movies

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It has been a busy week in culture. There were the deaths of Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams, and the latter death brought up questions about how people behave on social media when an icon passes. Also, he who is tired of sharks is tired of death. But we might be getting tired of sharks!

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Watching Richard Linklater's "Boyhood", you keep waiting for the car crash, or the random act of violence that puts one of the characters into Intensive Care. Not because he gives you any reason to expect that, but because watching a lot of movies and television conditions us to anticipate a rhythm of plot points and dramatic upheavals, and then they don't come. Because one of Linklater's points is that time itself is a series of upheavals. Just growing up and growing old is a harrowing, exciting, and mind-blowing process. It turns out that the best way to make a movie about everything is to make a movie in which not much happens. We'll talk about the wildly original "Boyhood" on The Nose.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Breathes there a man with soul so dead that he has never written a song parody?

Everybody does right? They get passed around on the schoolyard from the time we're little. Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, etc.

And, you might knock one out for a co-workers retirement party.

And, the internet is one big old song parody farm. In between last week's Nose on which we talked about a really terrible Comcast users service call and now, somebody on YouTube has set that call to music.  No kidding.

Actor James Garner, whose wise-cracking but affable character made hits out of the TV shows Maverick and The Rockford Files, has died. He was 86.

Los Angeles Police confirm that Garner was found dead of natural causes at his home in Brentwood on Saturday.

obnoxious and anonymous / Flickr Creative Commons

We've never done this before but last night the three Nose panelists and I gathered at my house so we could all watch Snowpiercer, a sci-fi summer action movie with a brain. Snowpiercer is a meditation on leadership, climate change and socioeconomic inequality and it manages to tackle all of those topics without skimping on the bloody axe fights. It's based on a French graphic novel and it stars the actor who played Captain America in two movies and we're going to spend a lot of time today in that universe.

What with the death of Archie and the news that the new movie Captain America will have a black actor and the new Thor will be a woman. Also, on our topic list will be the viral audio of a guy trying to cancel his cable subscription against spirited resistance from a comcast rep on the other end. 

Bernt Rostad / Creative Commons

I'm pretty sure that in the summer of 1992, somebody tried to tell me about Monty Python's Flying Circus. I didn't get it, and there weren't that many chances to  break in as a Python fan. Their actual television show didn't begin airing on public TV in America until October of 1974. Then, in the space of about two years, they changed the face of American comedy. 

This hour, we talk about movie trailers. Maybe you wonder what a movie critic thinks of them. Actually, critics don't see as many as you do because they often go to special screenings.

A short time ago, in a city not far away, Star Wars creator George Lucas decided to build a museum to house his movie memorabilia and his art collection.

There's just one looming question: Where should it go?

Lucas says he'll spend $300 million of his own money to build the proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum and will provide a $400 million endowment after his death. In addition to holding Skywalker artifacts galore, the museum would also host Lucas' private art collection, featuring works by Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth, among others.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Why go to a film festival? Because you might see the guy who plays Jaime Lannister on "Game of Thrones" in a Norwegian film also starting Juliette Binoche about a photojournalist on a dangerous assignment in Kenya. Or you might see a documentary about the American roots music dynasty, the Carters and the Cashes. Or maybe you'll bump into an acting legend like Karen Allen or Mary Kay Place on the street or in a seat next to yours.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

People who attend Comic Con and Star Trek conventions -- or nerds in general -- used to be the butt of jokes, including a famous "Saturday Night Live" skit by William Shatner, where he tells "Trekkers" to get a life.

Now "fandom" is a huge industry. It generates more than $500 million by one estimate, and is growing in both revenue and attendance. 

We learned today that the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel will be called Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

This is interesting for several reasons. First of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like a dirty movie about sheriffs. Second of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like it precedes the Morning Of Reckoning, the Afternoon Of Relief, the Dusk Of Regret, the Evening Of Resignation, and the Hot Muggy Midnight Of History Repeating Itself, all leading up to Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The Next Day.

Announced, the cast is: The Star Wars franchise has announced the cast for the upcoming Episode VII movie.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow will join the cast of the new movie. The three stars of the original films — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill — will reprise their roles as Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, respectively. Also back are Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Kenny Baker as R2-D2 and Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca.

Netflix, buoyed by its foray into original productions such as the political drama House of Cards, said Monday it has added 2.25 million new customers and plans to raise its new-subscriptions rate by $1 or $2 a month.

The video streaming service reported first quarter earnings of $53 million, or 86 cents a share. Its share price surged by 6 percent following the announcement of earnings that compared with $2.7 million in the same period a year ago.

According to a recent report published by the Motion Picture Association of America, Latinos went to the movies in 2013 way more often than other ethnic groups in the U.S. relative to their population.

Shelly Sindland / Shelly Sindland Photography

The Scramble, our Monday episode, is a wrap-up of the weekend's news, and a look at the week ahead. This hour, we have a conversation with Charla Nash, who is seeking the right to sue the state of Connecticut over the chimpanzee attack in 2009 that left her badly mutilated.

We also feature our SuperGuest, Slate Political Gabfest panelist, David Plotz. He's been thinking a lot about the high-budget involved in anti-technology films like the upcoming movie, Noah, and whether or not Hillary Clinton is too old to run for president.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A hilariously fussy hotel manager with a taste for the high life is wrenched from his gay surroundings by the specter of war and a false murder charge. That doesn't sound terribly funny, but it's the premise for "The Grand Budapest Hotel," the latest Wes Anderson movie. Our Nose panelists all went to see it, and it will be one of our topics on this show.

Chris Brown/flickr creative commons

Call and tell us what you're watching on TV and at the movies.

Resurrection is a new TV series with enough highway billboard promotion to fund several small countries. (Dead people are returned to their stunned families and friends.) Veep starts on HBO, taking aim at ego-oriented politics in Washington. True Detective just ended, though it can be seen on HBO Go or On Demand. (Great moody acting, but not for the squeamish. The finale episode is a little cheap in the exploitation department. Still, it was irresistible.)

President Barack Obama visited Connecticut today where he spoke at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. The President highlighted his plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. He was joined by Governor Dannel Malloy, along with the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Watching Wes Anderson's films can often feel like a tumble down a rabbit hole. With the opening credits comes entry into a world that's both weird and wonderful. The writer and director of movies like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom has long had a point of view that is completely original — even dating back to the fifth grade, when he and a friend dramatized a Kenny Rogers album.

"We built quite a nice set," Anderson recalls. "We just performed the whole album of The Gambler with puppets playing instruments."

Kenneth Lu / Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a proposal that would establish a maximum decibel level at movie theaters across the state. The General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee heard testimony during a public hearing on Tuesday, including from Joseph Masher, the chief operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas.

Rick / Creative Commons

Today on The Scramble, one of our favorite writers, A.J. Jacobs takes us deep inside the world of modern ancestry research where websites are all  too happy to tell you that you're distantly related to Gwynyth Paltrow, Michael Bloomberg, Quincy Jones, and King David.  Those are all actual examples of people A.J. was told are his relatives. 

'12 Years A Slave,' 'Gravity' Win Big At The Oscars

Mar 2, 2014

After several days of heavy rain in Los Angeles, the sun came out just as the 86th annual Academy Awards got underway at the Dolby Theater.

The big award of the night, for Best Picture, went to 12 Years a Slave. The film tells the harrowing tale of Solomon Northup, a free black man in New York who was sold into slavery. (See the full list of winners below.)

Sunday night's Oscars will include a Best Picture race that's apparently narrowed to three films: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, and maybe American Hustle. Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor? Maybe. Or Leonardo DiCaprio? What about Cate Blanchett, a seeming shoo-in despite Meryl Streep delivering, in August Osage County, the biggest, chewiest, most Oscar-friendly performance of all time?

Picture this: You're standing on a stage. You're the center of attention in an auditorium filled with over 3,000 people. Roughly 40 million more are watching you on TV.

No, this isn't a nightmare — it's the Academy Awards. Every year, the standout members of the film industry are presented with Hollywood's highest honor: an Oscar.

But what happens after you've won the coveted gold statue? What does it feel like to walk away from the flashbulbs and fans, and step into the quiet darkness behind the curtains?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

We have a question: Where does Adam Sandler watch the Oscars? Does he sit there with all the people who are actually up for awards, or is he home alone, with his baseball cap on backwards?

Chion Wolf

Remakes are easy. Money-makers are hard. We live in a sloshing sea of those movie remakes but it's rare for one of them to out gross the original. An exception, oddly enough, was the remake of "Clash of the Titans," which significantly outperformed its 80s predecessor. 

Comedy actor, writer and director Harold Ramis is best known for the 1984 film Ghostbusters, which he co-wrote and starred in along with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Ramis had co-written and planned to star in the long-awaited Ghostbusters III — but did not get the chance. Ramis died Monday in Chicago from an autoimmune disorder. He was 69 years old.

Ramis co-wrote Animal House, Meatballs and Stripes. He co-wrote and directed Caddyshack and directed Murray in Groundhog Day.

Shirley Temple, who charmed the nation as a child movie star in the 1930s and went on to become one of the nation's diplomats in posts that included ambassador to Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, has died.

She was 85.

The Associated Press writes that publicist Cheryl Kagan says the actress, known as Shirley Temple Black in her private life, died late Monday evening at her home near San Francisco. Kagan tells the AP that Temple's family and caregivers were with her.

It's not even a matter of "snubs."

This year's Oscar nominations got it so wrong as to make a reasonable debate about what happens, going forward, almost impossible.

Pages