Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In Which Sucker Punch is Serious Business

So, I set out to write a standard review on Sucker Punch last week, only to find that I couldn't actually do just that any longer.  Instead, I've written a very long article on the film and public misconception, detailing why good vs. bad is of little consequence with this film in particular.  Check it out at my other site:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Arthur

It's been a very long time since I saw the Dudley Moore original, but what I remember about the 1981 Arthur is watching it as a teenager and pretty much not liking it much.  It must have been fairly forgettable, since my memory has blocked almost everything apart from recollection of it seeming patently, disappointingly unfunny.  With that in mind, I wasn't sure why studio execs decided the world needed a 2011 remake.  Of course, whether it was necessary or not: now we have one.  What's more?  While it may suffer from a case of pseudo-irrelevancy, I have to admit this new Arthur won me over...

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Trivial Pursuit: Earth Day/Good Friday Edition

Yay!  Earth Day!  Also, that other day. What's so 'good' about Good Friday, anyhow?  To seriously religious readers: that question was hypothetical.  I already got the answer from the internet, thank you very much.  Moving on...

Nicholas Cage was arrested in New Orleans on charges of domestic violence and disturbing the peace last Saturday morning.  He was reportedly “very drunk” when a couple cops claimed to see him pushing his wife, Alice Kim, during an argument on the street.  When the officers told Cage to go home, he allegedly dared them to arrest him.  Kim claims he didn’t touch her, and cops say Cage wasn’t even in a cell, but just left to sit and sober up in the station.   [source]

RIP: Restrepo director and photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed on assignment in Libya this past Wednesday.  [source]

RIP: TV on the Radio bassist Gerard Smith passed away on April 20th.  He had been battling lung cancer.  [source]

Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer for her novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. I have found that though I read this book last summer I can’t remember exactly what happened, and have been subbing details from Nick Hornby’s tepid Juliet, Naked in for filler. I don’t know why this is. Apparently they’re similar in my head…

People Magazine reported this week that troubled Disney girl Demi Lovato has not only been suffering with anorexia, bulimia, and issues with self-mutilation, but with bipolar disorder as well. Lovato was recently released from a three month stay at a treatment center. [via People]

Meanwhile, Catherine Zeta Jones is also bipolar.  [Source]
Emma Watson (Hermione Granger to the general public) is temporarily putting her college career at Brown University on hold. She states it’s a matter of acting commitments, but there is speculation her departure is the result of frequent teasing on campus. The Daily Mail reports that Watson’s attempts at in-class participation were met with comments like “three points for Gryffindor!” [source]
Cult BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous may be returning to television screens. [source]

That "Jenna’s gas-induced hysterical pregnancy" subplot on last night’s episode? Not totally fiction. 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski gave birth to a son on Wednesday, her first.

Evan Rachel Wood announced she was bisexual and apparently this was news. This is strange because I thought Evan Rachel Wood had basically made this clear like a long long time ago, but I have no actual evidence to support why I would think this…

Lady Gaga unveiled her single “Judas” and the supposed cover art for her album Born This Way. I’m choosing not to believe that that’s the cover art for the album because that shit is terrible. Like, really? Look at that font. Also, I don’t know what the image has to do with anything. This crap is, for me, pretty much the most shocking thing she could have done. Dreck.

Weird Al took to the internet to post his “Born This Way” parody after it was supposedly nixed by Gaga.  Not too long after, Gaga’s camp claimed the artist herself never even heard the work and that it was her manager who barred it.  Gaga is said to approve.  Though, the press was so bad she’d have had to whatever the case may be…[source]

Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley may actually be living the real life version of those movies they tend to appear in.  It’s absurd.  [source]

The “world’s first” 3D erotic/porn film (though it features no penetration) Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy obliterated box office records in its first day of release in Hong Kong.  It topped Avatar.  That’s all.  [source]

James Franco is reportedly seeking another PhD at University of Houston in Creative Writing.   Alright.  This is enough already.  Newsflash, James Franco: these schools only let a few people into these programs every year.  Each time you decide to casually pick up another degree, you’re depriving someone who is actually trying to make a name for themselves in that field of their education.  You’ve already got enough careers for several lifetimes. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: Win Win

Win Win is aptly titled, this much is true.  It's name carries no punny irony, but instead, as if prophesied, it succeeds on two fronts:  it's a charming familial dramedy as well as an alarmingly engaging high school sports flick.  Paul Giamatti leads a cast of of familiar faces (Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Melanie Lynskey, and Jeffrey Tambor) through a quirkier, slice of life, grungier version of The Blind Side.  Except, you know, where The Blind Side is true, Win Win actually feels true instead of feeling like a fairy tale...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Source Code

Source Code has been out for a few weeks now.  My review, then, is late to the little Groundhog Day high tea that surrounded its release.  No matter.  Here in Chicago, it actually snowed yesterday.  This was disappointing for everyone, I think, as such an occurrence tends to be.  We dealt with it, but for some reason (I'll be honest) it took a lot out of me.  I'm dead tired, a couple posts behind, and Source Code has already been praised quite enough.  Too much, maybe.  Anyway, Source Code is partially set in Chicago.  With the weather now, the sunshine on film appears to be some sort of otherworld, fictional Chicago.  It's maps and grids are foreign, the Metra has been rechristened, and it's a Chicago in which one resident seems to believe that bringing another resident to visit Millennium Park's mirrored Cloud Gate ("The Bean") sculpture is a novel concept, not at all touristy, and something they'd be certain not to have seen before.  Funny...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Trailer: Beginners

How great does Beginners look?  Really great, if you ask me.  Ewan McGregor (who I will probably be in love with again after this movie), Christopher Plummer, and Melanie Laurent star in Mike Mills' (Thumbsucker) dramedy about a son coping with major changes in his father's life.  Beginners is slated for release stateside on June 3rd, to battle it out against X-Men: First Class or -- it's more likely limited release blood brother -- Submarine.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Review: Hanna

In the days since I saw Hanna, I've been trying to figure out exactly where it is the film falls. It's harder than appearances (and first impressions) might suggest.  On the one hand, it's quite obvious that Hanna is a slick little chase thriller.  In some ways, when casually juxtaposed against your typical running, jumping, shooting, killing actioners, Hanna seems to possess a definite poise; an indie sensibility over concerned with gritty artistry and a touch of realistic character development.  This is, of course, at the same time that Hanna is a variation on the norm.  Killer kid, genetic manipulation, ice cold government agents, loose plots, and a fair amount of choreographed fight scenes: nothing you haven't seen before.  When you get right down to it, the film's joy is derived from a very base, guilty pleasure place.  A place where it doesn't matter whether the story holds up if the body count keeps rising, the jokes are well timed, and the adrenaline never ceases its flow.  Is Hanna a guilty pleasure?  In some ways.  But...

                                                                    finish this review @

Saturday, April 9, 2011

RIP: Sidney Lumet

Director Sidney Lumet, the man behind classic films such as Network, 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, and Serpico, passed away this morning in his New York home.  He was 86 years old.  It is reported that the cause was lymphoma.

With rare exception (The Wiz, for example) Lumet's work was the sort that seemed to arise naturally from his surroundings.  He was a New York director who frequently used the city as a character backdrop tales of crime, corruption, and social justice.

In 2007, at age 83, Lumet experienced a comeback of sort in the wake of releasing the critically lauded Before the Devil Knows Your Dead.  NYT critic Manhola Dargis once referred to the director as "one of the last great movie moralists," [via New York Times] and while the sum of his films is certainly more than that, it's a statement that rings true.

The Trivial Pursuit: April 8th Edition

Guys, I'm swamped. That's the long and short of it. I've got no excuses for my Pop Candy leave of absence (with occasional drop ins for things like Melancholia) other than, well, things are just busy, and when your IRL job involves a lot of reading and writing, your self-imposed internet job just comes second. This doesn't mean we're done.  No, no, I expect to be up and running full force by early May.  It just means that I'm at a juncture where life won't even give me a spare couple hours to tune out and watch mindless stylized Sucker Punch action.  One day, one day.  So, I'm not breaking up with the internet; our relationship is too meaningful.  I just can't always be bothered with the trivialities I generally love. 

After a couple weeks of white noise, however, I have trudged through the million objects on my Google Reader and will now attempt to spit back the silly gossip you've successfully lived without.

Oh, in the meantime, I have been using Twitter as my blogging methadone.  If you aren't already, you should follow me (and M.)  @LoveSqualorBlog.  

Gwyneth Paltrow, former actress turned hyphenate annoyance, is releasing a cookbook entitled My Father's Daughter.  Within its pages you will find writing apparently so absurdly entitled, it seems as though Paltrow is already parodying herself.  Eater has pulled a sampling of the best/worst sentences including:

           "I basically love anything that comes in a hot dog bun... except hot dogs"
           "One cold wintry day in London, I was dreaming about salad nicoise—one of my favorites."
            and "One evening when I had my wood-burning stove going I realized I hadn't thought of dessert."
That's how it's done, rich ladies.  That's how you write a vanity project about your cookery. [via Eater]

Lady Gaga's creative director was interviewed by MTV, where she revealed some tidbits about the upcoming single "Judas" and its video.  Supposedly, Gaga will be stepping into the role of Mary Magdalene, but the real shock is not expected to be one of religious controversy (though, I mean, come on, there totally will be and I'm majorly pumped about it.  PLEASE COME OUT BEFORE EASTER. That family gathering could be HILARIOUS.), but we can expect to be shocked "to find out how huge and really groundbreaking the message is and how freeing the message is for all the right reasons"  [via MTV].  I'll be shocked if Gaga goes Christian rock.  That's the only way.

Tina Fey is pregnant with her second child.  Like, 5 months pregnant and no one knew until now.  For those wondering: supposedly the current season of 30 Rock has wrapped filming and the pregnancy will not be awkwardly incorporated into Liz Lemon's storyline.  On a similar note:  Alec Baldwin randomly mentioned that there is a chance 30 Rock may be ending in 2012.  [via People]

Blockbuster, Inc. went up for auction this week and was bought out by Dish Network.  Dish supposedly hopes to use the established Blockbuster name to seriously amp up their offerings and make them into a power player able to truly rival Netflix. [source]

Glenn Beck is leaving his show on the Fox News Network.  While this probably means he's cooking up something bigger and more obnoxious, for now I'm pretty sure we should all do a happy dance.  I mean, sheesh, that dude is annoying.  Have you watched that shit?  It's like sitting down in front of a talking wartime propaganda poster.  Before anyone freaks out at me: I'm not even talking about his politics.  It's his delivery... [source]

Perez Hilton is publishing a children's book entitled The Boy with Pink Hair which supposedly preaches the acceptance of other people's differences.  This is funny, as his blog is a vaccuum in which he contributes to female body perception issues, draws dicks jizzing at the faces of those he doesn't agree with, and harasses underage celebrities.  Um, seriously publishing world?  [via Galleycat]

Reese Witherspoon sneakily got married to CAA agent Jim Toth a couple weeks ago.  All the tabloids kicked themselves. [source]

Juno Temple (Kaboom, St. Trinian's, Atonement) was reportedly cast in The Dark Knight Rises.  It's expected she'll be assuming the role of Catwoman sidekick and streetwise teen prostitute Holly Robinson.  [source]

RIP: First female vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro died in late March at age 75 from complications with blood cancer.  [source]

Friday, April 8, 2011

Trailer: Melancholia

Melancholia from Zentropa on Vimeo.

The trailer for Lars Von Trier's Melancholia has finally arrived, and I'm officially even more excited about it.  The visual effects, the dramatics, the integration of sci-fi elements into what otherwise appears to be a familial drama, the cinematography, and the cast all point towards something a little less controversial than Antichrist while retaining all the beauty of Von Trier's last go.  No word yet as to when this little film will find its US release, but it's expected to be added to the lineup at Cannes next month.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Novelty Treat: When Harry met....Sharon?

Billy Crystal and Helen Mirren get together for this ridiculously awesome, dead-on parody on Funny or Die. It's the sequel to When Harry Met Sally you didn't know you wanted to see, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if Mirren does anything even half as good as this during her hosting stint on Saturday Night Live this weekend, it'll probably be the best episode of the season.


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