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Friday, December 21, 2007

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on December 21 at 13:43 PM

Terribly exciting news from the last two weeks:

Lists and awards!: LA Film Critics weighed in last week, and included a passel of special citations; New York Film Critics Circle parried with a stripped-down list. This week: indieWIRE publishes critics’ secret passions (confidential to BM, who’s apparently hurting for municipal scandals: Don’t you think no longer working as a film critic warrants a recusal?); the Screen Actors Guild goes mad for all kinds of boring sap. It’s a sad year when Marion Cotillard’s patchworked slump-and-tremble in La Vie en Rose counts as the frontrunner in lead performances by women. She was all right, but the way that movie was put together, the character had no room to change over time. It was all makeup and posture. As for Angelina Jolie—let’s not even go there.

Out-outsourced!: NPR had a great series last week on Hollywood’s incursions into Bollywood—and vice versa. Turns out Alvin’s chipmunks’ eyeballs—but only their eyeballs—were manufactured in Mumbai.

Tied to the mob!: Paramount exec gets wiretapped.

Censored!: The MPAA doesn’t want you to see this poster:



Opening today:

Dan Savage dismantles Sweeney Todd! (It’s perfectly fine for you horror fans, though.)


I review the excellent The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I’ll have you know in an earlier draft of this piece I compared the movie to Barack Obama. Thank god I restrained myself, but the point I was trying—feebly—to make is that this movie is grave and utterly buoyant at the same time. Even its gimmicks are fascinating.


Here’s my interview with the director, the eccentric Julian Schnabel.

Lindy West destroys National Treasure: Book of Secrets, making delightfully gratuitous use of historical allusions. Oh, Calvin Coolidge.

Speaking of the awesome Lindy West, did you know she has a new column of her very own? It’s called Concessions, and can be found in Film Shorts in the print edition every week. This week: Lindy attends the Northwest Film Forum Holiday Party, where she sees invisible people and out-dreidels the Jews.

Bradley Steinbacher takes on the latest from Francis Ford Coppola: the crazily ambitious Youth Without Youth.

And in On Screen this week: the talky yet boob-littered Charlie Wilson’s War (Andrew Wright: “True to form, the Aaron Sorkin-penned Charlie Wilson’s War features miles upon miles of speech-clogged corridors. Thankfully, the combined efforts of a top-tier cast, an undeniably relevant mid-’80s storyline, and a director who does this type of highbrow stuff better than anyone manage to punch a breezy hole through the ever-present chattering din”), the stupid P.S. I Love You (Lindy West: “Hilary Swank—dead of husband, pointy of spine (‘You make a ravishing widow, sis!’)—is just so, so unappealing as a romantic-comedy lead. She’s annoying. She’s a snooze. And, like I said, she looks like a fucking stegosaurus”), and the good-natured Johnny Cash roast Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Megan Seling: “It’s really, really funny (if you like dick jokes), and it’s still funny even if you love Johnny Cash”).


Limited Runs and Movie Times can be found at Get Out. This week: From Here to Eternity, It’s a Wonderful Life, Bad Santa, Rope, and more. There’s tons of great stuff in theaters this weekend—you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t go to the movies.

Looking for reviews of Christmas releases like The Savages, The Water Horse, and The Great Debaters? They’ll be up at promptly on December 25.

RSS icon Comments


Very interesting poster. According to the link, the MPAA objects to the hood that the prisoner is wearing. I would have thought was headdress or something.

At any rate, with political overtones aside, it is a beautiful design with the feet tying into the image of the flag. Thanks for posting

Posted by Lake | December 21, 2007 1:50 PM

Savages review of ST is pure BS. Can he ever stop talking about how fucking gay he is?

Horror kicks ass.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 21, 2007 1:57 PM

GodDAMN how I do love you, Lindy West.

That's all.

Posted by als | December 21, 2007 2:15 PM

Dan's a bigger fag than I am. So it looks like I'll be enjoying Sweeney Todd. Hip hip!

Posted by Michigan Matt | December 21, 2007 2:21 PM

I'm a huge musical/Sondheim fag and I really liked Sweeney, ESP. Helena Bonham Carter.

SONDHEIM even approves of the movie.

I did agree with Dan about the gruesomeness of a certain death at the end, though. Too much.

And the little boy playing Toby is awful.

Posted by michael strangeways | December 21, 2007 2:39 PM

Sweeney Todd is one of the best films that I've seen all year.

All year.

And as a Platinum Lifetime member who gets to see on average 2-4 movies a week, not including the ones I watch on TV, that's something.

Stop the hatin.

By the by, my 16 yo son loved it! As did all my friends.

"My arm is ... complete!" (or words to that effect)

Besides, who didn't love that beachside scene ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 21, 2007 2:39 PM

I'm totally looking forward to my 10:08 orgasm at the Chipmunks movie.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | December 21, 2007 2:46 PM

@7 - no, the Chipmunks movie wasn't that good. Sad, really, as the voice casting wasn't bad.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 21, 2007 3:35 PM

Will, dude...

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 21, 2007 3:43 PM

Dan's crazy. ST is not the stage production. It's a completely different interpretation.

For one, you can't have a 3 hour film musical--shit has to be cut. And the shit that was cut was cut with Sondheim's blessing.

Second, you can't have full stage voices in a film. The camera is too close and it makes it look like they're screaming at you. If Dan is that wedded to the stage version y'all should have someone else review it. Do over!

Posted by mikkomaus | December 21, 2007 3:55 PM

Sigh. I'm really glad they didn't let you review the movie version of Hedwig. The two are entirely different experiences, both brilliant in their own way, but your stage bias probably would have come across.

I dread the day they make a film version of Eggus.

Posted by Gitai | December 21, 2007 7:48 PM

"Hey I was in a movie about Sweeney Todd called 'Sweeney Todd'and everybody forgot about it. Just because my movies not a musical doesn't mean it wasn't a top notch performance. I give Depp props but, come on if you don't like musicals then check my movie out. Damn hollywood always remaking works 20 times over. uuuugh."

not really Ben Kingsley, just a light hearted mock script. Ben Kingsleys Sweeney Todd is at Borders. And it wasn't half bad.

Posted by Ben Kingsley | December 21, 2007 7:49 PM

Oh yeah sure Ben Kingsley. Your just like the rest of Hollywood. Your film was based on my film as well which started the whole moviedom of Sweeney Todd and the musical mind you.
My movie that was made in 1936 was the creme de le creme Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
stick that in your pipe, Ben and Johnny, and smoke it.
But I feel your pain. Everybody is like ' Oh My Sweeney Todd Sweeney Todd' just because Tim Burton made it. Bah humbug.

Posted by Tod Slaughter | December 21, 2007 8:07 PM

Everybody shut the fuck up and acknowledge that everything I say and do is absolute.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 22, 2007 12:51 PM


We remove comments that are off topic, threatening, or commercial in nature, and we do not allow sock-puppetry (impersonating someone else)—or any kind of puppetry, for that matter. We never censor comments based on ideology.

Posted by Brave Republican Warrior | December 23, 2007 12:23 PM

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