At times, while watching Laura Poitras’ ‘Citizenfour’ (which premiered Friday night at the New York Film Festival) it feels like fiction. It feels like an almost lazy spy movie that uses clichéd tropes to present a world in which everyone and everything is being watched. But, this isn’t fiction. This is the story of Edward Snowden and it is terrifying in its paranoia.
Coinciding with New York Comic Con, Pixar is promoting its new short film, ‘Lava,’ that will play before the theatrical release of ‘Inside Out’ next June. ‘Lava,’ directed by James Ford Murphy, is the story of a lonely volcano who sings – in a style inspired by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ – in an attempt to find his one true love. It’s a sweet story that will garner attention as all the Pixar shorts seem to do – and can serve as a springboard for feature length animated films. How does one get an animated short approved by Pixar? Here, ‘Lava’ director James Ford Murphy explains the process, which started on a napkin.
In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‘Birdman’ (which will close the New York Film Festival this weekend and, I'll add, is my favorite movie of the year), Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a veteran actor whose biggest claim to fame is that he used to be in a series of superhero movies. Now, Riggan is attempting to make his comeback by staging a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story. It’s been lost on no one that Michael Keaton also used to be in a series of superhero movies and hasn’t had the most prolific output over the last 15 years – and is, now, making a comeback (of sorts) with ‘Birdman.’ For his part, Michael Keaton is distancing himself from this comparison, telling New York Magazine, “I related less to him than almost every other character I’ve played, in terms of the desperation.”
It’s hard not to root for a guy like Dean Norris. After years of being a character actor in everything from ‘Terminator 2’ to ‘Police Academy 6: City Under Siege,’ everything changed after Norris was cast as an Albuquerque DEA agent named Hank Schrader in what would become one of the most successful television series of all time, ‘Breaking Bad.’ Funny thing, as Norris explains, when you play a guy like Hank, well, the
Luke Evans looks good in a cape. And I get the impression that Luke Evans knows that he looks good in a cape, though, the trick is, as he says, a good wind machine. This is now life for Evans, an admittedly private actor who is starring in what seems to be just about everything these days. I asked Evans if he can walk down the street without being mobbed, to which he responded that, outside of a stray fan every few blocks or so, he can still walk around in general obscurity. Soon after this interview, I left Evans’ hotel and was greeted by an almost block-wide spread depicting Evans as Dracula ... you know, those mobs might be coming sooner rather than later.
‘Gotham’ continues to be a laugh out loud hilarious show, even though it’s not really designed to be funny. As we’ve said, ‘Gotham’ would be best just to stop pretending that it’s a serious show and just own the fact that it’s almost as campy as its ‘60s era ‘Batman’ counterpart. On this week’s episode of ‘Gotham,’ a villain, played by former ‘Daily Show’ correspondent Dan Bakkedahl, terrorizes Gotham City with balloons. Here are the 17 moments on ‘Gotham’ that made me laugh out loud.
The energy level from last week’s ‘SNL’ season premiere wasn’t quite there with Saturday night's Sarah Silverman hosted effort. It was almost like last week felt like “we’ve got a cast we’re proud off; let’s show it off!” and this week was almost a little more experimental. (I realize, most likely, none of this was intentional.) Silverman was good in the respect that it at least appeared she was certainly trying, but sometimes stumbled over some lines (hosting ‘SNL’ isn’t easy!) and she would go back and forth from looking, at times, confident – obviously she was comfortable doing her standup act in the monologue -- and, at other times, looking a little off ... which all seems really reasonable. Oh, hey, here’s a scorecard for your Sunday morning...
It’s a weird thing, I can already tell that ‘Inherent Vice’ will grow on me after time. I can already tell I like it better as I type this than I did while watching it. People will compare ‘Inherent Vice’ to the Coen brothers’ 1998 movie ‘The Big Lebowski’ and that’s totally fair because I’m going to do just that right now. Both films feature protagonists – with an affinity for marijuana use – who experience a remarkable adventure while searching for something that doesn’t matter. Sixteen years later, Mickey Woolfman means about as much as the money for a urine-soaked rug. It matters to the character but it never really matters much to us and, in both of these cases, we wind up being right.
On Thursday, Fox launched a new website called The River of Secrets in which people are encouraged to submit personal information about his or her loved one all in an effort to help promote the movie ‘Gone Girl.’ Sites like this already exist, but there is something hypnotizing about watching a human being’s greatest fears and concerns (or a public relations staffer’s best guess what someone’s greatest fear or concern might be) floating upstream into Internet oblivion.
Nic Cage is in a new movie that opened today called ‘Left Behind.’ There’s already a movie called ‘Left Behind’ that starred Kirk Cameron and this movie is probably a lot like that one, only Nic Cage is in it now. ‘Left Behind’ details the biblical rapture and what it would be like if the rapture happened while Nic Cage was piloting a commercial airliner. If ‘Left Behind’ was screened for critics, I wasn’t invited. So, on Friday morning I paid to see ‘Left Behind’ in the Kip’s Bay area of Manhattan. While watching ‘Left Behind,’ I kept a running diary. Here’s how that all went…