Well hello! And welcome to the second installment of The AE Movie Club, the best-looking gathering of film geeks since Timothy Olyphant squared off against Sarah Michelle Gellar in Scream 2.
First off, I’m SO EXCITED by the response to last week’s premiere column – it was wonderful to hear everyone’s thoughts, opinions and tips on movies new and old. If you chimed in with a comment, keep your peepers peeled this week because I’m giving a few shout-outs along the way.
This week’s big movie news was of course the Oscar nominations, so we’ll start off with some Reviewlets of the nominated films. I’ll direct you to some fun fan poster art, serve up some reheated beefcake courtesy of Jason Beghe (with an assist by Stanley Tucci), and ask you to join me once again in the Movie Confessional for another round of cinematic shame. There’s a We Need to Talk About Kevin Limerick Review, the week’s best new poster and trailer, and lots more.
So, without further ado, 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …START!
NOM NOM NOM
Okay, so the big news of the week is that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (with the help of Katniss Everdeen herself, Jennifer Lawrence) announced the nominees for the 84th Academy Awards on Tuesday morning. The Academy ended up going with a round nine contenders (?) for Best Picture, and other than the “Well in’t that nice!” surprise nods to Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) for Best Supporting Actress, Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Gay Spy) and Demian Bichir (A Better Life) for Best Actor, and Nick Nolte (Warrior) and Jonah Hill (Monkeyballs Moneyball) for Best Supporting Actor, it was pretty much a shrugfest all around.
We’ve already made predictions about the noms and winners and kvetched about the great performances and films that were snubbed, so this week I thought I’d dedicate this week’s Oscar segment to posting videos of The Artist Best Actor nominee (and Golden Globe champ) Jean Dujardin dancing funny.
Sure, by now we all know he can do this:
But did you know he can also do THIS?
Courtesy of our pals at BestWeekEver
Apparently the above clip is from a TV show called Un Gars, Une Fille. I don’t speak French, but from what I can tell the show was an extended commercial for low-fat yogurt that still tastes every bit as delicious as your favorite desserts. If ever a foreign show needed a US remake, this would be it.
Since a lot has been said about the major Oscar categories, I thought I’d focus this week’s Reviewlets on my favorite contenders in the Screenplay categories.
Margin Call – Best Original Screenplay
I’m beyond jazzed that this sharp, tight, and smart little movie got recognized for its screenplay, which somehow managed to accuse both no one and everyone for the mortgage hissyfit of 2008. By humanizing the men and women that made the awful decisions that led to the sell-off of our economy, Call managed to avoid becoming just another puffed-up financial thriller about old guys in ugly, overpriced suits delivering monologs about their money. The movie itself was wonderfully tidy and economical, but everything in it was messy, confused and ambiguous – just like it probably was for the people who eventually pulled the trigger. I loved it, and I hope it wins.
The Descendants – Best Adapted Screenplay
Gotta be honest – I really liked this movie. It was bleak and beautiful, and walked the line between tragic and ridiculous beautifully (and I’m not just talking about the casting of Matthew Lillard). Do I think that it deserves to win Best Picture? No. But I wouldn’t have a problem with it taking the Adapted Screenplay prize, if only because it would mean that we would get to see this guy take the stage:
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominee Jim Rash (seen here on Community)
Trailer Park: Chronicle
By now you’ve likely seen at least one of the 2,392 different brief TV spots for the upcoming Cloverfield sequel found-footage superhero thriller Chronicle. But lots of us haven’t seen the full trailer. Here you go:
So it’s about a kid that touches a meteor and all of a sudden he looks like a young Leonardo DiCaprio? Cool, I’m in.
It Came from Instant Queue: Burn Witch Burn (1962)
This wonderfully wicked witchcraft-in-the-suburbs mystery is one of those films that likely would have vanished completely were it not for services like Instant Queue, which is basically the streaming equivalent of a mom-and-pop video store in Cincinnati that also sells homemade jerky and roofing tile. Thank heaven, because this clever and proudly weird supernatural drama (aka Night of the Eagle) is a heck of a lot of fun.
Starring Peter Wyngarde as a professor in a snooty University town and Janet Blair as his devoted wife who secretly falls back into old conjuring habits in order to protect them from the cutthroat academic society, Burn is loaded with fun scare scenes, voodoo dolls, double-crosses, creepy phone calls, and the highest waistlines I’ve ever seen on a man:
Peter Wyngarde and Janet Blair
And did I mention that Blair’s character’s name is Tansy Taylor? ’Nuf said.
As suggested in last week’s comments by Ito (who knows me far too well, clearly), this week’s heapin’ helpin’ of beef comes courtesy of ’80s hearththrob and noted former Scientologist Jason Beghe. The movie is George Romero’s actually quite decent 1988 thriller Monkey Shines, in which Beghe plays a hot young lawyer who, after being paralyzed from the neck down in an accident, forms an unhealthy bond with his assistance monkey.
Here are a few of my favorite moments:
Sporting the worst detachable beard since Nicole Kidman (okay, before Nicole Kidman)
Getting a sponge bath from Joyce Van Patten
Remembering getting a sponge bath from Joyce Van Patten
AND … as a special bonus, here are a few stills of Stanley Tucci from the same film, in a towel and drinking red wine opposite Northern Exposure’s Janine Turner.
William Shatner in Avatar?
Thanks to reader VB, who PM’d me with a tip to this fun collection of “What If…” movie posters that reimagines some of the biggest hits of the last few decades as films from days gone by. The artist, Peter Stults, does a great job of both capturing the look and feel of classic movie posters and recasting today’s hits with the stars of yesterday. The poster above is just a sample – be sure to check out his site for more.
What Was the Last Movie to Make You Cry Like a 3-Month-Old Baby Girl?
Alright, last week I asked which celebrated films folks hadn’t seen (and in most cases had no interest in seeing), which resulted in enough confessions to hurt the AFI 100’s feelings for the next 20 years. (It’s okay, I sent it a card. It was a Shoebox!)
This week I thought I’d get a little more personal. Because after all, watching a film is a very personal experience. I have had Lauren Bacall viewing marathons that have been more emotionally resonant than some of my intimate relationships. I remember the first time I saw Piranha II: The Spawning like some people remember Kennedy’s assassination. And don’t even get me started on the dark period after first seeing Bye Bye Birdie when I was convinced that I was actually the illegitimate child of Dick Van Dyke and Ann-Margaret and my parents were raising me on Hollywood hush money.
So let’s get down to it: What’s the last film that actually squeezed hot tears out of those clogged pipes of yours? I’ll share first: I cried like the last kitten in a cardboard box at Bill Cunningham New York, the documentary I mentioned in last week’s It Came From Instant Queue!. I won’t say why, because if you haven’t seen the film yet (and you should) I don’t want to ruin anything. But it got me. Before that I have to say that Beginners (I know, I know, enough about effing Beginners already) had me in tears from about five minutes in (breaking the record previously held by Precious) – not because it was sad, but because it wasn’t.
So that’s my confession – point and laugh as you see fit. Who wants to join me in the confessional booth for some hot-n-heavy movie talk?
This Week’s Poster Children…
We Need to Talk About Liam. Seriously – how did he go from Oskar Schindler to Harrison Ford’s leftovers? And even though I thought The Grey was the least ominous name for a thriller imaginable (except maybe The Beige?), the French title is even worse. I find it very difficult to get scared of anything with the word “loups” in it.
John Cusack is so Raven.
Limerick Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin
There once was an actress name Swinton
Whose brilliance was always a-glintin’
Her performance in Kevin
Was something from heaven
But the Oscars ignored her (like Tintin)
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Quote of the Week
First off, hat tip to VB (hello again!) for being the first person to identify last week’s quote as being one of the many zingers dropped by Parker Posey in The House of Yes. Can you name the movie from which this exchange was taken?
“You’re going about it all wrong. I believe you’re supposed to put your head in the stove.”
“It’s a second-hand stove. There were no directions.”
Check our next installment for the answer, or hop on over to our Facebook page and enter the AE Clubhouse to get the answer now!
And that’s it for this round! Next round I’ll be back with some dish on my tea with Madonna (and my take on her new movie W.E.), That Drew Barrymore Whale Movie, and lots more. Suggestions? Comments? Complaints? Sound off in the comments!