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by Bill Gibron

25 Feb 2013

Argo producers Ben Affleck, Grant Heslov and George Clooney during the show at the 85th annual Academy Awards, Sunday, February 24, 2013. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

It was a night of firsts: Daniel Day-Lewis became the first ‘actor’ to win three Oscars for best lead performance (Katherine Hepburn still has four - and the “-tress” delineation - while Jack Nicholson’s trio are divided between major and ‘minor’ divsions); Ang Lee won a second award for directing Life of Pi, more or less confirming that anyone tackling (and successfully, mind you) an ‘unfilmable” project is bound to get a bucket full of accolades. Quentin Tarantino surprised everyone by besting Mark Boal and Zero Dark Thirty and Michael Haneke for Best Original Screenplay, proving that a provocative use of period appropriate epithets and homage-heavy cinematic copycatting is worthy of the night’s greatest prize, while Argo won the war of partially fictionalized history (read: Best Adapted Screenplay) over Lincoln.

by Bill Gibron

18 Feb 2013

What were they thinking? No, honestly, what WERE THEY thinking? John McClane in Russia? Running around Chernobyl to stop a scientist from unleashing his secret stockpile of nuclear grade Uranium on a world flush with rogue terrorist bomb makers? (Oops - sorry…spoiler alert?). Before, our befuddled cop often transplanted to places outside his flatfoot comfort zone, has taken on bad guys in a building, drug thugs in an airport, a bomb-happy heckler from his past, and a computer whiz wanting to destroy the world’s information grid. So nukes aren’t such a bad idea…or are they? Indeed, as the latest installment in the Die Hard series (given the precursory clip “A Good Day to...”) eats up an unhealthy portion of the President’s Day weekend box office, one has to wonder if this was the best approach to keeping a once healthy franchise flourishing.

by Bill Gibron

11 Feb 2013

Identity Thief

Ah, the shitstorm that commences when one cultural (crack)pot calls another a catty black. Or in this case, fat. About four decades ago, Rex Reed was hailed as a rising voice in film critique. He was seen as saucy and flamboyant, a combination of everyman and his sassy, spill the beans brother.  Fast forward 40 years and he’s the punchline of many an aging, out of touch jibe, a constant source (along with Armond White) of ridicule among those who call themselves critics…as they blog about their beloved b-movies. True, his desire to play cinematic stand-up often collides with the requirements of the craft, but with the wealth of weak-willed, quote-whoring studio shills out there more than happy to mine the mainstream for as many page hits as possible, he’s no worse.

by Bill Gibron

4 Feb 2013

In what many pundits believe is an indictment of the Academy’s recent snub of Argo helmer Ben Affleck, the Director’s Guild of America has honored the film, and its maker, with its 2013 recognition as the year’s best. This comes hot on the critical coattails of the film’s win at the Producer’s Guild Awards, as well as with the Screen Actors. All totaled, the based on a true story thriller about the Iran Hostage Crisis has pulled in a stunning set of accolades. It has a pair of Golden Globes (for Picture and Affleck), several pending international nods, and acknowledgement from at least a dozen critic’s groups. While AMPAS has seen fit to bestow seven nominations on the film, the given for its director is nowhere to be found. Instead, Oscar has seen fit to ignore three of the DGA’s nominees (Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, and Tom Hooper) for a telling trio of its own (Michael Haneke, David O. Russell, and Behn Zeitlin).

by Bill Gibron

14 Jan 2013

Based on last evening’s Golden Globes, the upcoming Oscar race is anybody’s to win…anybody’s except, perhaps, David O. Russell’s. While The Silver Linings Playbook managed to eek out a trophy for star Jennifer Lawrence, the quasi-comedy featuring Bradley Cooper as a bipolar man trying to reestablish his life post-institutionalization pulled a proverbial Lincoln. Like Steven Spielberg’s amazing look at our 16th President, Russell’s movie went in with a few key nominations, and only managed the one success (Daniel Day-Lewis being its sole winner). In fact, the controversial Django Unchained picked up more trophies than either profile release, earning statues for Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz and, in a major surprise, Best Original Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino’s curse and N-word laced script.

//Mixed media

Can Video Game Mechanics Be “Trashy”?

// Moving Pixels

"Speed is the pornography of video games. Like adding skin to a film, adding speed to a game isn't usually about making the game a more thoughtful experience. It is about exciting its audience's instincts on the most visceral level possible.

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