continued after the movie, amid a standing ovation. My summary of the evening/attempt at an Affleck/Mara icebreaker went like this: “The screening last night was so intense.”
With her china-white pallor, her dark hair pulled back tight, and her bones shrouded in a shapeless black blazer, Mara fixed her laser-beam eyes on me and breathed two syllables of pure acid: “It was?” It stung — and it was perfect, it was exactly what you'd want from her. It was Full Rooney.
Believe it or not, new Arrested Development hits the 'flix this Sunday. And how is creator Mitch Hurwitz spending his last few spare moments of pure goodwill and fevered anticipation? By getting out a very important message. While it was previously rumored that the new season could be watched in any order you desired, he's now telling us how it actually works.
We've all been there: a few drinks, some laughs, a few more drinks, the laughs get a little bit too loud, and the next thing you know, some drunk girl has raided your private cooler and is eating the horse heart you were saving for a special occasion. The incestuous hookup on your nice couch isn't helping the mood, and no one ever sticks around to clean up the mess from the 2 a.m. beheading. Typical.
"You are the queen of confrontation. You're my new hero." —Jerry to Elaine, Seinfeld ("The Ex-Girlfriend," Season 2, Episode 1)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus's first two movies after her three-year stint ('82-'85) on Saturday Night Live were Troll and Hannah and Her Sisters, which more or less set the tone for her career. She is fantastic in both. Since Seinfeld ended in 1998, she has had two network sitcoms (Watching Ellie and The New Adventures of Old Christine) and two perfect guest stints (Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm). Curb Your Enthusiasm gave us a taste of what Louis-Dreyfus might accomplish with the freedom of pay cable, and HBO's Veep, now in its second season, delivers on that promise.
We know we say this every week, but this time it's true: Summer movie season truly starts this weekend, with the opening of Fast & Furious 6, and we here at Grantland figured it was about time we honor the muscle-ripped, gravel-voiced heart of the franchise with his very own HOF.
DJ, author, and filmmaker Bobbito Garcia describes the genesis of his legendary hip-hop radio show with DJ Stretch Armstrong and his new film about pickup basketball in New York City, Doin' It in the Park.
We are just three weeks out from the premiere of Man of Steel, and, more importantly, the moment that Superman will launch himself into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, close his eyes, and listen to the millions of voices crying out from Earth's besieged multiplexes in either delighted rapture or unbridled outrage, then decide whether to return to his adopted home to bask in the glory of the triumphant box office hero or fly himself right into the center of the sun, an unloved martyr accepting with fatal resignation that his time has passed. The threshold for the decision will probably be about 75 million opening-weekend American dollars. Below that, the chatter will be of disappointment, of underperformance, of unmet expectations. Above that, the cheers will drown out the sighs, and Krypton's favorite son will justify putting off his nuclear self-immolation through at least the debut of the sequel.
Two months ago, I sat in a crowded banquet hall in Austin, Texas, as TMZ founder, managing editor, and TMZ on TV host Harvey Levin gave an impassioned, highly charismatic, completely unapologetic keynote about the invasive empire that he has steadily built since 2005. In the talk, aside from his speech and a few hints of what the future held (a TMZ Bus Tour in NYC), the standout takeaway was the demographic taking the microphone to ask Harvey very specific questions about TMZ. More often than not they were middle-aged women, probably in their late forties or early fifties. And with each question, there was a definite mix of delight in how little they knew (comparatively speaking) about the Internet, and genuine curiosity about what was happening within the pop culture landscape. It was a nice reminder that not everyone spends their entire day refreshing Twitter. Or having Twitter. Or knowing what Twitter is.
Two months later, however, TMZ made its way back into my life. Yesterday morning, I was confronted with one detail that I'd glossed over from Levin's March discussion.
When a week of constant moviegoing fails to rouse either unanimity or contentious division, the world's film press gets a little antsy. Where is The Movie? You know, the one that will bring us to tears or to war. Where's the movie that incites peals of laughter, intentional or otherwise? Where on earth are the Oscar-caliber, midmovie storm-outs? The applause has been tepid. The boos have been virtually nonexistent. No one seems willing to kill for anything. No one has any idea what the Steven Spielberg jury will or should do.
That sense changed this morning with the unveiling of Steven Soderbergh's Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra. When the film ended, the house applauded Soderbergh's name and cheered for Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. The song that sends you floating up the aisle and through the exits is Douglas doing "The Impossible Dream" as Liberace. It's a strangely moving moment in exactly the same way that the film itself is strangely moving: It's determined to see beyond the obvious kitsch of Liberace to find something close to the man.
On Tuesday, while announcing the new gaming system Xbox One in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft popped in a little surprise: Steven Spielberg.
Bonnie Ross, the head of 343 Industries — the current developer of Halo — was getting worked up, coolly crowing about "the potential of merging the storytelling magic of televsion with the interactive innovation of Xbox One" while doing the hands-outstretched/only-touching-at-fingertips thing. Then she announced a live-action Halo series, and threw it to Spielberg to do the rest.
This animated version of Patton Oswalt's Star Wars filibuster speech is worth a look, if only for the tiny baby Padawans floating in an anti-gravity classroom. Depending on your mood, you may also want to become involved in the predictably crazy comments section ("So then why not Photon who has power over energy would be more powerful than Moonknight also how is Moonknight any more powerful than Hawkeye or Blackwidow?" "Wolverine has a daughter so who is the mother?" "Patton Oswalt thinks that MoonKnight and Hercules are top tier? Hawk Eye and Black Widow might be 2nd string heroes but fucking MoonKnight... really? He is D list, down there with FireStar and ShatterStar"); at least a handful of the viewers seem to genuinely want an Actual Movie based on Oswalt's improvised Parks and Rec monologue. Didn't we just get a real movie for free? I mean, moving mouths would be nice, but aren't you people ever satisfied?
Spare a thought today for the horribly marginalized gluten-free children who suffer in our midst. "There were tears in my daughter's eyes, and my son's fist was clenched," says one mother, who compared her children's celiac disease diagnosis to death. There is no question that dietary restrictions suck but you guuuuuys.
Sometimes movies slip through the cracks and, for better or worse, I catch up with them. Here's a handful, from the shirtless to the offensive to the gloriously ecstatic.
Mud, directed by Jeff Nichols
Ordinarily, two boys who happen upon Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon in the same movie have probably gone to heaven — but in Nichols's latest, their starriness is just off. He's missing some of his front teeth, and one of her eyes is black. The situation is trouble. The movie is set in rural Arkansas on and near the Mississippi River, and tells of the hard times that have befallen the titular gentleman, a handsome, drawling drifter played by McConaughey. When we meet him, Mud has been sleeping in a boat that's stuck in a tree. Two teenage friends discover him and find themselves enlisted in abetting his attempt to stay hidden from the family of criminals seeking revenge for the man he killed. The boys also enable his reunion with Juniper, the woman in whose name he did the killing. She's played by Witherspoon as the sort of fallen angel who mopes through a Piggly Wiggly parking lot in a pair of short-shorts and espadrilles.