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Big Screen Entries for October, 2011

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Snark Week: Amber Heard profiled in the Chicago Sun-Times

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The Powers That Be prefer that we keep The Big Screen's snark levels well below toxic, and trust us, we do our best. But then a publicist throws a piece like this over the transom, and it's just chum in ...

Happy Halloween from Ben Cooper, Moe Green, & Your Pals at The Big Screen

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Remember these sparkly, cheaply made, kiddie surgical gowns that came boxed in one-ply cardboard? They were designed from the world's cheapest fabric; one slight shift of the apothecary would result in an irreparable rip up the side. After an hour ...

A Perryfic Red Carpet Video Interview With Perry Chen

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Any kid whose parents encourage them to take an active interest in thinking and writing about movies -- as opposed to wasting away their extracurricular hours standing on a grassy field hitting a ball with a stick -- is tops ...

The Loma Theatre: 1941 in 1979

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In the comments section of yesterday's tirade against Spielbug's 1941, Jay Allen Sanford posted the gorgeous shot below of the Loma Theatre. My first visit to America's Finest City was in 1985, and the yearly vacations continued until I finally ...

Why I Hate Spielberg #4,695: The Ferris Wheel Reversal in 1941

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I know what you're thinking. Could it be possible that America's preeminent Spielberg-hater owns a copy of 1941?! When forced to endure a Dreamworks production, I avert my gaze every time their logo hits the screen. Surely I paid a ...

Interview: Martha Marcy May Marlene Star Elizabeth Olsen

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Martha Marcy May Marlene star Elizabeth Olsen spends a lot of time with her face filling the screen, emotions shadowing her otherwise numbed expression. It's a demanding move on the part of director Sean Durkin, and it requires a certain ...

Interview: Martha Marcy May Marlene Director Sean Durkin

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The indie psych drama Martha Marcy May Marlene opens in San Diego today (David Elliott's capsule review is here). The film tells the story of Martha, beginning with her re-entry into the everyday world after a stint with a crunchy ...

Asian Festival Brings Down the Curtain

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Norwegian Wood. While wrapping up my interview with friend of the San Diego Asian Film Festival (and star of the upcoming A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas), John Cho, I mentioned that he still had time to visit the ...

Guest Review: David Elliott on In Time

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If time was our eternal currency, the new money, would you be a hog who wants to live forever, or instead spend each day as if it were the precious last? In Time coils those options into a bravura concept ...

The Whorax Weighs In on the Trailer for The Lorax

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I am the Whorax, I speak for the Seuss, This trailer is making my bowels go all loose! (I speak for the Seuss, for the Seuss is now dead And so he cannot knock some sense in your head.) And ...

Short Takes: A Boy and His Samurai

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Here is one instance where not consulting the production notes hurt. Had I know that a film about a 19th Century samurai (Ryô Nishikido) inexplicably materializing on the streets of Tokyo would end with Japan’s answer to The Betty Crocker ...

Sweet, Sweet Blogenfreude

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I think it may be fair to say that my esteemed co-blogger Mr. Marks has little taste for the middlebrow, preferring instead the high art of, say, The Three Stooges and the lowbrow joys of, say, Scorsese. Which goes a ...

Reviews!

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Shall I compare thee to a hummer, say? Odds Bodkin! Elliott is on fire! He lays into the cream-faced loons behind the Shakespeare-bashing Anonymous in this wise: "Anonymous comes from the reigning depositer of commercial mega-dung, Roland Emmerich (2012, The ...

Get the Look: Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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H&M can do the clothes, sure. But what really makes Lisbeth is above the neckline - the hair (or artful lack thereof) and the piercings. Style.com is all up ons: I'm also looking forward to tattoo parlors posting signs in ...

F. Scott Fitzgerald vs. The Movies on the set of The Great Gatsby: A Fantasy

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Quotes taken from Fitzgerald's Esquire essay The Crack-Up and The Great Gatsby. Images taken from Vulture.

Short Takes: Disorder

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Wild hogs and a shirtless lunatic dot the boulevard, civilians discover a freezer filled with bear claws (not those you dunk in your morning coffee), and a police officer is more concerned with being assigned blame for a suicide than ...

Interview: Russ Peck, Symphony's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Organist

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On a recent weekday afternoon, frightening music filled downtown’s Copley Symphony Hall. Dissonant chords erupted in ear-blasting fortissimos. Chromatic scales plummeted to sinister depths. Low notes throbbed so menacingly that they seemed to reverberate through my spine, making me tingle. ...

Short Takes: Paranormal Activity 3

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The static, surveillance camera imagery that found you white-knuckling the armrest in Oren Peli's original, has been replaced by jump cuts and jiggly cinematography. Several of the jolts in this prequel, cleverly set in 1988 at the dawn of camcorders, ...

Tonight at SDAFF: Meet Goh Nakamura, Musician & Star of Surrogate Valentine

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Dave Boyle’s Surrogate Valentine was the first SDAFF screener to make its way to my DVD player. While it’s not the best film to play this year’s festival -- I’m hoping that honor will go to Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s A City ...

Asian or German? Which Festival Are You Doing Tonight?

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Either way, you can't go wrong. The two-day inaugural San Diego German Film Festival commences tonight with Yasemin Samdereli's debut feature, Almanya - Willkommen in Deutschland. Tickets for the opening night gala, held at the Museum of Photographic Arts in ...

If You Like The Munsters, You're Gonna Love Watching Mussolini Hang!

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Munsterlini! Don't you love it when a site offers suggestions based on past purchases or searchers? I was trawling YouTube in search of the Holy Grail of Mockingbird Heights, the Easter Special, Marineland Carnival with the Munsters, where America's kookiest ...

Review: The Stool Pigeon

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All roads lead to the San Diego Asian Film Festival! Before recommending that you run to see The Stool Pigeon when it plays SDAFF on October 23 and October 27, here's a nudge to remind you that the festival commences ...

Robert Downey Jr. Invokes Words of Jewish Teacher in Imploring Hollywood to Forgive Mel Gibson

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Robert Downey Jr., during an American Cinematheque tribute honoring him last week: That's what the reporters heard. But what they didn't catch was what came later, the part that really hammered home the similarity to John 8: 1-11: Ah, that ...

Interview: Margin Call Writer/Director, J.C. Chandor

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J.C. Chandor's Margin Call, a "fresh as today's headlines" thriller that takes place inside the volatile word of investment banking on the eve of corporate meltdown, takes it lead from R.K.O.'s series of classic Val Lewton horror films. The offending ...

A Closer Look at the Trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD7Bca-xJXw aka Honey, I Blew Up The Franchise aka The Gunpowder Plot aka There Are More Explosions Here Than in a Michael Bay Film

The Title or Trailer Game

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Before you are 15 sets of titles. Your mission is to tell me which of these comes from the finished product, and which one belongs to the coming attraction trailer. Here's a hint: don't let the logo art fool you. ...

You Have Never Been Able to Wait for Scarlett Johansson to Take Her Clothes Off

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"Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.” - David Fincher, explaining why he couldn't cast Johansson as the lead ...

Son of What's Wrong with This Menu?

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Carole Lombard and Clark Gable?! Last week I snagged this faux pas on the DVD menu for John Ford's They Were Expendable. I'm on a roll. Mitchell Leisen's Hands Across the Table is a sparkling Depression-era screwball comedy/melodrama that features ...

German Currents San Diego Film Festival This Weekend at MoPA

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Tom Tykwer's 3 makes it's San Diego premier this weekend. "Do you know San Diego has a German Film Festival?" I asked a friend over dinner. "Why, no," came her quizzical reply. "That's the name of the song," I said, ...

Short Takes: The Thing

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A prequel to the 1982 remake of the 1951 original. Pretty lady scientist (is there any other kind these days?) heads down to Antarctica to examine an unusual specimen discovered in the ice. Things go awry. The frozen wasteland is ...

Interview: Blackthorn Director, Mateo Gil

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What becomes a legend most? When a fictional continuation of their true life story becomes an enormously entertaining western that is currently blazing across the screen of the Landmark La Jolla Village. What would have happened to famed outlaw Butch ...

Dig a Hole

Dig a Hole: The 35mm Movie Camera (1888-2011)

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My Facebook pal, his enlightenedness, Matt Zoller Seitz at Salon.com, is today's messenger of misfortune. The big three motion picture camera manufacturers — Aaton, ARRI, and Panavision — have all halted production on traditional 35mm cameras. It's been a tough ...

What's Wrong With This Menu?

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The only laugh to be had in John Ford's naval epic The Were Expendable, a gallant portrait of men facing almost certain defeat, can be found on the DVD menu. Would someone kindly tell the newbies at M.G.M. Home Entertainment ...

Drive Sparks Fan to Toss Hot Dog at Tiger Woods

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How is it that a film about a stunt-driver who picks up a little money on the side as a leadfoot getaway man for the mob can stir up so much controversy? First there was the meshugana from Michigan who ...

Short Takes: Weekend

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Sadly, this is not a remastered reissue of Godard's masterwork. A semi-closeted lifeguard and an art student meet in a bar and spend a weekend together having sex and swapping war wounds. One of writer, director Andrew Haigh’s characters bemoans ...

The Closest Look Yet at The Trailer for The Avengers

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Why do the Avengers exist? I mean, why does this team of superheroes exist? I mean, besides reasons of marketing? Samuel Jackson (as Nick Fury, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) has an answer: "There was an idea to bring together a group ...

A Still Closer Look at the Trailer for The Avengers

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I dunno, something seems strangely familiar... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOvH-7lcjb0

A Closer Look at the Trailer for The Avengers

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It ain't on YouTube yet, so you can go see it here. Then come back and discuss! Um, wow, but that's a lot of exploding cars. Is there some kind of message here about the dangers of combustion engines? Are ...

Doesn't a tagline like "Forever is only the beginning" sound like something out of Hellraiser?

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Hey, it's a display for the new Twilight! Wow, those wolves make it sort of scary! Still, it could be scarier. It needs something more, right here in the middle... AAAAAAAAAAH! It's a movie critic, trapped in Twilight forever! The ...

The Advertising in Regal Mira Mesa's Lobby is Mighty Big

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But you know what? Hugh Jackman's looked better.

SD Jewish Film Festival Screens The Human Resources Manager

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Other than a press screening some time ago, Eran Riklis' The Human Resources never saw the light of a projector bulb in our town. Don't worry, folks. It's subtitled in American! That is soon to be amended. The San Diego ...

Before They Were Critics: David Elliott

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Not many people know this, but long before joining The Reader as staff film critic, a youthful David Elliott worked as a Senior Scientist at Boggs Biologics. So successful was he, Monogram Studios produced a two-reeler honoring his work in ...

So, What Did You Do Friday Night?

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That's the interior of the Ken Cinema just prior to the Friday 9:15 show of The Mill and the Cross. The Wife counted seven souls in the theater besides ourselves. C'mon, people: Elliott four-starred this thing, and with reason. Though ...

12th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Promises Fresh Hou Hsiao-Hsien and More!

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The phone rang two months ago and what to my wondering ears do appear, but none other than Ms. San Diego Asian Film Festival herself, Lee Ann Kim (pictured). I would like to think that she knew the answer before ...

Michigan Woman Sues FilmDistrict Over Drive's Deceptive Trailer

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Pictured: Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks in Drive. While curating the film program at MoPA, there was an ultra-stingy board member, let's call her, "Johnnie," who owned a paper pass with strings attached. Johnnie would sit through an entire feature, ...

Short Takes: 1911 Revolution

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It’s being touted as his 100th starring role, but Jackie Chan’s heroics take a backseat to Winston Chao’s endless speech-making in this commemorative retelling of the birth of the Republic of China. Be they major figures or bit players in ...

Short Takes: Puncture

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What if Erin Brockovich was a dude with a drug problem? And because the dude is buff guy Chris Evans, his chest is just as prominent! Evans's ridiculous physique aside (was Giovanni Ribisi not available?), points awarded for not working ...

Short Takes: Real Steel

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Was the working title Rocky Sock 'em Robots? An off-the-ropes, beer-guzzling promoter and his estranged young son bond through violent robot boxing matches in this Spielberg-backed futuristic fluff. Motion capture reaches new levels of sophistication, but when it comes to ...

A Brief Conversation Among Johnny Depp's Vanity Fair Covers

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Uh-oh. Looks like Captain Jack Sparrow has gone and done it again... Fortunately, he knows where he can turn for an understanding ear:

Reviews!

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Well, now - to hear David Elliott tell it, I was too hasty in my scorn for Blackthorn. "A terrific, full-hearted Western" - wow, really? So very glad to hear it. But what has me really excited is The Mill ...

Dig a Hole

Dig A Hole: Charles Napier, Russ Meyer & Jonathan Demme Staple

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The hairy sledgehammer of fate has come down on Charles Napier. The lantern-jawed, hard-ass character actor who first came to the public's attention playing sadistic redneck lawmen in Russ Meyer softcore porn epics, has died. The Kentucky-born Napier served in ...

Anatomy of a Press Photo: Russell Crowe Is So High Right Now

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The crazy part is, Russell Crowe is Australian. He didn't even play football in high school. Related.

Thank You, Steve Jobs

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Last night, before I heard that Steve Jobs had died, I put Ratatouille on for my two-year-old. My 14-year-old paused in front of the screen. "Man, just seeing the opening of this film makes me hungry," he said. But he ...

Just For That, Lars Von Trier Will Never Speak to Us Again!

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With Melancholia a few weeks away from settling in at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas, director Lars Von Trier has issued a statement vowing never again to talk to the press. Hard luck for the media. The guy gives great interview, firing ...

Simply Fine at 109!

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He did nothing and got the snot beat out of him for it every time. If Moe was a theorem, Curly and Shemp Holy deities, and Joe, a little fey, Larry is eternal. If Larry Fine were alive today...come to ...

Breakfast at Tiffany's Turns 50!

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Quel rat! Has it really been fifty years since Holly Golightly enjoyed her morning sweet roll and steaming cup of Schraft's coffee in front of America's jewelry store? Actually, they should have called it Dinner at Tifanny's as our heroine ...

2nd Annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival Poised to Extend Halloween Season

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The 2nd Annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival is screening Georges Franju's supremely unsettling Les yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face) at 11 pm on Saturday, November 5th. Mark your calendar. Trust me. There is no better way to spend ...

The Conspiracist Speaks!

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPNyNr2Kp4w Hmmmmm.... full trailer for Steven Spielberg's "They Shoot Horse Movies, Don't They?" epic War Horse drops the same day as we get an announcement about an upcoming Mister Ed feature. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_PZPpWTRTU

Short Takes: Dream House

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We never glimpse the residence retiring publisher Daniel Craig and his family upgrade from. That’s the first clue to cracking this thriller which owes more than a little to Shutter Island. After decades of administering dull, well-intentioned message movies, it’s ...

"Red Tide" Explanation

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Photo taken by the author on October 1, 2:36 p.m., at the La Jolla Shores.

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