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Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor
Oscar 2014 Nomination Predictions: Supporting Actor

Let’s pretend, for a second, that Jared Leto, a vain campaigner who can’t even be bothered to remember the names of critics groups that honor him, won’t be the Supporting Actor strutting to the podium on Oscar night, and making some jokey, offensive gesture like daintily tossing his hair back. Who, then, is next in line to overtake Leto for his turn as a trans woman—or, as Katie Couric would call her, a “transgender”—in Dallas Buyers Club? Methinks it won’t be fellow lock Michael Fassbender from 12 Years a Slave, who’s fine but unexciting as a pathetic slave owner, but one of two damn-near-locks who represent foreign underdogs: Daniel Brühl in Rush and Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips.

Box Office Rap Baggage Claim and the Lost Women of September

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Box Office Rap: Baggage Claim and the Lost Women of September
Box Office Rap: Baggage Claim and the Lost Women of September

As the series finale of Breaking Bad nears, and with Walter White set to confront Todd, Uncle Jack, and (potentially) rescue Jesse Pinkman, Americans may pass the time this Friday by heading to the multiplex. Opening, and expected to take the weekend with ease, is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, though it’s unlikely that members of #teamwalt will be interested in that, unless they have kids of their own (“a scary thought”). No, they’ll most likely see one of the other three primary offerings, all with hyper-masculine protagonists. There’s Rush, director Ron Howard’s racing period piece. If not that, perhaps Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut about a guy from Joisey with a porn addiction. If neither of those strike a chord, there’s always the macho spectacle of Metallica: Through the Never, which bumps Dorothy and Toto from IMAX theaters on Friday.

Watch the Trailer for Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, James Gandolfini’s Penultimate Film

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Watch the Trailer for Nicole Holofcener’s <em>Enough Said</em>, James Gandolfini’s Penultimate Film
Watch the Trailer for Nicole Holofcener’s <em>Enough Said</em>, James Gandolfini’s Penultimate Film

You can’t help but feel pangs of heartache watching the trailer for Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said (below), the second-to-last film to feature James Gandolfini (his crime drama Animal Rescue is set for release in 2014). Such is the feeling that Fox Searchlight, who just unveiled the trailer, is surely hoping to elicit with the film itself, which only recently secured a firm release date (the movie opens in select theaters Sept. 20 before a wider rollout). Since Enough Said was previously unlisted on September release schedules, one could certainly presume that the indie studio has bumped it forward to cash in on Gandolfini grief, which feels a bit icky. But, then again, who doesn’t want to see Gandolfini back on screen ASAP, even posthumously, particularly in a film that seems to be, at least where he’s concerned, genuinely tender?

One Month Later: Catching Up with RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz

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One Month Later: Catching Up with RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz
One Month Later: Catching Up with RogerEbert.com Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz

Around these parts, we’re pretty partial to Matt Zoller Seitz, the pop-culture-obsessed multihyphenate who founded The House Next Door, and either mentored or befriended a great number of House and Slant writers before moving on to develop sites like Press Play and become TV critic for New York magazine. But even for those without any Seitz biases, chances are it’s hard not to admire the guy’s pluck. On July 4, it will have been one month to the day since news officially broke that Seitz had been named editor-in-chief of RogerEbert.com. Of course, despite the massive loss we all suffered when Ebert passed, this job quickly seemed among the most coveted in all of entertainment journalism. And yet, it presented quite an intimidating challenge too. Though both Seitz and Ebert’s widow, RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert, have stressed that, naturally, no one could ever replace Roger, Seitz has accepted a torch-pass from someone who was rather inarguably the most popular film critic ever, and whose revered position is one of the hardest acts to follow in the history of the profession. But despite the hubbub, hurdles, and pressure that could unnerve even the steeliest pro, Seitz appears to have seized his role with grace and, indeed, guts, which is to say nothing of his recent championing of what might be the most widely-reviled flick of the year.

SXSW 2013: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and V/H/S/2

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SXSW 2013: <em>The Incredible Burt Wonderstone</em> and <em>V/H/S/2</em>
SXSW 2013: <em>The Incredible Burt Wonderstone</em> and <em>V/H/S/2</em>

Another opening-night gala screening, another crapshoot. Two years ago, South by Southwest gave the red-carpet treatment of Duncan Jones’s entertaining time-travel thriller Source Code, but last year Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s irritatingly snarky horror-genre deconstruction The Cabin in the Woods got the top honor, and now this year we have The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which, in spite of a nasty concluding punchline, can’t even claim the kind of cleverly subversive comic gusto The Cabin in the Woods has in abundance—for better and for worse.

New York Film Festival 2012: Amour and Not Fade Away

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New York Film Festival 2012: <em>Amour</em> and <em>Not Fade Away</em>
New York Film Festival 2012: <em>Amour</em> and <em>Not Fade Away</em>

The key scene in Amour comes during the film’s second hour, in a scene in which Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) tries to desperately to shield his concerned daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert), from seeing her mother (Emmanuelle Riva) in her dying state. In response to her increasingly frenzied demand that she see her, Georges says, “None of all that deserves to be shown.” He eventually relents and apologizes for the concealment, but in that one line of dialogue, one can grasp the unmistakable touch of the film’s director, Michael Haneke: Georges may be afraid to confront the horrors of his wife’s slow death, but Haneke will surely force all of us in the audience to confront it, in all its agonizing ugliness.

If you’re looking for empathetic humanism in the contemplation of aging and dying, á la Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow or Yasujirô Ozu’s Tokyo Story, you won’t find it in Haneke’s carefully composed frames, ruthlessly prolonged takes, and generally detached stance. Amour plays like a dissection more than anything else, and however one reacts to it depends almost entirely on the emotional resources the individual viewer brings to it. Haneke, as usual, isn’t interested in holding your hand in that way.