Penn Badgley

The Last of Robin Hood

In Maleficent, Angelina Jolie recreates her iconic curse with such perfect charisma that it’s a big letdown when she changes tune about 2.5 seconds later as Disney strives to make her relatable. Our beloved villainess became the reactionary scorned woman, and all of that potential for more evil cackles flies out the window. Thinking about this terribly missed opportunity for excellent evilness, I couldn’t help but think about the many real-life, often larger than life names who have been immortalized in cinematic biographies in ways more bittersweet than satisfying. It’s great to see them and get the rush of their performance, but sad to watch it wasted on an inferior film, or a bit part in someone else’s larger whole.

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Daniel Algrant’s Greetings from Tim Buckley is supposed to be Penn Badgley’s revelatory moment as an actor. Playing singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, Badgley sings live on set and sounds eerily similar to Buckley as he goes into his upper register and harmonizes in abstract ways. Unfortunately, Badgley’s performance ultimately feels empty, as does the film as a whole. Despite being focused on real, complicated people with tragic lives (both at the height of their fame, Jeff’s father Tim died at 28 from an accidental overdose and Jeff drowned at 30), the film never allows the two Buckleys to come across as fully realized characters. It’s 1991 and Jeff Buckley is living in California, a struggling musician. Out of the blue, he gets a call asking him to come to Brooklyn to perform in a tribute concert for his father, who he only met twice in his lifetime. Jeff is bitter about the whole situation – celebrating the man who abandoned him – but he agrees to play nonetheless. While he is there, he is guided musically by his two of his father’s former bandmates, played by William Sadler and Frank Wood. He also forms an immediate connection with the venue’s intern, Allie (Imogen Poots, playing a fictionalized character) and she helps him come to terms with being his father’s son. Jeff’s story of prepping for the tribute concert is intercut with Tim’s (Ben Rosenfield) trip from California to New York at the start of his career in the 1960s.

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Greetings From Tim Buckley Trailer

The story behind now-legendary singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley’s first introduction to the music world is the sort of dramatic, one in a million tale that’s so simultaneously relatable and unbelievable, it seems like somebody should make it into a movie. So somebody made it into a movie. Or, more specifically, Daniel Algrant made it into a movie starring Penn Badgley as Jeff and Ben Rosenfield as his equally notable singer/song writer father, Tim. The story starts with Jeff as an unknown artist with a famous father, a father that he’s estranged from and never properly knew. His world changes, however, when he’s asked to travel from west coast to east in order to perform at a tribute concert for the man. Suddenly the younger Buckley is put in the position of not only having a big opportunity to show off his talents to the world, but also being forced to wrestle with all of his feelings about a man that he never knew and mostly resents. Of course, we all know that the situation ends with Jeff performing at the show and a new star being born, but it’s the drama of the journey to that point that makes this a story interesting enough to make into a movie.

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There’s new movement over on Jake Scott’s upcoming Jeff Buckley biopic, which may or may not have been titled Mystery White Boy. We’ve already reported that Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’s Reeve Carney is set to star as the indie rock legend, and now there’s word that Patricia Arquette has been signed to play Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert. The role is said to be a small one, but it sounds important nonetheless. Arquette will be seen both in flashbacks to when Buckley was a child and in later years when he was an adult. And apparently she plays an important role in convincing Buckley to appear during a 1991 tribute concert to his father, “Greetings From Tim Buckley,” which was considered to be Jeff’s first public performance and kind of the launching point for what became a very notable career.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that rounds up junk and stuff. It also likes J.J. Abrams’ movies, but not so much that it can’t laugh at them, as well. It is also currently being written by an author who is distracted with Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules. It’s surprisingly charming. Geek icon Simon Pegg released a book recently, “Nerd Do Well,” chronicling his life as a now-famous nerd. Personally, I can’t wait to read it. In the mean time, one passage about George Lucas and the Star Wars prequels has become a topic of discussion. Did Lucas apologize for the prequels? That’s the question of the day.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Where the Wild Things Are, Law Abiding Citizen and The Stepfather.

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TheStepfatherReview

This guy has the right idea. When your family disappoints you, clean the slate and move on.

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gossipgirl-304

Dan falls for Vanessa’s new roommate, who’s more than she appears. Blair, at her wit’s end over her lack of progress in NYU social circles, receives a report that Jenny is attempting to dismantle the hierarchy at Constance, prompting her to rush back to her old fiefdom in its defense.

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gossip-girl-s3

Due to college work kicking my ass over the last month, I’m rolling this week’s and last week’s “Gossip Girl” reviews into one big (late) bundle of joy for your reading pleasure…

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We return to the world of Gossip Girl and her subjects as summer is drawing to a close, with the gang reflecting on the events of the season.

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gossipgirl

The upper echelons of Manhattan teenage society have returned to television, so play some catch up and refresh your memory of who’s bitchy and who’s extra bitchy.

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gossip-girl-goodbye

It’s Graduation day and the gang’s all here. When Gossip Girl dismisses Serena as irrelevant, she launches an all-out attack on the cyberland big brother, vowing to discover her (or his) identity.

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The gang complete their journey through high school with the time-honored rite of passage – attending Prom.

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gossip-girl-saderanything

Serena and the gang come together in an attempt to take down Poppy, but Lily has other plans. Meanwhile, Rufus discovers that Lily may be just like her mother after all, leading him to reconsider popping that all-important question.

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gossip-girl-southern-gentlemen

When Blair and Chuck notice inaccuracies in Gabriel’s version of how he met Serena, a confrontation is ensured.

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gossip-girl-saderanything

Relationships get more complex this week as Serena returns from Spain a (possibly) married woman, while Blair’s attempts to solidify her place in life and society almost destroy her relationship with Nate.

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gossip-girl-remainsofj

Serena attempts to prove to herself and the world that she’s not stuck in a rut when she overrules Jenny’s wishes and throws her a spectacular sweet sixteen. Nate decides that he and Vanessa have come to an end, but not before she learns of his renewed friendship with Blair.

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gossip-girl-grandfather

Blair tries to destroy the remnants of her old life in an effort to free herself from the pain of its loss. Despite her repeated brush offs, Chuck refuses to give up on the idea of a life with her, but it seems that some aspects of the past have a certain charm which he lacks.

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gossip-girl-age-of-dissodance

As the students of Constance and St. Jude’s perform “The Age of Innocence” as their final year school play, life begins to imitate art. After her dream of attending Yale is shattered, Blair’s drive for revenge alienates her from all her friends and acolytes.

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gossipgirl-carnalknowledge

Gossip Girl strikes again, as rumors surrounding Ms. Carr’s relationship with a student hit the headlines. Drastic punishment is meted out when Blair’s part in this rumor is discovered, but some new evidence throws the case into a different light.

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