CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

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Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012
Tired of the same old holiday hokum? Here's 10 examples, both sincere and sinister, that will make your yuletide, if not bright, at least a bit more bearable.

When Santa sits back in his North Pole office and tallies up the boy and girl balance sheet every year, one wonders what exactly he uses as a means of measurement. It used to be that obeying one’s parents, doing well in school, and avoiding the pitfalls and problems of growing up were the essential benchmarks for a ranking of “good”, while putting a tack on teacher’s chair, pouring ink on Mommy’s rug and filling the sugar bowl with ants warranted a score of “bad” and a mandatory gift of furnace fuel, aka coal. But now, in a world that excuses almost any behavior as part of the maturation process, it must be impossible to differentiate between disobedient and merely misunderstood.

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Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012
The Oscars ceremony on February 24 may seem like a long way off, but the Best Picture race is already beginning to take shape.

Well, folks. It’s that time of year again. The best of the best are being thrust out into theaters at a rate so rapid it’s almost impossible to keep up with—taking a work vacation from November through January is really the only way to see all these wonderful films.

Why do the studios wait until the last minute to release their best work? Were they all procrastinating school children who waited until the night before their science project was due and still haven’t kicked the habit? No. Unlike those irresponsible kiddies, these marketing moguls have a good reason for keeping their most artistic accomplishments hidden until the last possible moment.

The Oscars.

A few studios have positioned their films not only for a rewarding run at the box office, but also a successful nominations’ day at the Academy (and thus even more money from the ensuing extended theatrical run). The following 10 films currently have the best odds at scoring the coveted Best Picture nomination thanks to glowing reviews, big money at the box office, and/or savvy marketing campaigns.

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Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012
No, they're not who you think they are. Here's our selections for the 10 forgotten figments of cool in Tarantino's amazing oeuvre.

Jules and Vincent. Mr. Orange and Mr. Blonde. The entirety of the Basterds. Jackie Brown and her company of male admirers. When one thinks of Quentin Tarantino and his compendium of motion picture badasses, these are the names that come to mind. These are the characters (and the actors who portrayed them) that Messageboard Nation swoons over, whom cinephiles dissect and fans foam over with memorized dialogue and exaggerated body art. Yet buried within each QT gem are a myriad of evocative individuals. Some get their major moment and then fade into the woodwork. Others operate on a level wholly separate from the onscreen scenarios, threatening to overwhelm the stars with their heft and substance and when viewed in total, they become as important as the players they are supporting.

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Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012
Call them monsters or madam, but all Twilight-ers aside, these are the fiends we hope visit us in the wee small hours of the morning.

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of it. Our long international night terror as proposed nascent neckbiter romance is finally coming to a conclusion, and for many in fright fandom, the close of Twilight could not come quicker. Having already sullied the famed monster with its mushy love junk, Stephanie Meyer’s multimillion dollar juggernaut limps into theaters this weekend with the second installment of the already unnecessary double finale—Breaking Dawn. In this Bella Swan-song, our heroine has become a member of the Cullen Clan, both matrimonially and undead-like, and her newborn child may be a threat to all bloodsuckers around the world. Thus, the Volturi get involved and we get more eerie Goth Eurotrash types gadding about the big screen. Enough already. Yeesh.

Anyway, the impending box office bonanza got us thinking about our favorite female Vlads. While some sort of miss the boat—Geena Davis in Transylvania 6-5000—others have tried to expand on the mythos without making mincemeat of the entire creature category (like the androgynous Eli of Let the Right One In). One such example arrives on DVD and Blu-ray today (13 November) in the form of Vamps, a comedy from Amy Heckerling (Clueless) that tries to turn the whole Dracula dynamic on its Sex and the City stake. While it’s only slightly successful, it illustrates the main way movies portray girl ghouls—as supernatural cheesecake. As a result, we have decided to dig deep into the vaults of movies mainstream and obscure and come up with our own list of Ten Awesome Female Vampires. While their particular motion pictures may be mediocre, these gals really know how to deliver the sultry shivers, beginning with:

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Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012
With a pair of recent biopics hoping to uncover the "real Hitch", here's our picks for the undisputed Master of Suspense's 10 best.

He began his career making silent films in Britain. It was there where he met, and eventually married, the woman who would become his greatest supporter, creative partner, and critic. Hollywood eventually came calling, but even with success both commercially and critically, few in Tinseltown knew what to do with him. Today, he’s considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Yet he doesn’t even have an Oscar for his main cinematic contribution—directing (he did ‘win’ the 1968 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, if that’s any consolation). Instead, all Alfred Hitchcock owns is a legacy so far superior to any of those within his peer group that to consider him anything less than the undisputed maestro of the thriller is incompetence. Among the old school set, he’s the king.

In a few weeks, director Sacha Gervasi (responsible for the terrific documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil) will release his take on Psycho period Hitchcock, complete with Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins as the portly Master of Suspense and Academy Queen Helen Mirren as his faithful (?) wife Elma. As with the recent HBO effort The Girl (which centered on the filmmaker’s rumored unhealthy fixation with Tippi Hedren during The Birds), these behind the scenes biopics offer little about the moviemaking process and, instead, focus more on the personal politics involved in Hitchcock’s artistic auteurship. For us, no amount of TMZ tabloiding can destroy what is a truly remarkable filmmaker. Over the course of four decades, her delivered a myriad of memorable titles. For us, these ten are his very, very best.

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