Posts Tagged ‘ Steve Ramos ’

The Morning Feed: Jean-Luc Godard: “I am not an auteur, well, not now anyway.”

July 13, 2011

Jean-Luc Godard’s latest work, Film Socialisme, self-described as a “symphony in three movements,” that unfolds on a Mediterranean cruise ship and a gas station in rural Switzerland, continued its slow and steady, worldwide expansion since playing film festivals last year.

Helping promote the film’s U.K. release, in competition with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, no less, the 80-year-old co-founder of the Nouvelle Vague spoke to The Guardian and quickly stripped himself of his trademark “auteur” status.

“I am not an auteur, well, not now anyway,” Godard said, speaking in Paris. “We once believed we were auteurs but we weren’t. We had no idea, really. Film is over. It’s sad. Nobody is really exploring it but what to do? And anyway, with mobile phones and everything, everyone is now an auteur.”

Thankfully, Godard didn’t announce his retirement from filmmaking (giving up his legendary auteur label is newsworthy enough). In fact, he ended the interview playfully handing off his next script to the journalist as proof that his impressive career isn’t over just yet.

New York Artist Stephanie Rothenberg and Chicago artist Dan S. Wang collaborated on the extensive performance piece and art installation The Journey West Travel Office, in Beijing’s Drum and Bell Tower area.

Staffed as an authentic travel agency and programmed with promotional events and real tours like The Edible Liberty Tour, where the growing middle class of Chinese tourists will experience the edible wild plants and mushrooms of Manhattan’s Central Park, Rothenberg told the arts website Hyperallergic that she wanted to reach real tourists as well as arts audiences with the Beijing installation.

“The project is more like a platform for discourse,” she said. “There’s this whole emerging middle class in China and the tourism industry has really boomed. I’ve seen the mass consumer culture grow in the past five years.”

Rothenberg and Wang planned to continue operating The Journey West Travel Office through July 18.

Fantasy fans celebrated Tuesday’s release of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, the fifth installment of his popular Song of Ice and Fire series and the follow-up to 2005’s installment A Fear for Crows.

Reviewer Jeff VanderMeer in The Los Angeles Times compared Martin’s writing to Jack Vance and encouraged people to read the adventures of Tyrion Lannister, the dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen and the clairvoyant boy Bran Stark, among others before settling for its TV adaptation, the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Martin was just happy that the book was officially available to fans after an Amazon Germany employee accidentally shipped 180 copies of the book a week early.

Park Pictures partners Lance Accord and Jackie Kelman Bisbee, independent filmmaker, producer and author Galt Niederhoffer and producer Sam Bisbee announced their New York-based film company, Park Pictures Features as well as its debut feature, the family comedy Robot & Frank.

Jack Schreier signed on to direct Robot & Frank, starring Frank Langella as a lonely senior whose life changes when his adult children (Liv Tyler, James Marsden) buy him a robot caretaker (voice of Liev Schreiber). Christopher Ford wrote the script.

“At Park Pictures we have had the opportunity to work closely with many talented directors in the commercial arena and it is a natural evolution for our company to grow and to work in the feature film arena as well,” Kelman Bisbee said in a release. Robot & Frank is a beautiful story that’s both touching, and at times very funny. We are enjoying the process of bringing this film to reality.”

Park Features also announced its upcoming projects including the directorial debut of Lance Accord, who directed the popular Volkswagen ad The Force, as well as a project from British director Ringan Ledwidge.

‘Horrible Bosses’ Review: Jason Bateman delivers steady laughs but fails to save workplace-as-hell comedy

July 8, 2011

Horrible Bosses

Warner Bros.

Rated R

Running Time 93 minutes

Grade: C+


The showiest scenes in director Seth Gordon’s workplace-as-hell comedy Horrible Bosses belongs to veteran comic actress Jennifer Aniston who looks fit and fabulous as a sex-crazed dentist with a bottle tan, come-hither make up and an obsession with her assistant Dale Arbus (Charlie Day).

Aniston brings welcome sex appeal to the buddies-in-distress comedy via revealing wardrobe choices that includes black lingerie and a white dentist’s jacket with nothing beneath except panties. To Aniston’s credit, she overturns her good girl persona with gusto and delivers one of her funnier big-screen performances to date.

Still, the film’s steady laughs and standout moments have little to do with Aniston’s showy behavior or any of the outrageous, Hangover-influenced, no-limits gags scattered throughout the movie.

As Nick Hendricks, a buttoned-down middle manager willing to accept whatever his dishonest boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) unloads, Jason Bateman makes perfect use of his calm voice, cautious demeanor and average Joe looks that make him the best comic hero around.

Bateman (Arrested Development) makes Nick an intelligent man with good intentions incapable of rising above the surrounding nuttiness as he and his friends Dale (Day) and Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) team up to kill their despicable bosses.

The recently engaged Arbus can’t cope with his boss’ constant groping despite her good looks. After the death of his beloved boss and company owner, Buckman, the company accountant, reports to the former owner’s coke-addicted son Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell) who wants to use the business as his personal checking account. Convinced they cannot afford to quit their jobs, the three buds rationalize killing their bosses in order to make their workplaces sane.

The acting talent overflows in Horrible Bosses with Bateman leading the way and Aniston enjoying the spotlight.

Despite a comic premise every moviegoer can embrace, screenwriters John Francis Daley (Waiting), Michael Markowitz (The Flamingo Kid) and Jonathan Goldstein ($#*! My Dad Says) never push the plot beyond its core gag and fail to take full advantage of the film’s comic potential.

Charlie Day gives a likable, aw-shucks performance similar to his role on the hit FX sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia but Jason Sudeikis falls flat as the ladies man of the trio.

Jamie Foxx is hilarious as “murder consultant” Dean “Mother F*cker” Jones who coaches the pals on how to murder their bosses without getting caught.

Colin Farrell is unrecognizable as the obnoxious Pallit but he’s given little to do that’s actually funny.

As Nick’s boss, Kevin Spacey channels his mean-spirited movie producer character from Swimming with Sharks and makes Dave Harken the most horrible of the film’s three horrible bosses.

P.J. Byrne enjoys the best scene as a friend of the trio’s and a busted, former Lehman Brothers broker who will do anything for money.

Unfortunately, the climactic payoff shares more in common with a TV cop drama than a comedy and the trio’s comeuppance with Aniston’s character feels like an afterthought.

Seth Gordon’s best film remains the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a funny and heartfelt character study of obsessive Donkey Kong players. In Horrible Bosses, Gordon tries to out-gross Kristen Wiig and her girlfriends in Bridesmaids and out-shock the boys of The Hangover Parts 1 and 2.

If Gordon would have stayed true to his storytelling beliefs from King of Kong and emphasized characters and relationships as much as shock comedy, then, maybe, Horrible Bosses could have been as funny as Bridesmaids instead of the half-baked comedy it turns out to be.

Grade: C+

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Director: Seth Gordon

Scriptwriter: John Francis Daley, Michael Markowitz, Jonathan Goldstein

Cinematographer: David Hennings

Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, P.J. Byrne, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey

Production Designer: Shepherd Frankel

Costume Designer: Carol Ramsey

Music Supervisor: Dana Sano

Editor: Running Time: 93 minutes

Producers: New Line Cinema, Rat Entertainment

Rating: Rated R

Release Date: July 8, 2011


The Morning Feed: Cy Twombly Dies At Age 83

July 5, 2011

American abstract painter Cy Twombly, one of the influential painters of the New York School, died today at age 83 according to the art online forum Hyperallergic. Born in Lexington, Virginia in 1928, Twombly arrived in Manhattan in 1950 and studied at the influential Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. He received his first solo show at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York in 1960; a major retrospective in 1979 at the Whitney Museum of American Art and in 1994 the Cy Twombly Gallery, a Renzo Piano-designed building based on a sketch by Twombly, opened at the Menil Collection in Houston.

“Twombly is an abstract painter who tells stories of love, longing and loss,” Guardian critic Jonathan Jones wrote in a review of the current exhibition Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters. “His art is always tangy with experience – it drips life. Hero and Leandro is one of a fistful of works by Twombly that snag the imagination with their impulsive blooms of gory color.”

The exhibition Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters opened June 29 at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.

The British Film Institute announced plans to restore silent Alfred Hitchcock films to screen at the London 2012 Festival as part of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

According to The Independent, the BFI also hired Indian-British composer Nitin Sawhney to contribute a score to the 1926 film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog and Royal Academy of Music graduate Daniel Cohen signed on to score the 1925 film The Pleasure Garden.

“The BFI is thrilled to be able to bring Hitchcock’s early films to the London 2012 Festival,” said BFI creative director Heather Stewart. “They are the foundation of his whole body of work and new audiences will be able to enjoy an incredible mix of British musical talent.”

Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces, spoke to Vogue’s Freddie Campion about her debut solo album Last Summer, due in stores July 12.

“It’s true I wanted to do something that sounded different and if that means it’s more simple then that’s it,’ Friedberger said. “I wanted to do something that was relatable and for me that just happens to be this naïve girly sound which got me back into the mindset of when I first moved to New York.”

For the video of the album’s first single My Mistakes, Friedberger used old VHS footage from a student movie of her preparing for a date.

“It was just a happy accident when we found the original videos because it works so well with the song,” she added. “It might have been trying to make some feminist statement but it’s supposed to be a little bit of a joke.”

The Morning Feed: Katie Couric to launch Daytime Talk Show at ABC

June 7, 2011

Katie Couric, after becoming the first woman to helm a U.S. network TV newscast, announced Monday that she was joining the Disney/ABC Television Group to launch a daytime talk show in September 2012 as well as join the ABC News team.

Couric’s announcement did not surprise any media pundits since she’d been hinting at hosting a syndicated daytime talk show for some weeks. Still, Couric’s Disney/ABC Television Group deal meant that the 54-year-old on-air personality and journalist will end up working for all three major U.S. networks in her career following her stints at the CBS Evening News and NBC’s morning show, Today.

Asked about the format, Couric told The Hollywood Reporter that she envisions the show as a mix of news, information and fun.

“Well, the ink is barely dry,” Couric said. “We’ve started to talk about it in broad terms, and I think we’d like the show to be topical and to really capture the zeitgeist of what people are talking about.”

Couric’s daytime talk show announcement also stole the headlines away from her CBS Evening News anchor replacement Scott Pelley, who debuted Monday evening to mixed reviews.

Dutch writer/director Tom Six enjoyed worldwide attention yesterday when the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) banned the DVD release of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), the sequel to his outrageous horror film The Human Centipede, about a mad scientist who kidnaps tourists in order to surgically turn them into his pet centipede monster.

The Guardian questioned the BBFC ruling because the board based their decision not on the content of the film — the story of a maniac obsessed with the first Human Centipede movie and trying to duplicate the experiments of the film’s make-believe mad scientist — but on the film’s link between sexual violence and pleasure.

Either way, Six clearly enjoyed the publicity and well as the unexpected political debate surrounding his niche horror movie.

The 54th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, opened June 4 to the public in the Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice, Italy. Dodie Kazanjian at Vogue listed some of the highlights from the world’s oldest biennial including Franz West’s reconstruction of his Vienna kitchen; Mike and Doug Starn’s massive sculpture Big Bambú and Richard Phillips’ 90-second-long film Lindsay Lohan.

The Venice Biennale runs through November 27, 2011.

‘The Hangover Part II’ Review: The Party Boys are Back for Another Night Out With Added Laughs

May 26, 2011

The Hangover Part II

Warner Bros.

Rated R

Running Time:  101 Minutes

Grade: B

In this summer’s race of movie sequels, the party boys of The Hangover Part II are laggards. After all, Captain Jack Sparrow is back for his fourth Pirates of the Caribbean adventure. Teen wizard Harry Potter brings his franchise to a close with his eighth film and X-Men: First Class is the fifth movie featuring the mutant superheroes.

The Wolfpack, buds Doug (Justin Bartha), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) are back for just their second outing, which helps explain how Hangover co-writer/director Todd Phillips and new-to-the-franchise screenwriters Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong are simply able to successfully duplicate the comic formula of the first movie without worries.

Another boy’s night out comedy, this time moving the craziness to Bangkok for Stu’s wedding, feels warm, familiar and fun instead of redundant on just its second try. There’s no reason to fix what isn’t broken after two adventures. If the Wolfpack returns for a third adventure, Phillips will need to come up with a few more surprises.

Memories of their Las Vegas bachelor party hang over them like a curse as Doug (Bartha), Alan (Galifianakis) and Phil (Cooper) travel to Thailand for Stu’s (Helms) wedding to the pretty Lauren (Jamie Chung). Some beers at a beach resort bonfire go out-of-control and the boys wake up in a rundown Bangkok hotel missing Stu’s future brother-in-law Teddy (newcomer Mason Lee).

It’s another go-around with black outs, a missing friend and a frantic race to retrace steps to make things right and get back in time for the wedding.

The Hangover Part II is the second new comedy in six months from the prolific Todd Phillips (Due Date starring Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. came out last November) and the one thing that’s clear about the polished-looking comedy is Phillips’ skill at casting.

It doesn’t matter if the Wolfpack is in Vegas or Bangkok or points in-between, Cooper, Helms, Galifianakis and Bartha play off each beautifully and create a spirit of friendship that makes all their outrageous behavior funnier.

Mazin (Rocketman, Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4) and Armstrong (Old School, Road Trip, Starsky & Hutch and School For Scoundrels) make good use of the characters they inherited.

Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong and Mike Tyson return in key supporting roles with a capuchin monkey being the best new addition when it comes to laughs. Who can say no to a smoking monkey?

The film’s better slapstick moments involve a trip to a Buddhist monastery, where the boys are punished for talking and a car chase through the Bangkok streets with drug dealers in hot pursuit.

With the exception of a return trip to a strip club in search of clues to Teddy’s whereabouts and a gallery of photos at the closing credits (just like the first movie), Hangover Part II turns out to be surprisingly restrained when it comes to slapstick shockers.

In fact, Kristin Wiig and her Bridesmaids posse out-gross Bradley Cooper and his Wolfpack pals in terms of outrageous humor.

Perhaps Phillips believes that key to the Hangover franchise continuing is the importance of friendship over bad behavior. Now that’s a surprise good enough to raise hopes for Hangover III. One question: Where will the Wolfpack hit next?

Grade: B

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Director: Todd Phillips

Scriptwriter: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong

Cinematographer: Lawrence Sher

Cast: Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis, Mike Tyson and Jamie Chung

Running Time:  101 minutes

Producers: Green Hat Films and Legendary Pictures

Rating: R

Release Date: May 26, 2011

The Morning Feed: Judge Denies Tattoo Artist’s Request To Stop Release of ‘Hangover 2’

May 24, 2011

Tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill, who inked boxer and Hangover supporting actor Mike Tyson with a tribal tattoo around his eye in 2003, filed a lawsuit in federal court April 28 claiming Warner Bros. violated his copyright by giving Ed Helms’ character a similar face tattoo in director Todd Phillips‘ Hangover 2.

According to The Hollywood Reporter the off-screen drama surrounding Hangover 2 ended today when U.S. District Court Judge Catherine D. Perry sided with Warner Bros. and denied Whitmill’s injunction to stop the release of the comedy sequel reuniting cast members Helms, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong and Justin Bartha as friends who travel to Bangkok for another out-of-control bachelor party.

Although Judge Perry did not rule in favor of the injunction, she did allow the case to move forward with the chance for Whitmill to stop the film’s release on DVD and cable if he can prove he has a valid copyright of the Tyson’s facial tattoo and that the tattoo depicted in Hangover 2 is similar.

Visitors experienced 70 female musical artists on two floors of Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in the new exhibition Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power.

Despite the exhibit’s big picture look at the contributions of women, from Bessie Smith and 1920s blues women to Brenda Lee, 1960s girl groups, counterculture singers like Janis Joplin, 1970s rocker Joan Jett and the Runaways, punks Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux all way through to Lady Gaga, the Wall Street Journal promised endless debates among visitors about which artists received proper recognition and which did not.

“Women have played an important role in the last year,” Jim Henke, vice president of exhibitions at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, said in an earlier interview. “And they’re getting the respect they deserve. Going back to some of the great blues and gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson to rockabilly pioneers like Wanda Jackson, women have played a crucial role in music.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame scheduled Women Who Rock through February 2012; plenty of time for fans to visit and debate.

Actor-director-writer Albert Brooks continued on the interview circuit but not to talk about his villain role in the upcoming action movie Drive.

Instead, Brooks continued to talk about his future-set novel Twenty Thirty: The Real Story of What Happens to America, about L.A. being hit by a devastating earthquake and the U.S. President forced to partner with China to help rebuild the City of Angels because the U.S. government is too burdened by debt to repair it alone.

Paul Brownfield reviewed Twenty Thirty positively in The L.A. Times and described Brooks’ tale of an 80-year-old widower who loses his condo in the quake and ends up in a refugee camp in the Rose Bowl as similar in comic spirit to his movies. Bronfield also summed up the character President Bernstein, the nation’s first Jewish president, as sounding a lot like Brooks.

Carey Mulligan continued to prepare for her role in the Atlantic Theater Company’s Through a Glass Darkly, set to open June 6 at the New York Theatre Workshop space in New York’s East Village.

Playwright Jenny Worton adapted the 1961 Ingmar Bergman film about Karin (Mulligan), a young woman with schizophrenia on vacation on a small Swedish island with her husband (Jason Butler) her father (Chris Sarandon) and her brother (Ben Rosenfield).

Fans of Mulligan’s innocent character Jenny in the art-house drama An Education and who revel in her cool sense of fashion and pixyish good looks might be surprised by her tortured performance in the play.

“I was in a Christian school choir,” Mulligan told Vogue. “When you’re a good girl, your shadow is much darker.”

Critics have long considered Through a Glass Darkly as one of Bergman’s lesser films; which makes its adaptation at the Atlantic Theater Company all the more interesting.

The Morning Feed: Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’ Wins Cannes Palme d’Or

May 23, 2011

The 64th Cannes Film Festival came to a close yesterday and according to The Guardian Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, a drama about a 1950s Texas family, starring Brad Pitt as a somewhat stern father and Sean Penn as his present-day son, won the prestigious Palme d’Or award.

The Tree Of Life, an artful drama that makes a poetic connection between a 1950s family and the creation of life, was Malick’s first film since his 2005 drama The New World about John Smith and the founding of Jamestown.

Malick, famously private and firm in his refusal to participate in traditional Hollywood publicity, earned controversy from the festival press corps for refusing to participate in a festival press conference on behalf of the film. Instead, Malick made a brief appearance at the Palais for its public premiere.

Malick’s controversy paled compared to the major news story of the festival, Danish director Lars von Trier and his outrageous anti-Semitic jokes and comments about “sympathizing with Hitler” at a May 18 press conference for his end-of-the-world drama Melancholia and his subsequent ban by festival directors.

Von Trier’s film remained in competition and its lead actress Kirsten Dunst received a Best Actress award  for her performance.

Hollywood studios continued to be savvier than ever when it comes to fueling the passions of the fanatic fan boys and fan girls who pack cinemas for the latest superhero movie. The web caught fire May 20 thanks to the Warner Bros. viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight Rises, the next installment from filmmaker Christopher Nolan in the Batman franchise.

The Dark Knight Rises Twitter feed @thefirerises published links to the first photo of the villain Bane played by British actor Tom Hardy.

In the photo, Hardy’s turned away from the camera with his face covered by an ominous black guard. What fans noticed immediately were Hardy’s bulging back and shoulder muscles.

Fans stitched together their idea of the plot for the upcoming movie. They believed Batman (Christian Bale) fights the mysterious League of Shadows; the army of assassins led by Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson in Batman Begins). Except this time the League would be led by his daughter Talia al Ghul (Marion Cotillard) and her henchman Bane (Hardy).

The 1848 Cincinnati Panorama, a 19th-century daguerreotype taken by photographers and early creatives Charles H. Fontayne and William Southgate Porter on Sept. 24, 1848 of the Cincinnati riverfront from a bluff across the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky, was unveiled for public display May 21 at the Main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in downtown Cincinnati.

Ralph Wiegandt, senior project conservator from the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY, referred to the eight separate 8 ½ by 6 ½-inch plates as an “iconic American treasure” to The New York Times.

Daguerrotypes captured light on silver-coated copper plates coated with iodine and bromine and the process achieved amazing detail more precise than any film photography and the delicate art worked required extensive restoration, stabilization and mounting from conservators at the Eastman House. Research by the library’s genealogy and local history department throughout the seven-year  project with recent support work from the digital services staff allowed viewers to magnify points of interest in the panorama and learn more about the people and places on the Cincinnati waterfront from 163 years ago.

Specialty film fans and colleagues paid homage to Donald B. Krim, a distribution exec at United Artists Classics who bought Kino International in 1977 and steadily grew the company into a significant distributor for classics like the restored Metropolis and foreign-language films such as the 2010 Greek drama Dogtooth.

Krim, the President of Kino International and co-president of Kino Lorber Inc. passed away March 20 at age 65 after a long bout with cancer.

The Morning Feed: Lars von Trier Says He’s Proud of Cannes Ban

May 20, 2011

The biggest news out of the 64th Cannes Film Festival continued to be Danish director Lars von Trier. Not Von Trier’s competition film Melancholia, starring Kirsten Dunst as a bride preparing for her wedding while a planet hurtles towards the Earth; or any other festival film for that matter, but Von Trier’s outrageous comments about “sympathizing with Hitler” at a Wednesday press conference and his subsequent ban by festival directors.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Von Trier quickly apologized for his anti-Semitic remarks and described them as a bad joke he let go out-of-control. The festival ban remained and the press day for Melancholia was cancelled. Von Trier soon returned to his bad boy ways and talked about being proud of being banned at Cannes.

“I have to say I’m a little proud of being named persona non grata,” Von Trier said. “I think my family would be proud. I have a French order. Now they will likely tear it off my chest.”

Music labels Hip-O Select and Sanctuary received great support from music fans for their reissues of the first three albums from The Kinks last month.

According to Pitchfork, Hip-O Select and Sanctuary announced their next three Kinks reissues — 1966’s Face to Face and 1967’s Something Else and 1969’s Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) — to street June 13.

The reissues, claiming both mono and stereo mixes of the albums in addition to BBC sessions and interviews, would coincide with Kinks front man Ray Davies at the Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre in London June 10-19 where he will perform along with Wire, Nick Lowe, Madness and Yo La Tengo.

With their shiny new reissues in hand, Kinks fans hoped Davies performs classics from the albums including Waterloo Sunset, Victoria and Plastic Man.

Web entrepreneur, digital strategist and TV host Dan Abrams pushed aside his multiple achievements and successful digital strategy firm and argued via his new book Man Down that women basically out-perform men in just about everything.

In a Q&A at The Window blog for, Abrams convinced Barneys Creative Ambassador Simon Doonan that Man Down gets things right.

“I have been surprised by how many men have told me they agree with my findings,” Abrams said. “Most of them take issue with a particular chapter or two, but it seems that many have always secretly known what this book proves.”

The Morning Feed: Lars von Trier Shocks Cannes (Again) and Receives Festival Ban

May 19, 2011

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier first earned his reputation as the bad boy auteur of the Cannes Film Festival with divisive movies like Antichrist and his 2000 Palme d’Or winner Dancer in the dark.

In recent years, Von Trier fueled his enfant terrible reputation with outrageous press stunts. But the festival’s board of directors was unprepared for his comments at a Wednesday press conference for his contending film Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst as a bride preparing for her wedding as a planet hurtles through space about to crash into the Earth.

“For a long time I thought I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew,” Von Trier said. “Then I met (Danish and Jewish director) Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found I was actually a Nazi. What can I say? I understand Hitler…I sympathize with him a bit.”

“I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier,” Von Trier added. “In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass but…”

According to The Guardian, Von Trier later apologized for his remarks, perhaps realizing that his attempts at shock comedy failed miserably. However, that did not stop Cannes authorities from declaring Von Trier “persona non grata” at the festival effective immediately.

A statement from the festival explained their stance: “(the board) profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the festival.”

Melancholia remained in contention for the Palme d’Or but all press engagement for the film were cancelled.

Two officials from The J. Paul Getty Museum crowded into a former Capuchin monastery turned into a small museum in the Sicilian town of Aidone to watch the unveiling of the 7-foot limestone and marble statue of Aphrodite

According to The L.A. Times, the Getty officials helped close the door on the controversial purchase of the statue by the Getty in 1988 for $18 million despite reports that the statue had been looted and stolen from Italy.

“The decision to return this statue to Sicily was a turning point in the history of the Getty’s antiquities collection, one that was fraught with much debate,” said Getty Museum acting director David Bomford.  However, in the end, based on scholarly and reasoned research, it was without a doubt the right decision.”

With the statue returned, Sicily’s culture minister hoped the artwork will soon draw more visitors to the Aidone museum and the surrounding community.

Canadian vocalist Rachel Zeffira teamed with Horrors lead singer Faris Badwan for her latest release Cat’s Eyes and Vogue praised the 28-year-old musical artist for blending sixties girl group influences with the operatic arias she’s used to perform as a classical music singer.

“It’s easy to forget sixties girl group music was quite dark,” Zeffira said. “Faris played one song for me called Nightmare, by a band called The Whyte Boots. It’s about a girl who gets killed by a girl gang, and there is a wild range of emotion there that is very operatic.”

The Morning Feed: Terrence Malick Skips Cannes Premiere of ‘The Tree of Life’

May 17, 2011

Brad Pitt found himself defending his Tree of Life director, Terrence Malick, at a Cannes press conference for the world premiere of the film, about a 1950s Texas family, starring Pitt as the somewhat stern father.

Malick, famously private and firm in his refusal to participate in traditional Hollywood publicity, made it clear well in advance that he would not attend Cannes in support of his first movie since the 2005 drama The New World about John Smith and the founding of Jamestown.

According to The Guardian, the assembled Cannes press corps took issue with Malick’s decision to stay away from his own premiere and debate over the director’s no-show matched the discussions over Malick’s artful drama that makes a poetic connection between a 1950s family and the creation of life.

“It is an odd thing for an artist to sculpt something and then be a salesman,” said Pitt, both the male lead and a producer on the film.

Arguably Malick still managed to help out his film even by staying away. After all, how many other filmmakers can generate headlines around the world simply for not being present?

The Tree of Life, the highly anticipated drama from Malick, opens in select theaters May 27.

Jeff Howe experimented before using social networking to build a worldwide reading club he called One Book, One Twitter. In The Atlantic, the Northeastern University journalism professor launched his latest book club incarnation 1book140. Howe promised a new book monthly for readers to discuss with nominations currently underway and voting on book selections starting May 25 via Twitter and The Atlantic’s Entertainment Channel.

The Chicago Public Library Foundation announced that veteran Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert will receive this year’s Carl Sandburg Literary Award.

“Without question Roger is a master of the written word,” foundation CEO Rhona Frazin told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Plans called for Ebert, the author of more than 17 books in addition to his journalism and extensive social media, to receive the honor Oct. 20 at the Forum on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago

“First I was humbled,” Ebert said. “Then I thought, it’s sort of appropriate because Carl Sandburg was in fact the film critic of the Chicago Daily News for much of the 1920s and I wrote the introduction to his collected reviews. So now he’s returning the favor.”

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) launched its 24-hour inaugural screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock, a mash-up of thousands of television clips and samples from various films, yesterday morning at LACMA’s Bing Theater with plans to end the screening today at 11 a.m.

While the California born and European raised Marclay meant for people to come and go from the theater and experience his experimental work in bursts, some LACMA visitors sat down for extended stays as if they were at Pacific Theatres at The Grove watching the latest blockbuster.

After its 24-hour inaugural screening, the L.A. Times reported that plans called for The Clock to relocate to LACMA’s Art of the Americas Building and screen during normal gallery hours starting Friday and running through July 31.