The Way Back

For those new to the column: I’m tracing the formative events in my life that made me what I am today: A Special Effects Make Up Artist, searching for relevance in the 21st Century…At this point in my life, I am fourteen years old… Just off the corner of Royal Street and St. Ann Street in the French Quarter, there was a white building with green shutters framing tall windows. Stacked in the windows, peering out like eyeless sentinels were rows and rows of Don Post Monster Masks. No longer just two dimensional, black and white images in the back pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, they were there, in three-dimensions, painted in their garish colors. I was at the right place, alright: The Vieux Carre Hair Shop. Inside, two gentlemen greeted me. The first one was roughly thirty; he had a fringe of dark hair circling his baldpate and was mustached. This was Bob Saussaye. The other was a dapper older gentleman with a kind face; this was the owner of the store and Bob’s father, Herb Saussaye. Herb was more than the owner of the best-known theatrical wig and make up store in New Orleans. He was more than a knowledgeable make up artist. He was Willy Wonka, and I had just stepped into his factory.

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This Week in DVD

The winner of the Best Picture Oscar earlier this year, The King’s Speech, hits DVD today, and in an odd bit of congruence so does Gulliver’s Travels. This of course means the two films cancel each other out. Luckily there are several other titles to choose from including another fist-slapping winner from Donnie Yen (Ip Man 2), a compelling documentary about geometrically shaped fish (Square Grouper), a hilarious movie about the loss of a child (Rabbit Hole), an incredibly sad adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels, and more! And don’t forget that sequel to Street Kings you’ve been waiting for… Plus, if you see anything you like, you can click on the image to buy it directly from Amazon. Don’t worry. We can’t track what you buy, so you can snag Gulliver’s Travels without being mocked. Norwegian Ninja I’m not usually a fan of historical films because they’re often incredibly bland and lacking in truthiness, but this absurdly entertaining movie from Norway deftly avoids that trap. The true story of Arne Treholt involves him being convicted of spying in the eighties and sentenced to two decades behind bars, but the even truer story is that he was actually the leader of Norway’s secret defense force made up entirely of ninjas. Yes, really. They fought the good fight through the use of mad ninja skills, their love for animals, high tech gear, and a camp “protected by feng shui.” The film is lovably low-budget as evidenced by the excellent use of miniatures and […]

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray, always giving you the latest details on the hottest releases in the world of high definition home entertainment. This week it’s a group of critically acclaimed films, from last year’s Best Picture winner to a bleak tale from the legendary Ken Loach. There’s also a Jack Black movie, which cannot be counted among the critically acclaimed. And there’s one of Nicole Kidman’s finest performances to date. All in high definition, all reviewed as part of this week’s Blu-ray selection. The King’s Speech A lot of strong reactions were had to The King’s Speech taking home the Best Picture award on Oscar Night. But whether you thought it was deserving of the win, or you thought the Weinsteins had pulled off a great magic trick, there’s no doubting the fact that it belonged among the nominees. It’s a lively story of one man’s struggle to become the leader his nation needs, a Royal story that feels grounded and full of characters we are comfortable around, even to the point of liking them. At the very least, the Blu-ray will be beneficial because it contains the R-rated original cut of the film, not the PG-13 abomination that recently played in theaters. It’s also well-stuffed with extras, including a deeper look at the real Lionel Logue, as well as real speech reels that were given by King George. It’s History Channel stuff, but who doesn’t love the History Channel? This is an easy pick in an otherwise dull week.

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At the end of the 90s, famous Oscar show writer and Celebrity Fit Club contestant Bruce Vilanch claimed that, “Generally with the Oscars…there isn’t much you can do until the nominations are announced. Then you know what kind of year you’re dealing with – what’s been overlooked, what the issues are.” He was talking about preparing to write the show, but it applies to everyone from the directors, producers and stars on down to the fans. It’s fun to guess around the water cooler (your office still has a water cooler?), but until now, it’s all been speculation. Thankfully, almost all that speculation has been spot on, so we can all continue our conversations about whether Black Swan will beat The Social Network for Best Picture. Whether Natalie Portman has any true competition for Best Actress. Whether, most importantly of all, Colleen Atwood will beat Mary Zophres for Best Costume Design. Here they are. The 2011 Academy Award nominees:

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The Reject Report

Yeah. Now get that song out of your head. Good luck with that. When you’re done, head on out to see a movie. There isn’t much new to partake in this weekend, but, if you’re a big fan of Natalie Portman, Bruce Willis’ son, or Olivia Thirlby (we can just assume on that last one), then you might want to check out the lone candidate for new releases. You enjoy the rest of the report. I’m gonna continue to sing Pinocchio songs to myself.

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of December combing through Wikileaks, calling Cleo, and building balsa wood trailers to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in January. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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Hope springs eternal. As we round the bases of another year, it’s important to let the average and outright crappy slough off and realize that we’re all standing on the precipice of another year of movies. The future stretches out before us full of possibilities. That cheesy trailer you saw last week could end up producing your favorite film of the year. That epic blockbuster you’ve been waiting for could be bigger than you ever imagined. There’s hope for everything, but there’s also expectation, which is why Rob Hunter, Neil Miller and Cole Abaius painstakingly put together our list of the 30 Most Anticipated Films of 2011. It’s the stuff we’re most looking forward to this year, put together when our hope and optimism is at its peak.

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Back in 2006, book critic Barbara Scott claimed that “‘The Long Walk’ is so cinematic that you have to wonder why it has never been made into a movie.” That statement proved to be prescient because now that novel about a handful of prisoners crossing over the planet’s harshest terrain in order to see freedom has been turned into a film by the phenomenal Peter Weir. The director of masterful human stories like Master and Commander, Dead Poets Society, and Witness now has a trailer out there in the world for his latest – The Way Back. It looks treacherous and raw. It appears to be Man vs Nature in all its glory. See for yourself:

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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