Bill Maher's segment on "25 Things You Didn't Know About Ted Cruz" is a classic

I haven't laughed this hard since I don't know when ... Although I will be watching Keanu tonight and I do hear it is funny. This is dead-on comedy writing and Maher always has great timing.

Anthony Weiner as Carlos Danger

"My jaw dropped more than a few times while watching Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s Weiner, a behind-the-scenes account of Anthony Weiner’s rise and fall. The film is an examination of how this New York congressman, a front-runner for mayor of NYC, single-handedly shot himself in the foot and got involved in a sex scandal of the highest proportions, by not only getting caught once, but a few other times, thus sabottaging a perfectly constructed campaign by his team. It is not only a story about the times we live in, but a scathing depiction of the mdeia and today’s political landscape." An Excerpt from my Sundance 2016 Review

`Captain America: Civil War is one of the better superhero movies, but aimed primarily for the ADD crowd

Coming out of this morning`s screening at the Bank Scotia theater I was exhausted by the 150 minutes movie that was Civil War. It`s actually the lengthiest Marvel movie yet. So much stuff is jam-packed into this film, both good and bad, that some of the better moments get quickly forgotten once the next showstopper hits.  I don`t mind that, because this movie solely exists as a marketing entertainment, but I wish it somehow had time to just pause, refresh, reboot, breath before the next action battle comes. Thus is the problem with super-hero movies, they are marketed for teenagers, millennials if you will, and they are the generation with the shortest attention span ... ever. No, really, ever since we have existed as species there has never been a poorer attention-spanned bunch of young adults that today. It will only get much worse I fear, but that primarily explains why so much action is packed into this and many, many other superhero movies. The studios and filmmakers fear the audience will quickly get bored, something has to happen or else we`ll lose them. Sad state of affairs if you ask me. Captain America: Civil is entertaining, but it barely has time to pause and have a concrete narrative happening. It's problem-action-problem-action throughout, at some point you have to ask yourself am I watching a movie or am I being inserted into a video game?

Bret Easton Ellis decides to direct

"American Psycho"
Bret Easton Ellis has been active in cinema in the last couple of years, even if he hasn't been behind the camera himself. His screenwriting attempts for Paul Schrader's "The Canyons" starring Lindsay Lohan and Gregor Jordan's "The Informers" (which was based on his own book), didn't turn out so hot. Aside from those films, Ellis has been pretty quiet on the cinematic front, opting instead for his books to be adapted by various directors.
Some of these adaptations have been very successful, such as "American Psycho," which has become a cult classic over the years, with director Mary Harron sharpening the satire that made the novel so brilliant (a musical based on the book opened on Broadway last week). Ditto "Less Than Zero," a film that was met with lukewarm reviews in 1987 but has aged very well and features one of Robert Downey Jr.'s best performances. Then there are less successful adaptations, like 2002's "The Rules of Attraction" featuring then heartthrob James Vander Beek in a then-new bad boy guise, though no one seemed to care.
But Ellis will get to call the shots when he gets rolling on his directorial debut. He's set to helm "The Deleted," a thriller about the disappearance of three people in Los Angeles that parallels the story of a group of paranoid twenty-somethings who have just escaped a cult. It is not an adaptation of any of his prior writings and will instead be based on an original screenplay.
"The Deleted" will be released as a series for the streaming serviceFullscreen, which just launched today and will set you back $4.99 per month.

The Shining shot-for-shot remake with figurines

Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" doesn't sound like the most obvious choice for a shot-for-shot remake staged with figurines. But in execution? It kinda works!
Hip-hop artist Aesop Rock is set to release his seventh studio album The Impossible Kid on Friday, but before it drops, the album is being shared in its entirety, presented via a shot-for-shot remake of Kubrick's 1980 horror masterpiece starring, you guessed it, cute, creepy miniature dolls. Directed by Rob Shaw, the 48-minute movie is entirely watchable, especially with Aesop Rock's album serving as a soundtrack.
It would seem that even 36 years after "The Shining" was first released, Kubrick's film continues to have a major impact on pop culture (also see the season finale of "Girls"). Turn up your speakers and watch.

FX's 'Fargo' Creator Noah Hawley To Direct Sci-Fi Feature ‘Man Alive’

The Playlist

FX's 'Fargo' Creator Noah Hawley To Direct Sci-Fi Feature ‘Man Alive’

The PlaylistBy Jordan Ruimy | The PlaylistApril 24, 2016 at 4:53PM

We all had our doubts when we first heard that Joel and Ethan Coen's masterpiece "Fargo" was going to get adapted for the small screen, but if you've yet to catch up on the FX show that bears the same name, then you are quite possibly missing out on the best TV series since "Breaking Bad." The first season was a home run, and the second season was a near-miracle of multiple moving parts. The ambition and sheer scope of the series is groundbreaking. We still have a few unanswered questions from the last season that will likely remain unanswered, but that's part of the “Fargo" TV charm. It casts a dark, almost miraculous spell thanks to its writing, acting, directing, cinematography, music and set design, which are all spot-on and in sync with its creator's artistic vision.
The aforementioned creator is Noah Hawley, also the writer and executive producer/showrunner of the series. While Season 3 is expected to premiere in 2017, in the interim, Hawley will be making his feature-film directorial debut in "Man Alive," which was just acquired by 20th Century Fox in what is being described as a six-figure deal.
Little is known about "Man Alive," but Deadline reports it to be based on an “elevated sci-fi” screenplay from New Jersey native and newcomer Joe Greenberg. Hawley is definitely not an amateur when it comes to sci-fi, as the last season of "Fargo" dealt with an increasingly mysterious narrative that involved the supernatural.
Hawley has several projects in development via his overall deal with FX, including the X-Men-themed pilot "Legion." He will also be tackling Kurt Vonnegut as writer and executive producer for a mini-series adaptation of the late author's 1963 novel, “Cat’s Cradle” — definitely an ambitious task as translating Vonnegut to the big screen has never been an easy ride for anybody who's attempted it. [Deadline]

"The Diary of a Teenage Girl" Director To Helm Feature Version Of Historic Gay-Rights Doc ‘The Case Against 8'

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Marielle Heller had one hell of a directional debut last year with "The Diary Of A Teenage Girl" (our review), a formulaic title for a startling movie, which dealt with adolescence, but more importantly reflected growing up female in our modern day and age (even if it was set in the '70s). Heller fearlessly showcased the awkward bits of growing pains through a distinctly female lens and a strong voice. The images that she crafted were from her own pure imagination, and we knew she would be a talent to track.
Thus the 36-year-old director was chosen as one of The Playlist’s 20 directors to watch in our On The Rise series last year, and her early promise appears to be paying off. She's turned out to be a hot commodity in the industry, even directing episodes of the critically acclaimed series "Transparent." But now she may have just nabbed her biggest ticket yet.
Heller is set to write and direct a feature-film adaptation of the HBOdocumentary "The Case Against 8," an in-depth doc about the fight to overturn California's ban against same-sex marriage (that we called one of the best documentaries of 2014). The expertly crafted film followed the attorneys that represented the couples who took Prop 8 to court and eventually to the Supreme Court. It was a historic civil-rights battle that had the entire country paying close attention to the legal rights at stake.
20th Century Fox will also partner along with a first-look deal and the rights to produce and finance the whole project, which sounds like it will be right up the Academy's alley come Oscar-time. Heller is also in talks to direct Daisy Ridley in the J.J. Abrams produced Fantasy thriller "Kolma" based on the 2003 Israeli TV movie "All I've Got.” Almost every studio in Hollywood has tried to court Ridley for a post-“Star Wars” role, but it seems like she's chosen Heller's film. Suffice to say, many doors have opened for the up-and-coming filmmaker, and those opportunities don't look like they'll be stopping anytime soon.  [THR]

My Ethan Hawke interview for Born to be Blue

If there was ever any doubt about Ethan Hawke's ability to act, its gone by the time you watch Born to Be Blue, a biopic about Chet Baker's life and career, courtesy of Québecois director Robert Budreau. Whenever you have the looks or the charisma, people tend to take your acting skills for granted, but Hawke genuinely is a great actor.

Born to Be Blue has him playing Baker, the famous jazz trumpeter who was compared, back in the day, to being a "James Dean for jazz." It was a heavy duty comparison, and Baker definitely couldn't handle it all.

Hawke explains it this way, "Chet Baker fascinated me because he was a man full of contradictions. He grew up in a farm in California, he became the James Dean of Jazz in California, he sang beautiful love songs. He also had some major personal issues. It's the music he created that attracts you to the man and his life."

The movie showcases the usual tropes of such bio pics: alcoholism, drugs, womanizing. The difference here is that Budreau really twists the narrative around and has Baker starring in a movie about himself, playing himself and reconstructing the key moments of his life.

"I quickly learned that Robert Budreau wanted to make the same movie as I envisioned," Hawke tells me, sitting on a couch in his hotel lobby. "It's so easy to fall into the same, tired cliches."

The film set footage is mixed with Baker off set, struggling with his demons. The lines between reality and fiction blur at some point, but it's all part of the thrill of watching this fascinating movie.

"Chet never lied when he sang. There was something very honest about him," Hawke said. "If I had played Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald or any big voice of Jazz, it would have been much more difficult to pull off, but with Chet what's most touching is his voice, it's the cool energy that you feel when he sings."

The same can be said of the movie, which tries to be an honest portrayal of the legendary Jazz artist, a man whose soft, yearningly soulful singing voice could encapsulate many feelings through the whisper of a note.

We spoke to Hawke last September at The Toronto Film Festival about the movie.

TYF: Do you think addiction helps or hurts artists’ creativity?

Ethan Hawke: Speaking directly about Chet Baker, what he really wanted was what he considered a jazz life – he wanted to do drugs and play music. He liked that more than his relationship with his friends and family and that’s kind of what he wanted to do. In truth, the habit in us talks very loudly and it’s very hard to hear your own voice. Anybody that’s tried to quit smoking, it’s like there’s a little demon, and one of the demons for a lot of people is their own self-worth. I don’t believe that the drugs helped Chet Baker play, I believe that he believed they did.

In sports we see this as cheating, in music we sometimes see it as the essence of the creative process

Well, in sports there are rules. Lance Armstrong cheated because they have a race where you’re not allowed drugs.

First of all, I don’t think drugs enhance anybody’s performance anyway in the arts, while in sports obviously they do. Peter O’Toole thinks he’s a better actor when he’s shitfaced drunk, but he’s not. Unfortunately he developed a habit where his anxiety is so loud that he can’t perform without it. I had a friend who directed Elizabeth Taylor and he said she had this opinion that she was better when she was drunk. She wasn’t, it’s just that she was less nervous. And she enjoyed it more drunk.

Do you think there’s a romanticism about suffering for one’s art

I think people think that. I think that society tries to homogenize all of us and through pain, sometimes you see the fakeness of culture. That’s why so many great artists have been homosexual, that’s why there have been so many great black artists. Through immense suffering you can see what’s fake and you can talk back to the culture.

That leads to the notion of authenticity. One of the challenges Chet had was he was part of the dominant culture, entering in to a subculture where he was a minority and his self-consciousness of that fact. Even Chet would think this would be better told as Miles’s story.

Chet won jazz trumpeter of the year or something from Downbeat Magazine or something like that, and he told Miles that he wanted to write a letter of apology to Davis, to Cliff Brown and I guess Louie Armstrong or something. Miles said, “Why would you stop there? The list of people better than you is so long.” When they were playing together in a club somebody put a Chet Baker record on in the jukebox and Miles wouldn’t play unless they opened the jukebox, took the record out, and broke it.

So why do we care about Chet if musically as you say, people like Miles are conceivably superior – what is it about Chet’s personage and his art?

Because superior in the arts is a ridiculous word actually, because really whether he’s better, he had something original to say too. They both did. Miles is definitely better, but I put on more Chet Baker records myself, because I’m moved by them. That’s the thing about Chet’s singing, is that it’s not good, but it is moving.

Moving because it’s authentic?

Because it has real emotion and it has some truth to it. Yeah, authentic. Chet Baker can really only do one thing, but he could do it brilliantly.

How hard is it to bring to screen that ephemeral notion of music, the subtlety of it all?

All I could really do is bring a love of it. When I was doing my trumpet lessons I just wanted more time. I wanted to push shooting and had all of this stuff I wanted to do. This guy who was my teacher was like, listen, if we had three years, you wouldn’t be close.

You know, when Willie Nelson plays the guitar, it’s different. There are millions of guitars all over the world, this one guy picks it up and he can do something you can recognize, it has a voice. Chet Baker had that with the trumpet, and so did Miles Davis, obviously. That’s so unique and so beautiful, but I can’t do that. Will Smith can’t box like Muhammad Ali, but he can play the love of boxing. I can play the love of trumpet, and I can communicate the feeling that there was one avenue where this guy put all of his love, all of his humanity, and he couldn’t get out and reach his family and other people. I have known that in my life.

Summer movie preview 2016

Summer is right around the corner, which means it's that time of the year again where we look at what is to come in the next four months. We chose the 17 studio movies that seem to have the most potential out of the more than 100 titles that will be coming out between the first week of May and the last week of August. Just like the last few summers, original ideas are sparse and seem to take a backseat for adapted material. Thirteen of the seventeen movies we chose are either sequels, video-game or comic book adaptations, or reboots. No matter, they still have expectations on their back and the thought of failure is not an option for these high-budgeted movies. What about the other 4 films you ask? They're the ones eyeing Oscar gold come next year, although we're sure that they wouldn't mind making money as well.

Captain America: Civil War (May 6)
Kicking off Summer Movie Season 2016 is also the movie I'm betting will make the most money at the box office this summer. Even if you were sick and tired of the superhero genre you might have enjoyed the last Captain America movie, 2014's The Winter Soldier, which was heavily influenced by the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s in style and tone. It earned rave reviews from critics and made more than 170 million dollars at the box office, but it was on home video that it really hit big, garnering a whole new following and raising expectations to sky-high levels for its sequel, Civil War. If we just recently saw Batman face-off against Superman earlier this year, then this new Captain America movie will have its own epic battle of superheroes, as Iron Man and Captain America will rumble out their egos and heroes will be forced to pick and choose sides. It's already being called Avengers 2.5 by some.

Party Monster (May 13th)
Jodie Foster directs George Clooney and Julia Roberts in this Wall Street kidnapping movie. Rumor has it that it will play at the Cannes Film Festival this May, which bodes well for the film's quality. In it, Clooney plays a Wall Street guru and Roberts a TV producer, both of whom get taken hostage by a frustrated investor played by Unbroken star Jack O'Connell. The cast is uniformly great, but if there is anything to be concerned about it's Foster, a two-time Oscar winning actress, directing her fourth feature-film, the last three of which (Little Man Tate, Home For The Holidays, and The Beaver) didn't get noticed much and garnered mostly mixed reviews from critics. In a summer of overstuffed CGI extravaganzas, noble respect must be given to Foster for trying to make a movie about - shock - real human beings.

The Nice Guys (May 20)
Writer-director Shane Black started off his career writing the first two Lethal Weapon movies, but it wasn't until 2005 that he had his directorial debut with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and then got promoted to directing Iron Man 3. His struggle to get final cut in Iron Man 3 must have turned him off from superhero movies because he is back in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang territory with The Nice Guys. Starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, the film is a buddy movie that has our two leads trying to solve the case of a missing girl in 1970s Los Angeles. What they instead get is a conspiracy that reaches to the highest powers of government. The trailer seems to indicate that it has the same comedic vibe as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and if the cast is any indication, the quality will be similar, if not better.

X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)
The Last time we saw Professor Xavier's mutants, they were playing a game of time travel in the terrific, twisty X-Men: Days Of Future's Past. Bryan Singer is back at the director's chair as evil baddie Apocalypse awakens from a long sleep to try and wreak havoc on the world. No mind-bending time travel here, though. This new X-Men is all about Raven and Xavier leading their young batch of mutants to the battle field to beat Apocalypse. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence return in their roles, but the addition of Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse is what has us most excited. Isaac has turned into a hot commodity as of late with his star turns in Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year, Ex-Machina, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The 37-year-old actor is the real deal and maybe even a future Brando for the movies. Watching him dish it out alongside such great actors as Fassbender and Lawrence will surely be worth the price of admission.

Warcraft (June 10)
If Warcraft were directed by a Hollywood hack then it sure wouldn't be mentioned here, but because the director at the helm is Duncan Jones attention must be paid. Jones, the late David Bowie's son, has garnered attention with his first two movies (Moon and Source Code), mindbenders that introduced a bracingly new, talented voice. He is given the biggest budget of his career in Warcraft, which is based on the popular video-game series. Set in the world of Azeroth, the film will deal with the war between humans and Orc warriors. Are your eyes rolling yet? They shouldn't be. With a budget of well over 100 million dollars, the trailer promises some of the same visual wizardry Jones delivered in his previous films.

Finding Dory (June 17)
Pixar is back with yet another summer movie, this time around it's a sequel to their 2003 classic Finding Nemo. Andrew Stanton, who wrote and directed the original, returns at the helm of what will surely be one of the biggest, most successful movies of the summer. One look at the trailer and you are in awe of the humor, the glorious colors being used and the state of the art animation, which is why we loved Finding Nemo in the first place. Taking place six months after the events of Nemo, the story finds Dory on her own mission to find her family alongside besties Nemo and Marlin. New characters are brought into the mix. If the premise gives you a sense of deja-vu all over again, you're not the only one getting that feeling, but trust Pixar, they tend to exceed expectations with almost every new movie they release.

Free State Of Jones (June 24)
Here's comes a full-fledged Oscar frontrunner. Gary Ross' first three films as director demonstrated his ability to bring out artful entertainment within the Hollywood studio system with Pleasantville, Seabiscuit and The Hunger Games. In Free State of Jones, Ross has Matthew McConaughey's Newton Knight lead a band of local African-American slaves in battle against the confederacy near the end of the American civil war. Sparks will fly, but so will Oscar buzz as this might just be the epic that will get awards pundits talking this summer.

The BFG (July 1)
Steven Spielberg's latest film is based on Roal Dahl's classic children's novel of the same name. BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant as played here by recently Oscar-ized Spielberg player Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies). Sophie, a young girl played her by Ruby Barnhill, befriends the BFG as they set out on an adventure to conquer the evil that is setting the human world on fire. This is Spielberg going back to E.T. territory, the roots of what made him such a household name in the first place. In fact, he hasn't really delved in Children's lit since, 1991's Hook? Things have changed since then, Spielberg has matured as a filmmaker, with such immensly satisying works like Minority Report, Lincoln, Munich and Bridge of Spies, he might presently be at the career peak of his powers.

The Legend Of Tarzan (July 1)
We all know about the "legend" of Tarzan, but you can rest assured it's never been told in this fashion before. Directed by David Yates, The Legend of Tarzan uses the most sophisticated CGI necessary to fashion what will quite arguably be the most realistic depiction of the "King of the Jungle" yet. The assembled cast is astounding: Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Margo Robbie, and Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan. The story takes place years after Tarzan decided to leave the jungles of Africa and gentrify himself in London society. Of course, he makes a comeback when a conspiracy starts to develop against him. The budget for this one was reported to be in the upwards of 200 million dollars.

Ghostbusters (July 15)
We all remember the 1984 original which had the impeccable chemistry between Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis, it would be impossible to replicate what those guys, alongside director Ivan Reitman, created with what was essentially a B-movie screenplay. The idea of a reboot didn't seem so pleasing until it was announced that an all-female cast would take over and that this cast would include funny women Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Sold. An extra plus is that Paul Feig, who's directed McCarthy in her three best films (Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy) will be at the helm. Suddenly, our expectations have skyrocketed.

Star Trek: Beyond (July 22)
The first two Star Trek movies were so good that the bar has been raised for this third film. However, skepticism did emerge when J.J. Abrams, director of those films, passed on his chair to Justin Lin, known for directing Fast and the Furious films. A backlash was bound to happen, except people don't realize that Lin is a Trekkie himself and, in interviews, seems to have unlimited respect for the franchise: "I feel like we have the goods in a two-hour run and you really do get to know the characters and hopefully the journey is great. I wanted us to be bold, I wanted us to take chances and hopefully in a minute and a half we are able to convey that". The main cast is back in "Star Trek Beyond", but will the magic still be there? Abrams was a master at crafting action set-pieces, but will Lin be able to follow suit and prove himself to be the real deal?

Jason Bourne (July 29)
Here's one of my most anticipated summer movies for 2016. There has been no average Bourne/Damon movie. They've all been brilliant, encompassing smart thrills with an unequivocally relevant political landscape. Paul Greengrass directs what will quite possibly be the best blend of blockbuster and art this season. You can credit Greengrass ("Bourne", "United 93", "Bloody Sunday" and "Captain Phillips") for breaking new ground and, for better or for worse, introducing a shaky, hand-held camera style in the action genre. Also, check out this new cast joining Damon and Greengrass: Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel and newly Oscar-ed Alicia Vikander.

The Infiltrator (July 15)
During the '80s, a DEA agent by the name of Robert Mazur went undercover and became an important player with some of the top drug lords. Of course Mazur's piece de resistance would be when he went undercover within Pablo Escobar's circles and uncovered a money laundering scheme that would forever change the drug business. Directed by Brad Furman ("The Lincoln Lawyer") the big draw in "The Infiltrator" is without a doubt Bryan Cranston, an actor who stands tall as one of the very best in Hollywood today. His portrayal of Mazur might nab him another Oscar nomination.

Suicide Squad (August 5)
Rumors of re-shoots and numerous cuts have plagued the post-production of director David Ayer's much anticipated "Suicide Squad". That will probably not prevent millions from buying a ticket to what promises to be delicious counter-programming to the usual D.C. Comics movie releases. One look at the trailer and you are delighted by the meta-heavy tone of the film. However, it's Jared Leto's Joker that will likely cause the biggest talk. The notorious method actor seems to have taken a page out of the late Heath Ledger's book and transformed himself into the Clown Prince of Crime. This will surely be a performance you won't want to miss.

The Founder (August 5)
Michael Keaton has starred in the last two Best Picture winners ("Birdman" and "Spotlight"). "The Founder", directed by John Lee Hancock, is his best chance at a trifecta. The storyline is juicy enough, having Keaton portray Ray Kroc, the man who took control of the McDonald's chain from original owners Mac and Dick McDonald, is a stroke of genius. Kroc bought the restaurant for 2.7 Millions dollars back in 1961 and, the rest is, as they say, history. The Weinstein Company is producing the movie, which means, if reviews are positive, you can rest assured this will take part in next year's Oscars.

Pete's Dragon (August 12)
It was 3 years ago that David Lowery was the toast of the town at the Sundance film festival with "Ain't Them Bodies Saints". That film was a hypnotic mesmerizer that had critics joking it to be a better Terrence Malick movie than the actual Malick movie we got the year before "To The Wonder". One look at the trailer of "Pete's Dragon" and you notice the smaller, more intimate moments in this otherwise gargantuan CGI-fest. The poetic eye that got Lowery all those raves in the first place. The emphasis on the beauty of nature all seen through the eyes of a child named Pete, who happens to have the most exotic of imaginations and a dragon as a best friend.

Charles Ferguson's "Time to Choose"

Watch: Celebrate Earth Day With Powerful Trailer For Climate Change Documentary 'Time To Choose'
The PlaylistBy Jordan Ruimy | The PlaylistApril 22, 2016 at 4:24PM

Documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson? shows no fear when it comes to tackling controversial subject matter, with the director taking on the Iraq war with "No End In Sight" in 2007 and the economic crash with 2010's Oscar winning "Inside Job." Both are in depth, incendiary works, and showcased a real no-nonsense finesse for the craft of non-fiction feature filmmaking.
Next on Ferguson's plate was an ultimately abandoned CNN documentary about current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It seems like the Clintons had no interest in seeing the wholesome, well managed image they have built over the years touched up upon by Ferguson. The director later toldHuffington Post, "...nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans – and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration." Given the current political climate are any of us that surprised by the Clintons' reaction?
Ferguson hasn't let the failure of that project diminish his ambitions. Narrated by Oscar Isaac, "Time to Choose" tackles another timely and relevant subject, climate change, with Ferguson traveling from Appalachian coal country to Nigerian oil fields all the way to Indonesian rain forests to show us just how drastic and dangerous the environmental situation has become. “We do have a clock in front of us" the trailer warns, but it's not too late, as there are still possible solutions, but acting swiftly is the only way to combat this very real enemy. 
The film had its debut at last year's Telluride Film Festival, where it received positive notices from critics, and it will open on June 3rd in select theaters. Watch the trailer, two clips, and talk with the director below.

A24 is dropping the ball on the masterful Krisha

Krisha is the best move released so far this year. It has an 87 Metacritic score and 96% RT score, YET there has been no promotion and has barely left the usual L.A, NY, Chicago metro areas. What gives? Well a little emailing here and there and I found out that its distributor A24 has no intention to push the film. They signed a two-pic deal with its director Trey Edward Shults as a way to get the second film he will direct. They don't care about Krisha. Grave mistake, Krisha is a masterpiece. I do hope they change their minds and go on forward by distributing it properly. My fellow critic from the Miami Herald groaned "It hasn't even opened here! They're all about Green Room right now and hinting at De Palma". No disrespect to Green Room, one of the best films of the spring, but A24 needs to get their act together and promote the visionary, masterful Krisha.

Cannes 2016 lineup good to go

Anything surprising here? I am very much looking forward to this lineup, but no Scorsese, Malick or Beatty? A little disappointing, but not the end of the world. We are likely going to have a great year this year. Also the Director's Fortnight lineup looks just great with new films by Kim Nguyen, Jodorowsky, Paul Schrader among many many many more. The special screenings this year will be Spielberg's The BFG, Jodie Foster's Money Monster and Shane Black's The Nice Guys, really just no complaints on my part. Glad I'll be there on May 11th.


Opening Film

Andrea ARNOLD (United-Kingdom)
Xavier DOLAN (Canada)
Bruno DUMONT (France)
Ken LOACH (United-Kingdom)I, DANIEL BLAKE
Brillante MENDOZA (Philippines)
PARK Chan-Wook (South Korea)AGASSI
Paul VERHOEVEN (Netherlands)ELLE

Cafe Society poster is a beauty

"The Meddler" is Susan Sarandon's best performance in 20+ years

From my TIFF AwardsDaily review 9.16.15
"You heard me right. Sarandon’s performance as a middle aged, eccentric, neurotic, Jersey mom that moves to L.A. is hilariously spot on. The premiere had many industry people eating up every line delivered by Sarandon. When was the last time you can truly say she’s had a role that fit her immeasurable talents? 1995’s Dead Man Walking — in which she was directed by then husband Tim Robbins — comes to mind. That was 20 years ago, but this performance is bound to get some heads turning if handled properly and Sony Pictures Classics knows what kind of brilliant performance they have here. The character study that director Lorne Scafaria deftly handles with comical hand-held shots is an all out showcase for Sarandon. The film has just been screened today for the press and is expected to have a 2016 release, that is unless the studio decides to gives Sarandon the much-needed awards push this year."

"De Palma" a letter to Millennials

Dear Millennials,

I hope you do know that there is more to Brian De Palma than just Passion, The Black Dahlia, Redacted, Femme Fatale and Mission To Mars. In fact, those five movies are probably the five worst movies of his career, Bonfire of the Vanities notwithstanding. No kiddies, the De Palma I know is the man that was on such a roll in the 70s and 80s that you might say his winning streak was as grandiose as Scorsese's or Woody's. He was that good. Don't listen to the whiners that claim he was just ripping off Hitchcock, I think those people are gravely missing the point. No, De Palma was a master at building up sense, maybe the best one of his generation alongside Polanski. Try to get a DVD or, what is it now, Blu-Ray copy of Blow-Out and you'll understand why. If anything his movies were the greatest kind of homages to Hitchcock imaginable. Carlito's Way is one of the great gangster movies of our time. Yet, critics found ways to coplain about it and tarnish its reputation. Good thing some smart millennials have justly revived it these last couple of years. How about Dressed To Kill? The ultimate Hitchcock hommage in my books. It had everything you loved about De Palma,: Sex, murder, kinkiness and cross-dressing! Ditto Body Double which turned out to be the highest class kind of trash. He also ended up making a great war movie, Casulaties of War, which had the distinction of actually featuring a great Michael J Fox performance. For all his kitschy, obsessive ways, De Palma ended up being a master of -shock- restraint. Nothing restraining about his legendary horror flick Carrie, which is one of the great uses of the cinematic color of red I've ever seen. Lest us not forget his two drastically different takes on legendary gangsters: Al Capone in The Untouchables and Scarface. The latter being his most famous movie among you kiddies, no thanks to wannabe rappers around the world who thought of the despicable violator, as played in epic over the top fashion by Al Pacino, as heroic? Another unfortunately misunderstood De Palma film.

"A Hologram for the King" is well-made but ends up being a big WTF

I will not stress this enough in saying that there is a reason why a movie starring Tom Hanks is getting the always demise-ridden April release date it has gotten. A Hologram for the King is directed by Tom Twyker, a competent director whose done a few things I've liked over the years including an under seen gem called Heaven starring Cate Blanchett which was released in the early aughts. This new film is Okay, it does have better craftsmanship than most of the ludicrously unfathomable releases we've been getting this spring, but it's just not good enough for the talent that was involved.

Hanks is in a sort of mid-life crisis, and a well-respected architect, that goes out to Saudi Arabia with his team to convince royalty that they're hologram infused proposal is the best thing for real estate project being built in butt-fuck nowhere dessert-town Arabia. The odd-job of stereotypical characters do show up: The wacky tour guide, the well-educated love interest, foreign hostility, ethical translations being lost in the mix etc.

There are interesting tidbits here and there and Hanks, every the showman, delivers another satisfying performance, but there doesn't seem to be a point to the whole thing. The best part is actually Saudi Arabia itself which is such an intriguing, mysterious country. Plot strands do - however- get lost and never concluded, the narrative mingles its way through all sorts of unintentional messiness and the film concludes in such an abrupt manner. It's a big what-the-fuck, which is a real shame because I did have hopes for this film to be at the very least a solidly crafted movie.

St. Vincent to direct Horror Anthology XX

If you've listened to her self-titled 2015 Grammy Award winning album you know how creative and artful St. Vincent can get. In those songs she used her glittering voice and blisteringly original guitar work to create the most melodic and beat-driven rock album of the last couple of years.

The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Annie Clark, will be tackling a different kind of art form for her next project. Magnet releasing has announced that she has been added to the list of directors that will helm the horror anthology "XX". She joins well esteemed names such as Jovanka Vuckovic, Jennifer Lynch, David's daughter, and Karyn Kusama who just released the gripping, already underrated creepfest The Invitation.

 "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to explore the genre-film medium," said Clark via the press release. "I've long been a fan of Annie's work," said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. "We're excited to watch the singular vision she'll bring to this project."

Asghar Farhadi`s new film Gholam

Earlier this week many were stunned to learn that Asghar Farhadi's latest movie "Gholam" hadn't made the cut for Cannes 2016, especially after the world-wide accalaim both his 2011 film "A Separation" and 2013's "The Past" garnered.

Well, it looks like there was a reason for the exclusion. The film just wasn't finished. In fact, production just wrapped for "Gholam" this past week and a first look still was released as well.

A UK-Iranian production, the film stars Iranian born artist-photographer Mitra Tabrizian in the story of a cab driver haunted by his past and getting himself involved in current conflict with a total stranger.

The character of the cab driver was loosely influenced by a man Tabrizian photographed in 2006 as part of her "Border about exiled Iranians". Tabrizian also wrote the script with first-time screenwriter Cyrus Massoudi.


Cafe Du Monde's world famous beignets. A must if you're ever in New Orleans.

Barbershop: The Next Cut and The Jungle Book's great reviews

The fall of film criticism as we know it is finally upon us. I dreaded this day for a long time, as each and every one of the most literately intelligent films critics in the country kept getting laid off starting in -I'd say- 2005 or so, maybe 2006. I don't think there are many left anymore. There's Kenneth Turan and Manhola Dargis over at the L.A. Times, The N.Y. Times' A.O. Scott, The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, N.Y. Post's Lou Lumenick and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers. These are the critics that I grew up reading that are still with us, the rest have either resorted to freelance journalism, opted to retire or passed away. I am of course not counting the Film Comment crew or some of the brilliant "alternative" writers that either write for alternative media outlets or barely survive through their own personal online ventures. This post is more about the major papers or print media writers.

The lack of these indelible voices is part of the reason why we have Barbershop: The Next Cut at 91% fresh on RottenTomatoes. There are too many run-of-the-mill fanboy-driven "critics" these days and not even mavericks with deep, personal and intelligent opinions. I will probably now have to go see Barbershop now, but my expectations are fairly low. I did, however, see Disney's live-action version of The Jungle Book and it is pretty good. Even though the predictability of the narrative is evident, there is still enough visual stimuli here to satisfy both the eyes and the mind. It currently stands at 94% on RT and I can kind of see why. It's beautiful directed by Jon Favreau who's turning out to be a pretty darn competent filmmaker with this, Chef, Iron Man and Elf all having their fair share of shining, mainstream moments. Reading some of these Jungle Book reviews you'd think the critics have seen the second-coming of cinema, which it is not the case. In fact, The Jungle Book is a safe, well-made, but still safe, mass-marketed product placement meant to rack in as much money as possible for the intention of a sequel. It's as simple as that, just like all the other comic book movies out there, that's what movies aim for these days, the chance to be successful and follow it up with a sequel. That's why Barbershop: The Next Cut exists and that's why The Jungle Book exists. Give me a hard-edged, nasty B-movie like Green Room any day of the week over these films.

Captain America: Civil War reviews - Too good to be true?

Captain america: civil war (2016)


Emma Stone and Steve Carell will star as Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs

First Look: Emma Stone And Steve Carell in Billie Jean King Tennis Movie 'Battles Of The Sexes'

The PlaylistBy Jordan Ruimy | The PlaylistApril 13, 2016 at 3:09PM
Battle Of The Sexes
Cameras have started rolling on "Battle Of The Sexes," and the first look of Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the picture, about the historic tennis match between the 29-year-old, number two-ranked Billie Jean King, and the retired, boorish champ Bobby Riggs, has arrived.
Elisabeth Shue, Andrea Riseborough, Alan Cumming, Sarah Silverman and more join Stone and Carell in the film, and given the chemistry the lead duo had in "Crazy Stupid Love,” this seems like a solid ensemble all around. "Battle Of The Sexes" is directed by Jonathan Daytonand Valerie Faris ("Little Miss Sunshine") and was penned by the talentedSimon Beaufoy, known for writing Danny Boyle classics "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours.
The 1973 "Battles Of The Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs captured the imagination of not only tennis enthusiasts, but of the whole world. There has always been the persistent rumor that Riggs threw the match to settle the debts he had with the mob. Whether or not the movie will tackle this part of the subject has yet to be determined. Here's the official synopsis:
The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became the most watched televised sports event of all time.  The match caught the zeitgeist and sparked a global conversation on gender equality, spurring on the feminist movement. Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposites sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. With a supportive husband urging her to fight the Establishment for equal pay, the fiercely private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis courts and animated the discussions between men and women in bedrooms and boardrooms around the world.
No official release date yet, but keep an eye out in 2017. Check out the first look above.