Jennifer Lawrence

REVIEWS: ‘American Hustle’ Shimmies to the Front of the Race

At of right now in this year’s astounding awards season, which I am hereby dubbing The Great Race, I don’t know whether 2013’s crop of superlative films is an anomaly or marks the dawn of a golden era of film. My feeling is what we are experiencing is the new normal. For those who don’t follow the trade press, quite a few of the elders of the insular tribe of filmmakers made speeches during the height of the recession a few years ago about necessary changes to the way we make films. They basically declared that the solution to our slump was simple:

Bradley Cooper Details Magazine

OSCARS 2013: ‘Promised Land’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ As a Duet of Americana

As we barrel towards the Oscar nominations on January 10, I wanted to get as many of these reviews and essays about the possible contenders out of the way, which is why I’m stacking these two together.  They also happen to be companion pieces in many respects: both figure American men in early middle age struggling with both internal and external issues; they are directed by indie stalwarts; both are macro examinations and celebrations of non-urban America, one rural the other suburban; they are love stories.  I’m sure I can build other flimsy bridges between them, but I’ll leave those four themes as reason enough for this twin review.

While trying to persuade a friend who wanted to see Les Misérables to see Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land instead, he asked, “What sort of a Van Sant film is it?”

“The Good Will Hunting/Milk kind,” I replied.  In other words, the more mainstream social-issues-driven variety, rather than Gus’ own private Idaho of pretty male teens and the trouble they get into, which is the sort of film he prefers making, but can’t make a living on.

The production back story with Promised Land is this was meant to be Matt Damon’s directorial debut, from a script he wrote with John Krasinski, based on a story by Dave Eggers.  Damon had to step down as director due to scheduling conflicts, and asked Gus to step in, which explains why the film has so little of the auteur director’s imprimatur on it.

Rent.  Ain’t it a bitch?

Jennifer Lawrence Norma Jean Roy Vogue

OSCARS: Dark Horses Kicking at the Gate

Ahhh.  The presidential race is finally over.  It’s a personal revelation that I called it pretty much right for the past eighteen months, right down to the soul-searching and repositioning the GOP will have to undergo to vie for a future in this increasingly liberal New America.  My only regret is I forgot to call it more precisely: That Obama would trounce Romney.  It’s not that I was demurring.  I simply forgot that detail in every post I wrote about the race.

It’s no wonder a former employer used to call me “fog.”  And then she fired me.

In what has to be the dumbest, most tortured headline Deadline has ever come up with, just before the election Pete Hammond declared, “With One Race Almost Over, Is A New Presidential Race Gearing Up For Oscars?”  If they weren’t so relevant and scoopy, I would have stopped reading Deadline long ago for the atrocious writing and occasional ninny-brained posts.

‘Hunger’ Strikes


by James Killough

The last time I went to a midnight screening of a movie was last century when David Lynch’s Dune opened.  I’d been a huge fan of the books since about twelve, so I had to get in line to see this.  But it wasn’t even a midnight screening, it was at midday, and the movie was such a mess that they had to tack an intro on the beginning and hand out a glossary of terms at the screening.

Unlike his fellow handsome hobbit, Tom Cruise, Hunger Games' Hutcherson has believable range of emotion and depth of performance.

This is not the case with The Hunger Games, which your faithful movie bitch caught last night at the Arclight Hollywood, where it was playing on all fourteen screens, plus the Cinerama Dome, and all were mostly sold out.  Still, I managed to get one of my favorite seats in the middle of the handicapped section so that I could not only stretch my legs out, I could cross them like a proper intellectual reviewer on a PBS program or something.