Buried among this week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases is a movie that, by the looks of it, was supposed to be one of the summer’s big hits: Blended, the third onscreen teaming of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Their first film, 1998’s The Wedding Singer, reshaped Sandler into a romantic lead and got him less-vicious-than-usual reviews, while grossing $80 million domestic; its follow-up, 2004’s 50 First Dates, did $120 million. But stars can fall over a decade, and Sandler and Barrymore’s big reunion was a big disappointment, only pulling $46 million total (barely more than First Dates’ first weekend). In other words, lightning doesn’t always strike twice, and for every Hope and Crosby or Redford and Newman, there are plenty of cinematic reunions that didn’t quite pan out. … Read More
Let’s take a pop quiz. Please select the stupidest human being from the following three choices:
a) a famous actor who, when pulled over while intoxicated, goes off on a bizarre rant about Jewish people.
b) a famous actor who, when harassed by paparazzi, spews a homophobic slur.
c) a famous actor who, in the calm of an interview situation, looks into the eyes of a journalist, points his mouth in the direction of a tape recorder, and defends actors a) and b) as victims of “political correctness” and a culture where “no one can take a joke anymore.” … Read More
The 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival drew to a close in New York City last night, ending 12 days of non-stop movies across the city. Your film editor has always had a soft spot for this festival, and not just because it’s the first one I ever covered as a green and naïve Internet Film Writer; it is, after all, a hometown event, and if the young fest is still figuring out its place among a very crowded field, throwing all kinds of movies — some brilliant, some daring, some bland, some just plain bad — at the screen to see what sticks, it’s anything-goes spirit can also result in some wonderful movie-going experiences. I was lucky enough to peek at some of the best of this year’s films beforehand; here are a few more to seek out (or avoid) in the months to come. … Read More
Sunday afternoon’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere of the new documentary Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank was… Read More
The perceived success of Oscar night hinges on many factors — how dull the speeches are, how interminable the musical numbers are, whether Debbie Allen is involved, etc. — but no element, it seems, is more important than the host. A good Oscar host has to be something of a miracle worker: they keep the show moving, react spontaneously to whatever clusterfucks occur (and they always do), rib the royalty but only gently, and make the night edgy enough for home viewers, but not too edgy for the Cryptkeepers in the audience. Many have tried, but only a few have succeeded, so in anticipation of Ellen Degeneres’ second run at the job, we’ve ranked every Oscar host from the last 25 ceremonies (save 1989, which had no host). … Read More
Greta Garbo is famously associated with a line she delivered in the 1932 drama Grand Hotel: “I want to be alone.” When she retired from Hollywood just a few years later, she embraced that sentiment in her private life: she refused to do interviews, she did not sign autographs, she did not answer fan mail. She eschewed the trappings of celebrity, but did so with a grace that is so rarely seen in celebrities of any kind. She didn’t make a big deal out of it, because doing so would only attract the attention she didn’t want in the first place. She most certainly would never have publicly announced her retirement from public life in a nearly 5,000-word statement to a magazine. Yet that’s what Alec Baldwin has done in this week’s New York magazine. He’s finished with public life, and he’s here, publicly, to tell you all about it. … Read More
Elaine Stritch might be Broadway’s greatest living legend. At 89 years old, the star has appeared on international stages in classic productions of Company, Bus Stop, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and Mame, as well as a popping up in acclaimed performances in Woody Allen’s September and as Jack Donaghy’s mother on 30 Rock (a role for which she won an Emmy). Today sees the release of a documentary about her long, storied career called Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me. A loving and touching portrait of the actor as she looks back at her life’s work and prepares to retire to her hometown of Detroit, the film features interviews from frequent collaborators and friends such as Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, John Turturro, and the late James Gandolfini. To celebrate the release, here’s a look back at some of the best moments from her versatile career on stage and screen. … Read More
The new year rages on, but the pickings at the multiplex remain mighty slim: a Robocop remake that no one asked for, an Endless Love remake that no one asked for, a big-money Pompeii epic, a love-through-time story that somehow doesn’t star Rachel McAdams, and a Liam Neeson vehicle whose generic title (Non-Stop) may have taken an entire minute to think up. But, as usual, we need not despair: we’ve got a diverse slate of indies, documentaries, and foreign films that will send you to the art house (or, more likely, the on-demand channel) this chilly month. … Read More