Barbara Hershey

Michael Shannon

What is Casting Couch? It’s the roundup of casting news that knows what Gillian Jacobs is going to be doing with her upcoming break from Community. All that time in the bushes finally paid off. Most people probably thought Wild Things director John McNaughton’s career hit its zenith when he directed Wild Things. That movie was basically the most ’90s thing ever, and it practically introduced the concept of the three-way to the square community through the communicative power of Denise Richards’ boobs. He may yet top that work though, because Deadline reports that he’s just recruited the best actor in the world, Michael Shannon, to star in his upcoming thriller The Harvest. The film will star Samantha Morton as a successful heart surgeon and Shannon as her co-dependent husband. Its conflict comes in when their sick son meets a new friend, and suddenly the very controlled routine that Morton’s character has created starts to break down. Sounds like a creepy mom.

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; bustin’ makes me feel like a shower. At this point, you’re just asking for it. We’ve made our intentions clear: to rip on bad movies. As much as we abuse these movies, we do adore them. Our poisoned love may take the form of mockery, but when push comes to restraining order, we do right by it. As a paltry token of our “remorse,” we will offer a delightfully decadent snack food item themed to the film. Much has been made of the on-again/off-again/why-the-hell-is-this-a-thing proposed third installment of the Ghostbusters franchise. Evidently the deep emotional trauma of Ghostbusters II has dissipated and the first real steps toward healing can begin. For the funnyatric stars of the original film, and inexplicably the sequel,the logical recourse, of course of course, is to take to the interwebspheres and relentlessly tease the possibility of ripping the wounds open again. Since they’re apparently letting anyone write pitches for Ghostbusters 3, judging by those we’ve seen, we thought we’d throw our hat in the ring; double shot beer helmet though it may be. But being particularly averse to original thought, as anyone who’s read this column with any frequency can attest, we opted to craft a Ghostbusters 3 screenplay by co-opting and reworking 1982′s The Entity so that GB3 fits inside.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr recovers from a full day of watching Armageddon back-to-back to crawl back to the multiplex. He re-lived the last eight minutes of Source Code over and over, thoroughly confusing himself. Then he stumbled into the theater next door to learn about the true meaning of Easter from Russell Brand and James Marsden. Things take a decidedly creepy turn when he watches Insidious and wets himself more than once. This led to a very unfortunate scene while he watched the sexual-predator cautionary tale Trust. No one would believe him it was just wee wee.

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It’s that time of the year again: that brief span of time in between Christmas and New Year’s when journalists, critics, and cultural commentators scramble to define an arbitrary block of time even before that block is over with. To speculate on what 2010 will be remembered for is purely that: speculation. But the lists, summaries, and editorials reflecting on the events, accomplishments, failures, and occurrences of 2010 no doubt shape future debate over what January 1-December 31, 2010 will be remembered for personally, nostalgically, and historically. How we refer to the present frames how it is represented in the future, even when contradictions arise over what events should be valued from a given year. In an effort to begin that framing process, what I offer here is not a critical list of great films, but one that points out dominant cultural conversations, shared trends, and intersecting topics (both implicit and explicit) that have occurred either between the films themselves or between films and other notable aspects of American social life in 2010. As this column attempts to establish week in and week out, movies never exist in a vacuum, but instead operate in active conversation with one another. Thus, a movie’s cultural context should never be ignored. So, without further adieu, here is my overview of the Top 10 topics, trends, and events of the year that have nothing to do with the 3D debate.

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The landscape of cinema is full of monsters – those human, and otherwise. Many of these monsters, as we’ve seen over the years, begin as something like us and are changed somehow, transforming into a creature that is equally interesting and terrifying. This is the crux of great monster stories – we can’t look, yet we cannot take our eyes away. In his completely fresh monster story Black Swan, director Darren Aronofsky shows us a transformation for the ages – one that combines the grace and beauty of ballet with the exhilaration and terror of the classic monster tale. Visually stunning, violent and at times breath stealing, Black Swan gives us the great cinematic monster that we never saw coming: Natalie Portman in a pink tutu. Just remember to breathe.

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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