Film Essent Archive for October, 2008

Femme Film Watch: How Much Blood Will Twilight Draw at the Box Office?

Fandango’s surveys don’t always interest me, but this one does:
According to a current Fandango survey of more than 5,000 moviegoers interested in buying Twilight tickets:
* 92% of respondents say they’ll see Twilight on opening weekend;
* 85% say they plan to see the film more than once;
* 56% are planning to see the movie with a group of friends;
* 97% have read the novel by Stephenie Meyer;
* 86% would be interested in visiting the locations where the movie was filmed;
* 95% of the respondents to the survey are female;
* 42% of respondents are 25 or older; 58% are younger than 25.
This survey follows up on a previous Fandango survey back in August on the most anticipated fall films:
— Fall 2008’s Most Anticipated Movie (ranking all films from Sept.-Dec.): Twilight (34%), followed by Quantum of Solace (19%).
— Sept. 2008’s Most Anticipated: Burn After Reading (18%), followed by The Women (14%).
— Oct. 2008: Body of Lies (13%), followed by High School Musical 3: Senior Year (11%).
— Nov. 2008: Twilight (31%), followed by the James Bond adventure, Quantum of Solace (20%).
— Dec. 2008: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (16%), followed by The Day the Earth Stood Still (15%).
Okay, it’s moderately interesting to me that Twilight has a higher anticipation rating than the Bond flick (at least, according to this survey), but what’s particularly interesting are those last two stats of the survey up on top: the heavy weighting of the female demographic, and the last numbers, which show 42% of the respondents in the 25 or older age group.

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Oh, Lordy, the Black Folks are Voting!

Alright, I’ve not posted on political stuff for a few days, but wow, this one just blew me away. Over on Daily Kos early this morning, they posted this email sent by David Storck, the chair of the Hillsborough Republican Party (that’s the county in Florida that includes Tampa):
THE THREAT:
HERE IN TEMPLE TERRACE, FL OUR REPUBLICAN HQ IS ONE BLOCK AWAY FROM OUR LIBRARY, WHICH IS AN EARLY VOTING SITE.
I SEE CARLOADS OF BLACK OBAMA SUPPORTERS COMING FROM THE INNER CITY TO CAST THEIR VOTES FOR OBAMA. THIS IS THEIR CHANCE TO GET A BLACK PRESIDENT AND THEY SEEM TO CARE LITTLE THAT HE IS AT MINIMUM, SOCIALIST, AND PROBABLY MARXIST IN HIS CORE BELIEFS. AFTER ALL, HE IS BLACK–NO EXPERIENCE OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS–BUT HE IS BLACK.
I ALSO SEE YOUNG COLLEGE STUDENTS AND THEIR PROFESSORS FROM USF PARKING THEIR CARS WITH THE PROMINENT ‘OBAMA’ BUMPER STICKERS. THE STUDENTS ARE ENTHUSIASTIC TO BE VOTING IN A HISTORIC ELECTION WHERE THERE MAY BE THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT.
Oh my lordy, the black folks are coming out to vote! Close the doors, douse the lights! Jesus H. Christ, folks. I don’t even know where to start. With Storck’s inflammatory assertion that the turnout of early black voters is a cause for alarm? How about the brilliant part where he asserts that the only reason black voters are voting for Obama is because he is black, his implication that they don’t know or care about Obama’s stance on issues? They “seem to care little” based on what, Mr. Storck? Did you actually schlep your ass over from the GOP HQ to — gasp! — talk to those black voters? Are are you just making a blanket assumption about the motivations of carloads of black voters?
Heavens to Betsy, those black voters couldn’t possibly be voting on issues, could they? Is it, perhaps, possible, that they see in Obama a chance to turn things around in this country? Is it possible that they want the same access to health care that the predominantly white, male Congress has? Do they perhaps think Obama has his finger more accurately on the pulse of what the majority of Americans want right now? Do they just want change?
The most accurate thing on the Daily Kos post: “Here is what I find most interesting of all: no one will suggest that Storck is anti-American.”
That’s right, because the Republicans who won’t see this as email as an issue indicative of a greater underlying problem in the GOP would never admit that the implication that it’s a BAD thing to see increased voter turnout if that increased turnout is coming from the minority population is in any way a racist idea. Just a few more days, folks. Just a few more days.
The irony is that Storck’s stupidity in forwarding that email, and the subsequent coverage in the Florida news media, might very well motivate that many more minority voters in that state to turn out and vote to support Obama. C’mon, Florida! Get those minority voters motivated and out there. Let’s see Obama take that state.

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What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate …

It’s a bad time to be a part of the print media industry. As exemplified by Ray Pride’s “pink slip Tuesday” pile of layoff headlines, businesses that built their bank on print are feeling the impact of the digital age, and it’s not a pretty sight. What’s particularly unfortunate about this is that people are losing their jobs, in large part, because of the failure of the management at the top of the print media food chain to grasp the powerful impact the digital evolution was going to have on their businesses.
Clearly, many people at the top of print publications missed the memo about the changes in consumer habits the internet and all things digital would bring — or they got the memo and tossed it in the circular file, believing that if they buried their heads in the corporate sand long enough, the change they so feared might just pass them by.

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Box Office: We're All in this Together

Although the weekend take was a bit lower than some were predicting (and there was a surprising Saturday drop-off), the folks over at Disney still have to be happy with the opening-weekend box office for the theatrical debut of the third film in its tween-and-teen-targeted High School Musical franchise. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (thankfully re-named from the once-tossed-about title of High School Musical 3: Gradu-Dancin‘) pulled in its target demographic to the tune of $42.3 million.
I have to think the marketing team at Summit is happy with those numbers as well, given they’ll be targeting a similar market with the November 21 release of Twilight, the first adaptation from Stephenie Meyer‘s mega-popular vampire-teen-love series. Twilight has the advantage of potentially pulling big numbers from both the tween-teen set and the series’ huge fanbase in the female 25+ demographic. Assuming Twilight is able to draw in High School Musical-level numbers from the tweens and teens who are obsessed with all-things-Twilight, that, combined with the older female fanbase, could very easily see the film kick off with a $50 million-plus opening weekend, and we could see Twilight‘s numbers end up even higher if the fans come out in the droves Summit expects.
Of course, opening weekend aside, the bigger test for Twilight will be the fans’ perception of how well director Catherine Hardwicke does at adapting their beloved book for the big screen. Twilight fans seem to have a sense of personal investment in the characters and series not unlike fans of the Harry Potter franchise; if Hardwicke adapts the book for the screen in a way that meets or exceeds their expectations, I’d look for solid word-of-mouth and repeat viewings to give the film legs and drive up the overall gross to well over $100 million. If not, though, they will defect in droves, putting future adaptations of the remaining three books in the series in question.
I live with a highly-obsessed tween Twilight fanatic; I’ll be reading the barometer of my daughter and her pack of equally obsessed friends as an indicator of how well the film measures up. Meanwhile, it’s going to be interesting to see how much High School Musical 3 pulls in over the next few weeks. I hope the folks at Disney have plans to release the DVD of HSM 3 in time for Christmas, because it’s already on the top of my daughter’s Christmas list; getting it out in time for the holidays would guarantee many sales to parents looking for the perfect DVD stocking stuffer for their tween and teen Wildcats fans. In the meantime, parents can sate their kids’ passion for HSM with the soundtrack CD and novelizations, which, naturally, are available now.

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Palin Going Rogue?

Interesting piece from Ben Smith on Politico about how Sarah Palin is reportedly increasingly ignoring the advice of her Republican party handlers, who she blames for her tarnished media image, and “going rogue” in some of her decisions.
Translation: Whether she hurts the McCain campaign or not in the waning days left to McCain to make up lost ground, Palin is going to do her best to try to salvage her own political reputation. Moreover, she’s repeatedly not taken responsibility for her own contributions to the tarnishing of her image: Her glaring inadequacy to be a candidate for the vice-presidency, allegations of abuse of power (Troopergate and the state of Alaska paying heaps of cash for her kids to travel with her), the colossal PR misstep of the $150,000 campaign wardrobe, and Palin’s makeup artist being the highest-paid member of the campaign staff for October.
No matter how you look at it, or which side of the aisle you’re on politically, the McCain camp’s choice of Palin as his running mate was just a huge, huge misstep. Joe Lieberman or Mitt Romney would have been much stronger contenders than Palin, but if McCain wanted to be a “maverick” by choosing a woman as his running mate, there were any number of more qualified female Republican candidates he could have chosen. McCain would have been in a stronger position to challenge Obama at the polls next week with just about anyone but Palin as his VP choice.
Any McCain supporters out there who have a different view, with a perspective on why Palin was not a terrible choice in every respect, I’d love to hear why you think so …

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Femme Films of the Week — 10/24/2008

Femme Films of the Week — It’s a good week for femme films, with three solid female-led films in theaters now on my “recommended” list, and several other offerings you might find worth catching.
Recommended:

Happy-Go-Lucky**** — Mike Leigh’s latest film, starring Sally Hawkins in an effervescent performance as a charming, bubbly schoolteacher whose upbeat world view is challenged by her relationship with a surly driving instructor (Eddie Marsan). Standout performances by both Hawkins and Marsan make this immensely enjoyable film one to catch.
I’ve Loved You So Long **** 1/2 — Pay no attention to anyone who tells you this film is over-rated. This is, quite simply, one of the best films of the year, with powerhouse turns by both Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein as sisters reunited after the older (Thomas) is released from prison after a lengthy sentence. Scott Thomas will haunt you long after the closing credits roll.
Rachel Getting Married **** — Another film about sisters, this own starring Anne Hathaway, cast way against type as a drug addicted, perpetual screw-up released from rehab to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie Dewitt) wedding, stirring up a boiling cauldron of unresolved familial conflict, grief and resentment. Screenwriter Jenny Lumet’s script is raw, honest, and deeply stirring, and Hathaway, far removed from her Princess Diaries days, is a revelation, as is Rosemarie Dewitt. Must see.
Also playing:
The Secret Life of Bees**
Nights at Rodanthe
The Duchess*
The Women
Trouble the Water ***
The Longshots
Mamma Mia!
High School Musical 3 ** 1/2
And also … while I wouldn’t recommend this film to an adult cinephile looking for a great film this weekend, if you have a tween or teen girl in your life, I highly recommend taking them to see High School Musical 3, for its positive portrayal of smart girls heading toward college and the future, and for its unusual (for Hollywood) showcasing of girls who don’t look like anorexic models in prominent roles, singing, dancing and looking good.

Note: films with no stars are those that I have NOT seen and therefore have no recommendation one way or the other.

Thriller

I just watched Michael Jackson’s Thriller with my kids tonight and was struck by how well it’s held up for me since I first saw it when I was a teenager. And then I started wondering … how many movies that I’ve seen in, say, the last couple years, would hold up so well after so long?
The Lives of Others, Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men, Juno, The Proposition, Little Children, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Away from Her … I’m sure there are others, but off the top of my head, these are a few that (I think) will still play as well for me 20 years hence. Which films of the last few years really stand out for you?

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Review: High School Musical 3

Directed by Kenny Ortega

For what it is, High School Musical 3, the first theatrical release of the highly successful Disney TV movie franchise, isn’t all that bad. It’s not going to win any Oscars, but then again, that’s not what director Kenny Ortega was reaching for. He’s aiming squarely at the pre-teens and teens who watched the first two High School Musical movies in droves — and bought the CD, and the DVDs, and the posters, and the comforter set, and the Zac Efron pillow to practice kissing at night.

For what he’s aiming at, Ortega squarely hits the mark, but I don’t know that it needed to be seen on a big screen, necessarily. To be honest, my daughter probably had more fun overall last year attending a High School Musical 2 party at a friend’s house with a gaggle of tween girls, where they dressed in High School Musical attire, decorated the house like East High School, made “Go Wildcats!” posters, and ate enough snacks to finance a political campaign
— but she still had a rollicking good time at the latest installment.

The film opens, predictably enough, on a basketball game, and it sets the tone early for something new to the franchise — explicit fantasy sequences. No, not that kind of fantasy, it’s a family film. But the opener starts out feeling like you’re watching hero Troy Bolton (the charming Efron) in the midst of a nightmare about losing a basketball game. The dream segues into a real basketball game which Bolton’s team, the Wildcats — the reigning champions – are inexplicably. But, not to worry, kids, a musical sequence is going to come along to save the day!

And it does, in a rocking, creatively choreographed opener (you just have to put aside your disbelief at Troy inexplicably breaking into song in the middle of driving the ball down the court) that’s almost, but not quite worthy of the catchiest number in the first film, “We’re All in This Together.”

Yes, the plot is largely predictable and formulaic — but then, the same could be said for most books targeted at this demographic. Popular basketball captain Troy and his sweetheart, brainy songbird Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), are enjoying their senior year at East High, the most utopian high school ever conceived for a film. A brief foray into High School Musical history: At the start of the gang’s junior year, Gabriella moved to Albuquerque and East High, and turned the school upside-down by daring to show the world a smart girl can do more than one thing.

She took on the school’s reigning drama queen, Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), who, along with twin brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), had ruled every school production since kindergarten — and she took Troy, the biggest jock in school, along for the ride. Troy suddenly came to realize his long-buried love for musical dance numbers, and two new stars were born.

The entire theme of the first film was built around the unifying idea of a school where all the kids suddenly realized, “Hey, I don’t have to box myself into a group! I can enjoy and be good at more than one thing!” And much mayhem ensued as jocks and science geeks took up drama and the culinary arts, drama dorks deigned to speak to jocks, a smart, heavy-set girl let loose with her inner hip-hop groove, and so on. But by the end, everyone was dancing together and the cliques were broken down, and all was well.

The second movie, which takes place in the summer between junior and senior year, built on that theme, but it was pretty meh, and not much happened that’s relevant to the third film, so we’ll move on.

Now it’s senior year, and thanks to Gabriella the school is unified as no high school has ever been unified before. There are no dorks, cliques or outcasts at East High, everyone is friends with everyone else. Groovy idea, if not overly realistic, but if you can accept that premise, you’ll make it through the film. If not, well, you’ll spend roughly 90 minutes gritting your teeth, groaning in consternation, and experiencing uncomfortable flashbacks to your own high school days that will have you muttering, “Hah! That would never happen!” every two minutes or so.

One thing the third film does better than the first two is that it uses some interesting fantasy sequences and creative segues to make at least some of the many song-and-dance numbers in the film flow better. This is enabled, in part, by one of the film’s key plot points: All the seniors (and some of the younger kids as well) are involved in staging a big, end-of-year musical called “Senior Year,” in which they are performing a play about … themselves.

There’s a musical number where the kids are singing about their upcoming prom, which you think at first is a fantasy sequence, but then it turns out it was a dress rehearsal for a scene in the play. There’s also a pretty cute (and very creatively choreographed) number in which Troy and best friend Chad (Corbin Bleu) sing and dance through a salvage yard where they played when they were kids, reliving the freedom of childhood and imagination. There are some
cheesy props and special effects (I rather think they were intended to play that way), but the scene overall is cute.

Less successful is a rather painful number featuring Sharpay persuading her brother to dream big with her; this song went on way too long, the choreography was awkward, and the song musically was rather banal, even for a musical aimed at teens. Another problematic number is a solo for Efron in the third act, when he’s agonizing over what decision to make about college. This song was just painfully cringe-worthy in every respect, and Ortega makes it worse by smacking us around metaphorically with lots of stormy weather and crashes of lightning to make sure we get that Troy’s in a dark mood.

Of course, we have several heartfelt, pining duets between Troy and Gabriella — one of them is even a waltz in the rain, in a rooftop garden. The duets get a little wearing after a while, and musically they all sound very much the same, with nearly identical use of harmony over and over again, but Efron and Hudgens do have an electric on-screen chemistry that works very well for making their relationship feel believable.

To up the ante and add some dramatic tension to the mix, drama teacher Mrs. Bolton (Leslie Wing) announces that representatives from Julliard will be attending the performance of the school musical to evaluate four of the seniors — composer Kelsey (Olesya Rulin), Sharpay, her brother Ryan, and Troy — for one full scholarship slot at the prestigious arts school. It’s a bit contrived, but it does serve nicely to pit brother and sister against each other, as Ryan starts to realize what a self-serving, spoiled diva his twin sister is (this arc started in the second film, and is brought to a nice conclusion in the third).Meanwhile, Sharpay’s about to get her comeuppance in the form of a Tiara Gold (Jemma McKenzie-Brown), a Brit-import personal assistant who may not be quite what she seems.

Where the theme of the first high school musical was coming together, the theme of the third is growing apart — or rather, growing up, and leaving behind childhood tree-houses, toy robots, games of pretend and superhero capes … and even best friends. Troy and Gabriella are struggling over college decisions that will put them many miles apart; Gabriella’s not sure if her mother’s dream of her attending Stanford is really her dream; Troy ponders whether he’ll go to the University of Albuquerque to please best mate Chad and his father, or follow his own path.

Efron (aside from the aforesaid solo-angst number, and that’s more the fault of the dreadful song than him) is quite good in the third film; he’s a talented performer with an on-screen warmth and charm that connects with his young female fans. He was better in Hairspray, but this is the best of his High School Musical performances.

Hudgens went through a rough spot over some racy photos earlier in the year, but she recovers nicely and retains that oh-so-innocent Gabriella glow. Tisdale, who was pretty good as Sharpay in the first film, seems to be pouring it on a bit thick at times, as if making up for Hudgens having more screen time by trying to be bigger and more impressive; it mostly makes her feel strident and annoying throughout this film.

Overall, though it’s often hopelessly clichéd and a lot of the songs are (to an adult, anyhow) terminally cheesy, High School Musical 3 is everything the
young fans of the series will absolutely love. From a parent’s perspective, although its view of high school life is idealized, the film has a lot of positive
messages for tweens and teens about resisting peer pressure, being true to yourself, and accepting others for who they are.

Ortega also gets major props for bumping up the role of Martha, played by KayCee Stroh. Stroh plays a heavier-set girl who loves to dance hip-hop; she was more of a background dancer in the first film; the second film saw her moving up the food chain, and this time around she’s billed with the other second-tier pals of the six leads. Stroh looks like she’s lost some weight since the first film, but it was very nice to see curvaceous Martha front and center as a cheerleader, and featured in several dance numbers, in spite of not looking like an anorexic supermodel wannabe. In fact, most of the girls cast as cheerleader-dancers looked muscular and healthy, which, as a mother of a pre-teen daughter, I was very glad to see.

The film winds up with a big graduation song-and-dance number that I wished would have flowed into a final round of “We’re All in This Together,” but I wouldn’t start worrying too much about this being the final film in the popular franchise. The plot sets the stage for the next generation of kids to step into the shoes of the graduating leads, and High School Musical 4 is tentatively listed on IMDB. Casting is rumored at this point, but a couple of the characters from HSM 3 had story lines that will flow along into the next year.

If the fourth film does get made, look for it to center around Jimmy Z (Matt Prokop), the zany kid who idolizes Troy and serves as his understudy for the school play (he has “Disney’s Next Flavor of the Month” written all over him), Donny (Justin Martin), Jimmy Z’s best bud, and Tiara Gold, the drama-queen-in-waiting who’s eager to step into Sharpay’s stiletto heeled boots.

You can bet that if High School Musical 3 does well at the box office with its target demographic, more Wildcat musical action will be coming your way; what remains to be seen is whether the tween attention span will hold for the franchise in the absence of its charismatic leads.

-Kim Voynar

Jane Six Pack and the 27 Dresses


Sorry, Mgmax … you can skip this one.
The above video is great, if you’ve not seen it, watch it …
This whole story yesterday about the RNC spending over $150K on Sarah Palin’s campaign wardrobe is just another example of the myriad missteps the McCain camp has made since announcing Palin as his running mate. Over $49,000 at Saks 5th Avenue. A $75,000 shopping spree at Neiman Marcus. I mean, seriously. What on earth were they thinking? What a missed opportunity by Palin to capitalize on the “I’m just an average hockey mom” image she keeps trying (and failing) to sell.

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Silver Lining

I mentioned a few days ago that I’d just finished reading The Road, and it’s depressing as hell. But the one good thing about a post-Apocalyptic world is that films like this would never, ever be made again.

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If Houseplants Can Blog, Can They Become Film Critics?

Update: High School Musical 3
Because I know you’ve all been sitting out there just dying to hear about HSM3 (I’m looking at you, Lex) …
No full review until opening day, but just to tide you over so you can sleep until then:
it will involve
singing and dancing … CHECK
broken hearts … CHECK
Troy and Gabriela singing some sappy duets …CHECK (and for added specialness, in one of them they’re singing in the rain!)
and Sharpay trying to pull some stunt or another … CHECK, but a mildly clever twist on this
but by the end, they’ll all be joining hands and singing their finale as they go off their separate ways to college … CHECK and CHECK
All for now, you’ll have to wait for the rest until later.
***
As if the print media doesn’t have enough to bitch about, what with all the bloggers out there invading their turf, now from Japan we have Midori-san, the Blogging Houseplant! No, I’m not kidding.
I have no idea if this is for real or not; it’s entirely possible this is all a big publicity stunt by the cafe where Midori-san hangs out, and it’s really the dishwasher doing the blogging. But apparently, Japanese company KAYAC Co, Ltd has developed an interface that allows Midori-san, a Sweetheart Hoya, to blog its plant-ish thoughts for all the (Japanese-speaking) world to see. Maybe for the next phase they can put Midori-san in front of a big-screen TV with surround sound, put on some DVDs, and let Midori-san try writing movie reviews. I wonder what Midori-san would think about Little Shop of Horrors
Okay, off to a screening of High School Musical 3. Let me guess: it will involve singing and dancing, broken hearts, Troy and Gabriela singing some sappy duets, and Sharpay trying to pull some stunt or another, but by the end, they’ll all be joining hands and singing their finale as they go off their separate ways to college. I’ll let you know later how accurate my prediction is.

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Who Likes Horror Films?

Just in time for Halloween, Kathleen Murphy, writing for MSN Movies, has an excellent list of alternative horror fare. I’m not the biggest fan of horror flicks, but Murphy’s list has a couple of films I’ve seen and liked (The Descent, The Orphanage, Frailty) and a slew of horror flicks I’m interested in seeing (including Wendigo, The Wisdom of Crocodiles, Let the Right One In).
I’m not a fan of the slash-and-gore type of horror film, but I do like a good cerebral flick that has horror elements to it. But I’m not one of those who thinks that people who get off on horror are idiots, they just aren’t generally my thing, in the same way that the depressing Eastern Euro dramas I enjoy aren’t everyone’s cup o’ tea. In the interest of expanding the scope of my cinematic viewing taste, however, I am interested in watching more horror generally, so I’m open to recommendations from folks who are big horror buffs on which films I should see.
No recommendations for Last House on the Left, though, please … I’ve seen that one twice already and absolutely hate it.

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Sisterhood?

I’m participating in a panel for Women in Film down in L.A. on November 2. The panel’s about women film journalists and bloggers, and one of the topics we will be covering is whether female film journos have an obligation to write positively about femme-helmed films, regardless of whether said films are good or bad. The argument, I guess, is that we women have to stick together, there aren’t as many women as there should be making films, and so, therefore, women who write about film should support their sisters behind the camera by writing good things about their efforts.
For me, this issue is a no-brainer. If I write positively about a film directed by a woman simply because it’s directed by a woman, without regard for whether it’s good or not, I’m not only being dishonest as a critic, but ghetto-izing women filmmakers in general, n’est-ce pas? If female journalists actually do this, are they not saying, in effect: It’s okay, female filmmakers, you don’t have to meet any actual standards of goodness; moreover, we don’t even have enough faith that you are capable of making good films to begin with, so we’re going to handicap you right out of the gate to give you a boost. Ugh.
What intelligent, driven female director would actually want that kind of faint praise?

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Superbad: Glorifying Date Rape?

Over on Hollywood Elsewhere, there’s a truly fascinating discussion going on in the comments of Jeff Wells’ post labeling people who enjoy slash-and-gore horror films as morons. Wells writes about one horror flick I DO want very much to see, Swedish teen-vampire flick Let the Right One In, but that’s gotten largely lost in the discussion on the post, which somehow wends its way from whether horror fans are morons, to the merits of the Saw films, to defining torture porn to … Superbad really being about date rape?
Wait, Superbad‘s really about date rape? Really? Well, yes, according to commenter Hunter (who, actually, earlier in the discussion offered up the single most astute and compelling analysis of the first Saw film I’ve ever read), because the geeks in the film are on a quest to acquire alcohol so that, presumably, they can get the girls drunk enough to have sex with. Then someone else fired back that the whole thing is about the guys agreeing to get the girls beer so they can get into a party they would otherwise not be invited to, not about non-consensual sex. And so on. Now, I never got around to seeing Superbad, myself (I know, I know), but this is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone allege that Superbad is about date rape.
I found this whole discussion intriguing, but I hesitated about whether to write about it, because my views on the subject of date rape are complicated, in that it’s not a black and white issue for me. And I know, as a feminist, I’m not even supposed to say such a thing — the mantra is, no always means no, right? — but then my whole obsession for personal responsibility for one’s own actions rears its head. And to a certain extent, I see the argument about what is and is not “date rape” as, in and of itself, somewhat disempowering to women. Don’t start throwing things, yet, stay with me for a second.

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Go Tinklenberg!

Awesome news coming from Minnesota Public Radio: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reportedly added El Tinklenberg to the list of candidates it will support from its Red to Blue Fund, which pours money into the coffers of Democratic candidates in races where there’s a good possibility of taking back a Republican-controlled seat.
The DCCC will, it seems, spend more than $1 million in television ads supporting Tinklenberg in his race against Michele “McCarthy” Bachmann. The ads start tomorrow. This could be just what the Tink needs to uproot Bachmann and put a Democrat in the seat for Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District. One question … will the DCCC’s ads end with a “thank you” to Bachmann for handing them her own head on a silver platter? She keeps trying to backtrack and talk her way out of this, but that’s kind of hard to do when the video of you saying the very things you’re denying saying is out there to be seen by anyone and everyone.
It’s going to be a close race, but here’s hoping Tinklenberg pulls it off. This has just become one of the hottest races to watch on election night.
… and mucho thanks to Ray Pride for tipping me off about this.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“Most of these women were in their early twenties. Most of them refused to go any further with him, but a few went to dinner, or to some sort of casting situation, or to someplace private… if the stories were just about some crazed sex addict who approaches thousands of women on the street trying to get laid, I wouldn’t be posting this now. I don’t want to be attacking every Hollywood douchebag who hits on countless women. That type of behavior isn’t cool, but I think it’s important to separate douchebaggery from any kind of sexual coercion. But the women I talked to who DID go someplace private with Toback, told stories that were worse than the women only accosted on the street… So I did what I could do in my impotent state – for over twenty years now, I’ve been bringing up James Toback every chance I could in groups of people. I couldn’t stop him, but I could warn people about him… I’ve been hoping the Weinstein/O’Reilly stuff would bring this vampire into the light (him and a couple others, frankly). So I was happy today to wake up to this story in the L. A. Times.”
~ James Gunn

“BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Politics and queerness as spectacle/spectacle as politics and queerness. Pretty delightful, lovely, erotic. A-

“Not since EASY A and CABARET have I seen Emma Stone give a real sense of her range. Here, she has pathos and interiority and desire. I love the cinematography and the ways in which the images of the tennis icons are refracted and manipulated via various surfaces/mediators. Also, wild how a haircut is one of the most erotic scenes in cinema this year. Spine tinglingly tactile that feels refreshing. Proof that *cough* you don’t need to be ~graphic/explicit~ to be erotic *cough*. Also, it made me want to get into tennis. Watching it, at least.

“There are interesting touches and intimations as to the cinematic nature of sports, & unpacking the formal approach of broadcasting sports.Also, I was here for Sarah Silverman smoking. And also, hi Mickey Sumner!! It’s a really interesting film about the ways in which public spectacle is never apolitical, and how spectacle is prone to assignation.

“There’s this one other scene from BATTLE OF THE SEXES that I love, and it’s the one in the bar. You see Billie looking after Marilyn as she dances. Through a crowd. There’s a paradoxical closeness and distance between them. In the purple light, and the kitschy decor, everything is distorted. But Billie catches a glance and you can feel the nervous swell inside.”
~ Kyle Turner