Like Ficarra and Requa’s 2011 comedy Crazy Stupid Love, Focus begins promisingly and bops along enjoyably for a while, only to run out of steam…
"Paul Mazursky, Director Who Captured a Changing America, Dies at 84": At The New York Times, Robert D. McFadden eulogizes the groundbreaking filmmaker in light of his death on Monday. Related: Dan Callahan pens a great, richly insightful obit for RogerEbert.com. See also: Roger Ebert's four-star review of Mazursky's 1978 masterpiece, "An Unmarried Woman."
“Mr. Mazursky was a show-business rarity, almost never out of work in a run of six decades that began as a stage and screen actor in the early 1950s and was still adding credits at the time of his death. He appeared in some 90 Hollywood films and television productions; wrote comedies and dramas for television, and, starting in the late 1960s, directed, produced and wrote screenplays for a score of films and documentaries. For all that, there was an ageless quality about him. Associates said he had boundless energy, the rapid patter of a stand-up comic and an actor’s gift for memory. With his long hair tied back, his hawkish nose and his solemn eyes, he looked a bit like the American Indian in the well-known public service commercial who sheds a tear for a profligate nation. Some of his later films were his most ambitious, notably a 1989 adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s 1972 novel, ‘Enemies, a Love Story,’ which he wrote with Roger L. Simon. That film examines the hopes, foibles and fatalisms of Holocaust survivors in New York, centering on a Jewish man (Ron Silver) who shares one apartment with his wife and another with a mistress while maintaining a vexing third relationship with a former wife. When she turns up, the film becomes a triple-romance comedy of high anxiety against a backdrop of painful memories.”
"'Community' Returning for Sixth Season on Yahoo Screen": The Hollywood Reporter's Lesley Goldberg covers the latest chapter in Dan Harmon's troubled yet beloved sitcom's rebirth.
“‘Community’ already has a big online presence. Hulu has been the exclusive streaming home for the first five seasons of the series — ranking as one of the streaming service's most-watched originals. The service aired episodes the day after their original broadcast. Comedy Central airs syndicated repeats. Meanwhile, outspoken showrunner Harmon — who was replaced for ‘Community’'s fourth season — admitted to feeling ‘eh’ at first when studio Sony Pictures Television floated the idea about the show living on elsewhere: ‘For a million reasons, some selfish, some creative, one logistic, five sexual, three racist (in a good way) and, oddly, nine isometric.’ But after several days, Harmon promised that he ‘won’t be lukewarm’ about a revival should it become a serious conversation. “I said ‘eh’ on a Friday afternoon, I will change it to a ‘sure, let’s talk’ on Monday morning and Sony can do their thing,’ he wrote. ‘I’m not going to be the guy that re-cancels canceled ‘Community.’’”
"Re-Viewed: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - A Misunderstood Masterpiece": Ben Rawson Jones of Digital Spy makes his case for David Lynch's widely criticized big screen counterpart to his hit TV show.
“Lynch removed much of what was familiar and comforting and homed in on the darker elements of the story in a way that the television medium wouldn't allow. The graphic scenes of violence and nudity, so important to the film's effectiveness, would never be allowed on American network television at the time. Nor would lines like 'So, you want to f**k the homecoming Queen?' This created a fascinating dissonance between the ‘Twin Peaks’ we'd grown accustomed to and the unflinchingly confrontational nature of the movie. It's classic Lynch. Ever since the jarring sounds and static blasts of his debut movie ‘Eraserhead,’ Lynch has reveled in subjecting viewers to both discomfort and epiphanies. Each experience heightens the other. No wonder he sells (fish-free) coffee these days – he wants people to feel wired.”
"What Went Wrong with HBO's 'The Leftovers'?": Over at Indiewire, Anne Thompson tries to identify precisely what caused the revered network's latest program to make such an unspectacular debut.
“First, the advance TV spots looked grim. Two per cent of the world's population vanishes in an instant, as poof! the baby vanishes from the rear car seat. Per the well-reviewed Tom Perrotta novel, how does everyone cope? Three years later, the story focuses on one struggling family, as single dad police chief (unbelievably played by too-tattooed and stylish Justin Theroux) and his misbehaving teenage daughter cope with the loss of his wife. His son works for one how-to-cope guru, while a white-garbed, silent, cigarette-smoking cult deals with the survivors in its own way. Lindelof is trying to snag us with wanting to solve the various mysteries, but fails to engage us with these troubled characters. I was often confounded by their behavior. Why would a group of teens voluntarily bury a stranger's dead dog?”
“I had to tailor my dreams to fit my budgets. Except in a few cases, like when Sir Paul Getty was alive and he sponsored my Mickey Mouse film ['Mouse Heaven,' 2004], I had very limited financial resources. So that has dictated my product. With 'Rabbit's Moon' [1950-79], I was helped by the Cinémathèque Française. They gave me the 35mm film to make it. It was the same film that [Jean] Cocteau used for 'Beauty and the Beast'—the same 35mm negative. I had plans to do a film based on 'Les Chants de Maldoror' by Lautréamont. I did film part of it with one of the ballet groups in France. I made platforms just below the surface of the water; there were, like, tables, they were held down so they wouldn't float away. So it appeared that the dancers were actually dancing on the water. It's not a very special effect, because if you had the money, you could do it with people dancing in the air if you wanted.”
At The Daily Dot, Mike Fenn lists 10 classic films that can now be streamed on Netflix.
Queen Elizabeth II visits HBO's "Game of Thrones" set, and no, she doesn't ask to make a cameo in an upcoming episode.
Captain's log: eight fifth graders, one adult, one James Cameron movie.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
As we mourn Abrams’ macho Star Trek obliteration, it’s a good time to revisit that most Star Trek-ian of accomplishme...
On how Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" examines evil.