12 items from 2011
The compulsion to see movies you have already been warned to avoid is the central wiring defect in the male moviegoer's psyche
My son and I always go to see action movies together, usually on the night they come out. This is partly because of a psychological imperative known as the Scarface Protocol, a powerful directive governing the relationship between fathers and sons, stipulating that all action movies must be seen, even if they star Jake Gyllenhaal. But it is also because there are never very many movies worth seeing in the first place, and even the worst action movie is going to be more entertaining than watching Adam Sandler.
Last week, my son was out of town with some friends who wanted to see a new action movie. I will not disclose the name of the film, because I do not want to spoil things for everyone else. I »
- Joe Queenan
Veteran Aussie filmmaker Bruce Beresford ("Driving Miss Daisy," "Mao's Last Dancer") has signed on to direct "Taliesin", a biopic about fabled American architect Frank Lloyd Wright says The Hollywood Reporter.
The title refers to the architect’s former home and studio in rural Spring Green, Wisconsin. The rambling hillside compound was the focus of scandal as Wright built it for himself and his married mistress Martha "Mamah" Cheney.
In 1914, while Wright was away, a domestic worker murdered Cheney, her two children and four others by locking them inside and setting fire to the building. Beresford says the story only covers a section of Wright's life and "doesn’t whitewash him into some sort of saint."
- Garth Franklin
"Love, and a bit with a dog. That's what they want." That, in Shakespeare in Love's eyes, was the infallible formula for popular success, as Australia has recently been finding out. A kelpie/cattle-dog cross has made big eyes at everyone and become the star of 2011's homegrown box-office sensation, Red Dog. Based on the Louis de Bernières novella and chronicling the real-life travels of a much-loved pooch through western Australia's Pilbara region in the 1970s, the film opened strongly on 11 August and continued building an audience on successive weekends. A four-legged fable has become a four-quadrant phenomenon: at the time of writing, it's taken A$13.7m ($14.4m), and was on the scent of the top 10 highest-grossing Australian films ever.
No one likes to kick a dog, »
- Phil Hoad
The Australian Cinematographers Society opened its photographic exhibit for world-renowned cinematographer Peter James Acs Asc last Friday. James is better known as the cinematographer behind critically-acclaimed and popular films such as as Driving Miss Daisy, Black Robe, Meet the Parents and Mao's Last Dancer..However, he is also a passionate stills photographer: his works have previously been exhibited in Sydney, Toronto and Los Angeles. The current Acs exhibit,.titled Man in the Landscape, includes images from his Lifesaver book, which was published in Australia and the USA, as well as black and white shots from a series also called Man in the Landscape. "This represents 20 years ..this black and white series," James said. "The lifesavers »
- Brendan Swift
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Jan Sardi has been elected president of the Australian Writers' Guild (Awg) following the end of Tim Pye's four-year term. Sardi, the screenwriter behind films such as Mao's Last Dancer and Shine,.has served on numerous Awg committees including recently as chair of its feature film committee and as an organiser of the National Screenwriters Conference. "I'm honoured to have been given this opportunity to represent our nation's storytellers as president of the Australian Writers' Guild, an organisation I've been a proud member of for thirty years," Sardi said in a statement. .Under Tim Pye's presidency, the Guild has grown to become one of our leading industry organisations and I look forward »
- Brendan Swift
This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s. The Green Hornet (Blu-ray available as single-disc and Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD Combo) The Green Hornet is a complete mess. Michel Gondry may be credited as its director, but it plays far more like a Seth Rogen comedy, with only occasional opportunities afforded to Gondry to inject his off-the-wall visual flourishes. Had Gondry and Rogen shared a more consistent overarching vision, the film might've been something special, but as it stands the story is too clumsy and shapeless to satisfyingly coalesce as a whole. And yet, I greatly enjoyed watching it. For all its faults, Rogen's self-aware spin on the superhero genre overcomes its lack of narrative momentum by never running out of amusing conceits to play »
- Adam Quigley
In 1981, ballet dancer Li Cunxin defected to the United States after a lifetime of training in the People’s Republic of China. Twenty-eight years later, his autobiography was adapted by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) and became one of the highest-grossing Australian films of all time...too bad it wasn’t a better movie.
Mired by stolid direction and unimaginative filmmaking, Mao’s Last Dancer emotionlessly spells out its themes and plots in such a way that even its occasional dips into melodrama fail to evoke the eye-rolls they deserve. Much of the film unfolds in flashback, detailing Li’s childhood in an unnamed village of northeastern China and his adolescent training in Beijing.
Played as a teenager by Australian Ballet dancer Chengwu Guo and an adult by Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Chi Cao, Li struggles with a lack of talent and must instead develop his skills through sheer »
Contest: Win Mao’s Last Dancer DVD
Today we're bringing you another contest, this time we have 3 copies of Mao's Last Dancer on DVD to giveaway. Experience the cultural phenomenon of one of the year’s most talked about independent films as Mao’S Last Dancer arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on May 3rd from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Thanks for reading We Got This Covered »
- Matt Joseph
Before the "Step Up" franchise went 3-D, dance shows dominated television and Zoe Saldana was a household name, "Center Stage" was a little movie with only Peter Gallagher's eyebrows as a recognizable feature. That was more than 10 years ago.
Now, of course, movin' and shakin' is becoming a major element of pop culture and Saldana is one of our favorite Hot People Looking Hot. But she's not the only star of that nouveau-cult classic heating up the big screen this summer.
We checked in with the now 32-year-old to find out what she's been up to for the past decade and if she and the erstwhile Eva Rodriguez (Saldana's "Center Stage" character, for the uninitiated) are still pals.
Do people often recognize you or call you Jody Sawyer? »
- Breanne L. Heldman
The biggest local film at the box office in 2009 . Mao's Last Dancer . has topped the local DVD sales chart in 2010. The film, which is based on the autobiography of Chinese-Australlian ballet dancer Li Cunxin, was the 20th overall best selling DVD in 2010 according to data from GfK Australia. James Cameron.s Avatar topped the overall list, followed by Twilight: New Moon and Up. Mao.s Last Dancer grossed more than $15.4 million at the Australian box office in 2009 and it now stands as the twelfth most successful local film of all time. A spokeswoman for Roadshow, which distributed the DVD, said it had sold more than 100,000 units including Blu-ray and standard DVD releases. .It was our third highest-selling DVD of 2010 (behind Sex and the »
- Brendan Swift
Director: Jesse Peretz
Summary: Ned is a well-meaning idealist just released from prison for dealing cannabis. In succession, he disrupts the lives and homes of his three sisters: a career-driven journalist about to get her big break; a bisexual hipster whose lies are disrupting her relationship; and a married mother who hasn't noticed that her marriage is falling apart.
Analysis: Scoring a good response over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival, this broad light comedy with a sweet heart charmed the pants off The Weinstein Company to the tune of around $6 million for distribution rights. That covers most of its sub-$10 million budget, a number that it could potentially outgross by several factors if the good-natured tone hinted at in the reviews were correct. If anything, the few negatives tended to be because this »
- Garth Franklin
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Buried Lionsgate is going the "single serve" route with Buried, offering it only in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack as I'm sure all studios are now hoping consumers begin adopting Blu-ray over DVD. I haven't yet rewatched this film, but I did enjoy it in the theater and wonder how it will play at home. I can only assume the best way is to turn the lights off completely and crank up the sound. However, I'm not sure if this is a film I want to return to. After all, who wants to watch a film about a guy trapped in a box multiple times? Animal Kingdom I have been meaning to rewatch this one for a while now. I wasn't as enamored with it my first time around as everyone else, but the more I thought about it »
- Brad Brevet
12 items from 2011