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!
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)
Usually when I write about date night movies I'm taking about stuff that Mrs. Yeti and I see without Greta, but, tonight's “date night” was even more special. Greta and I saw a screening of Into the Woods on the Disney lot tonight and it was magical.
The movie was fantastic, the weather was wet and shimmery but not cold and the studio backlot was decorated to the hilt for tomorrow's annual tree lighting ceremony. Daddy/Daughter “date night” perfection! Seriously, we could have strolled around that gorgeous, candy-colored backlot all night…in fact, we kinda did. Enjoy the pics!
It’s official, amigos, the golden age of Hollywood glamour is gone forever with the passing of Lauren “Betty” Bacall today at the age of 89. Truly one of a kind, Bacall’s smoldering beauty lit up the screen for over 70 years but the thing she’ll probably most be remembered for is her voice. Oh, that voice!
I think my favorite Lauren Bacall movie is probably Key Largo, but I will always have a soft spot for that big ball of convulated craziness that is The Big Sleep. Even Raymond Chandler (who wrote the novel) used to joke that he couldn’t make heads or tails of that story. But when you’ve got a 19-year old Lauren Bacall making her screen debut opposite Humphrey-flicking-Bogart, who cares?! A true classic in every sense of the word!
I’m just glad old Betty finally got an Oscar before she died too. It might not have been the one she was hoping for — Bacall’s Best Supporting Actress loss to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient in 1996 is still considered one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history — but Bacall did take home a richly-deserved honorary Academy Award in 2009. So, rock on classy lady…and please give my regards to Bogey!
Like the rest of the world, I was deeply troubled to hear of the untimely death of Robin Williams on Monday. My brother and I were huge Mork & Mindy fans — Mrs. Yeti and I even made a pilgrimage to the old Victorian house they used on the show in Boulder, Colorado! — and I have always had a soft spot for Williams' later dramatic work as well. Expecially The Fisher King! I think of that gorgeous dance sequence every time I'm in Grand Central Station…truly magical shit!
But perhaps my favorite film in the Robin Williams cannon of awesomeness is Disney's Aladdin. Having watched it dozens of times with Greta over the years, I can honestly say that the movie only gets better with repeated viewings, and the songs are still some of the best Disney jams ever.
But the true standout in the film is that crazy-ass genie with the heart of gold. If ever a part was tailor made for an actor, it was that. Funny, sad, self-deprecating and completely lovable, Williams' voice performance as the genie might just be his best work ever.
And though I'm still terribly sad about his death — and the horrible details of it all — I gotta tell ya, the magic of that amazing genie will live on forever. It really is a performance for the ages.
While listening to another beautiful tribute to Williams on SiriusXM's EWRadio this afternoon, Greta finally asked me who died. And though I spared her the details, I told her that a very famous actor named Robin Williams had died rather suddenly and that the whole world was sad about it. She asked me what movies he made and I told her that she would probably know him best as the genie from Aladdin to which she replied: “Wow, he was a good actor with his voice too!”
Truer words were never spoken. RIP you sweet, sad man…you will be sorely missed.
Since premiering at Comic Con a couple of weeks ago, this new, extended trailer for the upcoming flick Interstellar has been thrilling sci-fi geeks everywhere. I finally saw it yesterday without having heard anything about the movie and I was totally along for the ride based on the, pun intended, “stellar” cast involved alone.
But once I saw that the mad genius at the helm was Christopher-freaking-Nolan, well, that pretty much sealed the deal. I literally cannot wait to see this movie! So cool!!
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!
Any Star Wars fan worth their Adegan crystals knows that today is Star Wars Day, or, as some prefer to call it: “May the Fourth be with You” Day. And while there are probably millions of celebrations taking place around the globe today — Greta and I have been playing the LEGO Star Wars video game on the Wii — perhaps one of the coolest involves the release of a brand new line of bad-ass footwear by Vault for Vans.
That’s right, Jedis, the slacker geniuses behind the world’s favorite skater slip-ons have upped their cool factor once again by releasing a limited edition line of sneakers, backpacks, hats and accessories featuring characters from the Star Wars universe.
My favorites are the pair with the stormtrooper helmets and the slip-on’s with the AT-AT Walkers, lightening bolts and little palm trees! Talk about the perfect shoes for summer! Awesome!
To check out more of the very cool stuff Vans is doing to celebrate Star Wars day, click here. And however you chose to celebrate today, rest assured that the fourth will be you…always.
I’ve been a huge fan of writer-director Richard Linklater’s work since his mid-90’s glory days of Slacker, Before Sunrise and Dazed and Confused. Hell, I even dig most of the big studio movies he directed for hire as well. For while projects like School of Rock and the hilarious Bad News Bears remake with Billy Bob Thornton might not have penned by Linklater, they are still totally infused with this distinctly Linklater-ish warmth and offbeat humor.
Of course, School of Rock was written by another one of my film geek heroes, the super cool Mike White, and features a bunch of very cute kids playing music (which Greta absolutely loves!) so, it’s got that going for it as well.
Anyway, I’m always excited to see what Linklater’s got cooking, but, this new trailer for his upcoming flick Boyhood totally threw me for a loop. Simply put, it looks amazing!
Shot over twelve years with the same actors (newcomer Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, among others) the movie follows Coltrane’s life in real time like no other movie I can think of. Sure, Michael Apted’s critically-acclaimed Up series covers similar terrain, but, those films are documentaries. Linklater’s fictional story about one boy’s coming of age looks like something totally new and boldy-original.
I can’t even imagine the level of patience something like this would take to make. Wow. And as a parent who has watched the last five years fly by, the changes in Coltrane’s appearance as he ages literally took my breath away. Wow!
So, even if the movie itself totally sucks, I applaud Linklater for tackling something so totally outside the box. Enjoy the clip and kudos to you, Mr. Linklater…long may you innovate!
Star Wars fans everywhere rejoiced this week at the news that director J.J. Abrams had finalized the cast for his upcoming and still untitled, Star Wars sequel. Even cooler than the confirmation that old favorites like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford would definitely be returning was the news that such bad-ass actors as Girl’s star Adam Driver, Inside Llywen Davis lead, Oscar Isaac, Max von Sydow, and the man who plays Gollum, Andy Serkis will be joining the franchise as well.
I mean, seriously, just the idea of Serkis — an actor from one of my all-time-favorite film franchises: The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings — joining the cast of another of my all-time-favorite film franchises is enough to make my big geeky head explode! So cool!
And even though there was only one new female cast member announced (newcomer Daisy Ridley) Abrams has hinted that there may be more to come in the weeks ahead, so, you never know.
I’m just hoping they cast someone to play Anakin’s former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. Tano was, by far, the coolest character to emerge from The Clone Wars animated series and her fate was left very much in limbo at the end of the televised series. So, the thought of her character re-emerging in the live action sequels is almost too cool to contemplate. Seriously, I get goosebumps just thinking about it! Go, Ahsoka!
To read more Star Wars: Episode VII casting news, click here. And in the meantime enjoy this amazing pic of the new cast at a “table read” with Abrams. I love how R2-D2 is there in that little packing crate too…so rad!