Category Archives: Writing Stuff

Trailer Thursday: “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter”

Every year around this time you hear some art house hipster complaining that the Independent Spirit Awards have somehow “gone Hollywood.” And while I can see how some people might think that — especially considering how much overlap there is these days between the Spirit Awards and the Oscars — actually, many of the films celebrated at the Spirit Awards are as freaking weird and independent as they come.

This year, there were two movies that got me excited enough to think about actually paying (!) to see them in a theatre. I know, shocking, huh? The first one was writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night which, well, kind of had me at B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western. So cool!

And the second movie was Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. Starring Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as a young Japanese woman on a quest to find buried treasure in the frozen American heartland, the movie looks just as cool as the concept sounds.

Scoring two Spirit Award nominations this season, one for Best Director (David Zellner) and a Best Actress nod for Kikuchi, Kumiko opens next month in select theatres and I, for one, cannot wait to see it. So, check out the badass trailer below and let me know what you think!

 

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Oscar Wrap-up (2015)

In case anyone was wondering why I didn't write up my usual, probing, insightful, film geek review of the Academy Awards this year, fear not. I did write one. It's just not posted here.

I don't remember if I've ever mentioned it here or not, but, I've been writing a weekly entertainment column called the APEX Hollywood Shortlist for the APEX Editor's Blog since November. The Shortlist covers weekly box office figures, award season news, the latest film festival news from around the world, you know, pretty much anything to do with movies. And honestly, it's kind of my dream gig. Crazy fun! And though I still cover the hell out of the aviation and inflight entertainment realm for APEX, Runway Girl Network and Aircraft Interiors, the Shortlist has been my bread and butter lately. So, check out my full Oscar night wrap-up at the link below and enjoy!

APEX Academy Awards Wrap-up (2015)

 

 

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Trailer Thursday: “The Slap”

I know Trailer Thursday’s are usually reserved for movies, but, this upcoming miniseries “event” on NBC looks just too crazy and bad/good not to share. I don’t know much about The Slap except that it is an American adaptation of a UK miniseries that actually won some acting awards and shit. And since this version features a cast of heavy-hitters (Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman and Brian Cox in a miniseries? On NBC?! insanity!) and is directed by Oscar-nominated writer/director Lisa Cholodenko, I figure it’s either gonna be really good or really crazy bad.

Either way, our DVR has been set for weeks. Enjoy!

 

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Oscar Nominees 2015

OK, let’s just start with the biggest upset of the morning, no LEGO Movie Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature? What the hell?! To steal a line that has been tweeting around the internet all morning: everything is NOT awesome. Seriously, even the Best Original Song nomination for the film’s crazy-addictive “Everything is Awesome” can’t numb the pain of losing out on what many considered to be sure bet for Best Animated Feature. Wow…still totally shocked.

Also very disappointed to see Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo overlooked in the acting categories. They both deserved serious consideration for their stellar work in the film, but, I am thrilled to see it score a Best Original Screenplay nod for writer/director Dan Gilroy. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite films last year and I’m definitely rooting for Gilroy to take home the gold, so, rock on, dude!

If I had one major gripe — aside from the two mentioned above — it’s that the Academy showered so much love and so many nominations on movies that, in my mind, were just OK. I mean, seriously, Whiplash and Foxcatcher for Best Picture? Yikes…

And while I’m delighted to see J.K. Simmons finally getting some Oscar love for his kick-ass turn in Whiplash, I gotta say, the rest of the movie is completely overrated. A total “actors movie” with a lot of showy stuff going on but not much else. Same thing with Foxcatcher. Again, very happy to see Steve Carrell finally snare a richly-deserved Best Actor nod, but, beyond the acting the movie was a mess and the fact that it scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Director nods is completely flabbergasting. Wow…

On the plus side, I actually yelped out loud (OK, more like screamed) when Laura Dern’s name was read in the Best Supporting Actress category. She gave an absolutely transcendent performance in Wild and if you ask me, this is her time to shine. She was the heart and soul of the film and literally lit up the screen with her powerful, soulful work. I think she was my favorite nomination this morning. Very excited for her!

I’m also totally stoked to see Boyhood continuing it’s climb to the top in a very chaotic award season. This movie has haunted me more than any other this year and I’m hoping it wins everything it’s nominated for. And yes, I know that means Patricia Arquette would beat Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress race, but, hey, there’s room for more than badass mother performance, so, I’m hoping for a tie!

Another cool surprise was the Best Original Song nomination for “Lost Stars” from another one of my favorite films last year, Begin Again. That movie was amazing and even if they didn’t get nominated for their performances in the film, I’m gonna pretend that Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar nominations this morning — for The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher, respectively — were for that movie instead. Either way, glad the stodgy old Academy remembered this lovely film.

And speaking of memory (I know, nice transition here, sorry) I am so excited to see Julianne Moore in the Best Actress race for her career-best work in Still Alice. That movie devastated me and her performance is definitely the stuff Oscar gold is made of. And if you ask me, it’s about freaking time Moore takes home an Academy Award. No one even came close to her this year…she’s probably the one sure bet this season and she deserves everything she gets. Rock on, red!

And even though Guardians of the Galaxy missed out on a Best Picture nomination, it did score a Writers Guild of America nomination last week and picked up two Oscar nods this morning as well. One for Best Visual Effects, (go, Groot!) and one for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (go, Gamora!) so, I’m not complaining. On a related note, it was very cool to see something other than stuffy English period films in the Best Costume Design category with Maleficent and Inherent Vice picking up surprise and totally deserving nominations. Rock on, crazy Maleficent horns!

Speaking of Inherent Vice, even though I only liked the first hour of the film (which is perfect!) and it descended into total madness in the second half, I have to admit I am glad to see writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Knowing Oscar voters, who have a rich history of rewarding people for the wrong movies, Anderson, who should have won for Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, will finally win an Oscar for his work here.

The bad news is that two really deserving writers got totally shut out in Anderson’s Adapted Screenplay category. Novelist Nick Hornby’s script for Wild was incredible and deeply moving. And though I haven’t seen it yet, Gilian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl is supposed to be pretty badass too. Sadly, their slots got taken by the likes of total groaners like Foxcatcher and Whiplash instead. Oy…makes me want to groan again.

And finally, even though Bradley Cooper knocked Jake Gyllenhaal out of the Best Actor race, Cooper gave one of the best male performances of the year in American Sniper and I was really glad to see the film pick up so many nods this year. It’s a really great flick with a, pardon my French, fucking doozy of an ending. Amazing!

OK, that’s all for now. You can find a complete list of this year’s nominees here. And, as always, I’m dying to hear what you guys think of this year’s crop of nominees, so, comment away!

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The Return of “Twin Peaks”

The past couple of months around here have been totally surreal and packed with enough weirdness, heartbreak and family drama to fill a whole season’s worth of episodes, so, it was kind of strangely appropriate for this to be the week that Showtime announced that they would be airing a nine episode “third season” of Twin Peaks in 2016.

That’s right, the show that brought dark, daring, non-linear storytelling to network television is finally returning to the airwaves. Hooray! I’ve been waiting for something like this for years, and though most die-hard Peaks fans expected a return to the Peak-a-verse via another movie, graphic novel or a spin-off series featuring new characters, no one was expecting co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost to reunite for a third season of the original series! Wow, Bob, wow, does it get any cooler?

News is still trickling out about the casting and such, but, if the clip Lynch and Frost released is any indication, I imagine, we, like Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Dale Cooper just might be seeing Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) again as well.

I know it sounds geeky, but, I remember totally flipping out when the scene in the clip above aired on the original series. “‘I’ll see you again in 25 years?!’ What the hell does that mean? Is she coming back to life?!” And while I relished discussing the meaning of that scene (and almost every other aspect of the show!) back in the day, the thought that it might actually be clarified literally twenty five years later is downright thrilling!

To steal a quote from a fellow, diehard Peaks fan: can we just skip 2015 and get to the good stuff already? So excited!

 

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Greta’s Bookshelf: “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin

For those of you who were worried that all I’d ever blog about again is climate change, women’s rights and gun control, I give you a charming, very funny children’s book about dragons eating tacos. Actually, the title of the book says it all, because “Dragons Love Tacos” is about exactly that.

Written by the very witty Adam Rubin and beautifully illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, “Dragons Love Tacos” isn’t just fun to read, but it’s also highly re-readable (is that a word? If not, it should be!) and best off all, it’s short!

Seriously, “Dragons” is the perfect bedtime length book for kids: meaty enough to feel substantial and yet not so long that you’ll need a bookmark. I know that sounds like a weird thing to be happy about, but, considering the fact that Greta usually crawls into bed with at least three books, I’ll take short, cool books over epic poems anytime!

And books about crazy, Mexican food loving dragons? What’s not to love? Rubin and Salmieri had me at “tacos!” Best new kids book ever!

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Trailer Thursday: “Magic in the Moonlight”

Love home or hate him, my man Woody Allen has been having a hell of a run lately. And if this gorgeous trailer for his upcoming Magic in the Moonlight is any indication, Allen seems to be continuing that trend in a big way.

Featuring another glittery, top-notch cast — the positively luminous Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Eileen Atkins, Hamish Linklater, Jacki Weaver and Marcia Gay Harden! — the movie is set in the shiny, sun-dappled south of France and looks almost good enough to eat…so, seriously, what's not to love? Rock on, Woody!

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