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Frankly My Dear...

    Frankly My Dear...

    Movie Preview: Mirror Mirror

    Posted: 16 Nov 2011 04:52 AM PST

    I am glad,at least, that the competing versions of “Snow White”that are coming out a few months apart in 2012will be so different in tone.

    Where “Snow White and the Huntsman” is fashionably dark and sinister, with Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen and Kristen Stewart as an armored Snow White, Tarsem Singh’s “Mirror Mirror” goes for wacky.

    Julia Roberts and Nathan Lane? Funny. Armie Hammer as the prince? Cute. Dwarves doing “Scarface” lines? Over the top. Looks more kid-friendly and colorful and funnier. For sure funnier.

    How big will’Breaking Dawn’ open?

    Posted: 16 Nov 2011 04:44 AM PST is suggesting that Summit expects “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” which most critics see tonight (some have seen it already) and which opens at midnight Thursday, to open in the $125 million range, and that its competition expects the vampire flick to suck up upwards of $145 million.

    I heard from Harry Medved over at Fandango,who was tossing out a 2500 sold out shows figure as of Monday (it could be over 3000 now).

    The Twilight Saga: New Moon”opened at$142 million. This one may not top that, but it could be close.

    Has interest in the franchise waned? Or is the sex/baby pull of this installment so great that no teenage girl or her romance novel-addict mom will be able to resist?

    ‘Akira’ update — Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund in the leads?

    Posted: 16 Nov 2011 03:50 AM PST

    With “Tron” star Garrett Hedlund already lined up for one of the leads — Kaneda, who will help Warners get “Akira” out of the gate with young viewer star power?

    Kristen Stewart? The Hollywood Reporter says she’s been offered the role of Ky Reed in the live action adaptation of the manga-anime phenomenon.

    This thing has been kicking around so longand in so many incarnations that merely checking IMDb is no help (incorrect rumors mixed in with a real “current” director –”Orphan” director Jaume Collet-Serra. Warners is not putting much oomph behind the camera, so spending on starsmakessense.Stewart’s already chased her “Twilight” blues with a Snow white adaptation. She used to be indie film girl. Is she now franchise lady?

    Will Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter turn up in it,or are those mere fan fantasy casting wishes?

    UCF Student Films showcased Friday night — free, downtown

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011 10:54 AM PST

    Here’s the poster to this fall’s student film showcase from UCF’s school of film.

    Come out and see who the next “Blair Witch” creator might be. There’s no basketball games downtown, so there’s plenty of free parking.

    The art of the opening titles sequence — a tribute to Saul Bass

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011 10:00 AM PST

    Yeah, he worked with Hitchcock so often that Saul Bass was inclined to take more credit than he should have for, say, the shower sequence in “Psycho.”

    He liked neon and geometric shapes and cut-out figures and extreme close-ups. He did “Grand Prix” and “Goodfellas,” “North by Northwest” and “Big,” “Spartacus” and “Cape Fear.”

    Check out this well-cut tribute to the work of Saul Bass.

    Movie Review: The Skin I Live In

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011 07:27 AM PST

    An artist, the old saying goes, is someone who pound the same nails, over and over again.

    For the great Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, those nails include the boundaries of sexual identity and sexual perversion, and his “mommy issues.” All are touched on and one gets quite the going over in “The Skin I Live In,” a rare unpleasant evening at the movies from the director of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down.” It’s as disquieting as it is unsatisfying, a slog through gender issues, surgery and violence — sexual and otherwise.

    Antonio Banderas plays a brilliant plastic surgeon and scientist with “issues” all his own. He has developed a way of growing artificial skin that threatens to cross the lines of medical ethics. But in his suburban Toledo mansion, he has his own lab where he can experiment far away from the prying eyes of his peers. That’s where he keeps his greatest creation, Vera (Elena Anaya) under what resembles house arrest. There appears to be an intense attraction between them. No, he’s not at home when his thuggish half-brother drops by and rapes her. But the attraction is discomfitingly still there in Almodovar’s world.

    In a long flashback, Almodovar, adapting a Thierry Jonquet novel, tells us the Gothic story of how this bizarre situation came to be, of the tragedies in the doctor’s past, the first time he crossed paths with Vera. It’s a real eye-roller of a personal history.

    In the present, Vera flirts with the doctor with “I’m made to measure for you,” while the housekeeper (Marisa Paredes) casts dark warnings — “If you don’t kill her, she will kill herself.”

    It’s a film of crime and punishment, guilt and madness. And it’s all just a bit much, even for a director who gained his name through perverse excesses and sexually off-putting juxtapositions. Blood and death and sex and surgery aren’t meant to be titillating when run through a blender together, though that seems to be Almodovar’s challenge. Watch these two beautiful actors , with the stunning Anaya often filmed in see-how-perfect-she-is close-ups, and try not to root them into bed together.  Since we guess, fairly early on, why that’s not a good idea, “Skin I Live In” plays like a prolonged wallow in revulsion, a movie that has us thinking “Ewwwwwwww” no matter what the subtitles translate on the screen.

    Yes, he’s still pounding the same nails he always has. But “Skin” makes it seem that the nail Almodovar is most intently  pounding here is the confused and put-off filmgoer.

    MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content including sexual assault, strong sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and language

    Cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marsia Paredes

    Credits: Written and directed by Pedro Almodovar, adapted from the novel by Thierry Jonquet. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Running time: 1:57

    Movie Preview: Being Flynn

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011 08:14 AM PST

    Here’s an arresting trailer for a film about a young aspiring novelist (Paul Dano) writing and volunteering among the homeless in search of –literally and literarily — for his father (Robert DeNiro).

    Lili Taylor and Julianne Moore also star in “Being Flynn,” with that cute Olivia Thirlby as Dano’s character’s love interest. It’s based on Nick Flynn’s memoir and was directed by Paul Weitz, who has had an indifferent career since “About a Boy” — a character study that flopped, a satire that flopped, and a potential kiddie franchise (“Curque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”) which was stillborn.
    Look for “Being Flynn” in the late winter (early 2012).

    Movie Review: Like Crazy

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011 06:35 AM PST

    The movies don’t do romantic longing very well any more. It’s trickier than it was in the old “An Affair to Remember” days, when love on the big screen had patience.

    But Felicity Jones will break your heart at least once in “Like Crazy.” As Anna, she knows the affair she started as a British college student studying in Los Angeles is doomed, by distance and by the times.

    It was impulsive of her to write a long letter confessing her interest in the shy teaching assistant Jacob (Anton Yelchin) as their college careers ended. It was impulsive of her to overstay her student visa just to be with him. And it’s an unfiltered impulse that makes her call him, her voice cracking, after they’ve agreed to be practical and go their separate ways in separate countries.

    “It just doesn’t feel that this thing is going to go away. We should be with each other.

    And maybe we agree with Anna, as persuasive as she can be. Or maybe we’re like Jacob – moved by her, devoted to her, but pragmatic enough to realize that at their age and in this age, merely loving somebody “like crazy” won’t be enough.

    “Like Crazy” is writer-director Drake Doremus’s take on modern long-distance romance, with its many new obstacles in addition to the classic ones that generations have dealt with. Many a lover facing the prospect of a long distance affair has been moved to quote John Donne’s poem, “A Valediction: forbidding mourning,” in which he scoffs at couples who can’t handle separation, and compares his two lovers to points of a drawing compass — extended, but connected, even when they’re apart.

    But Donne was writing hundreds of years before sexting, easy hook-ups and two-career couples. And all those work against Anna and Jacob in “Like Crazy.” They share the blush of youth, of seriousness about their respective art forms — she’s a writer, he’s a furniture designer — and a love of Paul Simon’s classic “Graceland” album.

    But they’re from two different sides of the planet. And when she makes that fateful decision to overstay that visa, the obstacles pile up on this couple we’re meant to root for, through thick and thin.

    Doremus (“Spooner”) has written a quiet film  — thin on dialogue, but filled with meaningful silences. An “I love you” is left hanging in the air, jealousy is in the open even if the arguments it causes are never closed. We glimpse the couple through a distant diner window, or spy them through trees in an English park.  We don’t see them in the throes of sexual passion, though we do see them with other partners.

    Yelchin (the new Mr. Chekov in the “Star Trek” franchise), the occasional tear notwithstanding, seems as distant as some of those beautifully framed shots. Jacob and Anna are equally feckless when it comes to fidelity (He takes up with Jennifer Lawrence of “Winter’s Bone,” she with Charlie Bewley from “The Twilight Saga”).   But Yelchin doesn’t generate the same warmth or passion that Jones does. That is partly by design, as this whole affair was her idea, after all.

    And it is a design flaw. “Like Crazy,” despite being bathed in the warm glow of young love, only rarely earns a tear, only occasionally insists that we shout “Hang the practicality! You kids HAVE to be together!”

    In it’s own way, that’s a good thing, a worthy message to impart to young people new to that first great love. But then, getting the under-25s to go to a romance that’s not a romantic comedy isn’t as easy as it was when “An Affair to Remember,” or even “Sleepless in Seattle,” were new to cinemas.

    MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language.

    Cast: Felicity Jones, Anton YElchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Alex Kingston

    Credits: Written and directed by Drake Doremus, a Paramount Vantage release. Running time: 1:30.

    ‘Pirahna 3DD’ yanked off 11-23

    Posted: 15 Nov 2011 06:35 AM PST

    That crowded pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday didn’t look like the best spot to park a spoofy-goofy-gross “Piranha” sequel.

    But as counter-programming to “Hugo,” “Arthur Christmas,” “The Muppets, “the Descendants” and “My Week With Marilyn”? Maybe not the worst idea.

    Unless there are NO 3D screens available.

    Which there aren’t.

    So “Piranha 3DD” has been pulled from the release schedule for that date. As of this AM.