Selena Gomez

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There’s no need to fix the Oscars, at least as far as the Academy and ABC are concerned. The ratings for Sunday’s telecast were huge. But those of us who wish for a better show can still try to come up with ideas for how the event can improve. My suggestion: they should embrace remakes. I don’t mean specifically honoring remakes, though 12 Years a Slave was basically the second remake in a decade to win Best Picture (and if Steven Spielberg really remakes West Side Story, maybe we can see a remake of a Best Picture win Best Picture). I mean more along the lines of recreating scenes from new and old movies specifically for the ceremony. Not a lot is different between the concepts of a remake and a recreated movie. The latter might be more faithful and intended for tribute, though. Examples may include the continued art of sweding and “parody” videos that have a loving approach and the popular attraction of live celebrity script-readings, whether cast with the original or new actors and actresses. In the middle group there have been such memorable instances as the Max Fischer Players renditions of the 1999 MTV Movie Awards nominees and this year’s separate instances of kids acting out the Best Picture contenders. 

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There’s a brief scene during the final throes of Getaway that is both thrilling to watch and impressive on a technical level. It’s a single-take POV, running roughly ninety seconds or so, of a car chasing another vehicle through early morning traffic. Neither dialogue nor film score distracts from the visual ride as the only sounds are the revving engine, the shifting gears, and an occasional squealing of brakes. The two cars weave at high speeds around morning commuters, narrowly avoiding collisions as they race through intersections, and for a minute and a half your eyes are glued to the screen enjoying a heart-racing few moments of beautiful simplicity. It’s not unusual for a film to save its highlight for the finale, but what makes this instance memorable is that it’s quite literally the only worthwhile scene in the entire movie. The improbably named Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is driving a heavily modified and recently stolen Ford Shelby Super Snake in a bit of a hurry. He’s not exactly sure where he’s headed, but he most assuredly knows why. His wife has been Taken kidnapped from their apartment in Sofia, Bulgaria, and now Magna has to follow the instructions of a voice on the car’s dashboard phone if he wants to get her back in one piece. The gravelly-voiced lady napper, a man whose mouth we see in close-up as he handles business from a night club, directs Magna in eluding police and damaging public property with no apparent goal […]

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getaway

The first trailer for director Courtney Solomon’s (Dungeons and Dragons) new action thriller, Getaway, was thoroughly ridiculousness. And not ridiculous in an over-the-top, gleefully insane way, but ridiculous in a baffling, who-thought-this-was-a-good-idea way. It presented us with a rock stupid plot wherein Jon Voight kidnaps Ethan Hawke’s wife and forces him to keep driving fast in some sort of senseless Speed recreation if he ever wants to get her back, it made us sit through a bunch of contentless exposition delivered in one of Voight’s silly accents, and, perhaps most ludicrously, it cast cherub-faced teen idol Selena Gomez as some sort of gun-toting street thug who goes around carjacking grown men. The second trailer for the film is pretty ridiculous too. Let’s get that out of the way up front. But it also takes some crucial steps in toning down many of the most head-scratching aspects of the first ad, and it even makes Getaway look like it could possibly be a big dumb action movie worth watching. Okay, it still features Voight doing one of his silly accents, but everything else is much better. Take a look.

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springbreakers-commentary1

Harmony Korine caused a bit of a stir with Spring Breakers. Not only did it feature former Disney Channel stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens cutting loose in a wild sequence of debauchery in Florida, it also touched on various taboo subjects like racism, rape culture, and adolescent violence. Korine gives his sometimes pretentious insight into his film on the DVD and Blu-ray commentary, describing the origins of the film in hedonistic modern American imagery from frat parties and real spring break excursions. Much of the filmmaking techniques are pretty obvious from watching the film, but he also offers stories from the set, including Gomez’s nervousness about the ever-present paparazzi and how he brought elements from his own colorful childhood into the film. The movie wasn’t for everyone, but Korine’s commentary adds to the notoriety with information that ranges from the esoteric to the rustic.

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getaway

Ethan Hawke has probably been having one of the best few weeks of his career. His latest collaboration with Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy, Before Midnight, has opened to rave reviews, he’s got a thriller called The Purge set to hit theaters while riding the momentum of the inexplicable buzz that’s been generated by its ad campaign, and now a trailer has debuted for his new movie, where he gets to live out his lifelong dream of working alongside Selena Gomez. Okay, Gomez hasn’t been acting for all that long, so maybe lifelong dream is overstating it, but she’s pretty popular with the young folk, so maybe Hawke’s kids are at least pretty excited to see their dad working alongside their idol? And if you’re a fan of movies where cars get driven really fast for no reason, things explode, and Jon Voight speaks with a silly accent, then maybe you’ll be excited for Getaway too. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to watch the trailer.

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William H. Macy

What is Casting Couch? It’s a voice of truth and honesty in a sea of April Fools’ pranks and lies. Only real casting news here, including what’s next for screen legend Peter Fonda. Our first two bits of news are about actors becoming directors and then giving jobs to other actors. It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all. First up is some news regarding William H. Macy’s directorial debut, a drama with music at its core called Rudderless. THR is reporting that this story about a father who stumbles across some of his dead son’s musical compositions and decides to start a band has just hired the high-powered quartet of Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez, and Laurence Fishburne. They’ll be joining the already-cast Felicity Huffman, as well as Macy himself, as he plans on pulling acting and directing double duty. Do you think that means we could get to hear him sing too?

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Where the Boys Are

The American independent cinema that came to form in the 1990s seems to carry fewer and fewer visionaries untainted by the magnetic promises of Hollywood success. Some directors have “used the system” to shell out sequels and remakes in exchange for passion projects, while others have said goodbye to independent production altogether. Love or hate his movies (assuming that watching them falls into either experiential category), Harmony Korine is an uncompromising enfant terrible and a connoisseur of gutter Americana, the likes of which are increasingly rare. Sure, ever since he became famous as a result of the publicity around his Kids screenplay, his personality has largely exceeded any attention it may have generated towards his filmmaking. But that’s part of the point. I won’t go so far as to call Korine’s public persona an “act,” but (genuine or calculated, as if it can’t be both) Korine notably and consistently performs a character that is unique and familiar: a person obsessed with superficial pleasures, who exercises instinct over contemplation, and who lives in a perpetual state of kinetic energy combined with a hazy experience of reality, yet at the same time acutely and perceptively finding aesthetic value in the lowest rungs of American culture. This latter aspect makes Korine an artist, but it’s the combination that makes him an enigma. It’s striking that Korine’s most mainstream work, Spring Breakers, is also one of his most ambiguous. Does the film force a generation built on the exchange of immediate pleasure, automatic celebrity, constant […]

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Harmony Korine

“Poetry” and “video games” aren’t two sensibilities we see meshed together in cinema often. Harmony Korine, perhaps one of the most divisive figures in the indie world of the past two decades, set out to do just that: make a poetic video game. When we spoke to him for his crime comedy, Spring Breakers, he told us how he wanted his movie to have the immersive quality of a game, where the viewer is actively participating. Based on the film’s reactions, both positive and negative, Korine definitely avoided anything coming close to a passive experience. Here’s what else the writer and director of Spring Breakers had to say about his latest work:

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Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers…is not the film people are expecting. Even cinephiles familiar with Harmony Korine‘s polarizing nature will be taken aback by the man’s newest creation. For one thing, it’s Korine’s most entertaining film to date, and “fun” isn’t exactly his forte. His usual strength is his willingness to write reprehensible people, and here, he shows them off with blinding neon lights, particularly James Franco sporting corn rows and a higher energy than he’s ever attempted before. Korine has made a movie about one of the scariest, funniest, and most subversive vacations in recent memory. The vacation involves four college girls: Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), and Cotty (Rachel Korine). This year they don’t want to stay in their small town for spring break again. They’re desperate to leave. So desperate that  Brit, Candy, and Cotty get the idea to rob a restaurant to fund their trip. They succeed, leading the four girls to a hellish place called “Florida.” Faith — the religious girl of the group — describes the place as spiritual to her grandmother both before and after Korine shows bros and bro-ish girls partying at their most obnoxious. Spiritual and peaceful this place, and film, are not.

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Spring Breakers

It feels like it’s been forever since we first learned that Disney princesses Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens were going to be working with Gummo director Harmony Korine in a movie that saw them committing crimes in their bikinis, but now the wait is almost over. Spring Breakers is set to roll out in New York and LA on March 15, and nationwide on March 22, so to celebrate the film has released a new red band trailer. Honestly, this new red band doesn’t feature much content that’s more explicit than what the film has shown us before. Mostly it just uses the F-word a lot. But the good thing about it is that it gives us more of a glimpse into the mind of James Franco’s drug dealer character, Alien. We learn about his dreams and desires, where he comes from and where he’s going. And, most importantly, we learn about what the rims on his car look like. Turns out, they look completely awesome.

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Spring Breakers

There’s finally a trailer for Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers, proving that it wasn’t just an elaborate hoax to turn paparazzi-style beach photos into a development story while watching media outlets figure out the best way to talk about girls in swimwear as if it was the greatest, sluttiest sin they could ever commit. Of course, since the movie isn’t out yet, that’s still a possibility. Every film festival audience is in on it. As if we haven’t been talking about it since what seems like the original spring break, the film stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Amber Benson and Rachel Korine in a tale of young women looking for excitement, robbing a restaurant, going to jail and getting bailed out by James Franco with a platinum grill. In other words, it’s America shoved into a projector, and it’s a good thing the full trailer is finally here because it does more to make the movie look exciting than any of the faux-titillating screen shots could:

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Bradley Cooper and American Sniper

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily movie news column that that wants to make you a star, baby. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe hasn’t said much about his next project. We don’t yet have a title or a plot synopsis for it. But what we do know is that it’s said to be similar in tone to things like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire, and it’s got Emma Stone playing a lead role (and it might just be a rewrite of his Deep Tiki script from years ago). So basically, expect something that lines up with Crowe’s best work and stars one of your favorite actresses. Sounds great. The new news regarding the project is that Crowe is reportedly close to finding his male lead. Deadline Hollywood says that he has his eye on Bradley Cooper, and he’s close to making a deal happen. Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a Cameron Crowe movie? Yeah, that should be enough to get the attention of every person of every gender and sexuality ever. Remember how we reported that Christopher Nolan’s regular DP, Wally Pfister, is going to be directing his first movie, it’s going to be called Transcendence, and it’s going to star Johnny Depp? Well, all of that stuff is still true, but the L.A. Times has dug up even more information. Turns out the film is actually going to have three leads, and Pfister is very game to get Christian Bale to sign on as number two of the three. Anyone out there want to see Johnny Depp […]

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Genndy Tartakovsky

Hotel Transylvania marks the feature debut of a renowned figure from the world of TV animation, Genndy Tartakovsky, whose work ranges from Samurai Jack to The Powerpuff Girls. Tartakovsky, for those of you who understandably don’t remember this lil gem of a movie, also did the opening prologue for Priest, by far the most ambitious part of that movie. Ambition is certainly something that shows through in a lot of Tartakovsky’s work. There’s an artistry to Samurai Jack work we don’t see in theaters, but Tartakovsky is hoping to change that. To start, he’s made Hotel Transylvania, which the director describes as the “ultimate issue of MAD Magazine.” With all the film’s monsters bolstering with small, playful details, a MAD Magazine reference is surprisingly apt for Hotel Transylvania. Here’s what the film’s director Genndy Tartakovsky had to say about that style of the film, the ups and downs of comedy, and why he isn’t preparing for Popeye by watching Robert Altman’s “classic” over and over again:

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Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania is an unrestrained, unabashed kids movie. Even with all the classic monsters involved, director Genndy Tartakovsky has no interest in joining this year’s ParaNorman in being unafraid to scare a few kids. Surprisingly, that happens to be Hotel Transylvania‘s most charming trait. As the classic mythology goes, Dracula (Adam Sandler) runs a high-end, invisible hotel for all his fellow monster buddies, from “Frankenstein” to the invisible man. It’s not exactly a business venture, though, as it was mainly created to keep his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), safe from the world of humans. Now, turning 118 years old, Mavis is coming of age and wants to explore the world, and Dracula will do everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen. With all the talk of humans, it’s no surprise one of them, Jonathan (Andy Samberg), actually turns up to both drive Dracula mad and fall in love with his daughter.

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Spring Breakers

Youthful angst. Is it a worthwhile topic? Maybe, but the ratio of excellent examinations to abject failures is a daunting one. Every writer who’s ever felt isolated in high school (read: every writer) has taken a stab at writing a story about the boredom of being young and unhappy, but few have captured it in a way that makes young people sound interesting. After Kids, Harmony Korine earned full faith and credit when it comes to the topic, but this first clip for Spring Breakers – featuring Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine - is about as exciting as watching the brown grass grow. What does it all mean, man?

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Hotel Transylvania

The first thing you notice in the new trailer for Hotel Transylvania is Adam Sandler doing his impression of Adam Sandler doing a vampire voice. It’s unmistakable, it’s annoying, and it’s a key argument against movie stars taking jobs from trained voice over actors. However, the feature directing debut from the remarkably talented Genndy Tartakovsky looks about as charming as they come. The plot is simple: Dracula creates a hotel haven for his monster pals (and to keep his daughter Mavis safe from the Hawaiian shirted humans), but a couch surfer stumbles upon their hideaway and proceeds to fall in love with the blood-sucker’s offspring. Some of the jokes are obvious – Kevin James’s character falls down a lot even in the world of animation – but it definitely shows potential. Check it out for yourself:

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Seeing as he’s largely built his entire career on doing stupid voices, it’s kind of strange that Adam Sandler hasn’t done more voice work. It seems like working in animation would work well with his approach to acting, which basically consists of showing up on set wearing shorts and a hoodie, and then looking into the camera and yelling something like “gobbledy-goo!” Give the man something more appealing to work with than 8 Crazy Nights, and animated movies could be the perfect way to utilize his talents. It’s probably too early to go jumping to conclusions, but the new trailer for Hotel Transylvania shows some indication that this might be that material. The big thing that Hotel Transylvania has going for it is that it was directed by the great Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars), and if this new ad is any indication, that’s going to translate into a lot of impressive visuals and attention to detail. The Gothic scenery here is certainly more pleasant to look at than the wall-to-wall product placement that we get in most Sandler movies, so that’s going to put this head and shoulders above something like Just Go With It right out of the gate. And somehow, hearing Sandler do a goofy Dracula voice alongside animated visuals is so much easier to digest than hearing him do a goofy lady voice while dressed in drag was in Jack & Jill.

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Game of Thrones Season 2

What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight it’s the column I’m filling in on as Neil Miller journeys to the mystical, frozen land of Chicago. It’s also a list of links to movie or entertainment related things that I either found interesting, noteworthy, or that involved super famous young girls from the Disney channel. Tonight we begin by getting a glimpse at the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. WinterisComing.net has a whole host of pictures from the second season that have reminded me of how much I like the show and reinforced the three reasons why I’m looking forward to new episodes so much: boobs, blood, and Brienne. Hopefully we’ll be getting a lot of each.

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Unless you happen to be from Chile, you might not have ever heard of director Nicolas Lopez. But chances are you soon will. After creating the top grossing Chilean films in both 2010 and 2011 with Que Pena Tu Vida and Que Pena Tu Boda, the director is next moving on to helm Aftershock, the newest film from Eli Roth. This one is a disaster movie that Roth and Lopez wrote together, and that Roth will be starring in. Apparently the idea for the film came to Lopez after his country was hit with a pretty bad earthquake back in 2010, but it’s got some of Roth’s horror sensibility in there as well. The story is largely about dangerous patients that escape an insane asylum after the quake. If horror fans have any sort of issue with getting some Lopez mixed in with their Roth, then maybe this awesome quote from the director will assuage your fears: “I was a fan of Cabin Fever and Hostel, and I love that we’re mixing our sensibility. People will be shocked when they see this movie. It’s nothing that you could expect. I want this to be my Robocop.” Anybody who doesn’t think their career is complete until they’ve made their Robocop is okay with me. Roth thinks he’s pretty okay too. When talking about his collaborator he said, “He has the incredible combination of commercial sensibility with an artistic eye, and what he has done here in Chile with their film industry […]

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The newest development in Selena Gomez’s career is by far the most insane. According to MTV, she’s going to be working with director Harmony Korine on his next film Spring Breakers. If you don’t know who Gomez is, she’s the sugary sweet teen idol best known either for coming out of the Disney factory of loud-talking and sassy tween actors or for dating a twelve-year-old kid named Justin Bieber. If you don’t know who Harmony Korine is, he’s the certifiable weirdo who’s responsible for directing movies like Gummo and Julian Donkey Boy, films that could be described as shock fodder at best, and pure exploitation at worst. Korine is always digging into the darkest facets of the human psyche and them gleefully shining a spotlight on the sick behavior that he finds. So, you know, this is pretty much a match made in heaven. Spring Breakers is about a group of college kids who rob a restaurant to get money to go on spring break, but eventually wind up jailed and at the mercy of a skeezy drug dealer. According to Gomez, “It’s a different character than I have ever played before. It’s a different kind of vibe I think than people are used to seeing me in. What you’re going to see is more raw, I think. It’s going to be raw and more about acting.” Of course, to Gomez’s young eyes this looks like a chance at credibility, but for us more seasoned film aficionados it looks more […]

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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