Thursday, September 30, 2010

RIP: Tony Curtis

Beloved actor and 50's movie heartthrob Tony Curtis passed away Wednesday of cardiac arrest in his Las Vegas home.  He was 85.

Curtis is perhaps best known for his role in 1959's Some Like it Hot, in which he donned drag alongside Jack Lemmon to play a musician on the run from the mob.  While he excelled as a comedic actor, Curtis eagerly tackled dramatic roles as well with stand out performances in Sweet Smell of Success, Houdini, and Spartacus, among others.

Born in tough times to Hungarian Jewish immigrants, Curtis overcame the obstacles of a Depression-era childhood and WWII military service to find success during Hollywood's "golden " age.

Married six times, Tony Curtis is survived by his wife and five children from previous marriages (including actress Jamie Lee Curtis).  [source]

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Photo Lab: Naomi Campbell will go Eastern Promises on you.

For the October issue of Interview, photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot watched Eastern Promises and decided it would be so much better if the harbinger of Russian mobster vengeance was Naomi Campbell in five-inch heels.   You know what?  I'll just go with might be.  It might be better.  Don't get me wrong, Eastern Promises is a really solid film; but a Naomi exchange could take it in a whole different direction. 

Oprah, we may have to put our differences aside...

So, I can't stand Oprah's show. Like, I really can't stand it.  I don't like her book club, either, but that's a story for another time.  Anyway, I don't like Oprah's show because it's basically one big outlet for one big unchecked ego.  The same could be said about this blog, but since I'm not worth billions of dollars, I have to deal with being humbled every day by my monetary state of affairs. 

Anyway, Oprah and I may have to set aside our differences on Friday, October 29th, when Oprah Winfrey reunites THE ENTIRE VON TRAPP FAMILY for the first time in 45-odd years, for a single episode.  Not just the fictionalized von Trapp's, either, the real von Trapp children as well.  I mean, that's just crazy.  Julie Andrews, Chrisopher Plummer, and all of the kids from the film adaptation of The Sound of Music.  Come on!  Don't you want to know what those kids grew up to be?  Hell yes.  Hell yes I do.  No, I'm not ashamed to admit it.  You can just go and shut your mouth because I have a serious soft spot for The Sound of Music and also, really, just Julie Andrews in general.  That's right, I also fricken' love Mary Poppins.  Deal with it.  Those movies are classics.  Gold.  Naysayers be damned, I obviously have Oprah on my side and she will pay money to crush you because she knows that  the cinematography alone in Sound of Music is enough of a reason for Maria to belt out "The Hills Are Alive".  True fact.  [source

RIP: Arthur Penn

These things do tend to come in multiples; so, unfortunately I have another death to report this morning.

Arthur Penn, celebrated film, stage, and television director of game changing 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde, passed away Tuesday evening, a mere day after his 88th birthday.

The New York Times has, of course, already summarized Penn's impact best with this remark:

“Arthur Penn brought the sensibility of ’60s European art films to American movies,” the writer-director Paul Schrader said. “He paved the way for the new generation of American directors who came out of film schools.”  [NYTimes]
It might be time to watch Bonnie & Clyde again in his honor.

RIP: Sally Menke

Sad news, kids.  Film editor Sally Menke, known for her work with director Quentin Tarantino, was found dead in a Los Angeles park early yesterday morning.  Menke was a mere 56 years old.

The New York Times reports that Menke had gone hiking in Griffith Park and that while the exact cause of death has yet to be determined, there are no signs of foul play.

Sally Menke was an accomplished editor and 2-time Oscar nominee.  She began working with Tarantino on his 1992 film Reservoir Dogs and has worked on all of the director's films to date.  Fans of Tarantino will recognize Sally's name from the "Hi Sally" outtake footage the director liked to slip into the film dailies sent to be edited by Menke.

Sally Menke is survived by her husband and two children.  Goodbye Sally.


Monday, September 27, 2010

True Mud

So, Sesame Street was all over last week when the Katy Perry song and dance with Elmo was first leaked online and then pulled from the actual telecast for being "too hot".  That business is ridiculous, for one, but it's for the best, as all the little children already love Katy Perry so much that the damage has been done (I am so serious.  From what I can tell, 85% of the Katy Perry fan base is made up of kids under the age of 10.  I'm not even being a sarcastic ass about this) and there's a pretty good chance they will always have a special place in their hearts for the wide-eyed pop none-talent.   Alright, Perry bashing aside, the better pop cultural reference put out by the Muppets on Sesame Street last week was a spoof on True Blood (following in the vein of past Mad Men and 30 Rock puppet skewerings).   If you've seen the HBO original, you'll get a kick out of the revised opening credits and Muppet Lafayette strolling through the scene.  Too bad we couldn't get Eric in there somewhere....

This Is Your Halloween Costume...

I'm totally befuddled by this "Sexy Nemo" costume. Someone, please explain who on Earth thought this was necessary?  Also, why doesn't it come with a "sexy gimpy fin"?  [via Buzzfeed]

Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

I’m no great fan of Oliver Stone.  While I wouldn’t downgrade him to the “hack” level I place M. Night Shyamalan on, it’s pretty safe to say that Stone is a perpetually flawed filmmaker so hellbent on making socially relevant films that he too oft forgets to also attempt to make them decent pieces of entertainment.   Many of Stone's films fall in to one of two categories; they're either bland, lifeless, overly political pieces of work, or frenetic, unfocused, overly political wax works.  That said, there are only one or two Oliver Stone films I can say I've enjoyed.  At the top of the list is the original Wall Street, which, in spite of the lovefests surrounding Platoon or Born on the Fourth of July I think is perhaps Stone’s best effort.   The 1987 film managed to be timely as well as original.  Stone couldn't rest on his historical laurels, he had to build up the story to construct its characters, and the resulting portrait of corruption and money mongering sentiments paid off.  We remember Wall Street for its depiction of an era, the oft ironically confused quotation of its mantras, and the way it worked like bad prophecy on the decades since.   When I first heard that Stone was working on a sequel to the film, the then titled Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (someone, wisely, has since dropped the tacky '2'),  I thought it was completely absurd.   It seemed like an especially low point in the Hollywood recycling machine; churning up another old drama with another, now significantly less edgy, aging star.  It didn't work with Basic Instinct 2, and I'd hate to see a sudden repeat for Fatal Attraction, so why dig up Wall Street from its palce in the cultural consciousness and redefine it to forever be associated with Shia LaBeouf.....

Monday, September 20, 2010

TV Eye: Boardwalk Empire

I feel that it's unfair, and difficult, to judge television shows based on their pilot episodes.  Experience has taught me that the pilots usually have a different aura to them.  The dust hasn't settled, the characters are still being defined.  In network programs, this is doubly the case.  Pilots are the test run.  Sometimes, between episodes one and two, cast members will have changed.  Primary leads will have been pushed to the background, huge new thematic subplots will be introduced based on test audience reaction.  This is why when I'm at all interested in the premise of a new television show, unless the first taste is exceptionally bad, I will hang on for at least two helpings.  That said, I'm going to jump the shark and convey my first impressions on the premiere of HBO's much hyped Boardwalk Empire.  Why?  Two reasons.  1. Because it's not TV, it's HBO.  2. Because it transcends into a terrain not often occupied by episodic television.
Boardwalk Empire is a show of cinema pedigree.  It boasts writing from The Sopranos' Terence Winter, production/direction/backing by Martin Scorsese (whose name alone is enough to warrant must see tv), and a ridiculously impressive cast.  Heading up the pack is Steve Buscemi, who plays Atlantic City sleazeball politician Nucky Thompson, a man who lies to little old ladies, doles out cash to folks in need, and has just started dipping his toes in liquor running at the dawn of Prohibition.  At Nucky's side is a fresh-faced veteran doughboy played by Michael Pitt (Last Days, Dreamers, Hedwig). On his case is a fed played by crazy eyed Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road).  Bankrupting the house is a bow tied gangster Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man).  In his good graces is a battered immigrant played by Kelly MacDonald (Trainspotting, Nanny McPhee, Choke).  In his bed is the current it-girl of indie nudity Paz de la Huerta.  You get the picture.  The Boardwalk is populated with film stars and Oscar nominees.  It also plays like a film, boasts set design and art direction that feels unprecedented by television standards, and is so polished it's almost impossible to criticize.  Ultimately, this sort of over slick, overstuffed veneer could lead to its undoing (is it style or substance?), but in the pilot, everything about Boardwalk Empire feels cinematic. 
While it's true that the introductory passages don't grab viewers and force them to identify with the criminal characters the way family-oriented, therapist seeing Tony Soprano did in that series, there's a lot of room for Boardwalk Empire to grow.  Nucky has been granted two opposing sides to his conscious this early on.  He's a gangster, certainly, but one who seems committed to aspects of the well-being of the Jersey citizens and visitors he looks over.  We're set to experience his slow and conflicted decline; and right now I'm whole heartedly down with continuing the ride.  Boardwalk's cautiously paced opener makes it primed to explode.  The stage is set, the dozen or so characters are in position...there's no reason why it all shouldn't go down according to plan.  There are a lot of comparisons popping up on the internet between this 1920's piece and Mad Men's 1960's period serial.  In my honest opinion? As first episodes go:  Boardwalk trumps Mad Men.  I feel way more committed to seeing where this heads than I did in those cursory glances at Sterling Cooper.  I dug this show.  It had Scorsese's fingerprints all over it, right down to the cinematography of its party scenes.  If it carries out its momentum, expect Boardwalk Empire to finally cut off Don Draper's award show streak. 

In Which Life Imitates Spoof

There are some things that I like about the Spring/Summer 2011 collection designer Jeremy Scott showcased during Fashion Week.  I like, for example, that the inspiration for the styling seems to be derived from a very creepy mannequin Amanda Lepore.  The movie ticket dress is sort of clever as well.  Otherwise, however, Scott's collection feels like a well-polished art school one liner with the big punchline being: Zoolander.  Almost everything Scott has sent down the runway feels like he should be standing off to the side going "I did it! I made derelicte and it's so long after the fact that once Gaga wears it, all y'all won't realize it's totally a joke!" 

I can get behind the fact that he didn't back down from the vision.  He committed to the project.  This is a full 100% commitment to fashion as disposable commodity (though it also features some rather random straight jacketed/bondage type gear that doesn't quite seem to gel).  Garbage bag dress?  Check.  Shopping bag tops?  Check check check.  Crushed can bra?  Most definitely.  Heinous tighty whitey diapers similar to the 'shorts' April made in the Philip Treacy episode of Project Runway?  Um, yeah.  Past the dedication to the project, I just look at these and think about how most of these pieces do absolutely nothing for me (or the models) aside from making me cringe.  Neat art project... if you're an angsty grad student in the midst of your MFA, but I honestly just can't get past visions of Mugatu swirling in my head.

Take a good look, everyone, because there's almost no doubt in my mind you're going to see some of these articles of clothing in pop star music videos over the next serveral months....

Friday, September 17, 2010

In Which Things You Wish Would Happen Sometimes Do...

Somewhere around the time Borat was released, I started to think that Sacha Baron Cohen looked rather similar to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.  When he participated in Tim Burton musical Sweeney Todd (as rival barber Pirelli), I returned to this thought.  It was almost too perfect.  Cohen isn't a complete Mercury doppelganger, but there were certainly some uncanny similarities.  I started hoping that somewhere down the road, Cohen would have the chance to take on the role of the legendary Mr. Mercury.  Now, you guessed it, it's happening.  I'm admittedly pretty psyched.  The project is being written by Peter Morgan, the man who scripted The Queen and Frost/Nixon, especially for Cohen.  Its already being supported by the remaining members of the band, so much so that they have reportedly formed a small production company to assist in backing it.  As would logically follow, the rights to many of Queen's most famous tracks (including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Another One Bites the Dust", and "We Will Rock You") have also already been cleared. 

Mercury died in 1991, a victim of AIDS.  While Queen's music has been used to score sci-fi rock musical We Will Rock You, this is the first project to focus primarily on the life of the charismatic man himself.  /Film reports that the film can be expected to cover Mercury's life and sexuality through the band's early stages and likely using the famed 1985 Live Aid performance as a closing chapter.  Again, I'm pretty psyched.  Lets hope the project continues to progress as smoothly as it seems to be in its early stages...


Affleck confirms I'm Still Here is just performance art

In slightly delayed news, actor/director Casey Affleck has confirmed what many of us already knew: I'm Still Here is not a documentary of Joaquin Phoenix's deterioration, but instead merely a document of an elaborate piece of performance art.  The film seemed to confuse and dupe a number of people, including Roger Ebert, whose review of I'm Still Here seemed fraught with melancholy; "The tragedy of Joaquin Phoenix's self-destruction has been made into "I'm Still Here," a sad and painful documentary that serves little useful purpose other than to pound another nail into the coffin".  Well, not quite.  Affleck spoke with the New York Times, asserting that while few were clued in as to the joke,  Phoenix's extended method performance over the last year or so (spaced out on Letterman, destroying the press tour for Two Lovers, rapping across America) was purely fiction.  Affleck had this to say to the Times:
he wanted audiences to experience the film’s narrative, about the disintegration of celebrity, without the clutter of preconceived notions.

"[Affleck] wanted audiences to experience the film’s narrative, about the disintegration of celebrity, without the clutter of preconceived notions.
     So he said little in interviews. “We wanted to create a space,” he said. “You believe what’s happening is real" [NYtimes]
Obviously, since the reviews prior to this were stilted by concerns about Phoenix and legitimate tentativeness, it might be time for a re-evaluation on the effect of the performance as a whole.  I've yet to see I'm Still Here, but from the sounds of it, Phoenix turned in a pretty impressive bit of acting.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Swift vs. West: Round 2

The television, people.  The television was all over the place last night.  The True Blood finale happened, and man, was it underwhelming.  Alan Ball has lost control.  That show is spinning into a ridiculous place that I absolutely don't care about.  Seriously.  Yesterday it was as if script writers gave up, had everyone add "fucking" before every sentence's subject, didn't even try to build up dramatic tension, and called it a day. It felt like watching some late 90's WB supernatural teen drama, not an HBO Southern Gothic dramedy.  So lame. 

While this was happening, MTV was in the midst of their annual non-awards concert.  The best thing about the VMA's, in so far as I could tell, was the stage floor.  HYPNOTIC.  The floor?  It was all of the adjectives the affected kids use to describe things possessing awesome qualities.  For example, one could describe the floor as fiYah.   The stage as a whole managed something that was actually quite remarkable in terms of set construction: the omnipresent flashing screens in every direction made the performers at the Video Music Awards actually look as though they were in a music video at that very moment.  Let's applaud that.  Nicely done, MTV.  I got suckered in on the merits of flashy black and white lights alone, even though I know you based all your text off of the work done in the "Alejandro" video.  Yes, MTV, I see what you did there...

Of course, I fast-forwarded like all of Chelsea Handler's hosting.  Because, honestly, Chelsea Handler has like three jokes (1. I'm a total alcoholic. 2. I'm kind of a slut. 3. Sometimes, I'm faux-racist.),  all of which become old quite rapidly.  I have to ask, though, do the kids like Chelsea Handler?  Because the kids I know do not, and that kind of makes me question her "youthful appeal".

Gags wore McQueen.  Another highlight.  Also, a meat dress (hey Vogue Hommes Japan cover!). 

Mostly, though, the VMAs were really quite dull.  Florence + the Machine performed "Dog Days are Over" in what was easily the best act of the evening, Rihanna popped up to bleet through that overdone Eminem song, Robyn was over on a side stage doing what seemed to be a lead into the commercial break, and they tried to play up last year's "imma let you finish" moment by pitting performances by Kanye West and Taylor Swift up against each other via tweet counts.  Oh yes, it was an epic battle.  Swift vs. West in a war for your sympathies and affections.  Swift played up the drama and the pretty, playing her new song "Innocent" and reminding us all once again that she flops big time as a live performer.  West took a different route with his new song.  He closed the VMAs with "Runaway", a song that managed to downplay his delusions of grandeur and up his self-aware, self-parodying potential.  With a no-frills set, West's song asked the audience to "have a toast for the douchebags...assholes...scumbags"  etc..  It was surprisingly humorous, and quite possibly the best career move West could have taken.  Swift, by comparison, came away looking unspeakably bland and sadly humorless.  In my opinion, Kanye won this round.  Of course, in my opinion, the last round was sort of a toss-up.  All I can say is that I was really happy this summer when Swift sort of dropped off my pop cultural radar.  If I have to choose between her saccharine pop-country and Katy Perry's abysmal sugar rush novelty pop, I would, I admit, rather have the latter...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spider-Man Musical. The First Look...

If you weren't already aware, the Spider-Man musical is coming to Broadway.  It's really happening.  The proof has arrived.  Subtitled the oh-so dramatic Turn Off the Dark, Julie Taymor's shiny new stage production features music from U2's Bono and The Edge, stars some lad named Reeve Carney as Peter Parker, and has loads of Taymor's trademark costuming. 

Today on Good Morning America, Carney popped over to offer the world a first taste of the musical's songbook.  It, well, it sounds like angsty U2 filtered through a semi-emo young man without purple sunglasses.  I'm not sure what to think of it, but I'd sure as hell rather watch this show than Green Day's American Idiot. 
While the plot includes the origin story, it launches itself in a slightly different direction from there.  Taymor promises timely environmentalism, with appearances and adapted variations of villains such as Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and the Sinister Six.  What else does she promise?  Dancing, flying,  and "cyber worlds".    Also, the above costumes.  Spikes much?

Are we pumped for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, or are we groaning?

[via /film]

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

Alright, so M. and I weren't exactly planning to run in and fill the gap left for televised movie criticism once At the Movies went off the air.  I mean, we would do it in a heartbeat, but our show would probably wind up being more along the lines of Wayne's World  (Pssst....IFC, MTV, whatever...give us a half hour and a wardrobe and we'll ramble your ears off).   Anyhow, for those bemoaning the battle of the critics late night on Saturdays or early on Sunday mornings; your problems are solved.   Roger Ebert is bringing back At the Movies, and this time: it's personal.  Ebert is stamping his name on this run, and while his health issues prevent him from getting in the hot seat personally, he has hand picked Christy Lemire of the Associated Press and Elvis Mitchell of National Public Radio as his successors.  There will also be a string of rotating commentators and co-hosts plucked from the worlds or print journalism and the blogosphere.

In the official statement posted to his blog, Ebert had this to say on the latest incarnation of At the Movies:
"I believe that by returning to its public roots, our new show will win better and more consistent time slots in more markets. American television is swamped by mindless gossip about celebrities, and I'm happy this show will continue to tell viewers honestly if the critics think a new movie is worth seeing." [Suntimes]
The copyrighted Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down will make their triumphant return when the show premieres nationally on WTTW Chicago in January 2011.

Novelty Treats: "More Official"

I forgot to tell you something that's really not important: you can now purchase more "official" looking Lady Gaga costumes on the Lady Gaga website.  Yep.  I'd call it a stroke of brilliant tie-in merchandising, but I'm really to busy placing bets on how many people will be sporting this blue "Poker Face Video Swimsuit" to care about the revenue this will inevitably rake in.  I'll be honest, however, when I pieced together my Gaga costume last year (yeah, yeah, I was one of millions) from weird crap in my closet and small accessories from Hot Topic and those Halloween pop-up stores, I would have found direct access to one stupid long blonde wig with bangs quite helpful.  Seriously.  The wigs, man, they're never quite right.  Of course, this one probably feels like knotted Barbie hair and has no movement...but it's closer to the shade I was looking for.  Now, I must begin to stress about what to be this year.  Not Gaga again, though it would be super easy... Wow.  This is boring.  Post over.

Felicity is no more...

American Girl is retiring ("archiving") the Felicity Merriman doll from their collection.  Felicity is the brand's Revolutionary era character and one of the last left standing from the line-up as it existed in my youth.  I don't know about you kids, but I can remember a time before the branding of American Girl became completely insane, when all I was conscious of was (at first) the books themselves.  Simpler times.  I'll admit, I quite enjoyed the books back in the day.  They were a fun way of accessing a larger history and seeing how things were for kids in times I could otherwise not quite fathom.  Samantha and Kirsten have already been retired. Molly, the 1940's character (and my personal favorite), is the only one left standing from the original gang of three.  I find this totally odd, actually, because Samantha always seemed to be the girl in favor.  I should add that I never had any of the dolls, because in my house, my parents had this TOTALLY CRAZY notion that $100 dolls were not worth it and that if it was something I really wanted, I'd do this thing called "saving my money".  Pfft.  Needless to say, in spite of all that flipping through the catalog, I guess I never wanted one that much.  The accessories, I think, were the real draw...little birthday cakes and dogs and such business.

Anyhow, there goes another part of my childhood.  So long, Felicity.  Soon, all the children will be left with are Monster High dolls...and with the joints on their knees, they'll be arthritic before long.

Seen & Heard: Solvent

To try and shake "I Seen Beyonce at Burger King" we must concentrate very closely on the cloud-headed peoples in Solvent's (aka Jason Amm's) video for "Loss for Words".  Somehow, this will work.  It has to, right?

Update: it doesn't.  But still, cloud-heads!

Seen & Heard: Cazwell

This is going to be stuck in my head all day. Thanks, Cazwell.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: The American

George Clooney, height of the A-List, meets director Anton Corbijn (who we love for his work on Ian Curtis biopic Control) and the result is moody, meditative thriller The American.  Though it boasts the Ocean's series' leading man and dominated at the box office this past weekend, The American owes less to your standard Bourne fare, more to Jim Jarmusch's Limits of Control, or, maybe the clockwork tensions of Blow-Up.  Corbijn has built a blockbuster out of an art house drama; the construction is flawless, but the payoff, for many, will be slightly less than rewarding...

RIP: Rich Cronin

Oh man, part of my teen years died today.  Rich Cronin, of "when I met you I said my name was Rich, you looked like a girl from Abercrombie & Fitch" fame with the boy band LFO, passed away today at age 35.  Cronin had been battling leukemia, which is assumed to be the cause of death.   LFO disbanded years ago after recording late 90's hits "Summer Girls" and "Girl on TV".   Though their career was fleeting, and their influence on pop music a mere ripple, I don't know many people in my generation who can't rap along to at least 40% of "Summer Girls".  Sad business. [source]

9-Year Olds, dude.

Things I did not know until today: 1. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have a daughter named Willow.  2. That daughter is 9-years old.  3.  Willow Smith has mad style for a 9-year old.  4. Willow Smith has recorded a song called "Whip My Hair"   5.  Willow Smith is out for Rihanna's blood.  6. Willow Smith will trounce Rihanna, and then you.

First things first.  This <-------- is Willow Smith.  She's a nine year old little girl.  She is sporting hair somewhere between Janelle Monae's and Rihanna's.  She has put combat boots on over leopard print harem pants.  She looks like she's going into some luxury mercenary business.  Things she also looks like: her father's daughter.  Like DJ Jazzy Jeff picked out her wardrobe circa 1992, and it was certifiably awesome.   You wish you could get away with this, but you cannot.  Why?  Because you are not a tough ass nine year old girl with millions of dollars in a trust fund somewhere.

Second: the song.  "Whip My Hair".  It might be autotuned here and there, but it's, amazingly, not bad.  It's especially not bad when you consider that it's performed by a nine year old.  Nine. Year. Old.  Who can apparently sing (at least better than bleating Rihanna) and has some serious, swaggering attitude.  This is a swagger song.  Haters be damned.  Nine year old haters, dude, F-off!  What is that what, people?  What is the what?  Places this song will get play: the radio, the clubs, on the Hello Kitty boomboxes of 7-year olds, on the playground, before you go out in the evening.  Rumor has it Willow is about to be snatched up by Jay-Z's Roc Nation.  Probably true. your back.  Willow is coming for you.

Cindy Sherman meets Nicholas Ghesquiere

Mmmmm. Balenciaga.  Mmmmm. Cindy Sherman.  Ok, so that last part sounds kind of weird.  The point is that I'm prone to coveting Balenciaga and snap to attention when I hear the name Nicholas Ghesquiere.  Also, Cindy Sherman was a game M. and I participated in in our college dorm like all the time.  Cindy Sherman is a bad ass photographer/performance artist.  Playing Cindy Sherman, for those who don't know the artist's work, involves dressing up like that which you are not and posing for untitled film stills.  It's a pretty good game.  Just not when it involves waiting for your roommate to dress herself up like a half modern geisha and then setting up the tripod in a foot of snow to snap pictures for half an hour.  

Anyway, Ghesquiere (the fashion house's creative director) is making an appearance in New York at Friday's Fashion's Night Out.  As part of the festivities, Cindy Sherman will be debuting her series of six photographs in head to toe Balenciaga (titled Cindy Sherman: Untitled (Balenciaga)) stateside.  [via New York Magazine]

I approve. I also still want those 2006 witchy boots.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt thinks you and he could start a bad romance...

This is a video of Joseph Gordon-Levitt performing his cover of "Bad Romance".  Why?  Because, smart ladies, he just wants you to want him more.  Also: it's a prerequisite in internet 101.  We could also call this "OMG, he plays guitar too?"   

I Don't Like It: Uwe Boll's Auschwitz (NSFW)

Alright, in the world of things I didn't know were happening and think should not happen, we have notorious "director" Uwe Boll's film Auschwitz.   Keep in mind, today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and today Boll apparently decided was a great time to drop this rather graphic trailer (seriously, NSFW if you'd like to continue not to appear deranged in the wandering eyes of your co-workers) for Auschwitz; which, it should be mentioned, has no listing on IMDB. 

Website Ninja Dixon posts a statement supposedly from Boll on his upcoming effort, which reads as follows:
“Its in the tradition of my movies stoic, darfur, rampage, tunnelrats, heart of america…it shows auschwitz as this what it was: a meatplant for humans…a death factory” [via Ninja Dixon]
Right. Ok. So, here's the thing...  Uwe Boll isn't known for subtlety, sentiment, or quality cinema.  He makes bad films.  So much so, in fact, that in cinema circles his name is often synonymous with crap cinema.  BloodRayne, Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead; those are his.  And, well, from the graphic trailer, you'd think Auschwitz were a Saw-type festival of torture porn.  The early glimpses certainly appear to capture horrifying aspects of the Holocaust, but seem to do so with about as much subtlety as a sledgehammer.

I don't want to pre-judge this film too much.  You never know.  My gut instinct, however, says that nothing about this will be done in good taste.  How the hell did he get the money to do this?  Who thought Rosh Hashanah was a good day to leak this treacherous bit of video?  Why is there no IMDB record of this production existing at all?  Is it possible that what we're looking at is not a teaser for Auschwitz at all, but actually a bait and switch prep for Boll's BloodRayne: The Third Reich?  Is this even real, or just some sort of cruel internet hoax?  I'm expecting the worst, and right now, I'm honestly pretty disturbed by the chance that someone could really have looked at the Holocaust and seen an opportunity for exploitative horror.  These kinds of horrors, the real kind, the ones that leave that sort of scar, shouldn't be used like that.  Nazis as villains is one thing....focusing solely on the crimes committed for cheap thrills, that's really another.  What do you think?  Is there any chance this could be worth a damn, or do first impressions really say it all?


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