Posts Tagged ‘ Steve Ramos ’

Let Us Now Praise: ‘A Little Help’ lead Jenna Fischer

July 27, 2011

Jenna Fischer in 'A Little Help'

One of my favorite books, from one of my most favorite writers, is James Agee’s 1941 collaboration with photographer Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

In their extensive reporting project for Fortune magazine, Agee and Evans bring to life the forgotten people, the Alabama sharecroppers who work hard everyday and pass through the world with little notice.

Agee’s book and its theme of forgotten people are even more relevant in today’s 24/7 news cycle. Despite all the media outlets both traditional and online, hardworking people, especially society’s underbelly, are mostly forgotten. Instead, we have a celebrity news culture reporting on each small detail of a showbiz star’s private and public life in real time.

I think about Agee often, both as a critic and a writer. In recognition of his spirit, I call this column Let Us Now Praise, in order to shine the spotlight on the supporting players, up-and-comers, undiscovered artists and talented crewmembers working in the shadows of the celebrities around them.

Chances are you recognize Jenna Fischer from her role as receptionist Pam Beesley on the hit TV sitcom The Office but you probably didn’t know her name or much about her.

After all, Fischer is a supporting player on The Office, the straight woman responsible for delivering a sassy line of dialogue or two from behind the receptionist desk and allowing star Steve Carell or more prominent members of the cast such as Ed Helms, John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson to shine.

Fischer makes a dramatic leap in writer/director Michael J. Weithorn’s comic drama A Little Help. Fischer gives the most complex performance of her career playing Laura, a middle-aged mom alone with her teenage son after the unexpected death of her husband.

Laura is unsure how to act after the death of her husband (Chris O’Donnell) since he was cheating on her. She’s also ill-equipped to handle her grieving son Dennis (Daniel Yelsky) who’s telling classmates his father died in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in order to gain sympathy.

Fischer captures Laura’s complex swirl of emotions perfectly and proves to be more than capable of holding an entire movie on her petite shoulders.

It’s quite an accomplishment for an actress known as the face behind the receptionist desk on The Office.

In fact, Fischer is so good in A Little Help, a film that’s truly worth seeing mostly for her performance, one hopes she won’t allow her commitment to the show to prevent her from taking more lead roles in intimate, independent gems like A Little Help.

Get Me Ron Perlman! Tom Cruise Joins Suspense Drama ‘One Shot’

July 17, 2011

Because I’ve been asked numerous times, I wanted to explain why I call this column about the week’s casting news “Get Me Ron Perlman!”

I’ve sat down and interviewed Ron Perlman multiple times but my favorite moment occurred over the little-seen, independent thriller about Arctic oil workers, The Last Winter. Joined by his co-star James LeGros, Perlman and I sat down in the middle of a publicity firm’s makeshift office at a room in Toronto’s Inter-Continental hotel. The room was noisy and chaotic as surrounding publicists continued their work. I was working on an article about the decline of the muscle-bound, macho hero and the rise of the Metrosexual and I thought Perlman, a classic movie strongman, would offer great insight.

“Are you kidding me?” he snarled in response to my question; getting up to leave.

Desperate to salvage the interview, I told Perlman how I always pictured him as a classic character actor with his sharp features; someone the late Sam Fuller would have used time and time again.”

“You just saved the interview,” Perlman said, sitting back down. “Fuller is one of my favorite filmmakers and I’ve always imagined what it would have been like to work with him. Thank you for saying that.”

So I named this casting news column “Get Me Ron Perlman” because I can picture Fuller barking into his phone that Perlman and only Perlman can play a particular character in his next movie.

In this week’s news, Tom Hardy made a brief appearance as the villainous Bane in The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer but his Hollywood career continued to grow with word he joined the crime drama Cicero as legendary gangster Al Capone. Adding to the excitement over the movie, Vulture reported that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 director David Yates was in talks to direct Cicero, the first installment of a planned trilogy that tells Capone’s life story.

Tom Cruise’s lone contribution to the 2011 summer blockbuster season was his appearance in the trailer for Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Deadline reported that Cruise joined writer/director Christopher McQuarrie’s suspense drama One Shot, based on the novel about a former Army cop Jack Reacher who uncovers the truth behind an arrested sniper accused of killing five random people.

Cruise might have been the biggest celebrity casting news this week, but the most prestigious project remained Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, his epic biopic about the sixteenth President of the United States and his time in office leading the nation through the Civil War.

Deadline reported on Justified star Walton Goggins joining Lincoln as Ohio Congressman Wells A. Hutchins, a progressive Democrat who voted for the Thirteenth Amendment in order to abolish slavery.

Goggins joined previous cast members Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.

Goggins recently received an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy nomination for his role as criminal Boyd Crowder in the FX drama Justified but landing a key role in Spielberg’s Lincoln probably made his week.

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.”