The House


Charlie Sheen

Karina Longworth gets a glimpse of Charlie Sheen inside his own house.

Get in the mood for tonight's 30 Rock series finale with this Jack Donaghy insult generator.

North Koreans are eating each other.

Patty Andrews passes away.

Zero Dark Thirty opponents are changing their minds.

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TAGS: 30 rock, a glimpse inside the mind of charles swan iii, academy awards, cannibalism, charlie sheen, chris brown, karina longworth, latinos, liv ullmann, mama, miss julie, north korea, paperman, patty andrews, rihanna, the andrews sisters, walt disney pictures


Head Over Heels

[Editor's Note: The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013, presented by ShortsHD, will open in theaters nationwide on February 1st. For locations, click here.]

If there's any consensus among the Slant staffers who've spent way too much time trying to peg the winner in this category, it's that only two nominees can be safely ruled out. PES's Fresh Guacamole, which has amassed almost seven million views on YouTube since May of last year, is a conceptual dazzler that, not unlike one of our favorite music videos of last year, Benga's "I Will Never Change," feels entirely too circumscribed by its very conceptuality to register as anything beyond a cleverly executed (and all-too-brief) stunt. A nay as well to Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare", a charming and ultimately touching tale about the youngest Simpson, upon being denied entrance into a daycare's gifted section, using all her chutzpah to save a butterfly from her famous unibrowed archnemesis. That the effectiveness of the short almost hinges on the audience's familiarity with The Simpsons (Maggie Simpson has a unibrowed archnemesis?) may be as much of a detriment as its guilt-by-association corporate-ness, having played in theaters prior to Ice Age: Continental Drift.

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TAGS: academy awards, adam and dog, amour, benga, fodhla cronin o'reilly, fresh guacamole, harvey krumpet, head over heels, i will never change, ice age continental drift, la maison en petits cubes, maggie simpson in -the longest daycare-, minkyu lee, paperman, pes, the danish poet, the fantastic flying books of mr. morris lessmore, the moon and the son an imagined conversation, the simpsons, timothy reckart, up, walt disney pictures, wreck-it ralph


Poster Lab: Trance

TranceA seemingly unapologetic genre vehicle, Trance looks like Danny Boyle's first film since Sunshine that won't become awards bait. Instead, the sci-fi thriller shows goals of stylistic crowd-pleasing, to which Boyle is surely no stranger. An art-world tale sprinkled with hypnotherapy themes, Trance gets artfully literal with its initial UK one-sheet, which comes in three character variations.

The leading image, featuring lead star James McAvoy, warns that his art-auctioneer not "be a hero," which of course promises plenty of derring-do. The other two, which lay the same design over the faces of Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassell, offer taglines pertaining to personal security (i.e. "Do You Feel Safe?"). The evidence, including the film's trailer, suggests a flick that blends The Thomas Crown Affair with Inception, following a man involved with art theft as folks try to retrieve memories from his brain.

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TAGS: alexandre aja, danny boyle, dean koontz, haute tension, inception, intensity, james mcavoy, moon, poster lab, posters, rosario dawson, sam rockwell, sunshine, the thomas crown affair, trance


Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords implores Senate to act at gun hearing.

Jim Nabors (!) marries partner in Seattle.

Babs will perform at the Oscars for the first time in 36 years.

Gene Seymour offers some quick-and-dirty thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty.

Also, for Filmmaker, Nicholas Rombes shares his thoughts on the film.

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TAGS: barbra streisand, beyoncé, deepa mehta, filmmaker, gabrielle giffords, gene seymour, gun control, jim nabors, mad men, michael atkinson, nicholas rombes, salman rushdie, zero dark thirty


Curfew

[Editor's Note: The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013, presented by ShortsHD, will open in theaters nationwide on February 1st. For locations, click here.]

Since some of us at Slant regard the Oscar season cycle as an irresistible cinephile parlor game, and others among us as an annual month-long plunge into total masochism, it's entirely appropriate that we start our winner predictions for what is shaping up to be a comparatively off-kilter year by ripping some of the stickiest bandages in one ruthless swoop. That's right: Clear a path for those Oscar pool-deciding short-film categories. The shorts may have seen their cachet rise in the last few years as they've been collected in limited-release anthologies, but let's be honest: These are still the only three categories not obsessively hooked up to the AMPAS EKG® by Sasha Stone and other full-time Oscar pundits over the course of an entire year, so predicting them paradoxically requires even more attention to be paid to those patterns Stone, et al. cling to in all the glamour categories.

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TAGS: academy awards, amour, asad, buzkashi boys, curfew, death of a shadow, god of love, henry, instagram, isabelle huppert, louie c.k., matthias schoenaerts, michael haneke, paris hilton, r. kurt osenlund, sasha stone, shawn christensen, the new tenants, the shore, vittorio de sica


Steven Soderbergh

Mary Kaye Schilling interviews Steven Soderbergh.

Michael Atkinson wonders if Zero Dark Thirty's haste is at the expense of perspective.

David Mamet has thoughts on gun control.

And so does his fellow contributor at The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky.

The Boy Scouts of America are rethinking their ban on gays.

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TAGS: annimal collective, applesauce, barack obama, boy scouts of america, cissy houston, david mamet, gaspar noé, gun control, immigration, mary-kaye schilling, michael atkinson, michael koresky, michael tomasky, steven soderbergh, the daily beast, whitney houston, zero dark thirty


The Island of St. Matthews

Kevin Jerome Everson introduced the world premiere of his 10th film, The Island of St. Matthews, at Rotterdam by saying that it's like the others, but different: a familiar subject matter ("black folks in America," as he put it) approached with a unique method. Indeed, his latest feature, shot on 16mm, is an unusual blend of documentary and avant-garde modes that broaches the historical, the theological, the economic, and the personal. A series of staged actualités sets the film into motion: a man walks along the top of a dam wall; another water skis along the Tombigbee River that runs alongside the Everson family's town of Westport, Mississippi; others, draped in anachronistic white robes, perform a baptism; another tolls the bell of St. Matthews Church. Everson's poetic sound design makes these disparate scenes, like postcards from a bygone era, glide into one another and, later, function as a sort of chorus in between verses of talking heads.

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TAGS: 13 lakes, eden, eliza hittman, gerritsen beach, gina piersanti, giovanna salimeni, giulietta masina, hal hartley, international film festival rotterdam, it felt like love, james benning, jesse cordasco, kevin jerome everson, larry clark, megan griffiths, sean porter, sundance film festival, the departed, the island of st. matthews, trust


Zero Dark Thirty

The 85th annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Starting tomorrow, check back daily as we predict the winner in every Oscar category. This year, 53 films received nominations in 24 categories, and with the exception of Chasing Ice, which I feel no compulsion to seek out, I've seen them all. Below, a ranked list, from best to worst, of those 52 films.

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TAGS: 5 broken cameras, academy awards, adam and dog, amour, argo, beasts of the southern wild, chasing ice, curfew, django unchained, dolby theatre, hitchcock, les misérables, life of pi, lincoln, los angeles, mirror mirror, moonrise kingdom, silver linings playbook, ted, the impossible, the master, zero dark thirty


Fruitvale

Click here for a full list of this year's Sundance Film Festival award winners.

Actors honored their own at last night's Screen Actors Guild Awards.

And Argo is almong this year's Producers Guild Awards winners.

Camille Rewinds by Noémie Lvovsky leads this year's Cesar Awards Nominations.

Slavoj Žižek chimes in on Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty.

Also, Michael Moore shares his thoughts on the film.

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TAGS: argo, bilge ebiri, camille rewinds, cesar awards, downton abbey, fandor, fruitvale, gun crazy, marilyn ferdinand, michael moore, michel gondry, mood indigo, noémie lvovsky, paul schrodt, peggy cummins, producers guild of america, screen actors guild, slavoj žižek, sundance film festival, to the wonder, zero dark thirty


I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the MoviesThe cover of Jeanine Basinger's I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies features Carole Lombard and Jimmy Stewart in a still from Made for Each Other (1939) and, boy, is it gorgeous. Each star with their ambiguous facial expressions, sensual proximity, and debonair dress, the image speaks to an embodiment of classical Hollywood and its underlying ethos of subtle subversion masquerading as affirmation. In fact, much of Basinger's new book consistently functions in this manner, as one cannot help but be enveloped by the 139 stills and illustrations that so vividly render the period, almost to the extent that Basinger's prose becomes secondary. Although Basinger claims that her aim—defining historical parameters for explicating depictions of marriage in the cinema—must necessarily revolve around content, the physiological qualities of this particular period of Hollywood cinema holds more resonance than the narratives proper. Discounting a romanticized view of the period runs the risk of stripping away its seductive nature and its ability to transform the domestic; after all, isn't this a primary motivation for watching a film about two human beings in love? To have the resonance of daily human contact and interaction transcended through cinematic time and space?

If this initially seems a roundabout way to discuss Basinger's book, it's because her treatment of the subject is too straightforward for more provocative taste. Rather than historicizing with a revisionist eye, Basinger takes a more traditional historical approach, placing film after film within different or overlapping taxonomies. Much like fellow film historian David Bordwell, her writing is strong, the vision clear, but the parade through periods and themes of filmmaking is more soporific than enlivening, since the categorizations read as matter of fact, instead of being motivated by reaching audacious ends.

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TAGS: bed and board, brief encounter, carole lombard, cecil b. demille, d.w. griffith, david bordwell, father knows best, françois truffaut, friday night lights, i do and i don't: a history of marriage in the movies, i love lucy, ingmar bergman, jeanine basinger, jimmy stewart, knopf, lou costello, made for each other, modern family, scenes from a marriage, the battle of the sexes, the cheat, william abbott







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