Desire

Cate Blanchett

What is Casting Couch? It’s a round-up of Hollywood casting news, not one of those porn videos where a 19-year-old gets exploited in a grimy-looking office. Move along, perv. Now that we’ve got all of those live action Snow White movies out of the way, it makes sense that we would move down the fairy tale lineup and start seeing a rash of new Cinderella projects popping up. And, if Disney has their way, their Mark Romanek-directed Cinderella script from The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna will be the hit that starts the trend. They’re trying to get casting for the film off on the right foot with the acquisition of a big name, as Deadline reports that the House of Mouse is in serious negotiations with Cate Blanchett to come on board to play a character called Lady Tremaine, known in some circles as the wicked stepmother. Given her experience playing a creepy elf in the Lord of the Rings movies, this seems like something of a perfect fit.

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Heat Movie Michael Mann

I’ve been taking my family on a tour of Michael Mann’s filmography recently, and every minute has been fantastic. Mann has a great eye for cinematography, writes and/or directs characters who are refreshingly competent and layered, and has a way of getting great mileage out of a topic he enjoys (crime and those who commit and prevent it) by changing the level of its presentation. He has done pieces both epic (Heat) and intimate (Collateral). He has ventured into the past, where his favorite subject varies in presence from “extant, but not important compared to other events” (The Last of the Mohicans) to “the point of the entire film” (Public Enemies). He brought Hannibal Lector to the screen for the first time as Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter, which I must admit remains my primary source exposure to everyone’s favorite cannibal. All of these traits make Mann a director whose work should be followed, but what absolutely drives me wild about him is his use of music in his pictures’ key scenes. Mann’s soundtracks are usually a mix of contemporary rock, house music, a slow and/or seductive piece for particularly romantic moments and several compositions written specifically for the film by his composer. At least once in every one of his films that I have had a chance to see, Mann takes a piece from his soundtrack and sets it to a climactic or character defining scene and the resulting moment never fails to astound. Dialogue is usually sparse to nonexistent […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Has anyone seen our brother column, This Week In Blu-ray? I’m worried it may have been abducted and diddled against its will… As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eighth Season Larry David’s divorce from Cheryl is finalized, and he finds himself heading for New York City after a characteristically disastrous social interaction. Typical Larry. Some viewers are unable to find the humor in David’s character and shenanigans and instead see nothing but frustration… and that’s an understandable reaction. He speaks his mind at all times, and while I don’t always agree with him I do find his complete lack of social skills refreshing and often hilarious. Plus, Michael J Fox and those damn girl scouts had it coming anyway.

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2011 gave us a lot of great music (as I rounded up here), but there was one composer who stood out from the pack with his distinctive scores (two of which made my year-end list) for films that ranged from a backseat law practice (The Lincoln Lawyer) to a viral epidemic (Contagion) to a near silent stunt driver by day, getaway driver by night (Drive). Three very different films with three distinct scores, all from the same composer – Cliff Martinez. Martinez has garnered the most attention and praise for his score for Drive, but he also created impressive (and memorable) music for The Lincoln Lawyer and Contagion. The Lincoln Lawyer may not have been the biggest hit at the box office, but it was a decent film and it stood out in my mind more than I thought it would, thanks to its music. The same was the case with Contagion, a film I enjoyed well enough, but kept thinking back on thanks to its score. When I looked into who was behind these scores it was no surprise when I came to find Martinez behind the conductor’s baton for both.

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