Now that we’ve gotten war off our TV screens, we can put it
back where it belongs, in movie theaters. Because it looks like the war movie
is back, repackaged and marketed anew, just like the war we used to see on TV.
So observes “The Hollywood Reporter” after taking a look at the upcoming films
now being showcased at the Toronto Film Festival.
Who says movies don’t offer a window into the truth, a mirror of
the zeitgeist? The titles, anyway. A tip of the hat to the people at Mudflats.com, a site dedicated to “tiptoeing through the muck of Alaskan politics,” for this
update on what’s playing at the local movie house in Wasilla, Alaska, Republican
Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s hometown.
So Barack Obama has been nominated as the Democratic
candidate for president, which inevitably raises the question -- is he the
Antichrist? The McCain people have been sort of suggesting that with their “The
though they didn’t come right out and
admit it when David Whittenberg, a blogger for the
“Washington Post,” confronted McCain spokesperson Brian Rogers about it.
Never one to pass up a chance both to kiss a celebrity’s ass and
show off my feigned erudition, I wasted no time in discussing Coogan’s role in
Michael Winterbottom’s “A Cock and Bull Story,” an
adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s bizarro18th century novel “Tristram Shandy” in
which Coogan played himself as an actor in a film within the film that also is
adapting “Tristram Shandy.
Before we get back to Mr. Coogan, I think I should follow up on a
posting a few days ago about the “2008 Brandcameos Product Placement Award,” which this year, for the first time, are being selected in part by popular vote.
Well, the results are in. And though the motion picture industry pretty much pales in promotional
and advertising significance before, say, the Olympics, I think it’s important to keep up with the latest developments.
Steve Coogan has starred in two of the best movies of the century (“24
Hour Party People” and “Tristram Shandy,” both by Michael Winterbottom), he's one
of the most popular TV personalities in Britain (Alan Partridge? Tommy
Saxondale? No? I didn’t think so.) and is one of the funniest and most
inventive comic minds from over there since Monty Python.
“Stupid is,” a great though imaginary person once said, “as
However it does for “Tropic Thunder” (and its opening weekend
million to beat out “The Dark Knight” for top spot, suggest it is playing
pretty well), going the “full retard” doesn’t seem a liability when it comes to
running for President.
Long conceded by conservatives to being an inveterate nest of Liberals, Hollywood may be taking a rightward turn.
Such is the hope expressed by “The National Review”
in their story about the production of David Zucker’s (late of the team that turned
out such funny movies as “HotShots, Part Deux” and the Naked Gun series)
political satire, “An American Carol.
For six months, long after the film crept into box office
oblivion, a Hindu group has been sending me and I guess everyone else who
writes about movies a manifesto condemning Mike Myers's "The Love Guru," demanding it be banned or
censored, asking for an apology, or all of the above. I don’t know whether they
saw the film, but I didn’t, so I’ll say no more except I think that kind of action
serves only to get publicity, if not for the film itself than for the group
making the complaints.
favorable ratings are down for the count, President Bush and those who still
support him have faith that history will ultimately vindicate his
administration. Since these days History is written by Hollywood
movies, that process may have already begun.
brouhaha over “The Dark Knight,” which not only may be the most commercially
successful film of all time but is the one taken most seriously by political
the Brandchannel people are about to present their annual awards
for product polacement
achievements in film, but this year they are including the poor schmucks who
pay $10 to be unwittingly subjected to this insidious advertising in the award process. But you have
to act fast! Voting ends today!
So you toss
the word “misogynist” around the hip young director and his ingenue star and
everyone gets bent out of shape. I mean, of the three women in “The Wackness,”
one (Stephanie played by Olivia Thirlby) is a cold-hearted, selfish and
hedonistic bitch, her mother, played by Famke Jannsen, is a cold-hearted,
joyless shrew, a chick named unity played by Mart-Kate Olsen is a drug addled
Park Avenue ditz and the hero’s mother is a nag.
Say what you
will about the films of Judd Apatow, but “Knocked Up,” “Superbad” and the rest
have inspired one worthy trend in Hollywood
movies: dope smoking. Not only is it prominent in the upcoming Apatow movie,
“Pineapple Express” (the title refers to a lethal blend of cannabis) directed
by David Gordon Green, but also in “The Wackness,” JonathanLevine's vaguely-memoiristic tragi-comedy of being an 18-year-old dope dealer
hopelessly in love with a seemingly unattainable woman in New York City in
For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the greatest movie of all
THE DARK KNIGHT
Already fans are declaring “The Dark Knight” the best film of all
time. Well, I’m not even sure it was the best film released last week. True, so
much hype and near unanimous critical raves can set one up for disappointment.
fellow "Phoenix" film critic Brett Michel for being one of the few ( Dave Kehr makes similar observations in his blog) to recognize the
resemblance between Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight” and Andy
Robinson’s antic, anarchistic Scorpio in “Dirty Harry” (1971). Physical and
stylistic similarities aside, they are basically the same in being domestic
terrorists, sado-masochistic nihilists willing to kill the guilty and innocent
alike in order to overthrow the status quo.