Happy 15th Birthday, BOOGIE NIGHTS

Hard to believe that P.T. Anderson’s Porn Industry opus Boogie Nights is celebrating the 15th Anniversary of its release today, in celebration, here we are running our Finite Focus post on one of the many classic scenes from the film.

From one of my absolute favorite films of all time, comes one of the best extended sequences in the film: the drug deal gone wrong. There are so many things going on in this scene all at once that should have the viewer holding their breath with anxiety. Before the scene even starts there is a tension in the air so thick that we know something bad is about to happen. We have three stupid guys about to do something really fucking stupid and they’re coked out of their minds to boot.

The two most glaring things that radiate in this scene are the aural cues. The overpowering, uncharacteristic soundtrack for a scene like this and the firecrackers exploding off screen. I love how the loud 80’s music is almost blasting out the dialogue and how the drug king (Alfred Molina) is totally oblivious to the obvious tension by the young visitors and meanwhile, in a David Lynchian sort of moment, he could care less about a Chinese kid, standing just out of frame lighting firecracker after firecracker, which is obviously getting nerves on edge (even more than they already are) of our young heroes.

Throw in a Marcelius Wallace type with a big frakkin gun who is just over their shoulder checking the bogus coke out while Molina’s character plays Russian Roulette for fun and talks about mixed tapes (a drug dealer’s version of Cusack’s talk in High Fidelity). Still the firecrackers continue.

Finally, Diggler (Wahlberg) just stares at the wall for what seem like forever while we listen to the mix tape, in full-blown, space-out mode before coming to his senses. Just as things look like we might get out of this little charade unscathed, Todd Parker does something really, REALLY stupid.

God, I love this scene…


Review: The Tempest


I supposed my reaction to Julie Taymor’s photographically bold, yet cinematicly flat rendition of William Shakespeare’s play could be summed up by comparing the performance of Alan Cumming from her previous film Titus to the one he yields here. In Titus, he is a campy-over-the-top force of nature, a pure delight of showmanship. In The Tempest, he is yawning his way through the inevitable march across the Hawaiian voclanic badlands with an equally subdued Chris Cooper and David Strathairn. Maybe the gory Grand Guignol of Titus was a more suitable fit than the more introspective, meta-ish nature of The Tempest for her particular sort-of-a-stage-production-sort-of-a-film style. Outside of the farcical comedic elements, Alfred Molina is at his bawdy best here, with Russell Brand providing somewhat consistent support, which seem to capture the best elements of Shakespeare’s ability to play to the back of the room, The Tempest merely makes me want to go back and revisit Peter Greenaway’s take on the Bard with Prospero’s Books, or for that matter, just re-watch Tarsem’s The Fall.
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Clips and Images for Taymor’s “The Tempest”

Which is really all I need to know I’m seeing this asap. Kind of a lover her or hate her director it seems, I personally love the visual flair and flavor of Taymor’s style. The only other director that is comparable in the original and fantastical look of their films is probably Tarsem.

I personally can’t wait for this adaptation. Taymor seems to like her Shakespeare and with Mirren, Whishaw, Cumming, Molina, Cooper and Strathairn, how can anyone not? Definitely in my most anticipated list of movies for December.

Collider was kind enough to let me steal all of their images and mash all of the clips into one long streaming experience of rad.

clip and more stills below the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 157 – Whoop-de-doo

This has got to be a record for one of the shortest shows we have ever done. But hey, when you have got these sort of “nothing but what is on the surface” types of films, that is often all you can do with the conversation. We do not even head into spoiler territory for the two films, Cop Out and 44 Inch Chest we review and discuss. There are, however, more than a few great DVDs (and Blu Rays) coming out this week and on the horizon: The Independent Spirit Awards, the Oscars, the new Tim Burton kajillion dollar Alice In Wonderland, and Roman Polanski’s latest, The Ghost Writer. Enjoy the brevity folks, because it is not going to last.


As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

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Full show notes are under the seats…
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UPDATE: Hurt Locker Still Leading Critics’ Awards. By a Long Shot

UPDATED: (01/05)Continuing into the new year, critics all across the country are placing their votes and announcing the “winners” of their picks for outstanding achievement in film in all of the usual categories. These are all precursors of course to the Oscars, with the pinnacle of those being The Golden Globe nominations which were announced in December.

Other than The Hurt Locker taking the spotlight in almost every case by a huge margin, early indications are not really all that surprising. George Clooney, current front-runner for a leading man Oscar leads mentions while Christophe Waltz is not surprisingly completely running away with it for his breakout role in Inglourious Basterds. Carrie Mulligan and Mo’Nique are also top winners so far in the leading and supporting actress categories respectively. Oh and even more surprising (at least to me, who hasn’t seen the film (update: I have now)), NY Critics give the best picture award to Avatar! Interesting.

Of course it’s still early, but other than The Hurt Locker taking home so many wins for best picture and best director, I’d say this is about as an exact replica of the Oscar ceremony as you’re going to see – at least for the five major categories.

Below are the Indiewire links to many of the critics choice awards around the country with the full results from the Boston and L.A. critics awards just for reference below that. Take a look below. See anything shamefully overlooked or is this about right? Does the uber-love for The Hurt Locker surprise anyone?

AWARDS and NOMINATIONS announced so far:
African-American Film Critics
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Austin Film Critics
Boston Film Critics
British Indie Awards
Broadcast Film Critics Awards
Chicago Film Critics
Cinema Eye Honors
Dallas-Fort Worth Critics
Detroit Film Critics
European Film Awards
Florida Film Critics
Golden Globes
Golden Satellites
Gotham Awards
Houston Critics
Int’l Doc. Assoc.
Indiana Film Critics
Las Vegas Film Critic
London Film Critics
Los Angeles Film Critics
National Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
New York Film Critics
New York Film Critics Online
Online Film Critics Society
PGA Awards
Phoenix Film Critics
San Diego Critics
San Francisco Film Critics
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Southeastern Film Critics
Spirit Awards
St. Louis Film Critics
Toronto Film Critics
Utah Film Critics
Washington D.C. Area Critics



Best Picture:
The Hurt Locker 11 wins (NY, LA, NSFC, Las Vegas, Austin, Satellites, Houston San Francisco, Boston, Gothams), 13 mentions (PGA, Globes, London, Online, BFCA, Utah, Southeastern, St. Louis, Detroit, African-American, NBR, Washington, NY Online)
Up In The Air 7 wins (Dallas, Florida, Southeastern, Utah, Indiana, NBR, Washington) 12 mentions (PGA, Globes, London, Online, Chicago, Dallas, African-American, BFCA, St. Louis, LA, Satellites, Detroit, NY Online)
Inglourious Basterds 3 wins (Toronto, Phoenix, San Diego) 14 mentions (PGA, Globes, BFCA, NSFC, Online, Chicago, Utah, Dallas, Southeastern, Detroit, NBR, Washington, NY Online)
Precious 1 win (African-American Critics) 10 mentions (PGA, Globes, Dallas, BFCA, Southeastern, St. Louis, Spirits, Washington, NY Online, Satellites)
Up 1 win (Detroit) 11 mentions (PGA, BFCA, African-American, Online Southeastern, Dallas, St. Louis, NBR, Washington, NY Online)
Avatar 1 win (NY Online) 5 mentions (PGA, Globes, London, Dallas, BFCA)
Moon 1 win (British Indie)
Hunger 1 win (Toronto)
A Serious Man 9 mentions (BFCA, Southeastern, Online, Chicago, NBR, Dallas, Gothams, NY Online, Satellites)
(500) Days of Summer 6 mentions (Globes, Southeastern, St. Louis, Spirits, Detroit, NBR)
An Education 6 mentions (PGA, BFCA, Dallas, St. Louis, NBR, Satellites)
The Messenger 4 mentions (Southeastern, NBR, NY Online, Satellites)
Fantastic Mr. Fox 4 mentions (Dallas, Southeastern, Indiana, NY Online)
Invictus 4 mentions (PGA, BFCA, St. Louis, NBR)

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker 14 wins (NY, LA, NSFC, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Southeastern, Houston, Satellites, NY Online, Washington, Las Vegas, Austin, Toronto) 6 mentions (BFCA, London, Online, St. Louis, Globes, Detroit)
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air 3 wins (Utah, Florida, Dallas) 7 mentions (Globes, Chicago, London, BFCA, Southeastern, St. Louis, Detroit, Washington)
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds 2 wins (Phoenix, San Diego) 6 mentions (Globes, Online, Chicago, BFCA, St. Louis, Detroit, Washington)
Lee Daniels, Precious 1 win (African-American) 4 mentions (BFCA, Spirits, Satellites, Washington)
Clint Eastwood, Invictus 1 win (NBR) 3 mentions (Globes, BFCA, Washington)
Spike Jonze, Where The Wild Things Are 1 win (Indiana) 1 mention (Chicago)
Andrea Arnold, Fish Tank 1 win (British Indie)
Pete Docter, Up 1 win (Detroit)
James Cameron, Avatar 4 mentions (London, Online, Globes, BFCA)

Best Actor:
George Clooney, Up in the Air 9 wins (NY, Dallas, Phoenix, Indiana, Florida, NBR, Houston, Southeastern, Washington) 9 mentions (Globes, Online, Chicago, SAGs, London, BFCA, St. Louis, Detroit, Satellites)
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker 5 wins (NSFC, Las Vegas, Chicago, Satellites, Boston) 8 mentions (SAGs, Online, Utah, Southeastern, Indiana, BFCA, St. Louis, Washington)
Colin Firth, A Single Man 4 wins (Austin, Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco) 7 mentions (Globes, SAGs, BFCA, LA, Spirits, Washington, Satellites)
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart 2 wins (LA, NY Online) 10 mentions (SAGs, Chicago, NSFC, Online, London, Globes, BFCA, St. Louis, Spirits, Satellites)
Morgan Freeman, Invictus 2 wins (African-American, NBR) 5 mentions (SAGs, Globes, BFCA, St. Louis, Washington)
Viggo Mortensen, The Road 1 win (Utah) 2 mentions (BFCA, Washington)
Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant 1 win (Toronto) 1 mention (NSFC)
Tom Hardy, Bronson 1 win (British Indie)
Matt Damon, The Informant! 4 mentions (Globes, Chicago, Detroit, Satelllites)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer 3 mentions (Globes, Spirits, Detroit)
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man 1 win (Satellites) 3 mentions (London, Globes, Chicago)

Best Actress:
Carey Mulligan, An Education 9 wins (NBR, Toronto, Dallas, San Diego, Utah, Chicago, Washington, Indiana, British Indie) 9 mentions (Globes, SAGs, London, Online, BFCA, St. Louis, LA, Detroit, Satellites)
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia 7 wins (NY, San Francisco, Phoenix, Boston, Satellites, Southeastern, NY Online) 12 mentions (Globes, BFCA, SAGs, NSFC, Online, Chicago, London, Indiana, St. Louis, Detroit, Washington)
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious 3 wins (Detroit, Florida, Las Vegas) 9 mentions (Globes, SAGs, Chicago, BFCA, Online, Southeastern, St. Louis, Washington, Spirits)
Yolande Moreau, Seraphine 2 wins (NSFC, LA)
Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds 1 win (Austin) 1 mention (Online)
Nicole Beharie, American Violet 1 win (African-American)
Shoreh Aghdashloo, The Stoning of Soraya M. 1 win (Satellites)
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side 4 mentions (SAGs, Globes, BFCA, Washington)
Abbie Cornish, Bright Star 4 mentions (Chicago, NSFC, London, Satellites)
Maya Rudolph, Away We Go 4 mentions (Chicago, Utah, St. Louis, Washington)

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Cinecast Episode 143 – An Education on Amputated Toes

Episode 143:
Welcome to another episode of the Cinecast. These Richard Kelly discussions are always fun to get into and we disagree vehemently on almost each one. Enter The Box into our lives. I chose to push the button, Kurt throws the damn thing out the window. It’s a good discussion. We also have sneak peeks of Fantastic Mr. Fox and An Education. We have weekly DVD picks and some of those good old-time conversational tangents as well. An “F” this week in the home-work assignment department as we forgot to dish one out – blasphemous after seeing An Education. Next week we will dive into the portal of time for Mayan scheduled disaster and cheese, we talk bit about Roland Emmerich and rationalizing anticipation for 2012.

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Bellucci and Cage in Love; It Must Be a Spell

Monica BellucciI haven’t been following this story but when news like this hits, I can’t help but wonder what the hell the movie world is coming to.

Maybe you’ve read news that Nicolas Cage is working on a new movie (or maybe you saw the god awful pictures) with his National Treasure bud Jon Turteltaub. It’s based on this poem (which the webs tell me is famous) titled “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” in which a sorcerer leaves his workshop in the hands of his apprentice who essentially decides to play at magic while the boss is gone only to lose control of the spells he concocts.

Turteltaub’s adaptation brings the action to modern day New York (not quite sure how that’s going to work out) and stars Cage as the sorcerer, Jay Baruchel as the meddling apprentice and it was announced a while back that Alfred Molina was also cast in the film as the evil sorcerer. That announcement caught my attention for all of five minutes but it’s recent news that Monica Bellucci had also been cast in the film that really got me geared up.

What on earth is she thinking? Nicholas Cage’s long lost love? Am I really to believe that a woman who looks this amazing would fall for a balding dude who can’t even control his protégé? For realz? Apparently that’s the case.

Not sold on this but I’m certainly more curious than I was before the announcement. Still doesn’t give me any hope in hell that this movie is going to be any better but we can be sure that Ms. Bellucci will be a marvel to look at.